How Awesome The Adventure Should Start Out?

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We played many roleplaying games. Some let us do epic stuff, some let us do some pretty non-heroic stuff. I want your thoughts on this. Should the adventurer start out....

Kill rats in someone's basement. Oh how I love this. I can't tell you how many roleplaying games start out by making you do this. 

Or

Save a village from a bunch of baby eating kobolds. 

Or

Travel back in time, start a rebellion, kill some medium size scorpions, and got out of there before everything crumble into sand. This was a 1lv adventure from the Living Greyhawk Campaign 

Or (Something I just made up)

Plane travel to the heart(magic) of the world. Dark forces summon a colossal shadow demon and launch 7 huge missiles to corrupt magic. A guardians of magic need to be protected while they hack each missile and send it back to the shadow demon. On the final missile, the party gonna use it to travel to the shadow demon and send the final blow. Did I forgot to metion that the only way to move in this plane is imagining a platform under your feet and jump? Imagine this adventure at lv 1. 

In short. How high fantasy should a low level adventure be?





 
I've never had a chance to go bopping rats.  By the time I got into the hobby, it had already become too cliche :-(

I like it when players solve problems on the individual level.  There will be time to save the world later, but who's going to help the poor tavern-keeper who can't get to the supplies at the far end of the basement? 
The metagame is not the game.
I've never had a chance to go bopping rats.  By the time I got into the hobby, it had already become too cliche :-(

I like it when players solve problems on the individual level.  There will be time to save the world later, but who's going to help the poor tavern-keeper who can't get to the supplies at the far end of the basement? 



Can't see it most merchants in my world are higher level than a tangle of wet behind the ears adventurers. As I see it if one group of people can gain levels and the way skills and other things worl in the game universe then it makes sense that everyone has a few levels in something. 3e even gave us a slew of npc classes to help with this. there ain't any rats in anyone's basements.

I always liked giant centipedes, large spiders, and giant ants for starting adventures.  That is until some genious decided that giant insects were only viable if they were the size of houses, otherwise their size models would be all out of whack rather than the monsters they produced.

I am so glad that Next doesn't seem to be using that paradigm again. 
I remember one time I had to deal with a few swarm of rats in the basement.

When I was level 7. I had to deal with the undead swarm version of them. That sucked balls since we didn't had a wizard.  
I much prefer starting out small, it makes accomplishments later seem a lot more grand.
I've been meaning to start my own thread on this subject (sort of). Although it is not necessarily the adventure but the character. I think all of your sample adventures could be done heroically (although kill 20 rats would take some work).

In my case, I want my first level character to be Conan in The Heart of the Elephant and The God in the Bowl, or Elric in The Dreaming City. 
The adventurers are out celebrating one night then black out and wake up naked, bound and gagged in some dark basement with dead bodies everywhere. Rusty chains and meat hooks dangle like eerie wind chimes in the dim flickering torchlight. The sound of metal scraping upon stone draws closer...


D&D Next - Basic and Expert Editions

I firmly believe that there should be two editions of the game; the core rules released as a "Basic" set and a more complicated expanded rules edition released as an "Expert" set. These two editions would provide separate entry points to the game; one for new players or players that want a more classic D&D game and another entry point for experienced gamers that want more options and all the other things they have come to expect from previous editions.

Also, they must release several rules modules covering the main elements of the game (i.e., classes, races, combat, magic, monsters, etc.) upon launch to further expand the game for those that still need more complexity in a particular element of the game.


Here's a mockup of the Basic Set I created.



(CLICK HERE TO VIEW LARGER IMAGE)
  

Basic Set

This boxed set contains a simple, "bare bones" edition of the game; the core rules. It's for those that want a rules-light edition of the game that is extremely modifiable or for new players that get intimidated easily by too many rules and/or options. The Basic Set contains everything needed to play with all the "classic" D&D races (i.e., Human, Dwarf, Elf, and Halfling) and classes (i.e., Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard) all the way up to maximum level (i.e., 20th Level).

The Basic boxed set contains:

Quick Start Rules
A "choose your own way" adventure intended as an intro to RPGs and basic D&D terms.

Player's Handbook
(Softcover, 125 pages)
Features rules for playing the classic D&D races and classes all the way up to 20th level.

Dungeon Master's Guide

(Softcover, 125 pages)
Includes the basic rules for dungeon masters.

Monster Manual
(Softcover, 100 pages)
Includes all the classic iconic monsters from D&D. 

Introductory Adventure
(Keep on the Borderlands)
An introductory adventure for beginning players and DMs.

Also includes: 

Character Sheets
Reference Sheets
Set of Dice


Expert Set

A set of hardbound rules that contains the core rules plus expanded races and classes, more spells and a large selection of optional rules modules — that is, pretty much everything that experienced players have come to expect. Each expert edition manual may be purchased separately, or in a boxed set. The Expert set includes:

Expert PHB (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus 10 playable races, 10 character classes, expanded selection of spells and rules modules for players.)
Expert DMG (Hardcover, 250 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus expanded rules modules for DMs.)
Expert MM (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes an expanded list of monsters and creatures to challenge characters)


Expansions

These expansion rules modules can be used with both the Basic and Expert sets. Each expansion covers one specific aspect of the game, such as character creation, combat, spells, monsters, etc.) 

Hall of Heroes (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes a vast selection of playable character races and classes, new and old all in one book)
Combat and Tactics (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes dozens of new and old optional rules for combat all in one book)
Creature Compendium (Hardcover, 350 pages.$35 Includes hundreds of monsters, new and old all in one book)
The Grimoire (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes hundreds of new and old spells all in one book)





A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage

A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage and Hit Points

In my personal campaigns, I use the following system for damage and dying. It's a slight modification of the long-standing principles etsablished by the D&D game, only with a new definition of what 0 or less hit points means. I've been using it for years because it works really well. However, I've made some adjustments to take advantage of the D&D Next rules. I've decided to present the first part in a Q&A format for better clarity. So let's begin...

What are hit points?
The premise is very simple, but often misunderstood; hit points are an abstraction that represent the character's ability to avoid serious damage, not necessarily their ability to take serious damage. This is a very important distinction. They represent a combination of skillful maneuvering, toughness, stamina and luck. Some targets have more hit points because they are physically tougher and are harder to injure...others have more because they are experienced combatants and have learned how to turn near fatal blows into mere scratches by skillful maneuvering...and then others are just plain lucky. Once a character runs out of hit points they become vulnerable to serious life-threatening injuries.

So what exactly does it mean to "hit" with a successful attack roll, then?
It means that through your own skill and ability you may have wounded your target if the target lacks the hit points to avoid the full brunt of the attack. That's an important thing to keep in mind; a successful "hit" does not necessarily mean you physically damaged your target. It just means that your attack was well placed and forced the target to exert themselves in such a way as to leave them vulnerable to further attacks. For example, instead of severing the target's arm, the attack merely grazes them leaving a minor cut.

But the attack did 25 points of damage! Why did it only "graze" the target?
Because the target has more than 25 hit points. Your attack forced them to exert a lot of energy to avoid the attack, but because of their combat skill, toughness, stamina and luck, they managed to avoid being seriously injured. However, because of this attack, they may not have the reserves to avoid your next attack. Perhaps you knocked them off balance or the attack left them so fatigued they lack the stamina to evade another attack. It's the DM's call on how they want to narrate the exact reason the blow didn't kill or wound the target.

Yeah, but what about "touch" attacks that rely on physical contact?
Making physical contact with a target is a lot different than striking them, so these types of attacks are the exception. If a touch attack succeeds, the attacker manages to make contact with their target.

If hit points and weapon damage don't always represent actual damage to the target, then what does it represent?
Think of the damage from an attack as more like a "threat level" rather than actual physical damage that transfers directly to the target's body. That is, the more damage an attack does, the harder it is to avoid serious injury. For example, an attack that causes 14 points of damage is more likely to wound the target than 3 points of damage (depending on how many hit points the target has left). The higher the damage, the greater the chance is that the target will become seriously injured. So, an attack that does 34 points of damage could be thought of as a "threat level of 34." If the target doesn't have the hit points to negate that threat, they become seriously injured.

Ok, but shouldn't armor reduce the amount of damage delivered from an attack?
It does reduce damage; by making it harder for an attack to cause serious injury. A successful hit against an armored target suggests that the attack may have circumvented the target's armor by striking in a vulnerable area.

What about poison and other types of non-combat damage?
Hit point loss from non-physical forms of damage represents the character spitting the poison out just in time before it takes full strength or perhaps the poison just wasn't strong enough to affect them drastically, but still weakens them. Again, it's the DMs call on how to narrate the reasons why the character avoids serious harm from the damage.

If hit points don't don't represent actual damage then how does that make sense with spells like Cure Serious Wounds and other forms of healing like healer kits with bandages?
Hit points do represent some physical damage, just not serious physical damage. Healing magic and other forms of healing still affect these minor wounds just as well as more serious wounds. For example, bandaging up minor cuts and abrasions helps the character rejuvenate and relieve the pain and/or fatigue of hit point loss. The key thing to remember is that it's an abstraction that allows the DM freedom to interpret and narrate it as they see fit.

What if my attack reduces the target to 0 or less hit points?
If a player is reduced to 0 or less hit points they are wounded. If a monster or NPC is reduce to 0 or less hit points they are killed.

Why are monsters killed immediately and not players?
Because unless the monsters are crucial to the story, it makes combat resolution much faster. It is assumed that players immediately execute a coup de grace on wounded monsters as a finishing move.

What if a character is wounded by poison or other types of non-physical damage?
If a character becomes wounded from non-combat damage they still receive the effects of being wounded, regardless if they show any physical signs of injury (i.e., internal injuries are still considered injuries).

Ok. I get it...but what happens once a character is wounded?
See below.
 

Damage and Dying

Once a character is reduced to 0 or less hit points, they start taking real damage. In other words, their reserves have run out and they can no longer avoid taking serious damage.

  1. Characters are fully operational as long as they have 1 hit point or more. They may have minor cuts, bruises, and superficial wounds, but they are are not impaired significantly. 
  2. Once they reach 0 or less hit points, they become Wounded (see below).That is, they have sustained a wound that impairs their ability to perform actions.
  3. If they reach a negative amount of hit points equal or greater than their Constitution score, they are Incapacitated. This means they are in critical condition and could possibly die.
  4. Characters will die if their hit points reach a negative amount greater than their Constitution score, plus their current level.

Unharmed: 1 hp or more
Wounded: 0 hp or less
Incapacitated: -(Constitution) to -(Constitution+Level)
Dead: Less than -(Constitution +Level)

Wounded
When the character reaches 0 or less hit points they become wounded. Wounded characters receive disadvantage on all attacks and saving throws until they heal back up to 1 hit point or more. This allows for a transitory stage between healthy and dying, without having to mess around with impairment rules while the character still has hit points left.

Incapacitated
Characters begin dying when they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution score. At which point, they must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw on each of their following turns (the disadvantage from being wounded does not apply for these saving throws).

If successful, the character remains dying, but their condition does not worsen.

If the saving throw fails, another DC 10 Constitution saving throw must be made. If that one fails, the character succumbs to their wounds and dies. If successful, the character stabilizes and is no longer dying.

Finally, if a dying character receives first aid or healing at any point, they immediately stabilize.

Dead
Characters will die if they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution, plus their current level. Thus, if an 8th level character with a Constitution score of 12 is down to 4 hit points then takes 24 points of damage (reducing their hit points to -20) the attack kills them outright.

My last campaign starting at level 1 ended with the PCs accidentally founding an Orc nation on the land of the village they had initially gone to check out.

These things just seem to happen when PCs get involved somehow. 
I think you want to go 'quasi-big' while remaining small.

Kill rats in someone's basement.: Hmmmm .... I suppose, but this sounds pretty boring. If a Lord or House or heck an entire city is too pompous to rid their basement of rats that sounds like an intereting plot twist. Maybe they are all thrulls and the mind flayers are just playing puppet in the back ground.

Save a village from a bunch of baby eating kobolds.: Sure, but ... why are the kobolds coming so close to civiliazation? It seems like the kobold story could have a deeper story in it which would make for a plot twist.

Travel back in time, start a rebellion,: Ok, but ... keep the scorpions small. Starting a rebellion doesn't sound like too much is needed in the area of combat. Keep them using RP tactics, stealth and espionage, and maybe a well placed explosion.

Plane travel to the heart(magic) of the world.: That's an awfully long string of text. This sounds like a pretty good sized adventure could be made out of this with several chapters. Just be sure the players aren't fighting the shadow demon right away. Instead put its minions in front, and maybe a couple smaller .. level 3 and 4 minor bosses as well.

The idea would be to start small, but make it bigger by tying it into a larger story.
My campaigns always start with a 'Hero's Jouney' beginning. 

Having an 'ordinary world' (even if it has magic and danger) get shaken up with the characters at the center of it.

My last campaign started with the characters at their town's Spring Festival competing for prizes in pig catching, performance, pie eating, and staff fighting. It gave players an introduction  to the rules and skill chalenges. When it came time to get their prizes at a reward ceremony a rift opened into the Feywild and a battle that was happening in the Fey world spilt into the natural world. The players had to close the portal and defeat the creatures that had made it into their world. When the smoke cleared there was a half-mad gnome and a strange chest left behind that started the 'call to adventure'.


   
Personal opinion...

I always try to start my campaigns off with a proverbial bang.

For example, one campaign began with the player characters in a tavern.  Sounds like the stereotypical "you all meet in a tavern and decide to adventure together" scenario, right?  Not quite.  The PCs didn't know each other at all and didn't have a chance to even get curious because...

A dying dragon crashed through the roof of the tavern.  When the dust settled, the player characters were the only ones who hadn't either fled the scene or been crushed in the initial impact and were thus entrusted with a cracked dragon egg.

The PCs soon found themselves raising a baby dragon who was the only dragon in the region immune to a plague killing off dragonkind.

In another campaign...

The PCs are slave gladiators in Dark Sun.  Again, pretty stereotypical.  One of their cellmates is a mad prophet who claims to hear the voices of the true gods.  He's actually a Star Pact Warlock (4th edition) but his mad ravings start to come true as the major cities in the region get hit by asteroids one by one.

So, I rather like throwing in surprises to start a campaign and then let the player characters take the driver's seat.             

All around helpful simian

My goodness...the number of times I've started PCs off in D&D since I started DMing is probably approaching the triple-digit mark by now, and I think I've tried to make them all a little different. Naturally, way back when I was a new DM, I used the tried-and-true fallback methods (tavern scenes, ambushed-on-the-road-to-wherever scenes, etc.). Not that there's anything wrong with them...old tricks are the best tricks, after all.

I'd say there is no wrong way to start the PCs.  As to how high-fantasy should it be? As high-fantasy as you and your group enjoy playing. If you prefer starting out in a simple tavern scene where they find a bulletin-board with quests on it and choose to pursue one, then that's what you go with. On the other hand, if you prefer starting them out as falling from the sky through extra-dimensional portals to 5 different worlds and immediately begin fighting low-end demons when their feet hit the ground, then that's what you do.

- Start the game off as a dream one of the PCs is having
- Start it off with the PCs being spirits and trying to figure out how to get back to their bodies  
- Start it off as normal people in the modern world who get on a roller-coaster, go into a tunnel, and come out in the land of Dungeons & Dragons

Whatever best suits your tastes.   
Should be a DM's decision on the campaign.

First level in Forgotten Realms is not the same as first level in Dark Sun.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I like to, if possible, start off the adventure with a series of events that help tie the characters together in some fashion that goes beyond "you all answered my help wanted ad for rat extermination" or "a catastrophe is happening and you five happen to be the ones standing next to it". There's nothing wrong with those per se, but if I can tie things a little more closely together, I like that. It sort of requires building around the PCs a bit more, though. My favorite example was starting out in a courtroom, where PC A (a sorcerer) was on trial for a major theft he didn't commit, plus some lesser crimes. PC B (a "lawyer"; actually a battlemind) is appointed as his lawyer by the judge, PCs C (a warlord) and D (a rogue) are called as witnesses. C actually witnessed someone else commit the crime; D is just B's accomplice. B successfully argues the case, but A is still on probation, and he's released into the custody of E (an avenger; the character also served as a member of the jury panel so the player would have something to do during the trial scene). The crime ring actually responsible for the theft now wants them all dead; begin adventure.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
I like to have the PCs already knowing each other before the game starts.  Often I have them travelling by ship to the frontier and them getting to know each other on board the ship.  You could throw in a mini-adventure or a mystery here.

I like to set up an intriguing situation but let the characters get involved as they will.  So I usually have tons of side plots and npcs interacting with each other pushing their own agendas.  The group just gets into whatever trouble they want.

 
One of the recent campaigns:
All the players wake up without any memories at all (not even names) and as they become caught up in various events and adventures they slowly regain memory fragments until they realise that they previously were among the main villains of the events they were now fighting to prevent.
I would probably start it somewhere around the second option because killing rats in a basement isn't an adventure it's a tutorial quest in an MMO.
I would probably start it somewhere around the second option because killing rats in a basement isn't an adventure it's a tutorial quest in an MMO.

You and I both know that's not true.
Modern MMO's start with some pre-scripted bigass epic "save the world!" thing, then it's Kill Ten Rats.

I would probably start it somewhere around the second option because killing rats in a basement isn't an adventure it's a tutorial quest in an MMO.

Is it not important to ease new players into the game with simplified scenarios against weaker and simple-minded foes?

Leave the rats and dire rats for new players, so they can ease their way into gameplay with enemies who aren't going to outsmart them, and then provide kobolds for the equally-weak-but-significantly-smarter adversaries of a more advanced playerbase.

The metagame is not the game.
We played many roleplaying games. Some let us do epic stuff, some let us do some pretty non-heroic stuff. I want your thoughts on this. Should the adventurer start out....

In short. How high fantasy should a low level adventure be? 


There's no right answer. It's entirely subjective. 
Personally, I think low level adventures should be simple and low fantasy, so you have somewhere to build up to. If you travel through time and cross planes at level 1 it's far less impressive to do so at level 12. Plus, the PCs should be using their own magic for that kind of thing, and less reliant on NPCs to shunt them places like errand boys.
Before posting, ask yourself WWWS: 
What Would Wrecan Say?

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For my last playtest my players were as follows:

Cleric/spy/survivor
This player has difficulty with creating backstory so I worked hers into what follows.

Rogue/thief/spy/magic user
This player actually created her contact and wrote in the backstory that she was a spy for this contact in exchange for magical teachings. She had no knowledge of who her contact worked for and did not care since her loyalty was to the contact.

Sorcerer/thief/magic user
New player 13yrs old. She has trouble with backstory but loved the flavor that sorcerers are hunted by wizards for their body parts and ran with it.

Rogue/thug/charlatan/lurker
This player decided he was a deep cover operative who's kingdom had recently fallen and left him alone in enemy territory with no hope of returning. His goal is to continue his mission and bring down the kingdom responsible for destroying his own.

So with this info I created a campaign theme. The kingdom of Namir was at war due to it's policy of defending sorcerers against a corrupt mages guild bent on their destruction.

The deep cover operative had befriended the sorcerer and was attempting to arrange for her safe transport to Namir when the kingdom fell.

The spies, following a worst case contingency plan, were to meet with the deep cover operative in a secure location underneath a local tavern.

After arriving they found that the location had been compromised and a bounty hunter arrived.

After defeating the bounty hunter they learned that a 30,000 gp reward was in place to kill anyone who arrived at the location that evening.

The charlatan took the bounty hunters identity and they fought off several waves of bounty hunters.

A late player arrived and with no knowledge of the game created a fighter/slayer/bounty hunter/Lurker
So he arrived to collect the bounty and both in and out of character was convinced by the charlatan that the group was also there to collect the bounty and that the bodies were the marks.

After successfully fending off the remaining bounty hunters the group returned to the charlatan's inn where a secret message gave them warning that the cover identity "Baron Von Fancypantzen" was blown.

The group escaped by leaping out of the second story window onto a rented coach driven by the group's bounty hunter.

After narrowly escaping the city in disguise the charlatan and bounty hunter decided to return as bounty hunters with the sack of severed heads they collected and exchange them for the 30,000 gp reward.

They succeeded but as they were leaving spotted a torture victim being led in to see the enemy baron. The LN bounty hunter seeing this as a violation and obvious abuse of the law initiated a daring rescue in which the two PCs, still level 1, defeated 4 dark Adepts and wounded one before the NPC freed herself using the thieves tools on the unconcious charlatan's belt and used sleep to drop the last two.

So now they are on the run with 30,000 gp in gems and an entire barony in pursuit.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

Personal opinion...

That sounds like some serious fun, right there, Valdark.  :D 

All around helpful simian

Personal opinion...

That sounds like some serious fun, right there, Valdark.  :D 


It was and will probably get even more insane since they are now planning to use the sewer system to re-infiltrate the very same city to retrieve the NPC wizard's spell book from the center of the Mage guild tower.  Turned out that the wizard they rescued was the rogue/spy's contact.  

These guys are absolutely fearless.   

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

Just say not to... rat-catcher the awesome and heroic farmhand.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Just say not to... rat-catcher the awesome and heroic farmhand.



Kobolds can be wicked little nasties..   Orcs are a party killer (in 4e).
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Valdark, that campaign sounds wickly awesome! 

Now just need a twist. One of the players is actually a spy for the enemy kingdom.

If I was going to play as a spy, I would be one of the main bad guys.  

Anybody else want to share their campaign experience at low level? 
This is D&D Next; all playstyles should be welcome! If we're talking mechanics, I lean towards mechanics being just above the commoners at 1st level, so that those that want that sort of thing have an option. Those that don't can start at 3rd level. The other way (of trying to lift features out of a dense 1st-level character) isn't easy to balance and create a uniform method for.

Personally I think it's great when campaigns start off with rat-swatting. As a DM I aim for such missions to be valuable by establishing NPCs and motives for future, interesting plots. It's also valuable to establish what is an ordinary life in this setting, through a few sessions of more mundane tasks. Makes the events that follow a bit more visceral. You don't have to fake being weirded out by a tear in the fabric of space in the heavens above when you've spent a month in this setting absorbing the down-to-earth farmer's life where their biggest concern was the werewolf secretly feeding on their sheep, and the stuff of nightmares is the idea that the goblins over the hills might run in.
I don't use emoticons, and I'm also pretty pleasant. So if I say something that's rude or insulting, it's probably a joke.
current game players are all "highered" schtick. except its not. Flyers were posted in various towns saying that there is some unknown danger in the caves above town adventurers may handle the situation how ever they choose no reward but they can keep anything they find.

turn out the cave is actually the old lair of a notorious thief and slave merchant from a thousand years ago. The home is inhabited by undead used as slave labor, monsters that have found a home in the old caves.

we have found his inner sanctum and are now trying to break into his vault. which apparently is a series of puzzles and encounters. we have lost characters a few times and as it currently stands there are several factions inside the party each with different agreements on who gets screwed over in the end.

the real kicker is that we found and killed all over then left several carion crawlers live to clean out our new house.

our party has three elf thieves, a half elf cleric, a elf mage, a half elf mage, and a dwarf fighter.


so in short there is no wrong way, but there are some fun ways.
It really all depends on the campaign, and what power level it calls for. Personally I like 3.X/PFs version of power. Weak at level one so you have the option to start there if you wish. If you want to start them a bit more experience, where's they have cleared a few dungeons prior to the game starting, then you can start them at level 3-5. If the campaign starts with the world shattering and the heroes needing to repair it from demons, start at level 10-15. 

It's not about where it SHOULD start, and more about giving the DMs the ability to choose where they WANT it to start. Tools not rules
My two copper.
It really all depends on the campaign, and what power level it calls for. Personally I like 3.X/PFs version of power. Weak at level one so you have the option to start there if you wish. If you want to start them a bit more experience, where's they have cleared a few dungeons prior to the game starting, then you can start them at level 3-5. If the campaign starts with the world shattering and the heroes needing to repair it from demons, start at level 10-15. 

It's not about where it SHOULD start, and more about giving the DMs the ability to choose where they WANT it to start. Tools not rules



So a 1lv party can't beat a demon prince?

That depends entirely on the demon prince.
That depends entirely on the demon prince.



I seen enough movies/shows/books/manga/etc to know where this is going. Heroes face an overwhelming force of evil, but win because of story plot. 

For example

Party encounter a demon prince. The demon prince want to trick the party by making them a deal for a wish. One of the party member ask this deal to be written. This been while since the demon prince ever done this so he made one. The party example the written contract to see if there any loops. They found one and trick the demon prince by sealing him in a gem.  

and then they stabbed the gem into their head ... and there was something about a secret cow level....
They should have to sneak into the lair of the Goblin King to rescue the children of the villagers, and then either negotiate for their release with the goblin king himself or get the hell out of dodge with the children in toe without the goblins noticing.
Khyber is a dark and dangerous place, full of flame and smoke, where ever stranger things lie dormant.
I'm going to be starting a game, hopefully, next week with two players. One of them hasn't decided on a character and the other is going to be a high elf fighter that was born with necromantic powers (He's using a customized specialty that starts with Animate Servant and he'll get Arcane Dabbler at level 3 to pick up some cantrips for utility. Plotwise he's essentially haunted.) and the other hasn't decided on a character yet. I'm thinking maybe they're at the same tavern one night and some kind of portal opens up with skeletons and zombies slowly coming out until they decide to either go in to the portal or find a way to close it.
In short. How high fantasy should a low level adventure be?


As high or low fantasy as the playgroup wants it to be.  That's really the only answer that makes sense to me.
There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

In short. How high fantasy should a low level adventure be?


As high or low fantasy as the playgroup wants it to be.  That's really the only answer that makes sense to me.



I agree with Mecha - do what feels right.

Member of the Axis of Awesome

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Homogenising: Making vanilla in 31 different colours