Has anyone reduced the starting attributes for level 1 characters?

Has anyone reduced the starting attributes for level 1 characters?

Has anyone reduced the starting attributes for level 1 characters? I feel like, even at level 1, players are really quite powerful and I rarely ever have creatures that deal less than d6 damage – even then d6 does not happen often (not taking into account other aspects of the creatures that affect the battles).

I almost wish players started with +0 to all stats, and perhaps -1 to half of them. They would level up fast at the beginning due to more frequent failures, but they would actually feel like level 1 characters. Maybe 0 would be their high stat.

19 thoughts on “Has anyone reduced the starting attributes for level 1 characters?”

  1. Damian Jankowski​ DW plays to the notion of epic fantasy characters. You might consider dropping stats altogether and just start with direct modifiers than can be increased using the level up move.

  2. See also: Jason Lutes Freebooters on the Frontier (part of the Perilous Wilds kickstarter).  

    PCs have random stats (3d6 in order, swap 2), low hit points, high mortality, and somewhat less epic-unique-snowflake starting moves.

  3. Sure, variety and all that. I don’t mean to crap on the idea, but “Zero to hero” is such an ingrained thing that I am thankful for any and all games that step away from it.

  4. Yeah but a level 1 fighter can be the prince of the Phoenix Elves and wield the ancestral blade Everflame and do all kinds of cool fighting manoeuvres that are just epic. The Druid can be the avatar of the world, reborn in an endless cycle and transform into all kinds of creatures.

    Meanwhile the Wizards casts Magic Missile…

    They just feel weaker and like level 1 characters because of the iconic low level spells. Ritual is broken of course but you need stuff and GM to work out to make it so. Also you need to come up with it in the first place, something that might be hard when you can literally do everything.

  5. Tim Franzke but he does not cast magic missile! He agglutinates the space continuum in reality-warping proyectiles that rip the existence out of his foes! The Wizard has the same right to refluff as anyone.

  6. I sort of agree on the Wizard spells, though. Her rituals are completely bonkers awesome, but the spell lists themselves really pull in another direction and frame of mind.

  7. Tim Franzke same can be done for the Fighter’s maneuvers, that’ll mostly be hack & slash. The Druid can say he’s channeling the world itself to help him in his undertaking, but he’s just shapechanging into a squirrel.

    You can make almost anything sound unepic, but there’s nothing inherently bad with the spells.

  8. Part of me really disagrees that the Wizard feels weak at low levels. Like almost everything else in DW, how you describe your character and how you narrate their actions has a huge effect on how your character feels. Narrate them being an epic, arcane badass  and they will be.

    That being said, I do see how having only a few, low level spells can make the Wizard feel less epic. It says “Level One Spells” right there on your sheet, so it can be hard to ignore. And no matter how colorfully you describe your spell effect, you’re still just casting Magic Missile as Tim Franzke points out.

    I’m not sure I have a solution here though.

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