Page 825 - Virtue Oh So

3rd Nov 2016, 6:00 AM in Pinkie Pride
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Virtue Oh So
Average Rating: 5 (2 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 3rd Nov 2016, 6:00 AM edit delete
We can finally publish the October SpudShot... at the beginning of November. Could've been much worse! At least this session ended up very properly timed for the Halloween season.

SpudShot Oct 2016 - Fallout is Dragons: The Hills Have AIs
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Notice: Guest comic submissions are open! Guidelines here. Deadline: January 27th, 2023.



albedoequals1 3rd Nov 2016, 6:17 AM edit delete reply
Ha! Start at level 16, the very idea. Serious players start at level ONE. Most games are already over by level 16.

Gilda's not going to know as much as she thinks she knows if she's used to being given everything at the start.
Digo Dragon 3rd Nov 2016, 6:28 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Interesting bit of trivia from my RP experience: campaigns I've played in that start high level never last more than two sessions.

I like level 1 starting out, but in some games I've run I'll go level 2, just so the PCs have a few more hit points to take a blow. If I start at 1st, often the first few encounters are low in combat just to get them used to the mechanics of their non-combat abilities before the 'ding' levels them up. :3
DeltaPangaea 3rd Nov 2016, 12:49 PM edit delete reply
A really nice method I've heard if you're just using averages rather than rolling for hp each level, is to give everyone their 0.5s upfront.

So like, if you have a d10 HD, you'd get 5.5 hp each level (So effectively an extra point every other level.

But using this, that guy'd get 5 hp, but at level 1 he'd start out with 10 extra HP, which is plenty to weather the initial storm of level 1.
Crimson Dawn 3rd Nov 2016, 7:46 PM edit delete reply
That is actually how 5e is after 1st level (well it rounds up that .5 but yea).
Freelance 4th Nov 2016, 8:10 AM edit delete reply
My DM always made new characters start at level 1, no matter what level the rest of the party was at. Yes that did mean occasionally throwing players into the deep end of the pool at times.
kitty 4th Nov 2016, 8:44 PM edit delete reply
I honestly havent played that many rounds of DnD, but I used to do a lot of pathfinder, and usually the GM there let us start new campaigns at level 5, I always liked that cause I prefered Rangers and I could get cute animal companions at once
FanOfMostEverything 3rd Nov 2016, 6:32 AM edit delete reply
I generally go with level 3-5 at the start. That way, not every hit is at the mercy of the d20, and players won't die due to a chance bit of misfortune. Plus, it makes everyone feel a bit more effective.

Beyond that, it gets hard to justify in-story why the PCs aren't already widely renown, certifiable badasses.
terrycloth 3rd Nov 2016, 10:45 AM edit delete reply
4e gives you some extra hp at the start, doesn't it? To make level 1 starts reasonable.

Although I haven't had much trouble with level 1 starts in Pathfinder. Characters can go down but it's still not very easy to actually *kill* them, and fights are short so they aren't sitting out the whole session unconscious like they might be if they went down at a higher level.
Nixitur 3rd Nov 2016, 6:42 AM edit delete reply
I think level 3's a comfy place to start. Lower than that and you have very little to play with and you're extremely squishy. But at level 3, you get an extra feat (I think), Wizards get level 2 spells, Bards get Inspire Competence and so on. Level 3 just seems to be the point where stuff gets interesting.
Digo Dragon 3rd Nov 2016, 10:36 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Thinking about it, this sort of issue doesn't seem to crop up with my games that use level-less systems. Using the system's recommended starting "build points" is usually enough to build something not too squishy starting out.
Winged Cat 3rd Nov 2016, 11:26 AM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
I've not seen the issue outside of D&D and things that try to hew closely to D&D (such as Pathfinder), levels or no levels. Maybe the problem is just that D&D's 1st level is traditionally "barely not a mook NPC", which is not so fun to play.
Chakat Firepaw 3rd Nov 2016, 11:57 AM edit delete reply
There are some level-based systems where starting at 1st level is largely unviable.

OTOH, those systems also specifically point out that you start at an elevated level and that lower levels fill the niche that in D&D have been filled by level 0 and NPC classes.
Malroth 3rd Nov 2016, 6:49 PM edit delete reply
lv 4 to 5 is my favorite place to start, you've still got a long way to go but you've got enough to start doing some interesting things.
Toric 3rd Nov 2016, 6:54 AM edit delete reply
Actually, I've played a few different campaigns that are well built for 1st level beginnings. The enemies are largely a threat because of numbers, but can't really down anyone in one shot. They also aren't really smart enough to finish a downed character before attacking the others. But the encounter size and mechanics often make it challenging and fun to tangle with the creatures and is almost more of a roleplay opportunity than simple combat.
Platonix 3rd Nov 2016, 7:25 AM edit delete reply
"Surge evolved his Raichu too soon! It never got to learn the speed moves it could only learn as a Pikachu!"

...sorry, couldn't resist...
Rastaba 3rd Nov 2016, 8:30 PM edit delete reply
I considered that too, glad I'm not the only one here that remembers those days...
Tempestfury 3rd Nov 2016, 7:47 AM edit delete reply
Honestly, I'm mixed on this. I have had several Epic or similar tier games fall flat quickly, or before they've started...

But, most games I know typically end rather swiftly. Even Solo Games... The only PbP game I've been in that has actually lasted a month or more, IS a level 20 game, and we are likely going to go Epic as well.

I just, really don't like starting level 1 in D&D, as you can die to a kobold with a rusty knife in one hit.
Winged Cat 3rd Nov 2016, 11:33 AM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
I've rarely had a PbP game that lasted much more than a month. The few that I have were decades ago, before as many real-time communication options were available as today. (To name a couple mediums I use today: Roll20 went live in 2012, and Skype only dates back to 2003, IIRC.)
Doc_Sparks 3rd Nov 2016, 8:25 AM Wut? edit delete reply
Some players that I've talked to get downright offended at the idea of starting at level 1.
Ace Jackson 3rd Nov 2016, 9:02 AM edit delete reply
Ace Jackson
As far as 5e has gone, my usual group is about spent on level one starts. Granted this may only be because we've just reached level 4 in the first campaign we started.

Understand that we haven't started that many, we just go really slowly as a group... We spent about a full year on the first level in the first campaign we've done, mainly 'cause we were intent on being absurdly dedicated heroes, and practically ran the cult out of town single handed.

I still say we should have just bypassed that whole portion of the adventure, when level one, the appropriate response to seeing a dragon, clearly on a hostile rampage, is to turn around and walk away. That's not cowardice, that's survival.

On the comic itself though, this should be interesting, I wonder how it's going to end for Gilda?
Jennifer 3rd Nov 2016, 10:43 AM edit delete reply
If you ran a cult out of town single-handed, how did you not level several times in the process?
Ace Jackson 4th Nov 2016, 12:50 PM edit delete reply
Ace Jackson
Milestone advancement. Not a terrible idea, but execution is everything.
Dragonflight 3rd Nov 2016, 9:21 AM edit delete reply
Hehe. Couldn't resist. I read Albedoequals1's comment in Twilight's voice and attitude. It fits perfectly! :)

I've done both the level 1 start, and the level 3 start. Both have their place. If you want to build a party with that extra bit of heroic survivability you go with 3rd level start. If you want to claw your way out of the sea of common folk and establish yourself from nothing but raw determination and luck, you start at first.
Winged Cat 3rd Nov 2016, 11:22 AM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
All the serious campaigns I've run, have started at level 1 (or the equivalent, for that one Disapora/FATE game).

Granted, I haven't run (just played in) D&D itself yet, so perhaps there are issues with its 1st level. But otherwise - FFRPG, with "maximum" level 64 (though there is tertiary support for 65+)? Start at 1, end at 65 (or maybe it was 66, I forget). PTU, with trainer levels 1-50? Start at 1, end at 50. I use the levels themselves as narrative guideposts, even (divide the overall plot into roughly equal portions per level, advance to next level when current plot complete or wrap up current plot when party gains next level), to help sustain player interest through every. Single. Level.

Anyone wanting to run an "optimized" build in my campaigns, which sucks mightily at lower levels in exchange for more power later, doesn't get a free pass on the first part of that. (And when I've done that as a player, it's likewise been in campaigns where I had to play through the early levels. It's been worth it.) Builds which are just plain strong at all levels (without being OP relative to the rest of the party - for which the best solution is often to help the rest of the party make better use of what they have) are more recommended.

I only run, or play in, higher level starts when it's clear the intent is not a long-term campaign. Often, the point of those is to explore the powers and mechanics, not to roleplay.
ZhonLord 3rd Nov 2016, 12:29 PM edit delete reply
I had one campaign start at level 10, but that was it. My DM for that session wanted to use some really crazy ideas and told us to go all-out with our builds, as long as we had a good character to back them up. And it was a lot of fun. I made a 3.5 Dragonborn Totem Rager and ran into areas where he excelled, and areas where he fell flat on his face and the rest of the party had to carry him. Roleplaying that stuff, and the OP vs OP mentality, was a TON of fun and it's still one of my favorite campaigns of all time.

That said, most of the time my groups tend to start around level 5. It's enough to get a theme going, give a little more build-use variety in fights, and it lets the DM open up more options for threats and obstacles.
Freemage 4th Nov 2016, 9:31 AM edit delete reply
While I think declaring the other DM to be "insane" is a bit much (that's almost as much a "You're gaming wrong" comment as Gilda's been doing), I do agree with you (albedoequals1) that Gilda's going to be surprised (maybe even shocked) at how much skill it takes to play a lower-level character who doesn't get all the bells-and-whistles.
Jennifer 4th Nov 2016, 10:52 AM edit delete reply
I don't think he's saying the other DM is wrong, he's referring to how difficult it must be to deal with a campaign starting at that level. The other DM is crazy to allow his players to (likely) run rough-shod over his campaign in such a way.
Freemage 8th Nov 2016, 10:55 AM edit delete reply
Eh, I think that if they've been playing that way for a long time, the DM is probably used to doing the same thing. It's a war of escalation, and the DM actually has all the cards in those. The big thing about high-level campaigns is that it almost always comes down to initiative once combat starts--rocket-tag is an ever-increasing thing.
ANW 3rd Nov 2016, 6:34 AM edit delete reply
Even I know that at that level, it's not a real campaign.
That's just a showing off type of thing.
You can't really introduce someone that way.
Now I can't help but think of that DM's group as a bunch of RP bullies.
Guest 3rd Nov 2016, 6:38 AM edit delete reply
"Now I can't help but think of that DM's group as a bunch of RP bullies."

Oh hey, it's a direct parallel to the MLP:FIM universe. Imagine that.
Cyborg7221 3rd Nov 2016, 7:48 AM edit delete reply
I dunno, I think there might actually be something to Gilda's group's style. Low-level play can get pretty boring fast, since the DM is basically recycling the same basic monsters over and over again, so starting at a higher level could break up the monotony.
Also, some campaigns are more suited for high-level starts than others. For example, I have this campaign idea that I've been kicking around where the players start at the climax of a major macguffin-hunt quest, which puts them in the possession of a collection of magical artifacts requiring safeguarding. Basically, they'd be the founders of this campaign world's version of the Warehouse (of Warehouse 13 fame), the Library (from The Librarians), or the Argentum (the equivalent organization in Eberron). I think this is a concept that would actually work *better* starting in Paragon, since the PCs would automatically have the greater resources required for the premise to work.
If their DM prefers to run stories on that scale, more power to him/her.
Jennifer 3rd Nov 2016, 9:11 AM edit delete reply
Well, when it comes to level vs. campaign, why not start a high-level campaign with the players at first level? The Hobbit and 13 dwarves dealt with an ancient dragon, and four hobbits (three of them effectively teenagers) saved the world, killed an undead king and saved a regent's son. Unleash the Tarrasque on the campaign world and watch the level 1 PCs deal with it after the world's high-level NPCs all die.
Cyborg7221 3rd Nov 2016, 9:40 AM edit delete reply
That's... actually a pretty cool idea, though it would mess with the game's balance quite a bit. Most players go into a system like D&D expecting reasonably good odds of dealing with most encounters (though resource expenditure is another matter entirely). If you throw something like an Ancient Red or a Tarrasque at a bunch of level 1 PCs, though? They won't be able to survive an encounter like that, period. Those monsters are faster and have overclocked perception scores, so running and hiding aren't even valid options. The only way for that sort of gameplay to work is to place arbitrary exploitable weaknesses and limitations on your epic monsters so that they can be somehow outsmarted or outmaneuvered.

Come to think of it, though, I guess that's how MLP started: an epic level Nightmare Moon almost conquering the moon and being defeated by a level 1 unicorn and a quickly solved riddle.

...huh. I guess that's something to play around with.
Jennifer 3rd Nov 2016, 10:37 AM edit delete reply
I wouldn't have them facing the Tarrasque directly, unless I expected them to hide or run for their lives, but the whole campaign could easily be about collecting the artifacts and experience necessary to stop it.

Don't forget that intelligent monsters aren't going to go about invading the countries of people of their own level, either - I can easily see a dragon picking on a village of commoners, insisting they provide tribute and virgins, with no high-level warriors or wizards about to drive it off. Granted, they won't be that rich, but what if it's an aged, sick or injured dragon? (Man-eating lions and tigers are usually the older ones who can't catch anything else.)

So who can help in this case? Why, the zero-level PCs, of course! At the very least they can go on a quest to FIND better heroes, as in Seven Samurai.
Winged Cat 3rd Nov 2016, 11:43 AM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
Or they can outsmart the foes, finding weaknesses through RP.

Not that long ago in my Pokemon game, the PCs and their pokemon took down a level 100 pokemon, and then later took out a tank. Their pokemon were around level 10 at the time, with the trainers similarly low level. And then a couple sessions ago, they managed to take down overwhelming hordes in...well, let's just say that of all the combatants on both sides, the only one with positive HP was one of the trainers, at 1 HP. (Fortunately, in this system, you have to go far more negative HP than anyone was to be dead instead of merely KOed.)

In the first two cases, they managed to trap and disable the lone foe; neither one got a single attack off. In the latter case, area of effect attacks where used to good effect. Strategy and tactics have helped inferior forces rout superior ones for ages IRL, going right back to at least the Spartans; they can do the same in RPGs.
TrueZero2 3rd Nov 2016, 8:00 AM edit delete reply
...and I see where Pinkie's likely going to come out on top. Gilda's going into this thinking that she's got limited resources. Pinkie's setup is one that's been built up over time.

There's a method to the madness, it's just that there's so much madness.
TheFullCrumb 3rd Nov 2016, 10:01 AM edit delete reply
There is never enough madness.
Winged Cat 3rd Nov 2016, 11:46 AM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
That's possible. I was thinking that her mistake is, since this is Pinkie's character, Pinkie is the judge of what's "perfect" - and Gilda just does not understand that there could be any judge other than the system mechanics. (Then again, maybe both - and possibly more - will happen.)
Jennifer 3rd Nov 2016, 9:05 AM edit delete reply
XD20 and the variants of it I've been using ignore levels and xp altogether. If they're present at all, they don't change your stats or give you new spell slots - they just let you say to the GM: "Hey, my fighter is level 7 now, shouldn't he be better at hitting a troll?"

In the event, I have been allowing players to add new skills when it feels appropriate, but skill and character levels we don't even bother with.
Haledrake 3rd Nov 2016, 11:11 AM edit delete reply
Hey, starting at a high level is perfectly fine for people going for a high adventure low story campaign.

4E lends itself incredibly well to being more of a straight up strategy/wargame compared to the other editions of D&D.
Anvildude 3rd Nov 2016, 12:34 PM edit delete reply
I like starting at level 1 (or maybe 2)- I feel that one of the big attractions of a role playing game is building up your character's story in-game.

Part of that might be that I've never played with anyone who took the time to really flesh out their character's backstory, so being able to say "Yeah, before they started Adventuring at level 1, they were a nobody that never did anything" makes it easier to understand why they don't have any skills.

That, and there's all sorts of interesting stuff- connections, magical doodads, icons, daggers, miscellaneous adventuring supplies- that you don't necessarily think about when doing a first build for your character. Even with experience, there's always going to be environmental differences that influence what you bring with you.

Torches, ropes, changes of clothing, various grenade-type items, all sorts of things. Granted, you can bypass some of that with things like Bags of Holding and Robes of Useful Things, but still.

It also lets you build up who your character is in a way that even writing a backstory can't- things like interactions with other player characters, who they decide to spare or kill, preferred methods of dispatching or problem solving.

Of course, part of this may be my relative lack of experience- I've not played many campaigns, and those I have played haven't generally lasted that long.

Still... Especially if you're playing for the RP instead of the Mechanical crunch, I think starting at lower levels is the way to go.
NyxianMayMoon 3rd Nov 2016, 1:56 PM edit delete reply
Well, I started a campaign at ridiculous levels. In fact it wasn't meant to be more than a one shot. But my players loved it to death. Mostly story driven action with characters now in the 100s. Of course, they don't know what the fuck they are doing, either, so it makes for an awesome time.
ChaosStar0 3rd Nov 2016, 3:32 PM edit delete reply
I haven't played a PnP game of D&D since I was a child, but I don't like the idea of starting a game at a level higher than one.

I do make characters though and a habit I have when making them is that at first level you get your full Hit Die rather than rolling for HP. I just got used to that due to the Neverwinter Nights games doing that. Though in those games you get your full hit die every time you level, but I don't know how valid that would be. I also don't like the point-buy system, and prefer using the Organic Character rolling method.
Dragonflight 3rd Nov 2016, 4:04 PM edit delete reply
Organic character rolling has the disadvantage that Weird Shit Can Happen.

For instance. I have this set of black D6's with red pips. Every time I pull them out, the PC's sigh and groan, because I statistically roll about 75% rather than the mean average of 55% on any group of die rolls. They aren't loaded, or anything, as I can still roll a legion of 1's (and have) if I'm being unlucky. But statistically, they tend to roll higher than usual.

So I rolled up a character using the 3d6 natural roll method. The original one. And with the GM watching, I would up with three 18's, a 16, a 15 and a 14. I deliberately didn't build an optimized character to sort of leaven the pain of those die rolls a bit, but he was still an awesome fighter/mage, and well worth the price of admission.
ChaosStar0 3rd Nov 2016, 4:16 PM edit delete reply
True, but I've never had to throw out a character because of bad stats so far.

To those who don't know the Organic Characer rolling method is: Roll 4d6 throwing out the lowest die, the result is your character's Strength. Repeat for the other 5 stats. Reroll one stat. Swap two stats around. That is your character's stats.

I personally really like this method and have typically good luck rolling, getting at least 11-13 for most stats.
redwings1340 3rd Nov 2016, 4:23 PM edit delete reply
Level is just a number, in this case, I don't think Gilda is necessarily wrong or right. It's just the DM's responsibility to balance the challenges a party faces with their capabilities. There's definitely a lot to be said for hurling planets around and playing as overpowered minor gods of the world, and there's also a lot to be said for roleplaying through adventures and trying to win despite a lack of specific skills.

Some of my best moments have come from me finding a way to achieve something without powers, and some of my best moments come from me figuring out how to use powers in specific ways to achieve objectives. Both can be pretty satisfying, and both can make for good games.
JupiterStar 3rd Nov 2016, 4:30 PM edit delete reply
Oooof. Yeah. I see the problem.

Having ran 4E in the Paragon Tier... the game's math seems to break down heavily. You more need to be optimized in order to have a reasonable chance to hit, which is still a coin flip by the game's standards. Further, monster's HP inflates faster than PC damage. Most of our sessions came down to long, boring, At-Will Power slugfests because people's Encounters didn't do enough damage, or they missed and were therefore useless.

I think we GOT to about level 16 until we all agreed this was stupid and went to go play something else.
Kayeka 4th Nov 2016, 2:30 PM edit delete reply
Here's a tip for you when playing 4e: Half Hit Points. Simply take the HP values of both characters and monsters, and use half of it.

We played an entire campaign from level 1 to 30 like that, and battles were far quicker and more exciting because of it.
veiledwatcher 3rd Nov 2016, 9:24 PM Oh boy... High Levels? edit delete reply
So, first time commenter, longtime fan of this comic for at least a year now. Absolutely love the comic and the stories in the comments of said comics.

I gotta say, I envy Gilda's group as a longtime Pathfinder player simply because it sounds like she has a group that gets to be that high level consistently, or at least gets to do something at that level. (I also envy the comic's Mane Six because they've got a super fun campaign going on already, but that's not quite relevant to stuff I want to mention).

Basically all of the groups I've been in (no matter what level we start at, mind you) eventually die out after a handful of sessions (or they do last long, but eventually end for one reason or another and usually in the middle of a story that's developing, right when it's getting good). There was this one group I used to run with where the dms could never stick to one campaign because they either got bored or started hating the campaign (and they used many if not all of the arguments in this very comment section on why starting at higher levels and why higher levels sucked to justify it, which was miserable when you're trying to be a better roleplayer and finish a story).

Also, I really don't get (what seems to me) the underlying assumption when it comes to tabletop rpgs that starting at high levels and having a story/rping are mutually exclusive. Some of the best campaigns I've played in had the party's ecl be level 5+ (With one of the better, story driven ones actually being at level 11-ish when I joined up, though that had issues with the players still getting manipulated/played by the dm). Plus, being at higher levels means that you aren't a freaking redshirt and can come up with a cool backstory that's actually plausible because of your level and stats - cause having a backstory where you've done cool formative events meant to establish your character is really not that believable if you're a level 1 punk fresh off a farm and training in your first class level.

Plus, when you're first level, you don't get to make the crazy stories like the guy who unleashed the Tarrasque 4 times in the same campaign without dying at all (link for reading pleasure here: I've waited years for a story like that, and the best story I can come up with is the time I lead a guild in killing a dracolich in 3 turns or so (which wasn't as big a victory as it sounds, cause the campaign constantly threw curveballs at us).
Specter 3rd Nov 2016, 9:25 PM edit delete reply
High level gameplay from Gilda huh? I think she needs to get in a real campaign, maybe even take a few pointers. That, or turn into... something else.
IakKereshna 3rd Nov 2016, 9:48 PM edit delete reply
The D&D campaign I'm in now, the GM has everyone start at level 1, regardless of when they join the campaign, and are restricted to ONLY what's in the Player's Handbook... EXCEPT! If that character dies, or they simply want to just "retire" their character, they can make their next character starting at half the level of their previous one (rounded down, so there's no benefit if you didn't make it up to at least level 4), and all the other books that are allowed in the campaign are open to them.

In a way it can seem kinda odd, as some players join who *have* had previous experience with D&D, so it can seem kinda limiting at first, however, even then it helps them get into the feel of the campaign and the changes in the rules before they can get the training wheels taken off.
Kaze Koichi 3rd Nov 2016, 10:36 PM edit delete reply
In my group we play several short campains, choosing between them depending on mood, who is wanting to be DM that session and what players are present. If all our campains would started at lv 1, we'd garatteed to never reach 16 level mark.

Playing high level campain can be fun. Want to fight some epic enemies? Want to save the world? Or maybe you want to try yourself in meatgrinder adventure and see how long can you last (and surviving through those can be very satisfying).

And what's wrong in wanting to try an optimised lategame build? What's wrong and being powerful? DnD has a wild range of power level, from peasant to god, it makes sence to try the whole spector of it. I'd find more strange to start every campain with fighting rats and ladybugs.
Thor 4th Nov 2016, 1:59 AM edit delete reply
Starting at 16 is a cop out. If you want a super optimized build that only works once you get to 16 then you need to deal with being crap for the first 15 levels or finding a way to be useful anyway.
Tempestfury 4th Nov 2016, 4:44 AM edit delete reply
Just gonna add one thing, through I doubt people will see it.

When I look for games to play on Forums. I never apply for level 1 starts.
Solario the Visored 4th Nov 2016, 7:04 AM edit delete reply
Somehow, it took me a while to figure out exactly why I didn't like the idea of Gilda starting all her campaigns that high a level. I mean, if it's what their group likes, why not? 4th Edition was built for the "MMO" crowd and clearly she rolls with more of a "character action" group.

Then it occurred to me why starting at 1st level and campaigning up INTO 16th is so great: when you get there, you feel like you EARNED it. Sure, anybody can just roll up a 16th-level superhero and SAY they did all this amazing stuff, ridding so-and-so land of a goblin menace, protecting such-and-whatever land from the gnoll queen's tribes...but when you start at the bottom, you get to LIVE those adventures. And sure, you run the chance of not surviving to boast about it, but at least you actually HAD the adventures, and they're not just data points on your character's history entry.

Hurrah for Heroic-tier heroes~! ^_^
CleverNamingConvention 4th Nov 2016, 1:28 PM edit delete reply
I find appeal in both options, personally.

With 1st level heroes, I like the appeal of a character starting with nothing, but who learns and grows to become the hero I imagine they can be. It takes effort, but it all feels worth it in the end (assuming you get a campaign that lasts that long). They hold a special place in my heart, because I lived through their story alongside them, and that is just such a wonderful feeling.

With higher level heroes (Level 10 or Higher is my definition), I get to experience more of a power fantasy. A character's build can start off already shining, even if its not at its full potential just yet. Mechanically, it lets me feel like my character is more unique from the get-go, since I can take so many more options. It also gives me a bit more breathing room when it comes to making my character's backstory. I can have past triumphs, past tragedies, and so-forth without it being far-fetched. There's no way a level 1 character could have done all of this and still only be level 1, but with a level 10 character? Sure, of course they could have. You obviously don't get to experience these events with your players, but I appreciate being able to shape who my character is, and sometimes the way I want to shape them requires that they've been through a lot in life.

And from someone who has done campaigns that started at both lower and higher levels, I have a suggestion: If you're making a higher leveled character for a new campaign with different players, consider recycling adventures you experienced with characters of a lower level. If someone asks why you decided on a goblin raid in your backstory, you can talk to them about that adventure you had in a different group or a long time ago. I've found that telling these stories to newer players can get them excited about playing. What sort of adventures can they experience by playing this game?

There have also been times where some of my campaigns were simply dropped even when I was excited about what was going to happen next. Instead of letting it die completely, I can use the events that happened in that campaign as a backstory for a similar, higher leveled character. It helps me explore how my character from that lost campaign would have developed, even if the setting is completely different. Of course, you might not always want to recycle old events and ideas. Something new and fresh can be exciting.
Cygnia 4th Nov 2016, 2:54 PM edit delete reply
Reminds me of certain PBP forums where, if a game isn't High Level + Gestalt, it's not worth playing according to some posters (who then proceed to complain/whine/attempt to badger the GM into changing it to their powergaming wet dreams)
Winged Cat 4th Nov 2016, 11:34 PM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
A friend of mine was pestered by those types when putting together a campaign. It was almost enough to get him to drop the idea. In the end, he rejected the whiners and played with more sensible types.
Tempestfury 5th Nov 2016, 6:54 AM edit delete reply
Where's that? Giant in the Playground or something?
Akouma 4th Nov 2016, 6:46 PM edit delete reply
This kind of reminds me of some of the high-power games I've played in. Like the time I played God-tier Scion, and the fire god (another player, it was a semi-PVP game) was just this unkillable jerk.

One time my earth god was trying to do a TV interview to tell the masses that the gods weren't all jerks, and the fire god showed up and was clearly about to start ranting about how much of a dick he is to ruin the gods' reputation. Mid-sentence I tell our GM "I encase him in stone."

The other player goes "You know you can't HURT me with that, right? I'm basically untouchable with this build."

I shoot back "You know what you CAN'T do right now, though? You CAN'T ruin my public interview because you're not capable of being heard and have to de-manifest your physical form to escape that."

He grumbled and exited the scene. Most fun moment I had in the entire campaign.
Winged Cat 4th Nov 2016, 11:36 PM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
That sounds kind of like The Wizards of Aus. Maybe they heard of your campaign and were inspired?