Creating an adventure/module for 1st level 0e - 1e characters is challenging - perhaps the most challenging situation I've found since returning to writing rpg material again. Not only are you potentially dealing with complete newcomers to the game, with no sense of the dangers that await them, but you also must create a scenario that is both somewhat realistic and not so dangerous that the player will be put off by the quick fatality of their character. How to balance introducing traps to the game, monsters (in numbers and hit dice that are appropriate), and yet still engage the individual players?
An easy way to navigate this territory is to insist upon a large party of 1st levels - strength in numbers! This way, although PCs will die, there will always be others who will step up to the plate and be able to quickly carry on. Still, this seems a bit of a cop out of responsibility of the DM to fairly match the players with the scenario, and definitely removes any incentive for the players to create backgrounds for their characters or become at all attached to them. I'm sure many would say that this is a good thing, but the fact is that given the amount of time it takes to create a 1st level character, and the disproportionate amount of time it takes to kill them, a very fatiguing process for the new player can take place of having to roll up yet another 1st level character who is also not likely to live long.
For my part, I've opted to always give the players' 1st level characters either their full hit point potential or else just one point shy of it, based on a die roll, and then add or subtract any Constitution bonus. At least in this way they have a slightly greater chance at progressing. This motivational inspired RPG themed picture always springs to mind when I think of how it could be otherwise...
Does anyone have any tips that they'd care to share re: the creation of suitably challenging yet realistic/entertaining 1st level scenarios?
Adventure-Building and The Ecology of Murder
10 hours ago