I'm planning a series of sessions that involve, Tales-of-Canterbury style, my players telling each other what made them into adventurers. For example, the first session will tell about our elven cleric's plight between her piety and love of all creatures, and her xenophobic father forbidding her to mingle with humans.

Originally, I was thinking of using monsters to represent each of my characters, and pit them in battle against other monsters. For instance, the player that roleplays the elven cleric could play an elf archer. The longtooth shifter could be an ashbound berserker.

Recently though, Wizards published "A hero's first steps", an interesting article with rules for building 0-level characters. I already built four of the 6 characters using these rules, and they look interesting.

These would be five or six sessions with two combats each, more or less. I want to focus on the story, and have a climactic battle or moment that defines what pushed them into what they are now. I'd be pitting these adventurers against level 1 monsters and minions, mostly (I do have higher level monsters, but they're not supposed to enter combat).

What pitfalls or advantages does choosing each option have, especially referred to encounter balance?

EDIT re Pat's comment: I don't have any problems with the current CB, but it doesn't really cover level 0 characters. I don't want to have level 1 characters for these sessions, they already played with them. On the other hand, I haven't had the chance to test these new builds, although I have heard some good things about them. I haven't played monsters against monsters either. I'm looking for other people's experiences on the matter.

  • \$\begingroup\$ One immediate problem: the monsters I could use are level 2, and usually have more HP than the characters had at first level :) \$\endgroup\$ Oct 12, 2011 at 12:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ This question seems to be an answer for a mostly unasked question. I think it would be better if you stated your actual problem. What problems do you have with the current character creation? Is the 0 level variant published problematic? \$\endgroup\$
    – Pat Ludwig
    Oct 18, 2011 at 14:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PatLudwig does my edit clarify my question? \$\endgroup\$ Oct 18, 2011 at 16:03

1 Answer 1


I've used monster stats for a few fights. There were some special cases where the players weren't playing themselves or had NPC allies. In those cases I gave them a monster. The monster stats handled fine.

Monster stats are simpler than PC stats. They don't have quite so many powers to deal with. This means that your players will have an easier time picking up and playing the monster, but the players will probably get bored of the monster stats more quickly. One or two combats should be fine, but don't send your players through a whole dungeon with a character limited to three powers.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I commented the question about the quantity of combats \$\endgroup\$ Oct 12, 2011 at 13:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Problem: the new characters here are still the characters, but in an earlier time. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 12, 2011 at 16:54

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