0 Level Characters and Proficiencies

I’ve been thinking about, and looking at, proficiencies for 0 level characters recently and a couple of things have struck me.

  1. That the average 0 level character begins with 4 proficiencies feels wrong. I understand the reasons, I think; that with no INT modifier they have 4, but this could go down to a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 7, however it leaves any 0 level character with potentially a lot more breadth than any low level adventurer. I accept though that the Adventuring proficiency is valuable in itself. I think overall it’s not ‘wrong’, but it does feel it at a gut level. Does anyone else feel the same?

  2. There’s not a lot out there for choosing proficiencies for your 0 level characters. A bunch of first level adventurers club together to hire their few henchmen. Who are they? What can they do? What skills can they bring to this group? As things stand there’s not much guidance in the rules.
    To help me handle this problem I’m starting to put together some basic templates for different ‘types’ of ordinary fellow on the street, using the proficiencies as a guide. I’m taking each General proficiency and creating a ‘character’ around it, for example an Alchemist, or a Gambler.

Then I’m adding in 3 other proficiencies that look usefully related to the first, with an additional 3 optional ones for highly Intelligent characters.
This first version is pitched at about 18 years old.

Next I’m doing a version at 23 years old – someone who has gotten the extra proficiency for being 5 years in work – and then 33 years and 53 years.

I’m also assuming that they’re human, but it wouldn’t be difficult to add a final proficiency for demi-humans (though my base ages are all off for that).

The intention isn’t necessarily to create solid characters, but something that can be a default Alchemist that the players look up in a city, and who can be tweaked appropriately if required.

Any thoughts on improving this idea?

My solution to this problem was an excel spreadsheet that generates random proficiencies for L0 henchmen. It’s… not very smart, though, since it just chooses 4 general profs at random, so I tend to run it a couple of times until I get something that makes a bit of sense. Having one ‘primary’ proficiency generated at random and then having the rest follow from that sounds reasonable.

That sounds neat! Would you be willing to share?

When I roll up henchmen, I wrote up a little chart and then just roll a d37 (online with Obsidian Portal or any online dice roller, really). Sure, there’s no “theme” to the proficiency choices, but it provokes some creativity about who the character is. Plus, it mostly doesn’t matter. My players don’t ask, and if the henchmen survive long enough for it to matter, they lose all but one of the proficiencies anyway.

I’ll figure out a way to get it to you in the next couple days; travelling crosscountry and internet time is limited.