Apprentice Characters

The topic of creating Apprentice or Zero level characters came up in a discussion group. and I’d like to do a quick writeup with my thoughts about creating one for 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons.  A zero level character can be a young apprentice, a teenager learning the ropes in an army, or perhaps it is the consequences of a raise dead spell.  Any way you choose, it might be helpful to run a quick adventure to help develop your character’s personality and might be a little exciting with such a susceptibility of death.

First, I thought for a 0 level character, race, background should be rather straightforward. They are what they are. But then the Class aspect has to be taken into account.  Should the player character get all of the skills from his class or are those awarded at 1st level? And then there is the question of proficiencies. And what should the bonus be for proficiency in skills, combat and saves.  With a level 1 character that bonus is a +2, so should we make it a +0 or +1?So I took all of that into account and started to do a simple write up on the steps to create a Zero.

Character Generation

1. Race. Choose a Race and get your racial skills, proficiencies, special abilities.

2. Choose a name, alignment, physical details, starting age.

3. Ability Scores. Standard Array, Roll random, or Point Buy.  Then add in your racial bonuses as normal.

4. Class. Choose Class that you are thinking of being an apprentice

You don’t get all the skills, proficiencies or other benefits yet from your class. You gain don’t gain any weapon proficiency or armor proficiency till Level 1.

You get all of the equipment but you don’t have proficiency yet in everything.  So take that into account for calculations for combat and your armor class. That would not apply to racial or background proficiencies gained.

If you’re a magic user, then pick the cantrip spells for your class as you would get for 1st class. But you now have 2 spells slots for casting Cantrip spells.  Spell slots return per normal rules. If you gain armor from your class, but are not proficient from your race, then you can not cast spells while wearing armor.

You have your Class Saves, but at a +1 from your 0 level proficiency score

5. Hit Points. 1/2 Hitpoints. Take the class hitpoints and add your CON modifier, then divide them in half (round-up) and that is your maximum hitpoints for level 0.  You will receive the remaining hit points when you achieve 1st level.

For a Fighter with 12 Constitution, that would be 1/2 of 11 for 6 Hitpoints at level 0.

6. Hit Dice.  You have 1HD, but a short rest only benefits your with 1/2 of a HD roll +CON. (round-down)

7. Background.  This is where your start in life and you’re basically in training stage.  Choose your personality traits, skills, tools, equipment, and feature.

8. Experience Points.  You start at -100 XP.  Experience points are gained from killing monsters and completing challenges as determined by the DM.  You can also just use the milestone method and earn the next level that way. If you started your character at a very young age, then you will need a method to age to an appropriate time to start your adventuring career with your party. You can play a few adventures, and then your DM can fast forward in time to a few years in the future and then start your Level 1 adventures.

9. Proficiency bonus.  That’s +1. You’ll get better in time.

10. Inspiration.  You started out at the head of the class, a shining star, the best of the best, You’re the Best Around LaRusso!  You start with Inspiration.

So, your character should be fleshed out and ready to tackle some 0 level encounters.

Have Fun! 🙂


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