Friday, October 28, 2022

The Mundane: Level 0 Funnels in Whitehack

Angus McBride

So you want a funnel? For those who don't know, a "funnel" is a style of adventure where you take a ton of no-level nobodies (maybe 3-4 or more per player) and just run them through a gauntlet... and if there are any survivors they become the actual campaign party becoming level 1. Simple as.

DCC is an obvious source for this but it definitely has its origins in the Original tradition (e.g., a focus on relatively weak characters, large parties, not attachment, simple setup, etc.) and even with the explicit introduction of 0-level stuff in AD&D 1e and its kin.

Whitehack is a bit of a different beast in this regard. It allows (but doesn't necessarily require since you don't have to pick right away) plenty of thought to go into how to create and define your character right out of the gates. What's more, these characters are very flexible as well. So how can we mix the two?

The Mundane, Level 0 Characters

All 0-level characters start with the following:

  • Stats rolled as normal
  • 0 XP (obviously!)
  • 1 Hit Die (a flat d6, no modifiers or anything)
  • Attack Value 10 (lowest among the starting classes)
  • Saving Throw 5 (lowest among the starting classes)
  • 0 Slots (no special abilities for you!)
  • 1 Group (so you either get a single Species, Vocation, or Affiliation choice)
  • 1d6*10 coin (make it copper or whatever your shittiest denomination is)

Optionally, characters may gain an item and/or a simple weapon on the house if it fits their selected Group. So nowhere to go but up (or down and dead honestly)!

As an example, a 0-level character could look like this:

Tim, Level 0 Mundane Blacksmith

Str 15, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 13, Wise 12, Cha 5; ST 5, HP 4, AC 0, MV 30, AV 10; Common Tongue; Hammer, Steel Tongs, 30 Copper.

Have the players make 2-4 of these Mundane characters. Bonus points for randomizing the Group as well! It will be dangerous and many may not survive long in an adventure, but at the conclusion of the adventure (or optionally after gaining 500 XP), any survivors should become fully-fledged level 1 character by choosing a class and gaining new groups/slots.

Give it a try and toss a gaggle of these flunkies into the Caves of Chaos or something and see what comes out the other side!

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