You may want to review the entire thread, but here is an extract of my reply, where I started to form the idea:
In the MMO, the PCs are effectively "immortal". Blizzard is quite happy to let you die countless times. It just charges you a cost in equipment repair and time (to walk back to where your body was). This means that Blizzard can do the monster heroic progression from PCs that start off as a hero to a small girl who has lost a necklace and end up as heroes to entire nations.Big Mac wrote:Thanks. For what it is worth, I think that I find the low levels a good way to "get into a character" and would much rather take a PC from 1st level to 30th level than start at 8th level, go to 25th level and be bugged about how much more awesome it could have been if I'd "started at the beginning".Bonetti wrote:Other than a couple one-shots, I've never had a game go long enough to get there (and everyone wants to start at lower levels, for some reason). That being said, I second this.Big Mac wrote:I know that a lot of D&D players I've met don't like to go anywhere near to 20th level (let alone beyond it) and some settings (like Dragonlance) seem to have a feel that expects NPCs to tail off below 20th level. That can make Epic level play seem a bit over the top for some settings. That makes some people feel that high level PCs should be retired when they get to a certain level.
But if there has ever been a D&D world that was specifically designed to not just support Epic-level play, but to demand Epic-level play, I'd say that World of Warcraft is that setting.
However, I know that GMs have a "big story line" that they want to push and that doesn't always involve going back to square one if the players get their PCs killed. I've got an idea about this. I might start another thread tommorow.
Unfortunately tabletop RPGs have realism that means that if the PCs make a mistake some of them will be killed. If they make a really bad mistake (or get very unlucky) you could be looking at a TPK. That is obviously going to be bad for the players, but it could also derail the work of the GM who is trying to build them up to some sort of epic adventure path.
I wonder if the MMO mechanics could serve as inspiration for a system to get past this risk. I've already suggested in my Guilds as a tool to make RPG PCs work together thread that the group of players could sit down together and create a guild for their PCs to belong to. But suppose that we went past that and used the other system that the MMO has: allowing multiple characters and giving them an XP bonus when they have not been played for a while.
Character creation can sometimes be looked at as a chore by some D&D players (I know I've groaned a few times), but perhaps there could be a way to make it as "fun" as the character creation system in the MMO. I got the Hero Builder's Guidebook a while back and wonder if a similar sort of thing could be knocked up to allow players to randomly generate Warcraft RPG PCs (or pick from the options).
I think that part of the desire for PCs to start at low levels is to help them "try on the PC" and start to form the character of the PC. I wonder if the GM could maybe do a starter solo adventure for a secondary PC to get started and then use some sort of process similar to the Traveller RPG to bump the PC up in the background.
If you have a look at the Commoner Campaign thread that Ashtagon found* you can see that there could be a way for individual background PCs to get small bumps during the times when some of the players can't turn up to a regular session.
* = Warning - this thread will eat your life. I'm linking to a thread on The Piazza that talks about it, but if you surf over to the WotC forums, I'll see you in a week or so and will accept no responsibility for your actions.
I think that the GM could have some grinding missions for the secondary PCs to do (that don't involve as much preperation as the main campaign arc). But it might also be possible to have all the secondary PCs as "lesser members of the guild" and have them carry out secondary missions that could tie into what the primary PCs are doing.
Most importantly, if the primary PCs earn their XP legitimately, but the secondary PCs get the occasional "boost" by the GM, it should be possible to get the players to turn a secondary PC into a primary PC if they get a PC killed.
I'm not sure that you need to have a big formal way to organise this (although that might help a GM who has not tried this before) but I do think that if the PCs are made to be responsible for creating a team (a guild) that goes way beyond the primary PCs that should give the GM a way to keep plugging away with a single adventure that has a logical connection to the players all the way through the story line.
It would be nice to take a single PC from 1st level to 30th or 40th level. But if that is not possible, then being able to take a team of PCs from 1st level to 30th or 40th level would be the next best thing.
Does anyone have any suggestions on ways this could be done without looking "cheesy"?