IN THE SHADOW OF THE SPIRE
Many of you are reading this website because of D&D: Calibrating Your Expectations, the essay I wrote in March of last year. One of the points I made in that essay is that low level characters are actually more than capable of being experienced experts in their fields. Even at 1st-level, while they don’t have to be, they certainly can be.
Which brings us to the character of Ranthir, the last of our main characters: This guy isn’t your typical 1st-level apprentice. Instead, he’s an accomplished Acolyte of the legendary Academy in Isiltur, the Spired City. Although his esoteric theories are not fashionable or popular, he is nevertheless an accomplished scholar.
In our world he would be a gifted graduate student. In the world of D&D, there is a much higher ladder for him yet to climb. But I think it’s important not to denigrate the accomplishments of those who would be considered gifted and extraordinary in our world merely because they happen to live in a world where the superhuman is possible.
All I’m saying is that it can also be fun to shake things up a bit and roll up a starting character who hasn’t just fallen off the turnip truck: The guy who was already honored among his tribesmen, served a long and glorious tour of duty in the military, or distinguished himself in a scholastic career.
And I’m pointing out that you don’t need to start the character any higher than 1st-level to make that happen.