If you are a player of Role Playing Games (outside of the bedroom) then by now you have most likely been subjected to the horror that is playing a low level character. This is a tired topic for me as I am already to the point that I just refuse to play an RPG that starts me at level one. But let’s take a moment to consider what has jaded me to this point.
The easiest argument to make is that there is no point in getting attached to any character that is one pin prick from death every moment of every day (though if you play with our DM that is the situation for even a level twenty-five character). The squishiness of all low level characters means that you probably are not going to be fighting anything that you would run back to the farm house and tell your dear old mom and pop about but instead you will be taking care of the sewer rat infestation for someone else because they have better things to do. Seriously though while it is true that a bite from a sewer rat might kill me eventually if I decided it was not worth paying the insurance deductible to go see a doctor to not die; for a level one character that same bite could be instant death. Not from the plague the bite could give you but from the three points of damage the bite itself inflicted!
Another thing that I hate about lowbies is that they are cookie cutter copies of each other with different starting gear. If for example you are playing a wizard and your buddy is playing a warrior you will both hit that poor sewer rat with a stick about the same percentage of the time and do something similar in damage. A priest and a warrior are basically the same when it comes to “tanking” as both will take the same hit from the boss rat and take about the same amount of damage the priest will just die one hit sooner than his warrior friend because he will still refuse to cast his healing spell even when it is his life on the line. As you level of course this goes away as warriors build melee skill at a faster rate than his wizard buddy who is going to eventually become a demi-god when he gets a spell worth casting but the balance between classes is a talk for another day.
So what is it that eventually makes a character worth playing? What other than the obvious increases in power makes a character fun? At what point does the annoyance start to fade and an attachment start to grow? For me the line is around level ten to twelve. By midlevel the character has developed enough that in some way there is something special about it. Two people both playing a wizard could be completely different by level twenty but probably not by level ten. As characters level they become more specialized to fill the role that the player has in mind for them and it is this specialization that I would argue makes any character worth playing in the end.
Some people get all giddy about the idea of making some fresh characters and starting off on a new adventure with their friends. At this point in my RPG career all I can see is a group of people determined to try (and probably fail) to not to die together.