I was looking at Dungeon Crawl Classics today. They have a free starter set that goes from level 0 to 2nd level.
Yes, it starts at 0th level.
At that point, you are No Profession. You get to play your character and you are suitably unskilled at just about everything. If you survive, you get to choose your class/profession when you progress to level 1.
We have always done this just by giving the character 10,000 EXP and using their chosen profession skill costs.
The point of the 0th level funnel, as it is called, is that it weeds out some characters, and only the fittest survive. DCC appears to be very much like Basic D&D (remember I have only looked through the quickstart, I haven’t played this at all) which means creating a character is a matter of minutes. In consequence, losing a character that took 3 minutes to make is of little consequence.
In Rolemaster terms, writing a 0th level adventure with only skill challenges, or maybe a fist fight for groups that really cannot go without combat, should be easy enough.
You could run a basic adventure using just Race and Culture abilities, making the characters pretty quick and easy to create.
Then you pit these 0th level characters against a local problem, some other 0th level antagonists and see how they play out. After that, you can level them up to 1st level.
I am ignoring the idea that 1st level is supposedly a child, and that RMu was suggesting 3rd level as a starting point.
Does this idea have legs?
It shouldn’t be any more lethal than any other game, if the characters are 0th level and the foes they face are equally 0th level, everything really comes down to problem solving and teamwork, not huge OB bonuses and spell lists.
Just a thought.