Are there rules for creating level 0 characters in 5e? I've been running a campaign where the players begin sub-standard and 1st Level characters are generated in-game as the story unfolds. I just made them all begin with a couple of hp and 9's across the board for ability scores (since I wanted them at a disadvantage compared to the average human, and to fail at a generic DC10 task more often than succeed).
It was a real grind, with many opportunities for TPK (total party kill) when faced with even a single challenge rating 1/2 adversary (obviously I fudged the dice a little to prevent this). Are there published rules for this?
If there aren’t published rules for this, has anyone tried doing something like this? Any first hand experience on how it has played out would be welcome.