The discussion came up (as it periodically seems to) the other day about the starting power levels of 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, and how starting with characters relatively powerful compared to previous editions may put a damper on "zero to hero" gaming--you know, the old "starts out as a stableboy-turned-militia recruit poking a spear at goblins, ends up Warrior King of the Seven Nations" story. The idea of playing the progression of lowly farms boys turned Jedi, as it were, is something that 4e in its default form doesn't really excel at.
I understand that style of play isn't to everyone's liking, but I always sort of liked the option of putting the hero's journey in those terms. If you want to give it a whirl with 4th Edition, Fred Hicks (co-creator of FATE and Spirit of the Century, among other cool things) has written up a system for 3 "pre-levels" to level 1 that make for more of a gradual build-up to the power of first level.
If that's too gradual an increase for you, A Butterfly Dreaming pitched an idea along the same lines a few days ago. Again, if it isn't your style, I understand, but I think they're both pretty cool ideas for that sort of play. What do you think?