I never understood the need to kill off a character just so you can play a new one.
By - Garrow_the_Khajiit
One of my campaigns is set up with a guild backdrop, so if we want to bring in a new character we just can and the old one is off doing guild quests or jobs off screen
I mean, this is is fine, until someone complains "why don't you involve our backstories more", so you design a whole quest surrounding someone's character (or to surprise them with a twist about that character) and they decide they want to play something else.
This is a small group of friends. None of us have that expectation.
Even better: having your new character resurrect your old character after they died in battle so they can live a happy life with their family.
I'm actually planning on doing this in my campaign. My current level 7 cleric has been carrying the body of my previous level 5 wizard and casting gentle repose on him so that he can cast raise dead in a couple levels and return him to his family.
If something happens to my current character in our group’s Strahd campaign that’s exactly what I’m going to do, because I already have them established as friends in their backstory and my next character would do anything for her because she’s the closest thing he’s ever had to a friend.
I did something like this once, a character I really liked got turned into a vampire, the party trapped my old character. I made a new one, a relative of my old character and my personal quest was to bring my old character back to life. After like 5 sessions or something I managed to pull it off. DM let me switch back to my old character but they had some traumatic issues. I was fine with that, it was actually kinda fun to role play the flaws at times.
My back up character for my current campaign is my current characters older sister.
She can't resurrect her herself but she would absolutely raise hell until she found a way to get it done.
But I also specifically set up a character with a healthy family unit and deep connections to them because I was like ehhh I've played plenty of angsty backgrounds, let's do a straightforward adventurer.
Aw that's cute.
Why would any player be limited to one character? Back in the day we had a ton of them, in different parts of the campaign world. The group of characters we played were often determined by who showed up.
"Alright, since y'all suck at being consistent, we have a party in this world for every possible combination of people who show up"
In practice, it was four maybe five combinations for a campaign that ran from 1985-2001. Though from time to time, some of us do manage to get together for the odd one shot.
.... that is AMAZING. I hope you guys are able to play together more.
Holy shit that's a long time. I haven't ever maintained a friendship that long
Kind of sad that it ended 20 years ago. But people get jobs and families. However I do get together with one of the old group and his now adult sons once in a while. A bit of a different experience, because I played RC/BECMI with him back in the day. In fact my very first 5e game, before the hardcover books came out, took place in Karameikos on Mystara. I just plopped Phandelver right in there.
Thats actually genius! I wish i had thought of that before. My group suffers from constantly wanting to run new characters so this would be a great outlet. Thank you sir/madam!
It's really great if you are into world building because you don't have to limit yourself to dungeon crawling adventurers. Maybe you have Court intrigue. Or you have a new settlement that needs to be cleared of forest and the monsters that come with it. Maybe you want to run a naval adventure. Since you have the same base of players, they will be part of the lore that is established in the world, and having a broader view of that world can help.
Italso seems like a great idea to help flesh out parts of your world. I always struggle with creating large parts of the world with the level of detail that i want. Having players go through some of those areas that are lacking always helps me to recognize what detail is lacking and add it as needed. Then when a different group comes through its more fleshed out for them.
It's good to think about hubs and population centers. Even having a single town that has a decent about of trade, and then just work on fleshing out the town, can go a long way to establishing the tone of the game. Also, the DM is never limited to one character, so make judicious use of NPCs including the ones you make on the fly that the party seems to take a liking to. Especially those ones, because since your creation is on the spur of the moment, that NPC becomes a more spontaneous creation free of preconceptions, which means they can develop in any direction.
Also consider encounters that are just conversations. This can occur at any time, even when taking a break from the main adventure because players require sustenance. I've had entire sessions that were nothing but banter and dialogue.
Ill be sure to keep that in mind. My current campaign was a lot of on the fly homebrew which im not a huge fan of. I have some plans for putting together the next campaign thats a bit more fully thought out. This should help with fleshing out a lot of these spaces.
In my homebrew campaign, the players have a ship full of pcs and the session is the landing party
Sounds like that could easily be adapted to like a 40K setting.
A ton more work for the DM.
Not really. It was the 80s and 90s and a lot of sessions were just made up on the fly. The first edition DMG had tables for randomly generated adventures, and those got used a lot.
The exact opposite. Open tables are the functional equivalent of it nowadays and they're meant to be as easy to prep as possible.
As a DM I plan on how to incorporate the story of every character. Have items that time them to the world. Make them want to learn more and interact more. The more characters there are, the harder this is
And you don't do that with an open table. Dedicated tables and open tables run very differently.
I tried that. I wanted to swap out a character I just wasn't feeling (really didn't like the class/subclass). GM said they were going to kill the character offscreen even though I just wanted her to leave and return home. I wound up sticking with the character, but I'm not all that happy with it.
Sounds like the GM was a dick. What would even be the reason for doing that?
His rationale was that he wanted to bring a more serious tone to his campaign by killing off someone the party cared about. The thing is, the reason the campaign has a less serious tone is because of his own GMing style. His NPCs tend towards comical and are more on the jokey side of things.
So a dick AND a bad GM.
He's normally not a dick and not a bad GM overall. I've been gaming for a long time and there are really no perfect GMs. Everyone's got some weak points. He's generally an enjoyable GM, otherwise I'd have moved on. This particular thing, though, was frustrating.
Admittedly I don't know the guy, but "I'm going to insist on doing this thing for My Game Mood regardless of if you don't like it and negatively affects your enjoyment of the game" just seems...not ideal.
As a longtime GM, if you need to change the tone of the campaign, kill off npc’s. You can make the PC’s care without killing a former character as soon as it leaves the player’s control. I agree they’re being a total dick doing that.
Nothing will top what the guy who played a bard in our last campaign did. He makes his character stay behind in a town to become a world famous actor, then rolled so high on ALL of his acting performance rolls (some of which were disadvantage, none under 20) that the DM made him famous, fullfilling that characters biggest wish.
He then makes a hobgoblin fighter who saves us from being accidentally TPK'd at least twice. Gets tired of playing the class bc it's too simple and retires the character bc of old age.
Brings back the bard, who is now famous and insanely rich. Buys my paladin full plate armor, and some other stuff for the party.
That guy is a really good player actually, tho extremely chaotic
Depending on your character sometimes dying is the only way that narratively makes sense for them to retire. If a world ending threat or massive evil stands against you then for a lot of characters giving up the fight is basically the meaning of the phrase "All that is required for evil to triumph". Obviously out of game you know that you'll be replaced and the group will have as much strength to stand against the dark, but as far as the character is aware them leaving is making it that much less likely for the party to succeed. Again, very campaign dependent, but worth noting.
Honestly even then you could still retire them depending on events that have happened. Not everyone can handle the stress mentally or physically to save the world. Literally dying or almost dying every day or two would make a lot of people quit.
My friend did that! His character's family was leaving their hometown to find somewhere safer to live and he was like, "This entire 'adventure' has ruined me mentally and I can't do it anymore, I'm going with my family, thank you for your companionship but goodbye." It worked out well narratively.
Ooohh... That could be interesting...
Have a character so fatigued of seeing his/her friends get killed, of being too late to save the innocent sacrifice, of healing from near fatal wounds and narrowly escaping death, that they just can't go on, and quit the field with severe shell shock/ptsd.
Maybe they go on to recover from their psychological injuries and find peace. Maybe they pop into a reunion down the road.
But that's basically saying your character wasn't as "tough" as the other characters which can be depressing. Going out like a badass is much more fun.
Well at the table we all know how strong everybody's characters are so we don't really have to worry about it. Sometimes the narrative makes much more sense and has a more interesting conclusion without orchestrating their death. Maybe they retire to just live the life they actually wanted. Maybe they still help the party once they've made some connections at a new city. Not everyone helping the party is next to them in battle. NPCs help the party all the time with information or introducing them to people they know that can help. You're retired character can be networking or starting a shop where they can find interesting items to help the cause from behind the scenes.
Sure but sometimes death makes more sense. Not always but sometimes.
Yeah retiring a character doesn't always make sense either. If a character is going down a spiraling path of careless rage and revenge then yeah it makes way more sense to die in battle. I was just offering alternatives because a lot of people seem to think the only way to change characters is to kill them
Yeah, I think it's just commonly what works best for the character but of course there's many alternatives that can be much more interesting than killing them off.
Oh I know, I’m talking about “well, I’m bored, time for a rock to hit my character in the head randomly so I can play a new one” type stuff.
That "gOoD pEoPle dOinG noTHinG" is a pretty bad mantra for people who are/were actively fighting a big bad.
Sometimes people break, sometimes their priorities change (like terminal illness in the family) or perhaps they are just needed somewhere else, just because there's one big problem over there doesn't mean there aint any problems anywhere else.
I think that's a little different than the proposal of "Happily Retire to a Farm". I'm not saying there is never a reason I was just pointing out that for some characters, there was never an option besides victory or death. I would argue that the mantra is very relevant because if you give up on fighting the big bad, you don't know if that's gonna make the difference. Again, this is all campaign dependent but I think if you are considering the retirement route because you think it is more interesting from a character perspective then that's something worth considering about how your character handles that.
Yeah, my mystic is likely going to go this direction but theres still chance he could safely retire...after he kills all the mindflayer or prevents them from being a problem in the future. I know he'll likely have to avoid the gith(unless they continue pillaging) as he's a half illithid abomination
My old group would retire characters when they'd stop adventuring, but I'd sometimes do one-on-one roleplay only sessions with them if it made sense to do so. Most of the stuff the "offscreen" characters did was pretty minor.
One, however, managed to quietly unite the sundered elf tribes during a larger world war, essentially founded a new nation, and ended up their leader. When the party went to this new nation to meet its leader, they found their former party member sitting there. "Hey guys!"
(Kudos to that player for not spilling the beans beforehand)
My level 1 warlock whose patron was her own mother was like "man fuck this shit I didn't sign up to almost die, fight undead nightmares, and put up with nasty humans all day. Peace, I'm going back to the fey wilds."
Ah, so other people play warlocks with their parents as patrons too. The guy in my group wanted to play Celestial, but there are no angels in my world, so his dead mother and a bunch of other ghosts are now his patron. Fun times.
I played with a warlock once whose patron was his daughter. He, uh, had made some unfortunate decisions in past relationship choices.
Yup. I had a swashbuckler rogue who was only an adventurer to make enough money to buy his own boat. As soon as a party member died, he said, "Welp, that's enough adventuring for me. I've got enough money and loot that I can buy a decent boat. Bye." He even took a couple levels in bard and tried to publish a book about his (mostly made up and exaggerated since he retired at like level 6) daring escapades and live off the royalties.
My druid with 16 Int wrote a series of books about natural life, nature magic, and forest-dwelling magical races (treants, myconids, twig/shrub blights, etc) and sold the publishing & distribution rights for 2500gp & 1% royalties. The Court Sorcerers and Royal Librarians were quite miffed at spending so much gold, but ecstatic to add 10 new volumes of literature to their collection.
PCs writing books is super underrated.
What I do is arguably worse: I have a backup character that just kinda sits there, waiting for my current character to die naturally.
The DM was trying really hard to kill of a friend's PC (with her permission) because she couldn't keep coming to game night, but we got weirdly tactical and took out a monster we shouldn't have been able to. So the PC retired instead!
I have a tiefling warlock who is happily married and just got sucked into the adventure while going to visit her cousin. As of right now, I don't see a reason for her to stick with the party once she makes it to her cousin's in the next few sessions.
My dwarf paladin, Osha, is making her way across the realm to enforce workplace safety regulations (which she makes up on the fly). I think narratively Osha works better.
Osha is a brilliant idea for a character. I may steal that one.
Please be my guest! I'm planning on having her slap the BBEG with a fine for not providing his minions with proper PPE after we kill them all. Also, anything described as crumbling is getting hit with a fine.
Sometimes there just isn't a "ever after" ending waiting for a character. I'd prefer a heroic death as an exclamation point to a whole lot of maybe.
If it makes narrative sense and is satisfying from a storytelling perspective, sure. I’m talking about people who are like “well I’m bored, a rock hits him in the head and he dies” kinda stuff.
It's called being bad at rolls due to very low luck.
I want to play DnD but I'm 80% sure my rolls will suck really badly
Clicky clack math rocks! Gobbies needs more! Gobbies need all clicky clack rocks!
Some of them will suck! Some of them will be great! Thats just the nature of the game. And sometimes a natural 1 can be just as fun as a natural 20 if played well.
Well, my human fighter character was a scumbag and I wanted him dead. I asked the DM to create the most gruesome death imaginable. (He fell into a pit trap, sliding down a huge razor-sharp sword until he got hit by a giant swinging hammer, got burned by a dragon as he was flying, and finally landed in front of a bunch of hungry wolves, shelled, tenderized, and cooked.)
We were in a random part of the world and there was a gnome hanging out with these owlbears in a zoo eating something and meditating. At the end of the session DM was like: " That's insert name. He decided that his character would really want to stay here forever and just left him there." It was very fun.
Or your character just gets ptsd after realising adventuring isn’t all sunshine and dragon fucking and quits.
i once quit a campaign because the setting did not work with what i enjoyed and my character (a steampunk setting while i was a fairy druid).
I ended up leaving the campaign and instead of just leaving and letting the DM do whatever, i left during a session we had a really wholesome moment of me talking about the fact that i had grown from lvl 1 to 6 and having become powerful enough to protect the home i ran away from. I had a small army of undeads and i left the party to go reclaim the island i came from where a small war forced me out of my little house.
My character was Chaotic Evil, so I actually had her betray the party and run away, giving full reigns to the DM. This allows me to play a new character that’s less contentious with the party AND still have memorable moments with my previous character. Can’t wait to see how and when she appears again.
A true answer to your question is that some players have had bad experiences in the past. For example, setting up a nice retirement for a character, only to have the DM bring them back as the next BBEG, where you have to watch your carefully crafted retirement scenario get destroyed, and your character twisted into an enemy. If the character is dead, they cannot be used against you (except as ghosts, resurrection/reincarnation, etc...)
One of my party members left because he got in an argument with my character and then everyone was upset with me because his character had a cute little wolf puppy that he took with him. To this day I'm convinced that he just wanted to play a different character and just took the opportunity to be able to justify it in game since he had intentionally killed his character in a previous campaign. My character saved him at the last moment but then he rolled to break free from my grasp so he could jump back into the explosion.
We're still friends and we still play together but I'm still very much salty about it since no one talked to me for a few sessions afterwards, I sincerely thought we just had the vitriolic best buds dynamic where we argue back and forth but still love each other.
yes. that way the DM can later increase the tension with threats of violet death.
Bold of you to assume my character still has a family... Or had one to begin with...
Those Playing the Edgy Rogue: We don't do that here.
Killing your character so they can be with their family again.
All of my characters that deserved a happy retirement with their family died due to extreme circumstances.
My last Druid (An Aasimar with plumage instead of hair and two large wings) had a Cohort Ranger, his werebear son. When that Druid died his Ranger son picked him up, cradled his father in his arms, and carried his body into the trees where they both vanished. His son would take him to his Druid circle to receive a proper burial before vanishing to never be seen again. No I don't have plans to play the Ranger at any point but who knows what the future might hold.
I had a Kobold Oracle that worshipped Apsu but actually gained his divine powers from the metallic dragon that freed him from a chromatic dragon's servitude after killing said dragon in a territory dispute. He died the greatest death he could have. Reciting Apsu's first words upon entering Golarion, while riding and fighting an evil dragon. "I shall then be Apsu, for I am the first" said my little Kobold as he fucked up a black dragon... before riding said dragon into an acid lake.
I had a Barbarian Drunken Rager. A dudebro dad. Real mean drunk who couldn't read let alone count. At level seven I took leadership and suddenly his son appeared! His cohort was his son, a nerdy, shrimpy, meek wizard straight out of college and sent to look after his dad by my barbarian's estranged but still caring ex-wife. They died together, granted after amazing character development. The Barbarian was crippled in his last fight as he had sworn off alcohol for his son's benefit, and his son died because he finally stood up for himself thanks to his father's influence... to a Lich.
See while I agree with this, I also recently had my first character death recently and he died via assassination due to his creation of Fork 2.0 and his secrets being stolen on its creation (The reason being a convoluted story of me moving and time zone shenanigans don’t worry me and the dm discussed it all ahead of time) and boy was it hilarious
Retirement made sense for one of my characters. Was a low int/wis fighter who i played as emotional and an innocent simpleton. DM let him marry his childhood best friend, and it made sense for him to go back home and be a happy man. He only started adventuring in the first place because it was something to do and to keep his rogue friend safe.
I did this with my barbarian when I took over DMing for our campaign. He had a bit of an existential crisis over the fact they were fighting crazy powerful ancient demigods and he just swung an axe real hard. Decided to quit while he was ahead.
Upon reading the old DMs notes, I learned he had been infested with Slaad eggs and would die days after departing for home.
No man, that's just potentially giving the.DM more ways to hurt me.
Exactly... I ticked off my group by turning thier favorite PC into a statue after a 3 year time skip.
Statue is fine. I was more afraif of smtn like "your ex characters kid has become a total asshole and disrespect his moma, but since the char is an NPC now there's nothing you can do but look and cry".
Well he was an Aaroacka Gargoyle Hunter... And I had him posed like a stereotypical Gargoyle...
I'd given him birdflu and call it a day.
THIS. This is what I fear the most when it comes to retiring characters— losing control over who I think the character is.
What was planned on one of my characters was that because they were a failed time traveller that they messed with another timemachine and got stuck jumping all over time, becoming an important npc, who'd help out from time to time. But before that could happen, the entire campaign basically got cancelled.... :/
Which does it count as if achieving their happy retirement ends up involving the total annihilation of their physical form and ego?
...yeah, warlock goals are weird.
I’ve had a player do just this.
Your character coming out of retirement to leave your family a huge pile of gold when you die gloriously in battle instead of senile, bed ridden, and broke after some really bad investments.
And if you retire a character, you get chances to bring them back later! Either for future campaigns/one-shots/story beats in the same world, or just to help the party for a moment
It also allows the DM to use the characters story to drive the rest of the party
Given that heaven canonically exists, there's not much of a difference.
It's a lot faster and requires less time spent focusing only on that character. And by faster I mean that a character retiring, if done right, isn't usually sudden. They don't just say "I quit" and walk away. And many characters would just never choose to give up the fight and death is the only way to get rid of them logically.
Im in a campaign where my charaxter is a barbarian on a quest for revenge, his life was ruined ny a guy and now he wants to kill him, but as soon as he does (and asuming that doesnt start the apocalypse) he will retire and open a bakery store
Had a player once I’ve their character kill themself so they could play a new pc. That was a step I wasn’t prepared to witness lol
Or become an apprentice of the land's demi god and go make your own land mass in a far away ocean... anyone? Just me? Ok....
...and I would have done that, if that psychic mutation hadn't liquified and slurped my character's entire body.
What if you're retiring your character by turning them into a Lich and becoming a boss in a future adventure?
My first character wandered off and got lost in a dungeon a few sessions in. Totally within character too. His first action ever was to lick the blood covered pillar that was obviously a trap. A dwarf librarian who is obsessed with rocks randomly showed up right afterwards.
I had mine try to wrestle a young green dragon bare handed, then the dragon flew off with my character (previously discussed with the GM).
He could be dead, but could be alive somewhere too, it gave the rest of the party a good laugh though which is the main thing
This happened to me accidentally. I played an alcoholic centaur ranger who went on adventures to numb the pain of losing his wife and child twenty years ago. The cleric found out and actually resurrected his daughter (the wife couldn't cause she was doing important shit in the after life.). So my character has his toddler back so he quits drinking and stops adventuring to raise his kid. Now he stays behind at the manor the party got together and house sits while everyone else goes adventuring. I had to roll up a new character cause there was no way that a man who just got his baby back was going to leave them out of his sight for more than six seconds. I never expected that to happen but I'm actually happy things ended the way they did. I still play him and his daughter from time time but no adventures for them!
I can hear the DMs itching to kill a family so you're stuck playing the same character...
Or at Least retire them into City A, they want a vacation from the adventure but still want to help the group.
Now yall have a NPC who has a deep connection to the party And has initiative to start a long-term project while the party is fighting a dragon 4 empires over.
Sex makes babies. Babies grow up to be Player Characters who then retire to have babies.
Some time later.
“I am Arthax the Forty-first!!! Adventurer of House XXXWEEBXXX!!!
Fear my sword!!”
So you can loot the corpse.
What about killing your oath of vengeance paladin so he can be with their family?
Have to catch the kidnappers and free my dad before I can do that though...
The dm can't easily bring them back if you kill them. Sure it's possible but they'd have to do a lot more work or even change some things in the campaign to allow it.
my bard/rogue multiclass character retired and lives with his bodyguard (eldritch knight) who he marries.
from what i have seen my DM he is using him as a quest giver in another campaign, said party tried to kill him and they learned the hard way why you dont fuck with a college of glamour/arcane trickster multi-class and his eldritch knight wife.
I killed a character because I built their sheet wrong. In story, they ran away to avoid being forced to do something evil and they were faced with the option to do something evil or die.
So in story it worked out well and I got to make a new sheet that was built correctly.
Me, who turned my old character into the BBEG and gave it to the DM to play: haha yes, great idea, hahaha
adventurers; some of us need that blaze of glory
Oh I did this with my Oni fighter. Really didn't want him to die, so me and the DM realized his shape shifting worked like a Changelings and now he's preggers.
In one of the campaigns I DM all the characters that my players either stopped wanting to play or “died” joined forces. The game has gone on for 9 years and the finale is this week. It is gonna be a big showdown between the current party and their old characters. Every time I have brought in an old character the players have had a mix of shock and excitement.
Not killing off the character leaves both you and the DM with more pieces to work with. New character dies? Easy backup char. Some DMs will even have the char show up again temporarily and let you play both.
That’s the good stuff, right there.
I keep my character sheets of living retired characters, just in case.
You'd need to make enough money to retire first.
Our find some kind of stable job
Looking after horses is my go to stable job
*sigh* take my upvote
Roll20 lists a "comfortable" lifestyle expense as roughly 2gp per day. That's typically merchants, skilled tradesmen, and officers in the military.
A "modest" lifestyle would be 1gp per day. That's typically normal soldiers, priests, students, etc.
So retirement with absolutely no work or income would require roughly 750gp per year for a comfortable lifestyle or a little more than 350gp per year for modest. If we assume ~20 years post retirement, you'd need to make 15k or 7.5k.
That's a lot, but really nothing ridiculous for an adventurer to earn.
I mean, an adventurer who reached something like level 4 or 5 (nothing too high) should have enough money already to live off that for the rest of his life, especially if he also has some extra magic item to sell; plus he would definitely have some competences in case he wanted/need to work a bit and earn some extra money.
Unless they spent it all on booze
My friend's character didn't really fit into the group too well. Nice older man who was afraid of his (wild) magic with a bunch of wildly dangerous characters. Because he wanted to change up his character, as well as feeling the narrative, he had him turn invisible after a big fight, leave a note in his friend's bag, and walk home to his kids.
Assuming my character still has a family after all the terrible things happening to him in his backstory 😵
Literally doing this now. My dwarf earthbender is leaving the party to seek out a settlement of other earthbenders the party has heard about. Then my warforged artificer will join the party, since the colony of warforged they were staying with is starting to disband.
The DM has even suggested that the party could stumble upon the settlement later, after they’ve found their place.
I had a player in our group that would constantly get their own characters killed in order to play someone new. Sometimes they'd have key plot elements tied to them when they'd just up and die, so it wasn't a "I was bored with the plot" situation.
What made it infuriating was ONE time I felt like my character wasn't meshing with the group, so he politely says how after this job, he's gonna collect his things and find another crew. As soon as he was alone with the problem player, the problem player shot him in the back...mid mission...which almost led to a TPK.
It's like he was telling me, "no, that's not how you play the game. You play your character until they die, then you can play someone else."
Sounds like a load of fun to play with /sarcasm.
I did that once after getting an obscene amount of gold from the deck of many things. My character was just like fuck this shit I’m out the rest of you can enjoy dying in a hole somewhere!
I'm in the middle of my first campaign as a player and I told my DM I wanted to switch from being a bard to being a cleric. I told him I liked the character, but I didn't want to know what he was planning. He had a moment in the campaign where the party was woken up in the middle of the night by the local magistrate and asked us to investigate a mysterious portal that appeared in his palace. My character became entranced and walked through the portal. After speaking with all the NPCs that had died in our campaign, my character became enlightened and became a cleric.
Because a heroic death is an awesome story.
Or having a campaign where you are the only player from the previous group and you have your old character return despite them having retired.
"Just a moment, sir/ma'am. I'll explain what happened. Your revered Adveturer's Guild invoked a little-known, seldom-used "reserve activation clause." In simpler language, sir/ma'am, they DRAFTED me!"
Stop abandoning characters. It sucks for the story and everyone else's characters. It always sucks when the campaign ends and nobody is around from the beginning of an adventure
To be fair, the character I abandoned was indirectly leading to inter-player strife.
When the campaign began, we were two fighters, a ranger, a rogue, and a cleric. I figured the lack of arcane magic user would be a good way to create a hook, even adding rather character-defining moments into the backstory to explain why he was so nervous around arcana.
Later in the campaign, we'd had an artificer and a sorcerer join up, as well as the rogue multiclassing into warlock. The roguelock player proved to be troublesome, but when half the issues people had with the character ended up being about how they don't fit with my character's shtick, I decided I had to retire this guy.
Had him stick around until we caught the Disc One Bad Guy, then leave for greener pastures, leaving behind a gift for each of the other party members on the way out, as explained in a note he left behind because he didn't think he'd be able to say goodbye to their faces.
Apparently I made one of the other players cry, even though his character was the least affected by the note.
Everybody loved the new character almost immediately, though.
Yeah when the DM's style is to expand on a character's backstory to build them up into something greater as a key part of the campaign, and you ditch your character midway through the story, that's a dick move to swap.
Having been the only person in a group that didn't swap characters during a long campaign I understand how stupid it was to experience.
Why does my character care about the things that the other players set in motion and abandon? Why are we meeting up at some dive bar that none of the current crew actually care about? Why do we need an additional set of side stories tailored to the new character's quirks while still mopping up the mess the last crew left us?
Sometimes d&d feels like you have to babysit other players.
I’m the type of DM that writes the characters into the story, however this is established on session 0.
I also enforce a rule that if you switch characters before death, the new character comes in one level lower. I used to do two levels lower but it was too much. It’s good at lower levels if someone wants to switch things around or they’re a new player, but still acts as a deterrent at higher levels because that extra level is much more important.
*Note: I do also allow players to change classes from level 1 to 3, it’s easy enough to glass over a player class when writing. This is great for new players to find the kind of class they want to play.*
Yeah and it's just as bad if not worse when it comes to new characters hopping in. Cause 9 times out of 10 theres no good reason why. They just, show up out of the blue with a "hey I'm an adventurer I want to join you."
And I was once guilty of all this. I know. But now that I'm self aware about it I want to make other people equally aware so they stop doing it
Just last weekend I had my Gnomish rogue retire to go see his sisters who he hadn’t seen in years.
Now I get to make the literally crazy aberrant mind sorcerer I’ve been wanting for months.
I had a wizard who i was done playing, and with my DM we decided he was reading some magic books and found information on Plane shift. He was punching above his weight, and plane shifted without the necessary skills and materials to planeshift back; so he's alive, and in another plane. We plan on bringing him back in the future.
My colleague who was playing a ranger for the start of a campaign where we introduced D&D to the rest of our coworkers (not his first choice but he wanted to have someone with some tracking/nature/animal handling ability and good damage output to help out).
Once we hit level 5 and sort of rounded of the first big step in the campaign he just had his character stay behind to help rebuild whatever it was as the rest of us continued our adventure, but he soon showed up as a bugbear artificer and joined us.
There are plenty of ways to retire a character. Doesn’t have to be a real retirement or anything. Just have a good reason for the character to leave and your golden.
I feel like this is a powerful tool for DMs too. Had a player who was tired of his current character and who wanted to switch. So for the past two sessions, he just didn’t care if he died or not which took away a lot of fun both from him and the rest of the party. I opted that he retired his character to play a new one, which he actually enjoyed playing. And now, the fear of death is once again a thing.
I think the most important thing is that players feel connected to their characters, because that stimulates RP and fun for everyone. It just increases the tension as players think of what consequences their choices might have on their character.
My player in my current campaign wanted to play a new character but needed to play a little bit more as their current character until it got to a point when it made sense for their new character to arrive. I made it clear that although there would definitely be the possibility of their current character surviving, I would not be trying to balance realistic enemy tactics with not actually killing the players. When it came to that player, the monsters would be played smart and do their best to win.
Sadly, they failed their last death save against the boss, and the happy life was gone forever.
I like to think my character switch places in alternate universes since a lot of my characters are roughly based on me but think the new Loki show variants
Yup! Retired one of mine without killing him. I accidentally built a bit of a Mary Sue, so I made a much less useful character
If my character ever “dies” I’ll just say he got injured so bad that he decided to quit adventuring and retire to being the boss of his mafia
Some players get *really* pissed if the DM NPCs the PC they abandoned. Doesn't matter the context, they just feel entitled to the character they no longer want... so they kill them thinking that means *no one* can play them.