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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2013

    Default Players with Multiple PC's Advice, Please

    Okay, so I'm building an RPG. It's a civilization-building one that has players taking on the role of gods who earn connection points and use them to cast miracles. Each player plays as one god and that god's champion. Think Zeus and Hercules, or Athena and Theseus or something.

    The champion does most of the adventuring work and rolling for things like perception checks, killing things, making equipment, killing things, medical rolls, killing things, casting spells, and so on.

    Additionally, the god may gain several other followers who are lesser PC's, though this is optional. Some players may enjoy it, others may find it more trouble than it is worth.

    The idea is to have things rules light and simple so that managing several PC's personally is no more difficult than managing a single PC in most games.

    Anyway, I want some advice on how it works to manage several PC's yourself? What things should I include, or not include in the rules to make this easier? What conventions should I adopt at the table to make sure it's clear who is talking? What are some advantages to doing this? What are some problems I might run into.

    While I'm deciding whether it's worth allowing players to have several PC's, I don't need you to say "do that" or "don't do it" but "here's why that will be challenging" or "here's how it made one of my games more fun."

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground
    Quellian-dyrae's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Re: Players with Multiple PC's Advice, Please

    A lot of the RP I do is just me and one friend, so multiple PCs (and DMPCs are pretty common in our games). In terms of just playing them, it's not really too difficult. You might want to advise using more third person narration "Character X does this, character Y says this" just to keep things clear. Anything that streamlines encounters is good, because the more characters one person controls, the more they have to decide on in the time between their turns (or the less time they have to make decisions if their PCs' turns are interspersed with others).

    Now, it sounds like for your game, having multiple characters isn't going to be an across-the-board thing, and that's where it gets tricky. Additional allies are hard to balance. Make them too weak, and they're not useful in equal-level challenges. If they're close to the main PC in power though, they're a direct force multiplier.

    Generally speaking, allies can bring the following advantages to the table (some or all of which may be completely irrelevant to your game):

    More Versatility. If each ally has a full "character's-worth" of build resources, a single player controls many more solutions to problems. However, you don't want to fully divide build resources among characters, necessarily, because there will likely be some overlap (everyone needs to hit basic competence in, say, offense, defense, and personal mobility in a combat-oriented game, for example). Of course, you then have to worry about hyper-specialization. It's a lot easier to build your PC around awesome fighting skills if you know it has a sidekick or two to handle skills, social challenges, tactical/utility/support powers, whatever.

    More Resilience. You have to bring down multiple pools of hit points (or whatever) to end a player's contribution to combat. If hit points get divided among characters, though, a player loses a substantial portion of its power when brought to a certain fraction of its hit points, and is more vulnerable to area effects.

    More Actions. Usually a huge one. Two guys attacking means twice as much damage output (games that use a sort of condition track may have it even worse, depending). You also have the flexibility of multiple turns - one guy can attack while the other heals, supports, defends, controls the battlefield, or whatever. AND, simple probability alteration. If you need to roll 15+ on a d20 to do something, one guy has a 30% chance. Two guys have a 51% chance.

    More Resources. Things like spells per day or the like. Two characters have twice as many resources, although this can be curtailed by also having twice the output.

    Now, typically, this stuff will be "balanced" by characters with allies being weaker than characters without, and/or opportunity costs for acquiring the allies. But it's tricky to do. If you just divide one character's resources - build options, ability uses, hit points, actions - among multiple characters, allies can easily wind up underpowered, because now you have less staying power, deal less damage, you have problems with area attacks and damage reduction type stuff, and you may have to invest a larger percentage of your resources just getting level appropriate stats.

    Getting into actual solutions is dependent on the other mechanics of the game, but those are the sorts of challenges you might want to think about, anyway. Hope that helps!
    A role playing game is three things. It is an interactive story, a game of chance, and a process in critical thinking.

    If brevity is the soul of wit, I'm witty like a vampire!

    World of Aranth
    M&M 3e Character Guide

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Dwarf in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2013

    Default Re: Players with Multiple PC's Advice, Please

    Thanks. The third person narration was an excellent idea, and fits in with one of the themes

    Also, I think I'm covering most of the issues you're talking about. I do attribute + die roll and for several reasons all characters a particular player has share the same attribute pool. If your main character has charisma of 7, all your characters have charisma of 7. It's less dumb than it sounds.

    Oh, by the way, the rules are here. Vastly incomplete at this point, but you might get an idea if you're curious.

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