Support the GITP forums on Patreon
Help support GITP's forums (and ongoing server maintenance) via Patreon
Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Utah
    Gender
    Male

    Default Player wants to abandon current character and start new one

    Our campaign has been going for several months now, and one of the players has become decided that they really don't like their current character and want to go with a new one. (We'll call the player Mal, and the character he started Malcer.) I have no problem with this, and am just as happy with letting it happen rather than having him try to get himself killed to start a new one. I'm looking for some advice on how to integrate the new character, and what to tell the other players when it happens, as well as whether we have found the right fit for him. They all know that they are able to work with me to do set up background stuff, and they have all done it to a degree, so I don't foresee this as being a problem for anyone. Some background details in the spoilers:
    Spoiler: Background on Mal
    Show
    This is Mal's first time playing in 20 years, and he wasn't a dedicated player at the time. He is also my oldest friend - we've known each other since kindergarten. He has MS, and when he was first diagnosed he suffered from depression, his wife left him, and he wasn't able to have much social interaction outside of a few of us who had known him since we were kids. He's gotten better, and playing the game gives him an outlet to meet other people and have some social interaction. He had never met any of the other players before we started, while the other four had some degree of connectedness and therefore each have at least one person besides me at the table they knew before the game. Mal has started to get really into the game, getting a subscription to dndbeyond to make characters and do combat challenges.

    Spoiler: Character background
    Show
    We started the game with just three players, Mal being one of them, and he focused on being a beastmaster ranger, dual weapon wielder. He likes the outdoors, and raises goats, so a ranger seemed the best choice at the time. I do not like to interfere with anyone's character creation choices, since I just try to balance the game to the characters so everyone gets their moments and has fun. He seemed to like the character in the beginning, especially the snow leopard companion. The other two were a wizard/cleric named Sif, and a paladin named Carta. They were at session 0, and set off on the first adventure. Both of the other players asked after the first session if they could invite another player along, and since that would bring us to five, I thought it was great. We added an artificer and a bard, and things went fine. Everyone seemed to be having a good time. Mal is the least experienced of the group, and admittedly he was not playing the character as well as he could have - he would forget things like hunter's mark, which should be brought up at the beginning of every combat for him. The other players would remind him, and he'd use it, but I could tell that it was a bit disheartening to him to have to be constantly told how to play. He also realized that the build he had made his leopard superfluous, as he was much better off doing the fighting himself.
    For comparison, the artificer had a background where they effectively wanted to have access to spice from Dune, and we made a background where he has something he invented called water of life that lets him see visions of what ancestors have done. The cleric/wizard is part of a secret society to stamp out evil, and regularly communicates with a high level mage mentor through sendings in dreams. The paladin is a noble with retainers who has been knighted and has some divine blood. The bard is pretty much a bard, but at this point she has a recording contract with a person who is using kenku as recording devices. Basically everyone has some private thing going on that they share with the rest as they like, so I don't really see anything with Mal as too unusual.

    Over the past few sessions, it has become kind of clear that Mal was trying to kill off his character. I don't know if the others picked up on it, or if they just think he was roleplaying as the charge ahead kind of guy, but I did. So we sat down and talked after a session, and he told me that he was not happy with how it had turned out, and he wanted to start with something new. I said that he certainly didn't need to kill off his character to do that, and he can absolutely change if he wants to (I'd say the same to everyone, although I really hope the paladin sticks around as I have endgame plans for a paladin). He was thrilled by this, and started to work up some character concepts. He wanted to go with either a Tabaxi or Bugbear, and was most partial to a bugbear blood hunter.

    I have already put blood hunters into the game, so the class is fine. I have a homeland for tabaxi, so I could work with that. One player, the artificer, is playing a hobgoblin, and we worked out how they are from a continent across the oceans and unknown to this hemisphere, so it became fairly easy to slot in bugbears as being from there. So from a campaign standpoint, there is nothing wrong with having the character come in. But I worry that the problems he had with the ranger will be worse with the blood hunter. It doesn't seem like an easy class to play, and if he was forgetting hunter's mark, I doubt that he will always remember to activate his blood magic, and he'll be right back to the others needing to remind him, which will put a damper on this character as well. I really don't want to tell someone they can't play the character they want, but I also don't want to set them up to fail. Do I let him run with it, and see if he makes it work? Do I recommend something different? Do I let him go with it, but we take time outside of the normal sessions to go over how his character works, and to try and get him to use the advantages of the class?

    As to integrating him in - I have lucked into a situation where it looks like this is a long term plan, and we are just now executing the character switch. If he's a bugbear, he's from the other continent. To get to this continent, he has to have a reason, and the clear reason would have been tracking the hobgoblin because the ship he came on was illegally making contact with this side. After the first major adventure, the group ended up at a carnival, and the hobgoblin visited a fortune teller, and she told him that people were hunting him from across the sea, and he should buy this amulet that would protect him from being found. In retrospect, that's the new character. The bard got separated from the rest of the party, and has been spreading a song about their adventures, including that there is a hobgoblin in the group. The bugbear hunter would recognize the description and start to chase her down. She is involved in a murder mystery, and so she has been watching for strange figures, and there are certainly things they would jump to the conclusion that it was the bugbear hunter watching her. Finally, they had run into a bard that sang a song about Malcer and what he did in his hometown, since he had the folk hero background. He privately talked with the bard at the time, and no one knows what was said. It was nothing, but it could have been telling him about the revolution being led by his childhood sweetheart. The clear method of having the character retire is that he goes back home to join the fight, but the rest don't follow because they've got their own issues.

    Now, I wouldn't lie to the other players about how everything has gone down, but I know that they will assume that all of these pieces were planned out in advance, and love the depth of the game. Do I make sure that they don't think this, or do I let them think this isn't a spur of the moment change and is part of some deep story? If I straight up said that this was a plan, I'd feel like I was violating their trust. But I also don't want to talk about anything that Mal doesn't want to share, so inscrutable silence on the matter seems like the best thing, but they will assume it was a plan.

    How would you feel as a player if this went down? Would you rather everything be open and the DM is just tying into other plot points? Would you rather know none of the inner workings, just what your characters perceive, even if it might bring you to some wrong conclusions about how you got to a certain point? Does knowing the player in question is the DMs childhood friend matter? Any advice in general, knowing the background?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2013

    Default Re: Player wants to abandon current character and start new one

    Seems quite reasonable.

    Personally I would ask Mal if they wanted to share. If asked and Mal did not wish to share, I would not confirm a lie, but instead answer with "I can neither confirm nor deny" (as a DM I feel it useful to occasionally throw that out in both directions). As a player I am fine not knowing everything about another PC and it sounds like your group has more than enough baseline trust to be able to expect the same. However I expect the other players will appreciate it even more when they learn that you did this on a short deadline.

    In summary: Good job

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Utah
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Player wants to abandon current character and start new one

    Thanks for having a look. I will proceed with the plan, and remember that I can neither confirm nor deny.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Orc in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

    Join Date
    Jul 2011

    Default Re: Player wants to abandon current character and start new one

    So...I typically GM games where PC death is a modestly common occurrence. I find that so long as everyone OOC knows that you aren’t creating “Crystal Dragon Judas” when the new character shows up, IC they’re willing to tolerate a great spread of motivations. It’s hardly as if there can only be four true people in the world who might be directly or tangentially interested in defeating the foe after all.

    How you want to introduce it from there is up to you, but I find that a comparatively quick introduction of a new PC is generally better for everyone as it lets the game flow quickly without inordinate amounts of spotlight on “and here’s the new guy!”

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2018

    Default Re: Player wants to abandon current character and start new one

    Advice so far is solid, so I'll address the Class issue. I would advise against the Blood Hunter, partially due to your raised concerns and partially due to it being...not brilliant imo.

    Mal may find a hexblade or gloomstalker to have similar fluff, and it's relatively easy to set up those classes to be fairly simple to play with a bit of GM help during creation. You'd probably be as well speaking to Mal about potentially having the same issues with activating abilities, suggesting a few alternatives and working from there. No need to stamp out the idea if it's highly appealing, but certainly worthwhile addressing the core issue before it recurs.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Utah
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Player wants to abandon current character and start new one

    Thanks, all. I'm not sure what Crystal Dragon Judas means - is it a take on Crystal Dragon Jesus from tvtropes, just with Judas in that place? The introduction will be fairly quick, although with the links people may think it has been building for a while. I can definitely see how dragging it out would focus too much on one person, and will try to avoid that.

    The blood hunter part is my biggest issue. It worked for an NPC, because it is a very specific situation for that NPC, and ultimately they are a background character that the party knows of but doesn't really interact with. Gloomstalker was another one he was thinking about, but I think he was moving away from it because it's another ranger. I'll look at the hexblade and talk to him before going forward.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •