Warstories: Having a pool of characters

Posted on December 4, 2009 by


Warstories is the name I gave to a short series of articles meant to spark discussions and advice amongst DM’s and players. With the series, I hope to tackle common problems that crop up during the game, and see how other people deal with them at their table. This is the fifth of such articles.

Some of my players are getting the itch.  They’ve been playing their characters for enough time now that they want to sample other classes.  Unfortunately for me, when I first crafted my campaign story arc, I made it too dependent on certain players being around, which I find to be a big mistake.

We only play every other week for a few hours at a time and  don’t have the luxury of a weekly marathon game.  Having said that, it would be really selfish of me to say “no” if a player tells me he wants to bring in a X class of X race, even if it doesn’t fit my story.  I think he deserves the right to have fun too, it’s his game as much as it is mine,  and I should find a way to make it happen.  The game isn’t just for me, and if playing drow assassins seems like it would be fun for you, and you want to try the class, it’s my job to figure out how it fits.  Being part of a long running campaign shouldn’t be like wearing a straight-jacket, locking you into the same class for 30 levels, (unless you want to).

So I’m leaning towards the idea that my story needs  be served by having a pool of characters being the heroes of the world, rather than just 7 guys.  This way when there’s a natural break point in the story characters can swap out PC’s and bring other classes in and out of the game, the story progresses, and they get to sample all the goods that the game has to offer the players.

My job now is to find a way to make it happen, as I don’t have a “Hall of Justice” type place where there are heroes loitering around waiting for their turn to go kill monsters and take their stuff.  That’s why maybe I’m leaning towards natural breaks in story, rather than all of them working for the same groups of people or whatever. Mini-campaigns for other groups of adventurers, or maybe the “main” heroes actually go out and recruit the other band of heroes and brief them on matters… Who knows where I can take this… I do think it’ll be more fun for the players to have the liberty to swap characters in and out, and it’ll keep me on my toes as a DM.

We DM’s get to play multiple NPC’s, sample tons of monsters, and have tons of variety with every session.  It’s only fair that player’s get it too if they want it.

What do you think?

Posted in: 4e D&D, Gaming