Monday, May 4, 2009

Multiple Characters & A Leaderboard

A great article at Tankards & Broadswords last week discussed players keeping "spare" characters in reserve. I've been working on something for my next campaign for a while along these lines, but I'd sort of been sleeping on it as of late. Well, thanks to T&B, I kicked my butt into gear and finished up my idea.

The premise for the next campaign is that the characters are part of a fringe outreach of the High Church, tasked with rooting out evil in the old ruins and haunted places of Northwest Irrin (a place, for the uninitiated, that is full of 1000-year ruins, fledgling settlements, and lots of unpleasant beasties). To reflect the varied, irregular, and occasionally impious forces making up this bastion of Mother Church, each character will roll up 3 characters at level 1. Only one character per player will likely be tasked on any mission (though there may be exceptions).

If a character dies while adventuring, you must use one of your other two characters to either finish the mission or for the next mission (whichever is applicable). You make a new character at level 1, but that character cannot be used until the next mission after that.

Did I mention we'll be tracking player/character accomplishment via this form? Stick with one character too long, and you drop precipitously if he dies. Balance out your mission selections, and face lesser risk.

It's my hope that not only does this lead to some friendly competition, but also leads to ensemble play. I'm working on factions and orders within and without the Church the characters can belong to. Imagine having all 3 of your characters secretly working towards different ends! I'm curious as to whether it would or not, but I'm optimistic. I think I have a winner on my hands, but we'll see.


Mark Gedak said...

I definitely need to implement that system for my home game should it become regular again.

Jeff Rients said...

I like this idea a lot. Maybe my local gamestore would allow me to post a leader board.

Zachary The First said...

Man, that would be great. It would be awesome to come in week to week and see a character leaderboard, to have people follow it, to drum up excitement and game anticipation. Talk about braggin’ rights! And when your level 9 Fighter dies, and you just have two Level 1 Clerics you ignored in reserve?

I'm thinking I'm going to list mine for the next campaign on Obsidian Portal

Dominic said...

I think this is a fun idea, but I know several of my players would shy away from it, as character driven plot can be a major focus in my campaigns.

Maybe for the one that is just starting... hmm...

Also, wouldn't this cause party imbalance? If you have one guy at level 9, a couple at level 5, and one at level 1, doesn't that make planning a party difficult?

Zachary The First said...

@Dominic: Yes, you could have some imbalance. But I remember as we used to play RC D&D, if everyone was levels 5-7 and you died, you just came back at level 1. Sooner or later, someone else would die, and be at level 1. It all came around in the end. Today, you’re on top. Tomorrow, it might be someone else.

I hope that character-driven plot is still at the heart of it. Give them wide parameters for a mission or let them independently investigate, and watch them go. They may have 2 or 3 different characters involved in it, as opposed to one, which might hurt the focus on any single character, but definitely a way to go.

To be honest, I don't know if it'll fit all my player's styles, but I suspect my next campaign will have some personnel changes, anyhow. That's likely a future post all by itself, though.