View Full Version : Backup Characters

2010-01-22, 02:13 AM
Does anyone roll up characters simply so they'll have one ready on the off chance their current one bites it? If so, how many do you generally have lined up at any one time?

2010-01-22, 02:17 AM
We used to do this for Call of Cthulhu - it's a necessity in that game. :smalleek:

2010-01-22, 02:27 AM
I keep a couple bare bones builds handy, but not full characters

(basiclly just a checklist of builds including base and PrC classes/ what level to take what/ feat, skill gear lists and a basic character outline/ list of key spells and tactics.)

2010-01-22, 02:33 AM
I keep a couple bare bones builds handy, but not full characters

(basiclly just a checklist of builds including base and PrC classes/ what level to take what/ feat, skill gear lists and a basic character outline/ list of key spells and tactics.)

...a d% chart to determine favorite flavor of toffee, y'never know when that could come in handy...

2010-01-22, 02:43 AM
Nope. Can't say I do. :smallamused:

2010-01-22, 03:48 AM
I never did in 3.5; I played the same character from level 1 to level 17 1/2 over about 3 1/2 years.

I have several 4e characters because I find it fun to make them. I have 3 PCs stated to the same level as my main character, ready to step in if necessary, and a couple of others in various stages of completion.

2010-01-22, 03:53 AM
I kept a list of ideas for character, i had about 15.

Sometimes it was just a personality.
Sometimes just a class.
Most were complete builds with possible feats and skills added in.
One or two characters i had completely worked out with items and everything ready to play with less than 5 minutes of work.

But since last monday i became the DM of the group, so i won't need it now, maybe i will use one for a BBEG :D

2010-01-22, 04:12 AM
have sometimes a suitable NPC handy when I can expect longer episodes in a campaign were its possible that a character may die (no revivification training wheels nonsense in my campaigns) and it would be difficult to introduce a new character due to the plot.
Usually, these are only short term solutions, and are replace with true player characters when the plot allows for such a break. But at least twice I think , the replacement characters became permanent group members.
It is a good solution for several problems. I am not willing to break the game's plot just to introduce a new player character without any pretext, but players who idly sit around and get bored aren't usually a good idea, either. So, the emergency backup character includes the player again without hurting the plot.

2010-01-22, 04:24 AM
Yes I do. And it's almost embarrasing.
It's because I can, only occasionally but still, get a bit... overprotective about my children (my PCs or real children, heh) and if I DON'T have a backup I might, once again OCCASIONALLY be tempted to cheat (mostly fake dice rolls) to save the life/face of my PC. I know, I know, bad Calenestel. But still. I can't help it.
On the other hand, if I DO have a backup, then there's no temptation. It's kind of a reminder that my beloved PC is nothing more than just that, a Player Character.

I usually have one ready. Two if I have the SLIGHTEST suspision that my DM won't allow the first one (anything more than a slight suspision and I won't roll up the character to begin with, of cours).
Also: double your PC's, double your fun when you level up. :smallbiggrin:

Aure Entuluva!

Admiral Squish
2010-01-22, 04:33 AM
It's not so much that I have backup characters as much as I have like two dozen characters I really want to play but haven't gotten a chance to for one reason or another. I'm kinda relentlessly creative like that.

2010-01-22, 05:06 AM
I've taken to keeping a few builds on the side which might become replacement PC's, but as the DM I'm building characters all the time for NPC use anyway & technically can just rip off those if needs be. The 'PC' element just means I wouldn't mind playing a character like that myself if I got a chance.

There really is little need to have a backup however as my current PC is hardwired to evade death at all costs, he's a very simple "I hit things hard" character otherwise as it's hard to squeeze that level of survivability into any other build - but I love him all the same, and if he ever dies it'll be impressive so I wont complain too much.

The backup PC building is more for theorycrafting than anything else, its a useful exercise to know what's available and the tricks of character building for when you have to help someone else.

2010-01-22, 05:20 AM
I feel like this would lessen the worth of by first character. I did it in one group and in the end I switched characters halfway through the campain.

Build ing characters is fun, but I can do that in a few minutes IF my original character dies. Details take longer, of course, but it is easy to build some bare bones and let the rest come as it will.

2010-01-22, 05:23 AM
I usually have one backup character on paper and another 3 or 4 backstories sketched out in my head.

2010-01-22, 06:12 AM
I feel like this would lessen the worth of by first character. I did it in one group and in the end I switched characters halfway through the campain.

Well, you see... For me that's the whole point. If I don't lessen the worth of my first character I have the constant temptation to go too far in protecting him/her. And that is BAD. It doesn't make good roleplaying and if you're caught cheating, well... Let's just say that it's embarrasing at best, all right?

@Admiral Squish & Reaper_Monkey: Yes, I do that as well. But the difference between that and having a true backup character is, for me at least, usually a lack of well defined background and personality. Rolling up characters are a lot of fun, but usually I am contended with game mechanics (well, except for important NPCs when I DM, but that's beside the point).

Aure Entuluva!

2010-01-22, 06:18 AM
I have infinite characters rolled in various corners of my room purely out of...scientific intrigue so I can usually pick up one of those, modify it to appropriate level and campaign and then use it. So in that sense, yes. But no, I don't roll characters just to be backup characters.

Admiral Squish
2010-01-22, 06:41 AM
But, see, I don't just make skeletons. I fill out whole sheets. Usually they start with a race/personality idea and then develop into full sheets. Stuff like 'warforged with a grudge he's ashamed of' or 'Half-white dragon dragon shaman wants to be a silver'. Then they develop out of that. I make 'em online so I don't have to keep all the paper together. If I did... Sheesh! I'd have BOOKS of the stuff.

2010-01-22, 07:06 AM
I at least have something in mind for most of the games I play in.

One reason is that I have about two dozen character concepts/builds floating around in my head that I want to play.

The second is that when I have a backup, I allow myself to take more risks. And I find taking risks in D&D to be really, really fun. :smallbiggrin:
If I ever found myself playing a really cautious character, I might deliberately avoid thinking up a backup, but... I don't see it happening. :smalltongue:

2010-01-22, 07:17 AM
I typically only have a vague idea of what I want to play next. If I made a backup it would only last until my next idea. As such I rarely ever have a backup character ready.

In my current game I plan to retire my character after the current arch. I played it 1-15 at this point, and we even graduated from 3.5 to PF beta, to PF final. Saying a lot of his choices are subpar now is a whee bit an understatement. Plus I'm tired of wizarding. This is why I have a full backup character ready...although if my wizard dies I would still raise him.

Totally Guy
2010-01-22, 07:19 AM
Recently I've made a good character and a terrible one that both fill similar roles. Then if my good character dies I've got to play the terrible one. I find this really funny.

So I had my Enlightened Fist as my decent character and an Arcane Archer if the fist guy dropped.

Then last session I has a Suel Arcanamach as my primary and a Green Star Adept as back up. But when the group discovered I'd bade a Green Star Adept they insisted I play him first. And it was pretty funny... Although he ended very dead.

I think that he had been screwed by WBL though, I was told that we had 34,000gp at level 12 and I selected items in advance. The rest of the group hadn't picked anything and so they just looked up a table in the DMG and took the items from that. But I'm not familiar with the table as I don't have a DMG, I just used the SRD. I'm guessing they got much more than me. So my poor Green Star Adept wasn't compared fairly even if it is a dud class.

2010-01-22, 07:31 AM
You missed out about 70k.

Also I would rate arcane archer and enlightened fist about the same.

2010-01-22, 07:31 AM
I just love making characters. It's no disrespect for my current characters, but when I get an idea for a cool or fun personality to play, I have to sketch out the backstory and stat out the character within a day or two. D&D and Shadowrun are usually what I make characters for, but sometimes an Immortal character or a white wolf character creeps in. Any given day, I've got about 5 characters appropriate to a game I'm that I could introduce if my current character dies or falls to the dark side. All told, I've got a stable of about 50.

Totally Guy
2010-01-22, 07:38 AM
Also I would rate arcane archer and enlightened fist about the same.

The Enlightened Fist was the most effective character for most of our one off session. But the others had picked some weird classes that I didn't understand.. but they didn't seem so hot.

2010-01-22, 07:47 AM
When I GM, I almost never use NPC classes, or monsters for that matter. The result is that almost any sufficiently interesting NPC has as many class levels as the PCs. This means if one of them snuffs it or (more usually) betrays the team, that player has an interim character to use. Of course it's a lot of work ^^"

Zom B
2010-01-22, 08:24 AM
Curse my ADD tendencies. I read about something and off I go, wanting to try it. Trouble is, I can only play one at a time.

In my current game, I started out playing a holy assassin. He's a Ftr2/Rog7/Asn*4 with two +1 Holy Kukris and the feat out of BOED that changes SA to d8s against evil creatures.
*I modified the Assassin's abilities to make it less "evil." I took away Poison Use and gave them Detect Evil at will, and changed the spell list around a bit. Yes, I game with people that think poisons are evil and had to change it.

Then I was skimming through Complete Mage and reading Master Specialist and really wanted to play an Enchanter that dominates his opponents (mwahahaha) so I used that and Fatespinner to make a nifty little mind controller. I played him one session and hated him. Either the party would attack stuff I had dominated, or it would be useless (One kobold among 15? Yeah, that's great.). In the fight against the BBEG, either I dominate it and end the encounter anticlimactically or I'm absolutely useless. It just wasn't fun to play.

Then I read about the Incantrix builds and wanted to do that instead. He's amazing! I love the guy. He's got a flashy personality ("See that? Oh yeah! Right there! Ka-BOOM, baby!"), and he's the one for which I wished a Staff of Power and a Vest of the Archmagi, so now I am even more beholden to play him.

Now I'm reading about crossbow rogues on here and thinking, "You know, I wonder if I played a Ninja/Scout if I could Invisibility myself, maybe move somewhere, then pop out of invisibility and shoot a crossbow. I'd get sudden strike damage and skirmish damage, and I could make tactical movements around the battlefield without fear this way. I wonder how that would work out."

2010-01-22, 09:11 AM
Why do you think that D&D has henchman/cohort rules? You can't leave a player sat there with nothing to do just because he got involved in the game and took a risk. :smallwink:

2010-01-22, 09:36 AM
I don't set them to character sheet, but I almost always have a queue of characters at the ready.

2010-01-22, 09:52 AM
This reminds me of something from way back.

The old 2E AD&D Dark Sun campaign setting had a more or less mandatory "character tree", which was either two or three backup characters that were considered acquaintances of the primary character. That setting was pretty lethal, though, so it was more a matter of necessity than anything else. I don't have the material anymore, but I *believe* that when your current active character advanced a level, you picked ONE of your backup characters to gain a level, too, so that when your main bit the dust you didn't have to play as much catch-up as if you had started a full new character. Resurrection was pretty much not an option in that setting, either.

2010-01-22, 10:31 AM
At the moment, I have 1 character, full design and backstory waiting in the wings. I have another...half-dozen...or so that are more in the mechanical concept and theoretical vision of awesomeness.

I won't need them. At all...probably. My entire group is new (first campaign, w00t!) so my DM won't kill us unless we do something egregiously stupid or we get supremely unlucky.

Mark Hall
2010-01-22, 11:59 AM
I generally have a couple character concepts ready to go, but seldom fully detailed characters.

2010-01-22, 12:34 PM
I generally don't have anything fully written up after the first few levels. Most of the campaigns I've played in have involved clerics with access to resurrection, so unless there's a TPK and EVERYONE is making a new character it's not really necessary. However, I always have ideas for new characters ready to go.