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Damocles23
2015-07-09, 08:26 AM
A small story to make y'all think. It's normal to be dissatisfied with a character. Every character creation system has a 43% chance of creating a character that a player may not like (never trust percentages on the internet) and some DMs may even offer the possibility of changing the character, no harm done. I'm not one of those DMs. Sorry. I help my players going trough all the steps of character creation but I can't read their mind. If you tell me what you want to find in an adventure and create a character for it, good. If you change your mind and then blame me we are not good. So, the player in question tries to kills his character. Fine. He drags the party into his "suicidal tendencies" and lo and behold, half the party is eaten by goblins.
Opinions?

AxeAlex
2015-07-09, 08:39 AM
If a player is not having fun and doesn't like his character, then you should help him adapt the character.

You guys are all playing to have fun... If someone is NOT having fun, you guys should all try to remedy to that.

If the player blames you and makes you feel bad about it, maybe the player is disruptive to the game, passive-agressive, or plain mean. In this case, you should try to make him understand what i've just told you, that you guys are all gathered to have fun and that blaming and shaming is not accepted in your games.

So from what I can gather from your post: You should allow him to change and tweak his character, and he should not blame his discomfort with the game on other people.

obryn
2015-07-09, 08:41 AM
Sounds unnecessarily punitive, to me.

Everyone's there to have fun and play a game. If someone is disenchanted with their character, why stand in the way of increasing their enjoyment?

There could be a lot of reasons for it - it might be that the roleplay opportunities aren't as interesting as they thought. It might be that the character was an experiment and turned out ineffective. It might be that your DMing style and their character aren't compatible. It might just be that they've played this character for quite a while, and think it's time for a change.

So yeah, I think it sounds like a jerk move.

Seto
2015-07-09, 08:44 AM
So, the player in question tries to kills his character. Fine. He drags the party into his "suicidal tendencies" and lo and behold, half the party is eaten by goblins.
Opinions?

I understand it's obnoxious when players change their character when you took it into account in your preparation, but holding the player hostage of a character they don't like and they're forced to play isn't an answer. In the above case, had you just said "ok, you want to change characters, go make another while we're playing", the player wouldn't have needed to resort to "suicidal tendencies" (which is admittedly not smart either) and the other characters would be fine.
My opinion is, mistakes are on both sides but you made the biggest.

Geddy2112
2015-07-09, 08:55 AM
A player blaming a DM for not liking their own character is a pretty jerk move. A DM who refuses to let a player retire a character and forces them to go about trying to off their character is also a pretty jerk move.

I let players retire characters if they are unhappy-in my current game of about 3 months I have had 2 character swaps, and they have been nothing but positive for the players, myself, and the game overall. Sure it sucks if you had something planned, but part of being DM is responding to situations you did not expect.

Also, how does the title of this thread have anything to do with the subject?

MrStabby
2015-07-09, 09:22 AM
I think its also fair to say that a lot depends on circumstance and the campaign.

If they wanted to play a Paladin devoted to killing undead and there are no undead in the campaign then they have a good reason for not enjoying their character - it gives them neither the roleplay not the mechanical advantages they expect.

Likewise if you get some kind of assassin that character-wise is all about poisoning things and the campaign heavily involves things immune to poison then they are entitled to feel that this is not what they signed up for.

There are also a lot of softer issues - if someone wants to have an impact on the campaign through high social skills and there is no talking (or even worse no listening by NPCs) then there is a problem. Maybe they play an illusionist and they keep facing monsters that can see through them.

Finally some unknown house-rules or unusual interpretations can screw some characters - whether it be a no magic item setting or banning certain spells.

Now possibly each of these represents something that the DM should have been clearer with the PCs about at the start.

First step should be to discuss why the player isn't having fun and why their character isn't working out for them. It doesn't have to be their fault, or indeed your fault. Even something like having a different alignment/outlook to others in the party may make role-playing their current character difficult and they are keen to retire them for the good of the group.

GungHo
2015-07-09, 09:30 AM
A player blaming a DM for not liking their own character is a pretty jerk move. A DM who refuses to let a player retire a character and forces them to go about trying to off their character is also a pretty jerk move.
Agreed. If one of my guys tells me that their character simply isn't working, I find a way to excuse the character and reintroduce another one. Hell, I'll even do "Hollywood Brain Damage" personality changes. The only time I get concerned is if the person goes through a few of these in a row, where I start wondering if I'm not communicating the expectations for the game well or if the person is simply being mercurial. Either way, it's time for a one on one to figure out what we can do to make things work.


Also, how does the title of this thread have anything to do with the subject?
I guess he thinks the player is being a smartass by trying to get around his dictate that he has to play what he rolled. In my experience, being adversarial with my players leads to everyone having a bad time, which is clearly what happened.


First step should be to discuss why the player isn't having fun and why their character isn't working out for them. It doesn't have to be their fault, or indeed your fault. Even something like having a different alignment/outlook to others in the party may make role-playing their current character difficult and they are keen to retire them for the good of the group.
A lot of this can be addressed by not creating characters/games in a vacuum. That doesn't necessarily mean running your game by democracy... but it does help you find both niches and compliments.

Hawkstar
2015-07-09, 10:01 AM
My suggestion would be to have players that 'think they're smart' step out of the DM chair.

Segev
2015-07-09, 11:10 AM
I look at this a slightly different way:

How is it more disruptive to let him change characters than...

...to have him quit the game entirely?
...to have him try to off his character and (probably accidentally) take half the party with him?
...to have a player sit there, not having fun, and probably not giving the game his full potential because of it?

TheThan
2015-07-09, 11:38 AM
Huh, Iíve never played a character I didnít enjoy.

Iíve played in games I didnít enjoy. But that was not because I didnít like the character; it was because I didnít like the direction the Dm was taking the game. Theyíre two different things.

That being said, Iíve had players switch characters mid-session. Iíve allowed it because like others have said people gather around a gaming table to have fun. If someone isnít having fun, then steps need to be taken to remedy that problem.

Eventually we got that character worked out and the player started having fun again.

Yukitsu
2015-07-09, 12:20 PM
The only time I ever see this is when the DM doesn't tell you what the game is actually going to be about and you wind up with a character that doesn't ever get to do anything either because it's a skill based game and he played a straight forward beat stick, or it's a complex combat game and he went for all skills or other similar reasons. I'd pretty much put this on the DM's shoulders most times since they're pretty much always the ones that try to keep the plot a secret, this problem doesn't happen when the DM tells us what the campaign is focused on.

nedz
2015-07-09, 12:23 PM
If a player wants to retire a character then would I let them do it. The old guy has to be played out and the new one played in of course. I allocate the same xp and average party wealth, or at least I would but I've never had anyone actually do this. It seems my players become attached to their characters and so it's never been an issue.

OP: why are your player's wanting to do this ?

Is it a DM related issue perhaps ?

Sith_Happens
2015-07-09, 12:32 PM
I don't see what this thread has to do with players' self-supposed intelligence at all.:smallconfused:

VoxRationis
2015-07-09, 01:22 PM
A DM who refuses to let a player retire a character and forces them to go about trying to off their character is also a pretty jerk move.


Please. Letting people make a new character whenever they want is not only disruptive to in-universe plausibility ("Oh, our wizard left because he felt dissatisfied with himself? No problem, we'll surely meet another one soon!"), but falls in line with the demands of munchkins who get mad because they didn't roll three 18s.

AxeAlex
2015-07-09, 01:29 PM
Please. Letting people make a new character whenever they want is not only disruptive to in-universe plausibility ("Oh, our wizard left because he felt dissatisfied with himself? No problem, we'll surely meet another one soon!"), but falls in line with the demands of munchkins who get mad because they didn't roll three 18s.

... Would you rather have one of your friends not enjoy the game, disrupt the mood for every one, and maybe even just quitting the game after awhile?

Fun is more important than plausibility and the power-level of characters... Fun is the only reason you guys are playing in the first place.

Geddy2112
2015-07-09, 01:49 PM
Please. Letting people make a new character whenever they want is not only disruptive to in-universe plausibility ("Oh, our wizard left because he felt dissatisfied with himself? No problem, we'll surely meet another one soon!"), but falls in line with the demands of munchkins who get mad because they didn't roll three 18s.

I understand how that could be an issue, and how you might have read it as such, but that was not what I was implying, nor something I have ever had a problem with. In my current game, both switches have been for roleplay reasons. The first was because he was an evil character in a good party, and was tired of being an obnoxious jerk. He went from summoner to a paladin gunslinger. The second was the party alchemist who was obnoxious jerk because he was too dudley do-right and confrontentional. He went from an optimized alchemist to a monk...a merfolk monk. Everybody in and out of game is happier because of this.

I understand your concerns about munchkins, but both times were for RP reasons and both players went down 2 tiers. They were not having fun with their characters, they switched, and they are. If it was for munchkin reasons, I would have not allowed them to switch.

So I suppose the point of the anecdote would be that I should clarify and say "A DM not allowing a player to switch characters when they are unhappy is a pretty jerk move, unless the player is unhappy when they are not a super optimized tier 1 godcaster, in which case you might be a jerk for letting that into your game depending on your group and playstyle".

Segev
2015-07-09, 02:03 PM
Like all things, there is a line of "too far." Swapping characters too often is annoying and disruptive; it is also usually indicative of a problem OOC. Whether that problem is "he just isn't into the game and thinks changing his character will fix that" or "he's a munchkin out to find a perfect overpowered character" or any number of other things is something that needs to be determined in OOC discussion, and a solution found. This could be the player you need to say, "no, you can't keep bringing in new characters" to. But explain why. And be willing to say, "okay, you can't bring a new character in if this one leaves for any reasion." It's less inclusive, but it could be the only way.

This would be the solution if the answer to one of my earlier questions is thus:

How is it more disruptive to let him change characters than to leave the game? Because he'll keep changing characters and disrupting the game; best to let him go.

Hawkstar
2015-07-09, 03:18 PM
As someone who likes to roll up multiple characters myself, and tend to get sick of them quickly, I can see saying "No" if someone asks to change characters... but once they actively start taking steps to off their character to force a change, it's best to just let them change. Also - it's extremely poor form to assume malicious motives. I find your lack of faith in others disturbing.

Flickerdart
2015-07-09, 03:19 PM
Please. Letting people make a new character whenever they want is not only disruptive to in-universe plausibility ("Oh, our wizard left because he felt dissatisfied with himself? No problem, we'll surely meet another one soon!"), but falls in line with the demands of munchkins who get mad because they didn't roll three 18s.

Yet another reason why rolling for ability scores is terrible.

Mr Beer
2015-07-09, 03:29 PM
Not sure what the supposed problem is, if someone wants to retire their character and roll up a new one, they're free to do so surely?

mephnick
2015-07-09, 03:53 PM
Not sure what the supposed problem is, if someone wants to retire their character and roll up a new one, they're free to do so surely?

No. Role-playing games are very serious and punishment must be swift and uncompromising.

Yuki Akuma
2015-07-09, 04:11 PM
Sometimes I wonder what sort of response people expect when they post threads revealing themselves to be petty, adversarial DMs. 'Everyone should be having fun' is generally the widely-held belief around here. I don't really get it.

ShaneMRoth
2015-07-09, 05:12 PM
...
some DMs may even offer the possibility of changing the character, no harm done. I'm not one of those DMs. Sorry.
...

You don't sound sorry at all. Not even a little.


...
I help my players going trough all the steps of character creation but I can't read their mind.
...

Oke doke. You still don't sound sorry, by the way...


...
If you tell me what you want to find in an adventure and create a character for it, good. If you change your mind and then blame me we are not good.
...

It is a players' prerogative to change their minds...


...
So, the player in question tries to kills his character. Fine. He drags the party into his "suicidal tendencies" and lo and behold, half the party is eaten by goblins.
Opinions?

There are some serious flaws in your DM style.

You have to own everything that happens in your game. Everything. Especially the things you can't control.

This particular incident was in your control. You are owning none of it.

You can't make your players happy all the time, but as DM you have the standing to satisfy them.

I hope that my players are happy, but it is not in my power to make them happy. It is, however, in my power to provide a satisfactory experience for them.

All of the DMs authority to act is granted to him by the players, in the context of "consent of the governed". You don't rule over your players like a divinely anointed king. All of your power to act is given to you by the players. And if you abuse that power, the players will eventually vote with their feet.

I shall now punish you, and the rest of this thread, with a boring story...

(I'm sorry, but you brought this **** on yourself...)

It's Session Zero. New party. Some new players. New Characters.

This was back before 3.x Edition. We were using Advanced D&D.

I create a Lawful Good cleric. Just an avuncular nice priest of... Yummy Goodness. Not a Paladin, mind you. Just a "heal you when you bleed" regular ass cleric.

Things are looking fine at first. No evil PCs, just a variety of character concepts embarking on a new adventure.

Well, the rest of the party fell into a Quentin Tarantino style dynamic. They wanted to be anti-heroes and murder hobos. This wasn't made clear at Session Zero, it just went that way.

So, there I was, with my Father Mulcahey expy... saying "uh... hey, guys... what'cha ya doin'?" every time they did some really dodgy, criminal, homicidal hide-the-body stuff. And this wasn't in the course of the adventure. This was going out of their way during downtime.

At first, in character, I attempted to appeal the other characters' self-interest. "You guys are not being subtle..." (They so weren't.) "...If a trail of bodies follows us where ever we go, people are going to start to notice..." "...if someone goes missing, you do realize that as well-armed strangers we will be pretty high on the suspect list, right...?"

And of course, that went over like a fart in church.

I was just cramping the hell out of their style. With my healing spells and my... basic civility.

I spoke with the DM and said that my cleric character isn't proving to be a good fit. I rolled up another character.

The DM agreed with my assessment and endorsed the Cast change. The Lawful Good cleric gave the rest of the party the "it's not you, it's me" speech (it was so not him, it was totally them) and went on to a teaching gig at his campaign setting's version of Notre Dame.

He was replaced by my next character.

This time a druid with a sinister, borderline evil, agenda. (Like an environmental extremist.) While Druids aren't as good at healing as clerics, they can still cast heal spells, so I was able to perform my original intended function... but now I had a character who was compatible with the temperament of the party.

I don't know how this would have been resolved in the OP's campaign. But it seems at least plausible that I would have been compelled to stick with the party until they murdered my LG Cleric in his sleep, or until he turned the rest of them in to the authorities.

Red Fel
2015-07-09, 06:00 PM
I popped into this thread for two reasons.

First, to echo what many have said. Becoming disruptive or blaming the DM when a player doesn't like his character is a bad mark on the player; not allowing players to retire their characters is a bad mark on the DM. Are there exceptions? Yes. If your player wants to retire a character every session, it's obviously too much; if he goes through a half dozen in a single campaign, it's too much. But just one or two? Cut the kid a break, why don't ya?

Second, this:


So, there I was, with my Father Mulcahey expy... saying "uh... hey, guys... what'cha ya doin'?" every time they did some really dodgy, criminal, homicidal hide-the-body stuff. And this wasn't in the course of the adventure. This was going out of their way during downtime.

I just really, really wanted to give Shane kudos for the reference to the Padre. (Bonus points if your Cleric used the word "jocularity" at all.)

Mr Beer
2015-07-09, 08:01 PM
No. Role-playing games are very serious and punishment must be swift and uncompromising.

LOL, that's where I've been going wrong. Next time my players come round, I shall be sure to address them from the shadowy depths of an elevated throne, while menacing stroking both a white cat and an executioner's two-handed sword.

goto124
2015-07-09, 09:47 PM
No blue text required.

neonagash
2015-07-09, 11:57 PM
LOL, that's where I've been going wrong. Next time my players come round, I shall be sure to address them from the shadowy depths of an elevated throne, while menacing stroking both a white cat and an executioner's two-handed sword.

If a DM started a campaign like that I would have to give it a try just to see where it went

ShaneMRoth
2015-07-10, 12:16 AM
LOL, that's where I've been going wrong. Next time my players come round, I shall be sure to address them from the shadowy depths of an elevated throne, while menacing stroking both a white cat and an executioner's two-handed sword.

If their characters fell into a pit trap, you could tell them that they take damage of... One MILLION Hit Points...

Damocles23
2015-07-10, 06:30 AM
Well, my problem was with causing half of the party for being dead. Also, he thought he was smart for leading the party in an ambush so he could switch. I'm okay with retiring but it has to be after one good adventure, not because of a petty reason like "On second thought, I don't want to be a paladin. I want to slice up peasants."

goto124
2015-07-10, 06:59 AM
but it has to be after one good adventure, not because of a petty reason like "On second thought, I don't want to be a paladin. I want to slice up peasants."

I'm not sure why you immediately dismiss it as petty?

Segev
2015-07-10, 07:33 AM
LOL, that's where I've been going wrong. Next time my players come round, I shall be sure to address them from the shadowy depths of an elevated throne, while menacing stroking both a white cat and an executioner's two-handed sword.
You know, that could make for an awesome game session, if the DM has the props to pull it off. White cat really not needed if you have the throne and shadowy lighting and the right evil robes.

Well, my problem was with causing half of the party for being dead. Also, he thought he was smart for leading the party in an ambush so he could switch. I'm okay with retiring but it has to be after one good adventure, not because of a petty reason like "On second thought, I don't want to be a paladin. I want to slice up peasants."Well, that's easy enough. Just let him slice up peasants, fall, and eventually take Blackguard levels.

goto124
2015-07-10, 07:46 AM
Well, that's easy enough. Just let him slice up peasants, fall, and eventually take Blackguard levels.

Make sure you talk to him and the rest of the group BEFORE you do the above. Falling can be good... but only if the player wants it, and is forewarned.

It's perfectly viable, but dropping it like a boulder on your player? That makes both you and your player jerks. Two wrongs don't make a right.

DMs in the past have made paladins Fall when the problem was in fact OOC, and there was little to no attempt to resolve the issue OOCly. Don't repeat the horror stories.

Segev
2015-07-10, 09:25 AM
Oh, yeah, definitely. This is assuming he's told you, "I don't like being a Paladin because I can't do X, so I want to change." The response I'd give in that situation would be, "You can behave that way; you just fall. Would you have more fun as a fallen paladin? Then there's no need to change characters."

Flickerdart
2015-07-10, 10:05 AM
Well, my problem was with causing half of the party for being dead. Also, he thought he was smart for leading the party in an ambush so he could switch. I'm okay with retiring but it has to be after one good adventure, not because of a petty reason like "On second thought, I don't want to be a paladin. I want to slice up peasants."
Why does it matter what the reason is? The player made a mistake when building the character, isn't having fun in this adventure, and the only thing standing between him and having fun is your strange principle of "no, you have to suffer".

Damocles23
2015-07-10, 10:24 AM
Mmmmhh...You guys are making me think a lot :/ Maybe, next time I should let him fall.

goto124
2015-07-10, 10:44 AM
And as we just said on this page, please at least ask him if he wants to Fall.

Don't be adversarial to your players. You are not their enemy.

The Fury
2015-07-10, 10:50 AM
Please. Letting people make a new character whenever they want is not only disruptive to in-universe plausibility ("Oh, our wizard left because he felt dissatisfied with himself? No problem, we'll surely meet another one soon!"), but falls in line with the demands of munchkins who get mad because they didn't roll three 18s.

In our group the unspoken DM/player agreement was always, "you can always switch characters, but you may need to wait for a moment where it would actually make sense."

So our wizard saying "This sucks!" and Teleporting out only for a new wizard to Teleport in never really happened. Though we did enter a town and have our wizard decide to quit, but at least we were in a place where we could plausibly recruit a replacement.

We did have one player though, who was always changing his characters because they would get killed and more often than not put the rest of the party in danger. It was a lot of fun! Especially when his new character made a horrible first impression on the party. However he did have some munchkin tendencies and did complain a about a set that didn't have any 18s.

Darth Ultron
2015-07-11, 11:22 AM
So, the player in question tries to kills his character. Fine. He drags the party into his "suicidal tendencies" and lo and behold, half the party is eaten by goblins.
Opinions?

Sure this happens all the time. A player makes a character, then suddenly does not like the character a couple hours into the game. And sure the player will want to kill the character off. Again normal.

But why do you add the ''half the party eaten by goblins?'' Your the DM. Just have the goblins kill the one character. Then have all the other goblins act normal and ''let'' the party get away. Think of the problem character as the red shirt of the party. Just get rid of the character and get back to playing the game with the other players.

Jay R
2015-07-14, 12:57 PM
Main point: If the DM determines that the player must die (probably risking the entire party) to get a character he will enjoy, then the DM is encouraging him to risk the entire party.

-----

Somehow the issue of blame came into this thread, and it's just not relevant.

If a player has a character that for whatever reason he will not continue to play, it doesn't matter who we should blame for that. Regardless of cause, regardless of blame, one of three things will eventually happen:

1. He will stop playing that character and start playing another one.
2. He will quit the game.
3. He will endeavor to kill the character, which will almost always entail risks to the rest of the party.

[The DM may want option 4, he plays a character he is not willing to play, but that's not a stable position, since 2 and 3 will remain tempting options.]

You have banned the first one, trying to force the player to play a character he doesn't want to play. If that works, then you have successfully prevented game disruption, at the intentional cost of player fun. I'm not convinced that's a worthwhile trade-off. But even if it is, it's not likely to work for long. It's just a continual temptation for the player, without DM support, to choose option 2 or 3.

Only one of these is non-disruptive - the first one. If you veto that one, then one of the disruptive ones will eventually occur.


Having said that, let's consider the possibility that it's a player who will never be satisfied with a single character, and will continue wanting to switch characters every few sessions. In that case (only), allowing the switches is more disruptive. If you don't allow it, then the character, who by hypothesis is unconcerned with maintaining game flow, won't keep playing one character, and will therefore suicide, risking the party, every few episodes.

In that case, the least disruptive option is 2, he leaves the game. It's the only option that isn't continually disruptive. It only disrupts the game once.

Kesnit
2015-07-16, 02:57 PM
If your player wants to retire a character every session, it's obviously too much; if he goes through a half dozen in a single campaign, it's too much. But just one or two? Cut the kid a break, why don't ya?

It can also depend on the party situation.

In a recent campaign that just ended, I went through 3 PCs. The first was a Psion, who focused on BFC and debuffing, with some damage powers for fun. I really liked the PC, but at one point (due to other players changing PCs and a few PC deaths), the party was left without a front-line melee. Since I had just had to retire my Barbarian/Totemist in another campaign (since I was taking over the DM chair), I decided to give up the Psion and bring in the BARB/TOTEM. That worked for a while, until (following more PC deaths), the party had an overabundance of front-liners. Out went the BARB/TOTEM, in came a Warlock/Cleric/Eldritch Disciple, focused on buff/debuff and healing.

At no time did any of my PCs die. I just though it would be better to switch to better fit what the (new and revised) party needed.

Frozen_Feet
2015-07-16, 03:27 PM
I mostly play games where character creation is both quick and random. So if someone wants to change characters, fine, just sit out for the five minutes it takes to create a new one while we get on with the show. Character suicide or homicide optional.

I find Flickerdart's distaste towards stat rolling to be hilarious. When every player at the table knows the rules and approaches the game with explicit understanding that nobody really gets the ideal character mechanically, they tend to make and play the character they want by focusing on things which are not governed by random chance, like personality and background.

Not that you need much of either to start with. In a random game, the character is rarely extensively fleshed out to begin with and they tend to grow around the events and interactions during the game. It's a whole different gaming philosophy than the one where you start out with a novel's worth of backstory and carefully craft your character to fit every constraint of the setting and other player's characters.

Talakeal
2015-07-16, 03:44 PM
I mostly play games where character creation is both quick and random. So if someone wants to change characters, fine, just sit out for the five minutes it takes to create a new one while we get on with the show. Character suicide or homicide optional.

I find Flickerdart's distaste towards stat rolling to be hilarious. When every player at the table knows the rules and approaches the game with explicit understanding that nobody really gets the ideal character mechanically, they tend to make and play the character they want by focusing on things which are not governed by random chance, like personality and background.

Not that you need much of either to start with. In a random game, the character is rarely extensively fleshed out to begin with and they tend to grow around the events and interactions during the game. It's a whole different gaming philosophy than the one where you start out with a novel's worth of backstory and carefully craft your character to fit every constraint of the setting and other player's characters.

Don't you find that random stats have a tremendous impact on personality and background though? I am going to play a character with a 16 Int and a 6 CHA very differently than one with a 6 INT and 16 CHA after all. Likewise how competent I am in my chosen field is going to have a huge impact on my background and my relationships with other people.

Frozen_Feet
2015-07-16, 04:15 PM
Depends on how the random generator is build. Where random values affect the character's role, reverse-engineering who your character is and how they got to where they are is part of the fun. The upshot is that if a player has little idea what sort of character to play, the random seed can give them inspiration. Part of why I find random character generation to be faster and easier for new players.

Cealocanth
2015-07-16, 06:28 PM
It's hard to see from the GM side of the screen, but players do often get bored with their characters after 5 or 6 sessions if they are invested in the game. After all, there are far more options to a character build than the one they are exploring at the moment. Oftentimes I see players build characters when they have ideas and have them sit on the sidelines and wait for their turn in the spotlight. Other times I see players get a character idea and then obsess over it until they are finally given a chance to play it in the game. It's a natural thing in these games in which you pretend to be someone else to want to pretend to be someone else.

As a GM, you get to scratch that character-switching itch far more often. One minute you're pretending to be the town guard. The next minute you're pretending to be the princess; the next one, the blacksmith. You change characters more often than anyone else at the table. Sure you keep your NPCs around for later use (unless you kill them, of course), but it's much harder to get bored with your character choices as GM as it is to get bored of the first character you make as a player.

So, I find rules that mandate that players stick to the character they make for the entire campaign to be unnecessary and a little hypocritical. As long as they maintain the character through 2 or 3 sessions and try to find ways to reinvent the character rather than simply switching because introductions got off to a rocky start, I am okay with reintroducing a new character into the party. If I have anything designed for the character that leaves, then I simply change it so it can work with the new party. When you GM, it is important to understand that for a lot of people, the character they truly enjoy playing will only come around after about 3 characters they do not enjoy playing.

Knaight
2015-07-17, 09:21 PM
It's hard to see from the GM side of the screen, but players do often get bored with their characters after 5 or 6 sessions if they are invested in the game. After all, there are far more options to a character build than the one they are exploring at the moment.

On the other hand, there can easily be far more depth to a character than shows up after 5 or 6 sessions. Consider how repeat characters often show up in the context of games cut short, where they are placed into another game because they were never fully explored. This often has more to do with character personality and narrative arcs than mechanics, but in the context of systems where the mechanics change significantly as the game goes on it can also apply there. That category includes just about every class and level system, which is where I'd expect the focus on character build in the first place.