November 21, 2013
Introducing A New Character: What To Do And What Not To Do
Introducing a new character into an already existing game can happen for several reasons. Perhaps a player has decided to retire their current character, or there was a character death. It also happens when a new player joins your group. No matter what, this presents an opportunity for both the player and the group to grow. Integration can be tricky, but if done right can be an incredible experience for everyone sitting around the game table. What follows is a basic list of things you will want to do as well as things you will want not to do.
Do: Make sure your character is of an appropriate level or experience bracket to the existing characters. Some groups do not like to do this, making each new character earn the experience the others have, but this just tends to slow the game down and make it less fun for everyone.
Do not: Make sure you do not create a new character more powerful than the other player characters already in the game. This is not always based on how much experience they have or their level, but on what abilities they have selected.
Do: Try to integrate your new character into the existing story. This can be difficult for new players to a group, but this is where your Gamemaster and fellow players can help you out. Having a connection to the story or to another character can help you feel like a part of the game much quicker than you might otherwise.
Do not: New characters should not step on the toes of existing characters. If your group already has a fighter, do not bring in a better fighter. This is not saying that you cannot also play a fighter archetype if there already is one, but only to be careful not to make an existing character feel redundant.
Do: Try to have your new character fill a need that the group has. If you are bringing in new character after a previous character died, this does not mean you have to replay a similar character. Ask what the group thinks they need and try to accommodate. However, you do not need to let this dictate your choice in character creation. Merely take what they say under advisement and try to work with it.
Do not: Try not to have your new character have a disagreeable demeanor. Sure, it is a game, and you know that your character is going to be made a part of the group, but in-game this is not the case. In fact, I have seen groups reject a new character due to personality conflicts, asking that the player – who just finished this new character – try again. This sort of thing is drama that no game group needs. Ease up on the character conflict, at least at first.
Do: Attempt to create a dynamic and fun character that can be enjoyed by both you and your gaming group.
Do not: Perhaps most importantly, do not try to create a character who can do everything. Remember, there is no such thing as a perfect character. Adding in flaws and weaknesses will make your character more interesting overall.
And that is it. I hope this has helped all of those players out there who find themselves in this position. As always, I wish you all the best of gaming and luck with those dice rolls.
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