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Group Wants to Keep Characters in New Campaign

dethbygaming

New member
So I've been part of a group for the last year or so and we've had 3 different DM's so far, none of whom had any experience with the game when we started, starting new characters each time. Our current campaign is about to end and they all want me to DM because I actually have experience with the game and they want to see how I would DM (not to mention they're tired of my min/maxed characters). I don't mind DM'ing but I wanted them to start new characters so they get a fresh experience with the game, but they're all complaining about it because it took them so long to level up in the current campaign. I've told them that my campaign will be milestone based and they'll gain a level almost every session for a while, but they don't want to go from being able to do all the crazy stuff they can do now to having basic abilities again. They're level like... 11 or 12 in the current campaign and they said they don't want to start at anything less than level 10, but I wanted to start a completely new world with completely new characters and tie their levels into the renown they gain through the world as they progress. Is there some way to compromise here that doesn't revolve around them starting at that high of a level? I know that being a DM means catering to your PC party to an extent but I also feel like it's important to start new characters for what I had in mind. Thanks in advance for any advice.

PS: We're playing D&D 5e.
 

thorya

Statistical out-liar
Validated User
So what is it about being at high level that you don't like? Is it that the high level means that they have abilities that are hard for you to run a game for? Or is it that you want them to start as nobodies and work their way up?

If it's the first, than you may be at an impasse. Running for high level groups with all the abilities they can get takes a certain level of skill and talent and if you don't have it, it's not fair for the players to expect you to. Explain your concerns and if they don't understand/respect your limitations then you should pass on DMing or consider switching systems to something that is going to be a little easier.

If it's the second, maybe let go of them needing to start as nobodies and gain renown. Is there a reason they can't start as seasoned adventurers? Heroes of the land, maybe called out of pleasant retirement to ride forth once more against the forces of darkness or some such.

Alternately, let them play high level characters, but make it a relatively high level setting. This might require upping NPCs a little (though given some of the stat blocks for NPCs not much). Instead of guards being 11 hp wimps, use the stat block for Thugs or up them to 30 hp and give them an extra +1 to hit. Make Mages and Priest NPCs common. Make Nobles Knights and make an everyday person have 20-25 hp, a couple skills at +5 (fitting to who they are/their profession), +3 to hit, a 12 AC, and maybe one special ability if it makes sense (multi-attack or a cantrip or some other cool trick). If standard NPCs are level 5ish, then elite NPCs are probably in the 8-10 lvl power range and well known or powerful NPCs will probably be in the 12+ range. That way they can start out being able to do cool things, but it won't make them amazing individuals of high renown, because there are lots of other people that can also do those cool things and they'll have to make their name by doing even more amazing things. Note, this will be a very magical setting and that means that the things that are threats to people are not going to be rats in the basement, so they're going to start off fighting some pretty serious stuff.
 
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baakyocalder

Member
RPGnet Member
Validated User
The two main issues seem to be:
1. Players want to keep playing characters they enjoy playing and that are experienced. This means they need higher-level foes to challenge them.
2. After others have been the GM, the new GM wants to try out a new setting with new characters who are inexperienced and get more powerful as they grow in the setting.

These are difficult to reconcile. One way to reconcile the issues would be to have the high-level characters mentor the lower-level characters, giving them some gear and assistance. This works very well in HackMaster, assuming the players are fine with some high-level characters helping out from time to time.

Even high level characters who are powerful should be readily challenged without making them have to face a bunch of foes raised in level. That high-level fighter might want to build a keep and the magic-user wants some rare things for spell research. That's domain level play and mere character abilities from a class isn't going to help when faced with kingdoms and other large groups. It's a different focus than zero-to-hero but playing experienced characters working to make a permanent change in the world is also fun.

Talk with the players about what they want out of the game. Having to start from scratch probably doesn't work for them and having them high level with the exact same characters does not necessarily work with world-building as characters grow. The game will be more fun if everyone figures out what they want and whether the proposed campaign will give them that.

Since the OP says the group is tired of min/maxed characters they make, it should not be hard to have good challenges as a GM. Being able to optimally use force is a significant skill in the GM toolbox.
 

dethbygaming

New member
Thank you both for the input, I'll definitely talk to them about what they want. My biggest issue that I've noticed with this group so far is that, as they're all very new to the game, they're more focused on combat and doing the cool crazy things than they are about the world building aspect, which is my favorite part. I don't mind making a combat-oriented campaign but I wanted them to experience the other side of the game that they haven't really seen yet. I was also wanting them to try out new classes since they've pretty much stuck to the same play styles from the beginning (the only exception being the guy who started as a fiend warlock and hated it because they only get two spell slots for a long time; he felt useless so he switched to paladin) which is why I wanted brand new characters. But oh well, DM has to (somewhat) cater to the party or it won't be enjoyable. I've got a while to figure it out, the current campaign won't end for at least a few more weeks. Thanks again for the ideas.
 

PBWmaia

Registered User
Validated User
I don't know if your group would be amenable to this, but I once played in a game that was "Second Generation" ... players brought in their high-level character and had a child character (maybe same class, maybe not). So while the game was for the "children" there were times that the "parents" had to come out of retirement to resolve a threat.
 

baakyocalder

Member
RPGnet Member
Validated User
We call those proteges in HackMaster, except they don't have to be biological descendants of the PCs. Essentially, the experienced PCs find newer characters and take them on like apprentices.

This can work, but there's the tendency to use the higher-level characters for cool powers that some players go back on and if you go with the parent analogy, well a lot of kids don't like their parents helping with their homework if the parents end up doing it for them (and some other kids may resent the meddling parents).
 

AlwaysToast

Registered User
Validated User
The DM is also a player (the player who is likely to spend the most time working on the game). If you are going cater to what the players want, that includes you. Never run a campaign/style you don’t want to run. Everyone needs to be having fun, that most certainly included the DM.

You should certainly talk to the other players about what they want out of the game. Notably, humans are weird, so you may get different results if you ask them individually vs asking them as a group, and you might get different answers in person than if you asked via email, etc. So you may want to ask them separately, and then have a discussion with the group to get the most information.

Knowing roughly what all the players want doesn’t mean you need to give every player everything they want (this may be impossible if they want contradictory things). You should also have a clear idea of what you want out of the game.

If they want you to DM, they have to trust you and actually give you all the authority that comes with being the DM (like what level to start at, what the setting is, and if they are making new characters, etc), so you can run YOUR campaign. That is the compromise every group needs to make to have anyone DM. If they aren’t willing to accept that, do not run for them.
 

DarkMum

Godamn Catwoman
Validated User
If the GM wants 1st Level characters? The GM gets 1st Level characters.
If the GM then wipes out said group of 1st Level characters with a Kobolds encounter?
The GM is not going to have an easy time of convincing anyone from that group to play 1st Level characters again.
I've been that GM, and trust me, it's not easy, but I did figure out how to run slightly less lethal Kobolds eventually.
 

g33k

Registered User
Validated User
... and trust me, it's not easy, but I did figure out how to run slightly less lethal Kobolds eventually.
Kobolds are always more lethal than expected.
Unless the GM figures out just how lethal they can be, and plays to that.

Then Kobolds take over the universe.
 

g33k

Registered User
Validated User
So I've been part of a group for the last year or so and we've had 3 different DM's so far, none of whom had any experience with the game when we started, starting new characters each time. Our current campaign is about to end and they all want me to DM because I actually have experience with the game and they want to see how I would DM (not to mention they're tired of my min/maxed characters). I don't mind DM'ing but I wanted them to start new characters so they get a fresh experience with the game, but they're all complaining about it because it took them so long to level up in the current campaign. I've told them that my campaign will be milestone based and they'll gain a level almost every session for a while, but they don't want to go from being able to do all the crazy stuff they can do now to having basic abilities again. They're level like... 11 or 12 in the current campaign and they said they don't want to start at anything less than level 10, but I wanted to start a completely new world with completely new characters and tie their levels into the renown they gain through the world as they progress. Is there some way to compromise here that doesn't revolve around them starting at that high of a level? I know that being a DM means catering to your PC party to an extent but I also feel like it's important to start new characters for what I had in mind. Thanks in advance for any advice.

PS: We're playing D&D 5e.
Honestly, I would say to them that you don't see the game YOU want to GM being the game THEY want to play, and suggest someone else GM their existing characters in a continuation-game. Keep working on your ideas. Consider maybe working their high-level PC's in, occasionally playing Movers and Shakers as the new PC's level up. But wait until they are willing to actually play in a game that you are actually interested in running.

I'm not really seeing the compromise space, here. They MIGHT be talked-down to 8th level, or even a bit lower... but then again, maybe not; you MIGHT be talked up to 2nd or 3rd... or maybe not! I get the impression neither side will be happy bending even THAT far, however! And going all the way to 5th-ish / 6th-ish???

There are a couple of relevant expressions popular here: "No Gaming is better than Bad Gaming" and also "If you're Having Fun, you're Doing It Right." From what I gather, it'd make everyone unhappy to play a "compromise" game -- in other words, Not Fun. Bad Gaming.

Of course, I might have misunderstood, and be presenting a catastrophe-based solution when negotiation toward a successful campaign is moments from complete...
 
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