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Old 07-03-2015, 01:13 PM   #7
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: Training Replacements for PC's

It depends on what you and your players want. I can imagine some players thinking your system is really nice.

Personally, I prefer to have character abilities based more on consistent cause and effect, rather than game balance. And personally I'm disinterested in trying to artificially have PCs all have the same point costs for the sake of evenness or balance. It seems to me to add a cause which has little or no reason in the game world. It also seems to me to undercut and remove the benefit from the players' efforts to improve themselves and to keep their improved characters alive and unmaimed, if getting oneself killed results in little or no loss, and even lets you design a whole new character at your current point total.

In fact, if one were playing from a metagaming point of view and wasn't attached to their character, it'd be quite an ability to be able to swtich to an equally-powerful character of a completely different design. Moreover, if a player can do that by dying, then it also means they get to do a suicide attack with one powerful character, and then get replaced by an equally good replacement. e.g.:
Player 1: “Oh no! The treasure is guarded by a dire hydra whose poison has no antidote, and beyond that is a great chasm we have no way to cross, protected by magics that will require a wizard with certain spells...”
Player 2: “Sir Bruce leaves his magic wooden shield behind and charges the hydra by himself and does all-out attacks to kill it.”
(Hydra dies, Sir Bruce dies of poison.)
(Player 2 creates new character – gee, it happens to be a wizard with all the needed spells for the current challenge.)
“Rutherford wants to leave the party. Here, I hand out all my valuables and gear to the group... oh and I tell them all my secret information, oh and can I donate one of my eyes so George can have a transplant and get rid of his One Eye disad....”
I tend to relate far more to getting rewarded for successful play without dying by getting to improve from experience. For me that's a focus of my interest as a player, and it's greatly undermined if/when someone gets killed and then gets to immediately get a new PC with just as many points as the successful veterans who managed to keep their characters alive through great risks. Not to mention that an experienced PC tends to have various abilities developed based on what happened to them, whereas a newly-made PC can tend to have abilities that the player mainly just chose.

I also find that I and other players (even the ones who seem focused on getting to have high-powered abilities) that it's much easier to relate to a character whose abilities were developed during play from basic starting abilities, as opposed to starting with a character who has all sorts of abilities which the player wasn't there for their acquisition.

For some games (and apparently for some players I've read posts from on other forums, this is their norm) maybe the above example could even be interesting and fun, but to me it mainly seems rather silly. I have seen some players in my games doing milder versions of it, where they want to have different abilities and so they want to ditch their current PC and start a new one with the abilities they currently want to have. I have allowed it as long as the abilities they want are reasonable enough to expect the players already know or will meet someone with those abilities who will want to “join their group” (whatever the equivalent is in the particular campaign), but I usually have them create the character using that campaign's parameters for new characters, and I have their old character become an NPC if I detect that they're wanting to play someone else and so are becoming suicidal or apathetic with their current PC. And I wait for the circumstances to provide a natural opportunity that such a person will be encountered in a context where they'd get introduced to the group to join.

I think it tends to be much more interesting when replacement characters are people who already existed in the game world as NPCs, PC's family, etc., because it doesn't break continuity and then the new PC is actually related to the PCs as they were before they became a PC. In this sense, I really like what you've suggested as far as having players list potential replacement characters. In general, it seems to work well and add a lot to have players describe the people their characters know in the game world as part of their background (family, friends, associates, etc.), even if they don't need a replacement.

So I personally probably wouldn't use the “your current PC can give points to a replacement character” part of your system, mainly because it seems to have no in-world cause & effect. I would tend to allow a PC to train, advise, or make some gifts to a future replacement character, if it made sense for those characters for that to be going on. In fact that seems quite cool and natural, and a great way to establish a natural way for replacement characters to make sense to join the group later.
Skarg is offline   Reply With Quote