This question isn’t specific to DW, but it came out of thinking about my current DW campaign, and it’s where it…

This question isn’t specific to DW, but it came out of thinking about my current DW campaign, and it’s where it…

This question isn’t specific to DW, but it came out of thinking about my current DW campaign, and it’s where it would be implemented, so wondering what people think of something.

We have a campaign in its infancy that was somewhat expressly put together around a Keep that adventurers would head toward for various reasons. This is to let us put various parties and players together and do a little “West Marches” if we want. So the infrastructure is in place to maybe do the following.

What if each player must have two characters active in the game? No character can be played more than three consecutive player-sessions. A character can be retired at any time, and a new one created at level 1, starting at the Keep. PC death means create a new character (with possible bloodline, hireling, etc. relationships as appropriate).

I feel like this immediately makes party composition more interesting (and maybe Bonds get more flavorful), and gets players to think at a more abstract level about the overall story; the only immediate cost is having another character sheet.

Really, I can think of all kinds of ways this would be a positive, but there’s one unacceptable possible negative: I don’t want to create any hurdles/burdens for the players in terms of scheduling sessions. Gotta be a clear win.

Eager to hear thoughts.

4 thoughts on “This question isn’t specific to DW, but it came out of thinking about my current DW campaign, and it’s where it…”

  1. I think one downside is going to be overlapping play books. People draw a lot of pleasure from niche protection. (Even assuming any particular play session doesn’t dupe books, you’d still have the other characters as ongoing fictional influences).

    I can’t imagine a real burden in scheduling. You don’t need to be dogmatic about it: if it gets in the way of scheduling, bend the rule.

  2. My original Stonetop game (in D&D4e) was designed around something similar. We limited the race/class combos available to start, and if you got dropped to 0HP during the adventure, then that character had to skip the next session/adventure and you played a different character. As they adventured, unlocking other playable classes & races became a type of “treasure.”

    It definitely worked to generate a “stable” of characters. It ran afoul of some 4e problems (balance, danger of having 1st level PCs adventure with 3rd level PCs; complexity of characters as they advanced in level).

    Biggest problem was that adventures had a tendency to take more than 1 session, which meant that the chance to swap out characters was limited. And that led to scheduing headaches.

  3. Jeremy Strandberg Exactly the stuff I’ve been considering. DW handles a cross-section of levels well, but it’s the last part that worries me. I don’t want to create a meta-issue that takes away from just playing.

  4. Brian Haag I think if I was going to do this, I’d nix the “everyone must have 2 characters” but and simply say “you can each have multiple characters, as many as you need/want, but you can play only 1 at a time.”

    Then, seed the area around the home base with lots of “quick” adventure opportunities: smallish dungeons (or other adventure sites) that can be meaningfully explored in a single session. (I would not use Perilous Wilds travel moves, because of how much screen time they cause expeditions to take.)

    In other words, try to establish a base line of “adventures take place in a single session.” This will work best if you and they can all commit to doing the planning parts online between sessions. Enforce the West Marches principle that the players must proactively schedule their sessions with each other and you.

    Then, if an adventure does take multiple sessions, a player can go on a different adventure with a different character if they want/need to.

    Big challenges I’d see with this are all the challenges the West Marches purportedly had (player politics & social drama, scheduling, imbalanced motivation, etc.), plus the DW specific issue of “only one of each playbook.”

    That last one is kind of a big issue, as I really don’t think you want to simply say “eh, we can have as many rangers as we want!” There’s not a huge amount distinguishing 1st level DW characters from each other, and their baseline competence is high enough that it feels weird to just have a never ending stream of them in town. (That same problem is true if you just open the door to 3rd party playbooks, with the added issue of quality control.)

    Honestly, you might want to consider Freebooters on the Frontier. Or World of Dungeons. Both have pretty fragile, humble first level characters, with the ethos of “they’ve gotta survive some adventures before we get attached.”

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