Janna covers the three most common reasons a player wants to drop a character from an ongoing campaign and how to handle these eventualities. One reason for dropping a character that she forgot to mention was the “I didn’t think my character would turn out this way” reason for dropping it. Some people have a preconceived notion as to what the character will turn out to be, and somewhere the character takes a left turn. This could be due to lack of familiarity with the rules, a poor choice or two by the player or a change in editions in the gaming system that drastically changes the character in a way the player did not anticipate. Over the years, I’ve had plenty of people get tired of their characters for one reason or another. I always try to see if there is a way to work things out to keep the character in the party, but I’m not adverse to outright dropping the character in exchange for something the player will have more fun with.
I’m about to run off to Tacticon next weekend and run a few 4-hour adventures for a world that some friends of mine and I over at Fluid Games came up with and are trying to sell books about. Patrick has some great advice that I’m going to try to adhere to during my sessions. My favorite piece of wisdom is to bring anything the player will need to play. I was walking into the idea of running a conference game that all players would show up with dice, paper and pencils… I’m glad I read his post. I’ll definitely be showing up with some extras of all of the above.
Nicholas has some great introspection on “old school” vs. “new school” and I agree with pretty much everything he has to say there. I’m glad to see that by his thoughts, I’m an “old school” gamer because that’s what I’ve thought of myself as ever since D&D 3.0 hit the shelves.
One of my chief complaints about 4e D&D is that it seems to coddle the players too much. Death of a character is such a remote possibility that it is almost not worrisome to the players. I’m glad to see that some GMs out there are still slaying 4e characters. I know that if I ever get my hands on a long-term 4e campaign, the players better worry about their characters’ well beings and long-term health. I’m not saying that I’ll be an evil bastard about the whole thing, but I want to steal the players’ security blankets and make the risks their characters are taking somehow seem more real and larger than life.
I’ve done this! I’ve thrown odd coins from other countries, empires or time periods and then not allowed the PCs to use the coinage to buy basic goods. They had to pay a money changer to get “regular” gold pieces which would then allow them to purchase a room at an inn for the night. There’s nothing better than throwing an entire party of mid-to-high-level adventurers out in the streets for the night just because they didn’t have any regular coinage and weren’t willing to part with a “small” gemstone worth hundreds of gold in order to pay for a few rooms worth 8 SP each. I especially loved Ameron’s intro to the post.