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D&D General Am I the only one who plays D&D with more than 1 character per player???

Brak

Explorer
I don't know that I have ever, in almost 35 years of playing 1e - 5e, played D&D in a group where each player used only 1 character. Since most of our parties had 6+ characters and we would have somewhere between 1 and 3 players + DM, I have always played more than one character. Usually it was just me and a DM, so I would play the entire party. This has been the only D&D I have ever known. But after many years of reading D&D forums and articles I have almost never seen this even mentioned as a valid form of play. It is always just one character per player. There are single player adventures, but they are special adventures made for 1 character.

I understand that, for many, a big part of the social experience of playing D&D is "role playing" where a player takes on the role of a character and interacts with other players/characters. This inter-player experience is missing if you are the only player and perhaps diminished if you are controlling more than 1 character, but in my experience D&D is still a fun game without it.

Is this anyone else's experience or I am really the only one?
 

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iserith

Magic Wordsmith
My campaigns frequently have multiple PCs per player but with only one active in any given session unless the active PC dies. I never had it where one player is running the whole adventuring party. There's been no need of that.
 

Retreater

Legend
Of the three games I'm currently playing/GMing, everyone has multiple characters. Two of them are OSR campaigns that rely on larger parties. The other is a 5e game that I'm DMing for 2 players, so to "round out" the party for the adventure they chose, we're doing multiple characters.
Works fine for me. Players tend to gravitate towards one of their characters for role-playing while the other character is mostly used to round out combat and skills.
 


I've done it before in 4e and 5e. Oddly, we didn't really do it in 1e, but we had a lot of players and could slap together a new pc pretty quickly.

I have found that allowing multiple pc's per player is the best way to get the pc count up when the player count is low. If you only have 2 players, 2 pcs per is better than 2 pcs and 2 npcs in the party. (the dm is busy enough as it is) With 3 players that brings you to 6 pcs - which is better for certain dming styles than 3 pcs. 4 pcs is usually enough, though, so at four players we usually stop doing that. Since 4e works best at 4-5 pc's, getting closer to that number is usually worth the added effort. 5e is a little more forgiving about pc's counts, but 3-6 is still the sweet spot.

I have noticed that some people can handle 2 pc's with no drop-off in how well they play them, and some people find juggling 2 pc's really hard - but this does not correlate to how well they handle one character in the first place. ie They might struggle with the rules, but not any worse when there's twice as many rules, (which surprised me). Some people find switching between roleplaying two characters hard and other have no difficulty - and this also did not correlate to how 'well' they roleplay either. It's just a different skill.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
There's no wrong way to play if you're having fun. I or a player will occasionally have an NPC companion, but it's the exception not the rule and has to be special circumstances.
 

We played AD&D with multiple PCs per play for year and years. In a game with such high lethality, and where published adventures were designed for 6 to 8 PCs, it made for an effective safety net.

With the changes to the zeitgeist of the game, we rarely have multiple PCs anymore. The biggest barrier is practical - modern PCs tend to be so mechanically complex that it's a headache to run more than one for any length of time.
 


el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
The last time I played with more than one character was back in 2E days - before that it was not uncommon. I ran one game with two of my best friends when we were 14 and each had a stable of 5 characters and chose 2 to 3 to bring to each adventure!
 



billd91

Hobbit on Quest
We haven't needed to do it in awhile. But I ran a PF1 game with 3 players, each one playing 2 characters. For them, one of their PCs was generally portrayed as their "primary" and the other was their somewhat less dynamic secondary. But we were playing a Paizo AP and I thought 3 PCs might be a little short of resources. It was easier to go to 6 PCs than try to cover all their adventuring needs with 3.
I think this would be considerably less necessary in 5e since the niche protection is so much lower.
 

ccs

41st lv DM
Back in my original B/X & 1e days we frequently had multiple characters. Usually a main character & an extra. This practice varied though on how many players we had.

Later on we all generally had multiple characters, but they weren't played simultaneously. Rather we'd pick who went on a given adventure.

In 3x/PF we often had characters with the Leadership feat, highly detailed animal companions, familiar, etc. Sometimes to crazy degrees.

In the last 5 years though?
I've only been in two PF1 games where we used 2 characters each. Both were at times when we only had 3 players. And in the 2nd game one player opted to stick with just one pc at a time.
Me? I DM alot. I gotta make my PC time count! So In both campaigns i took full advantage of the chance to play 2 completely different characters at a time.
 



Inchoroi

Adventurer
With the exception of two of my players, the others have trouble remembering all their own abilities, rather than trying to run another character.

As a DM, I've done it when a player can't join, for example, but I prefer not to if I can get away with it.
 

payn

Adventurer
I've avoided it in D&D due to the complexity of chargen. Though, it's something I do a lot in other games like Traveller or Call of Cthulhu.
 

Stormonu

Legend
Our group did that for our main campaign in 2E - everyone had 2 characters they played. A couple people eventually dropped to just one so they could focus on the character they liked more, but when we stopped that game we had about 5 players and 8 characters in the group.

Currently, in 5E I am running a Goliath Warlock (Hexblade) knight who has three attendants statted up as Sidekicks - two hunters and an acolyte. I actually think I like one of the sidekicks (Ein the Sharp-Eyed) better than my main character.
 

zarionofarabel

Adventurer
Once long ago in my AD&D 2e days I had a party where two players had two characters each, the other two players had a single character each.

That experience is what really taught me why, in order to get the experience I look for in an RPG, players absolutely must only have a single character each. It doesn't matter how few players I have they are always limited to a single character. I simply tailor encounters to the smaller party rather than have the players play multiple characters. It's super easy because as DM I can make up whatever I want.

In fact one of the best campaigns I ever ran in AD&D 2e was for a single player with a single character. There were never any DMPCs or long term NPCs that travelled with the PC either. The single PC took on the world all alone, and it was one of the best campaigns I ever ran!
 

commandercrud

Adventurer
I've been in groups that have done it occasionally for various reasons, but it's not ideal. It definitely limits roleplay when you have more than 1 character per player.
 

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