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

aco175

Legend
@Brak ,I just wanted to say congrats for making it 15 years on the boards and posting only 3 times. I was going to welcome you, but I'll award you the Ultimate Lurker Award instead. You cannot see it, but it looks like a gnome paladin in all his glory.

To answer your question, I mostly seen in in earlier editions where you needed a party of 6-12 characters to fill rolls and fight monsters in the numbers put out in the books. By 3e/4e the party of 4-5 was set and could fill all the rolls and the books set encounters for this size. My group has one player who will play 2 PCs when needed with one being more combat and the other more 2nd tier- mostly a caster type. There is also plenty of times where a NPC joins for a while and one of the players will run it.
 

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I've done it back in 1E, where it was fairly common with low player games. In 5E I created a West Marches style campaign, where players owned multiple characters. If there were too few players, the group had the option to hire one (or more) of the other characters as a henchman to bring the party up to size. The henchman would be controlled by the player, but only earn half xp and gold (taking a full share), nor participate in any roleplay (except to roll dice during checks). It worked fairly well, and was useful during a near TPK, with only 2 players having their henchman characters survive. Of course, they were really upset to find they only earned half the XP and gold when they got back to town...
 

Brak

Explorer
@Brak ,I just wanted to say congrats for making it 15 years on the boards and posting only 3 times. I was going to welcome you, but I'll award you the Ultimate Lurker Award instead. You cannot see it, but it looks like a gnome paladin in all his glory.
LOL. I think I am the "Ultimate Lurker" since I've read this board almost every day for those 15 years! :D Oh darn! Now I have 4 posts!
 


werecorpse

Adventurer
Way back I’ve played games with 2 players and a GM. In D&D each then controlled a couple of characters but that was seen as a somewhat undesirable necessity, as a way to get around the issue of a party “too small” for modules. Once we got up to 3+ players we tended to each choose a favourite and if it was needed the GM would run an NPC.

My regular game groups have 6 & 8 players now so we really have the opposite issue.
 


werecorpse

Adventurer
Only In a “learning the game“ style game iirc plus I have played some online play where the players knew they would have attendance issues so had someone ready to step in when they left - but not at the same time.
 

G

Guest 6801328

Guest
I will say that on occasions where I've played more than one character, I tend to not "inhabit" either character very deeply. The roleplaying tends to be pretty sparse.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
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.
That's how I've been running since covid hit: one player running a party of 4-6 characters. So far, so good, 10 months and about 60 sessions later.

In general, I almost always allow players to run two at once if they want; and at low level I actively encourage it such than if (when!) one dies the player still has the second to run.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Anyone ever do 2 players for 1 character? Now that would be something.
Once or twice, yes. I've seen it done where neither player could guarantee to be at every session but one usually would be (and if both showed up one got an NPC to run); and I've seen it done where two players each had a PC and shared a third one between them.
 

The closest I've ever done to multiple characters is throwing in a party NPC that the group played collectively. I would totally be down for it in principle, but I've never had a consistently small group of players who weren't newbies.

If I ever end up actually DMing Waterdeep Dragon Heist, I'll probably have everyone roll a sidekick and take turns bringing theirs along when everyone is actually at the session. The campaign involves basically never leaving the city and having a home base which is also a business, so until the climax at least it makes sense that one or more people would be back at home holding down the fort.
 

We're running a West Marches style campaign that kicks off tomorrow, actually. Each player can have up to 3 characters but they only choose one of them to play at any given session.
 

pming

Hero
Hiya!

It' happens ever now and then. It was more common back when we started in the early 80's (being so young everyone wanted to play everything...and different things every half hour!... LOL!). Eventually we matured into our early teens (about '84, I was 14/15 then) that went by the wayside in favour of getting actual "Henchmen". We played Henchmen as "not-quite-PC's-but-maybe-later". Some Henchmen even outlasted their original PC 'boss' (Ulo Ironbeard, 'Snake-Eyes', and Father...in particular).

Still, every now and then a Player will have an idea for a PC and want to give it a 'test run', so I'll let them bring it in to the group and the player then plays his main and his 'test'. Eventually one dies or the Player picks one and the other retires/leaves/whatever, or they officially hand over the reigns to me to run the PC as a sort of "quasi-Henchman" for the rest of that adventure.

Mostly...1 PC per Player though. Probably 95% of the time.

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Ace

Adventurer
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?

I used to do this back in the 1E and 2E days when the group was small or we wanted a larger party. I haven't done it since 3X since characters are capable enough on their own and the game is meant to balance at 4 PC's anyway.

Generally I have found that this type of play is not as good for "deep RP." type games however this isn't always the way the game is played. Tactical and Adventure driven games are just as valid and were quite common back in the day.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
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?
It is fine. Usually whenever I have less than 4 players, I ask the most experienced one if they want to play 2 PC at the same time. For a very old-feel game it's not inappropriate to have 2 or even 3 PC per player to reach party size 8-10.

While the "inmersive role-playing experience" may diminish, there are other potential interesting benefits: players are less likely to feel bad about PC death, and to concentrate on future character development instead of paying attention to the here and now. It certainly results in a very different style of game.
 

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

The first time I ever played, (2nd edition) the DM had us all make 3 characters.
In the first battle he killed off 1 character of each player (I assume to get a party of characters he was happy with?) and then we continued with the surviving two characters each.

The first games I ran in high school were usually only with one or two friends, so they mostly played a couple of characters each until I found more people that wanted to play and then we went to the one character per player stlye.

I've had one DM since playing 5E that had us each make 2 characters.
Like most things it has advantages and disadvantages.
 


For my next campaign, players will be allowed to have as many characters as they want, but they can only control one character at a time (they can swap “controlled” characters between adventures).

I‘ve always liked the idea of having a pool of characters but I’ve never done it as either player or DM. It seems like a good way to try out things you don’t usually play, or that you don’t want to feel stuck playing all the time.
 


I started in 2e, and I believe D&D was moving past multi-character play at that point. The notion of having a swarm of hirelings, while realistic in a medieval setting, is alien to me. (I would handwave this kind of thing as as G.)

Ironically I've done a little of that in Pathfinder 1e (one campaign) because we uplifted a dog and someone had to control him. And in 5e, we have two NPCs that we control in combat. (It's the Avernus adventure, and our characters know nothing about the planes, so we travel with two smarter NPCs. They are, of course, not as badass as us.)

IMO the game is generally too complicated to run with lots of hirelings; just keeping track of where they are to see if they get fireballed or not is too big of a problem. Same reason why we don't use mounts, not even for non-combat purposes (where are you keeping them, are smart bad guys killing then, etc). A typical reasonably experienced player is capable of handling a henchman.
 

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