D&D General PCs jumping to other campaigns/DMs

aco175

Legend
The other thread about PCs becoming NPCs after the player stopped playing or the group started another campaign got me to this thought. Would you allow Pcs to play in other games/campaigns with other DMs and come back?

I see on one hand where my group played in a series of rotating DMs for about a level each time and used the same group of PCs. It was more a beer and pretzels game where humor and throwing dice was more important. On the other hand, if I was the DM for a more serious campaign and we took two weeks off for holiday and a player came back and said they took the PC to grandma's and played so they are not 2 levels higher and oh, look at the cool item I now have, I would have to step in and cancel grandma's for the sake of the rest of the players.

I have played somewhere more in the middle where it seems a bit like Adventure League and people brought characters at certain levels together for an afternoon, but all the characters were retired from other games. Thoughts?
 

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Oofta

Legend
This is something we used to do all the time in the olden TSR days, but not any more. Outside of organized play of course.

But back in the day? When it could take forever to level up? It was much more common. You'd just show up with a PC ready to go and you were off to the races. Once in a while someone will recreate a favorite PC, especially if the group is starting at a higher level but they are created according to the rules everyone else follows.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
No. More hassle than it's worth. You open yourself to all kinds of "but the other referee" nonsense. Yes, I'm sure your other referee gave your 2nd-level character five free feats and a +4 katana of beheading, but that's not going to work here. You can easily make the character again, using the core rules and whatever house rules I'm running with. But I don't want to worry about players accidentally adding things to their sheets or having to accommodate whatever backstory or campaign elements the player wants to port over from any prior campaign they played in.
 


This used to be fairly common back in the 70s and 80s, although by no means universal. The community center that was the hub of D&D gaming when I started had about eight ongoing campaigns, and only two of them were "closed" while players (including GMs who weren't running that week) jumped around the rest more or less at will. No one much worried about the issues raised above, but those were also games where just being within 3-4 levels of the party average was good enough that no one worried about it much. Similar with the three RuneQuest games that ran most weeks, the gMs would just take whoever wanted to play till they were full and then another table would open.

Modern D&D (and roleplaying in general) is less amenable to that sort of thing. I remain uncertain on whether that's better, worse, or just different, but I haven't had a character jump between D&D campaigns since I was about fourteen.

Superhero games, though - at least for me the appearance of "guest stars" is still a thing sometimes.
 

This is something we used to do all the time in the olden TSR days, but not any more. Outside of organized play of course.

But back in the day? When it could take forever to level up? It was much more common. You'd just show up with a PC ready to go and you were off to the races. Once in a while someone will recreate a favorite PC, especially if the group is starting at a higher level but they are created according to the rules everyone else follows.
This was very much my experience playing back in the '80s as well. The mind set was that you needed to "earn" levels and treasure, so if you wanted to join a higher level campaign you needed to provide a character at the appropriate level. Before organized play, people in our group would take their characters from the home game into convention games, and if they came back with another level or better magic items that was accepted just is if they gained them in the home campaign.

I can't imagine anyone bothering with that today though - if you need a 10th level character to join a game, just make one up and go!
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
Feel free to take your character from my game into someone else's game, but the opposite is not happening. My group's expectation is that you will work with the GM and the other players to create a character that specifically fits the game we are playing and not to bring any baggage in with you. We've had players try to bring in characters from LARPs and/or other tabletop games and in the vast majority of cases they have not felt like they fit and there has often been an overattachment to the character, often in an attempt to do what they wanted to do in another game.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
This is something we used to do all the time in the olden TSR days, but not any more. Outside of organized play of course.

But back in the day? When it could take forever to level up? It was much more common. You'd just show up with a PC ready to go and you were off to the races. Once in a while someone will recreate a favorite PC, especially if the group is starting at a higher level but they are created according to the rules everyone else follows.

Yeah, back when I played OD&D in the mid-to-late 70's this was done all the time IME. These days it'd probably be harder to justify in most cases.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
The other thread about PCs becoming NPCs after the player stopped playing or the group started another campaign got me to this thought. Would you allow Pcs to play in other games/campaigns with other DMs and come back?

I see on one hand where my group played in a series of rotating DMs for about a level each time and used the same group of PCs. It was more a beer and pretzels game where humor and throwing dice was more important. On the other hand, if I was the DM for a more serious campaign and we took two weeks off for holiday and a player came back and said they took the PC to grandma's and played so they are not 2 levels higher and oh, look at the cool item I now have, I would have to step in and cancel grandma's for the sake of the rest of the players.

I have played somewhere more in the middle where it seems a bit like Adventure League and people brought characters at certain levels together for an afternoon, but all the characters were retired from other games. Thoughts?
I've allowed a player to bring a reviewed & approved character sheet from some other game back in 2e & 3.x/PF, but whatever game it was happened to some other individual. I don't care what some other gm allowed. The only time I'd allow table hopping PCs is a situation like when I'm running AL at a FLGs where shallow one offs are the expectation. The reliance on rulings not rules & the expectation that the GM build rules around holes & murky wording in 5e is just 100% not worth even considering it though. The player worldbuilding expectations that come from ballooning background from like a quarter of a page in 3.5phb (pg110) to like 15 pages in the phb & maybe a third of the character sheet just causes too many areas for disaster to consider it now,
 

SableWyvern

Adventurer
I'm not opposed to the idea in principle, but it wouldn't make any sense in the games I'm running. If the other GM's game was specifically designed to make sense in the context of my campaign, and it was possible to get the timings to mesh sensibly together, and it was something someone really wanted to do for some reason, then sure. But, other than actually running an open table with multiple GMs, I don't see the situation ever possibly arising.

Essentially, if the PC meets whatever the requirements are to exist in the specific campaign world as a PC, then whether or not they were played in another campaign wouldn't really be relevant. It seems pretty unlikely they would meet those requirements, though, if they were built for or spent time in a completely different campaign.
 

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