D&D General PCs jumping to other campaigns/DMs

As an addendum to my earlier post, one of the most entertaining (albeit confusing) early D&D experiences I can remember was a night at that community center where we had five D&D tables going and the GMs had all set up a common story around their players going through magical gates to each others' tables to resolve a quest. Our group of 3rd to 6th level characters started on one table and over the course of an eight hour session (oh, to be young again) we moved through all four of the others and finally back home again. It being OD&D and all, we left a whole bunch of corpses behind us, recruited new blood form other campaigns as replacements, and had a couple of PC decide to stay behind on one table or another rather than continue traveling. The GMs all had different styles and hadn't really coordinated their overall plans much beyond trying to get people through a gate to the next table within a couple of hours tops - which in one case involved a greased slide trap, and another used the "This way to see the egress" chestnut from Barnum & Bailey's circus.

It was stupidly chaotic and at least one group was clearly out to kill or at least rob every "foreign" PC they crossed paths with, but it still sticks in my memory after nearly half a century. Probably never going to get to do anything like that again, and I'm not sure I'd want to. It would spoil the unique feel of the original experience.

For anyone curious, my 3rd level human fighter wound up getting an arm bitten off, then later had a small troll's arm stuck on as a replacement, and finally staggered home broke, naked below the waist, and with a bunch of dirty tattoos on my back where I couldn't see them, but I did live through it and the quest reward was a whole level, so I'll call that a win. "Lefty" became his new nickname, and I believe he lasted another two weeks before meeting a messy demise in an acid trap, big old troll arm and all.
 
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aco175

Legend
As an addendum to my earlier post, one of the most entertaining (albeit confusing) early D&D experiences I can remember was a night at that community center where we had five D&D tables going and the GMs had all set up a common story around their players going through magical gates to each others' tables to resolve a quest. Our group of 3rd to 6th level characters started on one table and over the course of an eight hour session (oh, to be young again) we moved through all four of the others and finally back home again. It being OD&D and all, we left a whole bunch of corpses behind us, recruited new blood form other campaigns as replacements, and had a couple of PC decide to stay behind on one table or another rather than continue traveling. The GMs all had different styles and hadn't really coordinated their overall plans much beyond trying to get people through a gate to the next table within a couple of hours tops - which in one case involved a greased slide trap, and another used the "This way to see the egress" chestnut from Barnum & Bailey's circus.

It was stupidly chaotic and at least one group was clearly out to kill or at least rob every "foreign" PC they crossed paths with, but it still sticks in my memory after nearly half a century. Probably never going to get to do anything like that again, and I'm not sure I'd want to. It would spoil the unique feel of the original experience.

For anyone curious, my 3rd level human fighter wound up getting an arm bitten off, then later had a small troll's arm stuck on as a replacement, and finally staggered home broke, naked below the waist, and with a bunch of dirty tattoos on my back where I couldn't see them, but I did live through it and the quest reward was a whole level, so I'll call that a win. "Lefty" became his new nickname, and I believe he lasted another two weeks before meeting a messy demise in an acid trap, big old troll arm and all.
This sounds rather fun if it can be pulled off. Maybe something with random players swapping tables.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
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.
Would the same player be fine with joining the group back, and then noticing everyone else has gained 10 levels, and being told he has to play at 8 levels lower?

Would you allow Pcs to play in other games/campaigns with other DMs and come back?
I am not going to spy over other people's games, if a player wants to bring exactly the same PC to another table, it is not my business to interfere.

But obviously, what happens at the other table is not going to change what's on our own.
 

This sounds rather fun if it can be pulled off. Maybe something with random players swapping tables.
It would probably be easier to do if you didn't have a player base with ages ranging from 11 to 50-something, too. That community center was a big old ball of informal chaos back in the day and few people took their gaming very seriously. The ones who did played at "closed" tables and quietly did their own thing while chuckling at our shenanigans. Usually the open tables would be a little more age-clustered (and getting invited into playing with a more adult group was seen as a bit of rite of passage by us kids) but with everyone hopping tables that night things were more mixed than usual.
 
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Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I've done it - played the same character in different games, even entirely different systems - pretty much the Background was allowed to follow as well as any approved items (mounts, items) but the mechanical build had to be tweaked to match the 'new' game.
 

Somewhat tangentially, does any remember TSR's short-lived Amazing Engine RPG? It had a strange central premise where you'd play a character in whichever of the eight campaign setting books they published (or presumably a homebrew one of the GM's, but that was never really stated IIRC), and the experience you earned could either be applied toward your current character for immediate improvements or dedicated to your "player core" instead. Doing the latter meant all your future characters (both in the current setting if you died/retired and new ones in a different setting/campaign) would get improved starting stats. Effectively you could opt to skip your PC getting better to level yourself as a gamer up forever onward.

Not the same as jumping PCs between campaigns (which wasn't even hinted at, each book was its own independent thing), but it your actions in one game could wind up influencing every other AE game you ever played in. So kind of loosely related as a concept. If it hadn't flopped so badly (the books were in remaindered discount bins all over the place for the back half of the 90s) it would undoubtedly have produced some of the problems campaign-hopping can, with people claiming absurd amounts of experience for their player cores that let their new PCs start out much stronger than a new player. All XP legitimately obtained in games their grandmother ran for them, of course. :)

Only game I can think of that did anything even slightly like that was R. Talsorian's Dream Park, where you as a real-world player was adopting the role of an in-game "Player" PC who was in turn adopting a series of different roles in what amounted to AR Games within the TTRPG - and to add to the confusion, your PC could step out of their AR Game role during "breaks in the Game" to do stuff within the reality of the TTRPG's broader setting - usually corporate counter-espionage or mystery solving sort of stuff. Harder to describe than to actually play, but still a bit of a Russian nesting doll of roleplaying.
 

ichabod

Legned
I'd probably allow it, if they player was willing to fit the character into my character creation rules, and fit the character's story into my world. But my world is big. There's plenty of room for other places to adventure for a while.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Would the same player be fine with joining the group back, and then noticing everyone else has gained 10 levels, and being told he has to play at 8 levels lower?

Just a note, back in the days when this was common people often had large groups of characters that they'd play different ones in different sessions, so there wasn't as much sense of "this particular character goes with these other particular characters". If someone went off and got played extensively so he'd leveled up several times, he probably wouldn't be playing with the same characters he'd often played with before when he returned.
 

Clint_L

Hero
Nowadays I don;t see a lot of cross-pollination, but back when I started it was pretty standard. Although I played a variety of characters, the first one I ever rolled was my main, and I would play him at whatever games I was invited to. Within our core group, we had different campaigns run by different DMs, and my ranger played in all of them. And on the lucky occasions when we got to play with the group of college students where my friend's older brother DMed, I still used my main.
 
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