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D&D General PCs jumping to other campaigns/DMs


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I've run in shared world campaigns, where it's the same world but multiple DMs. I have no problem with that.

I generally run homebrew setting, so unless I was starting at a high level it would be pretty hard but not impossible to justify someone coming into the game. I'd be willing to work with the player to do that. But that does mean that they will be disconnected from the history and unique features of this world and potentially a sense of alienation, which could be a fun plot/RP points or could be not-as-fun, so it would need to be talked over carefully. That said, I would want them to be recreated with the character creation rules I am using, so their ability scores, levels, equipments (or whatever for the game I'm using) match the power level of the other characters. My one caveat is that I ask for heroic or at least "good-adjacent" characters and usually want a Call to Adventure and connections to the world in backstory, so I would ask the player to craft a reason why they are willing to potentially lay down their life for this world.

I've got no beef with a character leaving the world to join another. If given a bit of warning I'll make the opportunity come up in play in their last session if it's something like moving.

All of that said, I'd prefer characters for the game I'm running. I greatly enjoy worldbuilding, start with broad strokes give players some authorial control over fleshing out around their characters and adding the details, and like working character connections into the story. I can still do character arcs without it, but a character arc to "get back to my friends in another world" is ultimately a "retire the character from this game" arc so I'd prefer something else.

EDIT: Just to add, I can't think of it coming up in more than a decade.

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A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
This was the norm when I played Basic and Advanced D&D in the 80s.

This style of play still loves on in Adventurer's League, but that comes with a bunch of additional rules for league-legal PCs.

For the campaigns that I run? Nope. Players all make their characters together at session zero. If someone leaves my game and wants to take their PC with them and run in another game, fine. But I'm generally not going let someone bring a character from another campaign into mine. I'm not saying I would NEVER do this, but it would be difficult to see how this would work. It isn't really the mechanical aspects I'm concerned about but the back story is highly unlikely to make sense. And if you start adjusting the back story, its not really the same character from the prior campaign.

Maybe it would work if I were running in more popular settings like Forgotten Realms or Eberron, but I'm not. The only campaign I could see this working in in the decade I've run 5e campaigns would have been Curse of Strahd, where that nature of that demiplane makes it very easy, story wise to bring someone into it with their entire backstory from a prior campaign. In that campaign, as long as the PC was level appropriate for where the other PCs were within that campaign, I would not have had an issue with someone bringing in their character from another campaign.

Li Shenron

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.
In a context larger than the previous limited example, I probably wouldn't mind if someone went off playing elsewhere, levelled up X levels, then came back to join our game where the others have ALSO levelled up X levels. I'd check the equipment before approval though.

In a context larger than the previous limited example, I probably wouldn't mind if someone went off playing elsewhere, levelled up X levels, then came back to join our game where the others have ALSO levelled up X levels. I'd check the equipment before approval though.
Yeah, you really have to check to see what stuff got handed out by other GMs and decided what will fly in your game and what needs tweaking. People have wildly different ideas about what stuff - especially 3PP stuff - is legit, and there's always oddball homebrew custom stuff - although that was much more common in days of olde. :) Sometimes you can tweak to fit by adding a drawback (or even a benefit if it's too weak) in your campaign that wasn't there originally, sometimes not.

For ex, that character I talked about upthread that got a lost arm replaced with a troll arm instead had greater strength in one arm and a claw attack he could use in place of a weapon under the GM who gave it to me. When Lefty got back home and settled in, the GM there let me keep it but also declared that if it got cut off again or if I died, the arm would regenerate into a hostile and very hungry troll again and attack. That seemed pretty balanced given that we were mostly 4th or 5th level and the prospect of a sudden pop-up troll was a real menace.

In hindsight, he was being nice to the party when he killed poor Lefty in an acid trap. The arm didn't regen from that. :)


Morkus from Orkus
A long time ago, in an edition far, far from my shelves, I once allowed characters from other games. Then I noticed a glut of 18s for stats and characters glowing like Christmas trees from all the powerful magic items, so I stopped allowing it.

As for taking characters to other games, I've tried it a few times over the decades and it never worked out. I just never felt comfortable playing those characters in settings they weren't from and much different circumstances. I haven't tried that in many years.


I do not think it is a problem letting a new player join the group and at the level the party is at. It seems most people might let a character in after looking at them and seeing if they fit in the campaign, generally mostly in terms of items and power.

There might not be a difference in me making up a 5th level PC and seeing if it fits into your game or bringing a PC that is 5th level from my stack of past character and bringing it to your game. Or me making a Bob2 if you say I cannot bring an old PC to your game.


Lurker Extraordinaire
I read the OP as saying the player has a PC that is being actively played in my game, and he plays that same character in another game and when he shows up for the next session of my game the characters has the experience, treasure, and magic gained from the other game.

Hard no from me. I couldn’t care less if the players uses the same character in another game, but the version in my game can only benefit from what has occurred in my game.


If you like playing the same character across multiple games (I know some people who play the same character from D&D to World of Warcraft), sure, they can have the same name, personality, core concept etc... Provided those fit the campaign we're running. I'd strongly encourage a player to not bring over their Paladin to a game about Thieves' Guild conspiracies where everyone is meant to be an outlaw.

Even with that general permission, your character is a new iteration on their key concept. They won't have their adventures from other games (they might have something similar if we're starting at a higher level or something), this is a different canon, and if you're okay with that, no worries.

However, the idea of the exact same character going from one GM's game to another is just not something that fits my playstyle. I know it was done in the early days, but even then, I think it relied on the fiction of a uniformity of rules that simply wasn't true. The game differs too much from GM to GM for this to be hassle-free (unless you really heavily standardise rules like organised play does).
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James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
So a few years back, a friend of mine and I were invited to a 5e game. The premise was that the PC's would be dragged to an unknown world to fulfill a prophecy. We decided to remake a pair of 3e characters we had that worked well together, which was interesting, as some of the options had obviously changed.

For example, his Bard/Barbarian/Dragon Disciple was now a Barbarian/Dragon Sorcerer. And my Cleric with the Magic Domain was now an Arcana Cleric with a level of Wizard. We were having a blast, but the DM seemed bothered by something.

A few sessions in, he finally admitted that he was intimidated by our backstories and how well our characters worked together- he felt our stories were overshadowing his own adventure (?) and that we'd taken over the game, because any time there was a decision, we had a "voting bloc" that could often force the other players into doing what we thought was best.

I have to admit, I was a little blindsided- as others have noted, back in the day, bringing old characters to new tables was just the thing you did. Sure, I had a 8-page backstory and a journal of my past adventures (which I was updating for this new one) and sometimes the other player and I would share anecdotes of our past or use pre-arranged tactics, but the premise was that everyone was already an experienced adventurer, so this was simply the sort of thing you'd expect...right?

In the end, I suppose it just goes to show that not every DM wants to deal with old baggage.

I never gave it much thought, but I wonder when characters moving from one campaign to another stopped being a thing, and why.

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