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Multi-character or character-hopping games.

   
Multi-character or character-hopping games.

I am curious to see if anyone has experienced games that involve sudden shifts in point of view, or that involved having multiple characters per player. Whether it's attempting to run such a game or as a player.

I am working on a homebrew setting and adventure(s) that involves three separate factions, which separated geographically, racially, culturally, and religiously. My original idea involved you starting at level three as one faction but after a few levels your point of view would be shifted as you took control of another character from one of the other two factions (the party would remain together throughout the changes). The shifting is story driven, and not just for fun. You would return to your original characters, which would be considered the protagonists of the story, but on occasion the shifting would happen for story progression.

Has anyone played a game like this? Does this sound like it could be fun, or just annoying? Would it be better to just pick a single faction and tell the entire story just from their point of view?

I did notice that the Pathfinder playtest adventure does something similar but have not had the chance to play it or run it yet.

We did that today. This one player is kind of a second DM and has several characters that are very plot-relevant. He only plays one at a time though. But today, we (in-character) found out about a plot where evil dragons sneak into the city and into the sewers to plant bombs. There were 7 dragons in all and were going into the sewers in 3 groups. So we brought in every character any of us had ever played that hadn't outright died. Some of the players had switched characters a few times besides the plot-relevant guy so we had a nice little group of PCs. And we all split up to take on the dragons.

Fights One and Two were over in just 2 rounds each. Fight Three took 2 hours. We all swore never to pair those particular characters together by themselves ever again. The dragon couldn't hurt them but they couldn't hurt the dragon either.

It sounds like a variant of something that has been semi-formalized in various RPGs as "Troupe Play" - basically the players generate a group of PC's switching from character to character as needs or story demands. I think Ars Magica came up with the formal name for it, but it's been kicking around in games since the beginning - the old OD&D/AD&D habit of having PCs run large groups of hirelings and retainers where NPCs would be elevated to
Your 13th level fighter is now a Lord playing diplomacy at the barony level, but his 5th level retainer can be sent out on bandit squashing, dungeon clearing adventures with the player taking control, etc.
PC status was is arguably the start of it.

. . . which is all just really a footnote to this: the idea sounds awesome and there's no reason Pathfinder or any other system can't handle it. Go for it! Just so long as you communicate with your players up front (or, conversely, they trust you enough to roll with an unexplained character switch) you should be golden. The only point of caution I can think to provide is to allow enough flexibility such that the actions taken by the PC's in their alternate characters matter, even if it's just in small ways.

I misread that as "Trope Play" at first, and imagined that you were going to demand five players in a Five-Man Band or the classic Four-Person Party in a quintessentially Quasi-Medieval Fantasy Setting.

I've done this before. In the first story I GMed here, I had players hop between two different PCs each. One PC was low level, stuck inside the fantasy world, while the other was higher level in a relatively high tech "real world" that basically treated the fantasy world like The Truman Show-level reality tv program.

It worked pretty darn well, honestly, but as always, it comes down to your players. If you have folks who are true roleplayers who don't just endlessly play different versions of themselves, this can be a blast; if you don't, it'll be a frustrating exercise, most likely.

I don't know if that is what you mean, but in a game I play, the GM runs side adventures when he says. stop, here are your new characters: and he distributes pregens and puts us into a totally different situation. After a relatively short, but significant scene, he will tell us to give back the pregens and to take our main characters again. More specifically, the main game is a Legend of the Five Rings game where we play a bunch of magistrates pursuing a suspected criminal, and the side game has us playing ratfolk (nezumi) pursuing a monster that has hurt an ally of theirs, and who happen to travel with the aforementioned suspect... las session, we did find and kill the monster, so I don't know what will happen next time we play (in december or January).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirlot View Post
The only point of caution I can think to provide is to allow enough flexibility such that the actions taken by the PC's in their alternate characters matter, even if it's just in small ways.
The plan is that the events while playing the alternate characters will have a direct impact on the "main" protagonists. While it may not be necessarily obvious or immediate changes, but will affect how the rest of the story plays out.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Svartalf View Post
I don't know if that is what you mean, but in a game I play, the GM runs side adventures when he says. stop, here are your new characters: and he distributes pregens and puts us into a totally different situation. After a relatively short, but significant scene, he will tell us to give back the pregens and to take our main characters again. More specifically, the main game is a Legend of the Five Rings game where we play a bunch of magistrates pursuing a suspected criminal, and the side game has us playing ratfolk (nezumi) pursuing a monster that has hurt an ally of theirs, and who happen to travel with the aforementioned suspect... las session, we did find and kill the monster, so I don't know what will happen next time we play (in december or January).
Pretty close, though the characters probably won't be pre-generated and in most cases will last for more than a single scene.

I once played elven twins, it was the most fun I ever had. I would totally do it again.

I ran one once that had a high level party that was high fantasy hero play. The other was a lower level grittier play. The group was more of an organized crime family. The region was being involved by an empire that was walling to use black magic and evil tactics. The high level party did their hero thing, while the low level party tried stay out of the conflict. However, eventually they got pulled into the shadow war aspect of the conflict.

It was fun because it was very different character builds that focused on very different aspects of the story arc. The person playing the high level paladin was running an assassin build in the other party.

I've a few times wondered about trying the "two paired characters" thing, where e.g. one character from each set dreams of being the other, or something. I've never really turned it into a proper game idea, though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DirgeSheverish View Post
I once played elven twins, it was the most fun I ever had. I would totally do it again.
I misread that as "eleven twins", which would not really be twins and probably also not physically possible. Probably a lot of bookkeeping to play, too.







 

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