In Memorium

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Those of us who have played tabletop RPGs for a long time tend to have a long list of characters that we have played over the years. I know that in my gaming career I have had the chance to play nearly every class that D&D 3.5 had to offer, as well as a handful from other systems.  Some characters we like more than others. Some we loved. While talking with my players a while ago, we stumbled across an idea that would let us give our favorite characters another go-round.

It’s really a simple concept. Everyone who is going to player just gathers up their favorite character and the GM (myself) plans a session that will let all of those characters adventure together. It’s a one-off session, so there is no need to worry about continuity, and since many of these characters have died once already, there’s no reason that they have to survive this session either. Everyone gets a chance to let their favorite character come back to life for one more go-round.

There are, of course, a few problems with this idea that have to be addressed by the GM. The first that comes to mind is that of balance. I know that when my group does this that we will have characters that are of vastly different levels. Some of the favorite characters bought it when they were only 3rd level, while others were closer to 11. That means that a lot of care will have to be taken to make sure that the low-level guys don’t get smashed right when the session begins.

The other problem that could arise is that of what rule system to use. It’s not a problem for my group, really, as we’ve only used D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder. Those two systems are so close in style that I can adjust some things on the fly and  it should all work smoothly. But what happens when someone has a favorite characters from Call of Cthulu, another from Deadlands, a third from D&D 4e and the last person still gets weepy when they think about their D&D 1st Edition Assassin. I can hear some of you out there shouting “GURPS! GURPS!” and I would kindly ask you to go sit in the corner and think about what you’ve done. No GURPS. Bad gamer, bad.

My solution for this would likely be to just adjudicate everything on the fly. This isn’t a serious session and I don’t think that my players would care too much. Just have them roll their dice as they would in their systems of origin and figure it out from there. It would make for some interesting situations, given that the Call of Cthulu character is the only one who would be in danger of losing their sanity, and balance would be right out of the window, but I think it would be fun.

The whole point of a session like this is to give these favorite characters a chance to shine again and to let your players play their favorite heroes one more time. As long as things remain fun and let your players have that time in the sun, then I think putting the onus of a rough system translation on the shoulders of the GM is no big deal. I think this is especially true as a Memorial session is a great chance for the GM to bring back his or her favorite traps and villains.

<Insert evil laugh here>

[tags]tabletop, RPGs, GMing, rpg[/tags]

3 thoughts on “In Memorium

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  1. If you haven’t ever heard of the old game system “Tales from the Floating Vagabond,” you might want to look it up. The conceit is that the characters are patrons (new or old) of a bar that is outside of time and space, and so it’s specifically set up to accommodate characters from widely differing backgrounds. It’s a beer-and-pretzels sort of game, so it’s got a simplified (and comical) rules system of its own and all your characters would have to be rewritten, but it can be a great tool for exactly what you describe.


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