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evo454

Is it time to start a new game?

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This question hit me the other night when we were playing and it became even more obvious that the characters my folks made are not quite where they should be at the level of experience they have (a couple hundred).

We have been using these characters for about a year, and everyone is really attached to them, but there is one glowing issue: these were the characters we have been learning the game with. They've been through rule changes, mechanics misunderstandings, and plenty of random tests and balancing encounters. The characters are rather broken because of this, and so it has become more and more difficult to keep going with them (they can deal loads of damage, but take very little besides the Murder Bot, and so I have found it hard to give them challenging encounters that feel like a struggle, but aren't too hard or too easy).

Now that we have a better understanding of the rules, have more experience playing the game, and would be better prepared for a genuine campaign (as opposed to the mash-up story we've got at the moment), should we simply decide to conclude the story of these characters and start again? My group seems to be interested in the Rise of the Separatists book coming out soon(?).

Edited by evo454

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Have a discussion with the players and decide what you want between them.

Our campaign has been going on a couple of years, but has had a character rebuild (from non-force based mechanic to force based mechanic, with basically the same skills), and character change (retiring one character and bringing another back with totally different skills).

There is no right or wrong answer.

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On a more detailed note, make a roll of it.  Come up with a nice results chart and have them pick a skill like a 1 roll resolution.  Roll against 5 Reds and see what happens, have them go from there.  Death, cloning, triumphant escape, whatever.  Then they tell everyone what happened to their character.  Bob narrowly escaped our last harrowing scene with one less leg and new found appreciation for Dodge.  Doug took one for the team and when his brother showed up to the funeral he took a vow of revenge, etc.  You get the idea.

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In my group we rotate GMs, games and systems every few months. In a few weeks I'll be taking over again and we'll be going back to my Star Wars campaign. Now that the players are more familiar with the system, I'm going to get the players to regenerate their characters at their current XP level. Maybe that could help your group as well, Evo? They get to keep the characters they love, but do a refit on them so they work the way they're supposed to.

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In addition to the great suggestions here, you could also do a time-skip in game of a few months, and let the players all reclaim all their XP, reduce their characters back to starting level, and re-spend all their XP from scratch. That way you sort of get the best of both worlds. 

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With a pre-published 'venture (e.g. MOTPQ) the players and GM understand there will be a definite end...we played through D&D 5E Curse of Strahd taking us to level 9 as we missed one 'level up' encounter (we killed that undead mofo btw)..  it had highs & lows, near PC death events etc. BUT it came to and end..in one way I was relieved and part of me wanted to take the PCs all the way to level 20...

If the players want to start with new PCs give them a narrative opportunity to end it, For CoS we decided to stay in Vallaki!!! O_o ...but because the NPC that aided us was Mordenkainen himself we had him set up a portal to Faerun... sorted and if we ever fancy a level 9 game we can dust them off once in a while.

If your running your own sandbox set some 'rest points' along the way..e.g. 20xp/50xp/75xp/100xp... dunno... or set a final XP level.. self written sandbox games are great  IMO but they require tons of work.

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On 12/4/2018 at 4:39 AM, Dafydd said:

I'm going to get the players to regenerate their characters at their current XP level. Maybe that could help your group as well, Evo?

I have thought about doing this, but haven't suggested it yet. Whenever we are free to get together I'm loathe to waste the blue moon opportunity of everyone having a free evening then risk us being booked solid for the next month. I may just go one by one and have them do it individually so by next session we can all be on the same level (in a sense, not literally).

 

19 hours ago, ExpandingUniverse said:

If your running your own sandbox set some 'rest points' along the way..e.g. 20xp/50xp/75xp/100xp... dunno... or set a final XP level.. self written sandbox games are great  IMO but they require tons of work.

Ours is very much a sandbox game. We started with the module in the back of the Edge of the Empire book and then just kept going from there. The final point we have loosely established is that they want to kill their former employer. That's what they are working on at the moment, but that's the end-game for them.

Thank you all for the advice! I personally want to start a new campaign when Rise of the Separatists comes out (whenever it does, though I've still not seen a date on it...) so that the guy in our group who wants to be a force user can do it (I banned them initially because I wanted us to know the base system before complicating things). In the mean time, however, I will try and get the characters reworked and re-balanced so that we can finish the current story.

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Darzil's suggestion is by far the best one.

Sit down with the players (preferably at a time other than game night) and have a frank discussion with them.  I've run several long-runner campaigns that eventually reached a point where I had to pull the plug as they simply weren't fun for me to run or for the players to really play in.

As others have said, running "open sandbox" campaigns can be fun, but it's also a lot of work and after a while many GMs simply get tired and want to run something else, or perhaps even be a player for a change of pace.  But as Lorne noted, that you're already thinking about putting your current campaign to bed is probably a good sign that it is perhaps time to bring this campaign to a conclusion.

Though do be certain to discuss it with your players, let them know that you're thinking about bringing this game to a conclusion with as much advance notice as you can manage.  I'm in the process of winding down a Force and Destiny campaign that I've been running off and on (in this group, we rotate games and GMs) since the F&D core rulebook came out, and let the players know months in advance that I will be bringing things to a conclusion, one that I've had roughly in mind since the campaign started (even if one of the players threw a huge monkey wrench in what I'd had outlined for campaign events that required me to ditch about half of it); I've got one player that's gnashing his teeth over it as he found out how much he really enjoyed playing a bona-fide Jedi type (something he'd never really done prior to this campaign) but the rest of the group are cool with it and looking forward to seeing how it all wraps up.

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I know I’m late to this party, but I’ll just add in my two cents.

I’ve been here before with several games and it can be tough for players to want to retire their original characters. If after the previously suggested discussion if it turns out your players are okay with moving on I’d suggest giving them a real tight send-off ending. Go through all your notes and revisit NPCs and places that mean things to these characters and have it center around a really tight plot. 

It should also be possible for you to make it seem as if a central villain has been pulling the strings of the campaign the whole time, even if you didn’t purposely plan for it. Writers use this trick all the time of going back through their material (in this case, the GM’s notes) and looking for overall themes/characters/concepts to focus on. Just connect these to a villain (possibly an iconic one or a NPC they weren’t suspecting) and it’ll tie up the end of the campaign.

These first characters will be legends in the player’s minds, and you should remember that and treat it as such. They should wrap things up pretty tight during the last session, and just for kicks you should drop hints of their accomplishments in future campaigns.

Edited by Flavorabledeez

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Good question!!!!  I (we) have run into this issue with about every new system we play.  The "first" characters are a hodgepodge of stuff we add while getting used to the system.  The Rise of the Separatists is a good excuse to make a second batch of characters.  It's the right call, there.  But, as you said, they're attached to them. 

Here's what you do (IMO). After deciding as a group that you want to play the Rise of the Sep setting with newly-made PC's, you set up a "Grand Finale" for the existing group.  Something BIG.  A series of 2-3-4 adventures to finish up that run of characters.  This will give the Players some closure, a clean break from one to the other.  Make it clear this is a do-or-die, let-the-dice-fall-where-they-may adventure series. Wrap all of that "mash-up" campaign into one ending.  Maybe various foes join forces against them? The existing PC's will face their biggest foes, confront their biggest fears, and have a chance to conquer them all....or fail.  They'll get to see how their "story" ends. Save the Rebellion?  Defeat the Hutt?  Take over a criminal organization?  Pay off that bounty? End up in prison? Slaves in the spice mines?  You can start with Obligations and take it from there.  Wrap it all up!

Now, this does NOT mean that they cannot come back to this group should they all want to do so, but they'd have a new beginning to start with.  By the end of the Grand Finale, they'll either be standing victorious with no foes to oppose them, or be utterly defeated working in the spice mines of Kessel (for example).  But either way, coming back would be a brand new beginning. 

Good luck!  

 

 

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