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Kirium

EXP for New Characters in ongoing Campaign

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Posted (edited)

So a PCs character jus died in an ongoing campaign and have now made the concept to a new one. But I wonder... Do I give them some boost in EXP to make sure they don't fall to much behind the others, or do I follow the standard rules?

I can see how both sides of this can have pros and cons, most notably where the cons can be that if a character dies and you get full EXP back you become less afraid to die in-game. But at the same time might it be quite boring to lvl up from scratch after the others have reached around 400-500 exp over multiple sessions. 

What to do, what to do?......
 

Edited by Kirium

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I would definitelly give the new character some catch-up EXP, but it depends on the group and game just how I would do it. Especially in Star Wars, I wouldn't just dump 500 EXP on a new character as there is/should be a learning curve and exploration element to a character (i.e. expanding their talent tree), so I might instead give the new character like... 100-150 starting EXP and then double their EXP reward after each session to fast-track their advance. Also, if your players are mature and reasonable people, just as them what they think would fit well with the group 🙂

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1 hour ago, dreenan said:

In our group, a new character would get the same amount of EXP the former one had.

No reason not to, in my opinion.

This is how I do it.  And if I have a new player just joining an ongoing campaign I normally start them at around 90% XP of the group so they don't feel like they they can't compare with the others.

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Posted (edited)

A similar question was asked in the past and it spawned a very contentious thread that spanned at least a year. Search at your own risk.

I think in this case, the big argument for not giving the new character the same or similar amount of XP really boils down to 2 points.

  1. The character will probably not advance as organically as they would have had they invested the same amount of XP over the course of several sessions.
  2. The player will have trouble remembering their talents and abilities compared to had they acquired them little by little.

For my group, while we enjoy RP, my players just don't think in terms of roleplay-based advancement. They're going to invest in whatever sounds cool. So #1 is not an issue for us. #2 is trickier. You have to look at the experience of the player. Do they know the rules well enough, and are they good at keeping track of that sort of thing?

Like the others above, I usually just give them the same XP at chargen (After spending their starting XP), and be done with it. However, the compromise  for and against is to maybe give them a little extra at chargen, and then put them on the fast track to catch up.

Edited by kaosoe

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I've had a few replacement characters and new players join a game that's been running for four years now. Characters started getting 20 xp per game, until we hit the 800 xp mark, and then it went down to 10. Even then, everyone us up to 1,200 xp.

With this in mind, the long-running characters have grown very organically. When a PC has died or been retired, or when a new player has joined the session, I've usually started them out with creating a character with 50 percent of the accrued XP, then once they've spent all of that XP and realised they've had to give up on a few tasty talents, give them another batch of XP to round them out and bring them up to 70 percent. I've also arbitrarily given them a lump sum of credits. The last character got 20k, so they could have two superior items and some fun stuff in between, but not enough to put everyone else to shame.

Then while the other PCs get the usual amount of XP, I've given new characters greatly boosted amounts, with the aim of bringing them to the same XP levels as original PCs in 5-6 sessions. This accomplishes a couple of things.

  1. It gives the characters an in-game reason to want to stick with the group, because they feel like they are getting out of a rut. They may have been badass bounty hunters, ruthless mercs or hardboiled detectives, but they've never had adventures like they do with this group.
  2. It gives players the chance to see how their build works at the table, and rough out the discrepancy between what they thought they should be able to do in their head and what they can in game (a brute being able to lie his way out of a bad situation, a mechanic to bludgeon people with a hydro-spanner).

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2 hours ago, Talkie Toaster said:

Given how forgiving this system is, in general, you only die if you want to- if you push your luck doing something heroic or OTT. Not giving full XP ends up punishing players for creating fun stories.

That is a very good point 🙂

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There is something about growing a character organically, but some of that is just gaming style.  If your player is well-versed in the system, and isn't going to be scanning his new character going "I thought I had True Aim???" and bogging the game down, then pile it on.  But otherwise it might be handy, and even fun, to start them lower and just accelerate their progress until they catch up.

Hazing the new guy and making them prove themselves is a pretty common trope after all, and useful in this context.  But some of it will depend on your game and how lethal failure is.

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If handing out any catch-up earned XP (which I do recommend), then make sure that the new character goes through the standard character generation process before dumping the catch-up XP on him. This is partly to ensure that the catch-up XP isn't accidentally spent on characteristics (which can't be improved directly by XP after character generation; instead the character must buy Dedication talents on specialization trees).

If using the "Quick Path to Power" optional rule (from Collapse of the Republic), that too can only be used during the standard character generation process.

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10 hours ago, salamar_dree said:

That's not entirely true. A Critical result of 141+ will kill a PC.

Right, but against most adversaries (those without Vicious) that means you need to have suffered at least five crits in order to even have a slight risk of death. You're well aware of the fact you're at risk, and for your character to die you have to choose to still put yourself out there despite that. It's not like, say, D&D where you could die in a normal combat without any warning just because your GM got lucky.

Even disruptors or starship-scale weapons & explosives (if you're doing the 'roll a crit at +50' suggested rules) only have a small chance of killing an unwounded character.

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