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Secondary Characters

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I’ve been having a think about this recently and I’m up for some feedback.


I’m GM’ing a game which has been going on for a little while now and I’m thinking of adding in an option for spicing things up a bit for the players. Basically I’m thinking of giving them the option of playing a secondary character if they so choose. This has come about as at least one of the members of the group is a little bored with his char (a medic) but at the same time doesn’t want to kill him off because he has survived a while and he is still attached to him. The reason for his boredom seems to stem from his stat choices, he is an uber healer and good on the intelligent stuff but not great in a fight.


The plan is to give the players the option of creating a secondary, a character who would be brand spanking new but that the player could opt to play with for a given mission. The fluff for this is that the chars (or at least the sarge) are currently in charge of a platoon so have an expanded pool of manpower to choose from. I know that generally the IG wouldn’t mix and match squad personnel but I’m willing to bodge the rules a little bit for the sake of fun times. The new char would gain EXP separately from the main char and would only be able to changed at appropriate points like in a base or other gathering of the entire platoon.


I can see some problems with it. Such as a gulf of exp if one player doesn’t opt for a secondary but the rest do. Also the leakage of information from one character to another who is owned by the same player. Still I’d like you thoughts.



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I started a thread about exactly this a few weeks ago.




Unfortunately nobody bothered to reply


so here it is:


All players create two characters with different specilisations. 


In downtime between missions the player can switch between characters to represent replacements or misson specialists being attatched from other units in the regiment. For example if one character is injured he can be left to rest and recover at base whilst the player uses his other character.


This way not only do players have a premade replacement guardsman who might have earned some xp already if one of their characters dies, but players can also exerience a more varied game using two different tactical approaches.


We fluffed it out as our platoon having two squads who had to be kept apart due to a number of personal rivalries i.e. If we take jeff rom squad 1, jake from squad 2 will have to stay behind.

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I did toy with the idea that to learn a new skill or talent a character has to switch out for a some downtime. (subjecto GM discretion) as a method of tackling the RPG problem of characters magically learning incredibly environment appropriate things "overnight" and defusing the challenge of a plot.


e.g. (the old way.)

last session we left the Meatgrindian III "meat heads" in a severely damaged drop ship crashing into a star with a life-eater virus bomb aboard.


Player 1 "Don`t worry guys, I just remembered I have extensive technical training I`ll handle this bomb in no time."


Player 2 "I just realised I`m a fully trained pilot for aeronautical craft and voidships."


Player 3 "That`s awfully convienent."


Player 2 "Well, I`m glad we got that sorted out... so who`s up for deserting?" *BLAM* [head explodes]


Player 4 [ lowers bolt pistol] "there will be no more talk to deserting, also I seem to have summarily executed our pilot." 


(lame hamstrung plot with no tension)


The new way


Player 1 " I tried to defuse the bomb, but I just managed to half the timer."


Player 2 "I tried to pilot the ship but I`m only signed off for walkers and chimeras."


Player 3 "**** it Jim I`m a doctor not a tech priest!" *BLAM* [head explodes]


Player 4 "None of this defeatist talk, try harder!"


(tense action packed play ensues)

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lol Sounds fun.


I try to keep it so that unless there is downtime reason then they have to justify the progeress. This isn’t too hard as most of the time they go through their own “tree” so to speak. So, gunners get better at shooting, The Sarge gets better at shouting and the medic gets to be a better healer. It’s only when they go off track do I ask for the justification.


The other fun thing I’m hoping for with secondarys is a bit more of the “gung ho” spirit. Players tend to get a bit precious over long running characters. Hopefully it means they will do a bit more of the reckless fighting the IG is known for.


Finally, it opens up the opportunity for multi viewpoint acts, without splitting up the team. Say you were attacking a base of some sort. You could have the group first play as the covert group sent in to infiltrate and open the gates. As soon as this is done you could switch to the primaries who are leading the actual assault with the main force.

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