Introducing a new character can be hard, especially in a well established campaign. The players have to decide if they wanna go heavy role-play and ask the hard questions, or kind of gloss over the “why” question and accept this new development as canon right away. From the GMs side of things, it can be really difficult to adjust any of your prepared material to accommodate an extra player’s worth of resources in order to provide a full Illinois experience. Not to mention making sure that everything makes sense in the long run. I’d like to give some helpful pointers and tips that I’ve picked up that might help you in this situation!
One of the Bad Guys
So one of the most interesting ways to introduce a new character in my opinion is to make them a bad guy when you introduce them. To clarify, I don’t mean make them part of a combat encounter. Maybe something like a one time messenger, or a captured member of a criminal organization. Hell, maybe even the leader of one! The party meets them and naturally pull on the “goodness” in this new Player Character to draw them into the fold. Not only does this make it interesting for the players, it also leaves a huge door open for stories and character development down the line! If the new PC was the leader they could have a whole group out to kill them, or maybe the full resources of the crew at their disposal. If they were a lackey of some kind, maybe there is a redemption story to be old that results in the death of the boss. This scenario not only allows for plot development, it can really allow the characters to shine
Prisoner of War
This one is pretty straightforward. The party is in some sort of evil fortress and they stumble across a person in chains. That person is the new PC! (Wow! Bet you didn’t see this one coming.) Is it cheesy and simple? Why, yes…yes it is. But whoever said classics were bad? Overthinking things and being afraid to draw from an older well can be the death of a good story. Tropes and old ideas exist to be used and expanded upon, so use them! It’s not like this leaves you in a bind as far as plot goes either. Instead of asking “why should I trust you?” The players can now ask “Why are you here?” This question leads directly into some backstory and motivation without totally ruining immersion by coming out of left field. It also unites the party with the new PC for a simple and easy to understand reason. It’s smooth sailing from there.
Blood is Thicker than Water
Nothing is better (or worse depending on how you see it) than a good ol’ long lost sibling. This is probably the tackiest of the introductions, but it can be good with a couple of experienced players. If you simply write the new PC in as a relative (known or not) of an existing PC (who obviously has to give permission) then it can allow for some top tier blending over the course of a long campaign. No matter how little you’re into role-playing, every single person has a real attachment to their long-living characters. Adding an aspect of family into this already intense relationship will deepen the experience for the players and the GM, again if executed correctly by some seasoned players.
Thank you so much for reading! I hope this article helps you grow your party in the future. If you liked the article and want to keep up with everything we post, you can follow us @nblogcollective or follow me personally @Skunkosourous.
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