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Enabling Player Fun – Changes After Character Creation
Posted By John Arcadian On October 4, 2011 @ 12:12 am In GMing Advice | 10 Comments
"Well it says I have blue, but I decided I wanted grey eyes…"
The Situation We’ve All Been In
I’ve recently found myself running a new game. It is only a few sessions old, but one of the players sheepishly approached me asking if he could change some stuff about his character. The character was cool, but it wasn’t fitting in with what the game became. Despite a good backstory, fun powers, and some great hooks that would come into play later in the campaign, the player wasn’t having as much fun with the character as he had hope. He wasn’t feeling as effective in combat and his demeanor didn’t quite fit with the rest of the party. My group has always operated with the idea that you can make any change you want if it is in the first few sessions, and I totally understood. We retconned some things and made the changes. The game got a lot more fun for everyone.
Why Do Post Creation Changes Occur?
Making character changes after the fact strikes me as a pretty common occurrence in the realms of roleplaying. There are lots of reasons I can think of or have seen that a player might want a change.
No plan survives the battlefield, and no character remains the same once they’ve gotten in the game. When a player wants to change something about their character after the fact, it is usually because some aspect of the game would be more fun with the change. Players create characters for a lot of reasons, but rarely do those reasons fit snugly into what the Game Master plans.
Early Changes Are Easy, But What About Late Game Changes
My group has always operated with the idea that you can make changes in the first few sessions. Nothing is too set in stone, so why sweat the small stuff. But what about when the changes are requested after the characters have been well established? Well, if the reason is good enough there are always ways to handle it. And most methods for changing characters early on will work just as well for changing characters later in the game.
In the End…
It’s all about fun, and if changing a few aspects of a character make it more fun for one player, then it will likely increase the fun for the whole group. Changing things up after the fact can cause some chaos, but if handled correctly it can be smoothly handled. Have you ever had a player approach you asking about a change to their character after the fact? How big of a change is too big, or how many gaming sessions would you consider being to many to allow changes?
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