December 27, 2003
WISH 78: Two Characters, One Game
Do you think allowing one player to play more than one character in a game is a good or bad idea? Does the style of the game make any difference? What about the format (FTF, PBeM, etc.)?

I, too, remember those years when I first started gaming and we would run two characters so we could round out the party, and keep ourselves alive. Those times of dungeon crawling. I think I was 16 at the time... more than half a lifetime ago.

Actually, I think I started running my second character (I cannot remember his name for the life of me now... only that he was a male mage and I'm pretty sure his name began with J) in order to protect my ranger, Pika, because she was the only female character in the party. And despite the fact that she carried a blade, well, I was playing with a bunch of randy teenage boys and they had a perverse sense of humor. I decided having two characters would be better than one.

I think that's the last time I played two characters in a FTF game. Even later, still as a teenager, I started to focus on roleplay rather than hack and slash. At that point, I realized that one character was the way to go so I didn't get seriously distracted or confused.

A part of me says I could do it now. After all, I GM and can manage to flip personalities on a dime. But when I'm playing, I want to focus on just being one person at a time, and I think I do my character a disservice if my brain is split.

As a GM, I have allowed people to play two characters in a PBEM game. In the games I've run, it hasn't worked out. People were unable to focus on both characters, and one would fall by the wayside. Would I try it again? Probably, if the player had time and wanted to try. It might depend on the player.

Playing multiple characters in GA, I think it works a LOT better in a troupe style game. Where the players have more impact on where the game is going and it is not so GM intensive. Still... it does increase the number of characters, and the amount of work. I could see it being daunting.

But in GA I'm not having a problem focussing on all three characters. Nor metagaming for all three characters. It *does* take a lot of time, though. A lot of focus. But there are also a lot of people to work with and to brainstorm with, which is good. In a troupe style game, I think playing multiple characters is a good thing because it does spread the resources around. Although that is looking at it purely from the point of view of a player.

Posted by Deb Atwood at December 27, 2003 09:35 AM | TrackBack
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