I’ve seen a problem at my table a few times. I have one player who ends up playing multiple characters. This has happened a few way. One is the most broken feat out there for Pathfinder and DnD3e-Leadership! With Leadership, a player gets a follower as well as a small army as they level. Now one character gets two turns while the rest get one. Next is the funnel for Dungeon Crawl Classics. Players start with five level zero characters and during their first adventure will lose some, but form a bond with one or two. It’s a great way to build your character’s backstory, but it does have some problems. Once I had a player walk out of a funnel with four player characters at level one. Now they want to play all four. The final way is when a table is a little light, and the players decide that they can fill up that table for me by just playing more than one character.
So the first question you probably have is ‘Why Do I hate this so much?’ Well, it has to do with roleplaying. Sure, in a hack and slash game playing multiple characters would be easy. No fuss and no muss. But in a game that has any amount of roleplaying, multiple characters just kill the game. Now I have players who either don’t roleplay their multiple characters or roleplay too much and completely dominate the table. Or I have players who have events happen that they just don’t tell me about! If I as your GM don’t know it’s a thing, then it’s not a thing! I need to know what your up to so I can build that into the world I’m running. Finally, I have players who bilk the system by using multiple characters to just be extra powerful. I hate that the most! I hate power gaming for power gaming sake.
Well, what’s a GM to do? Well I’ve made a few compromises and changes. One, I no longer allow leadership. I don’t like the feat and no organized play group does either. It’s ok in some circumstances, but those are exceptions, not general conditions. Next, I just don’t have games if I miss too many people. No, you do not get to play Mike’s cleric if Mike is not here! Mike wants to play, and we’ll play when he’s here. And finally, in DCCRPG, when a player runs multiple PCs, his/her PCs tend to be the target of the monsters more often. Monsters go for the biggest threats, and if you’ve got six guys standing in a group, then that is where my fireball goes! Now admittedly, some of these solutions are mean and may target a player unfairly, but sometimes it’s helpful to remind players that this is more then just a dice rolling contest. I want a story, and I hope they do too. Multiple character to a player never end well as some players just won’t have the luck that the person with four characters will have, and that lesser player will not get a moment to shine or even feel like they are useful. And that is a feeling I’m trying to avoid.
What do you think? Am I over reacting? Do you want one PC to a player?