View  Edit  Attributes  History  Attach  Print  Search
OutofCharacter / PlayingHighLevelCharacters

Dragonslayer Thoughts - October 17 2008

Playing high level characters

The game right now (and honestly for a while) has been wrapped around a couple of players high level characters and the trials and tribulations that occur because of that.

What is a high level character actually is is another topic.

John is currently playing a high level character who rules over his own lands. Lorie and Mike are in the same position. Barb just game back to the game with her character that rules her own thieves guild.

All four of them want to adventure, enjoy the camaraderie of quests, solving problems and saving the day. This becomes harder and harder for two reasons.

One is that it is hard to create reasonable adventures for such powerful characters. There can only be so many earth shattering events or apocalypses that need stopping. While the players overall enjoy such grand adventures, it does strain the reality of the world to create such things.

Two is that if a character is role played properly, and keeping in character there is not a large reason for that character to go off on adventures just for the hell of it. Any sort of adventure that requires their presence should be tied their lands in some sort of way. Again straining reality to continually find adventures that meet this criteria.

How I solve this in my campaign is two fold.

One I have managed to situate each of the character's strongholds or lands near dangerous areas. This makes good sense for the campaign world, after all how else would the wild lands be subdued unless you send strong less civilized men there to calm it. John's character Paul has an area next to the Bronda Hills, full of undead, underdark entrances, giants, the occasional dragon and a host of other oddities. Lorie was gifted a keep that guards one of the passes the Silk Road runs through. Of course there are problems inherent in that alone, plus she gets a huge wall and door blocking off a valley behind the place. In that valley are several cave systems, the best known one being the Spider Lady Dungeon. Seemingly endless corridors and chambers that are full of the stuff that makes adventurers strong or dead. Mike decided to place his lands between John's and the Great Mountains to the east. Covering a smaller area but encompassing much more diverse terrain he has found a niche in controlling the trade of the forest and its creatures with the human settlements. Barb's thieves guild has plenty of built in adventures already, and just to make matters worse she is situated along the Great Trade Route and just south of Wolfspack, the most lawful city in the world.

This gives me plenty of chances to have small adventures on the edges of the various territories. It also allows for some occasional larger adventures that impact the future of each area.

The second way to work with high level characters is to have them act through their surrogates. Any higher level character should have henchmen and or followers that look to him or her for support and guidance. These lower level characters need the chance to go out and prove them selves, so I create adventures that are interesting and fun only for weaker characters. This forces the Players to step back and consider the actions of all of the characters they are running.

I also try to have background activities for the higher level characters to be attending to while the lower level people are off doing things. In the past Kylia attended religious ceremonies while the rest of the group went off on an adventure. Currently Finglas is busy training and learning new skills while his henchmen and followers go along with the Dragonslayers on the current story.

Players need to understand this also. They need to take it upon themselves to create smaller story lines that they can accomplish in story form on the site, or with minimal time taken away from the rest of the group's time in our weekly meetings.