Rick Hillard
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Visitors from Other Worlds

Visitors from Other Worlds

Sep 29, 2023

It happens to every DM and every campaign at least once. A new player joins the group and wants to bring Sigimund, his 14th level chaotic good barbarian/fighter/thief with him. How should the DM decide the matter? There are no hard rules, and it can be a tough call. Several “rules of thumb” can be applied to help the DM make his decision.

First, ask to see the incoming character’s record sheet and any applicable notes. Everything the character possesses should be detailed here. If the incoming character’s experience level is much higher then the rest of the characters, do not allow the transfer. Stripping a player’s favorite character of hard-earned (or otherwise) experience can only cause grief. Tell her the character must “wait in the wings” until the other PCs reach her power level, and have the new player create a new character.
Either disallow characters with nonstandard character classes (those not covered by official AD&D game rules) or require that the incoming character adopt a standard character class.

Disallow nonstandard magical items, the logic being that the physical laws of the two prime material planes are not similar enough to allow the new magic items to function. This allows the DM to avoid any possibility of “padding” a magic item with extra powers that the player’s original DM would be surprised to find or to have the player purposefully overlook any attendant curses.

Disallow any magical (or technological) item which would unbalance game play. If the DM has not allowed players in his own world to acquire such items, then they should disappear between transference (to be held safely in limbo).
Finally, tell the player what will and will not be allowed in the DM’s world. Be honest and firm. If the player’s favorite character must be stripped down to fit his new home, the player may elect to create a new character instead.

From 2nd Edition, AD&D's Campaign Sourcebook... The Administrative DM

Rick’s Notes: Play long enough; GM long enough, and you’ll encounter what they’re speaking of. I have GM’d and played in campaigns where PC’s crossed over from different genres and game systems. Jedi fighting in a Game of Thrones setting; Dungeon Adventurers stepping through a magical portal and finding themselves in a Science Fiction setting. It can be fun; and it can be quite confusing; and oftentimes a pain in the arse due to trying to calculate how something in one game system would work using another game systems mechanics, etc. Usually the novelty wears off fairly soon.

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