Lame - starting a character at 6th level

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Sadly, I played with more than a couple people at GenCon who had obviously never played their 6th level LFR character before the event. Lame. I'm not sure what can be done about it though. With no effective way to track/check characters, what can a DM or player do about this once a table has been mustered and play begun?
From what I heard, the screw up by WotC of aving all LFR mods listed as "No Experience Necessary" and not having the info that they had to have a PC that already made it to that level caused more than a few problems. As a result, at Gencon they were allowing people who spent money on an event to make a character to play in it using the Character builder station.

Where I saw this they were told that they are supposed to start at 1st but they were allowing it for the con only because of the royal screw up. Although it needs to be reiterated that this is not a change in campaign policy.

I saw more than a few screw ups too since the CB station obviously doesn't have the LFR rule set loaded every time a new PC is made. I sat with a Bugbear barbarian at one table. The DM didn't care but we gently explained to him that the Bugbear was not a legal LFR option, but if he changed it to Half-Orc it had the same stat bumps and all that would need to be changed is the racial power.

I think what also screwed things up was that the Ultimate Delve allowed anything from the CB as a legal option and so when people were asking what was legal they likely got told the wrong thing and it compounded from there. It might behoove them in the future to 1) not screw up the event information in the con listing, 2) have RPGA reps at the character station helping set people up before they turn them loose to make their character so they can explain what needs to be explained and load any necessary campaign files (that have been set up correctly) for them ahead of time.
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
Fixing the CB to exclude all things not legal in LFR would be ideal when one loads the LFR Campaign option (allowing for additional builds to default to this setting would be nice as well.)

My experience varied at GenCon. My friends had a RPGA DM tell them they could not use their Chessenta background when they used an action point because LFR did not allow for the use of backgrounds.

We compared rounds and learned of the vast differences from the number of creatures to the application of tactics to the rewards at the end of various rounds, and there was little consistency. We still had fun, and that is the key, but it is clear that you can get a DM that thinks it is his job to foil the characters or a DM that thinks it is his job to ensure the characters get every ounce of loot/exp/etc... Which makes for a rather uncomfortable feeling when starting a round.

I sat down to play the new 2-rounder at 8 AM on Thursday with my brand new 1st level Windrise Port-based Warlock and was immediately isolated from the group and surrounded by 8 NPC enemies. Paid my $12 for the event, and was unconcious on round 1, and bleeding out with no chance of support reaching me. Not an ideal way to start someone's GenCon, and anyone with an ounce of sense should be able to understand that no one wants to die in the first fifteen minutes of an 8 hour event they paid $12 and drove 4 hours to participate in.
With regard to MINI 1-1(spoilers follow).
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I think the DM should have knocked you unconscious instead of killing you at neg bloodied(Technically a house rule, but NPCs don't really have any other option...), since they are attempting to press gang you, not kill you.
From what I heard, the screw up by WotC of aving all LFR mods listed as "No Experience Necessary" and not having the info that they had to have a PC that already made it to that level caused more than a few problems. As a result, at Gencon they were allowing people who spent money on an event to make a character to play in it using the Character builder station.

Where I saw this they were told that they are supposed to start at 1st but they were allowing it for the con only because of the royal screw up. Although it needs to be reiterated that this is not a change in campaign policy.

I hope this is just a rumor, because if true, I would find that highly disturbing.

If I was involved with a con that made a similar mistake, the only possible solution that would spring to mind would be "Whoops, our mistake. Sorry about that, but we have lined up these judges over here to run some L1-4 adventures for people who don't have characters of the right level." If I heard of a con that just let people make up new non-1st level PCs for LFR games, I would expect some serious repercussions from that.

Considering the WOTC/RPGA presence at the con, if Gencon was allowed to run this way, that is a de facto change in campaign policy. Or rather, it's an announcement that people can ignore campaign policy with impunity.

I'm a little perplexed as to how this would actually work--do these players get told at the end "Don't bother keeping a log sheet; none of the adventures you're playing this weekend actually count"? Are they supposed to de-level their PC down to whatever level the XP they've earned entitles them? Do they just keep playing at the level they were created?

I am hoping these were isolated players who slipped through the cracks or DMs/staff members who didn't actually know what they were talking about, not an official pronouncement that Gencon plays by different rules.
To the best of my knowledge, that was just an untrue rumor. I know I helped a number of new players who thought they could start a higher level PC due to the "no ecperience necessary" entry rebuild to 1st-level and then get into a L1-4 game. No one seemed overly upset. Most people just wanted to play D&D.
I know at a paragon table, I ran into a player that really seemed to not have the play experience or basic understandung of 4th Ed. that you'd expect someone to have by that point. A different issue, I know but, I got the feeling there may have been some characters/players that clearly hadn't played enough mods for their claimed level.
I saw at least one second level hybrid PC in LFR, which I didn't think was allowed, but the DM didn't seem to have a problem with it.

And then when I tried to play a hybrid in the ultimate delve since I thought anything in CB was allowed, I was told they weren't legal. Good thing I had a couple non-hybrid backups.

I know at a paragon table, I ran into a player that really seemed to not have the play experience or basic understandung of 4th Ed. that you'd expect someone to have by that point. A different issue, I know but, I got the feeling there may have been some characters/players that clearly hadn't played enough mods for their claimed level.

I also ran into this issue. It makes me think either in some locales they use a lot of house rules for LFR, or some people just thought they could bring a 6th level character to LFR, and when they realized they couldn't, they just decided to pretend they had played the character.

One thing clear to me, was that there needed to be more low level mods.
One thing clear to me, was that there needed to be more low level mods.

You could have played 5 slots (i.e., about half of the slots for the convention) with a brand-new character:
- MINI1-1 (2 slots)
- SPEC1-3
- CORE1-13
- ADCP1-1
"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"
You could have played 5 slots (i.e., about half of the slots for the convention) with a brand-new character:
- MINI1-1 (2 slots)
- SPEC1-3
- CORE1-13
- ADCP1-1

You're right but Mini1-1 sold out within an hour in April(May?) when they went on sale. I didn't even bother trying to get in on generics since I had real tickets for several of the other mods and wanted to make sure I could play.
You're right but Mini1-1 sold out within an hour in April(May?) when they went on sale.

True enough. I had two extra tickets for MINI1-1...at $12 face value each, I got $20 for one, and $30 for the other (a bidding war erupted in the marshalling area when I offered them up). 30 seconds after I sold them, another player came up to me with a $100 bill..."do you have another one?"

Wow.
"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"
I know at a paragon table, I ran into a player that really seemed to not have the play experience or basic understandung of 4th Ed. that you'd expect someone to have by that point.

While I don't think I was the player you mentioned, I'll make this comment about Paragon. My paragon PC is not my most played character of late. And while I did play him enough to get him to 11th level, really, my level 7s are getting much more love of late.

And everyone was new to their level 11 powers. Or at least should have been, since this was almost the first place folks could play their level 11 PCs. Even with QUES 1-1 XP, this Con would have only been their second or third time playing with Paragon Paths.

So, could it just have been "this player hasn't played their 10th-11th level PC lately because they got to level 11 four months ago and they've been playing a bunch of level 1-4 games?" situation?

A different issue, I know but, I got the feeling there may have been some characters/players that clearly hadn't played enough mods for their claimed level.

Funny, I was going to make a similar comment about some of the GMs at GC. And some of them would have agreed with me.
Considering the WOTC/RPGA presence at the con, if Gencon was allowed to run this way, that is a de facto change in campaign policy. Or rather, it's an announcement that people can ignore campaign policy with impunity.

No it's not. Just because they may have made an exception due to their screw up once doesn't mean it is a change in campaign policy. Exceptions exist to everything. Technically when i went to Gencon and I missed my first two slots of the day since my wife needed surgery, I would be SOL for the two events I actually had real tix for. That's the official policy. However, the Customer service manager made an exception in my case and I got both event tix converted to generics. That doesn't mean their policy is suddenly, mystically changed because they made an exception. Neither does it mean that they are saying people can suddenly start ignoring the rules. We all know what assuming does.
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
You could have played 5 slots (i.e., about half of the slots for the convention) with a brand-new character:
- MINI1-1 (2 slots)
- SPEC1-3
- CORE1-13
- ADCP1-1

I thought you needed an adventuring company to play ADCP1-1. We didn't even register for it since there were only 3 of us. And we had to play some games during Origins, and one game after origins, to make sure we had 2nd level characters coming in to GenCon, so we could level up to where were able to play SPEC1-3, and IMPI1-5 at the 4-7 slot.

For someone starting at 1st level, they really have 3 events (in 4 slots) that they can register for, which will take their character to 2nd level. Then they are stuck, unable to play anything else with the same character.

Even if more new mods aren't offered, there should be more open play slots (preferably ticketed, with DM's scheduled and assigned for the slots) for those people who want to continue playing. Their now second level character. Otherwise, they have to make another level 1, and do the same mods again.
For someone starting at 1st level, they really have 3 events (in 4 slots) that they can register for, which will take their character to 2nd level. Then they are stuck, unable to play anything else with the same character.

I feel your pain, but the question is this: should you really be able to expect to come into GenCon with a new PC, and play that character for most of the convention?

Honestly, it wasn't that way in the LG days, either (at least, not most years). RPGA usually only runs about a half-dozen premiere modules at GenCon, and those are usually spread over a range of levels. Even if you had a range of PCs to play, you wouldn't have been able to fill your con with LFR, without replaying a module.
"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"
I feel your pain, but the question is this: should you really be able to expect to come into GenCon with a new PC, and play that character for most of the convention?

Honestly, it wasn't that way in the LG days, either (at least, not most years). RPGA usually only runs about a half-dozen premiere modules at GenCon, and those are usually spread over a range of levels. Even if you had a range of PCs to play, you wouldn't have been able to fill your con with LFR, without replaying a module.

Hence my suggestion for more scheduled open play. :D
I thought you needed an adventuring company to play ADCP1-1.

This is true. However, the adventuring company rules allow you to drop the company you're in once per level. This is what I and a friend did, dropping our pre-GenCon company to form a new company at the Con (the Slaves of Serendipity). Now that I'm level 12, I could drop that affiliation to rejoin the old company if I chose to.

--
Pauper
This is true. However, the adventuring company rules allow you to drop the company you're in once per level. This is what I and a friend did, dropping our pre-GenCon company to form a new company at the Con (the Slaves of Serendipity). Now that I'm level 12, I could drop that affiliation to rejoin the old company if I chose to.

You have to wait a level between dropping and joining a new company. If you drop your company at level 12, you have to wait until level 13 to join a new one.
Exceptions exist to everything.

Apparently so, which is kind of my point.

If you had asked me a week ago, I would have said that the rule that a LFR character has to start at level 1 and earn all experience, gold and magic items through actual adventure play was ironclad and had no exceptions.

If you had asked me to envision a situation that would justify an exception, "Well, the con listed a L7-10 adventure as 'No experience necessary' and someone showed up with a 7th level bugbear and sending him over to a L1-4 adventure would've entailed too much work" wouldn't even be close.

That's why I'm curious as to whether it actually happened (since so far, to my knowledge, no one in this conversation has indicated they actually saw this take place).

If it did take place, if Gencon staff, with a plethora of WOTC, RPGA and LFR staffers in attendance, thought this situation warranted such an extreme exception and should there not be any repercussions from that decision then, yes, I think that's a pretty meaningful change in policy, indicating that exceptions to a rather campaign-central rule are now tolerated.
That's why I'm curious as to whether it actually happened (since so far, to my knowledge, no one in this conversation has indicated they actually saw this take place).

I guess I wasn't clear. While marshalling for the IMPI mod (4-7) folks showed up with real tix who didn't have characters and the marshall told them this was happening because of the screw up. So yes, I saw tis happen first hand. Granted, it was from a marshal and not administration. Although they did explain that in LFR you're supposed to have a character start at first level.

I saw at least one second level hybrid PC in LFR, which I didn't think was allowed, but the DM didn't seem to have a problem with it.

They aren't.

And then when I tried to play a hybrid in the ultimate delve since I thought anything in CB was allowed, I was told they weren't legal. Good thing I had a couple non-hybrid backups.

Anything in the CB was. It may have been because technically the CB and Compendium weren't supposed to have hybrids until they were finalized, but they have it in there anyway.

You're right but Mini1-1 sold out within an hour in April(May?) when they went on sale. I didn't even bother trying to get in on generics since I had real tickets for several of the other mods and wanted to make sure I could play.

I played it on generics and had no problem getting a table on Saturday morning. Trying to get a table for CORE1-13 on Saturday evening was a different matter entirely. It had a huge crowd and when the marshal said they may not have enough judges for the reals I scooted over to IMPI1-5 which didn't have a lot of people and got in.
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
Playing Devil's Advocate: How does it hurt you if someone else plays a character that they didn't actually play to the required level (assuming that the character is otherwise legal?


Personally, I knew that this would be a problem as soon as the strict level band system was announced because they are taking money from the players up front and and actually setting up a system to handle players who walk up to the table without a legitimate character was more hassle than it was worth.

The only solution (in as far as there is a solution) is the approach they took with the Special and ADCP as this allows them to filter the players and send them to a lower level table if they lack an appropriate character. This is really the ONLY way to attempt to place any restrictions - and even then it is an illusion as they are not mindreaders and certainly can't afford the time for an indepth interview to determine legitimacy.

Even if that was somehow necessary to preserve your experience.

Personally, I hope that they do more and more adventures this way - it makes it easier for me find adventures appropriate for my character regardless of his current level. I'd even settle for fewer releases if the range of levels each could be played at were broadened or the overlap increased.

And, no, it wasn't "just the same" in Living Greyhawk. For two very significant reasons: 1) The level range over which any given adventure could be played was three or four times the level range for any LFR adventure and 2) It was possible to play a character outside of the level range (although with a penalty in experience). The change to LFR means that I had to play at least two characters (a sixth who ended up eighth and a paragon).

Of course, I didn't even try to play anything at 1-4 this year and I was lucky that my primary character happened to be at the perfect level (sixth). If I had been seventh, I would have leveled after only one or two adventures and if I had been fifth I might not have leveled enough to play in others. Or rather, I would not have been able to play my primary character and instead had to dig out some other character I've abandoned due to lack of interest just to be 'legit'. So I was lucky. And even then, I was unable to play Impi (too high level) and sold the ticket and played some delves instead. Oddly enough, under LG I was typically able to play more adventures at GenCon, despite having only one 1st level character. Hmm...

(And, ironically, I believe that it is actually easier to scale adventures in 4E than it was in 3.x).

But I've had my say elsewhere about why I think that they should allow those who want to take the risk to play up into the next level band (while restricting them to level-appropriate gold/XP and no bundles to prevent abuse).


Regardless - How does it harm your gaming experience to have someone else play a character they didn't 'earn'? Why is this an issue for you? Sure - it is better for your survival if they know how to play their character - that is a minor point. But poor players are just part of the mix and even if there was a way of ensuring 'legitimacy' there are still going to be incompetant players (or even just players who are playing long abandoned characters because their current primary character just isn't the right level). (And conversely I suspect you would be equally incensed at someone who didn't 'earn' their level even if they were supremely qualified to play that character).
So competance isn't really the issue.

Speaking for myself, I really don't care. All I care about is whether I (and the others at the table) have a good time playing the game. Where those characters came from isn't the point and, to be honest, I'd even support fast play characters. I'm not there to compete with anyone else, I'm there to play my own character.



Carl
Playing Devil's Advocate: How does it hurt you if someone else plays a character that they didn't actually play to the required level (assuming that the character is otherwise legal?

I'll be the devil, and say, it hurts because I don't like double standards. If I'm not registering for a level 7-10 event, or 11-13 event because I know I don't have a character for those levels, it peeves me to see someone cheating the system to do so. If it was all in the name of fun, I too would love to make a 10th level character and play a 7-10 mod. But the rules don't allow it, and I respect the rules.

In the local environment these rules are fairly easy to enforce, since you know everybody. Unfortunately, in the convention environment, it's down right impossible to police it, and as such, the rules have to be clearly spelled out in event descriptions. Otherwise, you have people registering for the event, without even knowing what RPGA is, let alone having LFR characters. They see paragon level adventure, they've never played one, and want to try it. A simple clause in the description of the event can prevent most of these misunderstandings (though it still won't stop people who want to deliberately cheat the system).
This is inevitable when there are rules that cannot and/or will not be enforced. The best bet is to meet people you trust and play with them. At a specific event with this circumstance where you have incontrovertible proof that someone is playing an illegal character (as in they say, "I just made this 6th level charater on the CB, and this is my 1st LFR game!" or they table a Bugbear with oversized weapons that has three magic items at level 1...) and the DM is going to allow it, you should definitely escalate the matter, but be prepared to be told that they are going to allow it due to some extenuating circumstance, and live with it. There's no reason to just take it, but you can certainly avoid that player/DM in the future. It isn't such a big deal to me, but I play with some incompetent players because they are fun people. You could always demand your money back as well, though I'm not sure how far you'd get with that.
Speaking up from a Gencon Judges point of view, I can tell you I have talked to a couple Judges who ran into this at gencon because of this error, and Luckily I didnt. But in every case where this happened here is how it was handled.

The DM explained to the player that His character was an illegal character, but due to the error in the event description (something about it saying the LFR events were unrestricted? or something) The DMs let them characters be played with a few exceptions, 1- NO MAGIC items. (sorry bob but that vicious axe must be earned) the other thing that was done is a CCG was given to the person at the end so that they can come again with legal characters, But because these guys DID PAY HARD EARNED MONEY to play We judges had to allow them to play (the unrestricted description screwed that up) marshalling was very chaotic trying to keep everything in order, If we were to send these folks away the rest of the group at the table with legal characters would have suffered for it. (there were tables turned away for not enouph judges in some cases) the important thing is that those players that did pre-gen a higher than 1st lvl character (at least that sat at any of the judges that i knew) played a fun game and left with a ccg and "NO XP/ BUNDLES" for thier non legal character, they were told that when you make a lfr legal character it will aquire XP and rewards as normal.

in some ways this worked alot, it let people sorta "Play test" the LFR that never played LFR before, I know of at least 3 of the guys that later came to my table with a level 1 character said that they had to re- do there chaaracter because they loved playing but made the mistake of not having a level 1 character in the previous mod so this time they wanted to earn XP and rewards.

So it was a headache, but i think in the end it still turned out well. I dont think any of those that played illegal characters did so on purpose, they did so out of misunderstanding, and it was just easier for the remaining players of the tables to allow it with the restrictions.


honestly, if you and 2 friends were sat at a table and marshaling was finally over all tables seated and the DM is setting up, and you three look to the other 3 guys to find out that they were all playing goblins. would you rather lose the 3 players and essentially the slot due to a misunderstanding? Or would you rather let the DM somewhat balance out the issues and just run with it so at least you get your $$ worth of play. it might be an easy fix if the players were playing 1-4 mod (since using CB could be done when the Dm was setting up for the first encounter) but in alot of cases this issue happened when sat with Higher level tables. making that fix un-doable.

In my opinion, I think that there should be pre-made characters for each tier, that can be used by any player, the downside is that the player does not gain any XP or treasure. this would soley be a "play-test" character. and would allow those not familure with LFR see first hand a Higher tier Mod than the Begining. this way if someone sits down and his character is found to be flawed he can take a pre-made and at least still play.
A slightly different case happened at our table, a player with a level 5 PC came up after being marshalled to our table of a 7-10 game ... and was sent to a different mod by the GM. The player had clearly played LFR before.

And that is the way it should be.

But even for a bunch of new players, why not send them over to a level 1-4 game and let them use their tickets for that? It seemed like they were real tight on judges this year (that's new) but I saw a few judges running around (probably on break) that could have been begged for a game.

So while I'm not necessarily for being a hard ass, it seems like this could have been dealt with without breaking the rules. Would that have made it all better? I dunno.
I guess I wasn't clear. While marshalling for the IMPI mod (4-7) folks showed up with real tix who didn't have characters and the marshall told them this was happening because of the screw up. So yes, I saw tis happen first hand. Granted, it was from a marshal and not administration. Although they did explain that in LFR you're supposed to have a character start at first level.

If the RPGA wants to put the genie back in the bottle, I think this is an issue that will have to be dealt with swiftly, to make it clear that these were rogue marshals/DMs letting players do this and no one received official permission to break this rule. (My cynical side says that this will be the party line, even if someone did give their blessing at the time.)

Otherwise, the problem becomes that once you establish this as an exception that can be made, players are going to get the idea of "Hey, if this rule is unimportant enough that Gencon, with all of the official staff people around, with players with characters of every level available to make tables and with random strangers not having the option to refuse to play with such a character, can do this then surely, my group, playing in my basement with no one around, a limited pool of PCs and everyone in agreement, can do so as well."

And, to be fair, I'd have to say that once you believe that exceptions can be made, "We're running a single L7-10 table at our gameday, and my buddy from out of town who hasn't played since he was 3rd level wants to play" is probably a more worthy candidate than "The convention has access to over a dozen L1-4 adventures and is running numerous L1-4 tables right now, but this guy bought a ticket for a L4-7 adventure even though he doesn't have a valid character, and it would be too much of a hassle to follow the rules."
How does it hurt you if someone else plays a character that they didn't actually play to the required level (assuming that the character is otherwise legal?

Two ways. First, this is a pretty basic rule; in fact, perhaps the most basic rule. If players see this rule being ignored, it's tough to say that there are any rules out there that can't also be broken when need be. I would prefer to play in a campaign where everyone is on an even playing field, following the same rules.

Second, historically, campaigns where you have to earn your levels do better than campaigns where you don't. There are a number of theories as to why this is the case, but the bottom line is that letting players start as new 11th level PCs is likely to end up decreasing the play opportunities I have available to me, which obviously directly affects me.

Worse: it seems different marshalls and DMs were operating with different standards. I was told to send people away to HQ were they would do their utmost best to get them seated at an adventure for level 1 to 4 PCs. I have done so. I have also got people at my table at the special that were similarly send away from LURU1-5 for the same reason.

If a player has an inappropriate character for the adventure they're playing, efforts should be made to provide an appropriate play experience for the player. What this means is that if possible, they should be seated at a new table if necessary. If that's not possible, then there may have to be an alternate solution worked out, with the new player walking away with knowledge of the LFR rules on character progression for the future.


Oh, and this has happened since Time Began. I very clearly remember many Living City and Living Greyhawk tables I DM'd at Gen Con having the same issue. It pretty much is an issue that is exclusive only to very large shows (primarily Gen Con) where there's a large number of adventures for veteran players and there's also a large contingent of new players intermingling.


The program guide "no experience" error was simply that - an error that will be corrected for next year.

Chris Tulach D&D Program Manager Wizards of the Coast http://community.wizards.com/wotc_tulach http://twitter.com/christulach

I have offered to set up an intro to LFR section for these people at next year's Gencon. Send them over to the set up area, we can get them into a legal character, explain how the campaign works and run them through a fun 1-4. Probably wouldn't need it on Thursday, but have it running straight through Friday and Saturday. I think a quick induction to the campaign is a better start than just pitching them at a 1-4, LFR can be a bit wonky, we can de-wonk for new players pretty quickly.

If that's not possible, then there may have to be an alternate solution worked out, with the new player walking away with knowledge of the LFR rules on character progression for the future.

I have to say I'm really discouraged to read this.
DCI Level 2 Judge WPN Advanced TO RPGA Herald-Level GM

If a player has an inappropriate character for the adventure they're playing, efforts should be made to provide an appropriate play experience for the player. What this means is that if possible, they should be seated at a new table if necessary. If that's not possible, then there may have to be an alternate solution worked out, with the new player walking away with knowledge of the LFR rules on character progression for the future.


It's your campaign, not mine, but I'm a bit disappointed to learn that such a basic rule can be swept under the rug so cavalierly.  A not uncommon question on these forums concerns inexperienced gameday organizers asking how to deal with too many or too few players, or characters not of the right level to play, with the usual answer being "These are the rules; if a character or table can't be played according to the rules, they can't be played, even if that's inconvenient."

If conventions with significant WOTC, RPGA and campaign staff presence can put following the rules a distant second to convenience, I can't blame reasonable players without those resources for feeling justified in doing the same.


But, hey, at least we have a new euphemism.


"Er, you know you're not supposed to have seven players at a table, right?"
"We're working out an alternate solution to provide an appropriate play experience."
"And how does Joe have a 6th level PC?  He was only 3rd level yesterday?"
"Alternate solution."
"And he's a bugbear?"
"Alternate solution!"


Oh, and this has happened since Time Began. I very clearly remember many Living City and Living Greyhawk tables I DM'd at Gen Con having the same issue.


I'm uncomfortable with "people have always broken this rule" being used as a justification for continuing to ignore it.  Indeed, I'd think that would make it even more important to start enforcing it, and more foreseeable as an issue to be dealt with preemptively.


-- Brian Gibbons.

Brian


I am not sure Chris is saying just seat the players if it is convenient, I think he is saying get them into a lower level alternate game like the ones I have proposed running at next year's Gencon. I don't think we should be seating players who aren't legit into mods, but also don't think we should be scolding newbs who just don't know any better either. My plan is to give them alternate tables where we can brief them on the campaign and give them an awesome start up game. I like to think this allows for the classic 'win/win'.

Personally, I would like to see people stop calling it an error in the program guide. As all RPGA events have traditionally been listed as "No experience needed", this is really more of an oversight. Someone should have realized it needed to be changed, but no error actually occurred.


I agree that sending away people who paid money to play would have been bad form. What does irritate me is judges who allowed the clearly illegal characters such as the bugbears. I blame this mostly on people being allowed to judge without actually having knowledge of the campaign rules. Worse, in some cases, no knowledge of 4E rules.


That being said, there was a lack of judges this year. I don't think there were less judges, but rather more players, and Dave had to accept anyone who volunteered. We should cut everyone a little slack and hope that it all goes smoother next year.


Amy

Amy My blog http://mistimp.blogspot.com

I didn't personally experience this at Gen Con, but I heard about it. But I have to admit, it doesn't really bother me the way it seems to bother many of you.


My main concern is having fun and that the other players at my table have fun. If someone happens to sneak into our game with a character they technically didn't "earn" up to that level, that's really no skin off my nose.


My main concern is that they aren't playing with any illegal items or character options that I don't have access to. If their character is totally LFR legal outside of the fact that they didn't actually play up to level 11, then it personally doesn't bother me. Not everybody has the free time available to play weekly throughout the year and they look to conventions for their big gaming fixes.


I didn't personally experience this at Gen Con, but I heard about it. But I have to admit, it doesn't really bother me the way it seems to bother many of you.


(Snipped)


 


My main concern is that they aren't playing with any illegal items or character options that I don't have access to. If their character is totally LFR legal outside of the fact that they didn't actually play up to level 11, then it personally doesn't bother me. Not everybody has the free time available to play weekly throughout the year and they look to conventions for their big gaming fixes.




If they just create a character the odds are very good on two things, one they won't know the character, and two they will not be equipted or built like a real LFR character leveled to that point.


Why does it matter? Especially at higher level tables both of those factors can have huge impacts. An unskilled player really is a serious drawback at higher level and if they do know what they are doing and they are armed with optimized kit they can be out of scale with the encounters.


Most players who are doing this really aren't trying to cheat, they just want to play and have fun. I favor giving them a good fun game while orienting them into the campaign for real. In the rare case that they are really cheating, there are rules for dealing with that already.

Wouldn't it be fairly easy to make an LFR-legal high-level character from scratch using the Character Builder? You can load up the LFR restrictions so that you can see if you are using legal options or not.


Also, just because someone is playing with a character they didn't "earn" up to that level doesn't mean they are always inexperienced. Maybe they just wanted to experience some paragon adventures even though their main LFR character hasn't quite made it yet.


Anyway, I agree that the ideal is for everyone to build their characters up from level 1...that's the whole point of Living campaigns. However, I don't see a reason for someone to get totally bent out of shape and/or offended if someone at a convention doesn't do that...unless they are indeed a totally new player who has never played that class before, because that could indeed hurt the party as a whole.


As for my home game, if I was DMing a group that had room for an extra player and we found someone who was totally committed to playing with us, but didn't have a character up to the proper level...I'd probably let it slide. Again, having fun is priority #1 in my book. Everything else is secondary.

Everyone having fun is a good thing.  But as Brian Gibbons is pointing out, if as a rule everyone starts ignoring this, then why bother have this as part of a living campaign at all?  We may as well go back to classic mods with pre-gen characters and play one-shots.


The entire point of a living campaign is to start a character at 1st level and play them through their career.  You even point that out yourself.  If all anyoen is looking for is one-shots or to experience paragon level, then they should look outside of the Living Campaign structure for that.


 


The biggest issue is that this is the foundation of a what a Living Campaign is.  You take that away or allow people to ignore that and it stops being a living campaign and just becomes a loose collection of classic mods.

Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf

I do see your point. I don't think I would allow someone to "one-shot" a LFR game that I was DMing at home...we could always play a side game in order to introduce them to the D&D. But I might let them into our LFR campaign at a higher level if they were really committed to being a regular part of the group. That way the entire party wouldn't have to start over in order to let the new person play.


As for conventions, I've never DM'd at one myself, so I can't really say how I would handle it. I'm just saying that as a player, it really wouldn't bother me as long as the person a.) was using a character that was otherwise LFR-legal and b.) knew what they were doing.

But I might let them into our LFR campaign at a higher level if they were really committed to being a regular part of the group. That way the entire party wouldn't have to start over in order to let the new person play.

What does "our LFR campaign" mean? My understanding is that there is only one LFR campaign, and it belongs to all of us. Its character creation rules are prescribed in writing by Wizards of the Coast and make no provision for creating characters above level 1.

If you have a regular weekly play group with four to six characters above level 4 and you want to be able to add people at your level who are new to the campaign without starting over, then LFR is simply not going to meet your needs. That is what home campaigns are for.


Even the transition from level 10 to level 11 is hard to do in a closed playgroup, because everyone has to level up during the exact same mod, or they can't play together again. LFR is clearly not designed to be played in small, single-table, isolated regular playgroups, whether they be open or closed.

DCI Level 2 Judge WPN Advanced TO RPGA Herald-Level GM


If you have a regular weekly play group with four to six characters above level 4 and you want to be able to add people at your level who are new to the campaign without starting over, then LFR is simply not going to meet your needs. That is what home campaigns are for.




Setting aside for a moment the discussion of whether the rules are right or not, the belief that LFR can and will be used only with the rules seems silly in the face of the reality that neither you, nor the campaign staff will ever enter that person's home and review their adherence to the rules. In point of fact, no one is ever going to do that even at the Big Cons, as is clearly evidenced by this discussion even occurring at all. If folks want to bend the rules, they are going to be able to do so.


And that's not even bringing up the discussion of how one might even enforce the rules if one wanted to since there's no way to prove or disprove anything other than the most egregious and obvious of rules breaks (like a Bugbear character).


For this example case, there are of course other ways, within the rules, to handle the situation. But, seriously, to say that they shouldn't play the campaign because of this ... I don't understand it.

But, seriously, to say that they shouldn't play the campaign because of this ... I don't understand it.

I'm not saying they shouldn't play the campaign. I'm saying that it will be difficult to play the campaign properly under those conditions, and they that might be better off with a home-brew campaign.

When something is hard to do properly, you have three choices: you can do your best to do it properly regardless of the difficulty, you can decide to do something else easier instead, or you can just do the original thing improperly without caring too much about it. Only two of those options are acceptable among honorable people.

DCI Level 2 Judge WPN Advanced TO RPGA Herald-Level GM