Create RPGA legal characters at any level with CCG2.0

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We currently have 5 tiers of play and will someday have 9.  I thought I'd summarize some of the ideas that have been discussed on how to handle this.

1) Don't change anything.  Continue to release rougly equal number of mods in all tiers.  Organizers will just have to rotate games through the different tiers.  This means that people with established high level characters will be able to play every game day.  People new to the campaign can play every 2 to 4 game days if there is an opening.  Alternatively organizers can cater to a specific level of players, everyone else can organize their own game days.



I would correct this to say that people with a well established library of characters of multiple tiers can play every day. A player with one lvl 14 character can play H1, P1 and P2, but is left out in the cold in H2 or H3. Just want to make this point because otherwise it sounds like a fait accompli that the highest tier must be run whenever possible.
I can't say that I understand why people think allowing people to create characters higher than level 1 would destroy the game.

An LFR adventure rewards you in two ways: You have a fun four hour experience, and your character earns experience, gold and items.  While the second is certain, the first will vary based on your table composition, DM and adventure.

Remove the second reward, and I'd still play LFR, it's just that I would only bother playing with a table of friends, with a DM I know who's competent and an adventure that's received good reviews.  I wouldn't bother playing the crapshoot tables that are the majority of convention and gameday play.

We've all had times when we finished an adventure and shook our heads, saying, "Well, glad that's over; at least my character's that much closer to leveling."  Sometimes you at least get good stories to tell later about how bad the table was, sometimes you find an unexpected gem, but many tables are simply a mild diversion whose value is the benefit it brings to your character.

If I sat down at a table and found out the adventure gave out zero experience, zero gold and nary a magic item, my threshold for adventure and DM quality would be pretty high for me to want to spend the time.  There are quite a few tables I'd play at now, that I'd walk away from under those conditions.  Allowing creation of higher-level PCs turns all modules under the allowed creation level into adventures of this type.

Why do people who go to a convention and play LFR do so instead of going to the non-RPGA room and play a random DM's homebrew campaign world with pregens?  It's not quality.  The level of adventure writing and DM competence is around the same, though the latter is likely to have higher highs and lower lows.

It's because most people who play living campaigns do so because they enjoy walking away from a table with their character having gained something from the experience.  They like the idea that they're not just playing a pregen, but rather a character that will grow and gain benefits from being played.

The net effect of allowing creation of higher-level PCs is to obliterate that, to make playing an LFR game equivalent to playing a homebrew campaign with a pregen.


A lot of people, myself included, are interested in a campaign where we play characters and grow them from level 1 and are not particularly interested in a dungeon of the week campaign




Isnt this what you basically have anyhow with LFR and its open play and lack of contiguous story lines?
Isnt this what you basically have anyhow with LFR and its open play and lack of contiguous story lines?



Not really. In my mind, my characters all have a contiguous storyline. The taclord who is continually trying to prove himself to his father while being disillusioned with the chaos of the world, the tragic lovers who must always be apart after one scorned Sune, the nomadic goliath cleric who tries to reconcile his barbaric heritage, his peaceful worship of Selune and the cosmopolitan life of the adventurer. These things happen off-screen, so to speak, and the character becomes more clear to me as he is called upon to react to the circumstances of the module storylines.

The point is, regardless of whether or not the external plotlines of the modules make sense, in my experience a character becomes more fleshed out organically over time in the player's mind. A character starting at a higher level misses some of that development over the chronology of his adventuring career, but not necessarily over the timeline of the player's enjoyment of that character.

More simply put, if I make a level 1 character and level him to 12, I know a lot more about that character's personality than if I make him at level 11 and play him to 12. However, I don't know that I learn more about that character 2 modules in to his career, whether he started at 1 and leveled to 2 or started at 11 and leveled to 12.
You are misreading the primary argument against starting characters at high levels: it changes the nature of the campaign.

A lot of people, myself included, are interested in a campaign where we play characters and grow them from level 1 and are not particularly interested in a dungeon of the week campaign ...



What he said. times a lot.



Have you ever played in a home campaign?  Has anyone ever died or has a new player wanted to join?  How did you handle it?

Allen.



Yes. I at least have played in a home campaign. It is an entirely different situation. I never expected to be able to take my character from the wednesday night Age of Worms campaign that I used to play and bring him into my other friend's monday night homebrew. Another key difference: home campaigns occur at whatever level they occur at. You can't just play a 1-4 adventure instead of the epic level one or drive to Oakland/Concord to play an extra game if you want to level up.

But for the record, in the home games I played and ran in the last decade, we put replacement characters and new players' characters at the average party level with DMG standard gold and ran with it. But once you had a character, that was pretty much it. You played along and if the character kicked the bucket you might get resurrected or make a new character. Once or twice a player in one of the campaigns was unsatisfied with his character or the character developed in directions that didn't work with the party and we brought in replacements. But if someone had expected to be able to replace their character even every couple months, we would have had a talk with them about it--centering on the word "no."

Not that the treatment of new or replacement characters in a home campaign has anything to do with LFR (except possibly as an example of how higher level characters might be treated fairly--if players are permitted to create higher level characters--which they should not be). LFR and home games are fundamentally different. Living campaigns are designed for an ever-changing group of players to play characters who do not share a common history together. Home games are designed for a set group of players to play the same group of characters together. Character creation, progression, and fungibility are completely different in LFR and home games as are the group dynamics and even the players involved. Most people would not run a home-game with LFR character rules and likewise typical home-game character rules have no bearing on LFR.


A lot of people, myself included, are interested in a campaign where we play characters and grow them from level 1 and are not particularly interested in a dungeon of the week campaign




Isnt this what you basically have anyhow with LFR and its open play and lack of contiguous story lines?



You took the words right out of my mouth....


I play LFR a lot and most of the time I play with the same group of players.  In order to play all the new mods that come out and to always be able to play at whatever tier everyone else wants to play, I'm always making new characters.  I currently have 10 characters - 2 at each level band.  I know I'm not the only one that has so many LFR characters.  Many of the people I know have 8-12 characters.  Looking on the "How many LFR characters do you have?" thread that I started, some people have 15+ LFR characters.  I already have too many characters for me to really enjoy playing (each session I have to figure out and remember what the heck Character #7 can do), but I have to keep making new characters if I want to keep playing new LFR mods.  I've had characters I really enjoyed playing sit on the shelf for months at a time because they happened to be the wrong tier and I've been forced to play characters I didn't like very much just because they were in the level band others wanted to play. 

The number of LFR characters each person has will continue to increase as lower level mods keep coming out much faster than any of the higher level mods.  If they (The Powers That Be) want to continue to attract new players (which they do) and have everyone start at level 1, the number of new mods at each level band will continue to be a pyramid.  There will always be tons of new 1-4 mods, lots of 4-7s, fewer 7-10s, even fewer 11-14, and only a small percentage of new 14-17 mods (or whatever the highest tier of play is).  It has to work this way if they want to continue expanding their player base (and more players = more money).

I'd love to play my highest level PC, but now she will have to sit on the shelf for months (again) waiting for new high-level mods to come out.  And I'm so sick of replaying [insert level 1-4 mod that has really good treasure bundles] over and over and over again just because everyone wants their new 1-4 character to have the best items.  (Occasionally we'll even speed-replay Mod X back-to-back just so everyone can get the good treasure bundle for each of their new characters and get as far away from level 1 as quickly as possible.) 


I never played LG or any other living campaign, so I can't comment on those, but I played the Eberron campaign in 3.5 and it has felt much more "living" than LFR ever has.  Yes, I realize that Eberron technically wasn't a "living campaign" and it's a different style of play.  I mean "living" more in terms of a continuous story-line and the feeling that your PC was actually a real character with a meaningful play history and shared play experiences.  You didn't just pull a random LFR PC out of your "stable of characters" to play the dungeon crawl of the week.  Also, in Eberron if there was a new player in the group everyone else didn't have to make a brand new character just so he could play (and didn't, a few months later, have to all make another batch of new characters if someone else joined the group). 

LFR has certainly gotten better about having continuous storylines, but story-continuity is kind of meaningless if everyone at the table has 10 different PCs.  Every time I've sat down at a table and the DM has asked if the PCs have story reward X or played mod Y, the players invariably say "Oh, well, I've played that mod, but I can't remember if this character has...  Hold on, let me look it up.  Oh, yes, this piece of paper says this particular PC has played that mod."  And then if the DM asks  "How did you interact with NPC X?" the answer is usually something like "Was that one of the story rewards?  Darn, no, it doesn't say anything here about that.  Well, I remember one time I played it we totally blew off that NPC, one time we helped that guy out, and there was another time that we never even met him...  Huh.  I can't remember which game my current PC played in.  Whatever, it doesn't really matter anyway, does it?  Let's just assume that this character was nice to the NPCs."


I don't know what the best option is - there are certainly pros and cons with every system.  However, saying that letting people start PCs at levels higher than level 1 will significantly disrupt the feeling of continuity in LFR is not a very compelling argument.  (Especially now that that character you've been growing from level 1 can be completely retrained out of recognition anyway.)

Lori Anderson

WotC Freelancer, LFR author

@LittleLorika

 

Dragon Magazine #412: Unearthed Arcana: Ships in Your Campaign

Calimshan Adventures (LFR): CALI3-3, CALI4-1, and QUES4-1

Epic Adventures (LFR): EPIC5-1 and EPIC5-3

Other LFR Adventures: NETH4-1, ADCP5-2, and MYTH6-3

 

 

 

 


Have you ever played in a home campaign?  Has anyone ever died or has a new player wanted to join?  How did you handle it?



Irrelevant. We're not in a home campaign.

I can't say that I understand why people think allowing people to create characters higher than level 1 would destroy the game.

An LFR adventure rewards you in two ways: You have a fun four hour experience, and your character earns experience, gold and items.  
...
Remove the second reward, and I'd still play LFR
...

If I sat down at a table and found out the adventure gave out zero experience, zero gold and nary a magic item, my threshold for adventure and DM quality would be pretty high for me to want to spend the time.  
...
The net effect of allowing creation of higher-level PCs is to obliterate that, to make playing an LFR game equivalent to playing a homebrew campaign with a pregen.



Are we talking about two different suggestions?  What I've proposed is that we limit the levels you can create and that characters created at a level higher than 1 be penalized until they "earn" their next level.  We could also start them out with lower wealth than the average LFR PC.

But if you're still worried about people playing a "character of the week" there are at least two simple solutions.  Limit the number of characters you can create at a level higher than 1st to 4 per year (or some other arbitrary number).  Or say that you can only create 1 character per tier above H1 and you have to either play that character until they level out of the tier or retire.  So if I create "Timmy the Bard" at H3, I can't create another H3 character until "Timmy" retires or qualifies for P1.  If a character "comes out of" retirement they have to start again at the lowest qualifying level for the tier.

I was running a home campaign a few years back when Bob came to our group and asked if his friend Barry could join since we had an opening - Jeff had been transferred out of state and could no longer play.  Everyone was 8th level so I had Barry write up a 7th level character and gave him guidelines on equipment.

Everyone was fine with Barry joining the group, and the fact that he didn't "earn" his 7th level character didn't bother anyone.  Why?  Because D&D is not about competing with other players.  Barry was fun to game with and a good addition to our group.

Later on Bob came to me and confessed that he just wasn't having fun playing his ranger.  The campaign was fine, he just didn't like the character.  We discussed some alternatives but ultimately Bob's character rode off into the sunset and he brought in a new character ... once again the new character was slightly lower level with slightly less equipment than everyone else and nobody batted an eye.  Bob was still a good guy and had fun running his new wizard.

I personally don't care if other people choose to play a character of the week.  The character they play doesn't affect me as long as they are reasonably competent and contribute to the team.

I know some people think that LFR is somehow fundamentally different.  I don't see why.  LFR has less continuity and far less connection between characters which would seem to indicate that creating new characters would have even less impact.  If someone - even someone I regularly game with - brings a new character to the table I've never run with there's never been a question of where the character came from.  How did they get that character?  I don't know.  Maybe they were playing with a different group, at cons or online.  At the end of the day it didn't matter.

Allen.

I know some people think that LFR is somehow fundamentally different.  I don't see why.  LFR has less continuity and far less connection between characters which would seem to indicate that creating new characters would have even less impact.


Alternatively, the lack of continuity and connection means that the continuity aspects that do exist -- i.e., leveling and consistency -- mean much more. Not trying to change your mind here, just pointing out why some might disagree with you.

I know some people think that LFR is somehow fundamentally different.  I don't see why.  LFR has less continuity and far less connection between characters which would seem to indicate that creating new characters would have even less impact.


Alternatively, the lack of continuity and connection means that the continuity aspects that do exist -- i.e., leveling and consistency -- mean much more. Not trying to change your mind here, just pointing out why some might disagree with you.


I can only speak from personal experience which is that when we talk about old adventures at the table that we played together we almost inevitably end up asking "which character were you playing that day?"

In my experience the connection between characters is tenuous at best.  If you really want to encourage continuity, encourage fewer characters.  One way to have fewer characters is allow people to create characters at levels higher than 1st so that we don't have to continuously create new characters to support new people.

Allen.

I can only speak from personal experience which is that when we talk about old adventures at the table that we played together we almost inevitably end up asking "which character were you playing that day?"


Yeah, exactly. And for some people, if "that character" loses any more meaning, the sense of continuity is weakened unacceptably. I'm agreeing with you that the connection is tenuous -- can you see how some people might not want to see it get any more tenuous?


I totally get that for you, it's so tenuous it already doesn't matter.


I can only speak from personal experience which is that when we talk about old adventures at the table that we played together we almost inevitably end up asking "which character were you playing that day?"


Yeah, exactly. And for some people, if "that character" loses any more meaning, the sense of continuity is weakened unacceptably. I'm agreeing with you that the connection is tenuous -- can you see how some people might not want to see it get any more tenuous?


I totally get that for you, it's so tenuous it already doesn't matter.



Can I see the point of view?  I suppose.  I guess I could rephrase my wording to be more politically correct.  Wink  But ... I also think a lot of people resist change simply because it is different.  

I think we could craft a rule in such a way that people would only take advantage of it occasionally to avoid the "character of the week" syndrome which seems to bother people.  I agree that leveling characters up by earning XP should be the norm.  I'm one of those people that never uses cheat codes in video games unless I *absolutely* have to.  But if I'm stuck and can't continue without looking up a hint or cheat code I will.  Given a choice I would never create a character higher than level 1.  Unless it's the only way I can get a chance to play.

I just don't think the current system is the best solution we can come up with.



We try very hard to offer a level 1-4 game -every- week, and with 4 available tables, we've been able to do so ... -and- we often offer more than one. We -still- don't have a lot of folks playing Paragon, though those that do would love to see more games per month than we run.



You did just make my arguement for me. Your paragon players want to play paragon more. They can't because to accomidate the 1-4 tables you have to allocate resources in a way that dilute the ability to schedule those higher level games.

One reason to look at starting a new person at higher level or allowing a person to make additional characters at 4th is to get rid of the 1-4 backlog that you are currently experiencing and devoting resources to.
You did just make my arguement for me. Your paragon players want to play paragon more. They can't because to accomidate the 1-4 tables you have to allocate resources in a way that dilute the ability to schedule those higher level games.

One reason to look at starting a new person at higher level or allowing a person to make additional characters at 4th is to get rid of the 1-4 backlog that you are currently experiencing and devoting resources to.



[edit: I think I crossed thoughts, clarifying, I hope]

I doubt it. Because a -> b does not always mean b -> a. Under the current rules, that promote a living campaign, players that play paragon can continue to play their existing PCs and if they want more, they can make new characters. Under the current rules, the same cannot be said for newbs who want to play if there is no one willing to play down from Paragon. If the experienced players play new level 1 PCs, ie they'd need to start new characters, ...  then potentially the newbies get to play with experienced players who are also playing level 1 PCs.

If you instituted a rule that allowed that newb to make a paragon PC, and just wrote a lot more Paragon mods ... let's just say I know who's going to be playing a lot and who isn't.
Let me pull on my asbestos jumper......

I dont see why LFR couldnt have kept the APL format of LG.  Each module could be written so that people within different level ranges could play the same modules for the most part. 
Let me pull on my asbestos jumper......

I dont see why LFR couldnt have kept the APL format of LG.  Each module could be written so that people within different level ranges could play the same modules for the most part. 



You might have heard of a few modules ... SPEC 2-1, ADCP 2-1, and to some extent ADCP 1-1, SPEC 1-3 ... okay, they aren't the same story in all of them, but I think that's sort of what they are doing already.

Mind you, I'm not particular missing the APL concept, but it seems to be leaking back into LFR already.

Let me pull on my asbestos jumper......

I dont see why LFR couldnt have kept the APL format of LG.  Each module could be written so that people within different level ranges could play the same modules for the most part. 



I think it's largely to do with the way NPCs are modeled in 4E.

Now, I don't have the DMGs memorized, so I could be wrong, but I seem to recall that the rule of thumb was that, at MOST you should "level adjust" an NPC by 5 levels up or down.  Beyond that and you're better off simply using a different NPC - and I seem to recall that even stretching to the 5 level extreme isn't recommended.

As a result - especially when 4E was new - the idea of taking a module with level 1 or level 3 NPCs and "stretching" them to put them up against a level 9 or 10 PC just didn't fly.

Perhaps it's time now - especially with a 3rd MM around the corner, and a couple years of 4E Dungeon magazine available - to reevaluate.  If so, I leave that to minds that better understand these things then mine.  
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

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I think it's largely to do with the way NPCs are modeled in 4E.

Now, I don't have the DMGs memorized, so I could be wrong, but I seem to recall that the rule of thumb was that, at MOST you should "level adjust" an NPC by 5 levels up or down.  Beyond that and you're better off simply using a different NPC - and I seem to recall that even stretching to the 5 level extreme isn't recommended.



You're thinking of p. 174 in the DMG.

But this doesn't preclude Levels 1-4 using the Level 3 monster and the Levels 11-14 mod using the Level 13 Elite Huge version of the monster.



I'm so sick of replaying [insert level 1-4 mod that has really good treasure bundles] over and over and over again just because everyone wants their new 1-4 character to have the best items.



Do you think this is an issue with LFR? There's nothing about LFR that requires every character play AKAN1-1 and AGLA1-1 as their first two mods. I get frustrated when one of our local coordinators keeps scheduling games from 2008 when so much new content as been released. As long as you get a +2 weapon before paragon, you'll be okay.

The easiest job of a coordinator should be a new player coming to them asking to start playing LFR.



I don't think so—the easiest job of a coordinator you be getting players to come back. If you're forcing four people to replay the same modules every week in order to get in a new player, you're doing a disservice to 80% of the table. I've already known some players that have quit gaming groups because the coordinators weren't scheduling paragon games. You can't please everyone.

1.) A basic feeling that since I played my character from 1st level up, then everyone should. 

Basically a concept on justice. This is essentially an equalitarian arguement. It works great for players looking at their own characters and their personal view of the campaign. However it is a viewpoint that starts having holes when looking behind the DM screen and at the coordinators. The equalitarian arguement assumes that the resources that were available for the player who leveled up his/her character are still avaialble. 



Actually, it's a bit more than that. A level 14 character has value, it represents and investment. By allowing other players to create level 14 characters, you're decreasing the value of that investment significantly. You're decreasing the game's value for your core audience, in order to (possibly) pull in people from the fringe.

As I understand it, one of the main ideas behind a living campaign is that storylines emerge and grow over time. I think a lot of LFR players choose to ignore that, or choose to play in ways that minimize the effect of those storylines, but you have to admit that changing the policy on starting from other than level 1 would change one of the basic, underlying design structures of the campaign. Things would have to be pretty broken to warrant it, and I don't think either of these arguments demonstrate flaws worth fixing by upending LFR.
From people's decent of allowing a better system to both welcome new players and to decrease the stress on the local gaming eco-system I think it keeps coming back to two kinds of responses



There is another:
4) People  feel like their sense of continuity is eroded if play with non-invested characters becomes the norm.

This does not only affect players: it also affects authors.
This may stem from a  feeling that RPGA management seems to focus more on casual play than on invested play. In early days of the campaign, there was (imo) not enough attention to encourage continuity. This may change, but in the mean time, people who do enjoy continuity do not want what currently exists to be eroded further.
I think it is a valid concern. I realize that creating characters at any level may not directly lead to erosion. But there is a risk, and I would prefer not to take it.


I dont see why LFR couldnt have kept the APL format of LG.  Each module could be written so that people within different level ranges could play the same modules for the most part. 


We discussed this extensively at the start of the LFR. At its core there were three important reasons:
- It is a big amount of extra work, adding a couple of pages of more work (and WotC wants to pay relatively standard prices for the wordcount) and it does not solve the issue at hand. In 4E you cannot play a 1st level PC at a level 8 adventure. The differences in +7 to defenses and attack rolls effectively make that first level character truly unplayable.
- Storywise it impossed many difficulties. The problems were not just with level 1 - 4 stories making no sense at level 7 - 10, because that would be a somewhat weak argument. The difficulties arise with selecting the right type of opponents, especially since we do not have the ability to design our own monsters. Facing goblins at level 1 is fine. Doing the same at level 10 is a bit odd and requires redesigning the goblins, or more likely, picking a completely different set of monsters. Another difficulty is that encounter setup is different. At level 1-4 a relatively normal environment works fine, but by the time you reach level 7 - 10 you need increasingly different types of terrain to make the fights work.
- Mustering was a pain!

Of course, these problems are not impossible to solve. It is just that the energy required to do so was not worth the results.
I can only speak from personal experience which is that when we talk about old adventures at the table that we played together we almost inevitably end up asking "which character were you playing that day?"



Maybe I am an anomaly, but I know which PC(s) of mine played in what adventure, and what roughly happened. I value story though, so that may be a motivator.

Gomez

I dont see why LFR couldnt have kept the APL format of LG.  Each module could be written so that people within different level ranges could play the same modules for the most part. 



Because it takes considerable more time to write.
,
Your paragon players want to play paragon more. They can't because to accomidate the 1-4 tables you have to allocate resources in a way that dilute the ability to schedule those higher level games.

One reason to look at starting a new person at higher level or allowing a person to make additional characters at 4th is to get rid of the 1-4 backlog that you are currently experiencing and devoting resources to.



This implies that paragon players are more valuable than the "1-4 backlog."  All are equally important.  At the moment, our group has more players interested in H1 than P1 - - and as time goes on, we'll see more and more of the "pyramid structure" of demand for games.

If a group wants paragon-all-the-time, they are free to muster a group and play what-they-want-when-they-want.  When it comes to coordinating a game day, everyone's needs should be considered.

Those paragon players are also the most experienced - and likely the best source for expanding a DM pool. Offering a paragon mod as a special event for judges (every so often) is a nice incentive to keep your judge-count up . . . .

Dan Anderson @EpicUthrac
Total Confusion www.totalcon.com
LFR Calimshan Writing Director
LFR Epic Writing Director

LFR Myth Drannor Writing Director

I dont see why LFR couldnt have kept the APL format of LG.  Each module could be written so that people within different level ranges could play the same modules for the most part. 


We discussed this extensively at the start of the LFR. At its core there were three important reasons:
- It is a big amount of extra work, adding a couple of pages of more work (and WotC wants to pay relatively standard prices for the wordcount) and it does not solve the issue at hand. In 4E you cannot play a 1st level PC at a level 8 adventure. The differences in +7 to defenses and attack rolls effectively make that first level character truly unplayable.



To be fair, you couldn't effectively play a 1st level PC in a level 8 adventure in previous editions either. The first fireball would likely wipe you out even if you made your save and while your magic missile or cure light wounds might not need to hit, 1d4+1 or 1d8+1 wasn't going to make much of a difference at that level.

On the other hand, it is not clear that it couldn't work in less extreme scenarios. Simply writing for two tiers rather than one would alleviate some of the difficulties without bringing the prospect of a level 1 PC showing up in a 7-10 adventure. He might end up at high tier in a 4-7 which is still pretty bad, but it's not quite the same.

- Storywise it impossed many difficulties. The problems were not just with level 1 - 4 stories making no sense at level 7 - 10, because that would be a somewhat weak argument. The difficulties arise with selecting the right type of opponents, especially since we do not have the ability to design our own monsters. Facing goblins at level 1 is fine. Doing the same at level 10 is a bit odd and requires redesigning the goblins, or more likely, picking a completely different set of monsters. Another difficulty is that encounter setup is different. At level 1-4 a relatively normal environment works fine, but by the time you reach level 7 - 10 you need increasingly different types of terrain to make the fights work.



Some of these problems could be solved by loosening the formatting constraints on LFR authors--if LFR authors were allowed to use monster builder, for instance, it would probably take less time to write statblocks for two tiers than it does to copy/paste them for one tier now. (At least that's the kind of time savings I've enjoyed with it when writing MYRE adventures). Likewise, if you were writing for only two tiers, it would be quite possible to keep using the same monsters. Half the monsters faced at H1 are leveled down monsters anyway. And while you probably wouldn't want to level all of your goblins up to 5 or 7 (though the rules would allow it for most goblins) if you were writing "Nemesis of the Goblin Warrens H2", you could level them up to 3 or 4 (or use level 3 and 4 goblins) and just use twice as many of them. Lots of weaker non-minion monsters can work pretty well as a challenge for higher level PCs and it provides both a tactical challenge and a feeling of competence that is unusual in LFR since most of the adventures focus on the default 4e encounter templates (solos, elites, and standard monsters to a proportion roughly equal to the party with maybe a few minions tossed in).

As for the stories themselves, I might buy it if we weren't already fighting dragons in H1 adventures, drow in H2 adventures and facing down street gangs in P1 adventures. There might be an argument there if authors and administrators were providing tier and level appropriate stories at the moment, but since there isn't much connection between how powerful our PCs are now and what they face, I don't see how opening up the tiers a bit would change that.

Coming from a very small group of players that must rotate DM duties I would support some type of creating higher than 1st level RPGA characters.  There should be some type of restrictions.  Like the new character must be X number of levels below your highest level character.  Or it must be at least one or two module bracket(s) below your highest level character.

It should be extremely limited. Something to the effect of: You gain the ability to make a 4th level character when your primary characters reaches 11th level

Or something to that effect.
Matt James Freelance Game Designer Loremaster.org

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It should be extremely limited. Something to the effect of: You gain the ability to make a 4th level character when your primary characters reaches 11th level

Or something to that effect.



This pretty much defeats the stated purpose of creating higher level PCs.  I'm very firmly on the the other side of this issue, but I'm pretty sure that my opposition's point is not to make even more lower level secondary PCs, but rather to give a hand up to new people's primary PCs.
Your paragon players want to play paragon more. They can't because to accomidate the 1-4 tables you have to allocate resources in a way that dilute the ability to schedule those higher level games.

One reason to look at starting a new person at higher level or allowing a person to make additional characters at 4th is to get rid of the 1-4 backlog that you are currently experiencing and devoting resources to.



This implies that paragon players are more valuable than the "1-4 backlog."  All are equally important.  At the moment, our group has more players interested in H1 than P1 - - and as time goes on, we'll see more and more of the "pyramid structure" of demand for games.

If a group wants paragon-all-the-time, they are free to muster a group and play what-they-want-when-they-want.  When it comes to coordinating a game day, everyone's needs should be considered.

Those paragon players are also the most experienced - and likely the best source for expanding a DM pool. Offering a paragon mod as a special event for judges (every so often) is a nice incentive to keep your judge-count up . . . .




I would like to renew my call for people to step back a moment and try to think more philosophically. The issue that I am trying to express is one of limited resources.

I agree that all players are equal. Everyone here agrees that players are equal. We all agree with this statement, but then we go onto talk about ways to do things which make the player's unequal.

A common sentiment has arrisen. Have the paragon table players DM, they are experienced, make them DM to get their Paragon DM table. Just so that we are clear, the co-ordinator should, to put it nicely, strongly push those players towards DM'ing so they can play their characters, instead of the coordinator asking for DM's and the players volunteering. By doing this, the players are not being considered as equals with equal importance on each table. The lower level tables are having a greater importance placed on them. The system then drives a reality where as you level your character you must then DM to play at higher level. In MMORPG's there is DKP to distribute loot. Do we need TFP (Table Fly Points)? If 5 players have x points in TFPs from DM'ing, then they get their P2 mod this week. If not, then you better hope for low turn out and no new players? (This is an extreme example and partially satirical and could very well happen.)

I have noticed that there is a repeated message. To invite new players we put out experienced players. It has also been mentioned that if higher level people want to play their paragon mods then go organize something just for those players. All these things do is create reasons for experiences players to dislike new players because they don't want to be put out by them. Which, they absolutely are.

Higher tier characters should be treated with awe, not because they are "better", but because they have achieved. A new player should be able to walk in and see higher level tables and cool fights with beholders and dragons and titans (eventually). It will help promote the scope of LFR.

We are already seeing problems with the 1-4 level band. It hogs resources. We don't have to go to extremes to say simple things like. Let's let a player start a bit higher if they choose. It can help to reduce the resource drain on writers having to write 1-4 mods. It can reduce the strain on coordinators with small groups. It can reduce the need for players to canabalize their tables to include new people.




Maybe I am an anomaly, but I know which PC(s) of mine played in what adventure, and what roughly happened. I value story though, so that may be a motivator.


Me too, I keep a list of that.
It should be extremely limited. Something to the effect of: You gain the ability to make a 4th level character when your primary characters reaches 11th level

Or something to that effect.



This pretty much defeats the stated purpose of creating higher level PCs.  I'm very firmly on the the other side of this issue, but I'm pretty sure that my opposition's point is not to make even more lower level secondary PCs, but rather to give a hand up to new people's primary PCs.



I think Matt's concept is very salient and a good idea.

Yes, make a 4th level character, especially if this is a person's 8th character, which I know I'm at. We are then able to reduce the strain on the system, especially if there are no 1-4 tables already running.

This is a living campaign it can accomidate growth for both characters and players...for both old and new.
I agree that all players are equal. Everyone here agrees that players are equal. We all agree with this statement, but then we go onto talk about ways to do things which make the player's unequal.



Players are not equal.

Examples:
Players who don't bathe.
Players who rules lawyer a significant portion of every table.
Players who give Coordinators and/or DMs headaches.
Players who don't contribute.
Players who always seem to have had a horrible day.
Players who don't know what their character is capable of doing.
Players who step up to DM.
Players who bring food, drinks, etc... to games and hand out to the rest of the table.
Players who coordinate games for everyone else.
Players who are prepared.
Players who always seem to have a good time playing D&D and their tables as a whole always do too.

I don't know about you, but I find that the people I want to play with are the last 5, not the first 6. They're the people I'm going to invite to the games I coordinate.

Just so that we are clear, the co-ordinator should, to put it nicely, strongly push those players towards DM'ing so they can play their characters, instead of the coordinator asking for DM's and the players volunteering.



The coordinator should push everyone to DM equally when they're ready to DM. If everyone DMs a little, everyone gets to play a lot and no one feels left out. Coordinator stress levels go way down. Everyone shares the sacrifice equally. The disadvantage that new players have is that they're often not ready to DM. So they shouldn't have to do that initially, but that by no means they're not eventually getting asked to DM.

Players who think they don't have to DM are making everyone but themselves sacrifice more play time. They may not be deliberately doing this, but that's the net result. It isn't asking a lot to say to them, look, you need to contribute the group equally.

I don't think a huge change needs to be made.

Keep the writing bands as is, but relax the play restrictions.

Allow characters to play at any table that is within two levels of their character.

So, a 3rd level character would be able to play 1-4 Low, 1-4 High, and 4-7 Low.

Increases flexibility without having folks TOO far apart in level at the same table.



-np

LFR Characters: Lady Tiana Elinden Kobori Silverwane - Drow Control Wizard | Kro'tak Warscream - Orc Bard | Fulcrum of Gond - Warforged Laser Cleric

AL Character: Talia Ko'bori Silverwane - Tiefling Tome Fiend Warlock

I don't think a huge change needs to be made. Keep the writing bands as is, but relax the play restrictions. Allow characters to play at any table that is within two levels of their character. So, a 3rd level character would be able to play 1-4 Low, 1-4 High, and 4-7 Low. Increases flexibility without having folks TOO far apart in level at the same table.


That's kind of awesome.




Keep the writing bands as is, but relax the play restrictions.


I agree that mods in general are easy enough that we could allow people to "play up" if they want and the rest of the group agrees.  Say that the band restrictions are recommendations, not hard limits.  I don't think you'd even have to worry about restricting it to playing "low".  If a level 3 character wants to play a 4-7 on "high" let them.  This way we could effectively broaden the range of mods without changing existing mods or the current overall level structure.

Of course there would always be the hardcore munchkin groups that want to play the 7-10 mod on high with only level 6 characters.  As long as the DM doesn't softball it I don't see a problem.  

The other restriction I could see would be to give anyone in the group "veto" powers - if they don't want a low level person joining the table, they shouldn't be forced to accept them.  I think allowing anyone at a table is normally a good idea, but a character that is lower than the official tier could be a burden on the rest of the group.  I would also limit it to 1 level below the recommended level band.

Allen.
Allow characters to play at any table that is within two levels of their character.

Make sure that playing above your level isn't a shortcut to better rewards, and I wouldn't have a problem with that.

My suggestion would be to have the PC playing up receive the rewards given at high tier of a MyRealms of the level band he actually qualifies for (or less, should the group sufficiently fail the adventure).
An option that occurs to me is to issue a DM reward card as a LFR Creation Card stating something along the lines of "This character can begin play as a level 4 character . This Character can not participate in any 1-4 Modules." 

The intention is for DMs not to use it to generate their own characters but to give to new player when the situation arises.
I am not sure about starting a new caharcter above 4 but The difference between 1 and 4 is an extra encounter power and a utility power.  To me not that big a deal.  

The other thing is that it gives those who DM and hence the ones that make lfr work the opportunity to say if this idea should be implemented.

 

 
Calimoakheart on RPGTableOnline
Keep the writing bands as is, but relax the play restrictions.



But does this actually fix any problem, or merely postpone it?

People are seeing a problem now with 5 fixed level bands in play.  Might wider bands not just delay the same problem from occuring until we have 7 (wider) level bands?  9?

Don't get me wrong, I haven't personally observed this problem.  However, I'm not claiming that those who have are lying or wrong - just that it's not a problem for me.  That said, I think that this particular solution would be a bandaid and not a fix.



I 100% support you for excluding players at your private games and I think this is what you meant.

However...

For public RPGA events, you are not a public coordinator if you exclude people. The cardinal sin in the RPGA is for a person to show up to play at a Public RPGA event and they don't get to play at all.

My suggestion would be to have the PC playing up receive the rewards given at high tier of a MyRealms of the level band he actually qualifies for (or less, should the group sufficiently fail the adventure).



Though I also believe this proposal is a bandaid, not a fix. I also though think that we should simplify rewards to the table not the player. If the table plays high, they take the risk and gain the reward. If a player gets a +3 weapon 6 levels before they can use it, they still can't use it until they gain a few levels and would have been able to play the mod anyway.
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