Coolest way you have introduced a new PC to the party?

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We have just had a party member get killed so one of my players will be creating a new character soon. He has left it up to me how he becomes a member of the party, so I was wondering what are the most interesting and fun ways you gave seen new members introduced? We run a very light hearted game so comic value is always a plus point.
I never introduce PCs "in play." It's much better usually to simply ask everyone to collaborate on a reason/occurence for the new PC, add him or her right then, and forge ahead from there with the adventure. There are only so many convenient prisoners or sudden magical arrivals one can stand before it gets pretty trite. I bet if you take 5 minutes to brainstorm with everyone at the table, you'll have a fine idea very quickly. To that end, getting their buy-in with a conversation and then pressing on is a better focus than concocting events to play out that have a predetermined end anyway.

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

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The times the campaign was set with the whole group as part of a guild, when a player died or new PC showed up he handed the group a letter saying he was part of the guild as well and been assigned to the group.

One time we had two new players, I had them meet the rest of the group mid way through a dungeon/ruins, the two new people were members of a failed group and they were the only two surviors. It was a good way to force them into the group without even having to do the usual metagamed tavern meeting idea since they all needed to band together to get out of the dungeon and it made the two newer players feel useful since I gave them some hints because they were in said section of the dungeon beforehand.

Another time, I just did a silly idea with an unknown egg one PC had found, he kept the thing with him to see if it would hatch. Later on one of the adventurers died and made a new char, I decided he magically hatched from the egg the other PC was carrying.

Other then that as Iserith said, its alot of they were prisoner or magically just appear with the group to get the game flowing.
Just had to do this for three new players in my saturday game at level 14.

*clears throat*

Dragonborne Fighter-  While the party was back in Fallcrest, the current Dragonborne Fighter (Rhogar) happened to see a fellow Dragonborne sitting off the side of the road wearing shredded armor and rags and holding a chipped and otherwise damaged great sword.  Having known this Dragonborne, a female friend from his home tribe in the Harken Forest, Rhogar gave her his old suit of +3 full plate and his old +3 great sword.  Soon the two would fell an Elder Black Dragon with thier new party of 8, and they would share in it's scales and bone forged as armor and blade.

Halfling Wizard-  Weenar Bru was entertaining the local children of Fallcrest with some Prestidigitation and other simple magic effects in the Merchant Green, when he asked for an audiance member to play assistant.  Weenar picked one of the more, gifted, woman form the crowd and readied his next magical spell.  Befor he proceeded however, he copped a feel on the woman.  Her Husband gave chase, followed by the woman and the crowd of children.  Weenar ran up to the party but Cogs, the party rogue and halfling sized Warforged, hid him under her cloak as Weenar balanced on her shoulders and they pulled off a secessfull ruse to make the locals think the two were now one human.

Deva Invoker-  As the party walked around Fallcrest, they noticed the people on the streets give way to a shining light.  They noticed that the light had a humanoid figure in it's center, and that it was a Deva.  As the Deva came to the party, they could see the fires of war followed the Invoker, for he was a worshiper of Kord, and as the aura of light anf fire subsided and after introducing himself as Tavar, he told the party it was this life's duty to aid the them in their coming trials with the Book of Vile Darkness.

Other times, when I don't have the convinence of the entire party being in town, usually a single new PC will be from a failed group of adventurers and would be the sole survivor, and if another new PC comes in soon after, they become part of that killed party as the second survivor.  Ususally the first new PC has already worked well with the new group and that helps the second new PC to take to the group easier.

Other times, if multiple new PCs join in, they become their own adventuring party that joins up with the current party.  They then have their trust with a few party memebers off the bat while working for the trust of the older PCs.  Escaped prisoners and magical appearances can become conveluted, but it's best to give your new characters a bit of an introduction sometimes.  
I'm not at all worried about using the 'usual' methods as our group as 6 pcs at level 7 and we have only just had the second death. So what other standard ways are there.
The most unusual method was the following: A new PC came into the game when the party was mid-adventure. They were investigating a tomb with a lich that had its phylactery trapped in a stasis field. To retrieve the object they sought, they had to negate the statis field, thereby freeing the lich. The statis field made the room within look a lot like the "trapped in amber" scenes in Fringe. They thought the body trapped in the amber was the lich. They did not know that the lich was trapped "in its phylactery" in the field and that the body they saw was our soon-to-be-freed PC. He had been trapped there for over a century, shortly after delivering the killing blow to the lich.
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
In a home game, my Warforged Battlemind|Fighter joined the party by being awarded to one of the party members as a +2 Neck slot item. Basically we needed a way to introduce my character to the party without being cliche.

As such my DM of the time concented to have my character not be a Warforged per se, but instead to follow the rules for a Docent. After the character was introduced there was a minor side quest where they went to what ammounted to a museum/vault and stole a body for him. After two sessions, he basically behaved as any other Warforged PC would, mechanically.
That's funny.  My Ranger wanted a bear, so I gave him a neck slot item, too, that summons a bear.  Don't know how I'd feel as a player to be bound to someones magic item, but it seems like you've handled it well.
Sleeping with interns on Colonial 1
I try to develop something that is fitting to your current story point.  Works well unless the guy died on a solo that conclused the arc. 

For instance, I had an NPC give light to the fact he was traded by someone close.  "X,Y,Z, and spirtual guide" are the only ones who knew.  Then the spirtual guide was my PC monk.  Now, they will have to RP it out, but one thing that I make sure of, and this may be my preference and not the way, is not to let the players role against each other.  Bad for in game relation and it usually translate to player resentment.  If they want to check to see if the monk is lying, then they roll an insight against a DC, not the monk's bluff.  If it digresses to an all out fight or if later the character wants to lie or something, essentially if the players are bent on conflict with each other, than I let them have it.  Unless it's one sided hostility.

Another case, one character joined our party in mid adventure, as well as another character who wanted to switch what he was playing.  I had an half elf ranger and an elven rogue to introduce at the same time.  I made them already know each other, and the main party was traveling through their tribe's forest.  They tracked them and also identified a group of assassins tracking the party as well.  This sort of makes the main party friendly towards them by coming forth with this information. 

 An extremely specific situation, but back in 3.5, a warforged joined the party a few sessions into a short campaign. He wanted to fluff his character as more of a Primal sort of Pinnochio rather than a magical mech built in a lab, and both of us being Swamp Thing fans, I had a thought how to tie the character's backstory into the party's current location.

The party was investigating evil cultists trying to raise something at the site of an ancient "haunted" battlefield in a swampy area of a forest. The cultists were trying to use the mystical power of the area to summon a Balor or something similar (the game wasn't going to last long enough for me to need to decide what it was), and the battlefield had finally had enough of stupid morons killing each other on its ground, trashing the scenery and generally polluting the karma of the place.
 It got pissed.
So many battles had occurred at that spot over the milennia that the location itself had become a genius loci - literally, "spirit of the place". It was a living, sentient thing. The battlefield's spirit used a portion of its power to make a tree grow up through an old suit of magical armor buried with a fallen warrior from one of those ancient battles, and invested it with part of its consciousness. Armed and armored with relics retrieved from the fallen buried within it's earth, the portion of the battlefield's spirit uprooted itself and set out to punish those who'd defiled it.
 The warforged had now been refluffed as sort of a plant/zombie hybrid.
 I had the character come growing up out of the ground to freak them out a bit and hand them some archaeological artifacts they were looking for, and then the Spirit possessed the character to deliver an introduction/backstory speech and explain that it was sending the warforged along with the party to guide them through the forest and go lay the smack down on the cultists.
 After the end of the big fight, the Spirit placed the soul of the armor's original owner (bound to the battlefield, and thus to the Spirit) back into the newly animated plant/armor body, and he decided to accompany the party on their further adventures.


I am the Magic Man.

(Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.)


I am the Lawnmower Man.



I am the Skull God.

(Koo Koo Ka Choo)


There are reasons they call me Mad...

The warforged had now been refluffed as sort of a plant/zombie hybrid.

I liked this. A lot!
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
This seems such a good way of reflavouring a warforged I want to play one!
Ever since it was introduced, the warforged have been my default solution to any player wanting to play a "created" or artificial being of some sort rather than a member of an actual race.

 I think I've refluffed/reflavored the 'forged in about six different ways now, and at least four of them were directly in relation to how I and the player decided we wanted to introduce them to the rest of the party.
 I simply adjust the flavor to better reflect the class, power source (for lack of a better pre-4E term), and specific backstory circumstances.

 In addition to the standard lab-built magic-mech, I've done...

 - the Swamp Thing plant zombie
 - a statue possessed and animated by the soul of a character
 - a previously-human adventurer suffering the effects of a botched and only partially successful attempt at reversing a medusa's gaze
 - a sentient, free-willed golem, as a solution for a returning old-edition player who wanted to ressurect an old 1st Ed. character that had been polymorphed into a homebrewed golem through the machinations of his previous DM

 All of those were situations where the current adventure offered perfect circumstances for introducing a new npc/character of that type - and aside from the first, all were either purposely or accidentally the result of the current party's actions. The party was pretty close to getting TPK'd by the golem before they realized the bad guy was mind-controlling it and broke the spell.

 I've also had one warforged that was quite literally a genre-appropriate Pinnochio and another warforged sorceror whose player was a big Transformers fan and thus ended up playing the end result of what might charitably be called "some critically failed dice rolls" by a wizard trying some... unwise things with portals through the space-time continuum and a highly modified Apparatus of Kwalish.

 More on topic, if I can't come up with a good way to slip a new character into the current story that makes sense under the current circumstances, I don't even bother - I just come up with something interesting/strange/inexplicable and then build out the exact details into a sub-plot/storyline of a future adventure. Especially if it's something unusual like trying to find a spot for a single thri-kreen in Greyhawk or something like that.


I am the Magic Man.

(Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.)


I am the Lawnmower Man.



I am the Skull God.

(Koo Koo Ka Choo)


There are reasons they call me Mad...

In one of our games the PCs fought & killed some sort of polar wurm thing that had a freezing breath weapon & exploded violently when slain.

Well, the wizard was frozen to death.  Literly turned into an ice statue when he took way too much damage from the breath weapon.....
Several rounds later?  The beast meets it's end & explodes.  Ends up killing all the NPCs, and another PC.
Que the usual scene of healing/looting - where one of the survivors states that he's picking up the wizards fingers. ??  "So we can raise the Wizard!"  Um, ok.  Neverminding that there's he's got no way to discern the wizards frozen digits from any other he might find....  (I bet you know where this is headed)
NPCs = no loss. 
The other PC?  His player has something else easily worked into the story.
The Wizard?  Well, he comes back as a ghost! (yes, there was a backstory reason why this happened, but it's not very important to this tale)

Now the remaining party members decide that they're going to "fix" the wizard ghost.  As in turn him back alive.
And so begins a several month long (real time!) series of adventures with this as the goal.
During the final chapter of this quest the wizard ghost is "destroyed".
The party goes "Oh well, we still have his finger!"
And now the cleric is high enough to cast raise dead or whatever!

So they cast the spell on the months old finger, and....

Ressurect a completely different dude.
In my long running 4th edition Eberron campaign I've only needed to introduce one new player. I did made sure he had a dramatic entrance though.

The party was delving under Six Kings, following the trail of the Ashen Crown (premade adventure). After delving in the grotto's for over two sessions they came upon the final encounter, a load of abberants surrounding a so called moon pool in the middle of raising a huge beholder from the depths of Khyber. Fighthing valliantly the party managed to stop the ritual and slay all the cultists. In the last mop up of the combat something did come through the moonpool. But instead of a beholder or other abberant monstrosity they were faced by a soaking wet, shivering, battered and bruised half-orc. The party was smart enough not to kill him on site and since then he has been a loyal follower of the group, and till this day (about 12 levels further and 1,5 years playing) still don't know exactly what happened to him.
Nirafelos's character in my Tales of Greyhawk campaign, Oregarr, was introduced to the party in a Cultist compound underground, as a prisoner,  attached by feet to the ceiling and during the entire combat, i had his token slide 3 squares on each creature's square, moving about in a large circle. With his reach he could always attack someone in the room depending where he was. 
Players thought it was an epic entry!

Here's a summary of the encounter:

''Encounter:  Meet A Moving Man (225 XP) 
As you continued to explore the Cultist compound, you heard noises of fighting in one of the room beyond. Arriving in the door way, you all saw a spectacular scene deploying. A red haired mountain of a man, chained up by the ankles to the ceiling, was fighting away Cultist and spinning around in the room and fighting with broken manacle chains. He was bleeding a lot and his body bored signs of recent mistreatement. Several tables with torturing implements, as well as tools for branding subject with the symbol of Incaboulos were scattered around. You quickly jumped to help the man and fought alongside. A wicked fight went on as the man moved around the room perpetually, trading blows freely with Cultist. One Taskmaster Yir was brought down, as well as other Cultist Adept and the last surviving Cultist, a Warlock, fled in the adjacent room pursued by Tolman by one side and Moth on the other. Cornered, the man ushered a single word "Yaklath" while placing a crystal wand below his chin, and a blast of Force energy blown his brains all over the ceiling as his lifeless body fell on the ground. You quickly regrouped and met Oregarr, a captive that was probably intended to be slayed, and raised as a Zombie bearring the mark of Incaboulos and indiced with the Plague before being sent on the street of Grabford above. Also on the Death mage was carrying a Ironwood Staff, and Yir the Cult Taskmaster was wearring a Dlarun Chainmail, made with a rare type of metal.'' 
Thanks for all the input! In the end this is what myself and the player have come up with:

As the party are in search if four artifacts, and currently have found 3, the new character will be the defender of the last item. As the last item is a mask he will be wearing it. This has caused him to be cursed by the item and is being controlled by it. The fight then breaks out. Once killed, or knocked out in this instance, the party will be able to remove the mask. He will then have his original personality restored. He wants to help the party banish the items so that no one else suffers the same fate he did.
Warforged seem to lend themselves to being dropped into a party.

The most creative additions I ever came up with was when the party had infiltrated an old Cannith lab. Behind one wall of one of the rooms was a chamber with two sealed sarcophagi and a warforged. These were the failsafe, in case Cannith ever needed a team on the inside of their own lab. The warforged was just a servant, but he'd been in the chamber for years and had spent it meditating and practicing enough martial arts to become a monk. In the sarcophagi were two clone bodies and sets of equipment for them. As luck would have it, around the time the PCs were stumbling upon this chamber and meeting the warforged, one of the bodies was activated and came to life. However, the person (one of the new PCs) had no idea he'd been cloned, and couldn't recall how his original body had just died.

I was joining another group, and picked a warforged shaman. He was from an ancient, lost civilization whose wars had finally destroyed it. He'd walked off the battlefield and spent centuries communing with nature. He'd lay on lake and river beds for years at a time, let trees grow under him, sink through glaciers, et cetera, just to see what it was like. His features had been warn smooth and he spoke oddly. A pity that game didn't really go anywhere.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

    I was pretty happy with how this one turned out though it wasnt quite a "new" PC per say. A little context, my group was pretty much 90% new to D&D and everyone was new to 4e so the characters they created werent their preferred playstyle but they didn't figure that out until they were already attatched to them emotionally and didnt want to just reroll. Specifically the warlord, Wynston P. Hurtztevomit and ranger, Denton McMutilate (lighthearted kind of tone to the campaign) were unhappy with their characters mechanically but loved them all the same. So I had them rebuild their characters as what they would want now, an ardent and a monk, and told them not to tell the rest of the party they had done so.
    The group was in the Underdark anyway so I whipped out the Illithid. They kidnapped the warlord and made him their thrall. After some skill checks the group tracked them to their nest and found their comrade, who promptly attacked them. I actually had the player fight against his teammates and it was a blast as they tried not to kill Wynston while ironically Wynston was the most effective he'd ever been. After the fight he went catatonic and lost his memories (briefly, I hate those storylines) and as the enemies surrounded the group and it looked like it was all over his memories came rushing back and he exploded with psionic power due to exposure to the Illithid and became an Ardent. The resulting shockwave buffed the party and changed the ranger to a monk.
    They now love every part of their characters and have never looked back =D
To me it all depends on what the charector's class and race is.
-if he/she is an dwarf and it's an underground dungeon maybe he/she could have been a missing miner
- if he/she is a paladin he/shecould have been trying to do the same as the party but got lost.
- if he/she is a theif/roguee the he/she could have been thrown in their for their crimes

that way it would blend into the story and maybe even cause different quest or goals. like

" you round the bend in the tunnel and see a elf in chainmail sitting on one of  the tunnels collapsed pillers. he looks up and smiles. he shares his fire with you as he tells you of the reason he is in the dungeon also. It turns out his monestary's in on one the mountains you saw on the cart ride to this dungeons entrence relics stolen from a rogue cleric who took refuge in these tunnels. He was sent to recover th relic as well as to bring the evil cleric to justice."

That's just my opinion thought 
One of my players had written up his character background to include a noble family enemy. He had killed one of the family brothers in a street fight while defending an old man. After serving time in prison he joined the army. Naturally this family wants revenge on that character. This provided a great hook for introducing a rogue to the party.

I typed up a note in a fancy looking font for the actual player of the wanted character to read. I sealed the note and gave it to the new player. The scenario was that the new player had been approached by the notorious "dark assassin". The player's character knows about the dark assassin and knows that he is not to be refused or taken lightly. So he is told that his character needs only to deliver this note to the gentleman over there. So when the new player role plays this out and says he gives the note to the gentleman, I tell him to pass the note to the player across the table. That player reads the note and it is from the noble family saying something about finally getting their revenge. At the moment his character is reading it, the Dark Assassin strikes. Now the rogue character being privy to the whole situation notices the Dark Assassin and his intentions, so he warns the other player just before he is struck. This warning is enough to negate the actual assassination attempt and a fight ensues. The new player helps them fight off the Dark Assassin and explains the situation. There is a level of trust that is lost, but quickly re-established and the characters then built a relationship from there. This worked out great because it created some interesting roleplaying situations where the characters had to learn to put trust in one another. 
 My players came up with their own method of bringing in new/replacement characters. They created a large orphanage,with all ages and races of children, and staffed it with a group of retired adventurers.Any new/replacement characters come from the orphanage and received their basic class training from the staff there. 
Really like how we introduced the new guy...the party was sent on a quest by a mage to recover an artifact. Before departing town, they did some research on the artifact and found out it comes from the White Kingdom, thus is evil. Being Lawful Stupid, the ranger in the party let slip to another NPC that they intended to destory the artifact. After gathering this information, they set out for the journey to find the this point a new player entered the game for the first time....

His background is that he's the nephew of the mage who sent the party on the quest...word got back to the mage that the party was going to cross him, so he sent his nephew to infiltrate the party (since he'll need the parties help to find it) and bring back the artifact (either by stealing, by force, or by convincing the party not to destory it). At some point in the quest the party came back to town escorting some surivivors and headed back out...only to find that the leader of the guard had departed a day earlier into the area the party had just come from. This seemed odd to the party and they took note and headed back into the cursed town. During an encounter, they came across a badly injured person and a dead leader of the guard. How the person got injured and how the guard died was never fully explored and they bought this guys story and invited him to join them....ah hook, line and sinker...

The best part about this is the the nephew is chaotic neutral. He is also a fighter, not a mage, which means his uncle and him have a strained relationship due to the fact he chose the warrior way over the mage way. So this really leaves all options open to the new player...he can do a multitude of things and can decide how he wants to interact with the party...he can join the party and help destroy the artifact, he can steal it, he can attempt to take it, he can convince them to return it...etc...naturally being an evil DM, I put some big carrots out there for him to steal/return it to his this unfolds is anyone's guess...but it'll be fun...  
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