DM Tips - Bringing New Characters into an Ongoing Story

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A player has gotten themselves killed, or you did it, or they just got bored and let their character wander off.  Now they want to play someone new.  How do you bring this new character in to an already ongoing story?  It isn't as hard as you might think!

In this video you'll find three main avenues to go down in order to bring a new character into the group:

1.  Connecting the new character to the old
2.  Connecting the new character to the overall quest
3.  Connecting the new character by random chance and circumstance

If this is something you struggle with please take a look!

As always please feel free to expand on what I offer here by leaving a comment or video response with your own tips or suggestions.

Just use Raise Dead.

Or if, like many other DMs, you reject Raise Dead for the problematic patch-job it is and summarily remove it from your game, set up "trapdoors" in advance. A "trapdoor" is any plot element or device that serves as a premade excuse for inserting a character, whether a character has died or a new player is joining. The classic method was for the party to hire henchmen. If your character died, you gave their weapons and armor to the torch bearer, who had just been field promoted to party fighter. That has obvious drawbacks, so groups have tried various other things:

Adventurer's Guild contract that allows replacements to be teleported or shipped in.

Nearby adventuring group that has been scattered by circumstances.

Nearby villages or groups of rescued prisoners from which A Hero Will Rise.

Would-be apprentices who have been seeking the PC, but arrive just too late.

Comrades who had been seeking to deliver a message to the PC, but arrive just to late (also useful for replacing characters whose players need to leave: "Your help is needed elsewhere, but I will aid your fellows here.")

Some of these can be whipped up more or less on the fly, but if the replacement characters are already made (which they should be), it's easier to come up with appropriate trapdoors for them. When I ran a game at a gamestore and had to be prepared for players to drop in, I always had trapdoors ready for the pregens I gave them.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Thanks for the feedback!  Always good to have multiple ways to bring in new characters and players.