Mixing New and Old Characters

Letting players start at the beginning is fine when you first open a campaign, and all player characters can begin at the same level. As sessions are played, however, a disparity in character levels will develop. New players will join the game and old players will create new characters. Eventually, you'll reach a point where the original group of players has characters many levels higher than when they began. How, then, do you introduce new players and new player characters into your game?

There are times when you should allow a character to start above 1st level. A newly-created character should begin a campaign no higher than 4th level unless the group is very powerful. If this is the case, he should begin no higher than the lowest level character in the party (and it may be better to start a level or two lower).

The new character should have equipment similar to that of his adventuring companions: If they have horses, he should have a horse, too. But do not give him free magical items. These he must earn. He should start with a small amount of cash.

Sometimes a player can replace a fallen character by promoting an NPC henchman to player character status. This is a good method because the player is already familiar with the NPC and may have created a personality for him. When this happens, the player is given the NPC character sheet and allowed to take full control of it.

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