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Hints for Running Multiple Characters

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  • Hints for Running Multiple Characters

    So I decided to do something more daring with this new game. I have 5 players, and each of them is going to have 2 characters. I did this mainly for 2 reasons: 1) I wanted a larger Avengers/JLA style roster and 2) I wanted the players to be able to explore different kinds of characters.

    Before you tell me I'm crazy for trying to run a game with 10 superheroes, let me mention a few salient points:

    1) This is a group of players I am very familiar with. I have been running games for most of them for over 25 years. I know them well.
    2) While we are newer to M&M, we are all "genre-fluent" with comics and supers RPGS and most of us have extensive Hero-system experience.
    3) With the exception of major events, it was not my intention that all 10 characters would regularly be involved at the same time.

    Here was my plan, as far as I had sketched it out:

    For the very first incident, I was planning on doing something big (an alien invasion) utilizing all 10 characters, but having the characters in small groups of 1, 2, and 3 addressing specific issues with fairly quick cuts between scenes. Even the "climax fight" of the event would likely be dealing with only 5 characters.

    After this, I was going to do something very character-driven (I have been provided with solid backgrounds for the characters) where I would liberally seed the table with plot elements ("quests," if you will) and see what attracted attention. Some of those events would be intended to engage multiple characters, while others would only involve one or two. I would then cut between scenes to deal with different plot threads as the characters tackled various issues/scenes.

    I have done this style of play once before (in a game that lasted 5 years), but it was 6 players only running 1 character each, and there were 2 GMs. So I see a big jump there. I also realize this approach has the potential for significant downtime for some players, but my group usually is pretty engaged with what other people are doing.

    Overall, this style lends itself less to the hard structure of traditional plot in favor of a "sandbox-y" structure that hopefully coalesces into threads that draw interest from all the players.

    Hazards I can foresee:

    - Lack of player initiative in pursuing plots
    - Possible player downtime between scenes
    - A single M&M character has a lot of moving parts
    - Some planned challenges may be easier or harder if a different group of characters than I anticipate choose to tackle a problem

    Any advice for things that I haven't foreseen? Anyone else who has tried something similar? How did it go? Anyone else who just has experience with multiple characters per player and how it went?

    Thanks in advance (and yes, I do know its a crazy idea on paper, but I'm not likely to be dissuaded from this basic approach. I just want to plan for as many possible pitfalls as I can).

  • #2
    Re: Hints for Running Multiple Characters

    That many characters and that many possible subplots run by a single ref' could mean long periods of inactivity for the other players - any chance you can get someone to act as a rule judge looking up rules etc. and helping with combat issues (I've even had players in other games take over running some of the baddies for me so that we could have multiple combats going on at the same time and it was terrifying how much they enjoyed it and gave real personality to them)

    Hero Lab could be extremely helpful if you're a fan particularly the tactical console. I'm also leaning towards buying into their realm works package for background, clues etc.

    Sounds like a great idea, though having all ten characters in play at the same time sounds like a real challenge without assistance. Good luck.