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  #1  
Old Jan 14th, 2023, 04:40 PM
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Player Cameos, Guests, and Crossovers

What are your feelings on guest PCs in your long-term games? (As opposed to West Marches style games.)

All of the LFP posts I've seen have been Core Party Recruitment, or an attempt to replace party members who have left for one reason or another. It would be interesting to have an opportunity to "visit" an on-going game.

For example, maybe your party has wandered into a new dungeon and encounters a befriendable monster that could serve as a guide, support, or adversary. A trusted unconnected player could step in to play that entity until the party is ready to move on, or it meets its glorious/anticlimactic demise. That player could be given special knowledge of the area and function as a Co-DM with the understanding that it has some specific purpose to fulfil, whether that is to engage/antagonize the players, or be comedic relief in an otherwise dark setting, etc...

(A prime example being Chris Perkins short lived character, Spurt. The naÔve Kobold that lasted a whole 25 minutes of real time before being crushed. In PbP time, that might have spanned a couple weeks.)

A few perks would be:
A) The STPC could invest a lot of effort to make its short cameo memorable without worrying about pacing.
B) The STPC would allow players to experience normally off-limits traits/abilities/archetypes.
C) The STPC could literally step in as a Guest DM to give the Primary DM a break.
D) Injecting fresh blood could re-energize players who are struggling to connect with the plot or other characters.
Some risks would be:
1) Ceding some narrative authority could be disruptive and/or uncomfortable.
2) The STPC might not want to leave when their time is up.
3) The STPC could disappear prematurely.



Similarly, what thoughts would you have on Crossover Microcosms?

By which I mean, allowing the PCs of your world to temporarily visit a pre-existing environment run by another DM?

For example, a DM might start a game that would, instead of being a whole world, just be a single village, shop, or tavern. The DM of that world could have a handful of NPCs with a lot of history and depth, a market with unique homebrewed goods, and a selection of level appropriate encounters the players might engage with. Obviously, this isn't the kind of thing you would want to dive into without a measure of caution, but with the Iron DM competitions, we know there are plenty of capable writers who may be up to the challenge.

This would have the interesting benefit of creating a space for people who want the experience of DMing, but can't commit to running a long-term game, and a short form could be devised for the Core DM to ease the hand-off to the "Daycare" DM. (e.g. Maturity rating, shopping restrictions, timeframe, etc...)

In practice, these microcosms would probably be setting biased, but world events agnostic, so the DCDM wouldn't need to know anything about the players or their world during their stay, other than access to their character sheets/statblocks.
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Old Jan 14th, 2023, 05:33 PM
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I've tried having NPCs run by another person (or, if you will, the player cameo), and for the time it worked, I loved it.

It's a lot like mini Co-GMing, but instead of dividing up the duties 50/50 or 60/40, it's more like 90/10. But, I loved having that 10% be much better than I could do it, and I think it's a great idea and a lot of fun.

The downside is that it's one more person in the mix to juggle posting schedules and time. When it worked, it worked great. But when life calls them away from posting/keeping up, then it gets tough.
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Old Jan 14th, 2023, 06:56 PM
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Scheduling traditional games can be fraught with challenges, so it's no surprise that those issues quickly compound when there are multiple people in the hot seat. The DM might wait a couple of days to see if the Co-DM moves the story along, but if the DM also has life to contend with, each of those short delays can easily turn into long delays, which takes massive bites out of vital momentum. There would definitely need to be a good amount of clear communication and coordination to ensure there were no hiccups.

When you had your Jaegered NPC, how long was the player involved? At what point does it just become a PC?
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Old Jan 14th, 2023, 09:10 PM
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The player lasted a couple months, maybe 6 or 7 before life kicked him in the behind.

As for "not being just another PC", they were kind of doing all my NPCs for me, for a bit... so friendly barkeeper, they would do the scene. Then, the guard at the castle, they would do him. Cleric needed to pass along a key clue? This co-dm would jump in and do it.

Didn't last long, didn't work out well, but I thought it was nice while it lasted.
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Old Jan 14th, 2023, 10:48 PM
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Love guest players - and have been in both sides of it.

I find that it is best when those players are adversaries. Instead of playing against the entire scene the DM is putting together, it is against one person who is trying to do something you donít want them to do.

Not every player can handle it - the guest PC has to understand they if he is, a lot of players will be madmost likely wonít be successful - but if they understand that a lot of fun can be had.
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Old Jan 14th, 2023, 11:10 PM
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That would be a lot of fun with the right people.

It reminds me of a recent Critical Role one shot that they put on for one of their sponsors. Unfortunately, the DM hinged victory upon an untested, real world skills challenge that the players simply couldn't beat, even with extended times and additional attempts. The "villain" guest ended up winning by default and reveled in the unexpected turn of events. Whoops!

Fortunately, one-offs don't carry the baggage of a full story!
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Old Jan 20th, 2023, 11:50 AM
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Our Luchador Lords of Kansas game was built with the premise of guest players stepping in to take the role of antagonists/possible allies for defined chapters of the game.

AnotherDragoon, Kenjitsu, LadyNotAGirl, PlaidPeregrine, LostCheerio and Fillyjonk all agreed before the game began to take on an assigned character with a defined entry and exit point for the story. Of course, once they had the character, they were playing just as fully as the original PCs, Yoshimi and JustSomeGuy.

There were some changes to that schedule, but they were player-driven. LadyNotAGirl, for example, decided to extend her character's appearance through to the final chapter.

I think it helped that this was a one-shot, which also came with a ticking-clock countdown in the story's premise, so everyone knew what they were being asked to commit to, and how much time and for how long it would be.

The story was sooooooo much better for having living, breathing, player-controlled "NPCs," and it went in unexpected and exciting directions because of their narrative influence.
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Old Jan 20th, 2023, 12:44 PM
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Interesting! I'll skim through!
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