i broke the dimensional barrier!

On Thursday night history was made!  My character, Arnold Littleworth the Theurgist, from Tavis’s White Sandbox game crossed over between dimensions to play in Eric’s Glantri game!

Tales of campaign-hopping player-characters are a common feature of the Old School, but if it’s happened in the recent Renaissance I’m unaware of it.  Certainly I’m the first among the Red Boxers to make the trip, even though Eric and Tavis have been running campaigns using the same player base for the past eleven months.

Correction: Dave’s character Ookla the Mok did this months before mine, but he was a rescue from a 2e campaign that had been defunct for more than ten years.  I think I’m the first live transplant from one campaign to another.

Here’s how I accomplished this marvelous feat!  Please pay close attention:

1.  Whine to the Dungeon Masters about figuring out a way to cross over.  (This is the first step in many things, not just traveling between dimensions.) I can only attend a session every three weeks or so, and it was killing me that I had to split those measly experience points into two “bank accounts” merely for the sake of verisimilitude.

2. Encourage the Dungeon Master to invent some hand-wavey bullshit justification to allow the dimensional rift. Personally I’m happy just showing up at the table with my character from another game and saying, “Hey, here I am!  Let’s hit the dungeon!”  But others are a little more fastidious about suspending their disbelief.  Tavis invented the Nameless City of the Ninth Menegril, some sort of equivalent to Planescape’s Sigil.  Several of the characters in Tavis’s game have had dealings with denizens of the Nameless City: one character got high on marijuana with an Abyssal Shadow, and two others sold their souls for Bags of Holding (good trade if you ask me) (or maybe it was the souls of other party members, which makes it an even better trade). But thus far no one had used the Nameless City for its intended purpose, namely allowing me to accumulate XP at double speed.

3.  Steal your character sheet from the Dungeon Master at the end of the session.

4.  Carouse in an inter-dimensional metropolis, and wake up in another universe.

5.  Keep your possessions and and special house-rules modest so the new Dungeon Master won’t send you away. Because Arnold has nothing of value, this wasn’t a problem for me.

Dave’s Ookla the Mok character had the opposite problem: he had two magical swords in his old 2e game, but when he arrived in Tavis’s OD&D game he suddenly discovered that all magical swords are intelligent, with crazy super-powers (and maybe can take control of your mind) (why this is so bad, I don’t know: okay, so your greedy, violent swordsman is brainwashed by a greedy, violent sword.  Quelle horror!).  So Ookla has become pretty much defined by his sword-granted super powers; going into a less generous campaign would be very disruptive.

6.  Listen with a hard heart and a smirk as other players complain that it’s unfair for you to introduce a 4th level character when their guys have been laboring under the curse of 1st level stinkiness. Guys, I have spelled out my method right here.  You can do it too, just give me credit for being first.

PS.  Tavis, Arnold has acquired the inter-dimensional property rights to a slice of Brass Dragon Hide.  Just so you know.

13 Responses to “i broke the dimensional barrier!”

  1. November 15, 2009 at 4:16 am

    Well done, sir. Now that you’re in Glantri, Erwan has some green slime that he’d like to sell to the legendary plane-hopper Zolobachai of the Nine Visions, who certainly seems like a magus of sufficiently high stature and mental derangement that he will want to be stocking the ceiling-traps in his own maze.

  2. November 15, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Regretfully Zolobachai of the Nine Visions must decline Erwan’s offer of green slime for reasons of insufficient funds. If the economy of Zolobachai’s homeland ever recovers from its current financial collapse – that is, if his friends ever discover large deposits of gold, deep in the Caverns of Thracia – no doubt some of that could wind up in Erwan’s pockets.

  3. November 15, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    For those readers familiar with neither James’ sense of humor nor basic sarcasm, I would like to note that his precepts are deliberately skewed. He neither whined at the DM nor smirked at the other players; in fact, neither whining nor smirking are recommended.

    When bringing in characters from another game, the issue of balance is a tricky one. At what point is a new character too powerful? A fighter or thief two or three levels higher than the highest-level native PC might only provide a handful of extra hit points and an extra +1 “to hit”, while a magic-user or cleric just one level higher might unbalance things by bringing powerful new spells to the table. Similarly, a character with an overpowered magical item may unbalance things even if he’s of the party’s average level or lower.

    It’s up to the DM to consider the impact the imported PC will have on play, but he’s not the only person to keep in mind. Other players should make their feelings clear if they think the imported character will interfere with their fun, and a player who wants to import a character should take everyone else’s feelings into account rather than trying to steamroll the DM and fellow players into allowing it.

  4. November 15, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    “I can only attend a session every three weeks or so, and it was killing me that I had to split those measly experience points into two “bank accounts” merely for the sake of verisimilitude. … But thus far no one had used the Nameless City for its intended purpose, namely allowing me to accumulate XP at double speed.”

    While this is a good idea in principle, it’s a fallacy when used in conjunction with James’ point #6 (bringing a higher-level character into a lower-level game).

    If you join a group exploring a lower-level dungeon, you’ll get a lot less gold and XP than you normally would, but you’ll only be exposed to slightly less risk. Unless you’re so much more powerful than the other characters that no sane DM would allow you to bring the character in, you won’t be that much tougher than your party-mates; you’ll still be susceptible to a string of lucky hits, you’re still vulnerable to nasty traps and save-or-die effects, and if the party is sufficiently overwhelmed, your handful of extra hit points won’t save you from a TPK.

    In fact, if you’re going to jump games, you’re a lot better off going from a lower-level group to a higher-level one! The higher-level group will earn a lot more gold and XP, and if you’re careful you can minimize the risks of dealing with higher-level threats. Then, once you’ve gained a level or two, your character can return to his or her original milieu in a much better position!

  5. November 15, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    That sounds like you’re proposing a race.

  6. 6 Lord Bodacious
    November 16, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    How much xp do you get from a 4th level magic user?

  7. November 16, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    Per Mentzer Expert page 24, I think I’m worth 125 experience points. Apparently this puts Arnold in the same league as a a Doppelganger, Gelatinous Cube, a Unicorn, or a Werewolf (also, God help me, the Gargoyle, who can fly, is made of stone, gets four attacks, and can only be hit by magic). This is obviously a gross insult to all four of the listed monsters, who could use Arnold for dental floss.

  8. November 16, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    I think that Arnold is at least as potentially dangerous as a Gelatinous Cube, what with the sleep spell and the thrown daggers. A Gelatinous Cube can’t throw daggers worth a damn!

  9. November 16, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    I think you’re confusing Arnold with a Magic-User who has access to offensive spells and who uses weapons, principles which are anathema to his character concept.

  10. November 16, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    Ah! Well then, consider him the equivalent of a quadriplegic Doppleganger, a powdered cherry-flavored packet of Gelatinous Cube, a de-horned Unicorn or a vegetarian Werewolf, all of which should be worth the same amount of experience points.

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Past Adventures of the Mule

November 2009

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