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My current D&D group has a pretty high turnover rate (we average around 16 active players). To help manage this, we have a few activities performed whenever a new player joins:

  • Their interview with the company leadership is actually role-played
  • They are asked to give a brief introduction to their group outlining appearance, value proposition for the group and anything else they might want to share

This has generally worked really well (with the group actually keeping tabs of which leader hired which recruit and working it into the RP - "Urist, she was a great hire!"). However, I'm curious if there are any games that have introduced actual mechanics for this type of change in the party structure.

What games have specific mechanics for introducing new players/characters to the party and how do those mechanics work?

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Are you looking for a new system (in which case can we have more requirements) or a mechanic to steal for a current game (in which case can we have more details) or is this really a gamemaster advice question? –  anon186 Oct 31 '10 at 15:53
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All of the above. The question seems straigforward - what games have specific mechanics for introducing new characters/players and what ate those mechanics like. Not looking for advice, just a list of systems that provide mechanics for this aspect of play (I suspect it's a pretty short list). –  rjstreet Oct 31 '10 at 17:02
    
Can't really answer, but what a great group you have! –  Yianes the Sneak Jan 4 '13 at 14:00
    
I believe it was Paranoia second edition that had my all-time favorite method of bringing new player characters to the party: The 1000mm clone delivery system. It was as high caliber as the name suggests. –  GMJoe Jan 11 '13 at 6:49
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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

What games have specific mechanics for introducing new players/characters to the party and how do those mechanics work?

The intent is for new players, not players new to roleplaying. – rjstreet

Burning Wheel

Burning Wheel (and it's relatives, Mouse Guard and Burning Empires, have a mechanic for introducing new NPC's into the fiction: Circles.

A circles roll has a difficulty set by how soon they show up, and how closely related to the character's typical associates, as evidenced by their lifepath choices, the NPC is. and their skill level.

Note that the player determines when to use a circles roll, not the GM... the GM just sets the difficulty.

At one point, it was suggested on the BBS at BurningWheel.com that one could simply circle in the new PC instead of a new NPC. I don't recall Luke's comments on it... but such a mechanic, especially on a fail, could be a "Yes, you get someone, but... they're a PC, not an NPC." Likewise, if the character fits the lifepath and requested skill, the GM can simply say, Yes, and here he is, played by _."

Any Military Game ever

The advantage to a GM of a military game is that they have the ultimate excuse for new characters to join the party, or old characters to leave, when player rosters change... "Higher Authority orders it."

Mongoose Traveller

Has a bit of a throwaway reference to it; in the section on generating characters apart from the group, rather than gaining connections as per normal, one gets one skill level of choice.

It doesn't so much bring them into the fiction as compensates new characters for not having been generated as part of the group.

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Burning Wheel is all but a game for new players. I have played for about 17 years now and had problems grasping mechanics. –  gruszczy Nov 1 '10 at 13:02
    
@gruszczy - This question isn't really so much directed at adding "new players" in the sense of "newbie players" as it is in the sense of "players or characters not already in the group". –  Iszi Nov 1 '10 at 13:33
    
I don't see anything about novice plaers; it's about player turnover as far as I can tell. –  aramis Nov 1 '10 at 16:43
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The intent is for new players, not players new to roleplaying. –  rjstreet Nov 2 '10 at 2:41
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FATE based systems which do collaboartive character generation generally have provisions for introducing new characters. The assumption is always that a new character has known at least one of the existing characters from a previous adventure, so there's always an 'in' even if it's not quite as elegant as initial character design.

Legends of Anglerre is what you'd want to look at specifically to keep the D&D theme.

That's the only one I know that supports it mechanically. Thematically as mentioned military themed games (as mentioned before) and school based games support this quite well, as does any game with a very constrained setting.

I would also make a guess that with Paranoia's 6 clones system, and the general theme of the game, that introducing new characters would be easy.

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