Some coworkers and I have all started to play Dungeons and Dragons 5e recently. We are going through the Starter set currently, and we plan on trying new characters for each adventure within Tyranny of Dragons.

I am wondering if it is possible to explain the change in party, which could be everyone or some stay and some change to try new classes and/or races.

I have not read the adventures yet, and I am mainly concerned with breaking the story with PCs changing their character to new characters starting at level 8, etc. Any information would be greatly appreciated!

  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you asking how to handle not just rotating DMs but also players changing characters at each part within Tyranny of Dragons? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Mar 14, 2018 at 14:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yea, because I am not sure if they want to change and try new builds. I feel like that would break the story and , while do-able, would ruin it. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 14, 2018 at 14:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Gotcha -as those are two separate questions, it's better to ask them separately. If you can do that, it'd be easier for us to answer on the Stack.There is a question on rotating DMs, but that's on every session which isn't what you're looking for - but may help. If it doesn't ask a separate question! :) \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Mar 14, 2018 at 15:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for the link! Then, this question will focus on the rotation of players. This is okay since the answers already focus on that part anyways! \$\endgroup\$ Mar 14, 2018 at 15:57
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ No worries! I edited your question to reflect a focus on the players. If you don't like it, feel free to edit/roll back. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Mar 14, 2018 at 16:01

2 Answers 2


Different Backstories

It's pretty simple.

In part one, you have PCs Bob and Fred. It's great. Bob and Fred get through the story. Get some loot. Good times.

Now, we have part two. Bob is still going to be in the game, but Fred says farewell. He is replaced by another character that existed during part one, but Bob never met. Introduce Mark. Mark has his own backstory and experiences. Maybe Mark was also working on the leads from part one and had heard of the heroic deeds of Bob and Fred. That's up to the players.

Repeat as needed.

In case one of the players changes from DM to PC, it should be fine(ish) as long as they don't look up anything for the second part. You might have a tiny bit more backstory or knowledge about select NPCs, but that sort of thing is usually "fluff" that doesn't impact anything. Alternatively, there is a difference between "player knowledge" and "character knowledge", just in case a little bit of important content makes it's way into the hands of a player-to-be.

P.S. - Think of it like a music band, sometimes members change. Those new members still have all of their previous experiences.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Along the same lines as something you mentioned, one of my friends recently joined an ongoing campaign, with his character actively seeking out the party and asking to join them because he'd (in-universe) heard about their exploits. Something like that could easily work -- a capable fan joining the group would likely be interesting story-wise, and it's a neat explanation for why he joined that specific group and didn't form his own. Plus, you have an excuse for a bit of PvP combat, in the form of a trial. \$\endgroup\$
    – anon
    Mar 14, 2018 at 23:15
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Wouldn't the final paragraph be a good moment to introduce the subject of Character/Player Knowledge? Maybe just a line to send the OP in the right direction to look for more. \$\endgroup\$
    – 3C273
    Mar 14, 2018 at 23:39

Don't worry about explaining continuity, just play the game.

You don't need to justify or rationalize your game to anyone. If people want to switch characters they can. Just put them into the game and seamlessly continue. No need to make a big deal over nothing.

Example: Alice and Bob go through the Horde of the DragonQueen module. Alice's player decides she doesn't want to play Alice anymore, she wants to play Charlie. Charlie and Bob go through the next adventure and Charlie knows everything pertinent to the adventure that Alice did.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ While I personally tend to agree with this general sentiment, I do think this advice is not going to apply well for all groups. There are many players and DMs I know that value story, backstory, and continuity very highly. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 14, 2018 at 16:53
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose the OP is unlikely to be a member of those groups given that this is what they want to do \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Mar 14, 2018 at 20:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ We actually are very interested in keeping backstories and a valuable story. The reason we want to do this is to let everyone try DM in a timely manner. So, one person isn't DM for all of HotDQ and RoT. However, I see how this can apply for some groups who do not care too much about story! \$\endgroup\$ Sep 6, 2018 at 21:03
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @CodyFerguson I don't see how wanting to switch DMs relatively frequently makes your group want a more consistent story. If anything, it encourages the opposite, since different DMs will run the game differently anyway. \$\endgroup\$
    – GreySage
    Sep 6, 2018 at 21:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GreySage Yea, I see your point. It's just that a certain amount of us want to try DMing without waiting for however long (a year probably) the story will take. So, to your point, I decided to run both HotDQ and RoT. While other people can run the Adventure League stories which allow for more DM switching! Thank you for your input to help steer us in this direction. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 5, 2018 at 17:02

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .