I'm a fairly new DM playing the 5e Starter Set campaign, Lost Mine of Phandelver, with a completely new group of 3 players.

After the last session Thundertree seems like an ever more likely next destination for the party, which means they will likely run into Venomfang. My group has shown they do not try to win every encounter by fighting and even avoided fights altogether because they seemed intimidating (avoiding the 3 bugbears in the Redbrand hideout because they remembered Klarg being strong), but I feel like I should prepare for them to end up in a fight with the young green dragon and be wiped out anyway.

I know the players well and like most players they're attached to their characters and I feel like they might want to recreate those exact same characters if they die. Since I don't have the time to create my own adventures I thought of simply going for the Hoard of the Dragon Queen adventure after this. I heard that has some new background options so I thought about making someone who has to create a new character choose from only the background options that adventure provides.

But regardless, my basic question is:
Should I allow people to recreate their beloved characters if they die?

I feel like recreating characters over and over again might make it less fun for both the players and DM, but I also don't want to limit players by thinking of random character creation rules at my own discretion. Should I discuss it with them (I should probably do this either way), have them find out playing the exact same character from level 1 again isn't very fun for themselves, or enforce rules on recreating characters?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I generally like this question, but I' pretty sure this will barely ever become a problem. \$\endgroup\$
    – Silverclaw
    Nov 3, 2018 at 23:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are the players new players or experienced players? \$\endgroup\$ Nov 4, 2018 at 0:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ The question in the body of the post doesn't match the one in the title, but the question in the body does seem to be your primary question. I've edited the post accordingly. Feel free to change the title and post body to clarify if this is not your intent. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Nov 4, 2018 at 0:57
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Also, quick note: HOTDQ doesn't have additional full backgrounds (in the game's sense of the term), but it does have some optional bonds to connect the characters with others in the adventure, and has 2 different optional features you can take instead of the one from your background (you'd get one feature, not both). \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Nov 4, 2018 at 0:58
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ "Should I allow people to recreate their beloved characters if they die?" is too opinion based, but I think you could reframe the question along the lines of "what problems could I encounter if I allow people to recreate their beloved characters if they die?" \$\endgroup\$
    – Ruse
    Nov 4, 2018 at 1:36

3 Answers 3


I feel like recreating characters over and over again might make it less fun for both the players and DM

What do they feel?

Ultimately they are not your characters, your feelings don’t matter.

Some people like to try different character concepts and personalities and some people are always the gruff dwarven fighter with a heart of gold.

Who are you to tell them they’re right or wrong?

That said, it’s your campaign and if you were to decide that there are no dwarves in your world you’re free to do so. Your players are free to tell you to stick that idea where the sun don’t shine - a dwarf mine near Waterdeep I think. Ultimately you have to agree on the parameters if you want to play together.


Sure, it's not a problem

But regardless, my basic question is whether to allow people to recreate their beloved characters.

If that's what's fun for them, then don't get in their way. I've been playing D&D with the same crazy mugs from high school, off and on, since about 1975. One of them has, in our 5e campaigns, created the same dwarf five or six times, and even named him the same most of those times. That's what he loves: dwarves. The rest of us have a variety of favorite characters, to include one who has made the same Totem of the Bear Barbarian four games in a row. None of us, as fellow players or DM's, object to that. We roll with it.

Go to where the fun is.

The TPK is not inevitable.

There are a variety of ways for you to signal to those three that they can't take down this dragon, up to and including them falling in combat and waking up, in chains, as the dragon's prisoner. You have a lot of latitude as DM to shape the adventure. You have the ability to shape and craft the information that the players receive that allows them to make decisions In Character. (Look up the Three Clue Rule, Alexandrian, for an idea on how this tool works). The trick is to drop multiple hints that point toward the same in world fact from differing perspectives.

Don't let the published adventure railroad you as a DM. You are in charge.

It's OK to role play the encounter with the dragon as a horrifying prospect of "you all shall die unless you agree to serve me" or "unless you agree to do this one thing for me." (Pick a quest, or problem, in the published adventure, or make one up.)

You can also have various monsters or NPC's alert the characters of the lethal threat awaiting them. Dragons leave traces of their existence.

But even with any hints or clues, a failure/TPK can happen.

No worries, have them create new characters, and then Do Not Interfere with that process. Let it grow organically from the players.

You are the DM. You run and own the whole world. What you don't run, and what you don't own, are the player characters. So let them be what is fun for them.


If this happens, you could gently ask the players if they'd like to try something a little different, this time. I haven't actually seen this to be a problem. Players generally want to at least try out something new, in my experience.

Even if mechanically they end up with very similar characters, work with them to make sure the character is distinct w/ background and personality. Have people react to them differently, pull in NPCs who knew them in the past. Or even just letting the character find a unique magic item could be enough to provide distinction for the character.

But hey, maybe you end up with Slashy McPaladin VIII from one of your players. Just roll with it and people will still have fun.


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