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At Origins and GenCon this year, I saw several organized play leagues for a number of systems, including D&D 5e, Pathfinder, Shadowrun, and Legend of the Five Rings. I understand that the point of these organized play leagues is to create a character that you can use throughout multiple adventures (kind of like a campaign run at a convention) and most of these have an entire session devoted to creating a legal character (for Shadowrun, it was the "Welcome to the Sixth World" event).

Honestly, I have no interest in keeping a character for multiple modules: I just want to try the game once or twice and then move on. For instance, I wanted to play Shadowrun 5th Edition at Origins this year, but the only events that were run for it were organized play, which I didn't want to commit to long term or spend a multi-hour session making a character for (I just wanted to play one game).

Is is possible to just drop in for one or two games in these organized play leagues and not have to bother with tracking a long term character? Can I just use a pregen like any other con game (and if so, can I do it for any module or just the low-level modules)? If the answer varies between the different organized play leagues, I'd like to know that too.

A good answer would include descriptions for the two most popular organized play: D&D and Pathfinder, and at least one other one (since the first two are so similar). If I can have answers for all of the organized play leagues that I mentioned and any others, that would be even more appreciated.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ not a complete answer: but for pathfinder, they have pregens available. \$\endgroup\$ – Colin D Sep 9 '14 at 19:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ColinD Can you play any module with the pregens or just certain modules? \$\endgroup\$ – Thunderforge Sep 9 '14 at 19:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Pretty sure it is all modules. May not answer your question completely about pathfinder, but here is a related question rpg.stackexchange.com/q/27081/3358 \$\endgroup\$ – Colin D Sep 9 '14 at 19:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ For a 'good' answer, do you need to be able to give details for all of the systems you have referenced? \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Sep 9 '14 at 19:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie not sure I agree with the tag changed edit - the tags you've deleted are relevant to the question... \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Sep 9 '14 at 22:12
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Pathfinder:

There are a number of pregen characters at various levels you can use. Any player-created characters must begin at level 1.

Related question: Is it possible to start with non 1st level character in Pathfinder Society Organized Play?

D&D (5e encounters):

It looks like each adventure has pregen characters for it.

Pregenerated PCs are included with the adventure, though they can also be created using the free D&D Basic Rules or the Player's Handbook.

Read more: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?301888-Learn-about-D-amp-D-organized-play-options#ixzz3CqlxDsIU

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I can only speak from experience and not any specific reference to any of the other game system leagues official or otherwise apart from D&D 4th Edition. I have done this a few times with a group of 4e gamers. They play modules in chapters, and welcome one-time players to join with their ongoing party. I made a character to match the levels they were using on the day I could make it, 5 Saturdays out of a year.

I'd let them know I could make it that week, and they'd tell me the level. I'd make a character at that level with gold and equipment based on rules they had for making society characters at levels other than 1st. The 4e society rules had all of this written out, and I checked with the group for any houserules in character creation. There were none, which is the norm for societies. I never reused a character though I could have.

If the group you are joining is accepting of one-off players, then there should be no problem. The only thing is that at the end of the adventure, when everyone gets gold and XP, you just don't write anything down. If you want to rejoin that group or another later on, then do so with a new character, or just update your old one to their current level.

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For Pathfinder Society there are Pre-Gens you can use that cover most level ranges:

http://paizo.com/download/pathfinder/PFS-Pregens.zip (There should be copies at the CON)

For Shadow Run you can use the Pregenerated Sample PCs in the 5e Quick Start:

http://cdn.shadowruntabletop.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/E-CAT27QSR_SR5-Quick-Start-Rules.pdf

For DnD 5e Adventure League games - The GMs are provided PreGens for you to play at the table.

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