I've been reading the Player's Handbook and it seems like I have to lose all my stuff to start a new adventure, but I've been playing the same characters in different campaigns. Is that allowed?
What’s allowed is whatever the group/DM allow.1 If you’re joining a game and the DM tells you to start at 5th level, and you have a 5th-level character from some other campaign, you probably can use that 5th-level character in the new campaign—but the DM would likely want to review it and make sure that character is valid for the new game (i.e. if your previous DM gave you a powerful artifact, the new DM may very well not allow it in the next game).
But if you’re starting a new campaign from 1st level, you can’t use your 5th-level character in it.
Of course, you could use a 1st-level version of the previous character. In fact, reusing character ideas is pretty common and easy: just recreate the character from an old game such that it fits in the new game. I have done this many times, particularly if a character didn’t really get a chance to be played due to a campaign being cut short.
- And if playing in some form of organized play, like Adventurer’s League, the group has that league’s rules to consider as well as their own preferences. Many of these specifically have rules for bringing old characters into new campaigns or to new groups.