I am still gaming, still running D&D 4E. We had a great bit of moral dilemma in the last story when the lich who had kidnapped the One Female Gamer's PC told her that he had secret knowledge about who really killed her parents, but would only tell her if she agreed to stay with him instead of being rescued by the other PC's. In character, the One Female Gamer decided she would stay (although personally thinking that she really shouldn't). The other players had a bit of a discussion about it, with the argument tending to fall into the following categories:
- The BBEG is full of it and doesn't know anything. Let's get him!
- We can beat this guy and then make him tell us what he knows. Let's get him!
- Let's go get that morally-ambiguous high-powered NPC to help us make this guy tell us what he knows!
- Hey, this is a highly dramatic plot element and we should let her go off with this guy, find out who killed her parents on our own, then come back and tell her she can leave!
They went with option two. Since I had already decided that the being that had killed the Only Female Gamer's PC was a sort of evil rival, the BBEG was only too happy to sic a high-powered and rather violent group of adventurers on him, except he'd make them work for it by only telling them the guy's name.
Following the session, the Only Female Gamer switched from her "guest star" PC to her regular "I had been kidnapped" PC. Both were Controllers, the long-running PC a Wizard and the fill-in a Psionic, but she liked the Wizard better just because it seemed to her there were more options. Both PC's tend to do the same thing: pin down major threats from moving towards the group until everyone else can get into position. It's a boring, but critical role.
The OFG's husband, however, informed me that he would be switching out his regular PC (a bow-themed elf ranger) for another (a sword-themed pixie ranger!). That means that at this point, every player has at switched out their original PC for another, either temporarily or permanently. Aaron Allston, in his outstanding RPG sourcebook Strike Force, said this was a natural occurrence when you have both creative players and a long-running campaign. Because of the loose nature of the campaign, this isn't a really big deal. I just cycle people in and out of the "adventurer's society" the group belongs to. It's a somewhat cheesy element of the story, but it works for just this reason.
What's your feelings on changing PC's mid-campaign, and how do you handle it?