So in our Apocalypse World game last night, Charles officially started playing two characters. This is part of the game’s mechanics- after you improve your character enough you have the option of creating a second character to play. Vincent Baker, in the book, suggests that it’s kind of strange we don’t do this sort of thing more often as the GM plays tons of characters and it gives people more to do. He does seem to recognize some of the problems with it, though, and puts rule limitations on how any one player’s multiple characters can interact with each other.
Likewise, some of us have bene playing Remember Tomorrow by Gregor Hutton, which is another game with mechanics for you to play multiple characters. Once again, however, there are some rules based things which keep you from having two characters that only you are allowed to play at any one time, for example. You can only have one “held PC” (i.e. a PC that only you can play) at a time- all other PCs are collective.
This has struck me as interesting. We barely touched on Charles’ original character Raf at all last night, concentrating almost entirely on his new character Ruby. Part of this was because Raf just wasn’t near the epicenter of the action, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Raf drifted a little further from the action from here on out as Ruby is, frankly, a bit meatier of a character for Charles to play, and has been immediately more able to ingratiate herself into what’s going on.
So is playing more than one character advisable, or will it inevitably end up with one character outshining the other? Likewise, can you only do it in storytelling type games? Baker’s interaction rules (which I think are spot-on) seem to suggest that having a player have two characters who either help each other out a great deal or interact a great deal is problematic. Mechanically, it makes them too able to cheat, in effect, and RP-wise it means we all have to sit around and watch you role play out an interaction with yourself.
I think that if it’s going to work, the story has to have multiple plot lines and sites at any given time for player characters to be split between. Our APOWO game has three main locations, and Charles’ characters are in two different ones and have little chance of interacting a great deal. However, if we were playing, say, D&D and there was someone playing two people in the same party, I feel like it would shake out in a weird way, where either it would just mean that person got an extra turn in combat, or something, or they were constantly having to interact with themselves, which, see above, no one really wants to see.
Any thoughts? I almost feel like there’s a whole game here. Like Fringe the RPG where people play multiple characters in alternate dimensions who affect each other but don’t have a lot of face time with each other.