Hello! Due to a fortuitous break in my scheduled plans/stuff this is coming a bit earlier. In the next session of my Star Wars game, using the system from Fantasy Flight Games, we're introducing a new PC. Now this PC will be a brand new player to the game as well, and I wrestled with the idea of exactly how much XP to start them with. Do I just dump them in at stock? Do I put them at the XP level the other PCs are at? It's not the hardest of decisions, but I wanted to do something special because....well, I like trying new things. So what did I do? See after the break for that answer.
What Have the PCs Done?
Part of the reason I wanted this to be special is because I've been slowly ramping up the PCs and what they've been doing into the full blown "this could be one of the movies/novels" levels of epic, and they just recently started hitting that level. I've made the point of showing the PCs as a cut above the majority of people, and I didn't like the taste of a random new PC with limited back story (as all backstories are) just jumping in with that same level of ability. My established PCs have fought, bled, and been through the wringer to get that XP. I wanted the new person to match.
Doled out XP or Lump Sum?
The other issue, and this isn't a problem with any player, is that when you dole out XP in small chunks (i.e. session to session) you get very different builds than what you get when you give out a lump sum. It's not rocket science, but session to session the PCs buy for what they need or needed. Lump sum the build comes out with a lot more structure and long term planning. The character hasn't been challenged session to session and so whatever the core desire of the player is will come out.
To be specific, this isn't a problem in general but I want this new PC to also match the established PCs in how they're built.
Enough Theory, What Is The Solution?
To solve this I worked out with my PCs how many story arcs we've done. The answer to that is 6 by the way. I then contacted the player. They're bringing in someone who is a part of the Rebellion. I have their back story, which is great and exactly what I want. I then sent them the details of six missions that they've run for the Rebellion, and asked them to give me a response detailing how the mission went, was it a success or failure, what they did, and any other details like that.
After I receive the responses, the character will be doled out XP per mission that I'll have them spend. Each mission covers different things and presented different challenges. I'm asking the player to spend based on what their character would have learned or developed, but that they can also save some if they want for larger purchases.
In the end, they should end up within 15XP of the established PCs or even with them. The best part though isn't the XP in my opinion, it's the fact that when it is over the character will have a longer story complete with things they've done since character birth (initial creation) to when they join the group next session.