How many characters, is too many?

So quick question, how many characters do you feel as a reader, is too many? I’m not talking about the characters that you come across at random points that have little importance, but the one’s that you actually get to know on a friendship/rival level.

Personally I was aiming for around eight characters to tag along with the MC, and was just wondering if the majority felt that that was too many.

I remember a similar thread, and there’s a research mentioning if 5 is ideal number of ppl where we can get really close with them (outside of family, ofc).

But then, most anime have 5+ casts which can be pretty important to the plot.

Personally, I think a cast is too large if the audience (or in this case, the reader) having a hard time to recognize/remember them. Of course this can be worked around by introducing the characters slowly or having every characters has relationships with the other (ie. lovers, siblings, boss and subordinate, rivals, etc.)


I would say it depends on how many the writer wants to write. :thinking: This isn’t supposed to be a cop-out answer, but rather that I feel if the author doesn’t want to add in extra characters, those characters won’t be as well developed. If there are, say, twenty or more “major” characters that the author knows what they’re doing with, the story could be just as engaging as with a much smaller cast. It would be a lot more work, though. :sweat_smile: Write how many you want to write, and as long as I get enough time with the ones I like, I’ll have no problem. (Eight is probably a good number, though.)

EDIT: A character sheet on the stats screen could help people remember who all the characters are.


I actually was thinking about that but thought it might be annoying for some reason lol

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I don’t really use them, but as long as they’re on a separate page I’ve never found them annoying.


Well, personally (and in a different media) I can easily recall the personality of the core group when it comes to shows like Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, being four of them with a couple of major supporting characters, whereas Stargate Universe had far too many for me to be able/bothered to relate to them all. It had, I believe, nine or more characters it followed.

Beside, I cared more for some of the supporting characters [of Stargate Universe], which was bad… :blush: …but that is neither here nor there. :grin:

This works to some extent, yes, but might still be overpowering unless they are almost literally (yes, almost literally!) joined at the hip, thus being more of a single character than two separate entities. My deranged onion, er, opinion any way. :crazy_face:


I asked a similar question about a month back:

The consensus seemed to be ‘about 7’. Did people who played The Eagle’s Heir find the large number of statted NPCs overwhelming? Did Heroes Rise improve with more main characters?

I didn’t thing the large number of significant characters in Slammed detracted from the game, it made the world seem more populated and rich.


I was asked for one by a few people for Abysm’s veil (mainly because I did introduce many people quickly), so I think they can be useful and some people will use them. If there’s a lot of characters I like having one there as an option I can use if I want to, particularly if there’s a lot of minor characters you need to remember or if lots of people are being introduced fast.

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If you are following science then 300, as it was estimated that was the maximum number of good relationships an average human can have with someone else

But seriously it depends on the story, I would say add 1 or 2 charecters that went nessecary, by that I mean the mc can’t fix every problem so someone else has to. Make them maby have a power complex and have to overcome that over the course of the story

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If you mean like a RPG-ish party, I would say 6-9 is the ideal. My own game has 4 or 5 depending on the story path, but that is because it is the first game in a series. Next one will likely add 2 to get it closer to that sweet spot, and then another 1 or 2 after that.

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How do you suggest setting that up? I was thinking kinda like doing codex but I don’t really know.

I think you can make it up however you like. I’ve got a separate page off the main stats page (via a choice at the bottom) and I’m separating the characters out by species and approx order you meet them, but alphabetically would fine too, especially if there’s lots of names. I’ve got names being until you meet them via an *if so that it doesn’t get confusing/spoilers for people you haven’t seen yet.

So I have something like this (when you first meet someone I change the characterlist variable and then the relationshipstat variable for each person, but could use whatever variables you want if they don’t have a retationship stat.)

[b]Character List:[/b]

*if (characterlist = "no")	
	The ocean is empty. You appear to be alone in the darkness.

[i](More entries will become available as the story progresses.)[/i]

*if (charlotterelationshipstat != "none")
	[b]Charlotte:[/b]  Short character description.

You could change it based on how far through the plot you are, too:

*if (charlotteplot >= 1)
    *if (charlotteplot = 1)
        Short character description from start of story.
    *if (charlotteplot = 2)
        Slightly longer character description, involving points from later in the story.

And so on.