One of the interesting side effects of the DCC Funnel method of character creation is that it is possible for a single player to have more than one character survive to the end. Different judges handle this in different ways; some make their players choose a single character to level up, others allow the player to have multiple leveled adventurers. I initially went with the latter option, but I’ve found that it can get a bit unwieldy in practice when several players have two 2nd level characters. I’m now considering an option somewhere between the two: henchman PCs, aka apprentices.
Hench-PCs would follow these simple rules: They start at 0-level, generated like any other character. However, they don’t gain a class upon reaching 10 xp – they only gain a class once the player’s main PC dies or retires. Instead, every time a hench-PC reaches the xp required to gain a level, they gain 1d4 hp and add +1 to either their attack bonus or to one of their saving throws. At such time as the player’s main PC exits the picture, the hench-PC graduates to a real adventurer and gains all the benefits of their chosen class at the same level. The PC re-rolls hit points using their new class’s hit dice, but their hit point total will never be lower than what they’ve already gained (it is therefore unnecessary for wizards to re-roll at all). It is possible, however, for a character’s attack bonus or saving throws to be lowered by this change, so there’s no min-maxing benefit to the bonuses once a class is chosen.
Using this option, every player would be entitled to one adventurer PC and one hench-PC. If you somehow come out of a funnel with three surviving characters, one of them just remains exactly as they were at 0-level. When using this post-funnel, a hench-PC who graduates to a real adventurer can find herself a new 0-level henchman when the party gets back to town.