D&D Party – Party People in the House
Alright, you have your number of people and you’re sitting down at the table. It’s session zero and everyone wants to play a wizard, is there a right way to create your party?
I think that this is a more interesting question than the party size question, but has just as vague and answer. It’s totally acceptable to have a party that is all wizards, as a DM, you just have to adjust for that, but there is an ideal party balance. However, 5e is built so you can ignore that if you want.
The ideal party balance goes back to what I said in the previous article, it assumes that you are going to have a Wizard, a Cleric, a Fighter, and a Rogue, or someone that fits into each of those archetypes. But I think a more useful way to look at it is do you have someone for each pillar of the game?
Wait, what are the pillars of D&D?
Exploration, Combat, and Social are the three pillars that most D&D games are built on, though fairly often I would say that exploration is not fully used. Some of that is because people just don’t like the resource management aspect that can be in exploration. It’s also more fun to fight something or talk to an NPC than it is exploring which seems more passive for the players and more on the DM to describe what is going on.
These pillars are important though when creating your adventuring party. You want to have player characters who do cover all of these. Now, I generally wouldn’t say that each character should be good at all of them, but all of them should be good at either social or exploration and then generally you want them to be competent at combat.
If the players and DM focus on hitting these pillars in session zero, the ideal party combination doesn’t matter much. For example, I’ve run games where we have two rangers, a paladin, and a wizard. We don’t have a tank character, but you just have to change which monsters you select and how they work. Maybe they are harder to hit, but don’t deal tons of damage as the paladin is the closest we have to a tank. Or were there was a fighter, wizard, and rogue. In that case, you have no healing, so you either have to hand out some healing potions, or have larger fights, but less fights during a day, so the player characters are less likely to die.
So, to recap, any party combo is going to work. It’s probably more important that they work in your world, such as don’t have a party of wizards when wizards are really rare, unless they are fine being extremely unique, and maybe that’s the plot there. But make it work for your world and your game, but any combo is playable in Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons.
What are some odd player character combinations that you’ve had? Are there any that you thought didn’t work or that were weird but fun to play?
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