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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    WhiteWizardGirl

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    Default "Non-traditional" D&D parties

    In my experience, most fantasy fiction doesn't really have the group dynamic of your average D&D party, being 4ish individuals often containing a caster, healer, sneaky person, and fighty person, who are generally exceptional in their roles.

    And I'm not knocking thay dynamic either. I jusy thought it would be fun to try to make some alternatives to the "4 man band" that still allows for the same amount of players.

    My question to you, is this, do you have any ideas to realize this and would you be interested in playing a game with a party dynamic like the following?

    A brave knight embarking on adventure. Party consists of the knight (generally your average adventurer, the knights mount (intelligent, telepathic, and possessing minor psionic abilities in order to manipulate their form slightly as well as objects), and the knight's magical weapon (also intelligent, able to cast magic, move slightly through magic, and use actions in addition to the wielder in combat, in addition to being to take over the wielder and give new skills)

    I'm sure there are many examples which will probably require the right system or heavy modification. I basically just want to see if anyone else would find this to be a fun game

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: "Non-traditional" D&D parties

    I don't know how something like that would work with the details you gave.

    That being said, I'm a huge fan of the non-standard D&D party, as there have been quite a few posts on the forum as of late where people aren't a fan of being roped into a role they don't really want to play. When I say non-standard D&D party, I mean if nobody wants to play the melee tank that isn't the end of the world, it will just require different tactics and different play...instead of the same old game just repeating where players switch characters.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    False God's Avatar

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    Default Re: "Non-traditional" D&D parties

    No. That doesn't particularly interest me.

    But I run non-typical parties all the time. My players like rogues, sorcerers, druids and barbarians. But we'll often double up on things, so we'll have two barbarians, a rogue and a druid. Or 2-3 rogues and a sorcerer. I just adjust the combats on the DM side to account for the lack of healing or lack of ranged.
    Knowledge brings the sting of disillusionment, but the pain teaches perspective.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: "Non-traditional" D&D parties

    I'm a fan of the Mono Class Party.

    Especially All-Cleric parties in 3.5e, since they can cover all roles reasonably well if they pick the right domains. Also lots of fuel for theological debates.
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    Spamalot in the Playground
     
    Psyren's Avatar

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    Default Re: "Non-traditional" D&D parties

    The easiest way to get away from a standard Fighter/Mage/Thief paradigm where each role is played by a dedicated player, is to have a party with classes that can perform multiple roles teaming up. So you might end up with two classes that can be the "thief" role (like a Bard and a Ranger) teaming up, but who can also do other things like tank on the frontline or work a series of wands to be the mage. In a party like that, you might end up with some overlap in roles, or you might end up with roles that aren't covered all the way unless two or more members work in concert. Either way, you can get some variety.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: "Non-traditional" D&D parties

    Quote Originally Posted by SodaQueen View Post
    In my experience, most fantasy fiction doesn't really have the group dynamic of your average D&D party, being 4ish individuals often containing a caster, healer, sneaky person, and fighty person, who are generally exceptional in their roles.
    Eh, that does not match my exprience. In my groups the player make the charakter they want to, with little to no consideration to adhere to the "standard" of fighter/mage/cleric/thief.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: "Non-traditional" D&D parties

    Quote Originally Posted by SodaQueen View Post
    My question to you, is this, do you have any ideas to realize this and would you be interested in playing a game with a party dynamic like the following?

    A brave knight embarking on adventure. Party consists of the knight (generally your average adventurer, the knights mount (intelligent, telepathic, and possessing minor psionic abilities in order to manipulate their form slightly as well as objects), and the knight's magical weapon (also intelligent, able to cast magic, move slightly through magic, and use actions in addition to the wielder in combat, in addition to being to take over the wielder and give new skills)
    I mean, I rarely play anything resembling the "standard" party. But this example seems close to my "Thor and the sentient potted plant" level of disparity between characters
    Last edited by Quertus; 2019-08-06 at 08:52 AM.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: "Non-traditional" D&D parties

    I love playing in parties that don't have all the roles balanced.
    Since that tends to create more interesting scenarios for the players to solve.

    The closest I got to an extreme party like was a short OVA campaign I had.
    Where I told the PC's to split 100 build points between them.
    While it was an even 5 way split, one of the characters ended up playing a sentient motorad.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    LordCdrMilitant's Avatar

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    Default Re: "Non-traditional" D&D parties

    I would not be interested in playing that hypothetical knight situation. I like to have a full character, and not just the stick that another player hits people with.


    As for unconventional D&D TO&E's, one of my games is a Wizard, a Sorceress, and a Rogue. We still meet the tactical roles, but mostly because the wizard plays up close and personal as a consequence of our lack of close-quarters characters.

    Another game I played in was fighter-fighter-rogue. This worked out well, even without magic support or healing, because we had some serious and very consistent damage output.

    Most of my non-D&D games I run don't have healers, but that's because in most of them healing is fairly weak and everybody can carry a first aid kit to help get people back to a medical facility after a machine gun repaints the walls with their blood.
    Last edited by LordCdrMilitant; 2019-08-06 at 11:39 AM.
    Guardsmen, hear me! Cadia may lie in ruin, but her proud people do not! For each brother and sister who gave their lives to Him as martyrs, we will reap a vengeance fiftyfold! Cadia may be no more, but will never be forgotten; our foes shall tremble in fear at the name, for their doom shall come from the barrels of Cadian guns, fired by Cadian hands! Forward, for vengeance and retribution, in His name and the names of our fallen comrades!

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    Titan in the Playground
     
    Jay R's Avatar

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    Default Re: "Non-traditional" D&D parties

    The solution is for people to play what appeals to them, with little interaction -- except at the end of character creation.

    In a 2e game, we came to the table with a Fighter, Ranger, Paladin, and Thief. [I quickly changed my Thief to an elven Thief/Magic-User. But we still had no cleric.]

    It turned out to be a really fun game. But Healing potions were kind of important.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    erikun's Avatar

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    Default Re: "Non-traditional" D&D parties

    I've found that you can play D&D with any party you want. You may not be playing the same D&D as you would with a Fighter/Thief/Cleric/Mage, but you can still play D&D. It's just that the assumptions and what the party will be doing can change vastly.

    If the party is full or rogues and other sneaky-types, then put them in adventures that are more like capers than dungeons: Ones where they need to get it, work together to get through, encounter mostly traps/locks/individual guards, and then get themselves back out. If the party is full of social characters and party faces, then it'll be more of a social campaign where duels, back-alley stabbings, and being shamed into trekking off into the wilderness for a quest come up. There's nothing wrong with playing D&D this way. Your grapple rules and 5-foot squares might see a lot less usage in such a campaign, but it's still D&D rules and still D&D at the end of the day.

    It's a lot more of a problem if you have a conflicting party, though. One smite-happy Paladin in a group of CN sneaky thieves is a bit of a problem, for more than one reason. The same Paladin in a group of bards, nobles, and outgoing sorcerers frequently attending royal functions is similarly going to be a bad idea. But throw that same Paladin into a group with a Barbarian, battle happy Fighter, and Bearington The Bearbarian Druid, and put them through a straightforward dungeon with few traps or puzzles but lots of interesting tactical fights, and they'd probably do quite fine.
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  12. - Top - End - #12
    Spamalot in the Playground
     
    Psyren's Avatar

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    Default Re: "Non-traditional" D&D parties

    I find that breaking the trinity (quarternity?) is a lot easier in futuristic/sci-fi settings than pseudo-medieval fantasy ones - you can take some of the other standard/expected party roles and outsource them to items. For example, you could have a squad of weapon-focused army grunts, but have them carry around medkits and hacking modules or even a full-blown AI assistant if they need to get patched up, come across a locked door, need to comb through a library/archive etc. And if they need battlefield control or debuffs, hand them some special grenades.

    Starfinder and Mass Effect are good examples of this - in both games, you can clear the vast majority of challenges with a party full of soldiers that don't really branch out beyond being good at shooting things.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Quote Originally Posted by gogogome View Post
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  13. - Top - End - #13
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: "Non-traditional" D&D parties

    Quote Originally Posted by erikun View Post
    If the party is full of social characters and party faces, then it'll be more of a social campaign where duels, back-alley stabbings, and being shamed into trekking off into the wilderness for a quest come up.
    Bro, Paladin = Charisma. How would this not be his bread and butter?

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    PirateGirl

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    Default Re: "Non-traditional" D&D parties

    My current “party” consist of:

    - Dragon
    - Gynosphynx
    - Infant bard (12 years old in human standards)
    - Commoner (yes, it is controlled by a player and it is super easy to kill)
    - A Goddess
    - And two vampires

    Can it be more disparate than that? Of course, the stories need to change drastically from the ‘adventuring treasure seeking party’ and D&D hardly supports this without very heavy house ruling (which is an effort I don’t intend to take). So, the system has become something that is just in the background for the occasional rules, but most sessions go with very rare rolls.

    I’m aware that we should switch to another game or system, but this was something that wasn’t intended to develop like what it currently is, its something that just happened during the course of the years.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Faily's Avatar

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    Default Re: "Non-traditional" D&D parties

    Quote Originally Posted by SodaQueen View Post
    My question to you, is this, do you have any ideas to realize this and would you be interested in playing a game with a party dynamic like the following?

    A brave knight embarking on adventure. Party consists of the knight (generally your average adventurer, the knights mount (intelligent, telepathic, and possessing minor psionic abilities in order to manipulate their form slightly as well as objects), and the knight's magical weapon (also intelligent, able to cast magic, move slightly through magic, and use actions in addition to the wielder in combat, in addition to being to take over the wielder and give new skills)

    For a one-shot kind of thing? Sure, I could do that. Could be funny and rather comical I expect. But I'd never want to do it more than a session or maybe two as it would get tiresome real quick.


    Otherwise, one of my playgroups (who enjoy running published adventures for a more relaxed game) have seen some shake-ups in party compositions and it's worked fine. Examples like:


    Zeitgeist, current game:
    - Gunslinger
    - Skald
    - Fighter
    - Magus


    War for the Crown:
    - Alchemist
    - Mesmerist
    - Gunslinger (Bolt Ace)
    - Rogue


    Ruins of Azlant:
    - Bard
    - Fighter
    - Ranger
    - Warpriest


    Iron Gods:
    - Cleric
    - Fighter
    - Kineticist
    - Witch


    Strange Aeons:
    - Cavalier
    - Witch
    - Monk
    - Monk


    So in Zeitgeist we have no divine-caster (most healing have been done from the Skald's rare Cure spells or mostly from Wands and Potions) and both our casters stuck with 6th level as their highest. Our only "casters" in War for the Crown was an Alchemist and a Mesmerist, neither of which are amazing casters as such, and no "melee tank" in the early levels (Alchemist eventually became the tankiest). Ruins of Azlant likewise had two casters with reduced capacity (Bard and Warpriest). Strange Aeons had only *one* caster, making the Witch in the party to fill the role of healer, buffer, debuffer, utility, *and* blast.

    Iron Gods had the most traditional party set-up out of these (mage/warrior/priest), but we did horribly in that campaign and ended up wiping at some point. xD
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  16. - Top - End - #16
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: "Non-traditional" D&D parties

    I'll be honest, I've never played in a "traditional" party in D&D.

    I joined my first group when I was in middle school. They already had been going a bit, and had a sizable contingent that grew over time. When I joined, I was the sixth player already, and the group's first full healer as a shugenja - the other healer was a paladin. After that, the group grew to add more players, some temporarily, some regularly. At one point I think we had 10 people around a table at the height. It was definitely overly much, but it was a lot of fun all the same because we were mostly kids wanting to just hang out and tell stories.

    I did a club in high school for two sessions and Encounters in Essentials for two sessions, but don't think we had a regular party ever. Then, more recently, I was in a set of games in 3.5 and 5e which were again oversized. Even so, we had a lot of fun. One game didn't have a regular healer either that I can recall for half the game - one person played a dragon shaman when he could make it, and one played a paladin (of differing variants over time...), but no full healer until someone else joined the game. Had a rogue, a warlock, a psion, and a fighter, plus others at various points... but not a healer. The 5e game has involved two sets of characters (two of us kept ours when everyone else wanted to try something new). We have had healers here, but again, we were oversized by far and had a ton of characters filling all the roles, sometimes more than once (and some playing two roles - our healer in the second group is a Divine Soul sorcerer, so he is both healer and area damage).

    Conversely, in other games I have seen groups that were "balanced" run into trouble because one role wasn't considered by the adventure creator - i.e. in a game where Faces aren't necessarily combatants, the adventure gave social characters either nothing to do or nothing that a non-face couldn't accomplish.

    I think as long as your GM can manage the group, and the group dynamic works, you can get away with any sort of set up. Just play what makes sense and make sure your GM understands who is at the table.

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