CRB is a repository of all the creative things that float through my mind about the RPG Pathfinder. Two major features are random character generation and building characters based on the god they worship. Anything that seems like it adds to the creative aspects of the game will pop up from time to time, including location descriptions, adventure ideas and even short stories. CRB won't just be my own creativity, it will open the floor to anyone who has an idea sparked by what I present to you.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Myth of the Perfect Party

Well now that I’ve got your attention, it’s not so much that the “perfect party” is a myth as much as I’m about the creative side of the game. I am at heart a math guy and we cannot deny mechanics. Build a strong base with a front line fighter, a healbot, an arcane blaster or battlefield controller and a support person with a sizable damage output but also with all the skills you need to survive a dungeon can mean a much easier go for your party.

A half orc in armor, a cleric hold up his holy symbol, a halfling archer and a wizard in a pointy hat-pathfinderWhat “perfect party” math doesn’t always add up to is fun for the entire group. I remember when we first started playing basic D&D from the redbox as a child of all of eight. I always got stuck playing the cleric, because it was said the party had to have a healer as part of the core perfect adventuring group. And even now I see ads on LFG sites where they want someone to fill a specific spot because a party needs to be a certain way.

But I’ve found over time that you don’t need the “perfect party.” Yes some things might be tougher to tackle as one type of group then another. But finding ways to solves problems that may not be the usual expected way is part of the fun of gaming. Can you deal with undead without a cleric? Yes. Is it easier to deal with if you have one? Also yes, but not impossible.

I got to sit in on a Kingmaker group for a bit that was all arcane spellcasters. All started out as wizards although I think a few of them multiclassed. At least one was a mystic theurge. They certainly weren’t the “perfect party” and I imagine the first few levels were tough but they made it to level 7 when I got to play with them and they were all having a blast in their magical kingdom.

My group started Rise of the Runelords a few months ago and when we sat down to make characters no one was asked to pick certain traditional roles. We all just came together to make the characters we wanted. We ended up with a Varisian cartomancer witch, a Samsaran time mystery oracle, a Teifling firebug blasty wizard and my Aasimar sleuth/steelhound investigator. And no one ever thought twice about not having a front line fighter.

Now even though I don’t think you necessarily need to worry about fitting the specific roles that would make up the “perfect party” I do believe in making sure players have their individual niches. But that is a discussion for another time.

What have been some of your favorite oddball groups? And how well have they survived the trials of being an adventuring party? Let us know in the comments.


  1. Excellent point of view, too often players get rail roaded into playing something less fun for them then playing the character they want to due to peer pressure to have the stereotypical party. If you are not playing what your wanting to, your missing half the point of fantasy gaming.

  2. yes Reece exactly. I think that there has been a conditioning that the only way to play, at least pathfinder or D&D, is with the perfect party set up. Its become so common the thought process is that the game was designed to be played that way. I'm hoping articles like this will help people realize its ok to think outside the box when getting your group together.

  3. Played in a 2 man game a few years back. I started as a bard, the other guy an alchemist. The GM thought we were nuts at lvl 1. By the time we took 10 we were so varied that there were few combats we had issues with.
    And then the monk joined in, making it a 3 man army.

  4. Yeah I cant remember how many times I have had someone come to me as a GM and ask "So... what does the group need?" The simple truth is, generally the group needs someone who is having so much fun playing their character that it is infectious. The goal is not to kill bosses, or collect treasure, it is to HAVE FUN. And if the response is "well I have fun killing bosses" that is fine too. If, however, your idea of fun is doing so in a clinical atmosphere where the Roll is more important than the Role and optimization is the primary reasoning behind your decisions, then perhaps you should look into Warhammer or some other wargame. My game are not going to make you happy, and I wont keep you around if you make my other like minded players unhappy.

  5. I like that kind of outside the box thinking Anonymous person. And if you guys were having a blast than that's even better.

  6. "You get the game your player want to play."
    A fellow DM and I talk about this one a lot. And if they want to play a group of friends from the mage academy with tiny collective HP and a constant need to rest for spells, then that's the game that is played.
    From both sides of the table, it's everyone's job to make sure everyone is having fun.
    Of course, I'm not one to play published adventures, so games tend to morph into the right story for the characters at hand, but even in pre-written encounters, players will often find truly surprising win conditions and methods.
    I guess what I'm saying is: Right On. Play what's fun, because if your not having fun, why the heck are you playing games?

    1. Precisely. I do run a lot of canned adventures and here's what's great about letting folks play what they want to play. Each time Ive run something I've seen groups with different strengths and weakness solve problems differently. Its fun to see how different abilities will allow a group to get through obstacles.