Let’s say you’ve gathered a group of friends that are interested in starting a campaign. You have all your players and have delegated a Dungeon Master. You are all ready to start playing but you’ve run into a speed bump… “What should we all play as to maximize our chances of success?” Well, allow me to give you some guidance on the subject. Here’s a brief overview of what we’ll discuss:
- Nothing Must Be Perfect
- Talk with Your Dungeon Master and Fellow Players
- Establish Roles and Choose Classes
- Confirm Everyone Is Comfortable and Agrees Upon Their Position
- Don’t Be Afraid to Adapt
- Have Fun
Remember, Nothing Must Be Perfect
Before I continue any further, there is something you must understand. You may be looking for the perfect party, but no party is ever perfect. No matter how much planning or strategizing, if you have a proper Dungeon Master, they will always find a way to challenge your party. So, don’t stress out too much over obtaining the perfectly balanced party. If you do, it will take away from the experience and nobody wants that. Dungeons and Dragons is meant to be a fun game that should open your imagination and create unforgettable tales. Even if your party isn’t the most well balanced, the campaign can still be fun and successful.
Talk with Your Dungeon Master and Your Fellow Players
To begin the process of balancing a party, it is essential that you speak with everyone involved with the game. You must talk with your Dungeon Master to gauge a few things: How many players there are, what are their experience levels with Dungeons and Dragons, what kind of campaign should you all expect, how many are familiar with Role Play Games and the D20 system, what is each player interested in playing as? It would be best to have a gettogether with the group in its entirety to answer these questions. Perhaps going to a restaurant or coffee shop would be wise to help create an open atmosphere for discussion.
If you can find the answers to these questions, the whole process will go smoothly. You’ll be able to gauge everyone’s perspective accurately and find out where to begin. It will be easier to move in a direction that will be agreeable to all parties.
Establish Roles and Pick Classes
After you’ve measured everyone’s stances in regards to what and how they want to play, you’ll need to establish everyone’s roles and have them choose classes that fit each role given. It’s a general rule of thumb that in every role play game you have three to four different roles: Tank, Damage, Support, and/or Healing. If you have an inkling of what I’m talking about, great! If what you just read appeared as gibberish then allow me to elaborate. As a disclaimer, I will note that the classes I mention here will be in reference to Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition only.
A Tank is a member of the group that attempts to draw all of the enemies’ aggression. In doing so, they will also absorb most of the damage and deal moderate damage of their own. Tanks usually have a high survivability despite being the center of the enemies’ attention. A player that uses a Tank is someone that like to be at the forefront of all conflict, soaking up damage for the party, and contributing to damage output. Classes that fit within this role are: Paladins, Fighters, and Barbarians. Of course, Monks, Clerics, and even Druids can fit into this role depending on how they are built and/ or if they multiclass properly. How to build a fighter/cleric build guide can help you.
This role is very straight forward. Their job is to deal as much damage as possible as quickly as possible. These characters aren’t typically built to withstand punishment, as they are to dish it out. Thus, their survivability can be weak in comparison to tanks. Players that choose this role like to annihilate enemies as quickly as they can and don’t like to take too much damage for the most part, running into combat then quickly ducking out. Classes that typically fit this role are: Fighters, Rangers, Rogues, Sorcerers, Wizards, and Warlocks. Barbarians can also fit into this category as well, for they can deal massive damage and can take a ton of damage as well making them a middleman for Tank and Damage. Druids and Monks also fit in this role if they are built for it or multiclass correctly.
I’ve coupled these two together because they can technically be one in the same role. The goal of the support character is to grant boons to their allies, hinder their enemies, and contribute to damage sometimes. Healing is another form of support which focuses on keeping your allies alive, typically through the use of magic spells. Players that play within this role don’t like to be directly in the fray. They keep to the back of the group so they can buff up their comrades and make sure no one goes down. If someone does fall, they can be there to get them up as quickly as possible. Classes that generally fit this role are: Clerics, Bards, and Druids. Of course, any spellcaster that has access to buff and curse type spells could also work for this category. Sorcerers, Wizards, and Warlocks can’t be ruled out either.
The only thing left to do now is to have everyone choose their role and class. Hopefully you will have enough players to fill every role. If you don’t, just do your best to find a balance that will work for your game. If you have any concerns about it, talk to your Dungeon Master.
Make Sure Everyone is Comfortable
This step may not be necessary until after a couple of sessions. After all, in the beginning you will have already talked with everyone and come to an agreement on where everyone wants to be initially. However, after a few sessions players may not be so confident in their current role as they thought they would. If this is the case then you’ll need to catch it as early as you can and adapt to help said player(s) to switch to a role they feel more comfortable.
Compromise is everything in a game like this, as it helps to accommodate everyone involved to ensure a fun experience for all. Try your best and don’t be afraid of the loss of your healer or whatever else. Just be sure to accommodate the player in doubt and speak with your Dungeon Master. Your Dungeon Master can create an NPC to fill the role in your journeys if they deem it necessary.
Remember, Dungeons and Dragons is a game. Games as such are meant to be a great time for everyone involved. Don’t fret if your party isn’t all that you though it would be. You can have a team of nothing but one role and still have a good time. Make it your priority to keep the game fun and interesting and I promise you, your experience with Dungeons and Dragons will be great regardless of your party’s balance. Try to avoid conflicts based on role filling and go with the flow. Stay positive and keep moving forward as best you can.
Thank you for reading! I hope this has given you some insight on how to balance your adventuring party and to keep things fun and interesting! Please don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more Dungeons and Dragons tips, tricks, and articles! Until next time, happy gaming!
Author: Ven’Orik (Zach)
I’m just a regular nerd with a passion for storytelling and fantasy. Growing up I read books by Tolkein and C.S. Lewis, and this solidified my love for the genre. I first started playing D&D when I was 13 and have been pursuing it since. I’m just here to share my knowledge and hopefully learn a thing or two from all of you as well!