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Any D&D 4th Ed. player knows that a well-rounded party needs a controller, a striker, a defender, and a leader.

Most often, I think a character's function and contribution to the party is entirely measured in terms of what role(s) they fill. But there's more to be considered than that - especially in non-combat encounters. Every class has specialized or "Recommended" skills associated with it, as well as other elements.

I'm primarily focusing on skills with this query. What are good configurations for a four-character party that not only fill each necessary role but also have each skill well-trained by at least one character? (I say "most skills" because there are 17 skills and most characters are only trained in 4. This would leave one skill unaccounted for in a party of 4 PCs.)

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See also rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/789/… for a similar question. –  Bryant Aug 24 '10 at 18:36
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2 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

For a well rounded group in all four roles, and 3 different power sources (Arcane, Martial, 2 Primal):

Striker: Rogue, DEX/CHA build. Skills: Acrobatics, Bluff, Intimidate, Stealth, Streetwise, Thievery.
Leader: Bard, CHA/INT build. Skills: Arcana, Diplomacy, History, Religion, Heal.
Controller: Druid, WIS/CON build. Skills: Endurance, Heal, Insight, Nature.
Defender: Warden, STR/WIS build. Skills: Athletics, Dungeoneering, Nature, Perception.

Result: All 17 skills covered, with some overlap on Heal (with the Druid being the true person for the Heal check, the Bard picking it up for emergencies despite not having WIS primary/secondary), and Nature (shared between Druid/Warden.) Hits all four roles. And likely has a bit of fun in the process. ;)

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Let's see.

Start with a wizard; he'll cover Arcana, History, Religion, and Insight. For the sake of argument we'll pretend he has Wisdom as his secondary, which makes sense for many wizards.

Add a bard. Take Diplomacy, Intimidate, Streetwise, and Bluff as your four extra skills. Bards also get Arcana, but they aren't superb at it, so it doesn't matter for the purposes of this question.

The third party member can be a ranger, with a high Wisdom. Take Dungeoneering, Nature, Acrobatics, Heal, and Perception.

Finish the party up with a rogue of the brutal variety, so he can reasonably improve Strength. He'll have Stealth, Thievery, Acrobatics, Athletics, and any other two skills.

The only skill missing is Endurance. The ranger could take Endurance rather than Acrobatics, since the rogue has that one covered, but he wouldn't have a high Constitution to back it up. Half-orcs get an Endurance bonus and make decent rangers, though!

Probably worth noting that humans get an extra skill, which is another way to expand the skill list.

There is no defender in this party. I happen to believe that a party can do without a defender; this one will have good healing, great control, and a lot of damage. The bard will want to be melee-oriented so as to help the rogue get combat advantage. But if you really want a defender, this is not a great mix.

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What I like about this answer is it consolidates the ritual related skills in the hands of one character. In one of my games we have 3 different PCs with ritual caster because each of us wanted just one of the skills. Probably not the best decision on our part. –  valadil Dec 3 '10 at 15:47
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