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we're planning to start a new dnd campaign with my friends and we're a little worried about what class to choose. The group will include three players so we cannot fill all roles. What combination of classes would you suggest in order to make a group capable to survive in a campaign?

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How much 4e experience do you guys have? –  wax eagle Oct 17 '11 at 16:47
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Surely you should tailor your campaign to whatever classes your players have picked?... Just a thought really ^_~ –  Sardathrion Oct 17 '11 at 16:49
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As long as you pick three different roles, that should work out pretty well. One of those roles being Leader will help with healing. –  okeefe Oct 17 '11 at 17:25
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Note: this is one of those cases where player DM communication is essential. When you can't fill out all of the normal party roles, talk with your DM about what kind of campaign he wants to run, and as players communicate the kind of party you envision, this allows you're DM to give you challenges that suit you as a party, rather than running you through a prebuilt campaign you are ill suited for (a trap filled campaign with no rogue/thief/assassin or some such, or a minion heavy campaign and no wizard/controller) –  wax eagle Oct 17 '11 at 17:51
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thank you very much for your answers. Your suggestions and comments are really helpful. The most important thing of course is to have happy players and satisfied with their characters but I thought that maybe a ranger-wizard-palladin (which are the current player class selections) group would not be very easy to handle. I hope that we'll make the right decisions and have a lot of fun of course! Thank you all:) –  pepper Oct 18 '11 at 13:41

2 Answers 2

up vote 11 down vote accepted

I'm going to take a strangely contrary position here.

Don't worry about it. Imposing or even suggesting classes without concomitant system mastery will not produce a good result.

I have found that, in starting a new campaign, peoples abilities to predict what they will and will not like to play are extremely poor. Instead of trying to make decisions for the whole campaign right now, instead, engage in a Level 0 adventure for your first game. Once you've gotten a feel for what classes the players want to play, engage in group character creation to have everyone produce a coherent party. The other benefit of group character creation is that when players inevitably make the wrong choices for their characters (mental-model mismatch is really painful, as I can attest from personal experience), it is very easy to bring in new characters without stretching suspension of disbelief.

Furthermore, any party combination should work, though some will require the party and/or the DM to increase their mental flexibility.

You may also want to read this, and this.

From a jurist's point of view, however, there are a number of exceptional combinations, depending on party preferences.

In no particular order:

  • Invoker, Artificer, Fighter. The invoker's hand of radiance is hugely enhanced by the artificer. If the fighter takes deft thrower style, his double-attack can also be well-enhanced by the artificer.
  • Blackguard mc vampire, thief mc vampire, wild sorcerer mc vampire: Healing? what's that? We live on the blood of our enemies, thanks.
  • Eagle shaman, Warlord, Thief or slayer: Everyone channels their basic attacks into the MBA damage machine. Important house rule: if you grant an attack, you get to roll the attack. Otherwise the shammy and warlord are left with no dice to roll
  • Hunter, Knight, Warpriest. Bog simple, but decent classes. Hard to screw up.
  • 3 pixie executioners. Very very very non-standard party, but it will be absolutely fascinating to play and watch their strategies. You may want to use the Break&Enter 3rd party rules for this.
  • Power-themed parties: an all-psi party can be quite fun, though it'd difficult for new players to master augmentations right out of the gate.
  • Any party that is built together. So long as players are using the party-building guides linked above, any party should work. If they're not, any party should still work if the players are competent and willing to learn the system.

My most critical advice: Give players 2 cookies: a minor and a major respec. A minor respec is "redo your current build, but keep your class the same." or "Now that you've played the first session, fix the obvious mistakes." A major respec is "no, this person was this other person all along. Don't think too hard about it." This (peanut butter) cookie should be saved when players realize that they don't like what their current role does and would much rather play a new one. Don't forget to refluff so that the players' desires for mechanics match their desires for flavour. Especially when coming from earlier systems, the affordances provided by each class can change significantly. Few things are as un-fun as watching a bard turn suicidal because the player doesn't want to play a leader.

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thank you for help brian. The links you posted are really useful too. –  pepper Oct 18 '11 at 14:31
    
Offer a respec is good advice. My Dwarf/Knight was a bit bored with his options, and respec'd as a Cavalier (Paladin) during a inworld-break of about 10 days. So story-wise, I had him recruited by the a local dwarf noble into "the church". Violla! He's never looked back. –  F. Randall Farmer Oct 18 '11 at 19:16

My suggestions is the following:

Include a leader, a striker and a defender and have everyone think about control at least a little bit. Here is an example of what you can do:

  1. Start with a fighter, think hard about going to for the polearm momentum combo (push and prone at will, effective action denial when combined with a mark, a form of soft control). However, you can also look into trying to specialize in mass marking where there is a lot of good feat support later on, including some more action denial, or things that are effectively action denial.

  2. A melee rogue, rogues are extremely effective at damage and action denial, inflicting harsh status effects (including the best one 0 HP) right from the beginning.

  3. A ranged cleric. This guy will keep out of the fray and mostly spam THP/saves/attack bonuses to the other two in addition to doing his normal healing type stuff.

This is some solid party synergy and gives a solid basics kind of feel. If you want to go for more interesting stuff you could skip the rogue and go wizard. I'd say the fighter and the cleric are essential. Then depending on what your DM plans to throw at you should determine your choice between a rogue and a wizard (smaller tougher mobs -> rogue, larger weaker (minion) mobs -> wizzy). If you go wizard you may want to consider a hybrid melee/ranged cleric rather than a true ranged cleric. Or you may want to consider a Warlord rather than a cleric.

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Leader/Striker/Defender works well, at least for pre-printed WoTC adventures. We had a Sentinel for leader, and that beast companion rounds out the party a bit. Though, you'll want to get a decent range weapon in the sentinel's hands pretty quickly. –  F. Randall Farmer Oct 17 '11 at 18:03
    
that was really helpful wax eagle. Thank you :) –  pepper Oct 18 '11 at 14:32

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