19
\$\begingroup\$

How do I deal with people choosing the same class? Can people do it? I have one player who doesn’t think so and is really unhappy about it and is telling me I have to figure out why they should care to stay with the party, and I don’t know how to handle them. What do I do?

I am at the point where I’m wondering if I have terribly broken some unspoken rule of DMing, and need expert perspective.

The whole situation

Here's the situation. I am setting up an in-person roleplaying group. I already have the basic first encounters prepared for Session 1/0 depending on how you like to call it. I already made every character out there and sat with each player while doing so, because I like to keep track of the characters, put notes about them and overall, well, I tend to playtest combats to make sure I didn't just toss something that will TPK people (I also take in account that I don't account for their possible actions, thus I playtest many times and make sure that the encounter is won with relative ease because I know I can make it harder on them if need be.)

The thing is, two players wanted to play blood hunters (a homebrew class by Matt Mercer), and two players wanted to play rogues, when I was talking to them about the ideas they had, before we solidified anything, I did note that every one of them wanted to go do something different, one of the rogues is an exile who has lived hardships and is now hiding their identity because they are an albino character, a sign of a bad omen, and his father, a noble, wants them dead.

The other rogue is a swashbuckler, a person who has centered on duels his entire life and seeks for power. You get the deal and idea, even in the same class, I accounted that every one of them had something special and different to them, I gave each one a different custom backstory, etc.

One of the blood hunters was super excited to play one, they never played one and they loved the class. But when they realised that they weren't the only blood hunter, they wanted to switch classes, which I allowed, but here's the thing. The guy is now throwing me the "Sure..." type of text messages, you know, the typical "I am doing this cause am forced to" deal. When I asked them that if they were alright, they just say yes, and when I told them, "Look, having the same class as someone else in my eyes is not the important thing, the class doesn't define your character, what they lived through, their experiences, and the like, does," they basically told me that "You better have a good reason for my char to stick to the party." (Because their character didn't like other blood hunters, something which I accounted for, and the second player is seeking for the same person he hates because they were part of a BH order that disappeared, yada yada.)

I always accounted that having reasons to stick to a party is a shared responsibility, after all, the players are in control of their characters, and it was partially a DM's responsibility to merely make sure the bond is there, there are reasons, and the bond with others can strengthen.

I honestly just want to know how to deal with it.

Should I not allow people to choose the same class? Should I let people who complain to me like this leave?

I have enough players to start anyway; I've just never dealt with it as a DM, and wanted to know if the player is right and I’ve done something wrong.

\$\endgroup\$
40
\$\begingroup\$

First off, the whole "no two players playing the same class" thing is a total red herring. There's absolutely nothing wrong with multiples of a class--personally, I prefer it! I was just saying in chat the other day that I feel like having multiples in a class makes it easier to differentiate on character rather than mechanics.*

On this note, it sounds like your pair of rogues isn't a problem. You indicate that they'd wanted to play different classes and that between the difference in subclasses and the backstory-work you've done with them, it seems they're fine.

So even at your table two characters of the same class isn't necessarily a problem. Really there's just a problem with the player who wanted to play a bloodhunter and also couldn't stomach the idea of playing the same class as someone else.

  1. Clear your throat.

  2. Announce the following: "I'm not interested in this for a whole campaign."

  3. Ask: "how do you propose we fix this?"

  4. Listen.

    (4a. At some point they may mention that the other player should change their character. Be prepared to shut this down immediately and firmly. Something like "they made their character choices within the guidelines we all agreed to, you're the one who's having a problem with it, you need to fix it.")

    They may make some good points--points that need conversation with the whole group. It may become clear from this that your vision of how the table would work and theirs aren't consonant, or that your expectations don't match what your players took away from any pre-game conversations. In this case you can sincerely thank the player for helping to bring this up and can perform a reset with the whole group.

    Or they may not make good points. In which case you listen with empathy and politely (but firmly) say something along the lines of "none of those are things that I'm willing to change. So the ways I see forward are for you to play a bloodhunter and somehow accept two of the same class in the party, for you to play something other than a bloodhunter and cut the whining, or for you to play with a different group. Am I missing anything?" (Be prepared to return to 4a.) "Okay, then let me know which it's going to be."


* - I have a new player joining one of my groups and described the current party to them as "a Qualinesti rogue, human sorcerer with a keen eye for architecture, dwarf barbarian from near the Icewall, human fighter who's more interested in his lute than his warhammer, human fighter who's a Huma fanboy, human fighter who goes where you tell and hits what you say." Personally, I find those three fighters distinctions more interesting than the standard "wizard, cleric, fighter, rogue" group!

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ The reason why they didn't want another Blood Hunter, from what I can gather (As they showed no real wish to talk about it, and instead referred to "I can change my character, don't worry about me" followed by the "..." messages) They wanted to be the only Blood hunters in the campaign, or they felt that their characters wouldn't fit in the campaign as, because of their backstory, his character hate Blood hunters and wouldn't want to hang out near them (Note, I did have a plan on how to integrate them, as both would've had a common enemy that caused them harm.) \$\endgroup\$ – Ghiojo Aug 4 '18 at 15:21
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I wonder why you feel that you cannot differentiate characters based on their character when they are in different classes, and feel that their being members of that class overshadows the rest of the characterization. I do not typically find this to be a problem in any way. (Not saying that I find multiples of a given class problematic either, just saying that your reasons for preferring it seem suspect to me.) \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Aug 4 '18 at 15:22
  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan I might need to clarify. It's not that I can't differentiate based on mechanics, but I enjoy differentiating otherwise... perhaps because even as a character I prefer not being described largely by one label. It's like I heard Eddie Izzard say the other day: "when I introduce myself as a transvestite, people think that's what I am. When I introduce myself as an executive transvestite, they say 'oh, you're.. wait, what? Hrm?' 'Yes, I fly business class. And I'm a bit of an action transvestite, I run marathons.' " <clarity unlocked!> \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Aug 4 '18 at 16:07
  • 8
    \$\begingroup\$ Sounds basically the same as "my half-orc hates humans so there better not be any in the group, or else my backstory will force me to make a big deal of it every session and we won't actually be able to accomplish anything else". (Or elf-dwarf or gnome-goliath or whatever other rivalry.) \$\endgroup\$ – mattdm Aug 6 '18 at 8:02
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ @mattdm Yeah, I'm picking up some latent My Guy Syndrome here. "I can't possibly alter my backstory so that my character doesn't immediately murder every bloodhunter they meet so I GUESS I just HAVE to go change my character COMPLETELY now... No, it's FIIIINE." (Also a bit confused by that since the Witchers, which the bloodhunter is based on, explicitly DO have a brotherhood organization going on...) \$\endgroup\$ – Darth Pseudonym Aug 6 '18 at 20:47
26
\$\begingroup\$

To me it sounds pretty selfish on the end of the bloodhunter that would rather not be part of the group. Personally, I would tell him that if his character doesn't want to stick with the group, then that's fine, however the campaign will be following the group. He's more than welcome to roll up a new character, or he could also set aside his differences to work toward a common goal.

Point here is that it is not your job to make sure the character gets along with everyone, it's his.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 15
    \$\begingroup\$ Yep, it's the player's responsibility to make a playable character. They can work with the DM to have that make sense, but it's not the DM's job to convince your character to adventure; it's your job as a player to make a character that's willing to adventure, and compromise with the other players and DM to play that character in a way that's fun for everyone. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Aug 4 '18 at 20:19

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.