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My friends and I have made a campaign and intend to start soon but everyone has been instructed to make their characters in advance which we are sharing with each other on D&D Beyond. We are playing 5e, and used point buy to determine our ability scores.

The issue is everyone is pretty much focusing on the same stats... specifically high Charisma! This has led to each of the 4 characters created having between 8-10 Strength. Will this cause problems down the road in the campaign?

So far in this party we have the following classes: Paladin, Bard, Monk, Druid, and 2 more coming (most likely Rogue, Wizard, Barbarian, and/or other fighter-type).

I'm new to D&D, but the way I see it, if the last 2 people don't fill the roles we are missing, I feel our party will be susceptible to many basic scenarios...

For example: A situation where two strong characters need to Team-lift something, or we have to climb/jump/swim something and we have only have one strength character who can make the climb/jump/swim and then needs to pull everyone up/over but must be able to defend as well.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already. As written, this question seems like it'd be very opinion-based, and very dependent on the campaign. Also, the problem you're anticipating seems less "everyone has high Charisma" and more "everyone has low Strength", or more generally "everyone has the same high and low stats. I've tried to edit your title to match this focus; please check to make sure it reflects your intent. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jan 23 at 5:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is this game being run from some module or is the campaign home brew? \$\endgroup\$ – goodguy5 Jan 23 at 5:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast, Thank you that title seems fitting. I think low strength is my main concern but I'm not sure if everyone else having high charisma is just a concern because I am the bard, don't mean to sound selfish/jealous, I'm just inexperienced and wasn't sure if that is normal/acceptable. I plan on discussing it with my DM tomorrow as he is asleep haha. \$\endgroup\$ – Joe Dab Aguirre Jan 23 at 6:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast, sorry I didn't understand before, I'm pretty new to D&D haha, I believe our DM will be making a story on his own. \$\endgroup\$ – Joe Dab Aguirre Jan 23 at 6:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ Is everyone in the game as new as you are? In particular if the DM is new, that could change some of the answers. \$\endgroup\$ – Paul Jan 23 at 14:06
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This is an opportunity, not a problem

I can understand why you are concerned. I thought much the same in my early gaming days, but with experience I came to realise that it's much less of an issue than you would think.

Roles matter more than stats

For combat balance it is more important that you have balanced combat roles than diverse ability scores. A Dexterity-based fighter is just as effective in melee as a Strength-based one. So long as you have a reasonable balance of melee and ranged, blasters and healers, you should be fine.

Out of combat

Out of combat don't think of low stats as blocks that ruin the campaign, but instead challenges to overcome. In one of my current campaigns, we rolled up a stat block as a group and all used it as a stat array. In that array, there were two 7s. Due to the classes we picked (Druid, Rogue, Cleric, Fighter, Wizard) we wound up with every player dumping Charisma. As you can imagine this regularly poses problems for us in social situations.

To compensate for our low scores, we use magic and clever planning to gain advantage when we need to talk to people. Is it inconvenient? Maybe. Does it ruin our fun? Absolutely not. In fact, it opens us up to some amazing role-playing and hilarious experiences as we try to work around our terrible stats.

Your DM

A good DM will know the limitations of their party and make allowances for it. There's no point setting a Strength DC of 25 if the highest the party can reach is 20. This doesn't mean your low Strength won't matter, but it means that they should be allowing ways for you to get around it.

Additionally they know you built a party of high charisma characters. This often implies a preference for more roleplaying in a campaign, the DM should provide the opportunities for the party to play to their strengths.

Managing your high charisma

Sometimes with lots of roleplay heavy characters it can lead to difficulty in sharing the spotlight. I've played in a party with 3 characters of 16 or higher charisma, we had to learn to share the social skills evenly. We used this to expand our characters, taking on a unique personality and persuasive style based on our backgrounds.

We would then choose who to would talk to any given NPC based on who they were. The shady rogue talked to the low-lifes and criminals, the noble bard talked to the lords and the well-traveled sorcerer did most of our merchant dealings. The important part was that we each felt useful to the party and didn't get in each others way.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I like the experiences you shared and especially the ideas you gave, I think this campaign will work out fine now haha. I feel like I'm used to being the one who fills roles so often that I was thinking of rerolling in case no one else would,. \$\endgroup\$ – Joe Dab Aguirre Jan 23 at 6:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JoeDabAguirre I'm glad you liked my answer. Since you're new around here I suggest you take the tour. It's a good way to learn how things work, plus you get a badge for it. Particular use votes on answers you find useful. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin Jan 23 at 6:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JoeDabAguirre The important part of party balance is to make sure no one is stepping on anyone else's toes. No one should need to re-roll so long as everyone has a unique character and gets an equal share of the spotlight. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin Jan 23 at 6:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ It might be worth mentioning that this answer should be discussed with the group and DM for maximum effect. The DM and other players may be as new as the OP and this could help educate them on some of the game’s nuances. \$\endgroup\$ – Paul Jan 23 at 14:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 to "Roles matter more than stats" to which I misread as "Rolls matter more." I've made characters with impeccable stats yet succumb quickly to death because my d20 can't seem to realize that there are numbers higher than 10... \$\endgroup\$ – Lux Claridge Jan 23 at 14:31
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You're playing a far more balanced party than a few I've played in. I've played in a game with 2 wizards, 2 sorcerers, 2 druids, and a barbarian. I've played 5 supporting casters and a fighter. I've played 4 martial characters, a paladin, and a ranger. They all worked 'fine'. It's not optimised, but it won't cause the game to collapse or anything. And most importantly, it won't stop you having fun.

In fact, it could do the opposite - having flaws can be a fun opportunity. Can't lift the heavy gate to the orc's lair? Sounds like an opportunity for your bard to disguise himself as an orc leader and convince some of those orcs to let the 'prisoners' in. Or perhaps hide in wait for another group and ambush them with the gate part way up. Or you could look for another way around - perhaps there's a secret entrance or a wall to climb.

It does depend on your group of course. If the DM says they are running a fairly hardcore game where you need to be optimised characters to have a chance to survive, then you should maybe talk with your party and see if people want to shift things around a bit. But under normal circumstances, don't feel like you have to fill all the roles of the party. If playing a big dumb barbarian that couldn't convince a cow to eat grass sounds like fun to you, then feel free to play that. But if that sounds boring, playing a sorcerer won't screw your party.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I've played once with 4 rogues and 1 fighter and it was actually fun. Like you said, you have some issues but nothing that would stop the campaign. \$\endgroup\$ – Aguinaldo Silvestre Jan 23 at 6:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ I played in a group that was all halflings and dwarfs, mix of fighters and rogues. No casters of any sort. Still had a blast! \$\endgroup\$ – Paul Jan 23 at 14:09
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This is both a risk and an opportunity.

It is a risk if the GM designs an adventure with no regard for the party capabilities. If there is an obstacle or a foe that requires raw strength to overcome, the party will be stuck. But that would be just as much a GM error as sending a bunch of barbarians and rangers into a library to hunt for ancient spells.

It is an opportunity if the GM designs adventures to let the players play to their advantage. With lots of high-charisma characters, there could be lots of social interaction without the barbarian player saying "booooring, where is my brawl" ...

In games, there are "everybody needs it" skills and abilities and "once per party" skills.

  • Only one character in the party has to roll to find the hidden door in a dungeon, or to read the tracks of a monster in the forest. The rest follows.
  • Every character must be able to ride a horse or to sneak through a goblin camp. If one character fails, the party has failed.

You can design adventures so that Charisma and related skills are "once per party" skills. There is the smooth-talking bard who talks to the duke, or the mayor, or the abbot, while the barbarian stands there and picks his nose and the thief nicks the table silver. Some adventures work that way.

Or you design adventures to that Charisma and related skills are "everybody needs it" skills. The duke asks the entire party to come to the audience and to explain their latest harebrained scheme, and he expects all of them to be polite and respectful.

That being said, a good adventure design gives every player a chance to shine and stand in the limelight once per session, just as there should be at least one fight, one negotiation, and one puzzle per evening. If the characters are too similar, the GM will have a harder time to design that into adventures. With a paladin, a bard, and a druid, you have variety. More paladins could be problematic.

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In weakness lies opportunity

Like most here, I would agree this is a great opportunity. Most of all, it's a great chance for hillarity. The best moments come when players are forced to improvise some inconvenient ways to get out of a situation. If everyone fills a different niche, it quickly becomes this anime/cartoon episode where everyone pitches in with their one unique ability to save the world with the power of friendship!... but that kind of negates any drama that could potentially be built.

When I DM, I actually create situations where I have no idea of how the party is going to solve them. But they're 3-6 players with their own insights into the party and their own character; let them figure it out. As a DM, it then falls to you to allow or disallow certain ideas they come up with, depending on how reasonable they are and to sometimes think of a DC for them to clear. If you're worried that the party will struggle at certain points, you can have backup solutions etc.

Say your party is unlikely to clear the STR-DC check.

  • have a secret door hidden away somewhere, to be found with perception and investigation.
  • guards that can be fooled
  • provisions or loot coming into a place, allowing the players to hide in the crates
  • a riddle or puzzle to go around the obstacle (secret paths, ...)
  • enlisting the help of NPC's (a particularly stupid but gentle ogre that will lift the gatehouse for the party in exchange for his favourite food,...)

I usually prepare for a "brute force" way and a stealthy-puzzle-deception-filled way. (Though not always obviously).

As an example from personal experience:

One of the first adventures I DM'd, the party had to interrupt a ritual being cast by a mysterious Serpentine Cult. The party consisted of 3 lvl 1 or 2 casters; Gnome Warlock, Elladrin Wizard and Wood Elf Druid. They realized their low AC and HP could mean trouble against overwhelming numbers. So they strategized. They searched for, and found hooded cloaks worn by the cult, lowering the deception and persuasion DC's. I threw them an additional curveball by saying there were no robes in the Gnome's size. They could have taken a robe and "cut it to size"... but no... the Gnome decided to hide under the female Wood Elf's robes and had to match her steps and follow her lead. It was good fun with jokes going all around the table.

They then went along with the ritual, trying to save the captive person from being sacrificed. In this case, it became possible for them to see and hear from up close what was happening here and what the cult was trying to achieve. They heard and learned some of their close-guarded secrets and learned the true name of their enemy.

They moved through the crowd until they were just in the right position to unleash their AOE (Thunderwaves if I recall correctly...). Their position, the surprise I had the cultists undergo, the panic I simulated, all circumvented their lack of HP and AC. Having blown the crowd of potential enemies all across the room, they ended up in a very short caster-battle with the cult master, whom they promptly blew into such tiny pieces, they'd fit in a rather small matchbox.

If they would have had their monk and barbarian friends there (who were absent for that session), they would just have stormed the room, engaged in an all-out battle and none of this interaction might have taken place. They wouldn't have known who these cultists were or what they were trying to achieve.

So if anything, a certain "weakness" or "vacuum" in your party's skill-and-stat blocks opens the door to some very interesting and inspired encounters, as well as possibly give you opportunites for certain relevant exposition and plot-reveals.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jan 23 at 13:02

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