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I recently joined a homebrew campaign with only 3 players including myself. From the sounds of our session 0, the game will be very rp and intrigue heavy.

Maybe not surprisingly, all of the characters have ended up with roughly similar niche, background and stats, even personalities. Though we aren't playing the same class, they are all caster classes related to enchantment/ psionics. All of us have high charisma and are built to be a "party face".

I'm wondering if this can work without us constantly stepping on each other's toes? And even surviving battles?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi Turtle, welcome to the site! It's worth noting that rpg.SE is not a traditional forum, and may not be well-suited for questions like this. You may want to take the tour. \$\endgroup\$
    – Raj
    Feb 17, 2022 at 14:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't believe we need to close this question, but answers should be still be supported with good subjective and not just anecdotes, ideas, or similar games. This is not system agnostic. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Feb 17, 2022 at 14:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ Is this campaign an existing module or homebrew? Have you seen concerns already or are you trying to get ahead of them? Have the other two players encountered issues prior to your joining? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Feb 17, 2022 at 15:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ NautArch The campaign is a homebrew. The only concerns I have seen are the ones I mentioned in my post, and I'm trying to get ahead of them before the game starts. We've made our characters after session 0. \$\endgroup\$
    – Turtle
    Feb 17, 2022 at 16:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Very related on A player is unhappy that people are playing the same class. Did I do something wrong? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Feb 17, 2022 at 16:33

3 Answers 3

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This works, so long as the players want it to work.

Session 0 is going to be crucial here.

Combat is only one part of the game. To some people, it's an important part. And to some of THOSE people, they want it to be an important part that they have a unique skillset.

If the group is invested in their characters being different, then their character sheets don't matter as much.

Compare how different Legolas, Gimli, and Aragorn are, despite likely just being 3 fighters.

If Mechanical differences are important to the players, then they have to coordinate the characters to reflect that

If the 3 players need their 3 charismatic characters to be different, then they need to figure that out. Deception, Persuasion, and Intimidation (and Performance, I guess) are the Charisma skills and each imply a very different way to interact with the social world the characters find themselves in; think Good Cop / Bad Cop / Weird Cop or something.

As I mentioned, in addition to other skills and backgrounds. A Street Urchin with Deception and Sleight of Hand implies a very different character than a Sage with Persuasion and Arcana or an Outlander with Survival and Intimidation.

Assuming all of that, then the only thing left is for you to work it in. Make notes in your book/DM board/notes app/etc to cater to each specialty. You don't have to perfectly hit each thing every encounter. And combat might be tricky; you might have to have them befriend a local shopkeeper that gives them discount potions for helping him rekindle his lost romance, or whatever. I don't have their stat sheets, so I'll leave combat balance as an exercise for the DM.

My experience

I'm currently DMing a game with 4 fighter-healers and it's fine. They have different mannerisms and play to those.

  • One is more academically religious, he'll go searching the local churches for clues and contacts
  • One is more fanatical for their deity, she'll try to use their guild and church contacts to get more information and talk about her deity
  • One is more 'fell into it', she'll use the library and try to sweet talk villagers
  • One leans more heavily into their combat side, but he'll still beat on doors and demand answers

I'll admit this is a little more diverse than your saying, but each of them would handle the prompt "You've found out about a derelict demon temple" in a different way (samples listed above), despite all opposing it for various religious reasons.

Years ago, I ran with all martial characters and even they managed to make their characters sufficiently different (think again to the example of Gimli, Aragorn, and Legolas). It wasn't their combat acumen that set them apart, but rather what they did outside of combat. And beyond even their mechanics (stealth, intimidation, knowledge, etc), it was their personalities, the life given to them by the players.

Personality; that's what sets characters in the world, not their dice rolls. A player that only rolls dice to play the game doesn't have a character in the world, they just have a character sheet at the table.

It's your job to give them prompts and a world to interact with, it's their job integrate those characters into the world with each other.

and

It's everyone's (players and DM) job to work together to create an enjoyable experience

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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't want this in the answer, but I'm humored at the idea of the three of them being siblings/triplets and having to do rock-paper-scissors (or draw straws) at who gets to persuade the noble this time. "Garz'naak, you ALWAYS get the long straw!" \$\endgroup\$
    – goodguy5
    Feb 17, 2022 at 15:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch I disagree, would you care to meet me in Role-playing Games Chat? \$\endgroup\$
    – goodguy5
    Feb 17, 2022 at 15:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ Like you said, in most of these cases, there seems to be similar classes with diversity in focus. But in my case, it's the opposite. We have different classes, but the focus is the exact same, and everyone has the same personality. Aka charismatic caster who is well spoken and well liked by others. We haven't started playing yet, but I worry about us constantly stepping on each other's toes during rp. I guess this is something to bring up with the dm if it happens. \$\endgroup\$
    – Turtle
    Feb 17, 2022 at 16:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Turtle That seems like a potential issue for you to talk through with the 3rd character and the DM. but is not in scope for this question \$\endgroup\$
    – goodguy5
    Feb 17, 2022 at 16:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Turtle That actually sounds like the heart of your question. It isn't that three are all same class/subclass, but that one player may have carbon-copied your character! I looked for an existing question but couldn't find one - I'd very much suggest asking that. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Feb 17, 2022 at 16:22
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Yes, this can be made to work but it is work

A friend of mine ran a group that consisted entirely of dwarfen fighters. You may have be careful of the challenges that they have no resources for solving. I think this can actually pose some interesting, and entertaining experiences, but will require extra work from you to adjust existing printed modules. (In particular, if there are only 3 PCs, most of them are intended by default for four, and I think the average group size in AL is five).

There is also evidence from other game systems, like Call of Cthulhu, where all the characters typically are mundane and just differ by skills that do not matter too much. However, in those cases the adventures are obviously calibrated for such characters. Again, I think your major challenge will be to find fitting adventure modules.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Huh, someone seems to think our answers are unhelpful for the querent in a net-negative way. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 17, 2022 at 14:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you provide some more direct insight into how your friend's game went? Were you a part of it? What specifically do you think worked/didn't work? Did you do a lot of RP? Did the issues you touch on in term of challenges affect the RP? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Feb 17, 2022 at 15:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ I feel like this is missing the point. It's not bad for future readers. But for the question at hand, it doesn't quite fit. I think the asker has an adventure firmly in mind for which the players are well suited. His problem is more about focussed on skill redundancy and similar personality. (I didn't downvote btw. ) \$\endgroup\$
    – 3C273
    Feb 17, 2022 at 19:57
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Can it be done? It has been done successfully, or at least so people say.

I repeatedly encountered the mentions of someone's campaign centred around a thieves' guild (with all PCs being guildmates), back during the prior editions' eras (I haven't played the system at the time). Unlike the all-thief parties, I haven't encountered an all-spellcaster campaign premise discussed in the D&Desque traditions, but there are other games built around a circle of mages (e.g. Ars Magica for the more medievalesque era, Mage the Ascension for a contemporary and with a looser definition of a mage; there are probably more).

Your situation of everyone being casters with an enchanting leaning seems to be comparable to 'everyone is a thief' or 'everyone is a mage'. So it can work. Whether it will work in your case of course depends on many, many other factors.

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