In D&D 3.5 I was part of a group of players who decided to play homogeneous groups. We found a team of four clerics to be very balanced and able to carry on regardless of the problem at hand. After we finished the campaign, we started speculating on homogeneous groups made either of warriors, rogues, bards, or mages, but we quickly realized how difficult would be to guarantee a successful campaign. Any group of warriors would be hosed by a charm from the first low-level enchanter passing by. Any group of mages would be dead meat in front of the first golem, or anything dealing enough damage. Any group of bards would be dead before morning.

What strategies, artifacts or "out-of-rule" tricks would you use to balance a homogeneous group of each class so that they can reasonably walk through a campaign with the same efficiency and chance of a team of clerics ?

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 cause it made me think of going through Final Fantasy 1 with 4 black mages. That was fun. \$\endgroup\$ – Jack C Buel Aug 19 '10 at 21:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ An all-bard party would be dead of overdoses. And then their manager would get all the gold from their royalties. \$\endgroup\$ – Matt Sheridan Sep 17 '10 at 13:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ Playing a theives guild is always fun, but as Wil says below, the campaign must be engineered towards them. The most hilarious homogeneous party I have ever participated in, was the non-combatants. We didn't last long, but it was super while it lasted. \$\endgroup\$ – BBischof Sep 19 '10 at 8:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ Team Druid would also work...considering that druids and clerics each have class abilities that are more powerful than entire classes. \$\endgroup\$ – Jeff Jul 15 '11 at 15:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ Mage team meets a goloem? Polymorph self. \$\endgroup\$ – Zachiel Sep 4 '12 at 21:18

I think that if you played a homogeneous team, you'd have to run them through adventures that matched the team. Team rogue would be pulling off con jobs and other thievery related adventures. Team mage would probably be embroiled in political intrigue and would be in situations where they were pitted against other mages, perhaps in ritualistic situations. Team fighter would need to be in a low magic campaign, or you'd have to have many different ways to hose a mage before they could cast their spells (slow casting time, few area effect spells, etc.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think Team Mage would be able to gradually handle more and more general threats, as their level goes up. This is 3.5 we're talking about, after all. They'll be summoning meat shields, slinging wands of cure light wounds, and out-thiefing any real rogue with just a few spells. \$\endgroup\$ – Matt Sheridan Sep 17 '10 at 14:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hard to argue with that. :) Mages can pretty much handle anything (if played properly) once they reach high levels. \$\endgroup\$ – Wilmanric Sep 18 '10 at 19:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ Mages can handle anything even at low levels - it's just that at high levels their definition of 'anything' expands to include 'any hostile being without Alter Reality that you care to name'. \$\endgroup\$ – Lord_Gareth Jan 14 '13 at 4:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ I could see a team of mage duelists, perhaps using modified sets of magic dueling rules from PHB2. I could even begin to see tactics forming- two counter mages, one damage mage, and one summon mage (for distractions). \$\endgroup\$ – PixelArtDragon Jan 14 '13 at 7:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ I like the idea. If you tailor the campaign to the group you can have fun with just about any group. But some as, @Kryan points out, need more tailoring than others. For a group of mages, clerics, or druids you could probably give it very little thought and be fine. For a team of rogues, bards, or monks you would have to carefully tailor the plot to what they could do (or plan for them to spend a lot of time and resources getting around their limitations). \$\endgroup\$ – TimothyAWiseman Jan 14 '13 at 22:23

Really, “role” is not that important in 3.5. Having a mixed team doesn’t really accomplish that much: the most powerful classes are just simply more powerful. They can handle things they aren’t “specialized” in almost as well, if not better, than weaker classes that supposedly specialize in those things.

So this is basically a run-down of the general class tier list.

Tier 1

These classes can handle anything and everything. With a day’s preparation, they can even handle it easily most of the time. Challenging them becomes a lot about layered defenses and large amounts of misdirection, and even then it is very hard to do.

Team Cleric

Team Cleric will crush everything before them, regardless of level. DMM(Persist) can be done from level 1 by being Human with 16 Cha and having the Planning Domain. Or with 10 Cha, and the Undeath Domain alongside Planning.

Team Wizard

Team Wizard will too, if the players of the Wizards are sufficiently creative. At very low levels, this will be somewhat difficult, but certainly not impossible. Around level 7, it will become fairly easy. Eventually, Team Wizard is most likely the most powerful team.

Team Druid

Team Druid will probably have it easiest of all, what with the Animal Companion at level 1. By the time they get Natural Spell at 6th, they won’t be stopped except perhaps by one of the above teams. They aren’t more powerful than the Clerics or Wizards, but they’re not really weaker except by the slimmest of margins, and they’re definitely the easiest of the three to make super-powered.

Tier 2

With four of them, these classes should be able to handle anything and everything as well. In some niche cases, Tier 1 does better because it can prepare unusual spells for an unusual challenge. Outside of those cases, though, this looks a lot like Tier 1.

Team Sorcerer

Team Sorcerer isn’t quite as well off as Team Wizard, since even with four of them there are going to be spells they’re missing, but nonetheless they’re going to mop the floor with most everything.

Tier 3

Capable of handling itself quite nicely against a wide variety of opponents, but rarely has that automatic “win button” that Tier 1 or 2 may have.

Team Bard

Team Bard can be devastating if there are a lot of supplements available, particularly Dragon Magic with its Dragonfire Inspiration, Frostburn with Snowflake Wardance, and Magic Item Compendium for the Badge of Valor, the crystal echoblade, and the harmonizing special ability. Eberron Campaign Setting for Song of the Heart, Spell Compendium for a lot of things, including inspirational boost, etc. Book of Exalted Deeds for Words of Creation if we really want to be mean. Talfirian Song from Races of Faerûn also allows a Bardzilla, which is awesome. The Sublime Chord from Complete Arcane could even allow Team Bard to play on close to even footing with the Team Sorcerer, but I’m not sure prestige classes are legit here.

Tier 4

Comes in two flavors, really: can handle a variety of situations, but will struggle with all of them to some extent (Team Rogue), or can dominate a single type of encounter, but is pretty useless outside it (Team Barbarian).

Team Rogue

Team Rogue will need to be very careful about using its wands, and everyone will need to max UMD. Still, the fact that they have UMD, plus their general adaptability, means they will be OK so long as they don’t have to get in a huge fight versus undead or constructs or something. Their lives are also greatly improved by a large number of supplements, particularly Champions of Ruin for Craven, Dungeonscape for Penetrating Strike, and Spell Compendium for golemstrike, gravestrike, and vinestrike. Dragon Magic for Dragonfire Strike.

Team Barbarian

Team Barbarian is beastly in melee combat, but they are going to have a lot of trouble with flying or magical foes, not to mention non-combat problems. Complete Champion’s Lion Spirit Totem ACF will be crucial to keeping them mobile. For most levels, Team Barbarian is very likely to be able to take down anything it can get its axe on very quickly, but things it can’t are going to be huge problems.

Tier 5

Similar to Tier 4, but, well, worse. The specialists (Teams Fighter, Paladin, Ranger) are still pretty useless outside their area of expertise, but now they are not automatically winning the things they do specialize in. The generalists are now having a really hard time handling anything by now (Team Monk).

Team Fighter

Team Fighter is in a lot of trouble. Any problem that cannot be solved by smashing its face in, they likely cannot solve. Will involve obscure ACFs and feats for getting various skills in-class, suboptimal ability score layouts, and quite possibly cross-class UMD, which is just ugly. Supplements are critical, since Core alone lacks enough feats to be worth their time. Dungeonscape for the Dungeoncrasher ACF will be important. Fiend Folio’s Feathered Wings graft will be crucial for getting Team Fighter into the air at a level-appropriate time.

Team Paladin and Team Ranger

Where Rangers and Paladins fall depends very heavily on whether Sword of the Arcane Order (Champions of Valor), Mystic Ranger (Dragon vol. 336) and Mystic Fire Knight (Champions of Valor) are available. Battle Blessing (Complete Champion) will also be very important to the Paladin. With these, they are quite capable, at least at early levels, easily keeping up with Team Bard or even better. Without them, they’re pretty close to even with Team Fighter.

Team Monk

Team Monk is just shafted, well, barring Wild Monk (Dragon vol. 324). They’ll all be struggling to do much of anything, and it’s unlikely to work well. Sure, they’ll be hard to lie to, and possibly hard to kill/prevent from retreating, but every fight is going to be an uphill battle. If they have Wild Monk, then they’re going to land somewhere between Team Bard and Team Rogue, most likely; Wild Shape basically solves melee combat for them as well as it’s going to get solved, and it helps some with the MAD situation. Still going to be rough, though.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for accuracy, and also for reminding folks that versatility directly equals power in 3.X \$\endgroup\$ – Lord_Gareth Jan 14 '13 at 4:41

A group op thieves requires different adventures as a group of mages. But that's no real problem for the DM. Just be creative.

The same goes for groups that miss a certain class. The group, I'm DM-ming lacks a rogue. So there are not that much encounters with heavy traps and locks. But then one of the fighters started to add some ranks to open locks. I really liked that. So they now and then encounter some locked doors and locked (trapped) treasure chests.


My group has ran team Druid and team fighter. The trick with the fighter group is scouting/planning/ running when necessary. I have been pushing for a psion party lately allowing all variations of psion. Other team breakdowns seem too disastrous to try. The dm would seriously have to work to engineer a scenario that's survivable for rogues, Paladins, or monks.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I like this answer because it implies there's no trick to running Team Druid: "Here is a party of 4 druids. They win D&D." \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Feb 15 '15 at 23:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ This doesn't actually have much information on team Druid. How did team Druid go? Why do you think other breakdowns are too disastrous? \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Feb 16 '15 at 2:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thread revival after 4 1/2 years is quite a resurrection. My $0.02: Crusader, Warblade, Duskblade, Swift Ranger counts as "4 Warriors" and would be a competent party for most purposes. \$\endgroup\$ – Foo Bar Feb 16 '15 at 20:30

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