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Leaders are the healers and party support of 4th edition and come in many flavors. What ratio of leaders is necessary for smooth play in D&D 4e?

I ask because in our local game, as people come and go the ratio varies between 1/3 to 1/6.

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4 Answers 4

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My assumption is that you are asking this from a healing perspective. Leaders control the power to unlock healing surges. If a party doesn't have enough of this capability combats, especially long ones will be riskier. This doesn't necessarily mean that you need more leaders, but the party will have to be more cautious and avoid getting into situations that they cannot disengage from if needed.

Hard to give any precise guidelines here. It depends on the DM and the party composition. A couple rough guidelines.

Bear in mind that most classes offer support if the player wishes to have a couple powers that heal themselves or others. How many of these get chosen can change the answers.

In order of neediness

  1. melee strikers typically need the most support from leaders
  2. defenders typically need less support
  3. controllers and ranged strikers may need no support if there are adequate defenders AND the DM does not attack the rear of the party too often.

The above is also the inverse of the order that I think characters should tend to use their second wind proactively. Controllers should prefer to use their second wind if they get wounded, while if a striker is bloodied, they should be considered for healing assistance at the next available opportunity.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The Order of those first two really depends on the style and competence of the Strikers. Rangers in the back are probably gonna need less than a controller, Defenders/Strikers who rely on melee, seperating or single target damage and/or who's player is less than willing to do their job is gonna climb up. \$\endgroup\$
    – Logos7
    Oct 5, 2010 at 14:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Would you agree that generally the order is correct? I look at it this way, in a party of 6 strikers, I know we're gonna need some healers. In a party of 6 defenders, they might be able to go with 1, or maybe even none (6 paladins might have enough healing to keep 6 strikers up all by themselves :)) \$\endgroup\$
    – Pat Ludwig
    Oct 5, 2010 at 14:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ I did split melee and ranged strikers, that is a valid point. \$\endgroup\$
    – Pat Ludwig
    Oct 5, 2010 at 15:05
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I'd say you need 1 leader in every four characters. In larger tables a character with limited healing (a hybrid or paladin for instance) can cover the extra healing requirements. (Characters who take some self-healing utilities or magic items help as well).

I've found having two dedicated Leaders tends to leave one front-lining (and self-healing), while the other handles the traditional duties.

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It depends how the GM/DM plays out the encounters! I've found at higher levels that 1/6 is fine.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I run with 1/4 and at heroic tier it was fine. \$\endgroup\$
    – Logos7
    Oct 5, 2010 at 14:22
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In LFR you don't really need leaders at all, in many of the mods I've played, no PC has been bloodied. Ongoing games tend to be more dangerous but 1-1.5/6 would normally be enough.

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    \$\begingroup\$ is LFR -> Living Forgotten Realms? Not everyone may be up on all abbreviations. \$\endgroup\$
    – Pat Ludwig
    Oct 5, 2010 at 15:33

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