Monday, December 17, 2007

My DnD party...oh the headaches!

One day I expect that I will tackle the whole suite of DnD games available on the PC, or at least a good portion of the games, such as Eye of the Beholder 1-3, Icewind Dale 1-2, Baldur's Gate 2 (already did 1) and..that's pretty much it.

After going through Ultima III I realized that I really like the concept of creating a party of characters based on my real life friends. It adds an authenticity to the game that is truly special. I'd go as far as to say that I prefer to play my friends rather than with npc's, who have more personality.

So since playing U3, I've been wondering. What would a full party look like? What classes are my friends most suited for? I've been thinking SO much about it you guys can't believe. So I've decided to write about it, and get it off clean. Let's start.

First off, we have to see who is up for contention to become a virtual character! First off there's me, obviously, as Grahf. Then there's my dog Shogun, another obvious choice. Afterwards it gets a bit more muddy but I expect Pedro, Osman and Helen to be in there. That's five characters. Some games, such as eye of the beholder, only allow you to create a party of four (with the possibility of adding two npc characters to the party during the game), while in other games, such as Icewind Dale, you can create up to six. In Baldur's Gate it's a bit different, since normally in BG you create only one character and fill out the other five slots with npc's during the game. However I want to play with my friends, so what I'd do is start off a multiplayer game, create my own characters and then import them in the single player mode. So in theory I could create all six characters in Baldur's Gate.

The problem is that some of the npc's bring quests with them. So it's interesting to at least have a slot open for NPC's, so that you can do their quests. The best way to do it would probably be to go the Eye of the Beholder way, as in create four characters and leave two spots open for NPC's, since having only one spot open would mean that I would have to constantly shuffle the NPC's in and out which sounds a bit annoying...but could be worth it to have my full gang in, since we total five.

For Icewind Dale I would possibly need a sixth character, although I don't HAVE to. We can play with five and the experience will come faster that way, especially if we have a couple of multiclassed characters. But the most important thing is to have a complete party. To have a complete party, we need four things:

a tanker
an healer
a thief type
and a mage

The typical DnD party is a fighter, a cleric, a thief and a mage. Personally I like to have at least three warriors in my parties since I like physical play, and I don't like magic much. I think magic is a hassle to be honest, I'd rather not use it most of the time except when forced to. My usual type of gameplay is to rush every enemy and hack them to pieces, and if somehow that doesn't work then I'd step back and start assessing the situation.

Now what we need to figure out is what each person on the team would be the best at. Let's start with me.


I always play fighters. My main character has never been other than a fighter so I'm used to it. My dad liked fighters and he sort of passed that down to me.

Grahf's pros: very high strength, high constitution, high intelligence, very high wisdom, above average charisma.

Grahf's cons: low-average dexterity

I think this shows that I have a high opinion of myself :) I'm good at a lot of stuff. My two highest stats would be Strength and wisdom, with constitution and intelligence trailing not too far behind. My friends usually see me as the 'sage' type in our group, and I fit the description of the hermit living in his cave the best out of all of us. I definitely would be the best at being the voice of reason, with Helen possibly being a close second, but she'd be a lot more annoying in that role, no one wants her to be the voice of reason that would be crazy!

So what can Grahf be with those strengths? Well he can be a lot of things. He can be a warrior, helped with high strength and constitution. He could be a cleric, backed also with high strength and constitution but with a good dose of wisdom. He could be a mage...but Grahf's never been a mage and that would be a waste of his strength. A perfect mage would normally require a good dose of dexterity to compensate for the lack of armor, which Grahf doesn't have. And although Grahf will have high intelligence, he'll still have a point or two less than Osman will, and as I said earlier I don't like mages much so I'm not going to have three. One is enough.

He has perfect stats for dual classing, but I don't like the concept. It's also not a realistic concept in terms of adventuring, and also in term of the games. He could multiclass though, but then that brings the other problem of slow leveling.

If I take a look at the base classes, from a pure standpoint you can eliminate Wizard and thief right away. Playing a pure wizard would be a waste of my talents while I don't have the dex for a thief. Obviously the fighting classes would work, but I can't see myself as a paladin because of the personality issues, and I don't have the charisma for it either. I can't see myself as a ranger because...that would be just weird. Barbarian is a bit weird too, I mean, a barbarian with high wisdom and intelligence? Barbarian would fit Shogun a lot better.

So that would leave fighter, but fighter a bit simple. I'm wasting all that wisdom if I'm playing a fighter.

So how about the cleric? That one is interesting. My high strength would benefit the cleric in close combat, my high constitution would give me HP bonuses at level up, and my high wisdom would greatly help in spellcasting (since the cleric depends on wisdom for spells and not intelligence like the mage). I see myself more as a cleric than I do as a mage, since clerics are basically spellcasting...bunkers. I say bunkers, because clerics from a fighting point of view are not as good as the pure fighting classes. That bugs me a bit, because That would make me a secondary melee character, which Grahf has never been. I still would be good, especially with 18 STR, but I wouldn't be tops.

Forget the druid, and a bard? The thing is that I see a bard as a jack of all trades, and I think Grahf's stats are generally too high to qualify. Why would someone with high STR and high CON play a bard? With low dex to boot. Bard requires 15 charisma which I'm not sure I have, probably more of a 13 or maybe a 14 in that regard.

I mean it could be interesting, that would be a really really powerful bard, that it still doesn't make much sense. Since I have low dex I can't really be an archer, and with the armor restrictions a bard has I wouldn't have much of an armor class either. That, couple with the relatively low hit points of the bard class, means that I would get slaughtered in close combat. Just doesn't make sense.

How about a multiclassed Fighter/Cleric? Now that's sort of interesting. In the end, the cleric seems to be the best class for Grahf, but it would depend on the party. If there's already three warriors in the party, then Grahf should be a pure cleric. If there lacks a warrior, then he could multiclass. It also depends on the game.

So Grahf should be a Cleric, a Fighter, or both.

A thing that could be interesting with Grahf would be to dual him. By that I mean, start out as a fighter to get some extra weapon proficiency and then dual him to a cleric. That could be much more interesting that just starting him out as a cleric right away. Some food for thought.


Okay, now it's my dog's turn. This will be easier than with Grahf.

Shogun's pros: maxed out strength, maxed out constitution, above average dex, high charisma

Shogun's cons: average or slightly above average intelligence (like a 13 maybe), low wisdom (I'm thinking a 9 or an 8).

People who know Shogun are probably thinking "What the hell?" right about now. Now my dog weighs 22 pounds so it might sound weird to have him maxed out in strength and stuff. But my logic behind this is simple: The average weight of a chipin (chihuahua/min pinscher cross) is 13 pounds. 13!!!!! My dog weighs 22 and he's not fat! He may have a pound of fat on him. At 20 pounds, Shogun would be lean and thin.

So what happens here is this: compared to his species, Shogun is IMMENSE. He's 69% bigger than the average. In human stats, if the average human is 175cm tall (about 5 feet 9), Shogun would be 9 feet 9 inches tall!!!

If the average human weight is 160 pounds, then he'd weigh 270. So the conclusion is this: he's huge. If chipins are usually hobbits, then Shogun is a dwarf. That's sort of where I'm getting to.

Now with those stats he should be a warrior character. He doesn't have the intelligence to really cast spells and his wisdom sucks. I see him as someone who would see an enemy in the distance and start charging like a madman, without ever realizing that there is a boulder rolling towards him on his right side. He's charismatic though, because he's a good looking guy! On top of that, when he's not pissed off he actually likes people.

But yeah, Shogun? A warrior, more precisely a Barbarian.


Pedro is a bit complex because of a lack of clear strengths. Let's check it out.

Pros: Above average across the board, except maybe wisdom.

Cons: High charisma.

So yeah, except for charisma, no real strengths. Pedro shouldn't play a specialized class such as a fighter or a mage, he should be a class that by default touches to more than one field. Or he could be multiclassed, or dual class. His relatively normal wisdom precludes him from playing a cleric or even a paladin, a class which he could have been a good fit for considering his charisma.

So what else is there? Well there's the ranger, which would fit him except for the wisdom. The rangers spells are wisdom based, so that wouldn't really be a good match for him.

Then there's the bard. Now that one is reeeeaaally interesting since by design, the bard is a jack of all trades. And guess what Pedro's stats are? Pretty much jack of all trady. He even has the high charisma the bard needs, he has enough dex to be a good range attacker, he has enough intelligence to do pretty good with the mage spells the bard gets. It honestly feels like the bard is a perfect match for Pedro's stats.

So, Pedro = Bard? :|

EDIT: Okay so the whole Helen thing made this a bit more complicated. Helen can't play a warrior, she just doesn't have the body strength for it. She could play a good bard though, better than Pedro in fact.

So could Pedro be something else? Well let's revisit the paladin:

The paladin by default is sort of a farce. Is 'virtue' first personality is often annoying since he is always complaining and telling others how they should act. I see Helen much more like that than Pedro. But I can see him as a ranger, definitely. He has the STR, the DEX and the CON to be both a melee fighter and a ranged attacker, so that's good. Ranger is what I originally thought Pedro to be, and I guess that's what he'll probably be.

So Pedro = Ranger


Osman shouldn't too tough either.

Osman's pros: High dexterity, very high intelligence, above average constitution (maybe)

Osman's cons: average strength, low to average wisdom (that dude wears his emotions on his sleeve!), average charisma

Looking at those stats, it's pretty clear what Osman can do and what he can't do. He's either a thief type character, but being a thief would be a waste of that intelligence. Or he could be a mage, where that dexterity could improve his armor class. He could also be a multiclassed thief/mage, but that would be if the situation asked for it.

So, Osman : A mage, a thief, or both.


Helen's pros: above average to high dexterity, high intelligence, high wisdom, very high charisma

Helen's cons: low strength

....Ok now that is confusing. Honestly the first thing that came to mind when I saw all of that is that she'd be a better bard than Pedro. She certainly wouldn't be able to get up close and duke it out like Pedro could do, but she could be a pure archer type bard. At first I thought about maybe making her a paladin, but that strength and constitution would make her an awful paladin, unless....unless I made her a weird paladin that was like an archer rather than being a melee character. Of all the party members, she has the personality that fits the paladin the best. There's also stuff in the game that improves your stats, so if I could get her a girdle of giant strength that could help. I really see her as a paladin, and usually some of the best weapons in the games are for paladins so we would need at least one of them.

In the end this is a weird scenario. She'd make a better bard, since she'd probably have one point of int more than he, she has more wisdom which helps here lore skill and she has good dex which would allow her to be a good ranged attacker. But if Helen is a bard, than what would Pedro be? I can't see him as a paladin, and as a ranger? I don't know, he doesn't have high wisdom, which would make his spellcasting as a ranger a bit moot. Now someone would tell me that who really plays rangers for their spells anyway, and they'd be right. Anyway wisdom doesn't give bonus spells to paladins or rangers, only clerics.

So Helen could be a bard, probably the class that best suits her. Or she could be a thief if need be, but Osman would be a better thief, or at least a thief that is as good as she is while also having better strength. She could also be a mage, but that Osman can do better. Also Helen has really high charisma, the highest of the bunch, she has high wisdom and high intelligence, making her a great bard by default. So bard it should be.

Helen = Bard

So this is what a five character party would look like:

Shogun in the lead as a barbarian.
Pedro backing him up as a ranger
Grahf in third, as a cleric
Helen in fourth, as a bard
and Osman covering the rear, as a Thief/Mage

Osman needs to be multiclassed because we need a thief to disarm traps. The thief is the easiest class to multiclass because it gains levels really quickly. Grahf could be a multiclassed fighter/cleric here, but he wouldn't need to be. The best way to do it would be like I said earlier, dual class him from fighter to cleric to get some of those sweet proficiency points. From the look of that party, I don't think we need a sixth character. I would have liked to have a paladin in the party, but except for Helen I don't see anyone who could have the personality required. And since the great paladin weapons are usually swords, that wouldn't help us out because Helen would be too weak to engage in melee combat anyway.

So yeah, that sounds good. In a game such as eye of the beholder, i'd remove Helen, so I'd have Shogun and Pedro in the front as fighters, Grahf in the rear as a cleric and Osman as a thief/mage probably.

Yep! Good stuff!