Player role and class matchup: Marching Order - RPG Crossing
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  #1  
Old Apr 21st, 2022, 02:40 PM
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Player role and class matchup: Marching Order

I had a thought and wanted to get some opinions on it. While I believe that for the most part, players should choose a character that makes them happy to play, I have noticed that some players are more proactive than others. And while exploring a dungeon or what-have-you, those proactive players naturally lead the way. Less proactive players are more likely to follow somebody else's lead. It occurred to me that more proactive players should therefore play characters that lead the way, walk at the front of the party, and do things like search for traps and "meat shield" for the rest of the party. Those characters are more than likely Rogues and warrior-types.

Or in short, more active players in the group should play rogues and "tanks".
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Old Apr 21st, 2022, 05:53 PM
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I'm a data person, so my first thought is perhaps you have a recording bias in your data collection. Do we have actual data on this? What is "active" as a player, for example..

My second thought is that it's not necessary. I don't think I could ever be accused of being "not active", and so yes... my PC's tend to post first. But, I play a LOT of non-tanks, I almost never play a rogue, and it works out pretty well. My witch, my Oracle, summoner... all are pretty active, but all are more "support" than meat shield or trap finder.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2022, 08:50 AM
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I can see where your logic stems from, but as a player I don't want to be forced into a role just because I am active on the site. To me, who enjoys support classes/roles, that could feel as a form of punishment.

I'd rather, as my support class, waltz forward to check things out and risk life and limb for the sake of the narrative if the rest of the group is being passive/shy. It also gives chance for interparty RP to take place of "Idiot! Why did you go forward?!" "Because none of you were speaking up! I thought it was safe!!"
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Old Apr 22nd, 2022, 02:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retry View Post
I can see where your logic stems from, but as a player I don't want to be forced into a role just because I am active on the site. To me, who enjoys support classes/roles, that could feel as a form of punishment.

I'd rather, as my support class, waltz forward to check things out and risk life and limb for the sake of the narrative if the rest of the group is being passive/shy. It also gives chance for interparty RP to take place of "Idiot! Why did you go forward?!" "Because none of you were speaking up! I thought it was safe!!"
Nobody said anything about forcing players into roles. But, as a player choosing their character, if that player tends to be more active, then it benefits the group and the entire game if the more active person helps the group move forward by leading the way. That's my theory, at least.

As tor the supporty characters stumbling ahead unadvisedly creating roleplaying moments, it seems to me that could only happen once and then the group would be right back where it started. What would get solved?

Most games seem to assume that whoever posts first acts first, unless they're in a situation where strict initiative is being enforced. So, if I say that my sorcerer goes over to the painting to have a closer look before the rogue's player says that they search the floor for traps, the GM is likely going to assume that my sorcerer walks across the rug covering the pit before the rogue has a chance to find the trap. And can I just assume that somebody is going to search the rug? Do I have to search the rug because I posted first? Do I have to wait to post until after the rogue's player has?

And, no. I haven't done any scientific, peer-reviewed studies on this, Admin Dirk.

Last edited by girlplay; Apr 22nd, 2022 at 02:36 PM.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2022, 07:10 PM
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Perhaps there's a foundation grant in such a study, GP... You never, know, grants have been given for sillier things.

As for the idea of helping to move the group forward... I believe that can be done (and probably is often done, although I have no evidence of that) by the more active posters, regardless of their role...

My Oracle (a support PC if there ever was one) can direct the party, with the "early post", without really moving (herself) forward.

"Charles, check out that door... can you hear anything behind it" Inno asked. "If not, go ahead and open it. Alba, be ready there, in case something is waiting. I'll prepare my healing." She waited while the rogue moved up to the door, and the barbarian readied herself nearby, steeling her nerves and wondering why she was in this place. Can't just be for the money, right? Remember the little girl, it's all for her.

I didn't railroad the other PCs, there is still autonomy for them to choose another path. But, if they are just slow posters, and not really engaged as much as they could be, they can reply with a

"Okay" Charles said as he moved to the door, and listened.


I would agree that sometimes, having a quick poster in a lead roll/class position is indeed beneficial (here I think of Betar, my goliath druid... a lead tank if there ever was one) but I think it can be done from most classes, with some work.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2022, 07:48 PM
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I feel like you're on target here.

I never order people around or set out to be the party leader--and if questioned I encourage others to decide for themselves what to do-- but even then, I often end up taking point, with others falling in behind me. So, yeah, being tough or wily makes all the difference when you screw up, and trigger the sucker punch or get tossed bass ackwards into a pit of knives. I usually play a martial class (and probe the floor ahead of my path with a 10-foot pole or a heavy article of furniture) for exactly this reason.

Still, in 5e, there's so much overlap on class abilities that I'm sure you could build a full caster that would do okay, if they survived the first couple of levels, but it would be more risky. The Dungeon Delver feat and the Alert feat would help, as would the ability to get the frack out of melee as quickly as possible, as with Misty Step or something like that.

Another factor: do you think that being a good follower and supporter is underrated? I do. I find it a lot easier to take a risk knowing I can count on the people behind me to catch me when I keel over, and land a few hard punches of their own on whoever decked me. So with a few reliable buddies to watch my back, I'd be more inclined to try a squishier class and still go first in the marching order.


Quote:
Originally Posted by girlplay View Post
I had a thought and wanted to get some opinions on it. While I believe that for the most part, players should choose a character that makes them happy to play, I have noticed that some players are more proactive than others. And while exploring a dungeon or what-have-you, those proactive players naturally lead the way. Less proactive players are more likely to follow somebody else's lead. It occurred to me that more proactive players should therefore play characters that lead the way, walk at the front of the party, and do things like search for traps and "meat shield" for the rest of the party. Those characters are more than likely Rogues and warrior-types.

Or in short, more active players in the group should play rogues and "tanks".
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Old Apr 23rd, 2022, 07:06 AM
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Perhaps there's three "roles" in play...

Leader of the party (not the "face", but the engine that drives the party in reality. The "one person" that seems to get into it most).

Person in front (the person or character in the party who tends to be first to react, first to try things, first to face danger)

Front Line Role/person (the actual class that probably should be leading.. Scout, Rogue, Wizard with familiar and spells searching for traps, big beefy tank, barbarian, etc.).

I can't disagree that when it works out, and all three of these are in the same player, it's probably easy/great. If you can get two in the same player, works well still.

But, I think if you have a good set of players, you can manage if each "role" is in separate players... obviously, the better they are as players, the better they meld and play.

But yeah... having the "engine" also be towards the front of the group, in a player who naturally wants to lead, explore, etc., is optimal.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2022, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GallupsMirror View Post
Another factor: do you think that being a good follower and supporter is underrated? I do. I find it a lot easier to take a risk knowing I can count on the people behind me to catch me when I keel over, and land a few hard punches of their own on whoever decked me. So with a few reliable buddies to watch my back, I'd be more inclined to try a squishier class and still go first in the marching order.
I completely agree that support characters aren't as highly respected. A lot of players seem to focus on being able to do those big damage numbers and that's how they measure the 'usefulness' of a character. It's pretty spectacular to do 49 points of damage in a single hit and not as flashy when the support character cast a Bless spell or something that helped create that big hit. Or, the support character comes across "negatively" in some people's view if they didn't save enough spell slots to heal everyone or remove the curse or whatnot.

Historically, I've played rogues (or rangers) because I tend to want to drive the action forward and get into the mix of things. Currently, on this site, I'm playing a sorcerer (with basically no skill at investigating the way forward) and a fighter (archer) who would naturally stay at the back of the group. So far, I've had her putting duty as a rear guard and doing silly things like searching a room that the party just left. One last search before we move on. I'm struggling a bit because I haven't played many back-line characters before and I'm struggling with figuring out what to do. And I also post much more promptly than other players.

I've also noticed that a higher percentage of people want to play back-line characters. In a RL game I'm playing currently, we have 1 tanky fighter, 3 spellcasters, and my ranger - who I thought was going to be an archer but ends up playing second-tier tank most of the time. I'm going to have to ask my GM if I can change her fighting style, buy a shield, and switch roles. Why do people avoid being melee characters?

Last edited by girlplay; Apr 23rd, 2022 at 12:00 PM.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2022, 07:39 PM
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Ah, new question!

Lots of theories, no data....

1) DnD doesn't reward melee as much as magic. If you look at the power curve, it's Druids and Wizards, clerics and sorcerers, etc... The druid is sometimes thought of as a monster of melee, because of the animal companion (free melee) and wildshape (melee beast if done right), and then the icing on the cake, spells. What's the fighter/barbarian get? No secondary flanking buddy, no healing spells or buffing spells... some rage, a lot of feats (in PF), but... yeah. When you look at cranking out those big numbers to take something down, melee PC's can do very well, and do it all day long. But magic... can blow those numbers out of the water. 3.5 Tome of Battle tried to give melee types some cantrips and reserve feat magic items, but that's just playing catch up to the magic types, that got reserve damage magic feats six books earlier. Basically, the old adage "because melee can't have nice things".


2) The 20 minute adventure day. I think one of the original balance ideas for the melee vs magic thing was the idea that a day was 24 hours long... and rest would not be easy to come by. So... yeah, the wizard has 8 spells, but in an old Gygax dungeon, those might have to last all day, or even, two days. Through a half dozen encounters (wandering monsters RUINED getting sleep, and thus, no spell recharge). So at least then, your melee kind still had hours and hours of things to do... even after 10 hours of fighting, they still hit hard and often. But now, magic is so prevalent and rest is relatively easy to arrange (GM's got easy, lax or lazy, random encounters dropped, rope trick and the rest made things easier to go fight, burn up a lot of things, and then retreat for a bit) that now, there's not as much time pressure or resource pressure on magic users.

3) People just love the magic idea. For many, it's just flat out more fun or exciting to throw a fireball that does 6d6 damage, than swing a mace that does 6d6. There's probably something in our psychology that drives that, perhaps... I know I could never be a fighter in real life... I don't have the physicality, stamina, mindset. I'm not big enough or fast enough or strong enough. But if I had magic! That changes things. Magic is like the Colt Revolver, I suppose, a great equalizer. If there's magic in the world, then I could imagine being powerful, because... magic, right? It just does stuff. Like a gun did, for many people in the American west. Those people bigger, stronger, smarter, faster? Doesn't matter... I have a Colt. Magic.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2022, 10:38 PM
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Just out of curiosity, since you've brought it up twice now: What data are you expecting people to post to advice threads to have?
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Old Apr 24th, 2022, 07:36 AM
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Typically, none...

But I am a science person... and so I tend to preface my statements with a disclaimer... either they are backed by facts, data, testing, or they are opinions/anecdotes.

Perhaps, somewhere, there's a study of gamers and PC choices that was done, that shows that introverts tend to choose X classes, by a 3x higher probability. Or maybe, someone did a statistical comparison of 5000 games, and found that the average gaming day has decreased by 27% each DnD edition.

If not, then what I have is my opinion. I just don't want people to think it's a fact.
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