Party without a leader (or a controller or....)


4th Edition

Dark Archive

Has anyone tried to run games without one, or more, of the roles missing? If so, what was the result? I'm assuming it'll be like a 3.x party without a cleric or rogue, etc.


joela wrote:
Has anyone tried to run games without one, or more, of the roles missing? If so, what was the result? I'm assuming it'll be like a 3.x party without a cleric or rogue, etc.

I've had a few games without a Controller. Minions became much more of a threat, as no one really had much capacity to handle their large numbers as they swarmed all over the party. It was still playable, but definitely harder.

Haven't really seen a lack of any other role (as I'm a player now, I generally fill any role that needs filling!)

Cheers! :)


I've always been the guy who plays a leader (especially since I'm playtesting the artificer), and I think that it would make battles more dangerous, but not technically impossible.
Healing potions would force characters to use their own minor actions to heal themselves (instead of the leader), so as long as a few of those were handy I think it would be okay.

The role we do without on one of our games is a controller (someone else plays a wizard in Keep on the Shadowfell and Age of Worms).


joela wrote:
Has anyone tried to run games without one, or more, of the roles missing? If so, what was the result? I'm assuming it'll be like a 3.x party without a cleric or rogue, etc.

This Saturday, I played in a Keep on the Shadowfell game without a wizard (controller). The only area of effect weapon possessed by the party was the dragonborn paladin's breath weapon, and it was only useable once per encounter. An encounter that included a LOT of kobold minions came very close to a TPK.

I have played the same adventure with other people (with a wizard) and did not experience the same nailbiting feeling that the lack of the wizard gave me. Encounters with several minions are certainly not pushovers and really serve to highlight the need for controllers.

Liberty's Edge

One of the recent sessions of my sandbox game involved three strikers and a leader. Damage output wasn't a problem but large scale area effects were. Only the ranger had a close blast. The minions ran around a lot more and it was nearly impossible to tie up foes without the defender.

What nearly killed the party first was a rat swarm. They didn't have anyone to suck up the ongoing damage and free attcks so the slightly "softer" strikers were severly hurt. The leader was hard pressed to heal fast enough. Without any area effects the swarms were hard to kill.

At one point they wandered into an area that was slightly above level for them. The group pulled it out but it was a hard, hard fight at EL 5. The ranger dropped twice.

The nature of my campaign allows for these kind of combinations without a word of warning from me but I think the players learned a valuable lesson, try to have all the bases covered. Playing without a role is possible it just means you have to change your strategy.


joela wrote:
Has anyone tried to run games without one, or more, of the roles missing?

I DMed a session of Keep on the Shadowfell for a group of players that had a cleric and warlord. But, neither of the players knew how to play the leaders, and the combat encounters took longer and they were closer to a TPK than they should have been. The cleric used hie time fighting and the warlord did the same - with basic attacks! It was a waste of 'leadership' that I attribute to not knowing how to play those roles/characters.

I think the leader can make combat easier for the party, especially defenders. You can play without a leader, but it takes more work for the party and may last a bit longer.

Don (Greyson)

Dark Archive

Thanks, y'all. Good point about the controller. Minions suddenly become like those endless movie zombie hordes without a means to multi-attack or do area-effects.

The Exchange

My warlord is the favorite in our party. I cannot imagine playing 4.0 without some sort of healer.

We were all up in arms about how the healing would make the PCs too tough. Second Wind goes quickly and is often not enough. Healing surges are more of a cap then quivers full of cure light wounds wands.

::Raises hands:: Played LG. Carried them. Crafted them even.

Not having a controller is limiting and makes minions scary. Not having a defender means the bad guys can run all over you and the strikers get slapped around a bit.

Not having a leader... It's just scary.

Scary.

The Exchange

joela wrote:
Thanks, y'all. Good point about the controller. Minions suddenly become like those endless movie zombie hordes without a means to multi-attack or do area-effects.

The dragonborn's breath weapon becomes even more important.

The Exchange

doppelganger wrote:
I have played the same adventure with other people (with a wizard) and did not experience the same nailbiting feeling that the lack of the wizard gave me. Encounters with several minions are certainly not pushovers and really serve to highlight the need for controllers.

Two Words: Ogre Thug

Dark Archive

tadkil wrote:
joela wrote:
Thanks, y'all. Good point about the controller. Minions suddenly become like those endless movie zombie hordes without a means to multi-attack or do area-effects.
The dragonborn's breath weapon becomes even more important.

True dat. And it sucks when you miss :(


Thw one role I think you can get away without having is the Striker honestly.

While no other role will dish out the damage, it'smuch easier to compensate for the lack of damage (and it's not like the other roles lack the means to put the hurt down. They do respectable damage themselves.)

Dark Archive

Bleach wrote:
Thw one role I think you can get away without having is the Striker honestly.

Isn't striker the most numerous role? Let's see: ranger, rogue, and warlock versus controllers (wizard); leaders (cleric, warlord), and defenders (fighters, paladins). Am I missing any?


joela wrote:
Bleach wrote:
Thw one role I think you can get away without having is the Striker honestly.
Isn't striker the most numerous role? Let's see: ranger, rogue, and warlock versus controllers (wizard); leaders (cleric, warlord), and defenders (fighters, paladins). Am I missing any?

The guys at penny arcade played a game with out one and did fairly well.

Page 31 of the DMG under the section 'Smaller Than Four' states the following:

3 pcs -> Lose controller or striker
2 pcs -> Use Striker and Leader
1 pc -> Leader or Defender

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