Designing the 'Perfect' Adventuring Party


Advice


This is primarily just a thought experiment. I think there is about zero chance my group would agree to play whatever I come up with.

But I was asked, "How would you design the group when you don't know what the campaign will be? Other than the classic fighter, rogue, wizard, and cleric."

It got me thinking. Actually in the current state of PF, I wouldn't use the classic group anyway. To many people don't like rogues and I wouldn't have both casters as prepared casters.

So I started putting together a list of things I would want or avoid.

  • I want a prepared caster who can spam generally useful spells like crazy.
  • I want a prepared caster for when you have enough info to prepare the exact spell needed.
  • Would not put in a paladin. When you don't know what it is going in, a paladin might just be worse than nothing.
  • If I'm building the team, I would put in a bunch of teamwork feats. Particularly stealth synergy and shake it off. Bonuses to saves are always great. Sneaking is almost always helpful if everyone can do it.
  • Probably wouldn't put anyone in heavy armor. Sometimes the
  • Want someone that is really sneaky even if everyone is pretty decent at sneaking. Stealth, scout, perception, and disable.
  • Don't think I would want any builds that are to terribly focused on one thing and one type of fighting, since some campaigns or levels might make it not work well. So not an extreme trip build, charging cavalier, super archer, etc...
  • None of the late blooming PrC's since it might only be a low level campaign. So eliminate mystic theurge, dragon disciple, eldritch knight, arcane trickster, etc...
  • Need to have someone capable of condition removals.
  • Need someone with some buffing/support capability.
  • Need someone with some debuffing/control ability.
  • Need monster knowledges.
  • Need social skills.
  • Not sure about the 'pet' classes. They up power tremendously, but are sometimes problematic in some campaigns, settings, missions. (Might have difficulty making proper use of your rhino at a court function.)
  • Other qualifiers that I haven't thought of yet???

My initial thoughts on looking at my list are:
Lorewarden has enough feats to be decent at whatever fighting styles are found to be useful, plus some monster knowledges and intelligence skills.
Ranger switch hitter probably the trapper archtype to be an excellent scout.
Bard (even though I don't like playing them myself, they do help a team) not sure which archtype if any. Social skill, more knowledges, and some of the best buffing in the game. Can spam the useful spells known. Also max UMD.
Cleric primary caster with some of the aggressively offensive domains. Prepared caster for when you know what is needed. Has some excellent debuff and control spells. Especially with proper domain selection. Can still remove conditions with a day to prep the necessary spell.

It's kinda funny; but as soon as I put the qualifier about not knowing the campaign, I seem to be eliminating some of my favorite characters. Most of the stuff I like is fairly focused on something that may or may not be present within a given campaign. So I probably wouldn't do an oracle, inquisitor, maneuver build, or sorcerer.

What are your thoughts?


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

i would say
Fighter, since they're just versatile with all their feats.(also i think armor training is more versatile than lorewardens stuff)
Bard instead of a rogue, can stealth and be face man while buffing in combat.
Sorcerer instead of a wizard, for versatility on the run, get a bloodline that makes him a bit tankier.
and an Oracle instead of a cleric, the mystery you choose can shape the oracle into a cleric, or any other kind of caster, or even make him melee focused with some healing.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Cleric, Druid, Witch, Wizard.


Honestly I do not think not knowing what you are going up against is not neccesarily a knock against any class. An inquistor with the right domains is pretty versatile, either something like liberation, animal, or war are really useful. This is leaving out things like the conversion inquistion which is obviously great to make the inquistor your face.
I would also think prepared divine casters are better given that you are basically theorizing about getting thrown into anything. Since spontaneous casters are good, but if you have the wrong spell set you could be in deep trouble.
A different way to do what you are recommending might be to do something like an Inquistor, a Magus, a Bard, and a Druid. Sure you are going to be a little bit behind without a pure martial character. However you will also have a lot of casting and having good buffing available.
However it really depends on what builds are being used honestly. I think you could easily create the traditional set up of Rogue, Fighter, Cleric, Wizard, and with a little work be able to adapt to almost any sitatuation.


It's basically impossible to get full condition removal without a Cleric. The hard spells are Remove Blindness/Deafness (cleric/witch at 5, oracle* at 6, Alchemist at 7, Paladin at 10), Remove Paralysis (cleric at 3, inquisitor*/oracle* at 4, paladin at 7), and restoration (cleric at 7, oracle*/healing patron at 8, paladin at 10)

* uses a spell known. Good luck with that as many condition removers as there are that I'm not listing because they're on all the divine lists except maybe ranger and paladin.

Remove Paralysis is the worst. Because we can't know we won't be dropped into a nest of ghouls at level 3 we must have a cleric.

That means we're stuck with a cleric. The only other option is to get a witch of a specific patron and an inquisitor or oracle. And those are going to hurt wasting a second level spell known.

Having a cleric means having a 2+dump skill point albatross in any full party stealth attempts. That's not going to work.

Forgetting stealth I'd go with a reach evangelist, a wizard, a reach archaeologist, and probably a barbarian as the non-paladin martial with the best saves.

Scarab Sages

3 people marked this as a favorite.

1 Halfling Rogue/Horizon Walker (maybe with a level in Oracle, or Destined/Shadow Sorcerer)
2 Halfling Rogues (or maybe one of them's a Bard)
1 Halfling Expert (or maybe a low-level Druid)
1 Half-Elf dual-wielding Ranger
1 Human Fighter
1 Dwarf Fighter
1 Elf archery Ranger (or maybe Arcane Archer)
1 Aasimar Divination/Pyromancy Wizard (possibly Eldritch Knight)

It was called The Fellowship of the Ring, and it's the standard by which all other adventuring parties are measured.


Arcanist, Cleric, Bard, Trapper Ranger/Vanilla Ranger depending on the general "Are we using normal PF traps or juiced up ones?"


1 person marked this as a favorite.

No such thing.


It completely depends on the type of campaign that you're in.

Honestly I think pathfinder really works best as a Five man Band, not four. The group I've actually seen tear everything up the most was a Paladin(melee coverage), Guide Ranger(Ranged damage), Cleric (healing and divine support), Sorcerer(buffs and some arcane blasting), and Bard (stupidly effective buffs to hit and damage, and knowledge/skill coverage). That group was all straight out core races, core classes (with maybe 1 archetype), and they routinely WRECKED encounters at +3 levels.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

4 Bards, plus one fighty-type. Maybe a paladin or a monk.

But I'm weird like that.


There's no such thing as "the perfect party" - unless everybody is Batman.

Just a few thoughts:
Don't underestimate the Summoner. It has enough buff spells to put the Bard to shame, and a kick-ass customizable pet to boot.
Also, a single level of Rogue, then going full specialist Wizard basically makes you a prep-Sorc with trapfinding. Always a handy thing to consider.
Don't diss the Fighter, bro! This ain't your mammy's 3.5 walking-brick-with-a-stick. With weapon/armor mastery and a wealth of new/improved feats, PF Fighters have more versatility/effectiveness than you'd think.
What's better than a stick-wielding brick? A HOLY stick-wielding brick. What Paladins lack in versatility, they make up for in raw staying power. Even at low levels, between their immunities, save bonuses and self-heal capabilities, they're a solid choice for the party defender.
Cleric is actually not as bad as you'd think, as long as you're channeling positive energy. You can prep utility/combat/condition-remover spells, and selectively convert them into healing when needed. While you won't have as many spells per day, you WILL have access to any and ALL spells. Quality over quantity, if you will.
Always have a healthy mix of ranged and melee characters, plus stay mobile when you can; this prevents getting caught in area attacks too frequently.
Finally, having a fifth party member opens up a lot of options. Instead of each character having to fill an individual "role", roles can now be spread out over characters, lacking roles can be reinforced, or extra roles can be added. Why choose between a party-face/buffer Bard and a skill monkey Rogue when you can have both?


Reach cleric, conjuration wizard, battle oriented oracle, Superstitious barb, and bard

High buffs, couple of strong faces, tons of battlefield control and both arcane and divine back up.


Magic User, Cleric, Fighting Man, Thief.

Or- wizard, cleric, rogue (or bard or inquisitor) and whatever tank you like best. I think Bbn works best in many situations.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Easy. Four clerics, each with a different focus. One with a high CHA to act as face and healer, one with a martial focus and a big weapon, one focused on summoning or a pet, and one as the buffer/blaster. All have some healing, access to remove/dispel, and some martial capabilities. Sub a life or battle Oracle or an inquisitor for variety. Maybe a paladin or warpriest.

This group should be able to handle about anything.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

the "perfect" adventuring party

Any 4+ players that can work together and have fun while playing the game.

specific character details be damned.

The Exchange

Evangelist cleric, std ranger (or urban ranger), wizard, bard (archer sort, either archivist or archelogist). Archivist for really piling on buffs with 2 diff types of performance, archelogist if you wanted disable magical traps, urban ranger can be a standard ranger.

A little front line short, but guess thats what summoned creatures are for.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

i agree with anarchy, there is no 'perfect' party.
honestly, i'm not even sure what you mean by perfect- a perfect party would be the best party in every situation at every level... that clearly does not exist (since specialized parties will always be better in their own element than generalist parties, and different classes/builds peek at different levels).

i think what you're looking for is really the strongest generalist party. even that is open to debate (and honestly may depend on point buy) but here's my stab at it:

melee cleric- human cleric of gorum in a Wis build (channel smite and guided hand @1st); can fight without many buffs (for resource management), handle status removal, and has the DCs for some control (or SoS) spells.

switch hitter ranger- trapper ranger; handle traps, scouting, survival, and melee or ranged combat.

ranged bard- vanilla bard; handle knowledges, face skills, secondary scouting, and party buffs (plus be a decent archer).

reach witch- half-orc scarred witch doctor with a longspear and combat reflexes (use a couple buff spells plus bardic bonuses to add a little melee), use hexes for control/debuff (and insane resource management), and use spells primarily for utility.

if you're going for a 5 man party maybe switch to vanilla (or guide) ranger and add a blaster oracle... half-elf seeker oracle, blackened with the flame mystery; handles traps, back up face, back up status/heals/utility, blasts with curse/mystery spells; take paragon surge to fill any caster gaps.


4 blockbuster wizards. Who cares what you face, you'll blow anything away in an epic conflagration. And still be wizards on top of it, so if you come across something that more fireball doesn't solve, switch spells.


Trap breaker alchemist, animal domain cleric with companion, conjuration wizard, and then either a fighter, barbarian, or battle/metal oracle for the meat shield/melee person.


I agree with those that say there's no such thing as a perfect party, or that the game is too situational for such a thing.

Personally, I like it when my friends and I can exchange thoughts about our character concepts. Sometimes changes will be made on the basis of those conversations, and sometimes there won't be. At any rate, I don't know if I would enjoy playing a character whose role was more important than his overall concept. I need a certain amount of suspension of disbelief in my fiction/entertainment (in video games and rpgs as much as in movies and books), and I doubt I would get that if I was more focused on hitting certain numbers than the story.

Everyone has their own sweet spot, though. :)


Obviously there's no such thing as a perfect party, but I assume the essence of the question is create a party that can handle anything in the world that might happen. I think in terms of pure versatility and strength the ideal party is probably conjurer wizard, reach cleric, well rounded oracle, archer bard, and a barbarian or ranger, depending on whether you're concerned about damage or skills (though the wizard and bard should be able to cover that). There are probably a bunch of other decent combos, but I think there are some combinations that are more versatile and powerful than others.


4 Clerics

OR

4 Druids

Done.


Here's the best I got assuming you want to be prepped for everything. And it's ridiculously good.

1) evangelist cleric of Horus based on ruler ship portfolio of variant channeling that takes feathers domain. Simple but deadly. Get an animal companion, lingering performance, the summoning feats, necromancy spells, leadership feat. That's a hefty army that your boosting. And in the early stages your dazing the enemy so your relevant all the time at all levels.

2)ranged Dwarven inquisitor of Gorum with war/tactics domain. Anyone need a reroll on initiative? Well you got it and multiple times a day. On top of your solid on skills, have best initiative, fill ranged attack spot, have restore spells to back up cleric, and with trap finder trait ur the classic skill monkey. And did I mention spells don't work too well on you with steel soul and ur judgements working together on top of your already impressive saves? Only ur charisma stinks and that isn't a problem in this party. Ps take ear piercing scream as a level 1 spell early so you can daze what the cleric doesn't.

3) human invulnerable rager with superstition, CAGM, Beast totem. Fairly standard build but a human with this archetype and rage powers is going to stay relevant and potent for a LONG time and is a casters nightmare. I mean +10 or more to saves against spells!!! Even that dwarf above is crying at this. With proper equipment you smash any foe in your reach. Frontliners don't get much better.

4) Gnome sylvan bloodline sorcerer. Another animal companion is a plus but not the reason to take it. The fey +2 to compulsion is worthwhile and can make you almost as good as a sleep based witch. But equally important is your ability to kill what you can't control. Scorching ray or fireball meta magicked to the max will blow away a lot fast with your four traits you should take and pyromaniac on top of that. I mean seriously an empowered scorching that shoots two rays for a level two spell at level 5?!!!! On top of all that you can take dazing spell feat and you can daze groups too. Finally, you could get cheesy and have an undead army on top of summons as well (just no feats).

Tactics: never give your opponent a chance to even attack, plain and simple. You have three guys that have a reasonable chance of dazing one or more of the enemy before they ever get a turn thanks to your inquisitor. Every one of those casters should have an initiative of +8 or more and a reroll on top of that. Secondly, swarm ur foes. Two characters have animal companions and those same two can have a small undead army WHILE summoning more.

Third, shock and awe nova rounds. By 7thlevel the cleric can channel to daze as a move action, and summon multiple lanterns while the animal attacks. At the same time the sorcerer is attacking with 3 4D6 rays of dazing OR 3 6D6 rays and his beast attacking. The inquisitor has bane at numbers just short of a archer based fighter and the barb defends them all. PAIN!!!

Silver Crusade

Some posters above are obviously already familiar with The Forge of Combat. That's an obvious starting point for this discussion.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Wasted wrote:

4 Clerics

OR

4 Druids

Done.

Ditto.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Wasted wrote:

4 Clerics

OR

4 Druids

Done.

Ditto.

Bah. Need more arcane pew pew. Swap out one of those with a silver bullet Arcanist.

Silver Crusade

Renegadeshepherd wrote:
1) evangelist cleric of Horus based on ruler ship portfolio of variant channeling that takes feathers domain. Simple but deadly. Get an animal companion, lingering performance, the summoning feats, necromancy spells, leadership feat. That's a hefty army that your boosting. And in the early stages your dazing the enemy so your relevant all the time at all levels.

Inspire Courage doesn't work on undead, unless you do an exotic option. That's still an excellent approach.

Inspire courage wrote:
Inspire courage is a mind-affecting ability.
Undead Taits wrote:
Immunity to all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, morale effects, patterns, and phantasms).

You need to pump CHA high to make effective use of Variant Channeling(Rulership), unless you're going to attempt it without Selective Channeling.


^^^^^^ agreed

The boosting was intended to be for the summons and party. But the negative channel would heal the undead though. One feature or another helps someone in said army :)


The (mechanically) perfect party, hmmm, I would probably go something like this, loosely based on the traditional roles.

Warder (from Path of War): The only class in the game that is truly able to "tank" (and not in a silly way, like Antagonize). Protects his allies like no other, and still able to deal out a lot of punishment.

Life Oracle: The premiere healer in the game, can keep a group going for quite a while. The "must have" clerical spells are fewer in number than the wizard ones, meaning an Oracle can get most (if not all) of the really useful ones, especially if they play a human (for extra cheese, go Half-Elf with Paragon Surge). Also can be the party face.

Investigator: Your skill monkey, scout, and disabler extraordinaire. Has skills, "spells", good utility, and pretty decent combat ability. For a more pure combat focused character and flanking buddy for the Warder, substitute with a Slayer.

Wizard or Arcanist (either will work): Your battlefield controller, buffer/debuffer, well timed blaster, and all around bender of reality. Nothing else really needs to be said about this one.

And if we are adding in a 5th

Bard: The classical 5th man for a reason. Utility, versatility, skills, spells, and I would make him an archer for pretty good combat capability too. A better party face than the Oracle, and everyone loves Inspire. With a Bard, the Slayer becomes much more of an option over the Investigator.

One of the nice thing about this party, everyone (except probably the Oracle, and Bard, if used) is really smart, makes for good tactics, and skill points will not be an issue.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Scavion wrote:
Bah. Need more arcane pew pew. Swap out one of those with a silver bullet Arcanist.

Magic domain, Fire domain, plenty of other options.


Wasted wrote:

4 Clerics

OR

4 Druids

Done.

I get the four Druids, what with the Summon Nature's Ally, pets, skills, utility/mobility&stealth. Gets around the need for arcane nonsense, hee.

But could you enlighten me as to the 4 clerics?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Mentioned upthread.

sowhereaminow wrote:
Easy. Four clerics, each with a different focus. One with a high CHA to act as face and healer, one with a martial focus and a big weapon, one focused on summoning or a pet, and one as the buffer/blaster. All have some healing, access to remove/dispel, and some martial capabilities.


Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:

My initial thoughts on looking at my list are:

Lorewarden has enough feats to be decent at whatever fighting styles are found to be useful, plus some monster knowledges and intelligence skills.
Ranger switch hitter probably the trapper archtype to be an excellent scout.
Bard (even though I don't like playing them myself, they do help a team) not sure which archtype if any. Social skill, more knowledges, and some of the best buffing in the game. Can spam the useful spells known. Also max UMD.
Cleric primary caster with some of the aggressively offensive domains. Prepared caster for when you know what is needed. Has some excellent debuff and control spells. Especially with proper domain selection. Can still remove conditions with a day to prep the necessary spell.

I would replace the lore warden with the slayer.

Besides that I would ALWAYS include a druid for such a group because he is too versatile to ignore. And if you think the AC could prove too useless in some situations just give him a domain.


EpicFail wrote:
Wasted wrote:

4 Clerics

OR

4 Druids

Done.

I get the four Druids, what with the Summon Nature's Ally, pets, skills, utility/mobility&stealth. Gets around the need for arcane nonsense, hee.

But could you enlighten me as to the 4 clerics?

It is entirely possibel for 4 clerics to fill all roles. Archer, caster, channeler, and melee beat stick. This all battle is tended to but with some work and team work the 4 of em can cover nearly all skills well enough to survive. Moreover all 4 can be very good summoners and spam the area with monsters that have more spell like abilities.

The problem is they are not optimal compared to a class that is more narrow.


Thanks Triomegazero and RenegadeShepherd. A good argument, but I gotta admit I prefer the 4 Druids. If I'd seen more pathfinder Clerics played/created effectively maybe I'd think differently. Of course now I want to play an A.P. with four Clerics as an experiment.

Anyway, for the perfect party let's go with:

-Master Summoner
-Wizard
-Druid/Cleric
-Ranger

One of the many bonuses to Master Summoner in the mix is that at mid to high levels it can take item creation feat(s) since has such leeway. Also the Eidelon can out-Rogue the Rogue at stealth or disable device.


Apparently I didn't explain myself real well. Again. (Although when ever I do I get the impression I have been to verbose and no one reads any of it.)

Another campaign is heading into the last book. The comment was made that, '... just like the last one, I don't see how they can expect characters of X level to handle this ..."
I replied that most of the challenges weren't really that tough, but we as a group are insisting on running really lopsided groups. Way more capability in one area than is needed and other areas not covered at all.
Response was, "It's stupidly boring to always play a fighter, cleric, wizard, and rogue."
I never said that. There are probably hundreds of ways to cover all the necessary/useful capabilities.
"Yeah? So how would you set up the group if you were making them all?"
Well first, I wouldn't have any of my concepts carved in stone months before we've even considered what AP or modules we are running. Second, figure out what you want them to be able to do really well, good enough, ok, and maybe assist. Do that for all of them to see that the major things are covered. If it is not covered, make plans for how the group will deal with the lack. Don't just pretend there is no lack.

The players of this group, like some others I've seen, start thinking about their next character after about the 2nd session with the current character. The thought goes, Man it really would have been good here to have a really good archer. Then he/she starts mentally building an archer. Pretty soon he's got an archer that would work great in the current campaign with the current group. Has no idea what the next campaign will be or what the group will be like.
I can't remember it exactly, but there was a moderately famous quote about the British building the perfect navy to win the previous war. This is kinda the same thing. Except it's not even a navy, it's individual ships built in isolation.

So we ended up with a group that has 3 squishy arcane-ish casters and an archer. The closest they had to melee dude was the witch that had a single level of ranger. (The previous group had not had enough arcane might or ranged damage dealing.) They had no stealth or disarming capability. The only social skills was 2 guys with pretty good charisma but no skills left over put many ranks into diplomacy or bluff. No one had sense motive. They had independently chosen to overlap on the same monster knowledges (leaving other uncovered). One had pretty decent perception (they all assumed the others would max perception because they had last time). None were willing to change their characters even though they didn't like total make up. They were also unwilling to make plans on how to deal with things like enemies that tried to charge them or how to cope with social situations when they had to bargain with someone powerful. (I was the GM that time.)

I don't think there is any chance to get them to wait until the campaign is decided to pick character concepts. So the only real way I see is to make a group that is fairly versatile, make plans on how to deal with X where we are weak, discuss what each character will be capable of doing as a group. Just maybe then things can be adjusted before the are set on stone tablets.

Yes, I have read Forge of Combat. I thought it was an excellent summation. I printed a copy for and reviewed with everyone in my group. However, it doesn't appear to have made a huge dent in their planning. But they were at least willing to talk about it as a group. However, I don't think most of them were willing to adjust their concept significantly. But they were at least willing to adjust some minor point of the design.

Yes, I agree that a group of 4 druids or 4 clerics can be made to deal with most any given situation. I'm not convinced that you can make a group of them that can deal with any unknown situation. I could be wrong.

The strength of summoners seems to be their supper combat machine monstrous eidolons. What if the campaign is courtly intrigue? You probably can't bring a monstrous eidolon in to your conference with the prince or have it sneaking around the palace. You could build it as not a monstrous combat machine, but then I'm told it isn't that great a class. What if you have long adventuring days? Summoners don't have very many spells to rely on them as a spell caster. Especially at low levels.

Kinda similar with druids. Ok, a dinosaur is your death machine. You probably won't be allowed to take it into the dwarven cave home. Yes, you could take a dog. But then it really isn't nearly as helpful in other situations. Do you know of something else that can operate nearly anywhere and is still really useful?

Several people proposed paladins. I don't see how you can expect a paladin to be a good fit for any unknown campaign. Some of them are nearly impossible for a LG character even without the oath. Consider the pirate AP (don't remember the name).


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Barbarian, Oracle, Wizard, Bard

Silver Crusade

I went with 4 clerics instead of 4 druids because of increased versatility. Druids with pets have more combat capabilities, but as mentioned upthread, it's hard to bring a dinosaur or great cat into some social situations. Who's going to deny a cleric access to the king's court? (Unless the cleric is of a forbidden religion).

Four clerics with different builds to fill different roles are the best party for an unknown campaign.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Advice / Designing the 'Perfect' Adventuring Party All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.