How do you decide on the characters in your group?


Rules Questions and Gameplay Discussion


Me and my wife have now completed RotR, SaS and WotR. We have been playing 2 characters each since SaS. We have spent large amounts of time looking through all our characters and different classes/subclasses that are represented in the current selection. We have come up with a fairly simple concept of how to form a group of 4 characters in order to make the game fun and balanced but not repetative.

For us there are 2 different character types: main and secondary. For us it's pretty simple.

Main character roles.
Strength based combat
Arcane caster
Divine caster/Healer

Pretty much anything past this is more of a secondary role.

Our group for mummies mask has seen a revision after our first game. (We got spanked.) Then current group is based on these guidelines and about 2 hours of conversation.

I'm curious what everyone else thinks about this and how a group is made for other players.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

It depends a lot on how many characters you have. If you have only two (or one), you have to think carefully. Probably a fighter and a healer, although you could forego the healer for more of a challenge. An arcane caster is probably not necessary for winning, although you do miss out on some of the game if you don't have one.

When you have 3-6 the goal might be to have at least a d8 in every skill, preferably at least a d10 for each if you have 6 characters.

It all depends on which characters and which powers those characters have.


My game groups are often formed with everyone having a specific build in mind,
And then we rebalance a little to fill holes.

Im usually the fill, because i dont know what to play often


I generally play with 4 characters using variations on the Fighter, Thief, Wizard, Priest build, which usually translates to Strength, Dex, Arcane, Divine. I'll echo Calthear and say that I want at least one go to character for each base skill capable of rolling a d8 or higher.

For Mummy's Mask, I'm currently running Oloch (Strength), Simoun (Dex), Balazar (Arcane), and Estra (Divine).

The base skill breakdown is as follows:

Strength - Oloch (d10)
Dexterity - Simoun (d12)
Constitution - Oloch (d10)
Intelligence - Simoun, Balazar, Estra (d8)
Wisdom - Estra (d12)
Charisma - Balazar (d12), Estra (d10)

Silver Crusade

We're lucky in our group, because I only play divine casters, my friend likes to hit things, and Rebel plays something else (usually w spells). Even when we all decided to play different things, Rebel could be Ostog, I could be Ezren, and our friend could be heals. The only time we had party balance issues was when I decided to play a non-caster. After a few painful scenarios, I traded out for Alahazra.


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My goal is to always have at least Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence and Wisdom covered. When playing with a group, I let the others choose freely and then choose a character that complements what the others are playing for coverage. Since we play in groups of three, my choice can always ensure that these 4 skills are covered.

When I play alone, I construct parties of 3 where everyone should cover 2 different skills (but I will neglect constitution if I can't prevent some overlap). With those guidelines in mind, I prefer classes I haven't played just to get a feeling for each one.

Lately, I've also made parties based on a theme or mechanics, like the dwarven pirate crew I'll take through my first run of SnS.


No strategy in character selection at all; literally whatever people would like to play. We've just always worked on the basis of 'we'll probably make it work in the long run'!

Thankfully, I've got a friend who will carry as many Cures as he has spell slots and one who might possibly build a deck with only melee weapons if given the choice, and it generally does just seem to work out...

Sajan / Ezren / Seelah / Valeros / Harsk

Alahazra / Jirelle / Merisiel / Oloch / Damiel

Adowyn / Enora (now Arueshalae) / Seelah / Crowe / Balazar


I'm loving all the group building strategies.

@dobbleshwert I'm loving the themed group idea. I think me and the wife may try that out one of these days.

@the_Napier if my wife could, she would run Amiri with nothing but weapons too.

I've always wanted to play with a group of people but unfortunately I have had a hard time finding anyone to plat with. My local stores don't seem to have interested people. Either way I'm really enjoying reading everyone's group building stratagies.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

I let my wife pick first, then I choose a character to complement her choice, often to make sure we have some healing as she favors arcane casters. So far:
Runelords: Her: Seoni, Me: Kyra
Shackles: Her: Feiya, Me: Lini
Wrath: Her: Shardra, Me: Crowe
Mummy: Her: Yoon, Me: Drelm

I've also played Shackles with two friends who chose Valeros and Ranzak so I picked Alhazra.

In the app I'm currently running Amiri, Lem, Harsk and Ezren, which seems to pretty well cover the bases.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Mostly, I'm concerned that there be a healer in the group. After that, anything goes.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

The full benefit of having really 6 (if not more) different players, all of them old crazy RPG players, is that... WE NEVER strategize our group.

We just play it like a "normal" RPG.

For example for MM, everyone got to discover all the 11 available characters without telling anyone what they thought of each of them. Then each of us selected their preferred one without telling anyone, and we all announced our picks at the same time.

Yes it could happen that we have no healer, or 3 characters competing for Arcane spells... and that's just plain fun.

This time we ended up with Alahazra, Amhotep, Drelm, Estra, Mavaro and Yoon. We have no clue if it's a good mix... but we don't care. Amhotep is MY OWN SELF for the next 8 months or so. I have no interest (for now) on what the others want or can do. I already started battling stupid Estra for her to give me her staff. Yes because we also start with random basic items to make any trade or discovery an ego boost from day one.

Of course we have been blasted off course by our first Sandstorm and unable to reach destination on time. I don't care, I will compe back in that desert and next time we will get through. And I will steal Estra's staff at the first opportunity.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I often pick a character I haven't played before, and I'm usually willing to let the others pick first then pick someone that seems to work well with that group. It is much harder if I'm picking a group just for myself. I have tended to notice a few things though:

1. I tend to like Arcane over Divine (not sure why).
2. I tend to like Melee over Ranged (not sure why).

Lone Shark Games

I pick exactly like Hawkmoon, except
1. I tend to like Divine over Arcane


I've never been able to play with just one character. In our opinion the game is boring with only 2 characters. Because of this I've never had to only pick one character for a 4 person group. Hopefully I get to in the near future.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I think I choose based on the mechanics I like rather than any particular type. I like to recharge cards and cycle my deck - characters where you can't do that easily make me feel a little trapped, and I don't like watching all my good cards sit there in my discard pile. So sometimes I just want to be the healer myself so that nobody in the group has to experience that.

I also like to Get Stuff, so I like characters that can do that...but overall I've enjoyed Olenjack and his +4 to acquire checks with that one role because I think I like recharging cards more than getting them.

Silver Crusade

Calthaer wrote:


I also like to Get Stuff, so I like characters that can do that...

Have you played something with defensive stance and a siege deck yet? I can't help thinking that you would hate that.


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Hawkmoon269 wrote:
2. I tend to like Melee over Ranged (not sure why).

For me, personally, Melee just feels safer than ranged. If I'm ever stuck without a weapon, I'm still rolling one of my best dice, whereas with Ranged, I'm in trouble without a weapon. And since Ranged weapons don't seem any more powerful or versatile, it tends to be all risk for no reward.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Hawkmoon269 wrote:

I often pick a character I haven't played before, and I'm usually willing to let the others pick first then pick someone that seems to work well with that group. It is much harder if I'm picking a group just for myself. I have tended to notice a few things though:

1. I tend to like Arcane over Divine (not sure why).
2. I tend to like Melee over Ranged (not sure why).

As a VO, I tend to let others play characters they want to and try to pick something that is needed to fill in.

Luckily with our HawkCon group, I'm able to pick a character that I wanted to play ... for Season of the Righteous, it was Arueshalae since I was able to unlock her for Organized Play.

And for some reason, I'm the exact opposite of HM. I'll pick Divine over Arcane usually and Ranged over Melee. Probably because it's what I prefer in RPG play ... Divine casters over Arcane and Ranged fighting over Melee.


isaic16 wrote:
Hawkmoon269 wrote:
2. I tend to like Melee over Ranged (not sure why).
For me, personally, Melee just feels safer than ranged. If I'm ever stuck without a weapon, I'm still rolling one of my best dice, whereas with Ranged, I'm in trouble without a weapon. And since Ranged weapons don't seem any more powerful or versatile, it tends to be all risk for no reward.

I agree that melee is safer combat-wise but high dexterity is usually more useful than strength outside combat (more barriers have it).

Anyways, since we usually play with 4 players, we like to have specialists in each of these 4 areas (arcane, divine, melee and ranged). It feels such a waste to find a good card that no one can use.

The only exception is our latest Mummy game where we don't have a dedicated melee fighter. There is still Mavaro but he is not quite sure yet what he wants to do with himself.


We usually start with what people like the look of aesthetically/thematically, and then just balance things out with the people who can't decide. The main thing I try and do is minimise the number of boons which nobody is interested in. As a second priority I try and ensure there's a balance of who's good at which base skills.

I think my wife and I really screwed up with out choice in S&S. We picked Seltyiel and Lirianne. They're great according to all the criteria above. But what we ended up with was one character who's really good at combat and not much else, and one character whose flagship ability is... helping other people out with combat. Might have been ok in RotR but was quite bad in S&S. It was ok once we got the role cards and Seltyiel filled out his weaknesses by discarding spells for a bonus against ships and barriers, but around AD3 we really felt weak. Especially compared to the other party I was running with the kids, which was the Valeros + Lem superteam with a side-serve of Merisiel.

So in the future I will try and think a lot more about whether the characters shore up each other's weaknesses.


I play with a group and with my wife as 2 characters a piece.

We've played through everything so far once ourselves and once with group and then some of the user created content as well.

After all that there's little wisdom to share. Not very much at all to be honest.

The biggest gem is that it depends on the adventure set. Which is unsurprising.

In every single one though we tend to fill certain slots:
Someone who wants arcane spells
Someone who wants divine spells
Someone who wants melee weapons
Someone who wants ranged weapons

It's all about the boons.

This party don't want none unless you got boons hun.

And making a party like this makes every good boon mouth watering.

It also tends to make us pretty agile on checks somehow.

I usually let others choose first and then fill in the blanks.

Outside of that we've usually played as husband and wife by the time the group plays so we've got a lot of meta-knowledge about what stats are important in the adventure set.

So for ROTR everyone can pick whoever they want as long as they can wreck a face.
S&S we cringe when someone was thinking of picking a character with low wisdom and dexterity.
In WOTR we full stopped when we realized we had no reliable healer in character selection.

In MM we don't quite know what's the bent for picking characters yet. I'm not sensing a huge pull ahead by one stat or another. Have to crunch numbers maybe at the end on all banes.


In my group, the first or loudest players pick up first, and they choose characters as they please. Others are just manipulated into playing characters that will fill the blanks :-). Generally there are no quarrels, because every one has his preferences. So I generally pick rogue-ish types, or half-orcs, or goth/fetish looking female characters. My friend no.1 picks always arcane spellcasters, second also arcane spellcasters or rangers, and other players who generally start every adventure path, but almost never finish as they drop off during play. Especially one, who ALWAYS want to play Valeros but after first Adventure Path we successfully advice him not to do that.
There are our setups (me first):

RotR: Merisiel/Ezren/Harsk/Valeros
S&S: Oloch/class-deck Ezren(died) than Seltyel/Radillo
WotR: Zarlova/Darago/class-deck Harsk/Seelah/Imrijka
S&S second run: Jirelle/Damiel/Feiya

For MM I'm planning to play Zetha, don't know what others will choose. She reminds me Jack of Shadows from R.Zelazny's novel.

I thought also about making themed character party, but I thought about half-orcs. Then I realised ALL half-orc characters are the same: martials with limited divine power. No half-orc wizards, no rogues, even pure fighters/barbarians. You can make functional dwarf party, gnome or even six-pack of halflings - but no half-orcs.

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