Content of the article: "Controlling class choices: Is three druids too many?"
I'm a first-time DM organising a game for my family over christmas, none of whom have played DnD before. Over the past few weeks I've given them all a run down of the different classes and races available, and have asked them to choose what character they'd like to play.
It's mostly a four person game, (Mum, Dad and two sisters) with a possible 5th and 6th player (Brother in law & sister's boyfriend) if they're around while we're playing. So I'm planning around four, but will build in some flex in the encounters if there are extra characters.
So far we've got a halfling druid, an elven druid and an elven ranger with 1-3 players left to pick.
I responded to our organising thread saying that although two druids is fine, but three would probably be too many. I said that the most important thing is to pick something they enjoy, but if they were looking to round out the team then a bruiser or a rogue would work well.
My sister then relpied to say that she too was thinking of a druid because she likes the 'one with nature' vibe', so I felt a little bad that I removed her choice, but a core party of three druids and a ranger seemed pretty unbalanced. Her second preference is a Bard, and I suggested a life or nature domain cleric could be another good pick along the same lines.
A few questions to give a sense of how I'm thinking about this, and any advice you have on this would be great!
– Is three druids too many? Is two too many? Druids are a pretty flexible class, so I'd guess it's more balanced than a three barbarian or wizard party, and I can kindof see a cool narrative forming around a super nature-loving party so wondered if I'm worrying more than I need to?
– How much of a problem would it be to have a party entirely of ranged/spell characters? Would you suggest nudging my ranger towards a finesse melee build rather than archer? My only real experience of DnD is from Critical Role Season 2, so I don't actually have a good sense of how Druids play on the tabletop. From my understanding of the rules, they're not going to be great at close combat, but they'll not get completely rolled either. Is that about right?
– I also worry whether combat will get a little static iwht a ranged/spell heavy party, in that most encounters will boil down to standing back as the enemies try to mob the characters, rather than a bit more dynamic moving around and engaging/disengaging from combat.
– Balancing combat encounters are one thing, but should I be concerned about non-combat encounters too? i.e. having 2-3 characters who're built around wisdom, very similar proficiencies and no-one who's good at picking locks and disarming traps?
– Are there any character creation workarounds you might suggest to diversify lots of characters with the same class? e.g. allowing an additional proficiency pick, relaxing rules around using different weapons or perhaps something similar to the 'you can swap racial bonus skillpoints' system?
– Or perhaps the way I should be thinking about this is to lean into the imbalance, and if the players want to hyperspecialise then that's their problem!
Any advice you have would be much appreciated! I also understand that the real answer to my questions is 'DnD will work however you want to play it!' But I'm a noob and don't want to set myself up for an unreasonable challenge right off the bat and want the players to experience a bit of variety in playstyle.
Thanks for the help!
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