• Resources are back! Use the menu in the main navbar. If you own a resource, please check it for formatting, icons, etc.

Here's The Most Common D&D Party Composition

D&D Beyond's latest data-output looks at the composition of the typical adventuring party. The 'traditional' party always used to be Fighter, Cleric, Rogue, Wizard; let's see how that stacks up these days!

These screenshots were compiled by SageAdvice.eu. DDB's developer said "I’m going to be honest: this was really hard to look at from a data perspective right, so what I mean by that is it’s hard to figure out exactly how to chop this data up for it to be the most meaningful that we can make it all right. These are all campaigns where party members and characters within that campaign are taking hit point adjustments, so that’s one of the best senses that we have that something is actually being played”.


dndbeyondPARTY1.jpg


dndbeyondPARTY2.jpg


dndbeyondPARTY3.jpg



 
Russ Morrissey

Comments

EzekielRaiden

Explorer
When you take just the ones at top, it's not surprising that they are close.

But let's look more at the numbers. For example, with 12 classes there are 1728 different three person parties (assuming straight classed only, allowing duplicates). If they were all equally likely, we'd be seeing 0.05787% each. Instead the most likely are about nine times as likely, which also mathematically shows that there a enough that are below that for the average to work out.

If the lowest are the same amount below the average as the highest are above, then there's about an 1 to 80 ratio in likelyhood between lowest and highest.

Even if no one ever played duplicates, that's still 1320 different combos - they highs listed are still much more common than the average.
If you actually wanted to analyze this, you'd have to do a goodness-of-fit test, though I'm not entirely sure it would apply. There are reasons, entirely apart from player preferences, why some compositions won't appear even without repetitions--meaning that the naive assumption of an expected uniform distribution may be simply wrong, even in principle. E.g. a party that has no spellcasters at all is severely restricted in almost all areas of play, while Sorcerer/Warlock/Wizard/Druid has a ton of conceptual overlap that mere social convention will usually push against. Further, it's entirely reasonable that for probabilities this low, even a very large data set might not have any at all; if the uniform average probability is 1/1320, then even a data set with three thousand points has (1319/1320)^3000 = about 10% chance of any particular equally-likely party to simply never show up at all in the set. Random noise in the sample can shift things dramatically, and with such tiny groupings compared to the overall size, a shift of merely four or five parties--meaning just four or five people out of thousands made a single different chocie--could radically affect these results. Drawing overly-broad conclusions from this data is very, very easy.
 

R_J_K75

Explorer
I’m curious about parties with duplicate classes too: two rogue, two wizards, that kind of thing.
I Started my current campaign June, 1 2018. I pre-generated the characters for 2 reasons. The first being that I was sure if he game would last as 3 out of 5 players were new to D&D, so I didnt want to spend a session creating PCs. Secondly I wanted simpler characters. I gave them some simple options to choose from. We ended up with 2 fighters, 2 rogues and 1 wizard. 1 of the rogues got eaten by a bullette and made a ranger. Thats how the party is now.
 

EzekielRaiden

Explorer
Although I admit it depends, in part, on assumptions that might not hold true*, it's looking like the party-of-four stats are based off a sample size of approximately 2500 parties, meaning there's an expected value around 2 for the "uniform distribution of non-repeat compositions" assumption. If we take into account that most four-person groups won't have both a sorcerer and a wizard and similar such things, we can reduce even further the number of expected "popular" parties, potentially down even as far as only 81 or so "popular" options and the rest literally unseen because the sample size isn't big enough.

*Specifically, I'm assuming that we can guess that the .65% to .53% gap is a gap of 3 parties, and the .53% to .49% is a gap of 1 party. This is a pretty reasonable assumption, as it would be quite strange for there to be large and exclusively even(/multiple of 3 etc.) gaps in these values--we expect relatively small gaps. Also, I assumed that these values given were exact decimal percentages, which is very unlikely, they were almost certainly rounded. But by this reasoning from the difference-of-3 between the first two clusters and a difference-of-1 between the second and third cluster, I got the same value both ways, approximately 2500. I think we can say with confidence that that's about the size of the data set for four-person parties, and it's very unlikely that any of the other data sets are particularly larger than that.
 

Parmandur

Legend
[/QUOTE]
Although I admit it depends, in part, on assumptions that might not hold true*, it's looking like the party-of-four stats are based off a sample size of approximately 2500 parties, meaning there's an expected value around 2 for the "uniform distribution of non-repeat compositions" assumption. If we take into account that most four-person groups won't have both a sorcerer and a wizard and similar such things, we can reduce even further the number of expected "popular" parties, potentially down even as far as only 81 or so "popular" options and the rest literally unseen because the sample size isn't big enough.

*Specifically, I'm assuming that we can guess that the .65% to .53% gap is a gap of 3 parties, and the .53% to .49% is a gap of 1 party. This is a pretty reasonable assumption, as it would be quite strange for there to be large and exclusively even(/multiple of 3 etc.) gaps in these values--we expect relatively small gaps. Also, I assumed that these values given were exact decimal percentages, which is very unlikely, they were almost certainly rounded. But by this reasoning from the difference-of-3 between the first two clusters and a difference-of-1 between the second and third cluster, I got the same value both ways, approximately 2500. I think we can say with confidence that that's about the size of the data set for four-person parties, and it's very unlikely that any of the other data sets are particularly larger than that.
I think you are probably off by a couple of decimal points, given the installed user base involved.
 

Parmandur

Legend
If you actually wanted to analyze this, you'd have to do a goodness-of-fit test, though I'm not entirely sure it would apply. There are reasons, entirely apart from player preferences, why some compositions won't appear even without repetitions--meaning that the naive assumption of an expected uniform distribution may be simply wrong, even in principle. E.g. a party that has no spellcasters at all is severely restricted in almost all areas of play, while Sorcerer/Warlock/Wizard/Druid has a ton of conceptual overlap that mere social convention will usually push against. Further, it's entirely reasonable that for probabilities this low, even a very large data set might not have any at all; if the uniform average probability is 1/1320, then even a data set with three thousand points has (1319/1320)^3000 = about 10% chance of any particular equally-likely party to simply never show up at all in the set. Random noise in the sample can shift things dramatically, and with such tiny groupings compared to the overall size, a shift of merely four or five parties--meaning just four or five people out of thousands made a single different chocie--could radically affect these results. Drawing overly-broad conclusions from this data is very, very easy.
You are.togjy that drawing conclusions is dicey, as Adam Bradford was at pains to say in the video: but the sample size is significantly northwards of 3000, based on how many people are using the platform (well into the six figures)
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
When you take just the ones at top, it's not surprising that they are close.

But let's look more at the numbers. For example, with 12 classes there are 1728 different three person parties (assuming straight classed only, allowing duplicates). If they were all equally likely, we'd be seeing 0.05787% each. Instead the most likely are about nine times as likely, which also mathematically shows that there a enough that are below that for the average to work out.

If the lowest are the same amount below the average as the highest are above, then there's about an 1 to 80 ratio in likelyhood between lowest and highest.

Even if no one ever played duplicates, that's still 1320 different combos - they highs listed are still much more common than the average.
Classes can duplicate in a party
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
Classes can duplicate in a party
Yes ... most of my post was assuming they could. I even called it out: "with 12 classes there are 1728 different three person parties (assuming straight classed only, allowing duplicates)". That's what I use for everything except the last line.

I have a last sentence that specifically calls out that even without duplicates here are the numbers and the conclusion of the math still holds. Just to show it's true no matter what.
 

pogre

Adventurer
I'm curious who gets to play with 8 people in the party.
I'm curious about who wants to play with 8 people in the party.
When I started my current campaign I was concerned about making sure I had at least 4 players at every weekly session. I invited some of my old players - one who was two hours drive away and another who was two-and-a half hours away. I invited a guy who is an LPN and is occasionally on call when we play. Which, is a long way of saying I knew some of the players were not going to make it to every session. I have a ten player pool that I was fairly sure I was going to get five showing up every week.

Over the last year I have averaged eight players per session.

Yeah, that's probably one or two too many, but so far it has been great. It helps greatly that they are a cooperative group of people mostly concerned with everyone having fun.

Our most frequent group composition is: Cleric, Paladin, Monk, Sorcerer, Ranger, Wizard, Druid, and Fighter.
 

Connorsrpg

Adventurer
Yeah, data with such small percentages; does it really tell us anything?
For what it's worth (and someone mention playing with large groups. My 5E Elsir Vale campaign right now has 9 players.
Fighter x2
Warlock
Ranger
Druid
Paladin
Cleric
Rogue
Wizard
 

Connorsrpg

Adventurer
I Started my current campaign June, 1 2018. I pre-generated the characters for 2 reasons. The first being that I was sure if he game would last as 3 out of 5 players were new to D&D, so I didnt want to spend a session creating PCs. Secondly I wanted simpler characters. I gave them some simple options to choose from. We ended up with 2 fighters, 2 rogues and 1 wizard. 1 of the rogues got eaten by a bullette and made a ranger. Thats how the party is now.
I generated a massive pool of 1st level PCs for my game too. I often do this. But I always generate a lot more than needed so there is choice. I determine those PCs completely randomly (race, BG, class, etc). Workds great and I get some mixes that won't normally be chosen. Really helps writing up their backgrounds etc for a unique PC :) When new players join or a PC dies, then they often bring in a new character of their creation. (Though sometimes a player will choose from the left-over pool I developed).

I think players like me doing their first PCs this way as it really shows how to tie their PCs to the setting. Once they have been playing in that setting for a while, they are usually more comfortable generating the next character.

BTW: This was for a game with several new players. But the veterans were also happy for me to do the characters :)
 

Connorsrpg

Adventurer
Regrading large groups, if you can physically accommodate - eg table/room size etc. I find it is not too much a burden as a GM/DM. I think the burden is more on the players. If they want to play in this big group and keep inviting friends, I am cool with that, but it is the players that must make the compromises...

In fact, when we went to 8 players (now 9), I wrote a post on our campaign forums to actually outline what this means for the players. Rather than repeat everything here, here is a link to that advice ;)
Forum on large party groups - player advice
 

Bolongo

Herr Doktor
I find it interestung that in parties of 4 Sorcerors are more common then Wizards.
Eh. The first three lines in that table have the exact same percentage listed. Which means the difference is in the decimals they're not showing. That's not more common in any significant way.

What I find interesting is that in parties of 4 or more there is almost always a rogue (and in more than half of the smaller ones). Seems like the class that is hardest to fill the shoes of.
 

TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
What I find interesting is that in parties of 4 or more there is almost always a rogue (and in more than half of the smaller ones). Seems like the class that is hardest to fill the shoes of.
Which certainly seems like a case of older edition thinking still present in the modern day. They don't have any one capability that's hard to replace. As a package deal, though, they don't have any other class that's really a close analogue.
 

EzekielRaiden

Explorer
I think you are probably off by a couple of decimal points, given the installed user base involved.
Plenty of people have it installed without actually playing in a game. More importantly, ~2500 four-player games (possibly without doubles of any class) is ~12500 users (4 chars + 1 DM, times 2500 games). Even if some of those games have overlapping users, and even if most of the four-player games overlap with groups other numbers of PCs, the sample size in terms of total users could easily be 20000 or more and still be perfectly consistent with my estimated sample size. And that, again, doesn't account for the many people who may have it installed without using it for actively tracking their party.
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
Dick Van Patten and Willie Aames apparently. It's enough, though. Notice no party of nine ;)

And everyone knows the party of five is Neve Campell, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and the whiny angsty dude from Lost.
Yay! Someone finally liked my Eight is Enough joke. I thought I lost my skills for a minute. Thanks @DEFCON 1 ☺
 

Giltonio_Santos

Adventurer
Which certainly seems like a case of older edition thinking still present in the modern day. They don't have any one capability that's hard to replace. As a package deal, though, they don't have any other class that's really a close analogue.
They're also one of the only two "agnostic" classes in the game, along with the fighter. Many people enjoy building a character concept before picking a class, and both the rogue and the fighter get a set of class features that can be used to "build your own adventurer" without flying in the face of any specific character concept or fantasy trope. In the end, it's a choice of supporting a concept with skills or hit points.

Even designers have been using this technique for a long time. Van Richten used to be a 10th-level thief with 15% pick pockets and 80% read languages... :D
 
I'm curious about who wants to play with 8 people in the party.
I did for a few years. Prior to that group, we had a party for six months with nine. It is nightmarish at times. One round of combat lasting twenty minutes or longer. But, the pro side is you do get a lot of variation, see different playstyles, and get to see how different classes play without having to play the game forever. One huge drawback is I find that with the pacing as slow as what it is, the players have a tendency to get on their phones quite a bit.
 

Advertisement

Advertisement

Top