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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”.


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Russ Morrissey

Comments

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
This and this.

(With so many posts discussing the data as if any conclusions could be drawn, I thought these two posts deserved a repost)
Yeah, I already mathematically showed these as wrong.

The top ones are close so you the order is somewhat meaningless, but are close to an order of magnitude more likely then average. And therefore even more likely than then below average.

In other words, there's PLENTY of meaning in the full sets of these, even if the top 10 doesn't show much. Top 10 for party of 4 is just 10 out of 1728 - or more if there are other than the 12 core classes. (I see people talking about some Tal'dorii classes, who knows what else shows up.)
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
Plenty of people have it installed without actually playing in a game.
That's why they gave their methodology of how they restricted it to played games only.

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
Now, it will miss out on games where they don't track HP in the app, but it will also weed out the vast majority of games that (a) haven't organized the characters into campaigns and (b) have adjusted HPs.

It's not perfect, but it avoids the obvious pitfalls.
 

pogre

Adventurer
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
I enjoyed reading that, but it raised a few questions for me:

1. Do you think your players read the blog post? I know most of mine would not. If I wanted my players to read it my best shot would be to embed it directly in an email. I know most of my players would not read it because I have a Facebook group set up for players and I can see exactly how many folks have viewed information. It's usually the same four players.

2. We have differing approaches to combat. Asking players to take a backseat in combat and understanding that they will not always have the spotlight is a little different than what I do. I try to get everyone involved in combat every time by:
A. I allow PCs to move through allies without penalty.
B. Combat spaces tend to be large with few bottlenecks - Dungeon of the Mad Mage, for example, has wonderfully huge rooms.
C. I allow shooting into combat, and since most PCs shooting have the sharpshooter feat, cover is not an issue.
D. The one thing I am kind of a stickler for is light conditions, but the party has largely overcome this.

Not saying my way is right, however, it is always interesting to see different approaches.

I should also add that my D&D campaigns tend to be very combat heavy.
 

EzekielRaiden

Explorer
That's why they gave their methodology of how they restricted it to played games only.

Now, it will miss out on games where they don't track HP in the app, but it will also weed out the vast majority of games that (a) haven't organized the characters into campaigns and (b) have adjusted HPs.

It's not perfect, but it avoids the obvious pitfalls.
No argument there. I was merely noting that the person I quoted was acting like the sample size was "anyone who's installed the app," when by the devs' own admission it should be much lower than that.
 

Yaarel

Explorer
I find it interestung that in parties of 4 Sorcerors are more common then Wizards.
Yeah. I am surprised how poorly Wizard does.

I am also surprised how Bard and Druid never become popular replacements for the Cleric, for healing.
 

Connorsrpg

Adventurer
I enjoyed reading that, but it raised a few questions for me:

1. Do you think your players read the blog post? I know most of mine would not. If I wanted my players to read it my best shot would be to embed it directly in an email. I know most of my players would not read it because I have a Facebook group set up for players and I can see exactly how many folks have viewed information. It's usually the same four players.

2. We have differing approaches to combat. Asking players to take a backseat in combat and understanding that they will not always have the spotlight is a little different than what I do. I try to get everyone involved in combat every time by:
A. I allow PCs to move through allies without penalty.
B. Combat spaces tend to be large with few bottlenecks - Dungeon of the Mad Mage, for example, has wonderfully huge rooms.
C. I allow shooting into combat, and since most PCs shooting have the sharpshooter feat, cover is not an issue.
D. The one thing I am kind of a stickler for is light conditions, but the party has largely overcome this.

Not saying my way is right, however, it is always interesting to see different approaches.

I should also add that my D&D campaigns tend to be very combat heavy.
I have a website for all my settings. Within that are pages and forums for each campaign. Not all players get on board ;) But it keeps everything in one place. But we have adventure logs pages (usually written by a player) and a PC Page etc.

I don't think we are that different in combat. I certainly allow anything in combat, this was more for a call of trying to shoot down a line of combatants trying to hit the 5th target for eg. In one session there were some really odd calls and I just wanted to let them know next time it is sure, you can try that, but might me more penalties or chance of hitting wrong target, or you simply can't see them.
Main focus for large group was going on hold and waiting for a better opportunity. Too many were rushing in and creating a logjam.
Moving through other PCs is fine out of combat, but I would likely require a check in combat with chance of interfering with the combatant's attacks.
I often exaggerate the size of battlemaps to help accommodate more movement too. But, if in a goblin lair, you know, small tunnels are to their advantage.

Anyway, main point is, players just need to show patience. I don't have a huge issue with DMing a large group :)
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
Yeah. I am surprised how poorly Wizard does.

I am also surprised how Bard and Druid never become popular replacements for the Cleric, for healing.
Just to reality check, "never" in this case means "Not in the top 0.005% of the parties of four, not in the top 0.0004% of parties of five, etc."

With 12 classes allowing duplicates (not assuming artificer, or any 3rd party classes and they mention those do come into play), we're looking at 12^5 options for party fo five. That's 248,832. Some, like five warlocks, will be very unlikely. But looking at 10 of 248,832 don't give you anything to make assumptions with. The VAST majority of data is buried.

I'd love to get a hold of the raw data and play with it.,
 

Ashrym

Explorer
My interpretations....

I assumed equal sample populations tried to make some sense of the numbers. Classes most common in the top 10 group configurations doesn't equate to most common classes, just the most common configurations so I don't want to be misleading. I'm curious as to what sizes of groups are the most common. I suspect 5 PC's.

1566876796465.png


I sorted by the most common classes in each party size. Rogues seem to dominate as a clear trend until we get to larger parties and start seeing duplicate classes within parties. Groups of 3 focus on physical

These classes get duplicated within groups: fighter, cleric (7 PC's); barbarian, bard, blood hunter, rogue (8 PC's). I have no idea why barbarians suddenly become so prominent in 8 PC parties.

It's noteworthy that the presence of wizards tanks to monk level obscurity in parties of 5 or 6 PC's. They are low populations in 3 PC's as well at 7 PC's parties, and only seem prominent in the classic groups of 4 PC's.

  • 3 PC's seem to go for variations of the classic four (fighter, cleric, rogue, wizard) but give up the arcane caster as the lost 4th. It's generally a tanky character, cleric (or other source of healing), and a rogue.
  • 4 PC's seem to go straight for the classic four or variations on them.
  • 5 PC's is where we see more variety. The top group is a variation on the classic four plus paladin. The second most common is the classic four plus ranger. After that "most common" is so close it's pointless to differentiate and we see more variety like bards and warlocks becoming more prominent. Other than the actual classic four, wizards lose a lot of prominence again. Rogues also lose the large gap they had over other classes but always remain prominent.
  • 6 PC's seems like players play what they want. There isn't a wizard anywhere to be seen in the top 10 party configurations.
  • 7 PC's gives us classes that start to become duplicated in parties. Every group in the top 10 configurations shows the same percentage, seeming to indication no one feels obligated to play any particular class at this point; however, clerics, fighters, and rogues still lead a closer pack. Bards, monks, and wizards trail the pack.
  • 8 PC's I would really like to see what happened here. Suddenly barbarians are everywhere and the groups don't seem to be following what we see in previous group sizes. Plus blood hunters suddenly appear in the top 10 configurations. I am suspicious of these results.

I'm sure I missed things. That was what I got out of a quick first glance.
 

Paul Farquhar

Adventurer
I am suspicious of these results.
You should be suspicious of all of them. When you are talking about a hundredth of a % out of a sample size which can't be more than a few thousand, a single player will skew the results.

However, it's unsurprising that blood hunters show up - it's the only class that has a full set of subclasses available for free on D&D Beyond (PC version).
 
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Yaarel

Explorer
View attachment 113451

I sorted by the most common classes in each party size. Rogues seem to dominate as a clear trend until we get to larger parties and start seeing duplicate classes within parties. Groups of 3 focus on physical

These classes get duplicated within groups: fighter, cleric (7 PC's); barbarian, bard, blood hunter, rogue (8 PC's). I have no idea why barbarians suddenly become so prominent in 8 PC parties.

It's noteworthy that the presence of wizards tanks to monk level obscurity in parties of 5 or 6 PC's. They are low populations in 3 PC's as well at 7 PC's parties, and only seem prominent in the classic groups of 4 PC's.

  • 3 PC's seem to go for variations of the classic four (fighter, cleric, rogue, wizard) but give up the arcane caster as the lost 4th. It's generally a tanky character, cleric (or other source of healing), and a rogue.
  • 4 PC's seem to go straight for the classic four or variations on them.
  • 5 PC's is where we see more variety. The top group is a variation on the classic four plus paladin. The second most common is the classic four plus ranger. After that "most common" is so close it's pointless to differentiate and we see more variety like bards and warlocks becoming more prominent. Other than the actual classic four, wizards lose a lot of prominence again. Rogues also lose the large gap they had over other classes but always remain prominent.
  • 6 PC's seems like players play what they want. There isn't a wizard anywhere to be seen in the top 10 party configurations.
  • 7 PC's gives us classes that start to become duplicated in parties. Every group in the top 10 configurations shows the same percentage, seeming to indication no one feels obligated to play any particular class at this point; however, clerics, fighters, and rogues still lead a closer pack. Bards, monks, and wizards trail the pack.
  • 8 PC's I would really like to see what happened here. Suddenly barbarians are everywhere and the groups don't seem to be following what we see in previous group sizes. Plus blood hunters suddenly appear in the top 10 configurations. I am suspicious of these results.

I'm sure I missed things. That was what I got out of a quick first glance.
Over all, I am surprised how poorly the Wizard does.
 

Ashrym

Explorer
You should be suspicious of all of them. When you are talking about a hundredth of a % out of a sample size which can't be more than a few thousand, a single player will skew the results.
Let me rephrase. The statistics should be taken with a grain of salt. The 8 member parties look far more skewed than I expected based on the smaller groups and I am more leery of those results than the others because of it.

Each group has such a small percentage that we could group a few friends, make an oddball party, and throw them off intentionally if we tried, lol. Being ordered by the hundred thousandth (in the cases beyond 2 decimal points) from a sampling in the thousands does make that pretty clear. It's the data we have either way, with a snap shot at that time. I can only look at what I have, not what I don't have, lol.

However, it's unsurprising that blood hunters show up - it's the only class that has a full set of subclasses available for free on D&D Beyond (PC version).
It's a fair point that it's free, but not showing up in 6 or 7 member parties at all and suddenly 8 member parties doesn't seem to make sense, free or not. ;-)

Over all, I am surprised how poorly the Wizard does.
It's not showing in the top 10 group configurations. Other stats given have demonstrated it's still a popular class. That gets back to taking stats with a grain of salt. Wizards, or even monks or bards, could change quite a bit if we looked at more group than the top 10. The percentages show these are a low representation.

Many of the group configurations are showing the same percentages. Percent is already per hundred. Taking it to 2 decimal places is per 10,000. I doubt there are 10,000 groups in each of those categories to make that relevant, tbh, but I could be wrong. I'll believe that when I see it. ;-)

It's true that wizards don't seem to make the cut for the most common configurations except the classic 4 groups per this list. But that looks like it could change in a day, tbh. It's less of what to expect than a this is what it looks like at this time.

It would be nice to know the actual numbers of groups in each category. EDIT: or repeat snap shots at intervals for comparison as well.
 

Yaarel

Explorer
[The Wizard is] not showing in the top 10 group configurations. Other stats given have demonstrated it's still a popular class. That gets back to taking stats with a grain of salt. Wizards, or even monks or bards, could change quite a bit if we looked at more group than the top 10. The percentages show these are a low representation.

Many of the group configurations are showing the same percentages. Percent is already per hundred. Taking it to 2 decimal places is per 10,000. I doubt there are 10,000 groups in each of those categories to make that relevant, tbh, but I could be wrong. I'll believe that when I see it. ;-)

It's true that wizards don't seem to make the cut for the most common configurations except the classic 4 groups per this list. But that looks like it could change in a day, tbh. It's less of what to expect than a this is what it looks like at this time.
What concerns me is, these stats here are methodologically better at looking at games that people are actually playing (evidenced by hitpoint changes).

The other stats from other articles include class builds for the sake of theory crafting, that never see play.

It may be, there is a problem with the Wizard class.

At the very least, there seems to be a perception that Wizard class is weaker and less viable than other classes, thus dropped from small parties where every member must hold their own in combat.
 

Ashrym

Explorer
What concerns me is, these stats here are methodologically better at looking at games that people are actually playing (evidenced by hitpoint changes).

The other stats from other articles include class builds for the sake of theory crafting, that never see play.

It may be, there is a problem with the Wizard class.

At the very least, there seems to be a perception that Wizard class is weaker and less viable than other classes, thus dropped from small parties where every member must hold their own in combat.
Doubtful. This only shows about 5% of what people are playing as taken from the sample. I think we'd be jumping to conclusions to think wizards look weak from it.
 

doctorbadwolf

Adventurer
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.
It’s also just incredibly fun to play.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking these lineups are primarily about optimization or synergy. People play what is fun to play.
 

Paul Farquhar

Adventurer
It's a fair point that it's free, but not showing up in 6 or 7 member parties at all and suddenly 8 member parties doesn't seem to make sense, free or not. ;-)
How many 8 person parties actually exist, and of those how many are managed on D&D Beyond?

Very small sample size + one person decides to play a blood hunter easily explains it (along with the multiple barbarians).

Trying to draw conclusions from such small sample size is dangerous.
 

Ashrym

Explorer
How many 8 person parties actually exist, and of those how many are managed on D&D Beyond?

Very small sample size + one person decides to play a blood hunter easily explains it (along with the multiple barbarians).

Trying to draw conclusions from such small sample size is dangerous.
Based on the percentages shown I would estimate we'd be around a third of the 5 member parties for 8 member parties in the capture.

I agree with you, to be clear. It just looks exceptionally strange as a personal observation.
 

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