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D&D General How do you handle doubling of classes?

jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
You mentioned not wanting to compete at "bardy things," so could you team up? Be an entertainment duo, maybe collaborating on back-story?
I don't want to turn this thread into being about that situation, so I'll just say that I don't think it would work in this specific case. But yes, that's an option in a general sense.

It's funny to me that the player sees Warlocks as being samey because to me they are actually one of the most varied classes. I guess if everyone wants to power up Eldritch Blast and go with that I can see it though.

A fae chain Warlock and a great old one tome Warlock almost play and are thematically different classes.
Yeah, I think what he meant was "two people doing nothing but spam eldritch blast would be monotonous." I didn't say I was going to spam EB, because I've never actually played a warlock, but the player assumed I would. (As it is, I raised some eyebrows by going with repelling blast instead of agonizing blast.) His original pitch was eladrin archfey pact of the talisman, and I went with genasi genie pact of the tome.
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Li Shenron

Legend
I'm just curious how other people handle the idea of having, or potentially having, multiple PCs of the same class in a party: two fighters, two sorcerers, etc.

Do you ban, or at least discourage, it?

Do you find that players are likely to back down and pick something else if someone else expresses an interest in playing a class they've chosen?

Has your group ever played with doubled-up classes, and how did it go?

Have you ever been one of the doubled-up classes, and how did you feel about it?
I think the important thing is for PCs to be different enough and not step on each other's toes out of combat (in-combat it's never a problem to have two with the same abilities). If you can make 2 different enough PCs of the same class then it's fine.

But classes are in fact designed to provide different experiences so picking different classes is generally a good idea.

When I am a player, I am always the last to pick the class. I wait for others and then invariably choose a class nobody did. It doesn't matter to me because I like them all.

I did have a bad experience when forced to play the same class as someone else. It was my very first character ever, in BECMI, using ability scores requirements for classes and rolling 3d6 stats IN ORDER. I rolled poorly and qualified only for Dwarf, with another player doing the same but still having better stats than me.
 

ad_hoc

Hero
I don't want to turn this thread into being about that situation, so I'll just say that I don't think it would work in this specific case. But yes, that's an option in a general sense.


Yeah, I think what he meant was "two people doing nothing but spam eldritch blast would be monotonous." I didn't say I was going to spam EB, because I've never actually played a warlock, but the player assumed I would. (As it is, I raised some eyebrows by going with repelling blast instead of agonizing blast.) His original pitch was eladrin archfey pact of the talisman, and I went with genasi genie pact of the tome.
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And Warlocks don't even need to use Eldritch Blast at all.

Invocations are strong and without them it is just a d10 cantrip that you get disadvantage in melee for using (and also penalty for half cover).

I personally prefer toll the dead if it is in theme and to take other invocations.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
It is soft banned in my games.

There are enough classes for everyone to have their own. It just makes characterization and spotlight time much easier to do.

I like that D&D is a class based system and having multiples of the same class diminishes benefits of that.

It's funny to me that the player sees Warlocks as being samey because to me they are actually one of the most varied classes. I guess if everyone wants to power up Eldritch Blast and go with that I can see it though.

A fae chain Warlock and a great old one tome Warlock almost play and are thematically different classes.

A "soft" ban is better than a hard one, because two characters of different classes can overlap more than 2 of the same!

For example, which situation is more of a problem:

A: Player 1 has an arcane archer with the outlander background, player 2 is a ranger with an archery focus.

B: Player 1 is a heavily armored dwarven EK fighter with a melee focus and the soldier background, player 2 is a wild elf lightly armored battlemaster with a bow and rapier, with the criminal background.

I would say that situation B has far less "overlap" than situation A...
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Supporter
No, the player has explicitly said that bards (specifically glamour bards) are the only class she is willing to play for the foreseeable future--i.e. "until things get less stressful," whenever that might be. She knows how they work, so they're her comfort zone. I think it's been about two years and five games since this person played anything else, and a large percentage of her characters were glamour bards even before that.

But that wasn't the only reason I was curious about how other people handle this situation. Just to explain where I'm coming from:

The other thing that made me think about it was when our group was putting together characters for a new game that just started. One player leaped in and said he wanted to play a warlock and even had a firm concept for it. I mentioned that I was also interested in playing a warlock but would choose a different patron if I went with that. At that point, the original person said, "No, I'll go with one of my other ideas. Warlocks tend to be all the same at the table." I'm feeling a little bad that I made him back out of his first choice,

So one the one hand I have the bard player encouraging me to still play that bard that I want to get back to, but me not wanting to have to worry about competing with her character for bard-y things. But then on the other hand, when I tried applying that principle to a warlock, thinking that different patrons would give the characters very different flavor, the other guy opted out. So that got me wondering whether other tables ever have this problem and if so, how they deal with it.

Is it just specific classes that create this problem? I can see how two fighters (for example) might be easier to manage.

I think that as long as you choose a different bard subclass, you’ll be totally fine with two bards (I suggest Lore bard). The bard subclasses can play quite differently, and the class itself is so versatile, that neither of you will feel redundant.
 

aco175

Legend
Never had a problem with it. We just finished a campaign with two rogues, cleric, and fighter. The rogues ended up as an assassin and trickster and one was more archer over sword. New campaign is fighter, rogue, cleric, and warlock, much like normal. The cleric is more a NPC since nobody else wanted to play one this time, more of a DMNPC without bringing those threads up again. Last campaign one of the rogues was as well.

Not sure on handling the groups. Last campaign was more a published adventure and the party did not have any large problems not having a mage-type. I likely changed some smaller things like certain items or allowed some magic to be traded. I guess if there was no cleric I likely would add some more healing such as potions or a wand-type that recharges. My normal campaigns are mostly homemade and get tailored as we go where I drop a sword that I think the fighter would like and get, or a ring that I think would go one place, but the player may choose something else.

There may also be some directional changes if there is more of one class or one missing. If there is no mage then no reason to bring circles and item creation unless a player want to, same with no cleric and bringing god elements in. With two or more bards, I may add some more to that element. Other bards from the past come back for good or ill and challenge them for joining forces in one party. Just don't forget to have the other PCs some time to shine as well.
 

SirMoogle

Explorer
All bard party go!!!!

On a more related note, I think this issue is also seen outside a class when a concept overlaps between two different classes. For example, I'm currently in a PbP game where another player (who unfortunately dropped) and I picked Aberrant Mind Sorcerer and Great Old One Warlock respectively. They raised some concerns that thematically we were very similar, so we kind of solved that problem with spell and skill selection (I was customising my character towards crowd control than damage output).
 

jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
So, it's come up again.

I've been playing in a monthly campaign for 2 years now, in which I play a halfling rogue, a character I'm very fond of. Only rogue in the party. The DM has had a couple of NPCs that he has used as semi-PCs in certain situations, but they've never been obtrusive. However, they didn't overlap with any of the PCs' classes, and as a side point, what our group badly needs is front-line melee types.

So the latest scheduling message from the DM included this casual note at the end: "I've been pondering 'rolling up' a new player character for myself that might visit [the setting] as an NPC. She would be a scrappy teenage human rogue from a noble background based off of Arya Stark. I'm thinking that could provide some fun role play opportunities."

I'm alarmed at the idea of bringing in another rogue based on a super-popular existing character. I don't want to harsh his buzz--I still feel bad about the other guy abandoning his warlock idea, even though he's probably forgotten about it by now. But I don't see how this character would improve the game. But then, I also don't know what he has in mind for this new character. I don't know if he envisions this character as a friend/ally to mine, or a rival. Or how often he plans for this character to show up. And I don't know what to say. Am I right to be concerned? How would you handle this??
 
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SirMoogle

Explorer
Wait, so are you saying the DM is planning to create a DMPC that happens to also be a rogue? At the very least I'd ask him how this character would differ from yours, the player. Is it not possible to just use an NPC stat block that's been rehashed?
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
Supporter
Your DM is doing the right thing by mentioning this idea to the group. It sounds, by his phrasing, that he's looking for feedback. So I'd definitely offer feedback. But before you offer the feedback, do what SirMoogle suggests and ask him for more details. And from your third paragraph, it sounds like you already have good questions lined up.

Rogue is one of the most versatile classes and there are many ways to play it. If you've been playing your character for two years, your DM surely knows what your PC is like, and presumably doesn't want to introduce a carbon-copy. Arya Stark is a sort of swashbuckler/assassin-type, which can feel very different in play than, say, a ranged arcane trickster or a trap-focussed thief. So your concerns are legit; but, they may not come to pass.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Had an interesting case of this yesterday. I've recently started a West Marches campaign with a few other DMs, and we're also playing on each other's adventures as we get inertia going. While the idea is to have a stable of character, two of the players had just joined and only had one character each, and another player really wanted to play her druid, she was on track to be our first 4th level character. (Which she accomplished, yea!) That druid was the only character I knew, having DMed for her before, but this time I was playing.

So we had a moon druid, a fighter, and a paladin. The other player woth choices and I discussed - he brought in a sorcerer, no overlap. My choices were: a druid - exact class, a fighter - exact class, or a battlesmith artificer. I brought in the artificer - very defender-y front line, but also some rogue, INT skills, some spell. Not a huge overlap I thought.

Now, it turns out the vhuman Fighter had the sentinel feat, the Paladin had the interception fighting style from Tasha's, and my Steel Defender has his reaction defend as well. All of us tanky, defendery, and not specializing in damage. Plus a moon druid with CR 1 forms, so not a lot of damage but very tanky.

So even though we were different classes, we ended up having a lot of overlap at the table. In hindsight, both my gnomish Circle of Stars Druid and my grappler Fighter would have played more differently in combat. On the other hand, I had a completely different set of skills (and tools!) with the Artificer.

In the end, we all had fun. The moon druid stayed more caster, and we all took turns defending each other. But if the combats were more challenging we weren't well positioned to deal with it since overlap in characters led to gaps elsewhere, like ranged combat. We made it work, but I think we'd rather have been able to show how cool we were in our own niche.
 

Stormonu

Legend
I have no problem with it at all. If everyone wanted to play all the same class, I'd love to see what emerges.

I do encourage folks not to take clones of one another. The all-fighter party might have a Battlemaster with longsword and shield, an Arcane archer, a Champion with a two-handed sword and a Battlemaster whose a light-armored rapier wielder, and I'd be fine. But if they were all human Champion Two-handed sword wielders with Great Weapon fighting, I might have a discussion with them about that - but if they're serious, say "We're the Mercenary Brother's Company of Blades (and Sister too!), we live by the sword!", I could probably still make it work.
 

Greg K

Hero
In my 1e game, there are often duplicates of a given class - Usually fighters, but we've have doubles of Rangers, Clerics and thieves fairly often especially if one is a multiclass.
I was just looking up some old AD&D 1e TSR adventtures and, I believe, it was G1 that stated you will want more at least 9 characters- that is going to be a lot of overlap.
 

I've played in and DM'd for groups where classes were duplicated. It's easy enough to compensate for. I was playing a game with two wizards but each wizard focused on different schools of magic. I played in a game where, without talking to each other, a friend and I each brought in a half-elf ranger. But we focused on different skills and combat styles. I once DM'd for a game where everyone had a roguish scoundrel and everyone could bluff but not a single person could sense motive!

The only time I encouraged my players to diversify was when I was running a prewritten adventure path and I knew the players were going to need a wide variety of skill sets. It would have been very hard a group of, say, all fighters to complete.
 

Nefermandias

Adventurer
I'm just curious how other people handle the idea of having, or potentially having, multiple PCs of the same class in a party: two fighters, two sorcerers, etc.

Do you ban, or at least discourage, it?

Do you find that players are likely to back down and pick something else if someone else expresses an interest in playing a class they've chosen?

Has your group ever played with doubled-up classes, and how did it go?

Have you ever been one of the doubled-up classes, and how did you feel about it?
You don't have to handle it at all.
 

auburn2

Adventurer
I'm just curious how other people handle the idea of having, or potentially having, multiple PCs of the same class in a party: two fighters, two sorcerers, etc.

Do you ban, or at least discourage, it?

Do you find that players are likely to back down and pick something else if someone else expresses an interest in playing a class they've chosen?

Has your group ever played with doubled-up classes, and how did it go?

Have you ever been one of the doubled-up classes, and how did you feel about it?
In 5e it works fine because you can get so much variation with skills, feats and backgrounds.

To really do 5e well you need at least one guy that talks, one that can sneak, one that can pick locks, one that can search, one that can close with the enemy and one guy that can effectively engage at range. If you are going to be in the widernesss a lot you also need a surivial guy. Those are not mutually exclusive, the guy that closes with the enemy can be the same guy that sneaks and picks locks.

As a result you can have two or even three of the same class in a 4-person party as long as they all don't pick the same subcclass, background, skills and feats.

Even a party full of fighters is playable and effective if they are the right mix of different kinds of fighters - a human arcane archer with archeologist, an elf EK with the faction agent background, a half-elf battlemaster with noble and a halfling champion with criminal would have all the bases covered. I can't think of a class that would not work if there was subclass, background and race differences to cover the things mentioned above.
 

akr71

Adventurer
I'm more concerned with a DMPC than a second rogue in a party. If it is really supposed to be an NPC, I try very hard to find an appropriate statblock to base it off.

It sounds to me like the DM needs a chance to play. If they are excited by a cool character concept, reserve it for a PC, not NPC.

If it really troubles you, I would suggest talking to the DM about niche protection. Maybe initiate it by asking what archtype this new NPC will be.
 


akr71

Adventurer
I would give more than one PC to a party member before I went DMPC
Yes, same here. If an NPC is going to travel with the party for a bit, I generally see if I can pawn them off onto a player to run. I've got enough to do.

Another thought ... the party can always tell the DMPC/NPC to get lost - "we don't need your help."
 

Voadam

Legend
It happened a bunch in B/X and AD&D for me. Fighers and magic users being the most common overlaps. My long term 1e campaign though had two CE Grugach assassin brothers with no problem. It only got annoying when I was playing a 2e melee weapon specialized human fighter with a 17 strength alongside a guy who was playing an 18 percentile strength melee specialized human fighter who was a bit of a jerk about it with a bit of PVP threat undercurrent going on. The mechanical similarities with one being flatly superior on their main thing was annoying.

I can't remember it really happening in 3e, Pathfinder, 4e, or 5e. Often there is a specific conversation during character creation with intentions to cover certain bases and be different but it is also easier to come up with unique classes in the party when half the core class options are no longer gatekeepered behind stat requirements.
 

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