D&D 5E Need advice for how to help my wife make a new PC

pukunui

Legend
Hi all,

I am running my first Eberron campaign. The player group consists of my wife, two of our daughters, and a married couple who are friends of ours.

In our most recent adventure, my wife's PC (a dragonmarked gnome eloquence bard) was disintegrated by a laser beam while the party was in the Mournland. With no body, there's no real chance of revival at this point in the game, and she told me that she didn't really enjoy playing a charismatic character anyway, so she needs to make a new PC. The problem is she's having trouble choosing what to play next.


Some background notes:
I've been running campaigns for my wife and the other couple since 5e first came out in 2014. Our children have joined in at various points. My wife enjoys playing, but she finds the mechanical aspects of the game too complex and suffers from decision paralysis when it comes to making a PC. (I know how she feels; I get that too.) Previously she has played two wizards (an elf and a dwarf), a gnome life cleric, and a human fighter/rogue (scout). I think she enjoyed the latter the most, although she also really enjoyed her 'grumpy, stompy' dwarf wizard in our Tyranny of Dragons campaign.


The all-gnome party currently consists of an armorer artificer, a permanently enlarged wild magic barbarian, a swarmkeeper rogue, and a vengeance paladin. The barbarian fills the role of the party tank, with the artificer backing her up with his thunder gauntlets and gadgets, while the ranger and paladin tend to focus on ranged attacks.*

Between the artificer, the paladin, and the ranger, the party has plenty of healing and also a decent spread of combat and utility spells.

The artificer is also proficient with thieves' tools and will soon have Expertise in all tools, so there's no real need for a lockpicking rogue.

This is a heist/infiltration-heavy campaign (I've built it around the Golden Vault adventures), and both the paladin and the artificer have mithril armor so they don't have disadvantage on Stealth. The ranger also has pass without trace.

As you can see, the only real gaps in the party are a charismatic face -- the artificer's player tends to take on the role of the talkative party leader, even when his PC is meant to be socially awkward and has a Charisma of 8 -- and a dedicated full-strength spellcaster.


My wife insists she has no real preference but has also expressed concern that she doesn't want to choose something that will be redundant in terms of what the rest of the party can already do (see above).

I have suggested to my wife that if she'd like to stick with a bard, she could try the College of Valor or College of Swords instead if she'd like to focus more on fighting than talking.

She doesn't seem that interested in playing another wizard or cleric or trying a sorcerer or warlock. I've avoided mentioning the druid since it's the most mechanically complicated class in the game.

She does seem somewhat interested in a rogue, but she can't decide what kind. She kind of liked the Mastermind's bonus action Help feature. But again, a rogue may not be what the party needs.


Bearing all that in mind: how can I help my wife decide what to play next?




*The paladin is an odd one because her player prefers to avoid melee and therefore rarely smites (IKR?!) or uses her Vow of Enmity. She even took the Blessed Warrior fighting style so she could get sacred flame. She's also taken the wand of entangle left behind by the dead bard so she can have another ranged option.
 
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overgeeked

B/X Known World
Other than face it sounds like you need a proper tank. If she enjoyed fighter before and doesn’t want analysis paralysis, go with a champion for simplicity or battlemaster for some maneuvers. Go with a stompy dwarf. They’re always fun and she enjoyed it before. Watch some episodes of Leverage to see how effective a hitter can be in heist scenarios.
 


pukunui

Legend
Other than face it sounds like you need a proper tank. If she enjoyed fighter before and doesn’t want analysis paralysis, go with a champion for simplicity or battlemaster for some maneuvers. Go with a stompy dwarf. They’re always fun and she enjoyed it before. Watch some episodes of Leverage to see how effective a hitter can be in heist scenarios.
I did suggest a champion fighter, but she's concerned about not being stealthy.

Go old school and have her roll up her character stats in order. If all the niches are covered, what she decides isn't relevant so let fate decide.
Yeah maybe. I haven't used rolled stats in decades, though. But I could use some random tables to pick class and subclass and stuff maybe.
 

Clint_L

Hero
I would not worry about filling perceived gaps in the party. Instead, just encourage her to make what she wants to play, and it sounds like she wants something fairly simple. Monk could be fun (especially if using the new rules, but Mercy monk is okay even with the current rules). Or another rogue-type, since that’s what she enjoyed.

As far as the party lacking a face or a full caster, meh. You're the DM. Don't make those roles vital.
 
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Zardnaar

Legend
Simple is a sorcerer. Less moving parts as far as charismatic classes go. See of she's interested. Stealth skills in background 14 dexterity as tertiary.

Another option something like a rune knight archer. Powerful not to complex. Tertiary stat 14 charisma and background for charismatic skills.
Splash rogue level if required for expertise.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I did suggest a champion fighter, but she's concerned about not being stealthy.
So give her the same mithril armor as some of the other heavily-armored characters. Fighters can take stealth, and with the ranger having pass without trace, she'll be stealthy when she absolutely needs to be. But yeah, 5E is very much designed around a 4-person party. Trying to find a niche for a fifth can be hard.

There's also the warlock. It's a caster, sure, but nowhere near the kit as a full caster, so less chance of analysis paralysis. The Archfey warlock has some sneaky and mind altering stuff that would be great for heists. Pact of the chain also has some handy spy-type familiars like imp and pseudodragon. Instead of a dwarf, go for changeling. Even without wanting to be the face, she can still use that toolkit to great advantage in a heist-focused Eberron game.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
a dex-build fighter can be reasonably stealthy and is a pretty useful and flexible character to have around. A monk could be a lot of fun too.
 

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