Size of character parties

In your game, how many characters are there in a 'typical' party?

  • 1 to 2

    Votes: 1 0.8%
  • 3 to 4

    Votes: 30 23.4%
  • 5 to 6

    Votes: 79 61.7%
  • 7 to 8

    Votes: 16 12.5%
  • More than 8

    Votes: 2 1.6%

  • Total voters
    128

Lorne

Visitor
Greetings all,

After playing the current D&D ruleset for the past several months, I think I have a reasonable handle on how the game is played. One question I still have, though, involves the number of characters in a typical adventuring party.

Some of the out-of-print adventures in my collection include sample parties with eight or even ten members of the appropriate levels, and I can remember 1e/2e games where players ran multiple PCs or the DM ran multiple NPCs to have a larger party. In the two 3e groups that I currently attend, the parties number four and five characters, respectively. I don't know if this is a function of the personal tastes of the two DMs involved, or if there is a trend in adventure design under the current rules to have a smaller party (the DM of the 4-character party said it makes designing adventures easier; he cited that CRs are based on 4-character groups).

While I don't think that any specific number of heroes is 'ideal,' I thought that a poll on the forums would be helpful in shedding light on the subject. My thanks to anyone who votes or gives feedback.
 

Firedancer

Visitor
Is there a poll, or do you just want replies?

One factor I feel is behind the CR on a 4 person party is because, IME, its difficult getting a much larger group of roleplayers able to meet regularly. Plus 4 is a good number of players, both for ingame time and development, and skill set (the classic rogue, ftr, mage and cleric combo).

My group has fluctuated in numbers; starting off with a core 6 (including DM). Peak was 8 players and that was difficult to handle. Low is 2 players, and that presents other problems!

I personnally really like 5 players as there's more scope for choice (people don't feel they have to take the rogue skill set), and you can cope well enough with the occasional absence.
 

Jeff Wilder

Visitor
In one game in which I play there are six PCs, plus a cohort, two animal companions, two familiars, four mounts, and a mule and cart. (Whew!)

In a second game in which I play there are five PCs.

In the game I DM there are five PCs.
 

Thad Enouf

Visitor
I think the "sweet spot" is somewhere between 4 and 6 PCs, depending on player experience, game edition, classes, and level. Currently, I am the DM of three PCs and one NPC and it's about perfect for our play style in lower level adventuring.
 

Hussar

Legend
Got six victims right now. :)

They finally got themselves a wizzie. And a straight up cleric. 15 levels without a cleric or a wizard. Who'da thunk?
 

Voadam

Adventurer
One group I run is 4, one group I run is 5. Six has been about the most for a regular game I ran.
 

Arnwyn

Visitor
Lorne said:
In the two 3e groups that I currently attend, the parties number four and five characters, respectively. I don't know if this is a function of the personal tastes of the two DMs involved, or if there is a trend in adventure design under the current rules to have a smaller party (the DM of the 4-character party said it makes designing adventures easier; he cited that CRs are based on 4-character groups).
Your DM is correct. And it is also true that 3e adventure design is for parties of 4 characters.

With that said, our group consists of 5 characters, which is just right for us (and, since my players suck (;)), that extra character is needed to give them a fighting chance).
 

Qualidar

Visitor
Out of my D&D groups, one has rotating GMs, with parties made up of:

6 PCs, 1 Cohort, and an Animal Companion (1 Familiar, 1 Partridge/Pear Tree)
6 PCs (1-2 Familiars)
6 PCs alone

The other group I DM for has a couple of different campaigns with:
4PCs, 1 Animal Companion
4PCs, 1 NPC
4 PCs, 2 NPCs (1 Familiar)

~Qualidar~
 

Henrix

Explorer
I've found that as a GM I prefer 4-5. With six players I feel I can't give them each the attention they deserve.

But it's also a balance regarding how often at least one is away, and so on. So five or six players in the campaign suits me fine.
 

Nyeshet

Visitor
I find it interesting that although the game is made and balanced for use with a party with four characters, the majority by far seems to play it with 5-6 characters.
 
In 1e, my group was 12 players strong with 16 characters between them.

In 2e, my groups averaged between 6 - 8 players each playing one character (no more multiple characters per player for my games :D ).

In 3e, my groups average 4-8.

I feel that 4 characters is too small, on average, forcing players to play characters that they don't want just so that the minimum abilities are covered. So, my sweet spot group size would be 5-7. Not an option, so I voted 5-6. :)
 
For me as a GM, the ideal is exactly 3 players whom I grant the leadershp feat as a bonus. Actual party size can vary depending on the number of cohorts, followers, carts, livestock, et cetera.

The reason I find 3 players ideal is that it allows for a more intimate game. No player is out of the limelight for very long.
 

Gold Roger

Visitor
The ruleset defenitely assumes the basic 4 (1 fighter, 1 rogue, 1 wizard, 1 cleric) as default.

I've played with between 3 and 7 players in 3.X.

My personal preference is on small groups- 3 or 4 are best, 2 or 5 are ok as well.

I wouldn't mind 1 on 1 gaming either, but then I'd hopefully have another regular game going.

6 or more get's hard to manage imho, suffering from distraction, limited spotlight, scheduling problems and inconsistency.
 

Nail

Visitor
Like many here, I've gamed since forever ago. I've found the best party number is about 5 players. A few more than that and the game grinds to a near halt, fewer than that and deaths become more common.
 

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