Must have: 6-8 party members

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Must have: 6-8 party members

Postby Natsu » Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:48 am

As a veteran gold box addict, let me explain why 6-8 party members is a must have. My PoR party always had: a pally, fighter, fighter-cleric, cleric, cleric-mage, and a thief-mage. Note these are multi-class not dual-class characters.

With only 4 characters limited to pure classes, you don't have a front line. You have "the better stat" unit killing the weaker unit over and over ad nauseum. Now, compare this to how I use my party like a discreet team of specialists.

My pally/fighter are the tanks: huge HP and good melee. The f-c and cleric back them up with decent melee, and they have enough defense to heal any front liner who takes too much damage. (At some point, the tanks eventually get hit from behind.) This wall separates enemy swarms from my mages, who are both equipped with sleep and stinking cloud. The melee units guard the mages long enough for them to disable most enemy units, who are then instantly slain. This is basic crowd control, and any good team should be able to do it.

Take one typical situation where one group of mobs is dead ahead while a stronger (even smaller) group is flanking your side. You can equally distribute your tanks to each side with backup WITHOUT worrying about a creep slipping by. In a pincer attack, you scramble your team to cover the mages.

My thief-mage switches to a bow when needed: when out of spells, to kill helpless units, and to counter enemy casters. Those thief levels add good HP and attack rolls to an otherwise useless unit.

With a main healer and two backup healers, you have plenty of resources to adventure with. However, you must manage them. I make sure not to deplete any single cleric of his/her heals while adventuring. Undead get rocked by the pure cleric's more potent Turn, and cleric lvl 2 Hold Person adds even more to the team's ability to disable-then-slaughter enemies. The Hold spell is also vital to stopping charmed party members.

With a "standard party" of 4, you're very limited in combat options. You can't block off opponents from reaching your only unit capable of crowd control. Your team therefore takes more damage. You're dependent on a single (overworked) healer. You're basically forced to choose the Fighter/Thief/Mage/Cleric team in order to overcome all the game world's obstacles.

With a party of 6, you get to develop a team based on the *idea* of the standard party. You have room to fit the 4 core skills into a group and even stock abilities you want. You can further diversify characters with feats and equipment. I strongly recommend increasing the party size to at least 6.
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Must have: 6-8 party members

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Re: Must have: 6-8 party members

Postby Void1984 » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:31 pm

I also got used to 6 members in Baldur's Gate and playing Temple of Elemental Evil with only 5 was something new, but I think the main decision reason should be the size of rooms and maps. It's no fun to play with 6 members when the rooms allow only for successful usage of 4 anyway.
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Re: Must have: 6-8 party members

Postby Dorateen » Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:45 pm

Natsu, what a great post! Fellow GoldBox veteran here, and you make some very valid points about how the 6 person party can grow into more of a team concept, and introduce flexibility, variation of tactics. I've also been a believer that the theatre of combat (especially turn-based) allows for wonderful role-playing opportunities.

It was when SSI moved on to Dark Sun and the Eye of the Beholder series, that I adjusted and learned to live with a 4 person party. However, even before these D&D classics, the 6 pack was standard in Might & Magic, Wizardry, Realms of Arkania, etc.

Another big factor for me is that 6 was in fact the number of people we had in our Pen and Paer group back in the day. I don't know about other folks, but the whole point of jumping in the computer medium with these titles (like the GoldBox series) was to re-create characters I had ventured with at the table top, even using their old character sheets as a reference.

I've heard that KotC2 will be as much an editor/modding engine in addition to the next adventure. I hope there is the possibility of increasing the party limit to allow for a group of 6.

By the way, I don't think a larger team makes combat easier. It makes fights more tactical. Some of the hardest and most rewarding battles in any cRPG were found in those adventures that had a 6 or 8 person party.

Harumph!
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Re: Must have: 6-8 party members

Postby Waterd103 » Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:46 am

I think is just a matter of Complexity and speed/gameflow Vs Depth and variety.

Every member you add, you gain depth and variety in the gameplay, but at the cost of extra layer of complexity and Speed/gameflow. So from there is hard to argue from an objective point of view. I personally prefer 5. But between 6 and 4, i prefer 6, though i would go with 4 instead of 8. I think a great interface like Kotc had, can work extremely well for 6+ parties though.
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Re: Must have: 6-8 party members

Postby BlueSalamander » Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:19 am

Thank you for your post Natsu. For map creation I will allow more than 4 characters. For the next adventures I will decide between a maximum of 4, 5 or 6 later on.
There is no Thief core skill in KotC and there won't be one in the next adventures.
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Re: Must have: 6-8 party members

Postby Void1984 » Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:20 pm

With all DnD 3.5 classes available a party of 5, like in ToEE results in a little variety:
1. Fighter/Paladin - I need a shield Warrior to protect the rest and attack enemies with magic immunities.
2. Cleric - I need a healer. Sometimes it can be a Druid, but with spontaneous casting implemented right nothing beats a Cleric.
3. Wizard - My magical ranged punch.
4. Rogue - I need him for detecting traps, disarming them and so on. Not the case with KotC, but if an adventure is designed to have one it's hard without him.
5. That's finally the point when I can put all other classes in use.

So in ToEE I've always ended with the same 4 party members, only the 5th was changed.
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Re: Must have: 6-8 party members

Postby Tiavals » Sun Jul 15, 2012 9:04 pm

Void1984 wrote:With all DnD 3.5 classes available a party of 5, like in ToEE results in a little variety:
1. Fighter/Paladin - I need a shield Warrior to protect the rest and attack enemies with magic immunities.
2. Cleric - I need a healer. Sometimes it can be a Druid, but with spontaneous casting implemented right nothing beats a Cleric.
3. Wizard - My magical ranged punch.
4. Rogue - I need him for detecting traps, disarming them and so on. Not the case with KotC, but if an adventure is designed to have one it's hard without him.
5. That's finally the point when I can put all other classes in use.

So in ToEE I've always ended with the same 4 party members, only the 5th was changed.


This is, in my opinion, exactly the reason why you need more than 4 classes. With 6 characters, you have 2 "extra" members, and so on. Then again, with 4, you might take some exotic choices since you have so many options now. Do you take wizard or psionicist, or perhaps sorcerer? Druid or cleric or sorcerer, or perhaps even psionicist or paladin for healing? I'm fine with 4, though obviously I'd prefer more. :D
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Re: Must have: 6-8 party members

Postby Natsu » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:55 pm

I could talk on and on about this stuff, but I'll stick to my main points.

@WaterD

How long combat lasts is simply part of the challenge to creating an effective party. Disabling tactics make randoms go by quickly in goldbox. When you use too many specialized characters, it does drag combat out. E.g. if you make a fighter-mage that tanks with Mirror Image, then you have to take that extra step to cast every combat. Add that up with how many characters you micro. My party combo lets me set 4 characters to Guard/Attack every round: very easy.

@Dora

Played all the EoBs and M&Ms. Loved them for what they are, but they're to goldbox what Metroid Prime is to Metroid. And tabletop is okay, but...not the same as preparing wizards with AoE to incinerate a screen-full of mobs. Gamers can't roll dice fast enough to have 8 orcs surround a player and teach him how dangerous 8d6 potential damage per turn really is, much less when it's a pack of wights having a chance of level-drain.

@Salamander

Bring on the mobs! :D
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Re: Must have: 6-8 party members

Postby deathknight1728 » Tue Jun 04, 2013 11:18 pm

This is my big end all-be all of party based rpgs. I don't think that there should be a forced 4 or even 6 man party. I usually play my party based games with 2 characters and it is much more fun for me. Having 6 characters is a waste as there's always at least 1 or even 2 characters that pick up more slack and are a waste of life.

Im thinking that the people that like 6 party members or even 8 are nuts. I can pick 2-3 characters in that party that not only don't hold the weight but actually slow the party down.

I am NOT saying that it should always be less, but you should at least give us a choice of who we want/how many do we want in our party, like the Avernum games. I think even 3 party members is ok, but whenever I am FORCED to pick 4 characters, theres always a character that has no role, no point, and is essentially slowing the party down.

Besides the greatest games of all time always allow you a choice to take as many or as less as you want to reach higher lvls. Its also much more fun going through with a 3 or 2 party that levels up faster and can reach higher stat/what not levels.

Im not saying your design is bad, I'm just saying that 6-8 party members is overdoing it. If you really must do 4 party members fine, it still would be cool if you could choose 3 instead of having 6 as overkill.

KOTC is good but really would be better if we could reach higher lvls and at least be able to choose how many party members we want. I mean cmon even temple of elemental evil and all the infinity engine games have that. Is it that hard to implement this? Even if you didn't make the party gain extra levels or whatnot, it would still be much more diverse if they can reach 20 faster, getting all the feats and what not before big fights.
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Re: Must have: 6-8 party members

Postby BlueSalamander » Wed Jun 05, 2013 9:18 pm

It's too late to change it for KotC, but I agree with the philosophy of allowing the player to decide how many characters he wants to start a module with (one to six or even eight).
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