Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Whose Been Invited To the Party

Who here doesn’t like beating shit up? Heck it’s one of the main reasons we play D&D, so we can act out our fantasies of revenge and dish out our own brand of justice. But sometimes that desire can get in the way of a fun game.

The striker role in 4e is probably the most popular role in the game and understandably so. Everyone likes being the party bad ass, the one who can really throw down when push comes to shove. But this can sometimes lead to problems because no matter how tough of an assassin, rogue, or barbarian you are if you can’t stay up you can’t fight. It won’t matter how many healing surges you have if you can’t expend them to stay in the fight. It’ll never matter how much sneak attack damage you can do if you can’t get combat advantage to use it.

And what about when you just absolutely need to hit an enemy and could use the extra buffs? This is why there are leader characters. Leaders characters are probably the most unappealing characters at first glance. I mean just take a look at how many rogue, paladin, and warrior players there are in World of Warcraft and then and then compare that to how many priests and healer players there are. Why everyone hates playing the healer I will never know but it really confuses me. If my past and present gaming experience in D&D/4e are anything what yours are like then you will be aware that usually people have to be forced or coerced into playing healers. More on that latter though.

What use is a striker against large groups of enemies? Even if it’s just a group of minions if you’re a striker you can easily be overtaken in just a few rounds. Since strikers usually focus on a single enemy at a time (the Barbarians charging, the Avengers Oath of Enmity, the Rogues Sneak Attack) they can be easily defeated if they find themselves surrounded or singled out. This is where the Controller role comes in. With their large bursts and blasts that can not only deal out the AOE damage but also help in keeping enemies busy and off the Strikers back.

And how about Defenders? Strikers tend to have the lowest AC, the defense that the majority of attacks target, which means they are very easily hit and can go down with only a few well rolled strikes. Paladin’s are a Strikers best friend. Not only because they mark the shit out everyone taking all the agro, but because they allow the strikers to sneak around back and get combat advantage or to single out an enemy and focus on it entirely without having to worry about his guards jumping into the fray.

What I’m trying to get at here is that Dungeons and Dragons is a game that is designed to be played with these four roles in each party. The game is not designed to be played by a party of all Strikers or all Defenders or what have you. If you do so you “break” the game. A party with four or five rogues will die within a few encounters and only by the DM making vast, huge breaks in the games core structure will it ever work. I know that it sounds as if I’m being hard on people who want to play as strikers but I’m not. All I’m simply trying to get across is that not everyone can play a striker and why not try branching out? Try playing a Cleric or Warlord or maybe a Wizard or Paladin, give another role a try and you might be surprised that you like it better, but no matter what you do, make sure to let the D20’s roll like milk and honey.

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