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The most important thing about any kind of roleplay is the interaction and cooperation between fictive characters that the players or participants are identifying themselves with. This is true no matter if you are playing pen and paper, massive multiplayer online roleplay games, or if it is the kind you do in school or work used for training purposes.

”If we all reacted the same way, we’d be more predictable, and there’s always more than one way to view a situation. What’ true for the group is also true for the individual. It’s simple: overspecialize, and you breed in weakness. It’s slow death.” – Major Motoko Kusanagi, ghost in the shell.

Major Kusanagi’s famous quote from the anime ghost in the shell describes how to build a group well with just one sentence. If you are playing MMORPG like World of Warcraft, you want to have a Tank, a Healer, and 3 Damage Dealers (DPS).

The damage dealers are again separated in to smaller groups, where you have High Damage, Slow Application, such as two handed weapons, or slow casters, those damage dealers are good versus a single or few targets with a lot of health. Then there is Low Damage, Fast Application, such as dual wielders, and area of effect, those damage dealers are good versus a lot of smaller targets with low health.

This recipe also works with tabletop roleplay games, where High Damage, Slow Application is better versus high armored targets, and Low Damage, Fast Application is better versus smaller targets with low armor.

Then you should not forget that in pen and paper you are usually able to make a character that can sustain a lot of damage, and at the same time deal a lot, but in those cases you are sacrificing valuable skills that are often overlooked.

When you got your group with someone who can sustain damage, someone who can recover damage, and a smaller group that can deal damage, you got the basics. How it is time to spread out the rest of the skills, so that you don’t have a group of 5 bards that have mediocre damage, low sustainability, some recoverability, and everyone knows the same.

Try to get a ranged damage dealer, bow, crossbow, rifle or magic. A close combat, knifes, swords, axes to spread it out. Then make sure everyone is able to do something else. A thief can open locks both in modern era, sci-fi and fantasy settings, a bard/scholar, have sustainable knowledge about a lot, a soldier should have some tactic and survival skills depending on the kind of soldier, sometimes friend and allies if he was able to save someone’s life be it civilian or brother in arms.

There is no end to this list, but the most important part here is that a good game master limits the amount of combat in a session. And unless you only want your character to be usable for 10 minutes every 2 play hours you want to have some extra skills.

And try to make something not already in the group, not only are the chance that you make another group member feeling obsolete, “overspecialize, and you breed in weakness”.