Tuesday, August 13, 2019

2019 RPGaDay 10: Focus

I tried writing this post last night, but I couldn't...focus.

Ok, I guess could just end it there and be done. But, nah. Let's talk about character focus.

In my experience, a lot of players see all of the options available to characters in an RPG and they want to do all the things. And most RPGs are very accommodating of that. I've done it myself. It can be fun to have a character who is kind of jack-of-all-trades, or has combined the abilities of multiple classes. But, sometimes, that can be too much.

These days I prefer to focus my characters down a single path. I want them to be the best there is at what they do. And there are both advantages and disadvantages to doing this. The advantage is, when your character is in his or her element, they shine. Need to take that monster quickly, the barbarian with great weapon fighting is your man. Need to convince that merchant to help your party out, the stunning bard with the 19 Charisma is your woman.

The downside is that, when out of their element, these characters can feel useless. Imagine the two examples above reversed. That Bard isn't going to charm her way past that mindless monster, and the merchant isn't likely to be swayed by the brutish demeanor of the barbarian.

Fortunately, most games these days seem to be designed to keep this kind of focus in check. So, while you can still follow a pretty narrow path, the mechanics in 5e, for instance, allow anyone to attempt anything, with a reasonable margin of success. Which makes the game more fun, IMHO.

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