On this episode of the RPGBOT.Podcast, we discuss DMing/GMing for martial characters. We look at what game masters can do to keep martial players engaged and happy and how we can address limitations inherent to those martial characters in a game which disproportionately favor spellcasters.
Find Ash on StartPlaying.Games.
If you’ve enjoyed the show, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts, and rate us on Spotify or your favorite podcast app. It’s a quick, free way to support the podcast, and helps us reach new listeners.
Materials Referenced in this Episode
- RPGBOT.Podcast Episodes
- Content From RPGBOT.Net
Check back soon!
I always love the idea of using different attributes for skill checks but everyone at my table just looks at me funny when i propose something like rolling Intelligence (Medicine), all i get is just “uuuhh, no it says its a wisdom skill”, no matter how much sense it would make for my alchemist being actually good at medicine. Not to mention trying anything more creative, like charisma(stealth) to blend into the crowd at a party. I dunno why it’s such a alien concept for so many people.
It’s not explained particularly well in the rulebooks, unfortunately, and I think it’s only mentioned once in all 100-ish pages of the core rulebooks.
Would kill for a written guide to homebrewing this kind of balance between melee & casters. 1st time DMing for a party of new players – rogue, fighter, ranger, sorcerer wizard and cleric (yes the party is too big, I know). Struggling to involve the melee classes more simply because the casters seem to have so many versatile options already at level 3.
We tried to address that in the podcast episode, but I know it can be difficult to apply that general advice sometimes. A large party like that is especially difficult to handle because their resources are so deep and because combat can take so long with so many people.
I think the first thing to do is to apply pressure to those casters. Your encounters should almost always have multiple enemies. Including a bunch of low-CR enemies can make a big difference, and if you use the mob attack rules in the DMG it won’t significantly slow combat. A group of kobolds throwing spears is still a problem for wizards for a long time because any hit could break concentration on their biggest spells. If you’re consistently putting concentration at risk, the casters’ most powerful options are less reliable.
At the same time, include challenges that are disproportionately threatening to your casters. Monsters that grapple (giant frogs are an easy, low-CR option) are a problem for most full casters because they’re generally bad at grappling, so they’re often forced to spend resources to break the grapple or teleport away. By comparison, your martial characters might have decent Acrobatics/Athletics to get out of the grapple if they feel the need to do so.
As your game progresses, look at what items you can give the party. Even Common items like moon-touched swords can be a huge buff for martial characters because they bypass resistance to non-magic attacks.
I’m really interested in a lot of these podcast episodes, but I read much more often than I listen. Is there a plan to transcribe these episodes?
We’re hoping to get back to doing transcripts soon. It’s very time-intensive even with automatic assisted transcripts, and we haven’t had the time to make it happen recently.