Possible Duo Combinations

Hi forum members, first time posting here.  I just recently discovered 13th Age, and I think it's a great gaming system for new players.  I'm interesting in putting together a small campaign for my son and his friend.  I was thinking of a Paladin and Cleric combo with a healthy supply of healing potions could work.  I will definitely play test some encounters before running any campaign.  Anyway, I was hoping to get some input on what would be other decent duo combinations? 

Comments

  • Welcome. 13thAge is not really that dependant on magical healing: all characters can Rally at least once per Battle (more with an 11+ roll). Any class combination would do unless you are pushing for optimization. I'd let players just pick what they fancy playing the most.

  • Uskglass is right.  One of the refreshing things about 13th Age is that magical healing is often a nicety, rather than a necessity.  Of course, it's useful, but all characters are pretty self-sufficient, a lot of the time.  Having said this, when teaching inexperienced players (especially, young ones) a little extra healing healing never goes amiss.  But the potions you mentioned should cover that.

    As far as class combinations are concerned, Uskglass is right about that, too: best to let people play what they like.  There are a few combinations I would avoid.  In particular, Druid mixes poorly with practically everything, since you have to give up one or more of the talents that are providing all the rest of your abilities (a weakness in the Druid class, in my mind).  Most combinations work pretty well, though, including some you might not expect - 13th Age is pretty forgiving, in that regard.  For example, I recently retired a Barbarian/Sorcerer, who turned out to be one of my favorite characters, ever.  Versatility was the key, here, as the character was equally at home in melee or standing back blasting stuff.  Sure, you can't mix rage and spellcasting, all at once, but that's a small limitation, for what you're getting.  There are lots of other fun combos, too.  Again, it's probably best to let players use what they like, combo or otherwise.

  • edited July 2015
    Thanks for the feedback.  I've only done some limited play testing, so I wanted to make sure it wouldn't be impossible for them if they didn't have 2 classes to work well together.  The Paladin (Fearless,  Lay on Hands, and Paladin's Challenge) to me makes a solid character in a small party setting.  I was thinking either a Sorcerer or Cleric might work well together.  I assume any of the DPS classes can work. 

    Interesting note on Druids.  I think they are underpowered as well. I was toying with a houserule to get them 4 talent choices, but only allow for 1 adept tier power and 2 initiates tier powers or 4 initiate tier powers.  I just have this feeling that one of them will think the Druid is a cool class because of the shifting to animal powers.  If they could take initiate healing and one of the casting or combat talents in conjunction with the change form powers.  That might make the Druid a bit more balanced with other classes.
  • edited July 2015
    I think OP is talking about class choices for 2 different characters who might work well together, whereas it looks to me like Cwylric is talking about multiclassing within a single character. Which are both perfectly appropriate things to talk about, but the conclusions are quite different. Druid isn't inherently as terrible in a duo as in an MC, for example, though I still think even a single class Druid generally underperforms compared to almost any caster / Ranger MC, most notably Bard (which beats the pants off of a Warrior Druid Adept with just class abilities of Ranger AC and weapon dice + Bardic Flexible Attacks, leaving your talents free for that tasty Animal Companion Adept and a Bard talent of your choice, nabbing you plenty of Bard spells and songs as "free" bonuses, and handing out more Ranger Talents as you level so you can really broaden your spell base via Ex Cathedral and Fey). 

    Paladin is also extremely simple with few bells and whistles.  If that's a desired goal for a given player, excellent!  If not, less excellent! 
  • For a duo who are going to work together, the classes that have worked well for me:

    - Bard: As a jack of all trades, a bard can be a caster, a fighter, or a healer, and be pretty good at any of those.
    - Cleric: Healing along with flexibility -- a cleric can be a front-rank warrior or a back-rank caster.
    - Ranger: If you take the Sorcerer or Cleric-spell talents, you get a little magical boom. If you take the animal companion, you have another ally to tie up enemies.
    - Paladin: Paladins are tough and have options for healing themselves and allies, be it through laying on of hands or through getting a cleric spell.
    - Sorcerer: I recommend Spell Fist, since a duo has trouble staying at range from enemies and benefits from a little AC bonus. 

    Honestly, no class is BAD for a duo. Some just require that the GM remember to be careful when coming up with encounters. :)
  • Thanks for the feedback.  I've only done some limited play testing, so I wanted to make sure it wouldn't be impossible for them if they didn't have 2 classes to work well together.  The Paladin (Fearless,  Lay on Hands, and Paladin's Challenge) to me makes a solid character in a small party setting.  I was thinking either a Sorcerer or Cleric might work well together.  I assume any of the DPS classes can work. 

    Interesting note on Druids.  I think they are underpowered as well. I was toying with a houserule to get them 4 talent choices, but only allow for 1 adept tier power and 2 initiates tier powers or 4 initiate tier powers.  I just have this feeling that one of them will think the Druid is a cool class because of the shifting to animal powers.  If they could take initiate healing and one of the casting or combat talents in conjunction with the change form powers.  That might make the Druid a bit more balanced with other classes.




    That's very similar to what we were experimenting with.  In one of our current groups, which just wrapped up (the same group that contained the barbarian/sorcerer, in fact), the druid was using using pretty much this house rule, and it worked fine.  We found that, otherwise, druids who focus just on magic, in particular, are kind of... well, pathetic.  Because of the way the spell tables work for initiate spellcasters, magical progression is painfully slow and not on par with, says, clerics or wizards.  One player tried an elemental/terrain/healer combo and... ugh... let's just say that I don't think anyone will be doing that, again.  At least not without our house rule.  Having said this, druids that shy away from much magic seem to work somewhat better (although ones who focuses heavily on the martial end still end up clearly inferior to other true martial characters, with little to show for the sacrifice).

    Anyway, the long and the short of it is that at least one other group has toyed with what you were thinking about toying with, and it seemed to work out well.

  • Snarvid said:

    I think OP is talking about class choices for 2 different characters who might work well together, whereas it looks to me like Cwylric is talking about multiclassing within a single character. Which are both perfectly appropriate things to talk about, but the conclusions are quite different. Druid isn't inherently as terrible in a duo as in an MC, for example, though I still think even a single class Druid generally underperforms compared to almost any caster / Ranger MC, most notably Bard (which beats the pants off of a Warrior Druid Adept with just class abilities of Ranger AC and weapon dice + Bardic Flexible Attacks, leaving your talents free for that tasty Animal Companion Adept and a Bard talent of your choice, nabbing you plenty of Bard spells and songs as "free" bonuses, and handing out more Ranger Talents as you level so you can really broaden your spell base via Ex Cathedral and Fey). 

    Paladin is also extremely simple with few bells and whistles.  If that's a desired goal for a given player, excellent!  If not, less excellent! 



    Whoops!  Looking back, I think you're probably right.  Oh well, let it never be said that I'm slow to offer unasked for advice.  ;)

    As for the druid stuff...  Yup, as I mentioned earlier, I have to agree with that one.  Focussing just on magic leaves you weaker than a normal pure spellcaster, but focusing just on martial stuff leaves you weaker than a normal pure martial type.  And mixing doesn't match up against a bard, for example.  Poor druids...

    As for the Paladin comment, I also concur.  Its a good choice for a two-person group and is also great for beginning players.

  • Wow!  Thanks for all the feedback guys/gals!  Such a friendly and responsive forum!  I know, as the GM, I'll have to do some playtesting with 2 characters to figure out how to scale the encounters properly.   I think I have a good idea, but I'll figure that out. 

    The more and more I read the books, I think the Paladin is a staple for a duo.  Just so tough, and given the smaller encounters, his damage output should be pretty solid since they should be shorter. 

    NinjaPaladin (oxymoron?!?!?) Thanks for the great list.  I was actually just reading through the Sorcerer again, and Spell Fist really stood out. 

    Also, Ranger who has animal companion could be a valuable part of a duo.  Bringing an extra body, plus some ranged capabilities, could be solid.

    Bard to me would be ideal for a 3 man party, but it seemed like many of his effects don't affect him.  So it would be for buffing the stuffing out of the Paladin.  Maybe if I decide to make a DMPC, this would be a good choice.

    Cleric is obviously solid.  If I decide to tweak the adventure to be religious in nature or against undead, he would be the obvious choice for the 2nd member. 

    Thanks again everyone.  One follow up question on the sorcerer, does the spell fist sorcerer require multiclassing, or is it playable as is?
  • Wow!  Thanks for all the feedback guys/gals!  Such a friendly and responsive forum!  I know, as the GM, I'll have to do some playtesting with 2 characters to figure out how to scale the encounters properly.   I think I have a good idea, but I'll figure that out. 

    The more and more I read the books, I think the Paladin is a staple for a duo.  Just so tough, and given the smaller encounters, his damage output should be pretty solid since they should be shorter. 

    NinjaPaladin (oxymoron?!?!?) Thanks for the great list.  I was actually just reading through the Sorcerer again, and Spell Fist really stood out. 

    Also, Ranger who has animal companion could be a valuable part of a duo.  Bringing an extra body, plus some ranged capabilities, could be solid.

    Bard to me would be ideal for a 3 man party, but it seemed like many of his effects don't affect him.  So it would be for buffing the stuffing out of the Paladin.  Maybe if I decide to make a DMPC, this would be a good choice.

    Cleric is obviously solid.  If I decide to tweak the adventure to be religious in nature or against undead, he would be the obvious choice for the 2nd member. 

    Thanks again everyone.  One follow up question on the sorcerer, does the spell fist sorcerer require multiclassing, or is it playable as is?




    Nope, the Spell Fist talent for sorcerer does not require multiclassing.  It does work particularly well, though, for a sorcerer who has some kind of martial multiclassing going on (especially, one that wants a high Constitution - and, really, what martial character doesn't?).

    Oh, and about your bard comment: you're right, a lot of their abilities don't work on the user, so bards aren't a great duo choice (and kind of a bad solo one).  Having said that, bard is one of my favorites classes in larger groups.

  • Re: Bard: Fair point on how many things (like battle cries) do not affect you. Counterpoint, not disagreement:

    The battle cries are a nice benefit, but the bard's primary coolness isn't in them, but in his flexibility. In a 2-PC group, having both players able to cover multiple roles is vital. The bard:

    - Can be a single-stat (Dex) melee attacker who uses d8 weapons without penalty
    - Has a starting AC of 12, decent enough for a non-tank melee like rogue or barbarian, meaning that he is not immediately dead if enemies close
    - Has spells that allow him to be decent at range -- less damage but a higher chance to hit, given how many of his attacks target PD or even MD
    - Works well with support magic out of the box, and with Jack of Spells, can function reasonably well on magical offense, or even healing

    Again, not to disagree on specific points, but just a note on the overall goodness and flexibility of the bard. I wouldn't roll him as the primary healer in a two-man group, but as magic-focused support alongside a paladin or cleric, I think he's got a lot of potential.
  • Additionally: I ran a Ranger/Sorcerer for a bit. Ranger's good base AC in light armor plus Sorcerer's Spell Fist was great for a magic/melee combination.
  • edited July 2015
    If you wanted a little more complexity I think Paladin MCs quite well with Commander. Armor Skills with feat support, Paladin's Challenge + Many Fronts feat give you a nice tanky catch-22 (even better as Tiefling or Aasimar), you've got some spell-like options to put on the table if the player wants more than swing/smite as their options for the round, and the Lay on Hands talent + the Rally Now command gives well rounded healing. Like Ranger, Paladin MCs are nice because they don't add too many decisions to the other class, so you basically play as a member of your other class with some added oomph. (In Commander's case, the combo basically means a talent tax of Armor Skills in exchange for the base benefit of the Martial Training talent for free.) Also, depending on how long you play/what level you start at, power explosion at 6 level when you get 2(!) more talents.

    This would then open up a nice tag team back and forth with the Paladin/Commander buffing the Bard (or Bard/Ranger for an additional body on the field) and the Bard buffing the Commander. "Haha, I am awesome, and my awesomeness makes you awesomer!" "How kind! And may I note that my increased awesomeness in turn makes you awesomer still?" "You may!"
  • I'll have to do some reading on multiclassing to see how good it is.  It might be a bit complex for these younger players, but given that it's 2 players, they'll need help covering a lot of ground.

    Commander seems like a pretty cool class.  I'm thinking they may start as squires for an NPC Commander class like instructor and they'll eventually have to forge their own path.

    I'm just loving learning more an more about 13th Age.  And I'm thrilled by the level of engagement and friendliness of this forum.  I tried to post some stuff up on the WOTC DND 4e forum.  They were huge tools, so this is very refreshing.
  • edited July 2015
    Key stat (105,106) takes a bit to understand all the implications of, but I think it's worth it. As long as you're adding one simple class (barbarian, paladin, ranger) to one complex class it's mostly having the right stuff written down on your sheet (so you know your defenses and your weapon damage without flipping back and forth in the book) and then you can keep each player's bookmark at their complex class. There ARE a lot more things to spend feats on, but that's something that can be handled in between sessions.

    Commander is, I think, especially good for MC because its abilities generally aren't level dependent. It DOES want you to be attacking as a commander in order to generate command points through Fight from the Front (p 31), but a Paladin with Many Fronts can throw a couple smites each fight and still be at peak command point generation.

    I have found that 4E forum isn't very welcoming to outsiders at this point. Here the traffic is much lower, but I've not seen people respond from anywhere but a place of trying to help.
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