What’s this? A lady pirate with a strong fashion sense and a race that’s as-yet unused in Handbook-World? And she’s got a cadre of copper constructs manning the boat? Batten down your doubloons and hoist the mizzen parrot, because it looks like Swash and Buckle just got themselves an antagonist! I hope you will all join me in welcoming Artificer to the comic! With any luck, her cannon will soon be canon.

While we wait to see what this latest villainess brings to our ongoing adventure, what do you say we talk about that sweet motif she’s got going on? It’s like she shouted, “Skulls for the skull boat!” And every last automaton in earshot leaped to obey. This mess is not easy to achieve, but I do think it’s cool when it happens.

You see, part of the appeal of gaming is watching a band of weirdos come together and become a party. A goblin rogue has no business partying with a human paladin, and a dwarven ranger is going to be badly out of place adventuring with a merfolk bard. Seeing what these disparate personalities become when they’re forced into the same room together is good clean gaming fun.  But it’s not your only option.

When you’re planning out your character, there is nothing wrong with taking your buddies’ preferences into account. We’ve all talked about the mythical shenanigans of the “let’s all play bards this time” party. Yet the dream of exploring Faerûn as a touring band—acquiring groupies and/or solving mysteries in the process—is one that eludes most gamers. Same deal with playing servants of the same church, enlisting as soldiers of the same army, or becoming plucky reporters from the National-Enquirer-in-Space together. That’s because a tightly theme group of heroes requires planning and coordination. And when everyone is stoked to run their own unique idea, it can be hard to get buy-in for a cohesive concept.

So for today’s discussion, what do you say we talk about those times when it actually worked? Have you ever managed to coordinate your choice of PC with your partymates? Or would you always and forever get kicked off of Artificer’s steam punk pirate ship for blatant dress code violations? Sound off with your most on-brand adventuring parties, superhero teams, and eldritch investigators down in the comments!


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