What’s this? Yet another comic about the importance of Session Zero? Yawn! Boring! We’ve heard this shit before!

Well just one bloody minute, milord Judgypants! Appearances to the contrary, today’s Handbook is not about forming your initial party. It’s about your approach to encounters.

We went over this a bit back in our friendly fire comic, but figuring out how to work together like a team is about far more than picking the most synergistic classes and builds. And if you’ve got different ideas than your buddies about dealing with your game world’s challenges, you’re going to run into some friction. A few general playstyles to give you an idea:

  • Paranoid — This approach is all about scouting, checking for traps, and otherwise getting the lay of the land. You know that knowledge is power, and want to gather all the pertinent details before putting yourself at risk.
  • Face Tank — You walk face-first into danger. If there’s a trap, you block it with your chest. If there are assassins, you let them to take their shot. That’s because you know that you’re a badass, and plan on dishing out twice what you take.
  • Artillery — You’ve got fireballs. You’ve got lightning bolts. You’ve got Sergeant Detritus’s crossbow. You’ll get to melee eventually, but not before you’ve thinned the enemy ranks a bit. That makes initiative order an important consideration, and the phrase “I delay” your bread and butter.
  • Sociable — What’s all this bother about weaponry? Surely we can work something out? We’re all reasonable creatures here, and I’ve got +∞ in my “talk to stuff” skill.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it does offer a few of the go-to strategies that parties tend to adopt. And as Cavalier and Ninja are discovering in today’s comic, mixing them doesn’t always work. Face Tanks who rush into combat get in the way of Artillery. Sociable parties may be too audacious for the Paranoid ones. And if you have different party members that favor different playstyles, the head-butting can get exhausting.

This all leads to our question of the day! Does your party have a general approach? No doubt the answer is “it depends on the encounter,” but maybe you tend to favor one style over the others? Do you think that different styles can exist comfortably at the same table, or is it better to get on the same page as your fellow party members? Let’s hear all about your party’s answer to, ‘You see a pair of goblins, what do you do?’ down in the comments!


ADD SOME NSFW TO YOUR FANTASY! If you’ve ever been curious about that Handbook of Erotic Fantasy banner down at the bottom of the page, then you should check out the “Quest Giver” reward level over on The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. Twice a month you’ll get to see what the Handbook cast get up to when the lights go out. Adults only, 18+ years of age, etc. etc.