Draft RPG Characters

In any game where you assemble a build from lots of options, the meta-game eventually gets stale as a handful of particularly useful spells get settled on. A pretty consistent way to break this up is with the draft (or some other method of cutting down the options available, like Magic: the Gathering’s ever churning Modern format or randomized Sealed Deck format).

What if you did a draft with a party of RPG characters? Everyone would have to have access to the same pool of features, which means you’d have to have a game altered or built from the ground up to handle it, but as a very simple proof of concept, imagine a game of 5e in which everyone must play a wizard, we assume that all of you learn spells from each other, but when you prepare spells on a long rest, you have to draft your spells. No party member can prepare the same spell as any other party member, so if Alice took fireball, you have to take something else.

One problem here is a lack of any competitive element. The critical thing with a draft is that Alice takes fireball not just because it’s good for her build, but because it’s also good for yours, and she wants to deny it to you. I don’t know how to introduce that competitive element that really makes the draft pop, and without it, I think it might be better to go with sealed deck. Instead of everyone learning spells from each other, no one can learn spells from each other, and all spells are sold as sealed booster packs. A fireball has a certain chance of dropping from each pack, and if you don’t get it, you’ll have to make do with something else.

I haven’t really put a whole lot of meat on this idea’s bones, but I think it could help break up the monotony you get after a couple of campaigns into 5e when everyone starts settling on optimal builds.

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