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Groups of characters working together to reach gameplay goals.

Cooperating usually makes it easier to succeed with tasks. For this reason, games where players have characters may places these in Parties with other characters so that they together can try to reach the goals provided by games. The other characters may be controlled by other players - requiring


Parties first emerged in Category:Tabletop Roleplaying Games such as Dungeons & Dragons and the Basic Role-Playing system. While Parties simply represented the characters of the players currently playing the structure of the games made it advantageous that characters' had diverse skill sets, e.g. complementing combat-oriented characters with those that could heal or find social solutions to problems. The third edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay introduced game mechanics specifically oriented to Parties: the players have to collectively choose which type of party they are with the associated advantages and disadvantages this has. GURPS provides some possibilities for players to get party-specific advantages (e.g. the "Teamwork" perk).

Like most other features, Parties continued to be used in Computer-based Roleplaying Games such as the Ultima series, the Fallout series, the Baldur's Gate series, and the Dragon Age series. In these single-player games the players create Parties with non-player characters, and may have to choose between which ones to have in the group. In contrast, players of World of Warcraft need to organize themselves in "raid" groups of appropriate sizes to complete the "instances" provided by the game. In this game concepts such as "tank", "healer", "crowd controller", and "damage dealer" have flourished as players have developed combat strategies. These have in turn influenced the fourth edition of Dungeons & Dragons, which uses functional descriptions such as "leader", "controller", "striker", and "defender".

The X-COM and UFO series shows examples of small scale strategy games where players create Parties to go into battles against extraterrestrial enemies. The Left 4 Dead series is built around four characters completing the games' levels; the computer takes the roles of characters if there are less than four players.

Using the pattern

Parties are groups of Characters and can be used in both Single-Player Games and Multiplayer Games. Unlike Alliances and Teams, they do not have to be formed from explicit gameplay goals. Instead, they can also be formed by their diegetic relations or by Unknown Goals.

Parties usually assume at least three members, so for example Torchlight - where players always have a pet companion - does not qualify as using the pattern. Some games put a maximum number of members in the Parties, making member slots into Limited Resources. Early installments of the Fallout series let this number on the Player Character's charisma value while later installment had a fixed value of 2; the Left 4 Dead series always starts with four survivors at the beginning of each Level. While Multiplayer Games may have Parties consisting only of Player Characters, AI Players or Companions may be used in any type of game and can ensure that Parties have a certain number of members.

Late Arriving Players

Drop-In/Drop-Out gameplay Always Vulnerable,

Delayed Reciprocity

and may include common Inventories

Can Modulate


Can Be Modulated By


Diegetic Aspects

Interface Aspects

Handling the details of Companions in Parties are likely to require Secondary Interface Screens. It is quite usual to also have common Inventories in additional to personal ones (e.g. representing the resources in the bases of the X-COM series) - for Tabletop Roleplaying Games this may be a "Group Sheet" in addition to Character Sheets.

Narrative Aspects

Companions in Parties can be natural pointed for Sidequests (these specific types of Sidequests are sometimes called Companion Quests). Examples of games that include them are found in the Fallout series and the Dragon Age series.


Parties are social grouping of Characters, which can be either Alliances or Teams

Although Parties make use of the Characters pattern, the pattern can also be said to modulate Player Characters since it puts them in groups where they need to cooperate.

Having a maximum number of members in Parties make them into a form of Limited Resources. Games such as the Fallout series and the Dragon Age series use this to force players to make Tradeoffs between which Companions to have in their Parties.

Regardless of it the Parties pattern is used in Single- or Multiplayer Games, it can have relation to the pattern Actions Have Diegetically Social Consequences. For Multiplayer Games, this can be due to actions being felt as Betrayal or other breaches of Loyalty. For any type of Parties consisting partly of Companions, behaving in ways deemed inappropriate by these may be the cause for them to leave the group (this can for example occur in the Fallout series).

Actions Have Diegetically Social Consequences in games with Companions (add this to Companions)

Can Instantiate

Cooperation, Functional Roles, Internal Rivalry, Loyalty, Negotiation, Parallel Lives, Strategic Planning, Tactical Planning, Team Combos, Togetherness

with Loot

Player-Decided Distribution of Rewards & Penalties


Can Instantiate

Alliances, Betrayal, Cooperation, Delayed Reciprocity, Functional Roles, Internal Rivalry, Loyalty, Negotiation, Parallel Lives, Strategic Planning, Tactical Planning, Team Combos, Teams, Togetherness

with Limited Resources


with Loot

Player-Decided Distribution of Rewards & Penalties

with Multiplayer Games

Actions Have Diegetically Social Consequences

Can Modulate

Loot Player Characters

Can Be Instantiated By

AI Players, Characters, Unknown Goals

Can Be Modulated By

Always Vulnerable, Drop-In/Drop-Out, Inventories, Late Arriving Players, Limited Resources, Secondary Interface Screens

Actions Have Diegetically Social Consequences in games with Companions

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With



New pattern created in this wiki.