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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 are formed by the diegetic relations of some Characters and may only have Unknown Goals.

The number of members that Parties should or can have is a primary design choice for the pattern. Parties usually assume at least three members, so for example Torchlight - where players always have a pet companion but no other companions except temporary summoned monsters - 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.

The issue of Party size has additional complications for Multiplayer Games. This includes if one should allow Late Arriving Players or Drop-In/Drop-Out gameplay. In Tabletop Roleplaying Games such as Dungeons & Dragons or GURPS this can become especially sensitive. This since the Player Characters are personal and may have been developed over long periods of time, and there may be not diegetically plausible reasons why the Characters should absent or not Always Vulnerable.

and may include common Inventories

The issue of Loot in multiplayer Parties can easily also become sensitive (up to causing Betrayals or Player Killing) if not controlled by game mechanics, and for this reason games such as World of Warcraft provides options for how Loot should be split.

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.

Letting players Geospatial Game Widgets,

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 Alliances or Teams but do not have to be either of these since they do not have to have explicit goals. 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. Parallel Lives emerge from Parties controlled by only one player and where all Characters are equally important.

Regardless of it the Parties pattern is used in Single- or Multiplayer Games, planning on how Characters should work together can give rise to Cooperation, Delayed Reciprocity, Functional Roles, Negotiation, Strategic Planning, Tactical Planning, and Team Combos, but also to Internal Rivalry, Loyalty, and Betrayal. For Multiplayer Games, having humans control other Characters expands this to include Mutual FUBAR Enjoyment, Player Killing, Team Accomplishment, Team Strategy Identification, and Togetherness.

The Parties pattern can also have relations 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 while 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).

Player-Decided Distribution of Rewards & Penalties occurs in many Multiplayer Games that have Parties and Loot, either by being self-organized by players before or during the division of the Loot or facilitated by rules chosen by the players. In both cases this needs Negotiation and possibly Auctions.

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


Can Instantiate

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

with Limited Resources


with Loot and Multiplayer Games

Player-Decided Distribution of Rewards & Penalties

with Multiplayer Games

Actions Have Diegetically Social Consequences, Mutual FUBAR Enjoyment, Player Killing Team Accomplishment, Team Strategy Identification, Togetherness

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

Geospatial Game Widgets in Multiplayer Games

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With



New pattern created in this wiki.