[RPG] What are the options when other members of the party think the character is too powerful


I've recently started playing DnD 5e with a group of friends, all of whom are very inexperienced – myself and the DM included. We all agreed at the start we were aiming for a very casual game initially in order to get a feel for the rules and then move in a direction we all agreed with.

Without going into too much detail the party consists of a Paladin, Rogue, Sorcerer, Bard, and my Ranger. We're all at level 3, and there's a couple of instances where planning (and fortune) have meant I am noticeably better in combat. My HP rolls have been very high (I have 35 HP) while the rest of the group have 24, 18, 17, and 14. In addition whilst I am not particularly aiming to create a particularly meta-gamed character I am trying to choose complimentary skills, and last session was using various skills/spells to deal far more damage than the others in combat (we also missed a rule which meant I should have done a couple of checks for concentration, but that's our inexperience and I've made a note to check that thoroughly in future).

Now at this point a couple of the guys got a bit put out because they weren't really able to do much, as I was typically able to go first in any combat due to high DEX, and dealt such insane damage that the guys going last did nothing. In addition the combats are quite short and fulfilling, and truth-be-told I'm not overly enjoying it either. One of the guys said the (dreaded) phrase – that I was meta-gaming my guy to be better than everyone else.

I pointed out that:

  1. The session started in a city where my low CHA, and my character having a somewhat introverted background, meant I didn't get much to do. I had basically accepted that session would be in the city with little combat and was completely fine with that.
  2. Everyone agreed (and I didn't press the issue) to leave the city very quickly because they were all anxious to fight stuff again. I was quite content exploring the city and wanted to find out more about a potential side quest I considered more interesting.
  3. Some of the party are not really set up for combat, and are more suited to the city RP, though I accept that doing literally nothing in a given combat is extremely frustrating I was basically giving my stuff to the bard to sell for me in the city.
  4. Any skills I have chosen were those I thought fitted what I thought the character would tend towards by himself in terms of background and ambitions – I'm not particularly leveling with any meta in mind.
  5. I have been incredibly lucky with HP rolls.

All-in-all I honestly don't want to be harming the game for others, so I've been talking to the DM about trying to adjust myself to being more in line with the others. I already offered to the DM after my last HP roll to do it again, and he has agreed if we feel it is needed, but we will come up with an in-game reason for that to happen. What else can I do in order to make the game better for the rest of the players?

EDIT: I can explain a few more things now:

It boiled down to the setup I had of:

Longbow with 17 DEX and Archery as a fighting style, then using Hunter's Mark and Colossus Slayer to get 3+D10+D8+D6 damage to the bosses, or using two Shortswords and doing something similar. The checks I mentioned were the concentration to keep the spell going after I took a hit.

To my mind, whilst yes I am aiming to make myself good at Combat, that doesn't seem like I'm deliberately trying to find niche rules to suit me, but just choosing things wisely (and appeared a fairly standard Ranger setup when I later checked. One of the guys and I played Warhammer Fantasy alot, so we're not unaccustomed to working out what is best to use, it's two of the other people who had the opinion I was somehow playing the system.

My suggestion to the DM was either I go for the Beast Master route and rejig a few things, as people have also pointed it is considered not as strong, but it doesn't fit the character well, or we find some reason to drop probably the HP, as at the moment with some guys being really fragile it's hard to up the difficulty in his opinion as we've nearly had people die to Goblins. I have pointed out (as other have here) that other classes will get better later, but people seem to hear none of it. I'm not particularly stung by criticism of what I am doing – I'm just trying to fit in with the team and play my role accordingly.

Also thank you to whoever added tags etc. Apologies as I am somewhat new to this site.

Best Answer


First, lets kill the metagaming ad hominem: "Metagaming is any strategy, action or method used in a game which transcends a prescribed ruleset, uses external factors to affect the game, or goes beyond the supposed limits or environment set by the game. Another definition refers to the game universe outside of the game itself."

Optimising a combat-oriented character to be good at combat within the rules is not and never can be metagaming. You can't even mount a game universe argument that it is: a person who has devoted his life to being a wilderness warrior (aka a Ranger) is going to learn to be good at fighting or die!


Hit Points

Your hit point edge is insignificant; an 11 hp advantage is, on average, 2 hits or 1-2 rounds more staying power in a combat (less if fighting multiple foes). When you consider that the Paladin has an ability to heal 15 hp with their Lay on Hands ability at the cost of an action, they effectively have more hp than you do. You do have a definite advantage if you are being hit by things like fireballs; on failed saves you are the only one left standing.

This is an edge but a small one.

Damage output

I will assume everyone has the same stat modifier on damage rolls.

If you are using your bow and choose to use a spell slot for Hunters Mark, you can do 3 + d8 (bow) + d6 (Hunters Mark) (avg 11) on the first hit and the same plus d8 (Colossus Slayer) (avg 15.5) on subsequent attacks. This is great if you are fighting a monster with lots of hit points; it is not so good against a dozen goblins since the first hit will drop them and your Colossus Slayer never kicks in.

Meanwhile the Paladin with a longsword and the dueling fighting style is doing 3 + 2 + d8 (longsword) + 2d8 (Divine Smite) (avg 18.5) (I haven't considered some of the really cool spells they have).

The Rogue is doing 3 + d8 (longbow) + 2d6 (sneak attack - a good rogue should almost always get this) (avg 14.5).

The Sorcerer has a plethora of options (Magic Missile, Burning Hands, and Cloud of Daggers spring to mind) or they can just fall back on a damaging cantrip for d10 (avg 5.5). If they are a gambler, Hold Person can end a combat with a single humanoid on one failed saving throw.

If the Bard wants to be handing out massive damage in combat then they chose the wrong class; that is not where their talents lie, they are an enabler - they enable others to do more damage.

The Ranger is not the best at handing out damage.

Overall, you are playing your character to his strengths; are the other players playing to theirs?

Pacing and Encounter structure

You say "I was typically able to go first in any combat due to high DEX, and dealt such insane damage that the guys going last did nothing".
I read "The encounters are underpowered".

Don't misunderstand me: it is the nature of RPG that the PCs will win (almost) every fight because they can only lose once. Most combats will be and should be cakewalks, they are there because combat is fun and they consume resources. That said, they shouldn't be so insignificant that they are over before the first round ends. A quick combat like this is great if the players have planned and executed a great ambush, its not great if it is just way underpowered.

If you have enough spells to use a spell in every combat then you are not having enough encounters between long rests. Burning through spell slots for a non-core spellcaster should be a tough decision: "Do I use it now or will I need it latter?" If you are not thinking this, at least briefly, all the time then your DM is being easy on you. Fights early in the day will usually be easy but this is due to everyone having lots of resources, as you burn through spell slots and hp the same encounter becomes much harder.

Also, the structure of encounters matters. 5 PCs on one monster is an easy fight (unless the monster's CR is extremely high for the party); the monster can only target 1 PC while copping damage from all 5. 5 PCs on 5 monsters is much harder; the tough PCs have to control the battlefield or the squishy PCs will get squished. 5 PCs on 15 monsters, even very weak monsters, is really hard; everyone is copping damage and the fight will last 4-5 rounds minimum.