Party without defender or leader?

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Hey everyone,
I'm introducing a couple of my friends to D&D, and they decided to roll a ranger and a rogue. I'm open to playing pretty much any class, but if I pick a Fighter, then we won't have a leader and vice versa.

So my main question, would it really matter if we had an "ideal" party, or would we do fine if we had a more "unconventional" makeup?


Ideally, the DM will take the PC's abilities into account while designing his adventures, and account for such things as small numbers and missing roles when creating encounters and distributing treasure.  If this is the case, then you will be fine no matter what you all play.  Even if the DM doesn't, so long as you're aware of the tactical limitations of missing a role, you should still be okay.
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A smaller party can get away without a Defender. A Defender prevents enemies from ganging up on the rest of the party, and a smaller party will face less enemies who since there are less of them will have trouble ganging up. The higher the numbers on a given side of the battle, the more opportunity there is to focus fire(7 PCs can focus fire something scary).

If you are running three PCs, you will miss the Leader more than you'll miss the Defender, and I don't think Leader+Rogue and Ranger is that bad of a 3-man team.
Ok, thanks a bunch!
Through months of playing Encounters we have learned that you can easily make do without a leader (as they have for most of this season) if you have a competent defender – especially if someone is trained in Heal and can therefore easily force downed allies to Second Wind.

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If you're concerned about the gap then you can also look for a defender or leader class that has a strong secondary in the other role. A paladin or runepriest would both do well in that regard, but several others could also be made to work.
If a couple of people grab MC Shaman and Mending Spirit you get a bit of extra damage soaking and some encounter heals.  But I wouldn't want to play in a party that was lacking in both roles unless the whole party was designed around compensating for that fact.
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if you have enough damge to support it..... a pacifist cleic is controler-ish enough to fill both positions, espically if you have a defender. & if you go half-elf & take the warlord's direct the strike to finsh things off they are not as much of a lilability.

yes, my pacifist weids a sorcerer.
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There are a lot of other things you can do to mitigate not having a leader.  Some races like dwarfs and longtooth shifters can heal themselves relatively easiliy for instance, while races like Mul can remove conditions.

And while fighters can't heal their allies, give them temp hitpoints, or grant them saves, paladins and wardens can.  And clerics and runepriests in particular can be good off defenders.  The bigger issue than healing over the long run might be the lack of boosts to hit and damage a good leader brings, which are harder to get from other sources.

At least you are not going for another striker.  If you want to go with a fighter, I would go with a battle rager build so you worry less about healing yourself or else go with a polearm build since you are also lacking a controller.

I once played a 1-H talent fighter, rageblood barbarian, and 2 warlock (fey and dark) party for a while and we did fine, but the fighter and barbarian were both tough and able to heal themsleves or generate temp hitpoints and the warlocks could stay out of trouble.
A warlord can work very well with a pair of strikers, giving them extra attacks or bonuses to bring the enemy down even faster.  You'll lack the defender role, so you'll all need to keep your defenses/hps/surges decent (don't let anyone skimp on CON), as you can't depend on not being attacked.  A leader can heal, but he needs something to work with.  A warlord can be built to have some secondary defender functionality.

A Paladin can bring a fairly strong secondary-leader function, and it covers the defender role quite well, particularly with a smaller party (so presumably, smaller numbers of enemies needing to be marked to have an impact).

With a very small party, the Leader and Defender roles can start to get a little inefficient, so just playing another striker could work, too.  It depends on how good your DM is.  If he can handle delicately balancing encounters, party composition doesn't really matter.  If he tends to use published adventures and follow general guidelines, working with the exp budget, then you want to try to maintain 'balanced' roles - 3 PCs is OK, you can get by without a controller, typically, but you might want to talk one of the other players into a defender (if the Ranger is the TWF type, he might change to Tempest Fighter, for instance), while you take the leader role.



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With a ranger and a rogue, I would pick some sneaky type of class and have the whole party base its strategy on sneaking around things instead of charging in the front door and hacking away.
I had a blast playing a strength based hybrid fighter/cleric. Played him all the way to 21st level.
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