Tabletop and Video Game RPGs, as well as certain other games, feature not one but several Player Characters, banded together in Ensembles of 3 or more, fighting evil together. Such an ensemble is known as a "party". Unless the player wants to beat the game using a handicapped group, most selections comprise most if not all of the available choices inside the entire party.
In tabletop RPGs, MMORPGs, and other multiplayer games, each PC is usually controlled by a human. In singleplayer games, the player usually controls a leader PC while the computer steers the rest of the party. Additionally, the player is often given the option to micromanage each party member, particularly in combat.
In Role Playing Games where the characters are pre-plotted (in comparison to, say, Final Fantasy), the Party is usually a specific variety of Ensemble, such as the Power Trio, Four-Temperament Ensemble or Five-Man Band. Furthermore, the party members' tendencies to stick together for the length of the game (temporary members notwithstanding) mean that they are usually written as True Companions.
The concept of Character Classes is usually dependant on characters being in parties. The Squishy Wizard and the Magically Inept Fighter tend to counter each others' weaknesses perfectly, so it's expected that one assists the other throughout the game.
In a group of Tabletop Roleplaying, the chances of all group members picking the same class are extremely low. This is partly because everyone wants to play a unique character and also partly because people like to help and complement other people naturally as part of a functional cooperative unit. If a member voices his desire to play a Mighty Glacier, the chances someone else will play one are usually low.
If averted, see One-Man Army. See also The Team for non-playable examples.
- All in a Row: The rest of the party follows behind their leader like a bunch of little ducklings.
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: The maximum party size is capped for no apparent in-universe reason.
- Can't Catch Up: Characters who fall behind in level-gaining often stay behind.
- Companion-Specific Sidequest: Wherein a party member acts as the quest-giver.
- Damager, Healer, Tank: The party is split between the aforementioned three roles.
- Guest-Star Party Member: Someone who joins your party temporarily as a "guest".
- Manual Leader, A.I. Party: You control one character and the rest are controlled by AI.
- Mutually Exclusive Party Members: Several party members who, for whatever reason, cannot all be in the same party at the same time.
- Optional Party Member: Someone who may not join your party, if you don't fulfill the requirements to get them.
- Party in My Pocket: Only the leader of the party is shown walking around on the overworld; other party members disappear until needed.
- Party of Representatives: Characters in your party represent different factions/nationalities/races within their world.
- Party Scattering: Members of the party are involuntarily separated and must find each other again.
- Player Character Calculus: How many characters can the player have in their party?
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Who's going to save the world? Not a well-oiled team of professionals, no. A bunch of rejects with attitude.
- Redemption Demotion: When a villain switches sides, he suddenly becomes much less awesome.
- Redemption Promotion: When a villain switches sides, he suddenly becomes much more awesome.
- Required Party Member: The plot demands that you bring a particular party member along for a certain segment of it.
- Romance Sidequest: A sidequest which has the player character enter a romantic relationship with one of their party members.
- So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: Annoying effect of having potentially great equipment stolen from you because the character wearing them is rendered inaccessible for some part of the game.
- Squad Controls: Control over your squadmates is done by issuing commands.
- Total Party Kill: Where the players' idiocy results in them all dying ignominiously.
- Utility Party Member: The character you keep in your party for their non-combat skills.