What Dungeons and Dragons taught me about software project management
In Dungeons and Dragons,
- Warrior: extremely powerful and capable of both dealing and receiving massive damage to enemies in close combat, but weak against magic effects.
- Wizard: physically weak and unable to stand hand to hand combat, but able to deal long range massive damage through powerful enchantments. He needs to prepare them before the fight, so he needs to know what he is facing.
- Bards: versatile but not excellent in anything specific. However, he is vital as support when other, more specialized characters are unavailable. He can use magic without preparation, disarm traps and, most important of all, he has deep knowledge of obscure information that can be vital for the development of the story.
- Cleric: Effective support for damage dealers, but only for healing. Has little offensive capabilities, and needs to know what is going to face, so that he can prepare
One recurring desire among experienced players is to face a campaign with a homogeneous party. Soon enough, the players realize that it’s really, really hard, unless the campaign is tailored toward such setup.
- A team of warriors can deal massive damages, but once they get injured, nobody is there to bring them back to life. Also, they are extremely weak to spells.
- Similarly, a team of wizards can deal massive damage from afar, but it’s physically weak and becomes completely useless against enemies that aren’t affected by magic or reach close combat.
- A team of clerics handles damage and spells, but can inflict very little.
- A team of bards can’t face any physical adversity, but shines in a campaign fully oriented at diplomacy, investigation and knowledge of historical facts.
As you might expect, the perfect team is composed by all the classes: warriors punch stuff, wizard blow up stuff, clerics heal stuff, and bards know stuff.
The warrior and the wizard handle problems in two different ways. The warrior just wails at them until they go away, with brute force. They don’t ask question and don’t ponder a lot. They are precious to have around if you need to get stuff done fast. The wizard spend time researching, growing its knowledge, until he can hit the problem with a fiery smiting.