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 MMORPGs and multiplayer games, each PC is controlled by a human (usually). In single-player games, the player either controls a leader PC whose movements are matched by the whole party, or (during combat) individually moves and instructs each character in turn.
In Role-Playing Games where the characters are pre-plotted (in comparison to, say, Final Fantasy I), then 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 Meat Shield 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 Meat Shield, the chances someone else will play one are almost zero.
If averted, see One-Man Army.
- All in a Row The party follows behind the leader like a lot of little ducklings.
- Can't Catch Up Characters who fall behind in level-gaining often stay behind.
- Guest Star Party Member Someone who joins your party temporarily as a "guest".
- 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 main character is shown walking around; other party members will appear when needed, or even walk out of his body.
- 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.
- 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.
- Total Party Kill Where the players' idiocy results in them all dying ignominiously.