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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Imp

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    Jul 2012

    Default 4e Campain for 2 PCs

    Hello everyone!
    I am currently running a campaign for only 2 people and its working well so far. Itís loosely based on the dark sun campaign setting and we have a fighter and an avenger.
    Just wondered if any of you have run small campaigns like this before and if so where you able to do interesting/fun things due to there only been 2 people. Also if you found any negative points or problems later on due to the small party size.

    One thing I had to do was start them off at level 4 otherwise they would not be able to fight anything interesting! But I do like the fact its easier to manage and more personal.

    Any ideas welcome


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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    shamgar001's Avatar

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    Default Re: 4e Campain for 2 PCs

    I ran a campaign for three players once, and the biggest problem I faced was making decent encounters without the enemies all being minions. I fixed that by having each player make two PCs.

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    Troll in the Playground
     
    Yakk's Avatar

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    Default Re: 4e Campain for 2 PCs

    I fixed the same problem by halving monster HP (leaving damage alone), then bumping XP budgets by 50%.

    So two level 1 characters would have an XP budget of 300 against half-HP enemies.

    At level 1, I also built some "level 0" and "level -1" monsters (worth 88 and 75 XP respectfully). They worked reasonably well. (basically, heavy-weight minions: they did have HP above 1, but they tended to die from one blow)

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    HalflingRogueGuy

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    Default Re: 4e Campain for 2 PCs

    I am currently running a two man campaign which started at first level (sometimes they had player sidekicks, but that's pretty much a two man story). They are now level 9 and looking close at a campaign cornerstone reaching Paragon.

    Even though they are both strikers - a Warlock and a Rogue - I had little trouble in making lots and lots of fun encounters. Don't hesitate to put them up against stuff.

    What I have learned is that it is really, really important is to adapt the missions. In other words, if they are vampire hunters, let them hunt damn vampires, not werewolves (or at make it just one, special occasion). That is point one.

    Point two is to make them a bit more less specialized. What they will lack in order to prevent a one-encounter day is to have healing. So my Warlock that is a Raven Queen fan took Faith Healing utility, and the Rogue went multiclassing into a Bard for Majestic Word and stuff. Your pair might need something else, but make them sustainable.

    Also, the third point is to use skill challenges. Make encounters fun by making them use the skills they posses, or do not posses (check point one) and make some small combat encounters as a result of the skill checks. That way, they can gain experience (lots of it), go forward through the storyline and even do some combat without being pummeled down. It's a lot easier to make a good and fun skill challenge for two, than for five players, or so I think.

    Fourth point is to use elite monsters which are great for boss situations, when you want them to really be on the edge during an encounter. Since they don't have so many effects between them, an unavoidable encounter with a "solo" creature (in this case, of course, an elite) can be really fun. So upgrade a monster and put them in a ring!

    Fifth point is one of the most important ones - focus on the story. There are only two guys. There relationship should be as microscopically detailed as in "Lost in translation" (maybe not the best example). Share the world with them and among them. Outside of the game world, see what their desires are, their character's desires. Make it a lot more personal, and story-epic, not game-play epic.

    Sixth point is to just wing it. During a combat encounter feel free to improvise and use imprecise measures. Add a monster coming through the door if it's needed. Make a monster a minion if there's trouble. It is much easier to calculate what's too much or too weak for them, since there are not as many monsters (read: variables) on the table.


    Hope this helped, and I might add on this later. Cheers and have fun!

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Hal's Avatar

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    Default Re: 4e Campain for 2 PCs

    I did this for a while and even though it was only for a small handful of sessions, it went pretty well. I like running for 2-3 more than 4-6.

    That said, one of the things that went over really well was offering Temp HP as RP/skill challenge rewards, and let 'em stack. Going into a combat with a healing surge worth of temp HP can really give players a bit of longevity.

    Another thing that helped was that one of the players was a beastmaster ranger, so there were three allied creatures on the board, even if there were only two players. If I felt like the players were taking too much of a beating, the animal companion made a good punching bag that was easy to rez if things go wrong.
    Halbert's Cubicle - Wherein I write about gaming and . . . you know . . . stuff.

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: 4e Campain for 2 PCs

    Well if they are experience enough you can let them use 2 character each or u can make 2 (0ne each) as extra character they can use

    Note: if ur the one making the character make sure the 2 other character won't steal the scene too much , it's best to place a leader and a controller so to make the pc main character still look pretty heroic.
    Last edited by tarlison; 2012-09-24 at 09:05 PM.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    Adoendithas's Avatar

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    Default Re: 4e Campain for 2 PCs

    Try having a striker and defender as PC's, then a leader and controller as DMG2 CC's. Like tarlison said, they'll tend to stay back more and be easier to run.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Tegu8788's Avatar

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    Default Re: 4e Campain for 2 PCs

    Big surprise coming from me...

    Have them play hybrids.


    Now wait, and listen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandrake View Post
    Point two is to make them a bit more less specialized. What they will lack in order to prevent a one-encounter day is to have healing. So my Warlock that is a Raven Queen fan took Faith Healing utility, and the Rogue went multiclassing into a Bard for Majestic Word and stuff. Your pair might need something else, but make them sustainable.
    The best way to make a diverse character is to make it a hybrid. I can think of plenty of good, solid hybrids that would be fun to play, and cover all four roles well. A Paladin|Warlock and Bard|Psion would make a good team, and be able to talk their way out of anything. Or a Swordmage|Wizard with a Barbarian|Cleric could make an interesting pair.

    You have a Fighter and an Avenger. Would they be open to being a Fighter|Warlord (Defender|Leader) and a Avenger|Invoker (Striker|Controller). They keep their current classes and fluff, but they now are able to do a little extra. If you're feeling generous, give them a free secondary Hybrid Talent, and suddenly you'll find them more of a challenge than you may expect.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Orc in the Playground
     
    HalflingRogueGuy

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    Default Re: 4e Campain for 2 PCs

    I completely agree with Tegu. The reason we didn't go for hybrids is that they were first-timers, and they had a good idea of "who they wanted to play" (one of them is playing a 8-year old kid).

    What I argue is that you don't have to go outside the rules by dropping HP, boosting damage, giving temporary HP, free feats or whatnot. Just make them do what they do good, of course, bumping into trouble that they are not good in from time to time. It's a free world - fleeing or change of direction or perspective during a session is even wanted (wing it). And if you see they have a resource that is much needed, but limited, as they will as well, then they can abandon some of specialization in order to acquire that (Faith Healing, Majestic Word) as they surely will want to themselves in order to survive. But that's at lest partially their responsibility as well.

    Also, healing potions, i forgot to mention those. Whenever in a parcel, give it out. Make it a not-so-uncommon thing.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Imp

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    Default Re: 4e Campain for 2 PCs

    Great ideas everyone!
    Those are some good points Mandrake I have been trying to get a good balance of skill checks and using the odd elite to make things exciting. I have not found them struggling to much but I might create a drop in PC to help them out from time to time for more dramatic encounters good idea peoples.

    As for multi classing am not sure if they will warm up to it, might suggested it to them but itís more of a thing I would do if I was the pc so might talk to you about it at some point Tegu8788 if thatís ok ok

    So we have good ideas how to make sure they enjoy it and donít die how about example where having 2 people is a bonus? With examples

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Hal's Avatar

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    Default Re: 4e Campain for 2 PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Ecoman View Post
    I have not found them struggling to much but I might create a drop in PC to help them out from time to time for more dramatic encounters good idea peoples.
    Two recommendations: (1) Make sure it's their idea for the NPC to tag along, not yours. Nothing screws with a game's dynamic like a GM-sponsored anchor, and (2) if you have access to the DMG2, make it a companion character (an NPC built using monster stat-block rules). That will make the NPC much easier to manage and it will be in no danger of stealing the spotlight from the players.

    As for situations in which two players was a good thing, I found that nearly everything that wasn't combat was just easier. RP was better because I could focus in on each person as appropriate rather than having to juggle the questions and exclamations of 5 different people. Skill challenges were more coherent, since it was easier for them to play off of each other and work together. And writing the story was easier (as much as their was for the length of the game I ran), since 5 players is practically a squad of mercenaries, but 2 players can be a much more covert force. Definitely made cloak-and-dagger type interactions possible.
    Halbert's Cubicle - Wherein I write about gaming and . . . you know . . . stuff.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    HalflingRogueGuy

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    Default Re: 4e Campain for 2 PCs

    Well, I think that the guys tried to point out that combat might be a problem. Maybe this is not precisely what you're asking for, but I have three potential ways of making combat fun and not a 2 on 2 pummel-fest:

    1 - subchallenge
    During a skill challenge to close a soon-to-be portal to Far Realm, my characters accidentally (on first fail) left open a gap, and a Grell sprung through. Now, a Grell wasn't too difficult for them to kill (note that the Grell is an elite ), but it was dangerous because it meant losing some healing surges. In addition to potential healing surge loss during the skill challenge, the whole thing was exciting, but easily controlled by me and easily abandoned by them. After killing the Grell which makes up for some combat that is always needed, they continued to try close the portal, but if they had seen it doesn't work, they'd have to withdraw from it and think of another way (that's where your plot steps in, or your improvisational skills, whatever). Luckily they were successful, but it wasn't easy and it cost them a lot, making the other encounters a tightrope walk.

    2 - in the fray
    Once, they were trying to recapture a portal room (but not everything is about portals ). Since it was in a small fortress with ramparts and since it was a band of cultist that seized it, it's unimaginable that they can do it alone. So, first, they had a special mission to somehow infiltrate the stone keep in the center of it (they climbed the walls, killed a few guards and sneaked in to find the controls for lifting the small moat bridge for their allies to enter). Afterwards, they didn't want to go out, and wanted to take the portal rooms themselves. So, I winged it. I made a combat encounter in which stuff seem to happen but in reality everything depends on them. I made a quick decision of what happens round-by-round to their allies and their enemies, making it a bit of a battle against time, and a bit of a if-everyone-dies-you-face-the-rest thing. It makes it easier on the rolls, the NPC friends don't need a real personality since they won't be appearing anymore much and they still got a climactic hallway battle.

    3 - threesome
    This is what recently happened. They did get their first and only TPK there, note that, but only because they were really cocky. And a bit unlucky.
    They were foolish and greedy enough to return to a wizard in his tower they knew they couldn't trust or worse. Also, they knew some people were looking for them in the town which were actually magically disguised Ogres, servants of a Hag coven, looking for them because they killed one of their sisters.
    This is what happened in a short and not completely correct way - they entered the Wizards cellar to get their reward (!?) and then he attacked them. At the same time, they were found by two Ogres who storm the cellar. Everyone doesn't like anyone. So, since the cellar is small, Ogres sometimes try to attack the Wizard. The Wizard must sometimes spend actions to avoid/kill/disable the Ogres. A cool battle occurs, and the fact that they have no defender is a bit put to the side.
    This is not easy to do, and you must carefully calculate the strength of the enemy and the moves they make. Try to be real to the round and do what the enemies would do in that situation. But if everything goes right, it's an encounter you make jokes of.


    Hope it helped, at least a bit.

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