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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    TheKoalaNxtDoor's Avatar

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    Default Advice on running a three person campaign with short encounters.

    Hey, so i've been planning to start my first campaign with just three players, one of whom is the DM for my game, (experianced) and two of my friends who have never played before. Because the game me and my DM are in is relatively slow and social (max two encounters a meet) and it is unlikely it will move much farther than early paragon (if that), i'd like to make this game a little faster paced. So lower people with fewer characters to manage, less monsters for me, faster leveling, faster fighting. I know that because two players will be completely new to the game, it's unrealistic to hope for quick step encounters right away, but I'm hoping the adjustment and learning won't take too long. They both like improve, and one did online RPing via WoW, so I think it shouldn't be too hard.

    To run things more quickly, i've been doing (close to) double damage, half HP for the monsters. Because it's a small group, i'll be recomending a sort of defender/striker/leader type group, with everyone able to hold there own. My DM has made a paladin with avenger multiclass, but is willing to fill any gaps in the group should the others decide that they don't like the leaders or strikers. I'll run a pretty loose ship, saying yes to most every idea, with leveling almost every 3 encounters for heroic tier. I'll recomend everyone to plan a few levels in advance so we won't have to stop constantly and wait for people to figure out what they need. We are starting at level 3, and no psionics except monks, who are considered divine and have religion base trained.

    So if anyone has any advice on how i should run things, or suggestions for good builds for the players, or anyway to run this how i'd like it with a little less hassel, i'd love to hear about it, especially if you have run or played in a similiar game.
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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: Advice on running a three person campaign with short encounters.

    Well. To me, saying yes to most ideas and implementing them in a way that works is something you should always do. But that aside.

    You might be overkilling a little bit. If you're doing double damage towards a creature with half HP and leveling every 3 encounters, there'll be little to no challange and ALOOOOOOOT of leveling. Personally, when I run groups this small, I usually don't raise the Exp value since they each get more exp than a larger group since fewer people are taking their share. What you might want to do is think over your encounter design and award EXP for other things. as well as give them slight edges in some stuff. Many slight edges becomes enough, trust me. I've done groups of 2 people and taken them trough adventures intended for 6.

    As for encounters; not everything needs to be monsters. Bank on terrain, traps, hazards, anything that awards exp but doesn't actively combat the party but still add to the challange. It's a good way to keep the exp-gain high but the risk fairly low to a party playing with care.

    You might also want to up the exp gained from completeing quests and award good RP.

    You might also want to avoid long chains of encounters and bank more on allowing rests and healing often. One houserule I did was to allow HP (but not surges) to return to full after each fight. It kept them in combat-ready condition but made each fight exhaust the characters more and more.

    Finally; consider loot and companions. You might want to up the loot, or the level of it, as to accomodate any lack the party ends up having even after you adjust the encounters (avoiding to use enemies that will be too much of a bitch with the low number of players. Such as combining Controllers with too many soldier monsters). You might even want to throw an artefact or two at them that can scale with them as you go.

    And as I recently mentioned in another thread; NPC companions. You don't need to make the party bigger. But make there be other fighters on the good side. Perhaps, as they take on the job to clear out the orc stronghold, they meet a guard who's patroll was ambushed by the orcs, but he made it off to get help. And finds it: The PC's. You make him join them, adding an appropriate level monster-stats NPC on their side. And voila. Once the mission was done, he'd leave. Circumstatial edges.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    TheKoalaNxtDoor's Avatar

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    Default Re: Advice on running a three person campaign with short encounters.

    Alright thanks. I don't really plan on keeping track of xp, mostly just using it for finding appropriate leveled encounters. I'll level them up when i feel that it's appropriate. The main reason I'm trying to make everything go so fast is that almost every game i've been in has been a sort of "meet every two-three months and do one or two encounters" and no plot or story ever really gets established, or actually gets very far. I've put a lot of thought into this world i've made and the plot i've gotten together, and i'd like to at least get somewhere with it. If they roll through the first three encounters without any difficulty in a very small amount of time, then fine, i'll adjust. I'm flexible, and can think on my feet, so if i find that they're able to drop the monsters in one hit, then i'll fudge the hp or add some more monsters with more hp.
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Tegu8788's Avatar

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    Default Re: Advice on running a three person campaign with short encounters.

    You want a fast game? After every game, everyone goes up 3-5 levels.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tegu8788 View Post
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