Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Published Adventures For 2 to 3 Players - Are There (M)Any?

When it comes to published adventures, there is usually a range for the number of players that recommends 4-6. (DCC RPG certainly ranges higher). That is why in my survey 4-6 players plus GM was one of the choices, and it seems to apply for 2/3 of the gaming groups out there. The question then becomes: "How do you modify an adventure to balance for a smaller / larger gaming group?"

For the larger group (or PCs of a higher level than the recommended level spread) the answer is usually to simply increase the number of adversaries. Heck, some adventures even give examples on how to do so. It's not so easy to modify the power level down, or at least, it's not as intuitive in my experience. Which is probably why we rarely see examples of how to power down an adventure.

Why is this important? Fully 25% of the groups (as per my I'm sure "unscientific survey") regularly play with a group of 2 -3 players plus a GM. Assuming folks aren't doubling up on PCs, we're talking fairly lean in numbers adventuring parties. An adventure that is level appropriate for 4-6 PCs is going to be a very tough for 2-3 PCs.

While I don't expect publishers to aim their products at 25% of an already small market, I can't think of any adventures off hand that have easy conversions notes for accommodating a smaller party.

Before someone states the obvious: "Why aren't you just writing your own adventures?" time is often a luxury I don't have, and a well written adventure is a time saver. Having to rewrite one to accommodate a smaller party can be a PITA. I've done it. Just wondering if there is anything out there that takes into account a larger possible spread in the party numbers, especially on the smaller party side of the equation.


  1. Well Goodman Games 3.5 adventures all have a section where you as a DM can scale up or down the module to how many players are in your group.

  2. I'd think that using adventures designed for lower-level characters would probably be a work-around the lack of small-party adventures.

    Hrm... perhaps a party of 2 or 3 that are 3 or 2 levels higher than the highest listed level in the module's level range?

  3. Most of the pre-genned adventures I've looked at for games like savage worlds are easily modded for a smaller group, as a lot of the fights - the bits that do seem a lot more dangerous when playing with a smaller group - are set up to include X number of goons, where X=number of PCs. Now, it's not a game where levels come into it quite so much as DnD etc. but it does work OK.

  4. @baronzemo - i may have to look at the 3.5 DCC adventures that i have

    @joseph - that may be a work around, but still doesnt cover the early levels

    @shortymonster - exactly my earlier argument - classless / levelless systems seem to be an easier fit for smaller groups

    I'm just looking to see if anyone has put out stuff aimed at smaller parties for D*D and it's offspring

  5. My technique has usually been to make groups of 2-3 each play two characters pulling the adventure back into the four to six characters range

  6. @imredave - i've done that, but it seems to put a damper on most of the "roleplay" part, or at least that is my expereince

  7. Hrm... the early levels issue is definitely a problem. You could always halve the number of creatures, but there's not much to be done with singles (like ogres) except convert them down into a weaker creature.

  8. Another approach rather than the extra character I suggested above is beefing up the party with wardogs and henchmen. Of course I am a bit spoiled as my wife is good at playing two to three distinct characters at the same time. It usually helps to have another player to riff off of, so I have not attempted too many one on one sessions of D&D even if she is playing three characters.


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