a tiny party with little diversity

In recent weeks, our regular gaming group has been somewhat fragmented. One guy has family issues to deal with, another is trying to get a business going and the other well, it’s complicated. Furthermore, girlfriend DM hasn’t really had the motivation to plan the next session due to the uncertainty of its attendants.

With all that going on, I’ve been trying to get another group together. My current marks are a husband and wife pair of 3rd Edition veterans, who have always played loot-taking butt-kicking rogues and rangers. They’ve been reluctant to approach 4th Edition for many of the reasons that others have stuck with 3rd Edition, but persistence has got them willing to give it a try. I’ve been taking them through character creation in baby steps.

The campaign we’re setting up features just the two of them, with me running a silent DM character. The titular girlfriend DM might join irregularly but for now we are a 2-3 person party. Right now, I want to avoid putting them off the system by giving them a bit of freedom in choosing their classes. Unfortunately, their favored roles means a party made up of two strikers and only 1-2 slots left for whatever diversity can be mustered.

Granted, enough 4e theorycraft or stuff off the pages of Dungeon or Dragon magazine have declared that missing roles and fewer numbers can always be adjusted for. Tweak the encounter stats, choose the right kind of monsters and any party is playable, they say, and I won’t argue that. However, we’re in a unique situation here. As veterans, I doubt play skill will be as big a problem as mechanical adaptability or familiarity with the rules.

But this is a unique situation in which two complications have come together: smaller party AND less diversity. We’ve already agreed that this is a back to basics kind of game, where the beginning motivations of the characters are simple and devoid of pretention. That means a mercenary strike force that spelunks for gold, glory and level gain. (“I have no grand quest! I merely adventure for a living! Magic items and power gains are merely perks!”)

In any case, I’m asking all you 4th Edition veterans out there: How would you run a campaign with less than 4 players and a party of 50-66% strikers?

4 Responses to “a tiny party with little diversity”
  1. I am sure other people give you a different advice, I am also sure Antioch will be able to give you some advice since he posted once about running an all striker party (they kicked ass). But here are my tips:

    1) Avoid too many minions, since they lack a controller in their party it would be hard for them to deal with alot of minions at the same time.

    2) Make your character a hybrid of two different roles, perhaps leader and something else to cover some ground.

    3) Make sure they compliment each other out with their selection of feats and powers. The one man army approach from 3.x is no longer available to do in 4thed.

    4) Go out of the way and provide them with good magic items, not that would make them super powerful but perhaps would help them in different situations; Items that lets them use bursts and blasts, etc.

    5) If they go with all melee, make sure the ranged monsters are not in difficult places to reach.

  2. William says:

    Why not just have them run 2 characters? With the character builder and simplified 4e rules, it’s really not that difficult. My wife had never played DnD (or any other RPG) and she just jumped in and ran 5 characters at once while I DM the Scales of War adventure path for her. She’s now going on level 7 and so far she’s doing great.

  3. katanageldar says:

    Had this the other night with Star Wars Saga, but I was ending a campaign rather than beginning one. I actually had my players with a few followers, people who tagged along and could follow orders but only would work on their initiative count. Not a bad idea and it was a fun time.

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