Rules Index | GM Screen | Player's Guide

Chapter 1: Gamemastery Basics / Special Circumstances / Unusual Group Sizes

Small Groups

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 33
Small-group games focus more intently on the interests of the players and their characters, allowing for an experience that can be more customizable for each individual. However, they can also run into trouble when the PCs have gaps in their abilities. In many cases, the easiest way to adjust for a small group is to add additional characters. This could come in the form of allowing each player to play two characters or adding hirelings and support NPCs to the party to shore up roles that the PCs don’t fill. When adding GM-controlled NPCs to the party, it’s important to be sure that the PCs remain the stars of the show. In general, GM-controlled characters shouldn’t make major decisions, and they shouldn’t outshine PCs at their primary skills or roles (for more information, see GM-controlled NPCs). You can also use variant rules like dual-class characters, free archetypes, or even just a few extra trained skills to help improve the PCs’ overall flexibility.

If you don’t add additional characters to the party or modify the PCs, it’s a good idea to tailor challenges and storylines to their abilities as well as player interest. For example, if you have two players, a rogue and a bard, a heist could be a good fit. In combats, carefully consider how the PCs will fare against each opponent. Some monsters are particularly likely to incapacitate a single PC; in small groups, use such creatures carefully and consider raising the encounter difficulty and XP awards beyond what a creature of that level is normally worth. Meanwhile, creatures that depend on affecting or damaging large numbers of PCs at once might be less effective.