Suggestions for a deluxe-size party


RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

So I've always been fond of large groups, and don't usually find them that hard to manage, but Pathfinder, with it's attention to game balance, can get a little tricky. With my new Kingmaker campaign I have nine PCs (most of whom are amoral buggers, several on the shady side), slightly large even for me.

My question then for my fellow GMs (as well as players with constructive experience) is on what worked for you, and what didn't, as well as what strategies help with resizing encounters without adding precariously to combat time and session length.

No summoners, esp no Master summoners. I’d also see if you can get rid of animal companions, and active familiars (a familiar that isn’t doing much is OK). No Leadership. One Summoned creature per side at a time (note this also restricts the DM, to be fair).

In other words, one character per person.

Can you tighten up the “amoral bunch”? Give them all a solid background, why they both NEED and want to act together. And talk to them OOC, and emphasize this.

Have a assistant DM who will run Initiative, including saying “Cohen, your turn. Bob, you’re up next”. No “I delay”. Delay means Full defense.

Spellcaster must have their spells up and ready, book open to that page, 3x5 cards or whatever.

No coaching.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Heh, I'll definitely keep the spell-casting advice in mind. We have 5 casters (4 arcane, 1 divine). The one summoner is a Synithisist, which - while it has it's own problems - at least solves the multiple character problem. The Cavalier in the party has a mount, but the mount seems mainly to be used for battlefield mobility, and goes on his initiative, so that shouldn't be a problem. The Wizard is using a bonded item rather than a familiar, so no issue there. They're all 1st level, so it's pretty easy to cap any extra allies from this point forward.

The interesting point alignment wise is, while they're all mostly neutral, about half are Lawful, and only two are evil (one is good, but enjoying a low wisdom and playing being relatively oblivious). Three are Chaotic Neutral however - it remains to be seen how much of that is CN for the role-play & how much will actually be problematic (the closest we have to the classic CN/CE "jerk" character is actually LE, so I've already got my work cut out on that front - the rest are all pretty well behaved, good role-players).

Wow, I suggest HIGHLY no Synthesist. You will have to spend a lot of time double-checking his build, which means you need to read about a dozen threads and every FAQ. Then, you guys will spend about half the table time arguing about rules for it. Not to mention they tend to be spotlight hogs.

Mounts are usually OK, sure.

I have no experience with a party that size, but I would be tempted to give on of the PCs "stopwatch duty" - every player has 1 minute from the start of their turn to declare what action they're taking (which does not count the time spent to resolve the action,) and if they haven't declared it by then they're on total defense.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

My advice from another thread on this topic::
ban Leadership
ban summoners, and in fact all summoning spells
ban animate dead
ban animal companions and familiars; force players to pick alternate class features such as druid domain or bonded item instead (mounts are OK unless the player insists on his mount taking full attacks in combat instead of being a vehicle for charges--if so, ban mounts)
use a low point buy
use narrative level gain instead of XP

In short, ban anything that would add MORE friendly combatants. Your players will cry and whine but that's the price of a large group.

Play as you would normally play, but be more prepared for the session, do all your encounter tweaks beforehand (I suggest increasing individual enemy power before increasing number of enemies, it seems to work better if you just have one or two extra enemies that's tougher than normal).

I've got a game with 7 players (plus an Eidolon and Animal Companion) right now and it's not an issue unless you don't have your shit together.

Then it's a BIIIIIG issue.

Banning Eidolons and Animal Companions might be a good idea, but also making them go on the same Initiative order fixes a lot of the problem. Large hordes of Undead, and extra PCs (Leadership) I still say are a no-go however.

ALTERNATIVELY: Break up the group into a game of 4 and a game of 5 and run on different nights/alternating weeks.

Dark Archive

I never ran for THAT many, but I did run a 6 player game for nearly a year. Near the end (about 15th level) I was reduced to handing out requisition forms so that characters could write down what they wanted their characters to buy/craft/or find (if I was feeling nice). It worked out well for cutting the "shopping" time down to almost none. I did make sure to stress that it was a requisition form...not an acquisition form. I had the right, AND FREQUENTLY DID, deny anything or everything on the list. AND I never let my players gain any more than a handful of items per session, not including mostly mundane equipment, ammo, etc.

The other idea is (what I've been doing recently) in my 4 or 5 player games is ban magic item crafting and only allow drops.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

So far combat hasn't been much of a problem, but then again, 1st level parties usually resolve combat quickly, thanks to low HP & lack of options, no matter the number. I'm a bit more worried about down the road with that: the six-man campaign I was just in ended at 13-14th level and combat craaawled.

Leadership won't be a problem for a while, and I'm currently planning on restricting it to the Bullet-Points: 2 Options for the Leadership Feat article from Super Genius Games, so folks can have non-combat flunkies.

I like the requisition idea! I've already got an Obsidian Portal site up for the game, and have been stressing the players make full use of it, so perhaps I can encourage that sort of game prep/transaction through there. I've already stated we'll be handling all Kingdom and Crafting management through there, so that's less things to have to manage at table. Now if I can only figure out a way to get them to handle loot division in a similarly less slow way...

I have considered splitting the group up (and, in fact, was what I did the last time I ran KM), but having the free time to do so may not be an option.

I was concerned about the Synthisist, but the player has been bending over backward to assure me what I says goes for him, so I'm letting him run it for now (he's also running it in conjunction with a home-brewed bird-race built up in the ARG - a serious labor of love character - with the understanding that if the character proves too much she will be carried off by amorous Owlbears and never be seen again).

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Advice / Suggestions for a deluxe-size party All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.