Rise of the runelords for 3 players. Suggestions ?

Rise of the Runelords

What are your suggestions for running Rise of the runelords for 3 players ?

What can I do to make it work for 3 players ? They are experienced players, although 2 of them not familiar with pathfinder yet.

I am planning on using core stuff only.

I was thinking of adding a fighter NPC with them (or wait until they find Orik and make him a part of their group) or give them one more level than what they are supposed to be. I was also thinking of giving them full hit points when they level.

What you guys think I should do ?

Having a GM PC is probably the easiest. Changing numbers like level, hit points or point buy gets so tricky because some encounters those things matter more than others. I'm about to start Hook Mountain with 3 players, and I chose to draw up various NPCs (Hemlock, Ameiko, Shalelu, etc.) to have them accompany the PCs. It's worked out really well, since a large part of the Adventure Path (at least at first) is building a strong connection with the town and the townsfolk. It's also allowed them to choose which companion they want with them so it's always felt like it was their party, and not the GM PC to the rescue!

I have been running as is so far with 3 players(psychic warrior human, warlock halfling, and druid elf with an hawk animal companion) but they are experienced players. I swept in once with Shalelu while the were in the catacombs but other than that they have been doing fine. We are going old school and running it 3.5 they will tackle Thistletop next week all are now level 3. I think the extra experience and loot should keep them going. I will allow them to take an npc with them if they suggest it.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

You can run this with 3 players. My suggestions:

1) Use 25-point ability buy.
2) Give the PCs one additional bonus feat at 1st level. I would restrict that list to the feats that give a bonus to skill checks (e.g. Alertness, Stealthy, Skill Focus).
3) Use Hero Points.
4) Make sure one PC is a healer.
5) Place more healing items as treasure.
6) Modify treasure troves to give PCs appropriate gear. (Actually, you should always do that.)
7) Encourage use of animal companions.
8) Contrive a way for a PC to get the Leadership feat for free. (e.g Orik Vancaskerin swears fealty to a PC.)

I'm generally not a fan of running an NPC with the party.

When ever we have a short handed party we introduce the NPC Ban Daid.

He is a merciful healing cleric who has sworn off violence but knows that the PCs are doing the right thing so he aids in their adventures. He is 1- level below the rest of the party and is played by the PCs. Every round his character sheet is passed from one player to the next and his action is decided by that player. Normally he just cowers, casts bless, bursts, heals, or removes afflictions. Since he carries no weapons he can't flank and will normally go a the bottom of the round.

It's an easy work around for the party and works well with my players since none of them ever want to play a cleric.

I was about to suggest an NPC healer too. Unless one of the party really wants to be a healer. I like Mage Evolving's way he handles it, with the passing of the sheet. Sounds incredibly useful. Maybe have him take a vow of pacifism, so he won't hurt a living creature.

Parties with five or six players could often walk through some of the encounters, largely because of the way actions effect a combat on a side. Your players may simply not have enough actions to get the job done quickly. So combats will go more rounds.

- give them toughness as a feat for free, particularly if they don't have a healer and you don't want an NPC healer, to let them have a little more survivability for the longer encounters.

- make them mythic. Most of the mythic abilities have ways for them to get extra actions, which could balance out the lack of a player.

- be generous with hero points and encourage the use of the extra standard action part of hero points.

Just some thoughts.

The healing role is boring so ya probably make it 25 pt if they're noobs and have a cleric red shirt NPC.

Grand Lodge

When I ran a 3-player game, I had a constant cast of 4th-party-member-GMNPCs rotating out in the story. Eventually, when things settled down in the story and the PCs knew where their "home base" was going to be, those tertiary characters sort of set up shop in that area. Suddenly they had a "Suikoden experience" where when they knew they were going to be adventuring, they'd choose one to take with them.

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