Running a game for two players?


Bouncing around ideas for a two-man paladin gestalt game, like a buddy cop thing against all the armies of hell, for if, when my friends and I go to university, we can't find more players.

The smallest group in which I've ever played is 4 (plus GM) so I wouldn't know how to adapt things for a much smaller group. Aside from changing the CR, obviously. Though maybe this would be offset slightly by the gestalt. Then again maybe not, due to action economy.

So I was wondering if you had any general advice for running a two-player game? My main worry is how to resolve the issue of if one player drops, half the party and half the skills are gone.
How have you got around this, if at all, in your games?
Have you encountered any other problems a small party brings?

Thanks for any advice and stories! :)

If someone leaves your two person game, you find someone new or it dies, end of story. But that's kind of a risk you have to take when you're running with a small group. In general, it's best to build towards the characters skill set. With a larger group, PCs can come up with solutions to just about every kind of problem, but with a two person group it's way easier to come up with an encounter that the PCs simply CANNOT solve. If they have no way to attack an enemy at range, for example, and their enemy can fly then they are just screwed. You as a DM have to be much more aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and you must always plan accordingly to keep things fun for them.

Oh sorry, I didn't mean drop as in leave the group, I meant it as in the character got knocked out or died in battle, it becomes twice as dangerous for the only surviving player left. :) I was wondering how that's dealt with, should the GM aim to spread the damage out amongst the two rather than concentrating on one character?

But thank you very much! Great advice on looking more closely at the players' various skillsets and what they can achieve. Thank you. :)

Silver Crusade

Don't make it obvious, but there's always a reason that the bad guys need these 2 alive. So if something goes wrong, they go to jail, or they go to the dungeon, or they get sold into slavery, or they get tortured for information.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

When I GM for 2 players, I prefer for them to play 2 characters. Then you can have a normal party of 4. It also lets you be more brutal (if you want to!) because if you kill on character, the player can still play.

Usually when I do this, I SUGGEST that they each play a martial and a spellcaster. It also helps if they're pretty different, personality-wise.

When I've been 2 PCs, I played a CG Halfling ranger/rogue and a LG Human paladin/cleric, who bickered a lot. I've also played a CG chaos gnome dragon shaman wannabe Sherlock Holmes (a really bade idea!) and a N dark (template for shadow-plane creatures from 3.5 Tome of Magic) whisper gnome ninja (3.5, not PF). One was Charisma-based and a bit of a troublemaker, the other was a terse and laconic and "practical" (assassiny) loner-type. His favorite food was gruel! :-O

I even GMed a newbie who played a gunslinger and dual-wielding rogue and wasn't overwhelmed from playing 2 PCs.

It can be a little taxing and there's twice as much book-keeping, but you can see if your players would be interested in running multiple characters.

Or, you can GMPC a character that helps the group when you think a fight might be rather tough.

If both players are gestalt paladins make sure they both memorize Hero’s Defiance. If they are half orcs the feat ferocious resolve will also help keep them up and going. Another thing that you could do is run a mythic campaign. The extra HP from mythic tiers will help keep them up, and the hard to kill ability will make it harder to kill them. A mythic half orc paladin with ferocious resolve and fey foundling is really hard to keep down.

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