So I'm running Curse of the Crimson Throne for three PCs. If I really have to I can have an NPC tag along, strictly limited to a support role. But I'd rather see the three PCs take on the AP. So what's needed for a three-PC party? It seems like a martial is needed and arcane magic is needed. But what of the third character? Maybe a Paladin or other character with a bit of healing? Or is a full-fledged healer needed? Can a Rogue-like character be dispensed with? Is there some synergy that would help the party overcome encounters built for four PCs? They'll have slightly better stats than a 15-point buy (choice of 4d6 or 20-point buy if you don't like your rolls), so that should enable some MADness if needed.
|Dox of the ParaDox twins|
|Mark Thomas 66 RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16|
|Create Mr. Pitt|
Wizard, Reach Cleric, (both can summon and buff), and Bard is not bad as it will enhance itself, the clerics, and summons. Other useful third options include druid, empiricist, bloodrager, or a simple barbarian.
You could also go a more varied trio: inquisitor, bard, shaman. But in the end I think the cleric is really useful to get in there and there's nothing like a wizard for flexibility and upping action economies.
I'd think just about any combination of the 6th level casters would do quite well.
Hunter, Summoner or Divine Hunter Inquisitor are all great on their own with a solid tank pet.
Magus, Warpriest and Vivisectionist Alchemist make great melee damage dealers.
Bard, Mesmerist, Skald and Investigator work to shore up most gaps.
Honestly I find them all better than all the rest. If I could banish all the 9th level casters I wouldn't hesitate. I find them more balanced (save for the normal summoner) and versatile than all the other classes.
Personal note though, depending on your PCs level of optimization, it shouldn't be too big of an issue. I tend to find the Adventure Paths far more forgiving than stuff any GM has built for me in my 20+ years. If run mostly straight I find I don't need to optimize a character at all for them and always have room for more flavor-over-power character options.
I really appreciate all the options people are coming up with. One thing I should mention is that the players are relatively new to 3rd Ed/Pathfinder stuff (they've played a few 1st/2nd-level modules, but nothing more), and I think gestalt would get too complicated for them to have fun. I do think the 6th level caster idea might work, although I wonder if they'll be powerful enough by the endgame of the campaign. I'll definitely show them the ideas in this thread, though.
|Darigaaz the Igniter|
Hunter or Druid plus their animal companion, Inquisitor or Oracle, and pick any of wizard/witch/magus/bard.
Echoing a post I made a few years ago, I recommend a bard for gmpcs. Access to basic healing magic, can cover all the knowledges the party didn't pick up, can be built to be buffing focused so it never outshines the pcs, and cha focus + umd is always handy. Just don't give it any ranks in bluff or diplomacy. Do have it play up the party's exploits while in town to build some fame.
|Just a Mort|
One thing to keep in mind about 6th level casters is they often get early access to spells so often have the spells you really need. They also usually have a lot of other abilities besides spells that make up for not getting higher level spells. Most of them also get more skill points per level than other classes which will be important with fewer players.
One combination that would actually work well would be a Hunter, Skald, and Magus. Have the hunter take augmented summoning. Augmented summoning and raging song stack so when it comes to combat you can have the hunter summon natures ally and the skald boosts them further with raging song. Raging song has no limit to the number of creatures it can affect, except that they all have to be able to hear it. This means that the entire party can get the benefit including the hunter’s animal companion and summoned creatures. The hunter provides a way to put the action economy in the player favor, and the skald boost the effectiveness of the summoned creatures way past normal.
All the characters will have decent weapon and armor selection and decent combat abilities. They all also have decent skills and special abilities. Between the characters you will have enough magic and access to key spells.
I would think:
* A cleric or druid (both melee-capable 9-level casters with access to status removal and summons)
* An oradin (an extremely tanky frontliner with powerful in-combat healing and easy ability to be the party face)
* A ranged character - wizard, ranger, slayer, gunslinger, arrowsong minstrel, explosive missile alchemist, etc.
That should be a pretty well-rounded group that wouldn't suffer from the small party size. Allow access to the trapfinder trait if you're concerned about traps.
Slayer for melee and Thieving skills
Magus for Arcane backup Melee
Inquisitor for healing Access, Social Skills, and good in a fight.
Summoner, with Eidolon for Melee and choosing Summon Monster spells in the spells known. Summoners also have pretty good buffing.
Oracle, Life or Battle, buffing and healing
Investigator for Skills,
And allow the Leadership feat.
Curse of the Crimson Throne
After looking over the players guide. I read the AP a very long time ago. So I know the general out line. It is all based in the city. This makes some classes not make sense or work as well.
Gives you two front line melee characters.
Cavalier (Huntmaster) : Dog animal companion. Then dipping one to two levels rogue. To gain trap finding, possibility evasion.
(Gives you a full arcane caster with social skills.
Sorcerer, or Summoner
Gives you a full divine caster. With special ability's.
Cleric (Evangelist) (Reach Weapon)