Options for boosting a three person party


Advice

Sovereign Court

Background: We're in the midst of Strange Aeons, still in the first book. The GM made a Gnome Fighter NPC to follow us around, and the last session we played, the little Gnome bit the dust. So rather than creating a new NPC, the GM offered to give us some kind of power up to help compensate.

Suggestions made so far:


  • A bonus level (so, we'd all be one level higher than what we would normally be);
  • An extra +2 to one ability score;
  • A feat every level instead of every odd level;
  • Gestalt (I made this suggestion, but it's likely to be turned down);
  • Other?

So, my question: for a 3 person party, what would be considered a good boost in party strength among the first 3 items listed (or another suggestion of equivalent power) instead of having an extra body on the table?

The party consists of a Halfling Rogue, a Gnome Barbarian, and my Gnome Cleric.


Arassuil wrote:

Suggestions made so far:

A bonus level (so, we'd all be one level higher than what we would normally be);

This isn't bad; Pathfinder's CR system would rate a party of four level 2 PCs to be worth 2400XP if they were enemies. A party of three level 3 PCs would be worth 2400XP as well. Similarly, four level 14 PCs are worth as much XP as three level 15 PCs.

Arassuil wrote:
An extra +2 to one ability score;

Sounds like a pretty minor enhancement compared to an extra level.

Arassuil wrote:
A feat every level instead of every odd level;

This is awkward because it's worthless at level 1, but pretty good by level 15.


An extra level (staying above the expected APL for written encounters) and/or extra wealth (staying above the expected gear) would probably give the biggest bang for the buck with the least drawbacks. They are also the easiest to continue to keep in balance in minor ways by the GM.

I would consider something like an extra feat or two, maybe even ignoring a single prerequisite or something to get a higher power feat earlier, but a feat each level would get out of hand later on.

The bonus to 1 ability is pretty *meh* in terms of helping out. Something more like a total of +4 to one stat and a +2 to Con may be closer to making up for another character.

Really though, 3 people is not that bad and the GM could just cut back on the encounter a little and sprinkle more healing consumables in. However, I know nothing about Strange Aeons.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

I have a group of 7 starting Rise of the Runelords tomorrow. I am compensating for the group size by giving every creature the advanced template but I kept initiative and DCs the same. However, I still have the original stat blocks so I can balance the encounter on the fly. I assume the sweet spot will be somewhere in the middle.

My thought is that perhaps your GM should balance the encounters either before hand or on the fly so you get the maximum challenge (and thus the maximum sense of accomplishment) Matt Colville does a good job of explaining how to do this on his youtube channel.


In order of power
1. Gestalt
2. Feat every level
3. Significant Wealth Increase
4. Bonus Level
5. +2 to an ability score

The ability score increase is piddly but every other option is a solid power increase. Having played with parties of 2 people(as a dm and a player) I can honestly say it is perfectly balancable for lower numbers of party members with just some minor adjustment to encounters. That said my players really love gestalt and only want to play gestalt now. Gestalt is fun if you can get them to try it


Dastis wrote:

2. Feat every level

3. Significant Wealth Increase
4. Bonus Level

It would take quite a few feats to be as good as an extra level. An extra level can give you a feat, and extra hit points, and BAB, and saves, and class features, and casting level, and new levels of spells.

Since the group is probably only level 2 or 3 at the moment, it would be a long time before they'd build up enough feats to compensate for all that.

(I can't really judge the wealth increase, since it just depends on how much.)

Sovereign Court

After some discussion, it would appear that we'll try the extra level.

Thanks to everyone for their input.

(I'd love to try gestalt one of these days, but it probably won't be this game).

The idea is to keep the adventure the same as written, but to compensate for only 3 people instead of the standard 4.


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Arassuil wrote:
Background: We're in the midst of Strange Aeons, still in the first book. The GM made a Gnome Fighter NPC to follow us around, and the last session we played, the little Gnome bit the dust. So rather than creating a new NPC, the GM offered to give us some kind of power up to help compensate.

Stumpy? Nooooooo! Poor little guy.

Seriously though...

Quote:



  • A bonus level (so, we'd all be one level higher than what we would normally be);
  • An extra +2 to one ability score;
  • A feat every level instead of every odd level;
  • Gestalt (I made this suggestion, but it's likely to be turned down);
  • Other?

So, my question: for a 3 person party, what would be considered a good boost in party strength among the first 3 items listed (or another suggestion of equivalent power) instead of having an extra body on the table?

The party consists of a Halfling Rogue, a Gnome Barbarian, and my Gnome Cleric.

The bonus level early stops meaning much once you get to mid to later sections of the AP unless your GM makes sure you're always 1 level ahead. In other words, when the AP says "the PCs should be X level before facing..." your GM inserts X+1, always. That will work as long as he sticks to the formula.

Gaining an extra feat every other level would certainly play out well, though probably OP, particularly by mid to later parts of the game.

I've never played gestalt, so I can't comment, but it seems you don't think it's an option anyway.

I will be running Emerald Spire for my Sunday group (my son, his friend, and one GM PC) starting this week or next. The way I've been handling it is 1 extra trait for free and 2 skill points per level for free plus free knowledge (local). We regularly play 25-point builds, too, for which I normally have to beef up all of the encounters, but refrain from doing so in 3-man mode. I split XP as if they are a 4-man party, too, so they don't advance beyond the ability of the AP to counter them.

That's it. For the first 3-man campaign I ran, they stomped through Ire of the Storm and were doing the same in House on Hook Street before we got back to our normal AP (Giantslayer). The 2 free skill points meant they were free to put skills in necessary areas while maintaining good coverage with various knowledges. I've heard Emerald Spire is rather difficult, so I may give them a free feat this time, too.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

A halfling Rogue, a Gnome Barbarian and a Gnome Cleric.....I can see why your GM thinks they need a bit of a boost......

(Puts on shades)

......They're a little short.

(Ahem....I'll get me coat)


That group lacks arcane badly, so....A shadow bard! Or an artifact that can cast buffing spells or other force multiplier effects. Let the team decide what it can cast. Slowly give it abilities.

Another idea is Hero Points and be PLENTY abundant with them so they use them for the extra actions. Resources that add rerolls/actions/saveyourbutt are good in reduced numbers.

Mythic, limited mythic also possible, as in giving them a single tier etc.

Free TOUGHNESS feat. This helps a tonne.

Throw in a lot of extra consumables of decent level, a lot of wands with buffs, strong potions and scrolls. You dont want an extra "body" but otherwise I'd have reccomended Summon Scrolls, wands or figurines.

As an afterthought asking the rogue to consider a different class. Otherwise I'd strongly reccomend giving it full bab and d10 hp.

Edit: Free Team Work feat every so often. For example, as a reduced number they will get outnumbered often so moving around is tougher. Escape Route is amazing (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/general-feats/escape-route-teamwork/), Outflank, Swap Places etc also decent.

Ability to Shield Other given to the Barbarian for example.


Alright I have a good one!

Free Variant Multiclassing.


1. Bonus Level is going to be best of the lot because it's a straight up upgrade.
2. A Feat every level is a bit weaker at first, but RotRL will make it pay dividends in the end, as you'll have a half dozen more soon.
3. Any significant wealth increase would fade in 2-3 levels if not constantly reinforced in the loot/
4. A +2 to an ability score or even 5 extra points on the build are effective options, but my fourth. In a regular game, it can be unbalanced, but they might need it.

Gestalt is my least liked solution, unless you are all familiar with the rules.


With a feat every level, you could trivially give everyone in the party full-level companions.

Action economy > all.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Everyone gets a henchman!

Each PC gets to control an NPC warrior, expert, or adept. They should be designed for ease of play and survivability. Lots of static feats like Toughness, Dodge, Iron Will, etc. They shouldn't outshine any of the "real" PCs, but they should still be useful enough that they help in combat without draining healing resources. Give them nice big weapons and Vital Strike at BAB = +6 so they still make 1 attack per round. I would suggest keeping them the same level as the main PCs, since a lot of the PF math is level based.

Maybe let the rogue and cleric control a warrior, and let the barbarian control an adept.

We played in a campaign like this (the PCs were taller!), and it had a really fun Old School 1st Edition feel. It improved the PC action economy, but not so much that it overwhelmed the GM's encounters. Also, the GM can take the kid gloves off and kill PCs (or at least knock them down to the negatives) without making a player sit there fiddling his thumbs. He will have a spare character to control, and if the GM is being really deadly and kills 1 player's 2 characters, he can just take over another player's henchman.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Advice / Options for boosting a three person party All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Advice