1. #1

    Advice needed: 2 player campaigns or adventures (can be dungeon crawl)

    Hello,

    I'm currently planning on playing D&D 5E with 2 IRL friends - and I need a campaign or adventure for 2 players for levels 1 to 5. Or one that at least provides instructions to scale the encounters down. Any advice?

    After that, I'm also thinking of running Dungeon of the Mad Mage - is that easy to scale for 2 PCs?

    The idea is not to use DMPC, and possibly avoid NPCs (unless its story driven) - they are pretty experienced players with solid rolls (both rolled 18s). Just need to find to something that is easy to scale - can be from the DM Guild.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    LordEntrails's Avatar
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    Glad to hear you are avoiding DMPCs and excess NPCs

    IMO the biggest challenge 2 PC party will have is around available skills. Because their will just be things they don't have proficiency in. What I would suggest is to allow each to select the skills/proficiencies from a second background. With the suggestion they pick something very different from their first pick (i.e. social skills rather than athletics, etc).

    When it comes to combat, I think you will be fine if you just reduce the number of enemies by 25%. They might need some additional healing, but a few regular potions of healing or even a flask of healing that refills magically 2-3 times per day won't make a big difference and will help keep them from resting all the time.

    Don't have any specific adventures to recommend for you though.

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  3. #3
    There are a few solo Fantasy Ground modules on DMSGuild.com that you could adapt for 2 player.

    https://www.dmsguild.com/browse.php?...t=&pfrom=&pto=

  4. #4
    Zacchaeus's Avatar
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    The best adventure for this is Dragon of Icespire Peak (part of the D&D Essentials module). This has been specially written for almost any number of players. It optionally uses Sidekicks and all of the encounters are variable depending on the number of players. So with 2 players the encounters would consist of 1 or 2 monsters per player - so everything stays in balance.
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  5. #5
    Thanks for the tips all! Zachhaeus, I think I'll go for that first. I had no idea WotC was putting out official adventures for 2 players up. It's always bothered me a little that D&D kinda "forces" you to have 3 or 4 minimum players, whereas most tabletops work with 2+. Also, there's no mechanical reason for needing 4 players in 5E...in the past sure, maybe you needed a thief to disarm traps, a cleric to heal etc....but not anymore.

  6. #6
    Trenloe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by manukosta View Post
    Thanks for the tips all! Zachhaeus, I think I'll go for that first. I had no idea WotC was putting out official adventures for 2 players up. It's always bothered me a little that D&D kinda "forces" you to have 3 or 4 minimum players, whereas most tabletops work with 2+. Also, there's no mechanical reason for needing 4 players in 5E...in the past sure, maybe you needed a thief to disarm traps, a cleric to heal etc....but not anymore.
    What Zacchaeus suggests is a good plan.

    I'd recommend also getting the Lost Mine of Phandelver module: https://www.fantasygrounds.com/store...?id=WOTC5ELMOP Purely because the Dragon of Icespire Peak takes place in the town and environs detailed in Lost Mine of Phandelver - so it will give you more information and additional things to do if you wish. It's a sounds adventure in its own right, but having the two will flesh out a lot of areas and provide additional options/ideas.
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  7. #7
    I would start with Lost Mines of Phandelver. That's what I used when I had only two player's and it worked out great. However on a unrelated topic if you do use LMoP the first encounter and many of the stops in town do not have maps. If you do get LMoP spend some time on adding your own maps there are many made that you can search for. Hope this helps.


    Edit: There is a nifty little extension called "5E Encounter Calc" this will help you adjust encounters to party size by quickly doing the xp math of PARTY vs Monsters. It has kept me from doing a accidental TPK a few times.
    Last edited by Beemanpat; December 11th, 2019 at 16:50.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by manukosta View Post
    Thanks for the tips all! Zachhaeus, I think I'll go for that first. I had no idea WotC was putting out official adventures for 2 players up. It's always bothered me a little that D&D kinda "forces" you to have 3 or 4 minimum players, whereas most tabletops work with 2+. Also, there's no mechanical reason for needing 4 players in 5E...in the past sure, maybe you needed a thief to disarm traps, a cleric to heal etc....but not anymore.
    It's an observed average, not a mechanical decision. WotC spends rather a lot of time watching conventions, getting feedback etc. Most tables are 3-5 players 1 DM per their observations back in the 3.5 & 4e days. I dunno if things have changed in 5e with the huge upswing in the player base.

    I often run games for 1 or 2 players and generally it is not too hard to adjust. My way of handling the combats is to keep track of my PCs' total damage per round and total hit points. I scale encounters based on a "very rough because I'm an English major who hates math" check on how fast my PCs can kill everything under ideal circumstances, and how fast can they kill all the PCs under ideal circumstances. Generally, I try to avoid 1-round wipeouts on either side, and if there's no way the PCs can win in under 5 rounds assuming every attack hits for almost max damage, this is not going to be a fun fight unless there is something going on that doesn't involve beating every enemy (intimidation, negotiation, escape, flooding the room, etc.). Say your PCs have 22 and 38 hp, a couple enemies with multi-attack and 1d8+4 damage could potentially deal 48 damage in the first round (12 each hit, two hits each = 24, two enemies = 48). Combined your PCs have 60 hp, there's no possible way (barring criticals) they die in one round. But add a pair of 1/4 cr guards and suddenly it is possible, especially with 4 vs 2 odds possibly allowing advantage from flanking. That's the kind of check I run. Ensuring they have at least 1 or 2 rounds means they can always escape if they need to (unless they mess it up somehow). With a bigger party a bad round and one player down means there's always someone to pick them up. One or two players that's not always the case.

    On the skill checks, I really don't sweat it and don't give extra proficiencies. Instead I make sure not to inflate numbers and stick hard and fast to the actual definition of what is easy what is hard etc. Then I don't use a completely binary all-or-nothing result. I'm fond of failing forward and partial success partial failure where appropriate. For example, a survival check of 13 vs a DC of 15 for tracking might not be enough to follow the path all the way, but they don't lose the trail for long before realizing they're following a trail just not the one the bandits took. Must've been a fork back there we missed. This opens the possibility for perception or investigation to find what was missed as a second chance roll, or an encounter with bandit ambushers or a wandering monster, or a sidetrek adventure. All of which (except the monster) are failing forward. Plus they got half way to their goal so that's a partial success too.

    I use these ideas even in my big game with 6 players, because they enjoy it and it keeps the game from bogging down.

  9. #9
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    Adjust the enemy hot points down so they still deal damage, they are still dangerous, but they can be defeated.

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