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Thato
Human
(8/4/03 6:36 pm)
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I have 10 players, what do I do???
Yesterday I began DM'ingThe return to the temple of elemental evil, and my group that generaly goes from 5-7 people, got to ten when, in the first time no one failed to go. Now I have the "small" problem that I have 10 PCs (1 druid, 1 figther, 1 ranger, 1 cleric, 2 monks, 1 bard, 1 rogue, 1 rogue/psionic and 1 wizard), all at level 3 and nearly all of them tending toward neutrality and chaos/law. What are your sugestions on handling such a large group (specially regarding the high encounter rate and the EL) provided that I cannot divide the party due to certain conditions that don't come to the case...


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After the ninja killed the cleric he turned toward the sleeping guard, awoke him and told him "you saw nothing"

ZansForCans 
Litorian
(8/4/03 7:05 pm)
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Re: I have 10 players, what do I do???
I can't speak from experience, but I seriously can't imagine that a game with 10 players is going to be fun for you or them in the long run. Combats themselves will be excruciatingly long, I would imagine. My group of 5 has trouble coming to consensus when role-playing, with 10 it sounds like a full-fledge committee :)

I'm sure you've probably thought of these things, but if I were you, I would beg, plead, and/or bribe them to split into two groups or trim down.

As for advice if you have no choice, you are going to have a very tough time rebalancing the adventure for such a large group. If you just start bumping up the power of individual foes, you may be setting up the campaign up for a very high number of PC deaths since the BBEGs become very overpowered against a single PC that they target each round. A TPK will probably be very rare, though.

The other option mentioned sometimes is to increase the HP of the foes. I would consider this as well, but don't recommend it as your sole method. With your group getting 40% the XP per PC of the standard group of 4, they will level much slower and the same power imbalance might begin to show shortly after they start tackling the CRM.

My inclination would be to increase the number of foes for the encounters, rather than bump up the power of foes. With those numbers, they can probably take down most of the early major encounters by sneezing in unison. However, this will only make for even longer combat sessions for you (see 2nd paragraph ;) ).

Good luck with your embarrassment of riches!


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Faen
(8/5/03 5:51 am)
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Re: I have 10 players, what do I do???
I ran 10 players through a 3e converted Slaver (A) Series.

This is what I would do:
1) Be organized.
2) Just flip flop between monsters attacking and PCs attacking. That way you don't need to keep track of initiative.
3) Find one or two people in the group who have a good grasp of the rules. Whenever you are uncertain of a rule ask them to look it up and explain it to you.
4) I wouldn't change any of the encounters.
5) Maybe add some sidetreks.
6) Try to limit side conversations in some way.
7) Keep a list of class, levels, spot, listen, and hide values for everyone in the party.
8) Try to convince someone to keep an adventure journal/log.

Infiniti2000
Verrik
(8/5/03 6:48 am)
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ezSupporter
Re: I have 10 players, what do I do???
You alluded that you cannot split the group, but if at all possible, convince one of them to become a co-DM. That would help tremendously.

I have run large groups before and it is no picnic. Everyone had "fun" but nowhere near as much as with fewer people. With this large group, I find it unlikely that you will finish the adventure, so it's probably best to consider alternatives. I suggest you post this question in the DM's Only forum, but you can leave out the reference to RttToEE because it is really irrelevant.

Andorax
Verrik
(8/5/03 6:53 am)
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Re: I have 10 players, what do I do???
My personal experience suggests that the best thing is to split the group. Find a way....somehow.

You'll get through one or two encounters a night, and through many of those, PCs in the third, fourth, and fifth ranks of an enclosed area won't get to do *anything*.

Adjusting to allow for the size of the group will be nigh-unto-impossible to balance, without creating a worse meat grinder than this module already is.

I really don't think this is a tenable situation at all. Split 'em 5 and 5, DM 'em every other week, use experience gained from each group to be better at running the other, and be able to give everyone a part to play, a chance to participate, and an opportunity to really enjoy themselves.

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

Thato
Human
(8/5/03 9:27 am)
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Re: I have 10 players, what do I do???
I really apreciate all this feedback in such a short time, To tell you the truth we always play in large groups, and we have a lot of fun in doing so, because we already understand each other. The problem is that it is my first 3e adventure with this group since I've managed to handle the grup when I was a "mage the ascension" DM. but with this particular module I feel that there are a lot of encounters that may damage the gameplay, but if I take those out there will be no experience at all for any of them.

I'm taking your sugestions into account, I particulary liked the log file, but I have to make something urgent about the encounters.

Thanks you all for your kindness...

After the ninja killed the cleric he turned toward the sleeping guard, awoke him and told him "you saw nothing"

Offgall Fizziwigg
Faen
(8/6/03 9:27 am)
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Re: I have 10 players, what do I do???
10 players would be a challenge. They will advance slower, but even 10 4th level dudes will be a strong force to take into any situation. If you do this, I would imagine that many enemies would run from them or parley first. I don't think the Lareth would try to fight such a large group. I would not run the adventure with so many people though because it would be so chaotic. IMC, the fight at the main entrance was chaotic enought just running so many bad guys. I couldn't imagine keeping track of 10 PCs! Jeez, I would tell half the party they need to start their own game. Maybe run two separate RotTEE games at the same time with two DMs.

KnightOfRound 
Human
(8/11/03 5:41 pm)
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Fear not
A 10-person campaign is doable. I've ran a successful 10-person campaign for a looooong time.

That being said, it's VERY stressful to DM! What I suggest instead is to have two seperate RttToEE "groups", and play them within the same timeframe in the same campaign. But if you don't want to do that (I didn't) here's a couple pieces of advise:


1. Don't use CR for giving out experience
The tables given in the PHB are not bent towards a 10-person book. If you use the CR system I believe you will find that although your PCs will level up fine to level 6 or so, it descends into a downward spiral after that. I suggest scrapping CR whatsoever. Instead, make up a formula that will allow basically every character to level up after 16 hours of gameplay (Roughly 4 hours/week for a month). Everyone in the group should level up as often as they would in a normal group. Then include a modifier that YOU control in case they have too much XP or they need more. Here's what I used:

Showup XP:
Everybody always got 1,000 base XP just for showing up and staying until the end. 500 XP if they had to leave before hand

Combat XP:
Depending upon how the PCs performed in combat, the average player would receive 1/8th of the XP necessary to gain their next level each 4-hour session.

Roleplaying XP:
Depending upon how the PCs performed in roleplaying experiences, the average player would receive 1/8th of the XP necessary to gain their next level each 4-hour session.

Bonus XP:
Adjusted for outstanding acts of brilliance or stupidity. Basically the DM's way of adjusting the party's average level.

I like using this system with players new to D&D because a lot of the XP is free at lower level, when the players make lots of mistakes. But at higher levels, the only way to get a decent chunk of XP is to perform well. I found that by using this XP system I could encourage my PCs to handle combat more strategically (in hopes of more XP), and even non-violently.



2. Have the party elect two or three people to talk to the NPCs. It streamlines everything. The players can still talk to each other and inject comments for roleplaying XP, of course. If your group is like mine, you'll have some people who don't want to talk anyway.



3. Record each PC's skill in: Spot, Hide, Listen, M.Silently, and roll a couple d20s before every session to pre-determine some results. This is to reduce the most-used skill checks, which bog down gameplay almost as much as combat. Besides, I think its realistic for a PC not to know how well he "saw" or "heard". Of course you can do otherwise, but you really want to reduce those dice rolls!


4. Try to reduce combat rolls as much as you can. Consider allowing your NPCs to "take 10" on all combat rolls. (Attack, saves, initiative, etc.) The same goes for your PCs, although that takes out pretty much all dice rolling...which is half the fun of D&D!



5. Get some type of miniatures and a battle grid. They are invaluable. Personally I had a Lord of the Rings miniature game set lying around and they worked perfectly for us. I used Go chips for walls on the battlegrid, and legos stuff for NPCs.


6. Carefully consider your mix of characters. You need at least 2, possibly 3 devoted healers for any low-level party. Your current setup is fine if your druid and cleric want to play like that, but if one wants to be war cleric or an elementalist then you really need more healing power. You are also heavy on melee, which could be disasterous in dungeons; the hallways and tiny rooms will probably be too small for everyone to squeeze into melee range in combat. Also the single wizard is going to have a heck of a time providing enough utility spells such as invisibility, fly, water breathing, etc. to the group, even with the cleric and druid to help. What I've found works best in a 10-person party is this: 3 melee classes (at least one of which needs to have high HP and AC), 2 dedicated healers, 1 "thievish" class, 2 Arcane Casters (at least one of which needs item creation feats, and at least one of which needs to have utility spells), and the last two can be filled for flavor. (Bow Rangers, Bards, Psionists, etc.)

7. Require each PC to make a back up character before playing. Mortality rate is high in large-scale encounters because getting surrounded in melee pretty much equals death at lower levels, and the effectiveness of higher level spread spells (fireball, lightning bolt) can cause HPW (Half party wipeouts as I like to call it, because usually half of the people can roll the save ;) ).

grimbold
Human
(8/11/03 11:49 pm)
Reply
Re: Fear not
Just don´t pull punches on them, soon the group will have shrunk (due to PC deaths) to a manageable size...

:evil :evil :evil

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