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My group is a beginner group and we have started using the HS1: The Slaying Stone module. We're a group of 3 PCs rather than a group of 5 (Which is what I believe the books are based off of).

In the back of the book there are 4 extra encounters. Should the group of 3 PCs get all 4 extra encounters to bring them up? (We'll be doing H1: Keep next). Should we get more? Less?

Thanks beforehand.

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Please don't answer in comments. –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton May 30 at 4:21

2 Answers 2

If you look at the "Encounter Budget" table, you'll notice that you're supposed to have 1 (normal) monster of equal level per member of the party. This means that, if your encounters are to be scaled to 3 PCs, you have a budget of 3*lvl*100 points. (You'll also notice that solos are worth 5/4 xp more, so that gets taken into account for these budgets.)

It sounds like you've not been scaling the adventures to 3 PCs. If you've not, simply find out how much each defeated monster is worth, and then divide by 3!

Simply put, successfully going through the same number of encounters at the same difficulty with less people will yield more experience than a "full party." Adding in more encounters would only make the PCs stronger (with a higher challenge than normal!)

The module you're using should list how to scale for parties of various sizes. If you it does not list the party size, well, your party does individually get 5/3 of the experience of what an individual in a 5 man party gets.

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An encounter of normal difficulty for a group of 3 level 1 characters should have around 300 xp worth of monsters in it. A hard encounter for the same group could have 450 to 525 xp worth of monsters. Your problem with HS1: The Slaying Stone is that the encounters are balanced for a group of 5 players, and thus have at least 500 xp worth of monsters in them.

For example Encounter 1 has 2 gray wolves (125 xp each) and 3 ravenous wolves (100 xp each). If you play that as written, that would be very hard for your players. In consequence they would earn 550 xp divided by 3 or 183 xp each. At that rate they'll reach level 2 after only 6 encounters, if they survive that long.

What you probably would want to do for a group of 3 players is to remove some monsters from the encounters. For example use only 1 gray wolf and 2 ravenous wolves, for a total of 325 xp, a standard difficulty encounter for 3 level 1 characters, giving each of them 108 xp.

Note that even with the reduced monsters and xp your group will be at least level 2 at the end of HS1 (the extra encounters are there only in case they haven't made level 2 because they skipped some encounters). Your next adventure, H1: Keep on the Shadowfell is made for 5 level 1 characters. It will probably be all right to play it with level 2 characters, but you might still need to take out a few monsters from the encounters, because for 3 level 2 characters a standard encounter is 375 xp, while for 5 level 1 characters it is 500 xp.

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