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Most encounters are scaled down by removing monsters from play. However, solo monsters are designed around a 5 player party.

What is the best way to scale them down to be an interesting fight for 2 people, preferably while keeping them a "solo"?

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This comment brought to you by the letters T, P and K. –  Adriano Varoli Piazza Dec 7 '10 at 19:30
    
Amusingly. I ran the encounter I have planned in a solo game where one player was controlling 3 characters. It was a complete wipe (both sides taken out by ongoing damage, then failed death saves.) and I'm rather proud of that... –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Dec 8 '10 at 11:17
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2 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Solo's are supposed to be worth 5 normal monsters (thereby suitable to face 5 PC's ... erm ... solo)

Elite's are worth 2 normal monsters. I'd think you could re-template the solo as an elite and come pretty close to an appropriately tough encounter.

  • Reduce the HP by 60%
  • Lose an action point
  • If it is one of the newer (MM3 or later) solos, I'd lose whatever bonus attack action the critter has.
  • Reduce the saving throw bonus to +2 instead of +5
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Eventually - but this really depends upon the specific solo - there could be some monster's attacks that become really tough against a duo (e.g.: a triple or quadruple attacks, something that imposes action-draining conditions upon more than one target, etc.). Quite a case-by-case decision here. –  Erik Burigo Dec 7 '10 at 7:59
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Use the XP Budget and don't alter the Solo- this is especially useful if the PCs are beyond a certain level.

What level is your party of 2? Let's say these are a pair of 7th level heroes. A 7th level monster is worth 300xp. Which means you can use around 600xp in an encounter for a standard, and maybe boost it up a bit for a harder one.

A level 2 solo is worth 625xp, and the one example from the compendium (a soldier-type) has an AC of 22 or so, and a main attack of +8. if that's not high enough you could get a level 3 solo: I think lurkers work well. If I made any alteration at all, it would be to change the attack bonus only to be the same as an equivalent level monster to the PCs. It's ok if the AC is low, and hit points are going to be arbitrary, regardless.

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I think pitting a pair of level 7 characters against a level 2 solo is going to be a real cakewalk... The PCs will have something like d20+3(level)+2(magic weapon)+3(proficiency)+4(stat) vs ~22 AC, so hit 65% of the time, while the monster is rolling d20+8 vs a probably similar AC so hitting 35% of the time. –  Simon Withers Dec 8 '10 at 2:02
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PCs generally have Level+8 or so attacks against AC. Enemies have Level+14 AC. Level 7 versus level 2 means +15 versus 16 AC. 95% hit rate, give or take. Have you tried this out? –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Dec 8 '10 at 11:14
    
Yes. Try not to get too hung up on the stats- because 1) you can change them. and 2) it's ok for the players to win quickly in certain situations. It's also ok for the players to hit every time, as long as they take a bit of damage in the process (which is why I only advocate messing with the to-hit bonus). The even statted method that we consider standard in 4e gives you a longer battle, but a longer battle isn't always the most interesting possibility. Relaxing the standards for monsters also clears the way for players to make more interesting characters and not be so focused on optimizing. –  Peter Seckler Dec 8 '10 at 17:58
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