I am currently running a short Pathfinder published adventure (We Be Goblins Too!) as an interlude between campaigns. For reasons not relevant to this question, I have 7-8 player coming each week. Not surprisingly, this has resulted in the combat being rather easy. I need to scale up the encounters, initially I was doubling the CR since I was doubling the number of players, but the initial low CR battle was way too easy that way. I have seen the rule of thumb being to add 1 CR per player past 4. However, since this is a low level campaign, that would mean the easy encounters triple in CR from 2 to 6 and the hard ones double from 4 to 8. That seems like a big leap.
I have a few specific concerns on how to do this:
- Is the basic formula I suggested reasonable? Should I be adding 3-4 to the CR of the encounters to adjust them for 7-8 players?
- More enemies vs harder enemies, which is better? More enemies has the problem of slowing down combat even more than it currently is. Harder enemies seem to get swarmed by the PCs and get taken out before they have a chance to do anything.
- How do I keep the flavor of the battle when I am scaling the encounter up so much? For example:
In the original campaign, a lot of the enemies are farm animals. There aren't many CR 6 farm animals.
- Can I have stealth with this many people? With this many players someone pretty much always rolls high on their perception, meaning even enemies with a +10 stealth are likely to get spotted. Similarly, if they try and sneak anywhere, someone is going to roll low on their stealth and get spotted. Should I just give up on stealth as an element of this game?
- In the future, would it be easier to just level down the players instead of leveling up the encounters. For example would it be fair to have my 7-8 players be at level 2 instead of the 4 players at level 3 it was designed for? Is there a formula for leveling the players down?
Note: I am aware there is already an RPG stack exchange question on scaling up encounters. However I don't think it addresses my problem for a few reasons. 1) It is a smaller scaling task (6 players instead of 8). 2) Most of my questions above were not addressed. 3) A lot of the answers focused on the fact there were a lot of inexperienced players where as all of my players are very experienced and some are super into character optimization. 4) That was for 3.5e where as this is Pathfinder (I know it is crimson not red, but still).
Note 2: For all of you that might point out "the system wasn't made for this many players", yes thank you, I know. We have a temporary situation we are solving with this short campaign, but it is a situation which does reoccur for us periodically. I am looking to make the best of this non-ideal circumstance, and I would rather keep all my friends around and engaged than spurn a few for my convenience.