I am currently DMing the Curse of the Crimson Throne Adventure Path and the party just hit level 4.

For several reasons, we ended up with a party of 6+DM, while the AP states to be best balanced for 4+DM.

The increased number of players led to easier encounters (especially if everybody manages to dogpile on the same enemy), with less enemies that manage to act after their morale threshold is met (e.g. this enemy runs for their life if under 15 HP) but before they get into the negatives.

I have tried, as an experiment, to raise the HP of one enemy to 225% (+50% to account for the higher damage dealt by 50% more opponents, thus leveling the expected survival time of the monster in turns, then again 50% more to account for having the opportunity to damage 50% more opponents) and still I think that the lower number of players disabled (grappled in this case) or the more frequent debuffs on the monster would have needed an even higher HP count to really produce the same level of risk and of expended resources for the party.


  • The players are only getting 66.6% of the treasure they would usually get and I get told that Adventure Paths are pretty strict with how much treasure is obtainable to the PCs.
  • The players have not found (once) or have not tried to gain (out of good roleplaying like not killing someone they didn't need to or just not robbing them) something like 4000 gold already, plus the equipment of a CR 4 NPC
  • All the road from level 3 to level 4 has been a treasureless encounter and several plot-related XP prizes (I'm not using XP, just leveling up characters whenever the book tells me)

This led one player to wonder if I'm not being too stingy. He's worrying about not being able to tackle higher level challenge if they keep being underequipped.

Maybe 6 underequipped PCs will be as strong as 4 regular PCs, maybe they won't be able to buy needed items and I'm worried about that. Should I just give them all gold a character of their level? Should I factor the gold they should have gotten and multiply it by 150%? Keep in mind that the town the PCs are in is...

in unrest or anarchy condition, and unable to trade.

Since I don't want to spoiler the adventure, I will address @ShadowKras question about random encounters frequency in a spoiler.

The adventure has you roll a 1-in-5 chance of random encounters every night spent in town, except if the characters sleep in a costy tavern or at the Citadel. It also has you roll once per day of travel but PCs aren't travelling. So I only had to roll random encounters twice, the night they faced Gaedren Lamm (no encounter) and the night they slept at Zellara after speaking with Ileosa (a lone Zebub who I figured could have been working for Ileosa: he summoned swarms to test the PCs and then teleported away). PCs are sleeping at the Citadel since then (free food and free shelter in a safe place).
Since I'm not using XP, I have not raised the encounter chance "to get characters to the suggested level".


3 Answers 3


No, you do not have to make any changes.

These adventures are designed for a range of party sizes and strengths. And the Pathfinder (and D&D) progressive system is designed to self-adjust. More PCs more than make up for individual PCs being slightly weaker from gear spread. The XP/treasure/CR system is designed to automatically flex within bounds to keep groups on track.

Furthermore, Pathfinder APs are not spectacularly difficult, and Curse of the Crimson Throne is specifically not highly difficult (though very enjoyable). Later in the AP there will be a lot more wandering outside the city with choices of places to go and choices of how quickly to take on areas/giant dungeons; parties can go slower/faster as their current state allows.

I played through this AP, and by the end of CoCT our party had some ridiculously sick treasure. Don't sweat it.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ There are some AP's that are very difficult... but I agree CotCT was not one of them \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 26, 2018 at 17:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso I'm admittedly adding archetypes to most enemies (since players can access maneuvers, enemies should too). \$\endgroup\$
    – Zachiel
    Commented Dec 9, 2018 at 17:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm giving out levels when the AP suggests it, so there won't be underleveled but more numerous PCs and the autoadjustment you speak about. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zachiel
    Commented Dec 9, 2018 at 17:09

Yes, you need to give them more gold. Giving them less money than expected will not just make them weak; it will make them imbalanced, in that your martial characters won't have the magic weapons the game expects them to have, and will suffer more than the magic characters in the group.

It's true that you could do this by just handing out gp as the game master, in the same way that you hand out levels. But a better approach would be to add additional money to treasure chests until your group reaches wealth-by-level. If you're worried about your martial characters' ability to find a store to buy the weapons they need, a good solution is to give them appropriate magic weapons by adding them as equipment to the NPCs they're fighting. I used to do things like this when I ran D&D-3.5e and it worked pretty well.

You've also asked about balancing the challenge level. When I have a large group, I try to keep the challenge level balanced by multiplying the number of monsters -- ie, if the encounter called for six wolves for a four-character party, I'll use nine wolves for a six-character party. I'll try to adjust the wolves' tactics so that everyone fights at least one wolf. My philosophy is that it's not a good combat unless each of the characters gets attacked at least once. (Unless, y'know, someone is going to unusual lengths to avoid getting attacked.)


It depends.

You don't need to give more treasure to help the party keep up. (A party of six can certainly tackle this AP with only the gear that's written into the AP.)

That said, you might consider it anyway, if either:

  1. It's making specific party members underpowered (e.g. martials without magic weapons, who therefor can't overcome foes' resistances), or
  2. If it just isn't fun for the party not to get any "new toys". (Some parties will care, others won't.)

Either way, with a party of six you may want to consider other ways to increase the challenge. Increasing HP (as you mention) can make an encounter last a bit longer. The other main levers I'd consider are:

  1. Add additional foes to encounters, to balance the numbers, and/or
  2. Consider having the party level slower than written, if they're still not being challenged.

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