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Specifically in the context of running the Dragon of Icespire Peak adventure (from the Essentials Kit) for one player, is this adventure designed for a party of 2 characters?

I ask because I plan to run this for one player, and the intention seems to be to add a sidekick to the party to help out the main character (i.e. my player's PC).

From Running for One Player:

If you’re running this adventure for a single player, you can give that player a sidekick as a secondary character. Let the player choose one of the pregenerated sidekicks from the selection of Sidekick Cards. Rules and stat blocks for sidekicks appear in the rulebook. You might need to help the player run the sidekick for the first few sessions. If a sidekick is lost or no longer needed, the character can return to Phandalin and acquire a new one.

The fact that it says "a sidekick" implies that the adventure expects you to have a party of 2 characters. This is further supported by the Running for Multiple Players section:

If you have two or more players, the easiest way to start the adventure is to assume that the characters know each other and have some sort of history together, however brief that history might be.

Since this makes no mention of sidekicks, it implies that having only two players (and therefore a party of only 2 characters) is fine.

Generally published adventures are designed for a party of 4 characters, so I just wanted to make extra-sure that this one was designed for 2 characters (i.e. that a single player only needs one sidekick added to the party, not two or three). Does it say this explicitly anywhere that I've missed, or otherwise imply that it is balanced for 2 characters?

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It's designed for one to five players

The Overview states what the adventure is designed to accommodate:

[...] You can run Dragon of Icespire Peak for as few as one player or as many as five players. Each player starts with a 1st-level character.

Later, in the First Session: Character Creation section, the adventure suggests an adjustment that you need to make if you are running it for only one player:

If you’re running this adventure for a single player, you can give that player a sidekick as a secondary character.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @NathanS the second part of the first quote is "Each player starts with a 1st-level character." Deals with characters \$\endgroup\$ – illustro Feb 1 at 19:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually, that's a good point, I missed that on my first reading. Comment removed. \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Feb 1 at 19:26

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