I have been playing Dungeons and Dragons for a while now as a player. I've recently started up a new game that I am DMing. I am going to run the Kobold Hall adventure for starters. The problem I have is that I have only two players, a paladin and a warlord, I fear that the dungeon may be too difficult for them as I believe it was designed for a party of four to five level one characters.

I want to decrease the dungeons difficulty but am not sure by how much. I've heard that an encounter should yield about a tenth of a levels worth xp (so 100 per character at first level, per encounter). Is this correct? By this logic my first room should contain one kobold slinger and one skirmisher. That doesn't feel right to me. Appreciate any help!


2 Answers 2


If you have access to the DMG (if you're DMing, you're going to want it) page 57 has a chart listing how much XP an encounter of level X for a group of 4, 5, or 6 PCs should be. You ought to be able to modify this for a group of 2 fairly easily by taking the XP for a 4-person encounter of the level you want and dividing by 2.

In case you don't have it handy, here are the XP totals for a group of 2 for the first 10 encounter levels:

  1. 200xp
  2. 250xp
  3. 300xp
  4. 350xp
  5. 400xp
  6. 500xp
  7. 600xp
  8. 700xp
  9. 800xp
  10. 1000xp

Remember that not every fight should be the same level as the party. Fights of the party's level are average difficulty (or easy if the party is optimized), fights of lower than the party's level are easy (or speedbumps at best if the party is optimized), and fights that are higher than the party's level are hard (how hard again depends on party optimization). Generally any fight of less than party level -2 or -3 is too easy, and any fight of party level +4 or more is too hard for all but heavily optimized parties. The same range also applies when selecting monster levels, so monsters should be within 3 levels of the party; a single regular level 10 monster might be the right amount of XP for a level 1 encounter (in a 5-person party), but its defenses and attack values will be much higher than the party's.

Thus, if you want a typical fight for a level 1 party with 2 PCs, you should use 200xp worth of monsters. If you want a challenging fight for a level 1 party with 2 PCs, you should use 300xp of monsters. You can compare a fight's XP total to the recommended XP for a 5 person to estimate what level the Kobold Hall fights should be, then turn it into an appropriate fight of the same level for a 2-person fight.

That said, paladin and warlord is a relatively good 2-person combination (as long as the paladin has a good MBA), so you might find that you need to add in a little extra XP worth of monsters. If you find that adding monsters makes combat take too long (paladin & warlord combo has a lot of healing, but isn't a damage powerhouse), try going back to the normal number of monsters, but double their damage and cut their HP in half.

  • \$\begingroup\$ And the dragon at the end? How would you recommend i make that encounter easier? Half health? \$\endgroup\$
    – Archwillow
    Jan 11, 2013 at 17:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Half health is probably a reasonable thing to try. You might also consider replacing it with an elite or two of the same level. \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage
    Jan 11, 2013 at 17:38

I'd suggest for you to read this blogpost. It addresses the problem you are having very clearly.

In summary, have at least one healer (in your case the paladin can partially fill this role), and give the players some healing resources like a wand of Cure Light Wounds. For the encounters: for any encounter involving multiple creatures, halve their hit points and reduce their number by half; for any encounter involving a single creature, reduce them to minimum hit points.

  • \$\begingroup\$ You realize this question is about 4e, right? \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage
    Jan 11, 2013 at 17:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ObliviousSage Whoops, my bad. I guess some of the info is still useful, as are the calculations and justification, but it's less edition-specific. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dakeyras
    Jan 11, 2013 at 17:14

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .