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I'm playing with a 6 character group in the H series of modules, Keep on the Shadowfell and Thunderspire labyrinth, which are both intended for 5 players.

Frankly the combats are usually too easy, sometimes the DM adds an additional monster to the mix, but not on every encounter. I would hate for him to have to break every fight down to xp and then rebalance them all.

Is there some easy way to rebalance 5-player modules for 6-players?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Incidentally, are you using the Monster Manual 3 damage update? I found fights were too easy until I started applying it. With it, I can stick strictly to the budget and expect a good fight that knocks someone unconscious, but doesn't kill anyone. \$\endgroup\$ – valadil Nov 16 '10 at 19:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ Easy solution: kill a player! :P \$\endgroup\$ – LeguRi Nov 16 '10 at 19:56
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Add one standard monster (or 4 minions) to every encounter.

This will give you the right XP by the book to add to the encounter in order to account for the additional player.

I would recommend adding monsters from the following groups:

  • minions (If the party has a couple AoE's, adding more than 4 should be OK). When in doubt add minions, particularly minions whose level is 1 under the party. You can add a lot of those guys and let the party go to town on 'em.
  • skirmishers (can generally move and keep the battlefield fluid, threaten the back lines)
  • brute (high damage, but low defenses. These will keep combat fast and exciting)
  • lurker (Keep the back line of the party really nervous)

And not recommend adding these too often:

  • controller (tend to apply deleterious status effects and/or restrict movement. Too many of those aren't fun)
  • soldier (these guys are a pain to deal with. Too many can bog down combat)

These should almost never be added:

  • elite (too much xp)
  • solo (WAY too much xp)
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Also remember to increase the amount of treasure that is given. If you're using the parcel system, the DMG recommends an additional magical item of level + 2 per level. \$\endgroup\$ – briddums Nov 17 '10 at 4:04
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The DMG says to budget 20% more XP for a fight with 6 players instead of 5. Instead of redoing the fight entirely, I think he should clone the monster whose XP is closest to 20%.

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