I'm new to DMing, and I'm running the 5th edition starter set Mines of Phandelver. The starter set calls for 4 people, but my crew is 6.

I ran our first night tonight, to try and get a handle on DMing mechanics and stuff, thinking that if it was too easy for 6 that I would adjust it accordingly as we went through.

Needless to say, they have plowed through the first arc of the campaign with terrifying ease. Partially due to the fact that there is six of them, and partially just because they rolled pretty good stats.

How do I make this a little more challenging for them? I was thinking about just adding additional monsters, but is this a situation where I'd actually want to change enemy stats to make them more challenging? How would I go about doing something like that?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Related, not an exact duplicate but the answers there should cover your needs. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Oct 23, 2014 at 2:31

2 Answers 2


This will unfortunately require a bit more work than you probably want to do when running the starter, but it's doable. You need a copy of this document. Take a gander at the second to last chapter and there you will find the encounter construction rules.

Basically what you need to do is find the encounter construction rules, reset the XP budgets to be for 6 players, and then rebuild each encounter with the appropriate number of monsters.

I would note that this is completely optional. You can run this straight up, let your party mow through it, and simply chalk it up as a learning experience.

One last suggestion if you don't want to change anything at all, is to adjust monster HP and damage. This is something I've experimented a bit with in my games with fewer people, but it's something that is definitely worth trying as monster HP and Damage are significant scale factors in 5e. Each monster has their average HP and damage listed. use a midpoint between their average and their high.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the suggestion. I'll probably experiment with altering HP and damage, or I'll add another monster or two to encounters. This is my first time DMing, so in the end its a grand experiment after all. Despite their ease of play, my players seemed to enjoy themselves, which goes a long way. \$\endgroup\$
    – K.Niemczyk
    Oct 24, 2014 at 2:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @K.Niemczyk Welcome to the club! :). HP and Damage are pretty easy tweaks, and if you're already using the static values from the modules, it shouldn't be hard to bump them up a bit (like I said, pick a midpoint between the max and the average...maybe average +1 or something) if you feel like your players need a bit more of a test. Though my #1 advise to new DMs is don't be afraid to talk to your players about what's going well and what's going poorly, and what you're thinking about changing to make it easier/harder. \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Oct 24, 2014 at 2:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Figured I'd give a bit of an update. I didn't do any adjustment for the first 'dungeon'. So far I've only modified a single encounter, but they're also plowing through the second 'dungeon' fairly quickly. Mostly because they have been having insane rolls, and I apparently can't to save my life. :) Also, to any other new DMs out there, don't try to do it with more than 4 people on your first try. I am having trouble keeping track of which conversations are in character and such. Not bad, but it's slowly things down and very confusing at times. I plan to adjust future encounters for difficulty. \$\endgroup\$
    – K.Niemczyk
    Dec 4, 2014 at 3:22


Behind that screen you are able to do anything. Toughen up the critters HP, add more to their number as required.

Do it before hand so the game is still authentic.

There will come a time when the party is stuffed and on their way out and you have a choice of a wondering monster throw or not. They can get lucky then. In mean time - let em have it!

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    \$\begingroup\$ This answers only whether or not they CAN edit the campaign, but doesn't provide any guidelines or advice for doing so. \$\endgroup\$
    – Aiken
    Oct 23, 2014 at 7:24

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