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When determining the average party level, it says to add 1 if the party has six or more players and subtract 1 if there's 3 or less. The party as of this Saturday is going to be 3 level 1 characters due to one person not being able to show up. I would imagine the APL can't be 0 but I don't know what it should be.

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This isn't strict rules as written, but here we go:

The purpose of APL is to determine appropriate CRs for encounters the party faces. The experience point awards table goes below 1, but not to 0 - it goes 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/6, and 1/8. It seems sensible that you could put your party on the same scale, so that three level 1 characters have an APL one step below 1, or 1/2.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That's what I was thinking as well but of course I wasn't sure so I figured I would get more opinions on it to see what people think \$\endgroup\$
    – TVKILL3R
    Feb 19, 2016 at 22:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ What would break were the 3 PCs APL 0? I mean, wouldn't an individual CR ½ or lower monster round down to 0, making even a lone CR 1/8 creature a challenging encounters for the 3 PCs, and is that a problem? (I mean, determining encounter difficulty is all that APL's used for anyway, right?) \$\endgroup\$ Jan 13, 2017 at 7:31
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APLs were designed for 4 players, so I just divide whatever resulting number I get when adding the levels by the normal 4 instead of 3, and round accordingly.

For example:

  • 3 level 1 PCs means a total PL of 3, divide it by 4, and you're at 0.75 APL.

  • 3 level 4 PCs means a total PL of 12, divide by 4, and you're at APL of 3.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site. Take the tour. Gamemastering on Step 1--Determing Average Party Level says, "You [the GM] should round this value [average part level] to the nearest whole number (this is one of the few exceptions to the round down rule)." Thank you for participating, though, and it's cool of you for trying to help strangers. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 13, 2017 at 7:33

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