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Author Topic: Ideas For A Campaign With Only 2 PCs  (Read 1195 times)

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Offline Veretrix

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Ideas For A Campaign With Only 2 PCs
« on: August 03, 2015, 11:17:55 PM »
Hi everyone. I am wanting to run a campaign with two of my friends. I have run some games before with them but they crashed and burned as a result of one or more of the following:
1. I got bored of the setting I made
2. I was lazy
3. Their roleplaying isn't great (though better than it used to be)
4. They are too combat-focused, and not roleplay-focused
5. They get to a point where they just want to go kill stupid animals in the woods
6. They have little to no backstory for me to work with

So with those points stated, I want to have a campaign where I can start them both at level 1 and at least get them to around level 10-12 or so. I want it to be intriguing and encourage roleplaying, but also have a fair share of battle mixed in. I will definitely encourage them to come up with quality backstories and engaging character personalities, especially since the focus is only two heroes (or, knowing them, anti-heroes). Any advice that you may have, from motivational help to plot hooks and BBEG ideas are welcome here. If it helps at all, I use the Pathfinder system, but just the rules (and some I use loosely, interpret myself, or just add for fun or convenience); I have never used the Golarion setting.

So with all that out of the way, this is my idea for a possible level 1 starting adventure (bearing in mind two level 1 PCs):
The PCs begin in a fairly large covered wagon drawn by two horses. The driver is taking the PCs and the other passengers to a fairly well-known trading town deep in the woodlands. After likely engaging in small conversation with the other passengers, they hear the sound of whizzing arrows and panicking horses. When they peek outside, they find both horses and the driver dead, shot with crude arrows of goblin or kobold creation. The PCs must now protect the passengers from the assailants and lead them to the town or other suitable shelter before some of the more dangerous denizens of the forest find them.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2015, 11:32:50 PM by Veretrix »

Offline axlerowes

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Re: Ideas For A Campaign With Only 2 PCs
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2015, 03:44:01 PM »
Sounds like a reasonable first day. Tell us more about your players and their characters.

Offline Veretrix

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Re: Ideas For A Campaign With Only 2 PCs
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2015, 09:16:33 PM »
Sounds like a reasonable first day. Tell us more about your players and their characters.
Neither player has actually created a character for this campaign. I haven't brought it up with them yet. However, if we divide all classes into a simplistic Mage, Warrior, Rogue organization, then one player tends toward Warrior characters and the other tends toward Rogues.

Offline Strolen

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Re: Ideas For A Campaign With Only 2 PCs
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2015, 09:39:05 PM »
Hack and slash. You will have to keep them rolling dice, that is what they like so don't shy away from it. Develop your story but don't let them take control of what they are killing.

Find some random encounter tables (actually, by find I mean build your own) that go the direction you want them to go.
Others may know where to find it, but give them those moral conundrums too in order to make them think twice about "I attack the noise" type things.
-Like the come across a man being beaten by three other men. If they save the man on the ground (maybe killing the men beating them, they will soon come across three (now) widows burying their children that the man they saved killed.
-Or the group of small orcs growling in the woods. They automatically kill them but then are accosted by their parents who are good natured and have been assisting the local village with a wolf problem (or whatever). They just killed the orc's children that were simply playing in the woods.

Stuff that like where they have to say, "oh s**t, what did we do?" If nothing else, it will make them appreciate random encounters more. Can't do it too much because it takes away from their hack and slash, need plenty of other normal one-off encounters that will keep them busy for long enough to keep them going but not too long to derail your objective for the night.

Also every night, have them decide if they are going to stay up on watch. Who is on watch, when they will wake up the other etc. And for every one or two hours, roll the dice behind your screen. You will find them staring at your eyes as you roll to see if they are attacked, ambushed or hear something. Tease them with your reactions. Then either follow the dice or fudge it but give them an occasional night encounter as well. Never let them see your rolls!! Sometimes it can just be normal forest sounds, other nights it is normal forest sounds and they find a xxxxx stalking them, other nights they are just plain ambushed all of a sudden. Keep them guessing, that is fun for hack and slashers. Again, develop a nice night encounters random chart that has stuff on it that might go along with the plot you are stringing them along on.

https://strolen.com/viewing/30_Dragon-Related_Plots_and_Encounters
https://strolen.com/viewing/Shallow_Waters_Encounter_List

We have a lot of encounters like that, tons actually, so it isn't so much on finding some small encounters but for you to decide what you will be working towards as they build all 12 levels. We can always point out our favorite side quests. If you start with the dragon at lvl 1 when they are so weak it is truly a monster from a tale...you can end with them defeating it...the ultimate score. Before that you can have many side adventures that last a night or two but almost always have a quick, small encounter with a dragon every other game or so to get them really pissed off and hunting it. Nothing is worse than an enemy that taunts them and keeps getting way...except an enemy that taunts them, defeats them during several encounters steals there stuff and still gets away. :) That rule applies for any bad guy. Cult leader, mad mage, theives guild, whatever. As long as they recognize his handy work, he escapes, and/or they are actually defeated by him, it is great having a recurring bad guy.

Dragons are fun a cliche...but they are dragons and some of my best adventures when I first started were the simple dungeon crawls and dragon hunting. Don't try and be too fancy and don't underestimate the solid, tried and true fantasy tropes!

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Offline Veretrix

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Re: Ideas For A Campaign With Only 2 PCs
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2015, 10:24:45 PM »
Cult leader, mad mage, theives guild, whatever. As long as they recognize his handy work, he escapes, and/or they are actually defeated by him, it is great having a recurring bad guy.

Thanks for all the advice Strolen. It was all very insightful. I do use my own encounter tables from time to time, but I can get kind of lazy as far as what's on them. I kind of like the idea of a thieve's guild that has the town that the PCs are arriving at in the palms of their hands.

Another idea I had (and please feel free to say what you think or whether I should create a separate post), was to have a scenario not unlike the Salem Witch Trials, which in my players' cases could mean hunting down supposed witches and then finding out it was just Granny Matheson from three houses down who knows how to make a mean apple pie. But they might kill her anyway because of "witch trial paranoia".

Offline Strolen

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Re: Ideas For A Campaign With Only 2 PCs
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2015, 08:08:23 PM »
It is not so much what we think, but if you would like running it. That is the answer you seek. If it sounds fun, go for it! Localized mysteries have never been my strong suit (or my groups). The most obvious clue in the world to your eyes can be a enigma of unknown proportions to others.

I just think back to my group at the beginning. We were definitely hack and slash and loved it, but combined with a fun continuous plot line, you don't have to get intricate like a witch trial mystery to entertain your players. Sounds like they might be happy just killing a monster. But if the monster is tied to something bigger, well, you are building up your world and their place in it.

Your ideas in the other thread are brilliant. I would stick to those and try to tie a bulk of your encounters to discovering a clue about something associated with your overall theme and keep them moving. If you do the witch trials, tie it into you overall plot somehow...like a curse by the cult leader to stall them from getting to the next town where they just xxxxxx and now they arrived too late. Something to make the players feel like they are known in the world, known as a threat and now they can direct some anger to the baddies because they have been manipulated. More fun when it is personal.

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Grothar Rockfury - Dwarvish Guild
Minor Minion - Cartographer's Guild
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Offline Aramax

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Re: Ideas For A Campaign With Only 2 PCs
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2015, 11:44:34 AM »
How about them starting a fledgling thieves guild or barony,forcing them to RP with thier underlings while providing plenty of action
Thieves guild-vrs Adventurer guild other thieves guilds(maybe a LOT of other thieves guilds),bribing and fighting the town watch
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