Dungeon Crawl System Blog: Moving from Session to Session II / Low Player Turnout
by , 10-07-2011 at 01:00 AM (1617 Views)
Tonight's dungeon crawl game (based on Hidden Shrine of Tomoachan) had only three of our six players, which had me thinking about another aspect to the issue I raised in my last blog post, Moving from Session to Session, on tracking resources from session to session. Remember, in the dungeon crawl system, even short rests aren't a given, so tracking resources becomes critical to keep the threat level balanced.
If the particular players vary from session to session (again, nothing new here), then you need to have an idea in mind for how to reduce the resources of the rest of the party when they rejoin the group in the following session. If you meticulously track XP, then perhaps this isn't an issue. If a player doesn't show up, that player's character doesn't get the XP, but also doesn't have to worry about expended resources. If, on the other hand, everyone levels up together, than you probably want each character to have the same average reduction of resources.
Or not. As always, it's your call. I just want you to think about it so you can make the best decision for you and your group.
On another note, because I had only three players (at least for the one combat encounter they faced -- the other player had to step away for a couple of hours), I gave the party 1d4+1 healing fruits (that I suggested in the original article), which granted the players a healing surge-worth of hit points without actually spending the surge. This was important because, with only three characters, the encounter was about as tough as you'd expect from the standard system. Without the healing fruit, the resource drain would have been imbalanced. To the players, it probably appeared to be imbalanced even with the healing fruits, but my feeling is that the ass-kicking resulted from very bad rolls on their part and five crits in seven d20 rolls on my part. I won't, and shouldn't, use healing fruits to fix the luck of the die. A random 1d4+1 seemed an appropriate compensation for the imbalance caused by the low player turnout.