DamageCtrL wrote:Sorry, if I was little unclear on how the deaths occurred. The first one happened as the full party began to enter Room 12 from the West. The Elven Fighter/M.U. fell into the pit and died. The other two decided to go back to Room 1 and explore towards the west.
This was their error; loss of a party member is a good reason to retreat and seek assistance (i.e. a replacement PC).
DamageCtrL wrote:They entered Room 3 and the Stirges attacked. After the first combat round, they decided to retreat. As they ran, the dwarf was killed. The thief managed to escape.
I'm not sure I would state they were foolish, rather just inexperienced. They didn't check for traps and the pit traps as designed don't give clues to their presence. Maybe I needed to give them some subtle warning to help them. After the pit encounter, they began to check along the passageways from Room 1 after figuring out how their friend died.
Good! This is how players learn. As to giving a subtle hint, yes, if you're training inexperienced players, it's good to give them a helping hand. Just be careful not to make it too much of a habit; AFTER the session is over, you may want to point out where you "helped" them, and mention that you won't necessarily make it that easy next time.
DamageCtrL wrote:Also, I think the odds were not in their favor with these monsters. They were 1st level party with hit points of 3, 6, and 5. While the monsters' hit points are about the same, their group size is enough to make the player characters have to retreat from most encounters. Was that the intended design?
As I said earlier, it's probably as much a factor of party size as anything. I really should have marked it "4 to 8" player characters, and explained in the introduction that a smaller party might be able to succeed if they are higher level. My playtest groups consisted of a large (6 PC) group of inexperienced players, and a smaller (4 PC) group of experienced players. So if you'd like, tell your player's it's my fault.
I'll see to it that the next release updates those items.
DamageCtrL wrote:I appreciate the XP suggestion but do you have some thoughts on how help them initially? Maybe scale down the number of monsters (thinking of groups) until they reach Level 2? Or reduce the monsters' hit points by some factor?
I'd recommend reducing numbers, rather than weakening the individual monsters, unless that just doesn't make sense.
DamageCtrL wrote:Do you (on average) rescale dungeon encounters if the player number is one or two players short of the design? You mentioned 4 to 8 players as an update. I could have them encounter a friendly NPC to increase their party size.
With experienced players, I allow two PCs per player. This works really well at lower levels, where mortality is high... RPG theorists will tell you that you can't identify properly with two characters, but honestly in an old-school game you don't identify with your character very well until he or she has survived a couple of levels.
A friendly NPC or two is not a bad idea either. Or, you could allow your players to start with 2nd level characters. Incidentally, I'd recommend using XP totals rather than level counts for starting PCs at higher levels. For instance, give everyone 2500 XP; this starts almost everyone at 2nd level, but doesn't give an unfair advantage to an elven fighter/magic-user.
DamageCtrL wrote:You mentioned that if one loses a man out of the party that they should retreat. Are you referring to retreating from the encounter or leaving the dungeon?
Generally, out of the dungeon.
In old-school games, low-level characters often have to do this a lot. Not very heroic, but you don't get to start being a hero.
DamageCtrL wrote:Also, if the entire party dies and the players want to explore the dungeon with new characters, how do you reconcile the players' knowledge of the location with the characters' ignorance?
If you have a choice, don't kill them all.
Remember, you're running the monsters here. Assuming you're using one of the optional death rules, being reduced to 0 HP doesn't necessarily kill a character. Intelligent monsters may choose to bind the wounds of downed opponents, then hold them hostage; or, again depending on what rule you use, one or more characters might just wake up after the battle, stripped of valuables and standing at minimum HP (negative if you're using that rule). They drag themselves back to town, half naked and wounded. Roll dice like you're doing encounter checks, but don't bother to actually read them. The local NPC cleric might take pity on them and heal them, and with the addition of new PCs to replace those that did not survive, they could plan their return to the dungeon to take revenge and get their stuff back.
These are the things that stories are made of.
DamageCtrL wrote:Sorry for all the questions. I appreciate all the advice so far.
Hey, no problem. Happy to be of assistance.