My first challenge to overcome/ take into consideration for session one was my player party size, because I’m super keen I decided to run my first session with just two characters!
The party durability was a major factor, only two characters playing means one real bad turn and it could be game over before we know it. Especially since they were both shiny new level one characters.
When looking over Ebonclad’s session one adventure I had to look for ways to tone down fighting encounters to compensate for an undermanned party. I reduced the amount of monsters in some encounters, for tougher foes I altered attacks to inflict conditions over straight damage (blinding a pc with sand, disarming them, knocking them prone), while in others I used wisdom saves for my npc’s to test their resolve when wounded. You can find my examples rules below!
Conditions Saves (DC = 8+NPC Str) – Then the Save based on the condition. Blindness = Dexterity Sv. Stunned = Constitution Sv. Knocked Prone = Strength Sv.
NPC Resolve – I made each of my low Challenge Rating enemies (Bandits etc) make a Wisdom Save after each successful attack against them ( DC = 8 or the Damage Taken – Whichever was higher) which would either make them Frightened or Flee.
Next to consider was the teams capacity for healing, as level one rogue and ranger all they had to rely on were hit die (which went after fight one). To keep them in tip top shape and able to endure more punishment I added in a back alley doctor in the slums, who was essentially just an NPC with the healer feat who could treat light wounds for a cost (and possible risk of infection)!
Finally, as only a dynamic duo I had to keep in mind their limited abilities, they didn’t have access to a range of class abilities missing their Paladin and Warlock. With no magic available they were limited to physical skills and pure grit and determination to get them through the day.
Luckily with quick thinking the duo survived to steal another day, they managed to talk through some possible combats and ambushed other would be combatants to grind through the first session. I think most of my adjustments were successful, inflicting conditions raised the difficulty of fights without the players getting minced and having weaker enemies flee gave them chance to catch their breath.