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Surrounded

If you play D&D 4E with only three players, you have to make fights easier of course. But with only three characters, the players have less tactical options. So you should consider giving them the possibility of surrounding an enemy.

If the players surround an enemy, that enemy grants combat advantage to all players. Additionally, every player gets a +2 bonus on attack rolls against the enemy. If the enemy cannot be flanked, it also cannot be surrounded.

How to surround an enemy? The players have to position themselves evenly distributed around the enemy. Let’s look at an example. Assume the enemy is medium sized.

xxx
xEx
xxx

There are eight squares surrounding the enemy. Three of them will be occupied by the characters, so there are five left. These five squares need to be evenly distributed between the three players. So between the players, there must be two times two squares and one time one square. This allows exactly the following two situations (plus symmetries, of course):

Pxx
xEP
Pxx
Pxx
xEP
xPx

For a large creature, there is only one possible constellation. Around a large creature, there are twelve squares, or nine squares not occupied by players. So there must be three squares between the players. This allows only this possibility (plus symmetries):

Pxxx
xEEP
xEEx
xPxx

I guess, you can figure out now, how you have to arrange your party to surround larger creatures.

Of course, each player must be able to regularly flank the enemy. For example, the players must be able to attack it, must not be dazed and so on.

This is a first sketch of a part of the guide to playing D&D with only two or three players, that I’m currently working on. Please tell me what you think about it in the comments.

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2 Responses to “Surrounded”

  • DarkplaneDM says:

    I run a weekly campaign with only three players and have never felt the need to alter mechanics or make encounters easier. It always goes smoothly. If anything, I give them encounters at least three levels above the party level to make things even approach challenging.

  • Tobias says:

    Then your players are probably quite combat tactics savvy, aren’t they?

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