Two Player Campaign

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I am working on a campaign and have encountered an unanticipated problem - low player turnout. (I'm not implying that I'm hot ****, it just didn't occur to me that this would be an issue.) So I have two players on board for a level 5 campaign. I'm starting them with inherrent bonuses and intend to be liberal with the magic items. However, I have no idea how to balance encounters for two people, hence my seeking the community's assistance.

Other information includes: 4e, Player One: Knight, Player Two: Warlord.

One option I have considered is providing gimped NPCs for dual control under the players. These NPCs would be limited to melee only, prevented from speaking, and generally be written in such a way as to have little incentive to actively assist the players outside of combat (limiting skill assists and so on).

So - my specific questions, in addition to feedback in general to what I have posted, are as follows:

1. Can you refer me to resources designed to assist low player campaigns?
2. Is there a good experience point alotment for budgeting two player encounters?
3. Have you run two player campaigns before? What has worked well? What has fallen flat?

I greatly appreciate any help on this, and will be checking back in for replies.

Thanks! 

 The rules for Companion Characters are in the DMG 2.

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Thank you Mad_Jack, I was unaware of that. I'll read up on them.
The method that you employ should be based on whether you are going to get any more players. If you are then the companion characters is the best plan, that way you can drop them when the positions get filled by actual PC's.
If your not likely to get PC replacements then you could go for the option of character having 2 full character capabilities, so your character can be both a Cleric and a Warlock. Almost like a hybrid except your character get all the features of the classes that they have.

Again the method for doing this I think is in the DMG2.

As for the encounters, that's a tricky one but you may find trial and error being the best method. Start by making up the encounters with the appropriate XP value for two players(if your using XP's).
Then remove enemies or lower some down to minions or lower hit points.
Given that you have a defender and a leader, I would look at using companion characters rather than scaling down encounters for two players.  Both roles have relatively low damage output and high survivability so you run the risk of long drawn-out combats if it's just the two PCs.

I wouldn't be afraid to let your companion PCs speak and have ranged attacks; in fact the latter might be preferable given that your PCs are both melee classes.  I tend to let the players run their companions in combat, but treat them as NPCs for roleplaying purposes as I'd rather have players immersing themselves in a single character.

For your party I'd be tempted to give the Knight a trusty war hound (brute or skirmisher role) and the Warlord a man-at-arms or two (artillery).  Animals are great as companions as they don't tend to have too much roleplaying overhead.  Whatever you go with, keep them very simple to run (I tend to avoid recharge powers for example).
Therion666 and Litmus - thank you both!

Using animals as companions seems like a solid move, as does warforged, which opens up many more class options for the companion characters without adding too much by way of extra roleplaying.

I'm not sure how I feel about two classes per player, as that strikes me as odd in terms of roleplaying. I can wrap my head around multi-classing, and while two full classes is understandable in those terms, something about it just rubs me the wrong way.

I'm thinking that I'll go with a pet for one and a warforged for the other, and they can sort it out as to which they prefer to control.



 
I would say that animal companions in this case are better suited for yur campaign. An animal stays with the character and can´t be sent away by the characters to do things they don´t wanna do, i.e. the characters can´t send the dog out and attack some minor guy just because they don´t wanna, or run and do their shopping or what ever. The animal follows its master and must be within earshot to act, where as intelligent companions can be sent on sidemissions by the players.
My best 2 pc games where stealth based recon and ambush type games.  I had a wizard and a ranger work together to escape from a prison cell.  They each had stealth abilities and the ranger had thievery.  They were able to sneak and ambush to make sure that they never encountered too many bad guys at one time.  I also made sure that there were other options to combat staight up.  

For example, when the PCs found that 16 soldiers (I think they were goblins or something) were sleeping in a baracks, the PCs noticed that the roof was made of logs so they could lock the door and light the roof on fire.  Eventually, when the ceiling collapsed on the soldiers, many died.  The ranger and wizard took up a positions outside the front door (on the other side of the compound), so when the survivors came stumbling out of the baracks, he and the wizard could pepper them with arrows and magic missle from range before they even knew what hit them.

Use minions too.  They are great fun for 2 player parties.  It is so satisfying to sneak up to them and kill them in one blow.

 

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 The rules for Companion Characters are in the DMG 2.




and what about a situation where the 2 player party includes the DM. . . .

The party was set up with my rogue, my sisters Drow sorceress, a friends barbarian, his girlfriend's cleric and my math teacher wes the DM at an afterschool D&D club
He was fired but not before he taught me to DM, the barbarian moved to montana and the cleric graduated. And I don't know anyone who can DM, gaming stores that host sessions are rare and people who actually come are even rarer. Can the DMG2 help me at all or am I stuck.
It's definitely possible to run a campaign with just a DM and one PC.  I've only ever DM'ed a handful of one PC sessions in ~25 years, but one of them in particular would rate as one of the most fun sessions I've ever played.  I prefer to DM with at least two players though as you get a much more interesting dynamic and a more social experience, so I'd recommend that you try to track down at least one extra player.

Whatever you do, don't try to DM and continue playing your PC at the same time.  Any party members that you control should be supporting characters that assist the PCs and avoid the spotlight.  Never use a PC build for them; always use a monster stat block and a fairly simple one at that.

If you decide to give DMing a try need more help with any other part of running a low-player campaign (reducing encounter difficulty for example) just start at thread here and you're pretty much guaranteed to get some solid advice from some very experienced DMs.

Good luck
 
It's definitely possible to run a campaign with just a DM and one PC.  I've only ever DM'ed a handful of one PC sessions in ~25 years, but one of them in particular would rate as one of the most fun sessions I've ever played.  I prefer to DM with at least two players though as you get a much more interesting dynamic and a more social experience, so I'd recommend that you try to track down at least one extra player.

Whatever you do, don't try to DM and continue playing your PC at the same time.  Any party members that you control should be supporting characters that assist the PCs and avoid the spotlight.  Never use a PC build for them; always use a monster stat block and a fairly simple one at that.

If you decide to give DMing a try need more help with any other part of running a low-player campaign (reducing encounter difficulty for example) just start at thread here and you're pretty much guaranteed to get some solid advice from some very experienced DMs.

Good luck
 




THANK YOU SOOOOO EPICALLY MUCH 

Make the Warlord the commander

Make the Knight a second in command 

make some NPCs to fill the holes.


Think Conan the Destroyer, if that was a game it was all about Conan and his thief friend.  Everybody else was an NPC.

Have the Knight defeat a striker character that now owes them a life debt.  Give the Warlord an animal companion that is actually a druid that has loved him since childhood.
   
 Make the NPCs supporting characters in terms of skill assistance and terrain control. Fill the holes with the NPCs.  If you get more players remove the NPCs.  
   
 
Make the Warlord the commander

Make the Knight a second in command 

make some NPCs to fill the holes.


Think Conan the Destroyer, if that was a game it was all about Conan and his thief friend.  Everybody else was an NPC.

Have the Knight defeat a striker character that now owes them a life debt.  Give the Warlord an animal companion that is actually a druid that has loved him since childhood.
   
 Make the NPCs supporting characters in terms of skill assistance and terrain control. Fill the holes with the NPCs.  If you get more players remove the NPCs.  
   
I was a player in a campaign that was just me and the DM. I controlled about 6 characters (some died or left the group). It lasted years and I still have their sheets.
Later I was in a group that had 4 players. Each player controlled 2 char. As we played, one became our primary character and the other was supporting. It was fun. Even with 8 char. we didn't have a cleric, so we had a "pocket cleric" that we pulled out to heal our party. She didn't do anything else until she was murdered and my wizard was framed for her murder.
If other people join the group later then you can thin the group out.
I started playing D&D in the 80's. I've played D&D, 1e, 2e, and 3.xe (and many other RPGs). I also played Magic since it came out (except for a few years around the change of the millennium. I say this so you know a bit of my experience, not because I care about editions.