Adjusting "The Slaying Stone" for just two characters

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Hi all. I haven't really had experience running 4e yet from the GM side of things, and I am attempting to run The Slaying Stone adventure for a couple of people on Saturday. I'm used to playing with just two people and a dm, and usually we run two characters a piece to have a solid 4 character party. I know many object to that sort of thing, but it's really become standard procedure to me at this point. I don't think my two players will mind running two characters a piece, and that ultimately will make my job easier, I think. Still, I'm wondering how I could get away with having them just run one character. I don't have a lot of time to spend tweaking every encounter down to fit a two character play through, but I suppose I can if I must. I am aware of some of the rules on doing so, but I sort of feel like cutting out monsters or making them weaker just trivializes the adventure a bit. Like, I don't want to give them the impression of a city overrun by goblins...only to have their run-ins with said goblins be anticlimactic. They enjoy combat, so I want to maximize their fun in that arena. Since this is a level one adventure, I'm also wondering if I could, say, have them run two level 3 characters through this adventure without tweaking much, so that they'd feel heroic while still being challenged due to overwhelming numbers. Perhaps I'm going about this all wrong. Do any of you have suggestions on how I might present this? Two higher level characters? Tone the baddies down a bit? Just let them run 4 characters and be done with it? I know they don't "mind" running 4, but I know deep down they'd love it if they could finally focus on just one character, if possible.
Considering my group just finished The Slaying Stone last year, let me tell you how we did it.

We only have three players (and myself as DM) but I didn't have to shrink the encounters or lower the difficulty at all. The biggest help I could give them was that they actually befriended Kiris Hoyt (the wererat in one of the encounters), and he stuck with them until the end of the advenure. Although he didn't add much to their party, seeing as his stats are not particularly amazing and he doesn't have any uniquely awesome powers, the damage reduction of him being a wererat allowed him to absorb quite a bit of the goblin blows that would have hurt the PCs.

My players started at level one and made it to level 2 by the end of the adventure,  so I don't think you would have to bump up their levels too much. If you did want to start them at Level 2, that would probably work out to their advantage. Moreso though, it's imperative that a smaller group like that picks appropriate classes. If both your players pick melee tanks or arcane spellcasters there's not much they can do. I recommend letting your players start at Level 2, but giving them either an NPC cleric or meatshield to help negate some of the harm.
Currently DMing a 3.5e AoW game one night a week. Players are almost through Three Faces of Evil. If you are considering beginning this campaign using this edition, I can help.
Thanks for the tips, DayKwan. I thought of giving them an npc of some sort, but then they'd be running him/her anyway, so it might as well be a character they roll up. At least, I'm beting that'll be their response. I'll present both options.
Also, I'm curious as to others' thoughts on the Kiris Hoyt npc. I feel like the reasons for him being present in the adventure are a bit shaky, and I think I'd like to do something else with him, but I don't know what just yet. I don't really understand the adventure's supplied story for him still being in the goblin controlled city after....8 years, I think it is? I believe the text mentions that he says he was betrayed by members of the Kiris family and left to die there, but it doesn't give much in the way of why he is a wererat, or what exactly he's doing. I'm thinking of making him a more sympathetic npc; perhaps cursed during the goblin occupation and forced to remain close to the city (much like the slaying stones themselves), or else he'd go completely feral. Or something. I'm sort of set on the concept of Kiris Alkirk, met at the beginning of the adventure, being a pretty legitimate and sympathetic character as well, so I don't know if I'm feeling the "betrayal" thing. Any other creative ideas/uses of "the rat-man" I could steal from the creative masses out there?
Well, here's what I told my PCs:
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Only a few days before the Goblins marched on Gorizbahd and tore the city to pieces, Kiris Hoyt witnessed Treona and her assistant Dreus (who doesn't appear in the adventure at all so I wanted her to stay that way) in the forest having an argument. Dreus was discussing the possibility of using magic to make copies of the existing Slaying Stone, and Treona was arguing against it. When Kiris Hoyt emerged from the brush to tell the two that the Slaying Stones cannot be duplicated by anyone other than the Tiefling artisans that made them originally, Dreus panics and hurls her familiar (who happens to be a dire rat) at Hoyt.
Hoyt is bitten and Dreus flees with Treona trying to catch her, leaving Hoyt to experience his first transformation into a Rat with the thought that Treona and Dreus are working together to make duplicates of the Stones. Al Kirk believes Hoyt to have been kiiled by the goblin forces, and flees the city with the remaining garrison. After a few days, Hoyt returns from the forest, beaten and scarred, to find the city in goblin control. He hears goblins talking about how they drove off the last of the AlKirk family from the city, but through a miscommunication he thinks the goblins say that they 'killed' his brother instead.
So, Al Kirk remains hidden in the city in his rat form, watching the Goblins and learning to cope with his painful existence. When the PCs find him they happened to mention Al Kirk being alive, which shocked Hoyt into asking that the PCs take him to his brother. They did so, but behind the PCs backs Hoyt tells Al Kirk of his hypothesis that Dreus and Treona were trying to duplicate the stones, and the pair attempts to kill Treona to avert her plans, only to discover that Treona was already dead, and is only an illusion maintained by a spell cast upon her ring by Dreus. But I digress..
 
The point of all that was basically that the Kiris Hoyt character provided me with an open-ended situation that allowed him to join the party for a time. Play him as a slightly insane character: I mean come on, he's been living as a rat for eight years after thinking his family is dead. Think Peter Pettigrew from Harry Potter, and allow him some twitching, nervous fits or such. Another thing I did was if the party was ever ambushed or surprised in combat, he would panic and change into the dire rat form and be uncontrollable until things settled down.

*edited for abysmal spelling
Currently DMing a 3.5e AoW game one night a week. Players are almost through Three Faces of Evil. If you are considering beginning this campaign using this edition, I can help.
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