So I've got a REALLY large party

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Ok, so 8 or 9 isn't that large but none the less I'm having a hard time. So far I've seen that the average party can fight a LOT more than it could in 3rd edition. So I've been trying to think about what type of "dungeon" I can throw them into. I've already got a feeling that I'm going to give them a good opportunity to fight in a war that has just erupted(a lot of my players have been wanting to do this anyway), but there still need to be the occasional dungeon. Anyone got any ideas that don't end with either a split party or dungeon rooms that are all 80X60. Thanks for the help!
I have found myself with a party of 7 for 4e (so far). In 3rd edition, I always felt that five or six was about the maximum, after which the game had to be significantly adjusted (every fight). Now, it looks like scaling won't be a problem and individual player rounds are faster. I've played with six players with 4e demoes and it hasn't been a problem, I don't imagine that one or two more will really change that.

The rooms in 4e dungeons tend to be quite a bit larger, and it looks like many encounters range across a few at a time. I think the trickiest thing to balance will be solo encounters, but we'll see.

I'm sure the DMG will discuss how to handle games with small groups and large groups, and some of the podcasts/interviews have briefly addressed the issue.
You could split up the party if you want to use smaller rooms, and big courtyards, forest glades, and other things also work well. Natural "rooms" can have irregular shapes, soft cover, and any other number of things.
you're asking?

I'll just say...
Make this party an A-team. The army fights armies and the PCs are part of that. But went something special happens pops up the A-team goes in.
GAMMA WORLD Wuv D&D: Beyond the RPG - Transcript This is a complete transcript. The audio file is in this News Archive 2010 D&D Product Overview (47 minutes into the Audio)
I'd be interested in trying a 'play by committee' style for such a large group. Split up the 8 in to 4 pairs and have each pair play a different character. It probably require quite mature players, to avoid squabbling over what to do with the character, but if you have an older, fairly casual group, it could be good.

It will also help when not everyone is able to attend sessions.

1) Don't use linear, keyed dungeons. IE, the key to door A is in chest B in Room 12, and is guarded by Monster X. Use 4e's Skill Challenges instead: "three arcane looking locks of different metals are built into an imposingly massive door that is as ancient as it is sturdy." Arcana, thievery, history, and perception could be some skills used to get through the door, for instance, getting the whole party involved in progressing through the dungeon, instead of the rogue finding the key in a trapped chest or picking the lock to a door. Come up with some interesting puzzles or challenges through that system to get them from one part of the dungeon to the other, instead of using traditional dungeon design. It also cuts down on the design time of the dungeon and the number of events you have to keep track of. All you need is a basic map or idea of the layout, and a list of challenges (combat, trap and skill).

2) Supplement combat encounters with traps. Fewer monsters, so you don't have to have every room be as big as a convention center to have tactical combat, but just as much danger. It could also keep the person(s) with Thievery and dungeoneering busy with traps so you have everyone involved, yet have fewer combatants.

3) The non-dungeon dungeon. If you're worried about the walls being too tight, get rid of the walls. Perhaps a forest with a few small shrines or small ruins as "rooms", clearings and crevasses for other "rooms", and everything else takes place in this one part of the wilderness. Or perhaps a "Grand Canyon" with various caverns and branches. A humongous "Hanging Garden" structure from a lost civilization, a ziggurat of ancient garden terraces. Perhaps an arcanist's twisted zoo of horrible otherworldly creatures, and instead of rooms there are 'exhibits.' The environment looks big, but in reality it's as big or small as you need it to be. (Especially if you use it with #1, and do away with the map key and just have a list of challenges to get through obstacles, rather than precisely placing dozens of obstacles and features on a map.)

4) Make sure they have a common goal throughout the story that is personal to each of the characters (as opposed to something generic like, "we're all working to defend the kingdom" or "we all serve the cause of good"), to help avoid scenarios where the party wants to split up. You may have to railroad a bit here on the front end of the campaign, but if they like the destination, it shouldn't be too bothersome. Maybe they have all had the same curse placed on them, or they all carry within themselves 1/8th of some unique energy that would open a portal to something Very Bad, and now they quest to safely divest themselves of it while hounded by cultists that want to open the gates of Hell, or perhaps they're simply all the only castaways/visitors/explorers from their native country to a foreign land inhabited by strange or hostile beings.

5) Since they will inevitably split up on at least a few occasions, for those encounters that take place when a party is split, use non-plot central monsters and let the other half of the party play the monsters. You get to keep the stats on the plot's central bad guys to yourself, but everyone gets to play, even when they do split up. To make sure they don't make it easy on their fellow PCs, make it clear that you'll be scaling the XP based on how much of a challenge the PC-controlled monsters provide. They may not want to hurt the party cleric, but if they don't give it a decent shot, he's not going to gain enough XP to level up.
You know, it's not the size of the party that counts, it's how you use it.

The Greendale Campaign


I was there at the dawn of the Third-and-a-Halfth Age of Dungeons & Dragons. I saw action during the Crisis of Infinite Foundations, stood on the ramparts of the Citadel of Mirth, delved deep into the debauchery of the Forum of the Adult, and fought alongside the Infernal Bovine on the fields of the Eberron War. I weathered the Ponystorm. I witnessed as the orcs came for the wizos, and I wept mightily. I saw the realm crack as the Fourth Age came upon us, and I witnessed the eldritch tendrils of the dread Gleemax. Now I watch as the Meta Wars ravage the land as the Fifth Age is dawning. I have walked these Boarderlands for many a long year, and bear many scars in my soul. Yet I remain the White Sorcerer, ever in your service. TWS out.

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