Character Party Size & Composition

Still reading through the core book (and enjoying it quite a bit) and I’ve been thinking about potential character parties. From reading the character creation rules it seems that characters in this game have a nice variety of skills no matter their archetype, which is cool. I also like fleshing out backgrounds to come up with personal goals and motivations. Now it seems like the game is tailored to fairly small parties, right? We’re planning on an average of 2-4 PCs per game. I think we’ll create multiple PCs for each player to start, so that we have a variety of archetypes that can be mixed and matched for different adventures. Some will be more or less randomly generated (including from the supplements) but we have ideas for a couple, including Red Sonja of Hyrkania. And yes, she will have a chain mail bikini…

For those who have played, does this seem like a reasonable approach? There is no overarching campaign arc as of yet. I’m thinking of loosely linked episodes, like the stories.

The game works better with loosely linked episodes. It also operates exceptionally well for small parties 2-3.

Try to make sure the players don’t minmax too hard though.

For a longer campaign, I’ve always enjoyed the troupe concept in Ars Magica where each player has their own wizard (a powerful character), perhaps their own companion (a heroic non-wizard) and then there are a bunch of low level characters that anyone can grab and play as needed. You might play your wizard for a while then switch to a different character for the next part of the story.

Sounds like you are thinking something along the same lines. I’m running a longer campaign with 4 players and I’m finding myself on a learning curve as a GM. In many other games the campaign arc is nominally about a story but ends up being about accumulation of xp and gear. This game is different because most gear will be damaged or lost, money will slip through fingers with ease, and characters start of quite strong and only get stronger. We have played about 15 sessions and there has only been one combat where the players were truly fighting for their lives. Don’t get me wrong, the other combats have been interesting and fun, but the party can wipe out a lot of minions.

That said I’m working on new ways to keep the story the main character of campaign. I hope to have the party take place in a large combat (mass combat rules from Mercenary) and I may run a session or two and give them completely different characters who are experiencing the story plot from a different angle, only to have the players regular characters meet them again later. Combat remains a core part of any Conan story but the challenge as a GM in this game is to not just present tougher adversaries, but come up with interesting environments and situations that make each fight memorable and challenging in it’s own way.

While you may not be planning a campaign, I think the same hold true for a series of adventures without a connected story arc.