Question about setting monster difficulty level:
In preparing for a freebooters game with my niece and nephews after the holidays, I’ve been trying to figure out how to set monster difficulties, particularly around damage. A typical freebooters character will have 5ish hit points, a bit more for fighters and clerics, who may also have 1-3 points of armor. Magic users are very likely to have 3hp at first level.
If I follow the monster creation guidelines the most vanilla horde monster will do d6 damage to a character if they roll anything less than a 10 in hack and slash or anytime you get to make a monster move “do damage.” Magic users and theives are likely to go down in one hit, fighters and clerics in two hits. Monsters that make sense in “groups” or “solitary” are even worse, doing d8 or d10, possibly with bonuses/piercing.
From the couple times that I played DCC, it seemed like most/all monsters in the early adventures did only d6 damage, some d3 or d6 with a penalty, etc. This made it possible for combat to be very dangerous/exhausting of resources, without being suicidal. I like the high danger of freebooters, but the dying on a 9- when you’re lucky to be rolling at +1 doesn’t seem “fun.” Even going to second level gives them a bit of resilience/ability to give and take in combat.
I’m worried that as written they may as well play as funnel world because mortality of even full freebooters first level characters will be so high. Is there any advice on hacking the damage system to make it make sense. Or are there other ideas to help this make sense?