Advice for running finale for potentially 15 players?


So, at the beginning of summer, some friends and I were able to wrangle up some coworkers for a campaign.

We started with 5 or 6 players, but as word spread of the game, more and more people began to join. Last night I ran for 9 people. Now I’ve been running ICRPG for a few years and 5e for a few years more and have almost solely focused on speeding play and making beginner entry as easy as possible so I was thrilled at the growth and excitement!

However, as the summer is closing up and we’re all headed back to collage, it is about time to wrap up the campaign- only issue is that absolutely everyone want to be there for the grand finale. I could be running for 11 to potentially 15 (unlikely, but still realistic) people.

Any advice for running engaging, challenging, and interesting final battles for HUGE groups?

I want to put on a show, I’m pulling out all the stoppers and am down to try whatever you think works- rule changes, scenario ideas, combat to non combat ratio, battlefield size, speed enforcement, croud/volume control, 2nd GMs… whatever!

Thanks for any advice, this is consistently one of my favorite RPG communities, you guys are the best, thanks again!


I usually make cut at 4 Players. I am running a Game Online with 5 Players and i totally feel that the dynamic sucks😂
But i am on my Toes to hear how that massive Game Finale will end.
Sounds more like a good Group for a kind of Battle Game. Maybe some grand Terrain Fight with an evil Army would do the Job.
Or split up the groups and run several Games with several GM at the same Time and get them only for the Boss fight at one Table. Friend of mine did something similar and he said it was awesome for the Players.


Definately worth some Hero Coins for ya to get so much people into playing TTRPG!


For large games my experience has been that the scenario will dictate how the group will be handled. The nutritive part should be about getting them to the big end game show.

If you are facing a doomsday situation where the heroes must storm the BBEG’s location then it might do to break the group up into two groups. The first group’s objective being to create an opportunity for the second group to stop the villain. The return of the king has an example of this, storming the black gate is to draw the armies out so that the ring can pass unseen. For this you will need another GM to handle one of the tables.

The second option is my favorite. One party, at one table, in one knock down drag out no holds barred battle. Make the area big, and I mean really big. Multiple “rooms” (with different DCs). in one large running battle. While the party could all stop in the first room to bash all the skeletons, the villain is not waiting for them to do that. It should be clear that the early areas are stall tactics by the BBEG. Maybe, some of these early areas are dead ends, but have some powerful loot in them. Perhaps one approach is guarded by a powerful sorcerer of the 6rd tier, and if a mage defeats him with a spell, the mage player will gain the title of 6rd tier mage (see discworld for more details on this idea).

The big thing to keep in mind here is GM actions. The GM should be considered to be sitting in more than one place at the table (you need to balance the action economy of such a large party). Perhaps, place several colored markers around the table. Say, one between every 3 players. Have different NPCs and minions tied to different colors (the skeletons go on green, the evil knights on red, etc). Truly important villains might (and the BBEG should) go on multiple colors. This way your BBEG and lieutenants get to show off all their abilities.

As a final thought on this one table idea, I recommend monster AI for several of the complex monsters. That way you don’t have to keep mental track of what each might do next.


Good Idea with the color Tokens and the color coding of the Monsters.


It’s not ideal to run one table with 11 to 15 people because there is only one of you. To make the final session epic and give each player the attention he or she deserves, I would plan on three nights of gaming. The red team takes on a major objective night one, with 2 to 3 of those players getting killed or forced to hold objectives. The blue team takes on a major objective on night two, again with an attrition of 2 to 3. On the third night, everyone can come and watch, but only the four or five players left (the green team) take on the big bad with one epic battle.

Make it clear at the outset that players may not survive over the course of the three nights, and make it super deadly and/or design ways people can go out in a heroic way.


You might want to break them up into smaller teams. Maybe 3 groups of 5 or something like that. Team A, B, and C. Treat each team as one player. What I mean by that is everyone in Team A will roll and talk about what each of them want to do amongst themselves. Team A will then describe what they do. After they have their turn, you the DM will have a turn. Repeat this for each group and make sure the teams know they must be ready with all their rolls and actions.


Many years ago I regularly ran a group of 12 players. Assuming all know how to play at this point, give a scenario where they have to split in 3.

Typically sneaky group, charismatic group and fighter group. But let the players decide how to split them. You write out a lot of details and jump from group to group as they plan or interact, or infiltrate. Then big final scene, where you ask players to roll to target and damage at the same time and have their actions ready as they are up or they will be skipped. First one you skip will be the hardest, it gets easier from there.

Main thing is any maps, huge scale. 1/4 inch grid paper representing near as they play and use tiny marker items. Small letter beads was my item.

Bad thing is you don’t know their plans. But you have to give them what seems like a challenge they need to plan for, as you go to the next group. So mini bosses, lock up the garrison, bribe the townsfolk officials, get the townsfolk to riot. So on and so forth, all happening in theoretical real time, taking the hideout/headquarters/castle in 4 hours before they can muster a defense. Being that this is a one shot session… not sure how to set up the scenario.


wowie 11+ players.

I have a hard time juggling 6 players and the biggest problem normally is the action economy.

For your “boss” like encounters Id suggest letting the boss monster get a turn after each player to keep it more interesting and dangerous. Just the boss tho, not the minions/support enemies.


I forgot about this aspect initiative. With 15 all playing the final battle, it’s a lot of turns before the bad guys go again. Again, huge scale map, multiple enemies and a boss going 15 times, you are looking at killing players quickly. I’d go with attack and capture. Split the group into 3, give each group 3 rounds, then move to the next group.

This will give each group about 5~ 10 minutes to plan their next set of actions.

Attacking a base and capturing the baddies as opposed to total destruction. This allows for creative actions, as opposed to slaughter. Also allows for you not to match the party with bad guys, but overwhelm the bad guys without giving them the chance to escape is the goal of the party.

Turn things on their head, the party is the cavalry. The enemy has lost, but will they escape to fight another day?
Also the party debating if they should kill all of them, or some of them…while only the minions fight and or monsters that are really just traps, all so the real bad guys focus on fleeing. That will be role playing, not the rolling of dice.

2 sewer entrances, and the front door, all while going after 5 targets, with some 40 minions and 2 monsters or elite minions, guarding them, while the 5 targets each try to run for themselves with their set of minions or by sulking in the shadows, or mind control…that is something I’d love to play.


If you like the to have a ritual in your big end fight, make the ritual a portal opener. The villain(s) are using the last troops to hold off the players so as to effect an escape.

As for making the BBEG appear dangerous without killing players outright I suggest not making the attacks big damage, but do secondary effects and/or be over a wide area. 1 damage AOE isn’t very impressive, but 1 damage AOE with CON to prevent being pulled to the center of the blast like a giant magnet could be.

Another way to keep your villain(s) alive longer is a rule I first saw in Pulp Cthulhu called “look out master!” Where a faceless minion jumps forward to take a blow for the villain in question. So add 2 to 4 nondescript minions near the villain (perhaps carrying stuff for the villain), and when necessary the minion will jump in the way. On the other hand, if you want to show how evil this villain is, the minion is grabbed and used as a living shield against an incoming attack.


Man… tough one. How about some kind of magic spell or drink or food (Alice in Wonderland concept) they ingest turns them and the one nearest them into an Ettin. Two heads, one body. Now you have 7 players, not 14 for example. They must brainstorm together but one of them makes the final choice and you roll only once for each Ettin.

Or… perhaps the air is thin… so thin that only half of them can breathe it at a time and with every 5 minutes that passes, they lose 5 hps of breathing health. So they tag team. Half the group goes as far and does as much as they can, then they tag out and using a druidic pouch that is essentially a bag of holding that allows a living being to exist within it… the first group goes in the bag after the other group comes out of it. Forces half the room to watch and enjoy while other half takes part but they have to switch off every unknown amount of time (because players all have different levels of HP’s)

That’s all I got right now. lol. Good luck. This is very ambitious