Welcome to Librarium Online!
A thing that has been bugging our gaming group for a while now is that we only have 1 DM and 3 PC's (in D+D 3.5).
We have tried allowing the DM to play a character but it hasn't worked out to well since he knows the HP values of the enemies and knows exactly where the traps are etc. etc.
So how do you deal with the problem (besides getting a new player), is it that much of a disadvantage to have only 3 pc's or doesn't it affect the group much?
Feel free to post how your group does when undermanned.
thanks in advance.
How do you mean 'undermanned'? The DM should adjust the adventure's threat levels and objectives to match the PCs that are available. If you only have three PCs, the adventures should look more like scouting missions than all-out battles.
If you prefer the latter, however, a good way to beef up the numbers is to let each player control two characters.
I wouldn't recommend allowing two characters a player. Firsly, because it interferes with roleplaying. And all of us enjoy that aspect to some degree, even the hack-n-slashers, or else they'd be playing Diablo instead.
That aside, why not have NPC helpers? Say, a pacific cleric who can throw out some cure spells between battles - if the players have been good that is. Or a couple human soldiers with crossbows to provide ranged support. Of course, it's completely unacceptable to actually treat an NPC as "the GM's PC", so a hands-off approach works best.
The other poster has the jist of things. You simply have to focus on things other than fighting.