I ran The Heist over the weekend, with just 4 of a possible 19 players (Swiker, Sweek, Grista, Brain). It didn’t actually go badly (and finished quite well), but for at least the first half it really felt like a struggle for me, and the players seemed a bit lost (I’m comparing to The Words Remain Below, Sons of the Watch, and The Quest for the Holy Grail which I’ve all run recently).
As far as I can tell this is because without more players some PC beliefs don’t have as much to crash up against. Also the PCs are fairly specialised, perhaps designed to work as a group with other PCs, so the players really wanted to lean on NPCs a lot, and I used the NPCs also to prod the players.
The way I handled NPCs was this: listed relationships on the sheets were actual mechanical relationships, anyone else had to be circled up (although that didn’t happen).
The players did a great job - I feel like I didn’t handle 4 players in a 19 PC scenario very well, probably the NPCs in particular? I’m not sure.
I’m hoping someone who’s run it can give me some advice/constructive criticism, or even not-so-constructive criticism - specifically related to running it with (approx) 4 players.