That's all well and good Afaslizo, but that isn't really relevant to my point.
So your point is difficulty/optimization which you want to counter with a larger body mass. It seems to me a better way would be an indepth tutorial teaching you about mobility, stealth, surfaces and utility spells in a way the ship prologue fails to do. Imagine learning all these different aspects which you claim you do not have and do not get to progress and learning them. Do you need the bigger party still if you would know how to apply all these things?
Solo kill list: One stupid evil (displayed alignment) Githyanki warrior, a dark grove, a Zhentarim hideout full of "experienced" rogues, half a Goblin camp including two hobgoblins, two minotaurs, a bunch of underworld monsters and their wannabe sorcerous overlord