View Full Version : One Player games

Mr. Wimmer
2008-08-30, 01:37 PM
I have a bit of a problem, I live in a very small town, Where not many people have the necessary tastes to play D&D, in fact it's only myself, and one other guy, who has never played D&D before.

So my question is this, Is there a good way to have a one player, one DM weekly game? Especially if one of the players is new to tabletop RPGs?

Thank you for any help you are able to give:smallsmile:

Tempest Fennac
2008-08-30, 01:42 PM
Class would be important here, as is having the adventure based around their classes strengths. Beguillers could be good for this sort of game, as are core Druids (their brokeness isn't really an issue when there's only 1 player).

2008-08-30, 01:47 PM
Also, depends on what edition you're talking about. Tempest has some good advice if you're talking 3.5 Edition.

If you're talking 4th Edition, it's even easier to balance odd-sized parties. Basically, your normal encounters will just be one creature of the character's level, a couple of creatures a level or two below, or 4-5 minions of the character's level; harder encounters will be against one Elite of the character's level, two (or maybe 3 for a tough encounter) normal creature's of his level, or a mixed group of a normal and some minions.

Also, if you're not opposed to it, you could even run a second character for him just to keep him alive and strong. Cleric in 3.x, or Cleric or Warlord in 4E.

Mr. Wimmer
2008-08-30, 01:52 PM
I was going to use 3.5, just because I'm more familiar with the system.

I think he was going to play a rouge, he seems like the type, so the "keep a cleric at arm's length" option gets a bit hard to rationalize as far as story goes.

one thing I forgot to mention, he used to play WOW, are there any tricks I should do to make sure he stays interested, or is a carrot on a stick approach always a good option?

Tempest Fennac
2008-08-30, 02:05 PM
Is he into RP, or is he only interrested in killing things? If it's the latter, a hack-and-slash adventure with a combat orientated class would be the best choice here.

Mr. Wimmer
2008-08-30, 02:11 PM
He is slightly into RP, but story is very important to him, VERY important, he would get bored very quickly with a hack and slash, but he might not care if it had enough depth to it.

2008-08-30, 02:13 PM
That would work, except in 3.5, it's a Gnomish exploding carrot, then you run up and poke things with the stick. Invisibly. *cough*

Give him a vertical dungeon, lots of locks, and traps, and a few enemies that require he think his way through before engaging in battle. A few traps he can go the otherway with. Such as a floor trap he has to make a tumble check to avoid that the enemy can't, either because it's a ooze, or whatever reason you choose.

2008-08-30, 02:14 PM
If he's new playing a solo campaign is the easiest way to start actually. Let him try to make the character on his own, if it's too weak make encounters easier, but allow retraining if he makes too much poor choices.

Rogue can be a bit problematic, since it is a bit squishy. You can fix this by giving him some artifact that gives him DR as a family heirloom or give him some sort of healing item that doesn't require a proficiency to use.

2008-08-30, 02:18 PM
i do it all the time actually, 60% of my games are one person games

2008-08-30, 02:23 PM
Also, I swear I've seen some actual published modules for 3.x that are designed for 1 DM, 1 player games. I think they might have been by Goodman Games, but I can't remember. I'll look 'em up later if no one mentions them by the time I get back.

2008-08-30, 02:24 PM
Bards and Clerics should do well as solo characters, so suggest he be one of those. Whatever he picks, you're the DM, so try to tailor to what his choice can do. Maybe let him have an NPC Rogue or a cart with scrolls of Knock.

Dr Bwaa
2008-08-30, 02:30 PM
Beguiler, as suggested above, is a good choice. It's a rogue-y class anyway, plus a little more versatility. For healing all you need is to let him buy a wand of cure light wounds at some point. In general, beguiler/bard/rogue/cleric/druid are, imo, the easiest classes to play in a solo campaign, especially a story-focused one, sorted from easiest to hardest to deal with. The other classes can work, but tend to have much bigger problems; not really recommended for someone new and thus, likely very unoptimized.

In solo, I find at least that story is very important, because you can make checks and role-play stuff all day, whereas fighting takes a lot out of a one-person party, and normally-inconsequential dice mishaps are much more likely to result in tpks.

2008-08-30, 02:56 PM
The nice and tricky things about running a one-player campaign is that you key it to the character's individual class. A rogue is a rather good choice in my opinion, so long as you don't send him too many things that are invulnerable to sneaky attacks. A rogue has a lot of sneaking, traps, puzzles, with a handful of well-planed combat, interpersonal skills, and UMD.

My biggest suggestion is to make sure he fleshes out a big backstory, because now you can make a big thing out of it and flavor the campaign accordingly. What character type of rogue is he? A treasure hunting archaelogist, an insatiable greedy thief, a ideologically inclined assassin, a paranoid schizofrenic, a champion of the common folk, an explorer, etc... If he gets board, he changes the direction of his character and it becomes a rather dynamic character sketch.

2008-08-30, 04:02 PM
If I may,
I've been running a solo game with my sister for the past year, so I should think I have experience with these kinds of things. First off, don't make him go it alone. Go the KotOR route, have him encounter other adventurers in the tavern/tower/crypt/woods/middle of the battle/whatever. It simplifies things a lot. You can still use the usual CR system and it opens the door to RP opportunities. They also negate the necessity of forcing him to choose a well-rounded class.

Fiery Diamond
2008-08-30, 05:13 PM
I had a great time with my brother DMing a solo campaign for me. If he really likes story, make sure you have a lot of story going on in the background - in other words, things happening that aren't necessarily related to him, but may or may not affect him. That adds a lot of depth that I think he'll enjoy.

Also, letting an NPC or some travel with him isn't a bad idea. I used the cohort feat to get a cleric cohort. heh heh.

I actually pulled it off as a sorcerer. I took blasting and illusion spells, mainly.

-Fiery Diamond

2008-08-31, 02:23 PM
For a first time player soloing I would recommend that he avoid the squishy classes. Giving him a cohort (controlled by you) could also be very helpful. It gives you a way to guide him and watch his back, just be careful not to steal his spotlight.

Why couldn't a cleric work with his rogue? Seems to me a cleric of Olidammara would be perfect. Maybe even a multi-class rogue/ceric. It's not an optimum build, but then you don't want to be the most powerful member of the group anyway. At least not in a n obvious way.

As DM you should be careful to tailor the encounters to him at least until he gets the hang of things. If he has a back story you have a great opportunity to use it here. Work off of his ideas, ask him what he's interested in doing, make it the game he wants to play.

You might also consider starting him at 2nd or 3rd level the first time out, just so stupid mistakes aren't as likely to kill him right off the bat. He can try 1st level in a later game. I wouldn't start him too high because he needs time to get the hang of his abilities and because I think growing from a low level to a powerful hero is part of the fun.

2008-08-31, 02:41 PM
Alright, it took a little Googling (but not as much as you might think), and I found what I was looking for.

Expeditious Retreat Press (http://www.xrpshop.citymax.com/page/page/3906590.htm) has a line of 11 one-on-one D&D adventures designed for one DM and one player, with the class determined by the module (as described on the info page for each adventure on their site). I haven't look at the adventures so I can't comment on quality, but if you can find one for cheap (the $11 price for a 20-page adventure is a little steep for me) you might be able to either use it or cannibalize its system to create your own 1-on-1 adventures tailor-made to your player.

One thing I noticed is that they're switching over to 4E, so you might be able to get all of their older 3.x stuff for cheaper than normal sooner or later.

2008-08-31, 03:45 PM
OK, here's the secret to successful solo games: Forget about crunch. Doubly so for a first timer. Just make a good story that'd interest the player and get him into a RPing mood.

Run it like a fighting fantasy book. Keep crunch to minimum: HP, AC and attack for everything plus inventory for player will be enough. Make up the numbers as you go along: asking PC to make a DC 24 jump check to swing on the chandelier while he has +x from this and +y from that for a total of +9 to jump is indistinguishable from asking player to roll 15 or higher. Same goes for statting up an enemy. You'll have much more time and effort to devote to storytelling this way. Just make sure you're not killing him (and the game) with a single die.

Once this player gets the hang of rpging, you can move onto a game with proper crunch. But not now.