View Full Version : DMing a Solo Campaign (3.5ed.)

2008-12-14, 03:25 PM
Any tips on how to run a solo campaign? I've set up everything so far and now we're going to play our first campaign soon. The player is a fairly decent cleric with a player who's pretty good at playing DND. However, I'm not sure exactly what I should do- Do I add in DMPCs to help him quest? Do I just keep monsters with a really low CR?

Any tips to make the game more successful would be really helpful- thanks in advance.

Tempest Fennac
2008-12-14, 03:28 PM
I'm running one for a new player who's using a Battle Sorcerer with free Light Armour Proficiency as well as full Sorcerer spell progression. Pretty much all of their fights are one-on-one (if someone else is involved, they typically just provide ranged support for whoever's in melee). I read in another thread about this that singular tough enemies are better then a lot of weak enemies due to how increased enemy numbers means more chance of criticals.

2008-12-14, 03:50 PM
Leadership and summoning magic are going to be that Cleric's friends. Remember Neverwinter Nights? You only had 1 henchman to work with, so you had to make him count. Give him a Rogue or Factotum cohort to handle the traps.

The Animal domain gives him an Animal Companion, so there's another body there.

And once he gets into DMM Persist CoDzilla'ing, he won't even need the companion and the cohort.

2008-12-14, 03:57 PM
While I cannot help you much when it comes to the crunch, I suggest investing a good deal of time in making the environment of your world as comfortable for your player as possible. In groups, you often have to sacrifice something to make encounters, environments and people enjoyable for all of the players. The elven ranger maybe is a loner, and wants outdoor-adventures where he can utilize his powers to the fullest, while the charming young mage is more of a people person who jumps from bed to bed, while the rogue likes climbing, sneaking and spying, and the fighter wants action and combat-heavy campaigns, while you have to give everyone his scenes.
Now, with only one player, you can tailor every NPC, encounter, environment specifically for him. Find out what he likes, what he expects, what he wants to see, whom he wants to meet, and what image he has of his character. Is he one who enjoys heavy roleplaying, who can spend hours just having fun conversations with random NPCs, while he proves his wit, or does he see his hero as a brooding loner, who inspires fear and respect in the people he meets?
Play along with him, and you both will have a memorable time with lots of fun, fond memories. Of course, take care not to bend to his will to much, or make him too comfortable. If everything he touces turns to gold, he would forever be unable to go to the toilet without lot's of awkward stuff involved wouldn't be challenged at all.

2008-12-14, 04:13 PM

1) Balance isn't nearly so much of a problem; you don't need to worry about the Divine Metamagic(Persistent Spell) Cleric with ten nightsticks outshining the Fighter - there's no Fighter to outshine. Likewise, you don't need to worry about him stepping on the Rogue's toes - there's no Rogue in the party. The only balance you need to worry about is encounter balance - start him with low CR critters, and work your way up.

2) Make sure to pay attention to his Spot, Listen, saves, and Grapple checks - a thug that he can't effectively touch because it happens to be perfectly designed to take him down won't be fun for anyone. Unlike with a full party, you can't reasonably expect the skillmonkey to handle Spot/Listen vs. the Stealth-centric critter, you can't expect the Fighter to be able to deal with the grapple-monster, and so on; normally, everyone's going to be weak at something, but the other party members will have strengths to cover that eventuality - you don't have that safety net, however.

3) Gestalt is a very good choice for solo campaigns - a Cleric//Rogue or Cleric//Ninja does very, very well, and can cover most class roles without much difficulty.

2008-12-14, 04:18 PM
Don't forget to adjust for CR and XP values. An appropriate challenge for a party of 4 is going to overwhelm a single player.