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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default In need of ideas!!!!

    Hey everyone... so it's been a long time since I was around here... but I've returned!!! Okay... so I doubt anyone noticed I was missing. Anyway....

    I need ideas for running a GOOD 1 player 1 DM game. My wife is a gamer, and so am I, but since the birth of our son a little over a year ago we just haven't been able to get together with other gamers. On top of that - we're soon moving to Japan, which will make things just that much more complicated.

    In short, I'm a DM with a lot of experience, and she's a somewhat experienced player (D&D 3.5 and 2nd Ed for both of us), and we're without a gaming group. So I think it would be fun to do a 1 player campaign... if I could find one/write one that was FUN. So... ideas, anyone?
    The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, "You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done." - George Carlin

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    ocato's Avatar

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    Default Re: In need of ideas!!!!

    Might be a little rough. I'd consider gestalt character, for starters. Maybe a DMNPC if you're feeling brave.
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: In need of ideas!!!!

    What sort of game do you like to play? Do you like things to focus on combat, puzzle solving, internal character development, etc.? Also, are you specifically looking at ways of running a D20 campaign or are other systems on the table?

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: In need of ideas!!!!

    Odds are that she'd only be interested in playing a D20 D&D 3.5 game. To be honest, I'm not worried about game balance, difficulty, or anything along those lines. I want to learn more about the ART of running a single player campaign, not the SCIENCE. I want to make it INTERESTING... I think I'm a pretty good DM... but single player games... I suck.
    The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, "You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done." - George Carlin

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: In need of ideas!!!!

    Single player games can be fun if th player has several characters four or five is enough.

    If you like tactical D&D, then you have the perfect platform for some serious combat simulations. I have done this before and it is quite entertaining.

    On the other hand mulit-character roleplaying is quite interesting as well. I like to make as many varied characters as possible in a group so as to have a great opportunity at character exploration.

    Either way you play (heh, a rhyme, must be that Erfworld) one on one is fun.
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Galathir's Avatar

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    Default Re: In need of ideas!!!!

    I have only run a few one-shot single player games but I'll share a few ideas anyway.

    1. Don't DMNPC unless you are REALLY good. It gets really awkward when your party meets other NPCs. With a party of three or four there are enough PCs to share the conversation. It gets really awkward when the other PC is the only one who can talk, unless you like talking to yourself.

    2. Try to have a variety of ways to solve problems. In a normal game chances are someone will have the ability they need to disable, bypass, or kill the challenge. With a single player you have much more limited resources. Simply basing every challenge around your PCs ability gets boring fast. Likewise, having a BBEG who can only be reached by certain spells when your player is a fighter gets frustrating when you have to constantly rely on the help of others. Placing an emphasis on skills like diplomacy, gather information, and bluff can provide other means for dealing with most situations.

    3. Don't be afraid to give you player good items. In my one-shots I often gave the player 1.5xWBL. A few well placed items or extra funds can make a player more balanced and ready for whatever you throw at them.

    4. CR's fly out the window. A monster that is balanced against a standard party might be really easy or impossibly difficult for a single person. A wizard PC might have a hard time against a monster with high SR but a low AC while a fighter could breeze through it.

    5. Gestalt is always good. Need I explain further?
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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Orc in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: In need of ideas!!!!

    Look around at the fiction shelves. A lot of fantasy literature seems to revolve around the 'fellowship' type of cast, much like an adventuring party (big surprise, I know). Look at the stuff that only has one character. Detective novels are good for this, one detective, a cast of a dozen or so "suspects", and a victim (who might also be a suspect. . .). Their is a real opportunity for some in depth RP.

    Also, for your RL situation. . . Depending on where you are going to be in Japan, you may not be the only misplaced gaijin around. There are at least two american military bases in Japan, if you are living near either one, I'm sure you could find a group. I know we had at least one group of junior enlisted fellows that played on my ship (and at least two officers. . . ;-).

    Don't forget to enjoy Japan while you are there too, have a safe trip!
    The first person who mentions "maturity" while we are discussing a complex game of "pretend" . . . loses.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Mr Croup's Avatar

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    Default Re: In need of ideas!!!!

    I've never played in or run a one on one game, but if you can find a copy of the Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai game by Guardians of Order, it might be of some use. It uses the Tri-Stat system, but the game was designed largely to be played one on one, so there might be some useful information in it. Probably not worth buying just for that, but if you can borrow one/flip through one in a store, it could be helpful.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    magicwalker's Avatar

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    Default Re: In need of ideas!!!!

    Let her make whatever character she wants. Then build a story around her character idea and proposed background.

    Really bad cliche' example:
    Bar-maid thrust into the spotlight of a witch hunt because she was found moving things with her mind.

    I'd say try something where her character will probably be alienated or out of place, so that people could treat her like a very welcome guest... or a pain in the butt.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Orc in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: In need of ideas!!!!

    Actually, a good source of inspiration I'd use would be from Computer games. Most are geared towards expecting there to be one play with or without people helping out. The "First Person" genre tends to be well geared towards that, but other stories can offer inspiration. The Elder Scrolls saga is a one (and in my opinion, perfect) example. It's single-player, there's no class requirements. Some begin rather humbly and become epic. There's plenty of opportunity for RP and open-endedness. Others are good as well, such as Neverwinter Nights (the first and its expansions, the second is good but requires a large cast of pcs). No need to use those stories exactly, but just observe how those games are constructed and how roleplay is presented.
    "Everything is better on fire."

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Talya's Avatar

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    Default Re: In need of ideas!!!!

    OpenRPG is free, you could find a gaming group online.
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  12. - Top - End - #12
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Matthew's Avatar

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    Default Re: In need of ideas!!!!

    Consider allowing her to run more than one Character, either permanently or temporarily. In a one to one game, it can be really helpful.
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  13. - Top - End - #13
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    WhiteWizardGirl

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    Default Re: In need of ideas!!!!

    1-Dm 1-Player sounds like more than half of my games. Unfortunately, I've been doing this longer than I've even known DnD existed... so I'm unsure what advice to give.

    Usually what we do in my games is we run more than one PC at a time. We also tend to co-DM as ideas come, though I tend to do most of it, but in general we consider my "DMPCs" to be normal PCs. Since we usually both know an equal amount of the plot (and always far more than the PCs themseves), balancing in-character behavior and metagaming has become something of an art.

    Aside from running multiple characters, which may be easier for some than for others, many plot ideas that would work for an entire party are equally applicable for a party of one. I can't think of anything besides the clichés at the moment, though.
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  14. - Top - End - #14
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Rad's Avatar

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    Default Re: In need of ideas!!!!

    one player allows what is forbidden with a party: a unique character around which the whole campaign revolves

    this is the time for prophecies about "the chosen one", heritages lost in the mist of time, unique individuals, predestination and very cool epic. An example is the old X01 module (the blade of revenge or something like that).

    Note that it can feel awkward that you are controlling the whole world but a single character and she can think that the adventure is not "enough about what she wants". The destined hero makes this almost unavoidable feeling natural and part of the storytelling and also lets her make choices and the rest of the world bend around them.

    Consider the Leadership feat to have a little of variation. Better than gestalt IMHO.

    I hope that helps good luck in Japan
    Last edited by Rad; 2007-04-29 at 02:05 PM. Reason: spelling
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  15. - Top - End - #15
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: In need of ideas!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rad View Post
    one player allows what is forbidden with a party: a unique character around which the whole campaign revolves

    this is the time for prophecies about "the chosen one", heritages lost in the mist of time, unique individuals, predestination and very cool epic. An example is the old X01 module (the blade of revenge or something like that).

    Note that it can feel awkward that you are controlling the whole world but a single character and she can think that the adventure is not "enough about what she wants". The destined hero makes this almost unavoidable feeling natural and part of the storytelling and also lets her make choices and the rest of the world bend around them.

    Consider the Leadership feat to have a little of variation. Better than gestalt IMHO.

    I hope that helps good luck in Japan
    Hm.. I'm liking this idea, as well as several that were presented before it. Incidentally, to the one who suggested the US Military Base, I'm going to be living on one, and while I do speak Japanese, I don't speak well enough to participate in a D&D game with nihonjin.

    I think I'd definitely have her take a Gestalt character, and I was thinking something along the lines of a pumped-up familiar. Good ideas here. Anyone else got anything?
    The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, "You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done." - George Carlin

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Viscount Einstrauss's Avatar

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    Default Re: In need of ideas!!!!

    Read "The Hobbit" like a billion times. Or any good fantasy literature that's about a sole adventuring hero instead of a party. Gestalt's a great idea, and a strong supporting cast of allies and villains will really make it a memorable experience.

    EDIT: Oh, and write down a "cast page" of sorts while you're at it. This is a new idea that I've been utilizing for my campaigns, but it would probably be exceptionally useful in a campaign that could have a good number of extra NPC's. Just write down their names and a semi-brief paragraph description about each of them.
    Last edited by Viscount Einstrauss; 2007-04-30 at 01:47 PM.
    Do not meddle in the affairs of adventurers, for you are expendable and full of EXP.


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  17. - Top - End - #17
    Retired Mod in the Playground Retired Moderator
     
    averagejoe's Avatar

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    Default Re: In need of ideas!!!!

    If you don't mind moving away somewhat from traditional DnD some interesting choices exist. One sort of game that's potentially good for a single player is the "zombie movie" type game. Not that you necessarily have to base it in now, or even have zombies, but that archetype could be useful. Essentially a single person on the run from an overwhelming, everpresent enemy who she has to outthink/outmanuver rather than face head on.

    Along nearly the same lines, a "political refugee" type game might be fun as well, along similar lines as certain WWII films, where one person has to get through Nazi country to Sweeden, or wherever. Again, doesn't have to be set in Europe; heck, a good locale might be the Underdark. Same basic idea though.

    Alternatively, you could run a "superhero" type game, in which she hunts down criminals, or infiltrates criminal rings, etc. Or strange paranormal phenomenon, as per the X-Files. Or a "Buffy" type deal, where there are friendly NPC's, but they don't do much once the action starts. These would pretty much have to be urban, however.

    One important thing to remember is that there are many non-fantasy story archetypes out there that can easily be introduced into a fantasy setting. If you like high fantasy then forget everything I said, but these sorts of things can make it easier to run one player.


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  18. - Top - End - #18
    Troll in the Playground
     
    HalflingRogueGuy

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    Default Re: In need of ideas!!!!

    I strongly recommend gestalt for this, allowing her to make a very self sufficient sort of character. Plus, make sure the story keeps moving forward.

    JaronK

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Troll in the Playground
     
    ElfMonkGuy

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    Default Re: In need of ideas!!!!

    I'd like to echo the idea that you should go for a campaign concept which works best without a party.

    Aside from the 'legendary hero' angle, you could make your player in charge of something; a military commander or the overseer of a small village under constant threat of attack, perhaps. This sort of thing puts NPC's at the disposal of the player, without actually introducing a DMPC.

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    PirateGuy

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    Default Re: In need of ideas!!!!

    Perhaps this will be a good chance to explore the nation building/rulling aspects of fantacy literature. With a little variation to the fluff of normal classes, you could set your heroin/hero in a court setting, eithier as an already established power or as an up and comer. A rouge based character may try to poison/assassinate/blackmail there way to the top, a paladin might take on quests of ever increasing dificulty and importance, etc. As the levels grow, the amount of time the character gets to spend "stabbing" will be replaced by the character spending time actually running a state/nation. The same idea can of corse be applied to any other organisational structer. Working your way through a guild, acadamia, and the like might all be fun solo where they might be tedious in a group.
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  21. - Top - End - #21
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Doc_Outlands's Avatar

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    Default Re: In need of ideas!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by FlashFire View Post
    On top of that - we're soon moving to Japan, which will make things just that much more complicated.
    If Japan = Kadena, PM me and I'll hook you up w/ my son-in-law. I introduced him to D&D and he has "carried the flame" by introducing many new players to D&D over there.

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    TRM's Avatar

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    Default Re: In need of ideas!!!!

    Something really unique about 1 on 1 games is that you can build the story COMPLETELY around her character. The story can revolve around her and her alone...actually I think it's better if it does, that way the one PC is really drawn in and involved in the game.

    I wouldn't recommened having the player play more than one character, I find that this tends to lose the sense of belief ("Now Grog moves her, the grig bard goes here, etc...) unless the player is good at role-playing with herself.

    When I do 1 player games I also like to avoid dungeon crawls, mostly because that way (1) Fatalities are high and (2) In a dungeon crawl it is harder to have a story.
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  23. - Top - End - #23
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Planetar

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    Default Re: In need of ideas!!!!

    Single-player games can work great. You don't even need gestalt. Just make sure that the character is fairly high-level.

    The best resource for single-player RPGs that I know is those old Fighting Fantasy gamebooks. In every one of those, you're a hero on your own, usually with nothing except a sword, a backpack, and whatever you can pick up along the way. If they managed without a party, why can't you? :)

    If you want something less combat-oriented, look at adventure games (ie PC or console games in the 'adventure' genre). Stuff like the Myst series. You're on your own in some weird, fantastic world, and you have to figure out how the place works and find your way to safety.

    As said, avoid dungeon crawls, and avoid DMNPCs. The game'll be more fun if the player can handle it all herself.

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