Running a One-on-One Campaign

Hey again, everyone. In this installation I’ll be talking about how to run a campaign between just the DM and one other person, and a little bit about my experiences with it. I run quite a few of these every month, and each one always has a different outcome and feel than the last.

Normally a D&D campaign is run by the DM – and with three or more players. The largest party I’ve ever handled was eight. The reason that one would normally want more than one person in their campaigns is to give them other ideas to work off of, have PCs to interact with, as well as companions in battle for when things get tough.

Now, I understand that running singular player campaigns are not normally seen as something to ‘strive towards’; however, they are a lot of fun and can be a good immersion tactic for new players!

When planning for a 1 DM and 1 Player game, some very important things to remember would be that in order to run it successfully, one needs to tweak the mechanics of the original D&D gameplay a little. What I mean by that is either raising stats of characters to make them over powered, storytelling by the DM becomes the most important aspect, and less combat is the way to insure player survivability.

The rule set and Homebrew the DM chooses for this game don’t matter as much as how the events during the game play out – and subsequently how the rules affect that. On this subReddit, someone mentioned that the best rules to use are the Gestalt version of Unearthed Arcana. However, it’s completely up to the DM to figure out what works and what doesn’t, and what the best rules are for their game alone.

To run a solo-player campaign, the same amount of planning as a regular length, +3 player game is required – so don’t think that you can slack off! The more time you spend hammering out the fine details of the story, the less meta-gaming your Player will feel the need to do.

In my experience playing one-on-one campaigns, although fun, the interest can quickly diminish in the story, and the characters can have too shallow of a power curve to defeat high-level enemies. Other times, your player will want a change of scenery, or more lucrative quests. As the DM, you need to fit their demands! (That’s where Narrative Improv comes in)

Currently, I run all of my 1 DM + 1 Player campaigns with my brother, or my partner (who is in a Pathfinder company and plays twice a week). Both of them have very different needs for how our solo campaigns have to be run, and that’s the fun part!

Although one-on-one campaigns aren’t always the quickest, or the easiest on your Players, but if they’re looking for something personal and short-term; solo campaigns are the way to go!

Return Soon, Traveller.

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