Need Suggestions for DMing for a Single Player

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So there's a friend of mine that can't leave home due to medical issues and doesn't own a computer.  So I thought, "It shouldn't be too hard to DM a single player game over the phone using pure desciptive words and sticking with Essentials."  I've never really DMed anything for fewer than 3 people before and don't really know how to go about it.  I was thinking about having him start out between level 3 and 5 so on occation I can have an encounter of 3-4 monsters of lesser level to fight to make it more epic, maybe throw in some minions occationally.  Anyway, I'd like to hear your some thoughts of how you would go about it.  (BYW I did look at the solo adventure released awhile back I think in Dungeon 182 but I'm not really interested in it, nor the sidekick idea.)
~Will
Urban setting, basically a rogue focused intrigue based style game where it is not epic battles against groups of adversaries, but rather mainly solos that get more dangerous as your friend's player get more and more higher in level.

It will keep the fact he has only one PC doable for both of you.
You won't need to fret over covering a lot of terrain and needing to encounter the cliche monsters in the wild that exceed a group of one's abilities.

I would suggest for Eberron (what I play in myself) the city of Sharn as a starting point.
I don't play 4th edition D&D for Wizard's sake I play it for my sake.
He was saying he'd like to run a wizard (mage) but you know how they are.  Low HP, low AC, and horrible melee.  But yeah I like the urban setting idea.  
Wizard ain't gonna work for 1p. Like it says in the DMG, defender is the best choice.
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I remember seeing some 3.5 solo adventures made for wizards specifically, but yeah I agree with a defender or stout striker or leader would be much better.
I guess my biggest concern is how do I make the encounters?  Do I try to have one or two monsters of similar level?  Or do you have a few more of lesser level?  Mix of both?  Just be nice to hear from someone who's done with before.
Swordmage -> defender with the arcane flavour.
Running a solo player can be a lot of fun, and very freeing. You can let the player run anything he wants, with no real limits. If he/she wanted to mix and match a bunch of stuff from multiple classes, why not let it happen? You don't have to worry about party balance.

Without a party to think about, you can easily make the character the star of the show. Every quest can be tied directly to the character if you want. You also don't have to split roleplaying time with a bunch of other people, so, when you get into roleplaying situations, there's no worry that another player might get bored because they have little to contribute to the discussion.

As for combat, you can always tailor fights to the character's strengths. Naturally you'll want to toss a curveball once in a while, but I wouldn't do it too often.

The guy's stuck at home with medical problems. Feel free to make him the kind of hero (or villain) that legends are told about for centuries. You only have to insure one player's enjoyment (and yours, but, if you're like me at all, you have the most fun when your players are enjoying themselves).
Boraxe wrote: "Knowledge of the rules and creativity are great attributes for a DM, but knowing when to cut loose and when to hold back, when to follow the rules and when to discard them, in order to enhance the enjoyment of the game is the most important DM skill of all." Keeper of the Sacred Kitty Bowl of the House of Trolls. Resident Kitteh-napper.
If it was me? I would play a single DMNPC to fight alongside him. In this case, a Defender of some sort to back him up. Not a sidekick but an ally.

Alternatively yet similar (and it goes along with jetshield's idea): make him a hero (or villain) with his own group of knights/minions that obey his every command.

I hope that helps in some way.
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Hi,
Sorry to hear about your buddy. 

If you're a bit creative, take some of the above advice, and scale the encounters to what a player can handle, I think you'll both have a blast of a time.

I am Dm'ing now for my 7 year old daughter.  I was a little surprised she took to the game so well, but there it is - she loves it.  Anyway, I struggled too with "how am I going to do this?"  What I have been doing, and it is working out quite well, is to play an ally NPC alongside her character.  She also wanted to be a wizard, so I picked a warpriest.  (Yes, I am running Essentials).

So far I've used all stock adventures: Ghost Tower, Ghost Dungeon, Twisted Halls, Reavers of Harkenwold, and now I am running Orcs of Stonefang Pass.

I've needed to scale down just about all of the encounters so far, but honestly, that is pretty easy to do.   At this point, the characters are level 7, in Stonefang Pass, and the encounters may work out well as written.  I plan on running Thunderspire Labyrinth afterwards, and I just may need to scale those encounters up.  We'll see.

When you scale the encounter, you don't need to necessarily plan it beforehand.  I tend to wing it based on how the encounter is going, or if it is clear a creature would eat the characters alive.  For instance, I tosed in a fight with a carrion crawler (lvl5, skirmisher) which is two levels below the charcters.  That was a fair fight, given the special attack of the crawler.  Had the characters started to tear it to pieces with no challenge, I'd have happily tossed in another crawler to even it up.

Another trick: I will break the encounter into sections so not all monsters are there at once.  Some wander in, or return from somewhere, or.. use your imagination.

Hope this helps.

Later,
Neil
I've done quite a bit of 1 on 1 DMing.  I've found the best way is to have the player play a pair of characters, not just one.  If your friend wants to play a wizard let him, but let him also have a capable companion / familiar.

The book "Fanuilh" by Daniel Hood is an excellent example of this and there are many other examples of interesting adventuring pairs.  These tight pairings actually work best when they are controlled by a single player in an RPG.   This also develops great RPG skills. I've been amazed that when a player is given real freedom and two PCs, the PCs become distinct individuals and may even begin to argue (weird but true).

If you really want only one character, this is doable, but you will often want or need NPC allies in your scenarios, but these can be done as a sort of "guest star" approach.

For encounters - it's not too tough to do.  Start very small and tentative and ramp up as things go.  Always have escape routes and capture outcomes in mind.  If your encounters are not always fights to the death it usually is no problem as the one player can lose and the game goes on.  This actually makes for very interesting encounters too.  Hooks should involve lower scale goals like finding / rescuing someone or getting information, etc.  With a wizard you could also do a lot of exploration in the use of rituals which is hard to pull off in a 5 player campaign.

Have fun with it!
I guess my biggest concern is how do I make the encounters?  Do I try to have one or two monsters of similar level?  Or do you have a few more of lesser level?  Mix of both?  Just be nice to hear from someone who's done with before.


If he's a wizard? Minions. Thousands of them

Zammm = Batman.

It's my sig in a box
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Everything is better when you read it in Bane's voice.
192334281 wrote:
Your human antics and desire to continue living have moved me. Just kidding. You cannot move me physically or emotionally. Wall humor.
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Copy effects work like a photocopy machine: you get a copy of the 'naked' card, NOT of what's on it.
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Funny story: InQuest Magazine (I think it was InQuest) had an oversized Chaos Orb which I totally rooked someone into allowing into a (non-sanctioned) game. I had a proxy card that was a Mountain with "Chaos Orb" written on it. When I played it, my opponent cried foul: Him: "WTF? a Proxy? no-one said anything about Proxies. Do you even own an actual Chaos Orb?" Me: "Yes, but I thought it would be better to use a Proxy." Him: "No way. If you're going to put a Chaos Orb in your deck you have to use your actual Chaos Orb." Me: "*Sigh*. Okay." I pulled out this huge Chaos Orb and placed it on the table. He tried to cry foul again but everyone else said he insisted I use my actual Chaos Orb and that was my actual Chaos Orb. I used it, flipped it and wiped most of his board. Unsurprisingly, that only worked once and only because everyone present thought it was hilarious.
My DM on Battleminds:
no, see i can kill defenders, but 8 consecutive crits on a battlemind, eh walk it off.
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195392035 wrote:
Hi guys! So, I'm a sort of returning player to Magic. I say sort of because as a child I had two main TCG's I liked. Yu-Gi-Oh, and Pokemon. Some of my friends branched off in to Magic, and I bought two pre-made decks just to kind of fit in. Like I said, Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon were what I really knew how to play. I have a extensive knowledge of deck building in those two TCG's. However, as far as Magic is concerned, I only ever used those two pre made decks. I know how the game is played, and I know general things, but now I want to get in the game for real. I want to begin playing it as a regular. My question is, are all cards ever released from the time of the inception of this game until present day fair game in a deck? Or are there special rules? Are some cards forbidden or restricted? Thanks guys, and I will gladly accept ANY help lol.
I have the same problem with women.
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198869283 wrote:
Oh I have a standing rule. If someone plays a Planeswalker I concede the game. I refuse to play with or against people who play Planeswalkers. They really did ruin the game.
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57461258 wrote:
And that's why you should never, ever call RP Jesus on being a troll, because then everyone else playing along gets outed, too, and the thread goes back to being boring.
57461258 wrote:
See, this is why RPJesus should be in charge of the storyline. The novel line would never have been cancelled if he had been running the show. Specifically the Slobad and Geth's Head talkshow he just described.
57461258 wrote:
Not only was that an obligatory joke, it was an on-topic post that still managed to be off-topic due to thread derailment. RP Jesus does it again folks.
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I think I'm gonna' start praying to Jesus... That's right, RPJesus, I'm gonna' be praying to you, right now. O' Jesus Please continue to make my time here on the forums fun and cause me to chuckle. Amen.
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56957928 wrote:
It was wonderful. Us Johnnies had a field day. That Timmy with the Grizzly bears would actually have to think about swinging into your Mogg Fanatic, giving you time to set up your silly combo. Nowadays it's all DERPSWING! with thier blue jeans and their MP3 players and their EM EM OH AR PEE JEES and their "Dewmocracy" and their children's card games and their Jersey Shores and their Tattooed Tenaged Vampire Hunters from Beverly Hills
Seriously, that was amazing. I laughed my *ss off. Made my day, and I just woke up.
[quote=ArtVenn You're still one of my favorite people... just sayin'.[/quote]
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.....would it be a bit blasphemous if I said, "PRAYSE RPJAYSUS!" like an Evangelical preacher?
Perhaps, but who doesn't like to blaspheme every now and again? Especially when Mr. RPJesus is completely right.
56756068 wrote:
I don't say this often, but ... LOL
57526128 wrote:
You... You... Evil something... I actualy made the damn char once I saw the poster... Now you made me see it again and I gained resolve to put it into my campaign. Shell be high standing oficial of Cyrix order. Uterly mad and only slightly evil. And it'll be bad. Evil even. And ill blame you and Lizard for it :P.
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111809331 wrote:
I'm trying to work out if you're being sarcastic here. ...
Am going to stop you right there... it's RPJesus... he's always sarcastic
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56957928 wrote:
112114441 wrote:
we can only hope it gets the jace treatment...it could have at least been legendary
So that even the decks that don't run it run it to deal with it? Isn't that like the definition of format warping?
I lol'd.
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98088088 wrote:
Uktabi Orangutan What the heck's going on with those monkeys?
The most common answer is that they are what RPJesus would call "[Debutantes avert your eyes]ing."
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Show
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I’ve removed content from this thread because off-topic discussions are a violation of the Code of Conduct. You can review the Code here: www.wizards.com/Company/About.aspx?x=wz_... Please keep your posts polite, on-topic, and refrain from making personal attacks. You are welcome to disagree with one another but please do so respectfully and constructively. If you wish to report a post for Code of Conduct violation, click on the “Report Post” button above the post and this will submit your report to the moderators on duty.
...Am I the only one that thinks this is reaching the point of downright Kafkaesque insanity?
I condone the use of the word Kafkaesque. However, I'm presentely ambivalent. I mean, that can't be serious, right? We're April 1st, right? They didn't mod RPJesus for off-topic discussion when the WHOLE THREAD IS OFF-TOPIC, right? Right.
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56957928 wrote:
Save or die. If you disagree with this, you're wrong (Not because of any points or arguements that have been made, but I just rolled a d20 for you and got a 1, so you lose).
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58222628 wrote:
This just won the argument, AFAIC.
That's just awesome.
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57718868 wrote:
HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THE BEAR PRODUCING WORDS OF WILDING?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!
That's what RPJesus tends to do. That's why I don't think he's a real person, but some Magic Card Archive Server sort of machine, that is programmed to react to other posters' comments with obscure cards that do in fact exist, but somehow missed by even the most experienced Magic players. And then come up with strange combos with said cards. All of that is impossible for a normal human to do given the amount of time he does it and how often he does it. He/It got me with Light of Sanction, which prompted me to go to RQ&A to try and find if it was even possible to do combat damage to a creature I control (in light that Mark of Asylum exists).
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+10
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56957928 wrote:
57078538 wrote:
heaven or hell.
Round 1. Lets rock.
GG quotes! RPJesus just made this thread win!
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143359585 wrote:
Blue players get all the overpowerered cards like JTMS. I think it's time that wizards gave something to people who remember what magic is really about: creatures.
Initially yes, Wizards was married to blue. However, about a decade ago they had a nasty divorce, and a few years after that they began courting the attention of Green. Then in Worldwake they had a nasty affair with their ex, but as of Innistrad, things seem to have gotten back on track, and Wizards has even proposed.
You are my favorite. Yes you. And moments like this make it so. Thank you RPJesus for just being you.
On what flavor text fits me:
57307308 wrote:
Surely RPJesus gets Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius?
56874518 wrote:
First: I STILL can't take you seriously with that avatar. And I can take RPJesus seriously, so that's saying something.
121689989 wrote:
I'd offer you a cookie for making me laugh but it has an Upkeep Cost that has been known to cause people to quit eating.
56267956 wrote:
I <3 you loads
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56957928 wrote:
"AINT NO LAWS IN THE SKY MOTHER****." - Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran
10/10. Amazing.
If he's a wizard you could get some defender-like familiar for him that he plays but is unable to speak (someone arguing with himself... no)
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