Solo adventures

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When the first DnDn playtest came out, I made a character; a halfling rogue. Her stats were all quite good (15/+2 modifiers mostly). I can't remember off the top of my head what her specialty was, but her background was Artisan: brewer, and I decided she was a happy-go-lucky individual who just wanted to see the world and was using the profits from her brewery to do so. I then asked my friend to run me a single-player single-character adventure. He was up for doing that, but it never came about.

My question: has anyone run this kind of game? What was it like?

If nobody has, has anybody been tempted?

I realise the challenges for the DM would be considerable when running such a game; for one thing, combat encounters might become troublesome, and the player and DM would have to work together to overcome certain obstacles (e.g. an ogre blocking a road: if things didn't work out through talk, the single character would stand no chance fighting, so it might be wise for the DM to give a heads up). The player no doubt would encounter similar challenges, e.g. breaking the "hero" mindset for a more reasonable/realistic one.
When the first DnDn playtest came out, I made a character; a halfling rogue. Her stats were all quite good (15/+2 modifiers mostly). I can't remember off the top of my head what her specialty was, but her background was Artisan: brewer, and I decided she was a happy-go-lucky individual who just wanted to see the world and was using the profits from her brewery to do so.

That honestly sounds like a cool character. But thank goodness there are finally mechanics for that kind of thing. I'm not sure how anyone could come up with something like that otherwise.

My question: has anyone run this kind of game? What was it like?

I've done a little of this with my daughter. By and large it was just a collaborative story.

I realise the challenges for the DM would be considerable when running such a game; for one thing, combat encounters might become troublesome, and the player and DM would have to work together to overcome certain obstacles (e.g. an ogre blocking a road: if things didn't work out through talk, the single character would stand no chance fighting, so it might be wise for the DM to give a heads up).

Combat encounters are already troublesome for that very reason. As long as there's an interesting way to fail and the game doesn't come to a screeching halt just because of bad rolls or a bad challenge design, it should work fine. The players, however many of them there are, should work with the DM in any case.

The player no doubt would encounter similar challenges, e.g. breaking the "hero" mindset for a more reasonable/realistic one.

Not necessarily.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Single character games can be a lot of fun for the player and DM alike. The best part is that it doesn't really matter how strong of weak the character is. You don't have to worry about them being too stong and overshadowing everyone else, or so weak they might as well not be there. It's something I enjoy both playing and DMing, and I do it fairly often. Most often, I'm both playing a character and DMing for my DM's character at the same time. Things do occasionally get complicated when the two characters meet, but that's part of the fun. 
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.
I was thinking in DMing a solo adventure. I first though in a gladiator campaign, at least for the start, since there is a couple arcticles about the theme and focusing on one on one combat. You guys have anything else to add? I mean, there is some material on the theme, because 4E is a strong team based game, a lot of powers resolve around alies. How much do I have to adapt to make things work? Im still new to DMing, thanks in advance. Sorry about my english.
Single character games can be a lot of fun for the player and DM alike. The best part is that it doesn't really matter how strong of weak the character is. You don't have to worry about them being too stong and overshadowing everyone else, or so weak they might as well not be there.


I'm not 100% sure I support this view. I was supposed to be playing in a solo Pathfinder game. I rolled my stats. I got 12, 10, 9, 8, 8, 6...

To say the game never got off the ground might be obvious if one considers the fact that my DM had already okayed my playing a Psion on its way to Thrallherd. There is absolutely no way those stats would work. It's not even an issue of not overshadowing the world, an NPC Commoner would be embarased with those stats!


As for Solo adventures in general: I find it depends on the DM. Is it truly Solo, or does the person running the game feel the need to toss an NPC (or *shudder* a DMNPC) to go along from the start? Can they find ways to ensure that the single PC can survive and surpass challenges with what is hopefully not much more trouble then a group of PCs would?

And so on, and so forth. 
Single character games can be a lot of fun for the player and DM alike. The best part is that it doesn't really matter how strong of weak the character is. You don't have to worry about them being too stong and overshadowing everyone else, or so weak they might as well not be there.


I'm not 100% sure I support this view. I was supposed to be playing in a solo Pathfinder game. I rolled my stats. I got 12, 10, 9, 8, 8, 6...

To say the game never got off the ground might be obvious if one considers the fact that my DM had already okayed my playing a Psion on its way to Thrallherd. There is absolutely no way those stats would work. It's not even an issue of not overshadowing the world, an NPC Commoner would be embarased with those stats!


As for Solo adventures in general: I find it depends on the DM. Is it truly Solo, or does the person running the game feel the need to toss an NPC (or *shudder* a DMNPC) to go along from the start? Can they find ways to ensure that the single PC can survive and surpass challenges with what is hopefully not much more trouble then a group of PCs would?

And so on, and so forth. 


I said "can be" rather than "are" for a reason.

For one-on-one games we very rarely roll stats. Instead we build the character however seems fun to play. That said, even a character with the rolls you posted can be fun to play. I've had a blast playing characters with no stats above a 10, but it takes a good DM, a player willing to have fun with it, and some cooperation.

Of course, all that is only my opinion. YMMV.
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.
My wife and I run a game with only one player all the time.  I am DM for the game.  We use it as a way to practice somethings, encounter design, skill challenge implementation, etc.  I have her run 2 characters though, and run 2 characters myself so it is still a party of 4.  I'm sure a single character campaign could be fun though.
I ran a solo campaign for a friend a few years back, and it went pretty well; he ran two seperate groups, one with a dwarf cleric as the main character, with a warforged fighter bodyguard/sidekick who had little real personality or contribution. The other group was a elf ranger and a moody, untalkative half-elf warlock prisoner/sidekick.

This way, we could flip-flop between the storylines of the dwarf cleric and the elf ranger, who'd receive the bulk of the characterisation, and the sidekicks could provide the occasional story hooks and ensure that my player had some fun when it came to combats. Obviously fights were still tense with only two adventurers, but not as hit-or-miss if he only had the one.

My advice would 9 times out of 10 be to provide a solo player with a sidekick, a character who isn't going to draw the story away from the main character, and then reach a decision on who should control the sidekick; if it's a loyal bodyguard or similar, the player, if it's a mercenary or ally of convenience, then the DM.
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Going back into the vaults, you could look up:  Fighter's Challenge, Thief's Challenge, and the SOLO adventures from the AD&D game.  They can easily be adapted (just put 4e monsters in place of the old 1st edition or 2nd edition monsters).  The Adventures of INDIANA JONES game from TSR (makers of D&D) also had several solo adventures that you may wish to look up.


jh

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Long time viewer, new poster.
I've been involved in a one player campaign for a while now. 4e, using a human necromancer mage with fey beast/shadow servant.
It's been going pretty well, from my experience the trick is tailoring the hp of monsters to suit the lowered damage output of a single character. And of course using combat encounters where the focus isn't necessarily just killing enemies etc. Other things to think about is second wind as a minor action, and encouraging the player to use a bit of optimisation if combat is a focus. Normally if someone is willing to go solo for a campaign, they're pretty into D&D, it helps a lot if the player knows what they're doing.
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