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Author Topic: Solo gaming  (Read 492 times)
Yrthak
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« on: February 18, 2017, 05:39:33 AM »

Does anyone have much experience running solo games, as in adventures or even whole campaigns with just you and a single player?

What would you say are the principal things I should bear in mind if I was to run this kind of game?

Have you found it useful to include one or more sidekick-type NPCs to work alongside the PC? I'm thinking principally to help out in combat.

Any other advice?
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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2017, 02:35:40 PM »

I have a decent amount of experience with this, on both sides of it.

Like any other style of gaming, it has its advantages and disadvantages. The game tends to be rather focused, of course, which can be great for a proactive player who enjoys the spotlight, but a player who is used to playing a more supporting role in a group game may have some problems keeping things moving. You also kind of miss out on a group dynamic, socially speaking. On the other hand, the game is typically more genuinely collaborative, and, honestly, you can just plain cover more ground and have more interesting stuff happen per session because the lack of distractions, inevitable issues, OOC banter, and whatnot keeps the game moving at a good pace. Think about how much longer it takes a large group of people to eat, even if they're eating the same amount of food; gaming works the same way. For a player, it's really nice to always be able to do stuff, instead of having to wait long stretches for your turn like in a multiplayer game. Scheduling is also a whole lot easier, because you only have to coordinate with one other person.

My preferred approach when playing in this style of game is not to have sidekick NPCs, but rather to simply play a party of PCs myself. This requires a pretty good grasp of both the characters and the system. It probably helps if the player has some GMing experience, to have some experience with keeping multiple characters straight. A simpler system can help immensely, too. Playing the game this way also completely does away with some peoples' idea of immersion, although I myself am not bothered so I can't say much else beyond that. When I've got some characters that click the intraparty banter is honestly pretty fun for me to write.
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Giff
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2017, 04:48:04 PM »

Pretty much everything sparkle said, but to add you can also do neat little things that don't always work in a larger group, like stealth missions that aren't reliant on having an entire party with an adequate stealth ability and dungeons that can cater to the strengths and limitations of a single character rather than a party (think like Zelda or Metroid stuff).

In sparkle's case, where she creates a party controlled by herself, I don't like to add NPCs. But I might add one if it's an actual solo run and if the player is cool with it, otherwise I just keep the spotlight on them.
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Straight Outta Johto
Giff
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2017, 05:33:15 PM »

I'm going to pitch to my neighbor about doing something like this, if he would be interested. Probably a good way to hone DM skills when you think about it. Playing solo with an experienced DM is probably a good way to pick up experience and learn.
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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2017, 05:38:58 PM »

Weave

you can also do neat little things that don't always work in a larger group
This is very true. Another advantage, if you have a party, is that you can let the party split up however it realistically would rather than having to contrive some excuse to keep the whole group together to avoid leaving players sitting around with nothing to do.

When I've run games like this for Weave, he usually had a duo of characters, so, from time to time I inserted an NPC. Fate mechanics helped there because you can have NPCs default to doing the "create an advantage" action, which makes them a useful asset in combat while still leaving the decisive combat actions to PCs. Or just have the NPC be sort of useless in combat, like Yarv.

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Spawn of Ungoliant
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« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2017, 01:18:46 PM »

I've run a number of solo-sessions, but awhile back I ran a longer solo game, quite a few sessions - I posted up recaps of some of them here.

I actually found it fine to have a single character - sort of liberating, actually, because you don't need to design locations/scenarios around a diverse team but can just cater to a single character. Also, you can create challenges that a more diverse party would easily circumvent but which a character with limited abilities really has to think their way around. I think temporary NPC sidekicks can be fun and useful.

I think the key thing is the dynamic between player and DM. If you both feel comfortable and aren't going to make it awkward I think it can be really fun. Scheduling is a helluva lot easier too.
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Giff
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« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2017, 05:37:39 PM »

Does anyone have any ideas on making initiative checks flow? Basically the player would be rolling a d20 three times in a row. is there a way to simplify that?
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Spawn of Ungoliant
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« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2017, 06:04:40 PM »

You could just use a more simple initiative system, like rolling initiative once per side.

I would sometimes have players roll initiative at the beginning of a session and at the end of every battle to have the numbers ready to go for the next battle.
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Giff
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« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2017, 06:57:50 PM »

Steerpike

You could just use a more simple initiative system, like rolling initiative once per side.

I would sometimes have players roll initiative at the beginning of a session and at the end of every battle to have the numbers ready to go for the next battle.

I'll consult real quick on this one with my player. FTR, my partner and I are playing Eberron. He's a Magus warforged, Daelkyr halfblood wizard, and a Shifter druid. This well be fun one way or another.
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« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2017, 07:11:22 PM »

LoA

He's a Magus warforged, Daelkyr halfblood wizard, and a Shifter druid.
Wait, back up...

So this is Pathfinder? And one person is playing three characters? And they're all casters?

 huh
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« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2017, 07:26:56 PM »

sparkletwist

LoA

He's a Magus warforged, Daelkyr halfblood wizard, and a Shifter druid.
Wait, back up...

So this is Pathfinder? And one person is playing three characters? And they're all casters?

 huh

i know right, we actually had this exact conversation. i'm using E6, so it shouldn't be that bad.
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