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 Suggestions of what systems or methods to use for 1-on-1 gaming sessions? :)

LatinaBunny

Cyberprep Warrior
Validated User
Hi! :)

I’ve been playing some D&D and stuff, and I’m GMing a few different games, and one game is a rotation of different systems for shorter games (or long “one-shots” games). We like to play around with different systems.

Unfortunately, real life has caused some players to be busy, and a couple is dropping.

So I’m wondering if there are ways to play with 1 GM and 1 player (or sometimes 2 players) whenever there is a shortage of players?

Should I do some games with NPC hirelings/henchmen/allies? Would a GM-less system work better? Would a free-form system work fine?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! ^_^
 

roryb

Lolcat Keeper
Validated User
If you like D&D style games, you can't go wrong with Sine Nomine's Scarlet Heroes, Exemplars & Eidolons, or Godbound. Perfect for one + one gaming.
 

eggdropsoap

Cosmic Egg
Validated User
Dropped in to say Scarlet Heroes, but I see that's already been suggested. But let me say a bit more about exactly how suited to 1-on-1 it is, or rather, let the game's blurb say it:

Scarlet Heroes can be used both as a stand-alone RPG and as an overlay over your favorite old-school game to make its adventures playable for single PCs or very small groups. It shares the same classic statistics and basic game mechanisms as these old-school favorites, but by changing the interpretation of these numbers it makes it possible for a single courageous adventurer to dare perils that would otherwise threaten a half-dozen freebooters. With Scarlet Heroes, a GM can pull out a favorite module, grab a convenient friend, and a have a full night's adventure with no tweaking, alteration, or adjustment of the material needed.
Basically it's a drop-in set of rules for D&D, especially classic D&D, that lets you use familiar monsters & adventures unchanged in a 1-on-1 game.

Edit: Oh, and there's a free quickstart available.
 
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Kodiologist

Social Engineer
Validated User
A 1-player campaign could be a great opportunity for a villain campaign. The classic villain doesn't work with anybody else as an equal. He works alone, or he works with underlings from whom he expects extreme loyalty. Villains also like elaborate plots, and elaborate plotting is easier when you don't have a bunch of other PCs to argue with you or mess it up.
 

The Unshaven

Registered User
Validated User
Any advice would be greatly appreciated! ^_^
Have you heard of Monsters and Other Childish Things? It's a game about kids and the extra-dimensional super-powerful monstrosities that are sincerely their bestest best friends, like Calvin & Hobbes if Hobbes caused SAN-loss.

And like Calvin & Hobbes, simply being a kid with a monster best friend causes trouble all by itself.

It works well in 1 on 1 games.

- The Unshaven
 

Particle_Man

White Knight
Validated User
Don't Rest Your Head works well with just 1 or 2 players.

If there are three of you then you could do some world building with Microscope (perhaps to play in another time).
 
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Four Color

Out of Space
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Macabre Tales is designed for one-on-one (GM-PC) play.

We also buy solo adventures for Call of Cthulhu, DC Heroes, D&D, Tunnels & Trolls, etc. and have one person take over as the storyteller while the other runs the character(s).

Here's a good one for Call of Cthulhu: Alone Against the Flames.

We're hoping to play The Quiet Year (for 2-4 players) soon!
 

PTiKachu

Damaramu will regret this
Validated User
Pelgrane Press has a simplified Trail of Cthulhu called Cthulhu Confidential designed specifically for one GM and one player, with the health and stability scores replaced entirely by escalating condition cards so that you don't get eliminated from an adventure so easily. In extreme cases, you can choose to take a hit that will let you complete an adventure and solve the mystery, only to drop dead or go insane afterwards. :)

There are also some nice ideas like having contacts and allies that help fill any skill gaps that your character might have for mysteries involving other fields of expertise. And some really good setting city write-ups, along with three adventures.
 
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KingJosh

Registered User
Validated User
“Tales From the Grave,” from Spectrum Games, works best with 1-player/1-GM games. It’s based off of Tales from the Crypt/Twilight Zone stories, where there’s usually only one main character, anyway. Also, it assumes you’ll make a different character for each story, so it’s not too big a deal if it’s not always the same player! It supports 2 or more players as well, it’s just optimized for 1-on-1.
 

LatinaBunny

Cyberprep Warrior
Validated User
If you like D&D style games, you can't go wrong with Sine Nomine's Scarlet Heroes, Exemplars & Eidolons, or Godbound. Perfect for one + one gaming.
Oh, ok! :) So I have Godbound and Numbers Without Stars. Does Numbers Without Stars 2nd edition work with 1+1 gaming as well?

I’ll check out the other two you mentioned here as well, thanks. ^_^

Basically it's a drop-in set of rules for D&D, especially classic D&D, that lets you use familiar monsters & adventures unchanged in a 1-on-1 game.

Edit: Oh, and there's a free quickstart available.
Oh, sorry, a little confused. Does it gives advice on how to work with classic D&D stuff in general, or is it its own setting? I got a few old D&D adventures/modules, so if there’s advice on how to approach the 1-1 situation, that sounds like a good choice as well.

Would it be compatible with Beyond the Wall, too? (Since it’s based on B/X?)

A 1-player campaign could be a great opportunity for a villain campaign. The classic villain doesn't work with anybody else as an equal. He works alone, or he works with underlings from whom he expects extreme loyalty. Villains also like elaborate plots, and elaborate plotting is easier when you don't have a bunch of other PCs to argue with you or mess it up.
Hmmm... I’m not fond of villains. Maybe anti-heroes or comedic villains.

Have you heard of Monsters and Other Childish Things? It's a game about kids and the extra-dimensional super-powerful monstrosities that are sincerely their bestest best friends, like Calvin & Hobbes if Hobbes caused SAN-loss.

And like Calvin & Hobbes, simply being a kid with a monster best friend causes trouble all by itself.

It works well in 1 on 1 games.

- The Unshaven
Ooh! I bought that game during Halloween sale. It sounded pretty nice from what I have read and skimmed of it a while back. I was thinking of using it (and its Bigger supplement) for a few game ideas a while back with a different play group. I didn’t know it handle 1 on 1 games, though! :D Thanks for letting me know that! ^_^

Don't Rest Your Head works well with just 1 or 2 players.

If there are three of you then you could do some world building with Microscope (perhaps to play in another time).
Have only heard titles of those, so I’ll look at some reviews of those, thanks. :)

Macabre Tales is designed for one-on-one (GM-PC) play.

We also buy solo adventures for Call of Cthulhu, DC Heroes, D&D, Tunnels & Trolls, etc. and have one person take over as the storyteller while the other runs the character(s).

Here's a good one for Call of Cthulhu: Alone Against the Flames.
Lol, one of my play groups had my Cuthulu-loving and gothic-loving sibling, so she would love the Cuthulu stuff (and the Monsters & Other Childish Things as well, of course).

Pelgrane Press has a simplified Trail of Cthulhu called Cthulhu Confidential designed specifically for one GM and one player, with the health and stability scores replaced entirely by escalating condition cards so that you don't get eliminated from an adventure so easily. In extreme cases, you can choose to take a hit that will let you complete an adventure and solve the mystery, only to drop dead or go insane afterwards. :)

There are also some nice ideas like having contacts and allies that help fill any skill gaps that your character might have for mysteries involving other fields of expertise. And some really good setting city write-ups, along with three adventures.
Cool! Is it standalone? Do I need to know the rules of Trail of Cuthulu? Or is it for Call of Cuthulu?

Getting a little confused by the Cuthulu stuff, lol. Those gods seem pretty popular in tabletop stuff (both the board games and rpgs), I guess, lol...

“Tales From the Grave,” from Spectrum Games, works best with 1-player/1-GM games. It’s based off of Tales from the Crypt/Twilight Zone stories, where there’s usually only one main character, anyway. Also, it assumes you’ll make a different character for each story, so it’s not too big a deal if it’s not always the same player! It supports 2 or more players as well, it’s just optimized for 1-on-1.
Hmm... Is it a scary horror game? Like a slasher film or something? Does the character survive at the end of it? XD
 
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