Are you weary of having game nights difficult to schedule? Or worse yet, having them postponed at the last minute turning your joy and excitement to despair or even rage? Then fear not, and don't let anybody tell you that party size is all that matters.
We are "In Two the Dungeon," a duet style actual play Table Top RPG Podcast with one GM and one PC. In this blog post, we will delve into the advantages of one-on-one D&D and explore why it's an experience every RPG enthusiast should try with the advantages of playing a sole protagonist bringing the joys of more focused storytelling, deeper levels of character development; and of course ease of scheduling! TTRPG's like Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) has captured the hearts of tabletop enthusiasts for decades, providing endless adventures and imaginative storytelling. Traditionally, D&D, and most other TTRPGs have been a group activity, with parties of adventurers banding together to face the challenges of fantastical realms. However, there's a lesser-known but equally thrilling aspect of the game: one-on-one play or as it is better known, a duet. It is important though to remember one of the key concepts of TTRPGs; it's not the DM vs the players, or the player as is the case in a duet. This isn’t a versus game, but still a collaborative storytelling experience where you are creating a world and game together. This unique and intimate form of TTRPGs bring forth a host of benefits that enhance the experience for both players and Dungeon Masters (DMs). Though each one-on-one campaign will be unique to its player and DM, there are several benefits of this playing style for both player and DM, whether you’re playing with a partner, child, or a friend. DM Benefits First, let’s focus on the DM's benefits. Flexibility and Adaptability Unlike group campaigns, duets provide greater flexibility in adapting the game's pacing, allowing the DM to adjust encounters and plot developments to suit a sole player's playstyle. Streamlined Combat and Encounters Similarly, combat encounters in TTRPGs can be time-consuming, especially with a large group. In a duet campaign, combat tends to be more streamlined and efficient, as there are fewer turns to manage. This allows the DM to focus on creating dynamic and challenging encounters while keeping the action moving at a brisk pace. Focused Storytelling For DM's, the adventure's narrator, our imagination prospers within the constraints of telling a story for a single character which allow us to focus in toward the PC's class, backstory, shortcomings and personality which can help us uncover some really remarkable narrative prompts, villains and plot twists, particularly with the addition of sidekicks as discussed in our previous blog post. We like to think of a duet as more like a movie, where the story focuses predominantly on a sole character, as opposed to party play which we liken more to a series during which the story shifts focus on more than one lead protagonist. The Forever GM In the event that you're the one who is generally behind the DM screen with barely a chance to be a player, then playing in a duet game can be a great alternative for you. As stated above, the inclusion of sidekicks with well developed, backstories, motivations and unique character of their own not only help the player to be more invested in the campaign and of course in their own character, but it also provides you unique access into the world as a character where you can set aside your DM knowledge of your campaign setting and temporarily loose yourself inside the world view of your player's sidekicks. Duet play also provides for the opportunity for shorter campaigns allowing both of you to switch up the DM and player roles and take turns in either running alternative story arcs in the same campaign, or to mix it up playing in different campaigns, or even systems. Player Benefits Let’s turn our attention now to the benefits for the player. Personalized Storytelling In a duet campaign, the story revolves around a single player and their character. This personalized storytelling allows for a tailored and immersive narrative experience. The DM can focus on the player's character backstory, motivations, and aspirations, creating a deep and intricate world that resonates with the player on a profound level. With the spotlight on a single hero, character growth and development become the primary focus, making every decision, triumph and loss, feel uniquely significant. Deep Character Development One of the most significant benefits of duet play lies in character development. The close interaction between the player and DM enables more in-depth exploration of the character's personality, flaws, and relationships. This intimacy fosters emotional investment in the character, leading to profound and impactful role-playing experiences. Players have more opportunities to delve into their character's psyche and history, ultimately leading to well-rounded and relatable protagonists. Enhanced Immersion With the absence of other players, distractions are minimized during duet play, leading to heightened immersion. Players can completely immerse themselves in the world without interruptions, deepening their connection to the story and their character. Personalized Challenges and Rewards In a duet campaign, challenges and rewards can be custom-tailored to suit the character's strengths and weaknesses. The DM can craft encounters that challenge the character's abilities while offering opportunities for them to shine in their unique way. This targeted approach not only keeps the player engaged but also encourages greater creativity and critical thinking. Empowering Player Agency Player agency is a fundamental aspect of any role-playing game, and duet play magnifies its impact. With no other players, decisions made by the lone adventurer carry more weight, directly influencing the course of the story. Players feel a sense of empowerment, knowing that their choices hold significant consequences, making the game all the more thrilling and memorable. Focused Roleplaying Opportunities In a group setting, players might sometimes find it challenging to assert themselves in role-playing scenarios, especially if they are introverted or shy. Duet play provides a supportive environment for players to embrace their role-playing skills fully. Without the pressure of peers, players can dive deep into character interactions, engaging in meaningful dialogues and making impactful choices that shape their character's journey. For Both Players & DMs And now for all involved. Game Style Do you want to play a game that focuses more on dungeon delving and quest completion? Or do you prefer to immerse yourself in a world with little combat focusing more on narrative and character development? Since there are only two of you at the game table you can focus more time on the parts of the game you most enjoy without having to cater for the preferences of other players. Flexible Pace and Scheduling As we all know only too well, co-ordinating schedules for group play can be a daunting task.
Duet play almost completely eliminates this issue, offering flexibility in scheduling that accommodates busy lives as there are now just two schedules to juggle. Whether it's a quick evening session or a weekend marathon, players and DMs can tailor the game to their preferences, resulting in more consistent and enjoyable play sessions. While group play has long been the norm in TTRPGs, duet play opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for players and DMs alike. The benefits of personalized storytelling, deep character development, flexible scheduling and enhanced immersion, make one-on-one play in our view, a more compelling and rewarding experience. It offers a unique opportunity to explore the intricacies of a single character's journey and form a stronger bond between the player and the game world. Whether you're a seasoned TTRPG enthusiast or new to the tabletop realm, diving into duet play is an adventure well worth undertaking. So gather your dice, prepare your character sheet, and embark on an unforgettable solo journey through the fantastical realms of your favourite TTRPG. Happy adventuring! ___________________________________________________________________ So there you have it, we hope this list of advantages on duet play inspires you to try out the exciting world of one-on-one TTRPGs, If you’ve enjoyed this article, please give us a listen on your podcaster player of choice, and consider supporting us on www.buymeacoffee.com/i2td. Here you can make a one-off donation by buying us a potion which will appear in game along with a shout-out, or you can join the adventure and influence the stories we tell by purchasing a magical item which will also appear in game. If you don’t already, we’d also love for you to follow us on Twitter and Instagram. Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you again soon as we delve in two the dungeon! – Nich and Al