And it was a one-on-one session.
My 2nd Ed. Ravenloft game that I posted about here a while ago has, since the last five or six sessions, gone down to solo. There were originally three players in the line-up with a possible fourth. But the possible fourth and the definite third never made it, and the second player (Sonomars) was unable to continue gaming with us due to scheduling conflicts with work/girlfriend.
Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, when is this azurebutthole going to Lj-cut this number one, and number two you're thinking that about the point where the party has dwindled down to one player, it's probably best to call it quitso.
Yeah, well, Sasha's player and I just kept playing one-on-one. I DM, he plays Sasha. And I've done this before with this player, and you know what - I daresay I really like it. In fact, I daresay I like it more than playing with a group.
WHAT, you say, BLASPHEMY! YOU CAN'T RP WITH LESS THAN FOUR PEOPLE AND A GM THAT'S HOW IT WORKS!
Now, now, keep your penguins in the icebox, as the old adage goes. There are actually several advantages to gaming one-on-one. I have a list. Here is my order of my list that it's in:
- Easier Scheduling:
It's much easier to work around two people's schedules than five people's. We have been gaming more often and more consistently now that the campaign has gone solo.
- You Get More Done:
You ever have one of those game sessions where you game for six hours and you feel like you've made hardly any progress? It's because there are usually four to five players versus one GM. Each person trying to do one different thing at a time, and taking up gaming time. That doesn't happen when you play one-on-one. We play for three hours and get as much done as a typical six hour session.
You never have to worry about managing downtime so other party members don't get bored while wizard boy wants to create a magical item or research a spell or whatever. The one player can have as much or as little downtime as required for the overall funnity.
- Play Styles:
You don't have to worry about varying play styles - Bob over here likes to RP a lot, figure out what's going on, infiltrate political circles, blah blah blah. Fred likes solving puzzles, riddles, and discovering mysteries. The Other Bob just wants to fight and smash things. No need to "balance" these things so everyone has fun! No one is ever bored while not engaged in their "type." As long as the GM and the player share a "type," all is good. Everyone is playing the game they like to play and running the game they like to run ALL THE TIME. It's really quite awesome.
- Power Levels:
Another thing you don't have to worry about is making sure that the players stay on equal footing in terms of power level. You can do things and bend the rules in more ways than you normally could in your standard D&D for the sake of the awesome. Like, right now, my player has an Undead Master with some Dark Gifts and Dark Curses. Now, normally, these benefits are static - they are selected at character creation, but they don't "grow." Well, I decided it would be cool to let this power advance as his character advances in level. This boon in power would, of course, be unfair to other players who weren't of that class unless I gave everyone a similar benefit...
- Faster Play:
Combat and task resolution and things like that go a lot faster. You don't have to go around the table in turn and ask each person what they're doing for the round. Much fewer die rolls. No waiting around for your turn for what it seems like forever.
- NPCs Round Out The Party:
You might think, "Well one disadvantage is that you won't have a full range of skills/abilities" etc. Not so! You can use an NPC (or a few, if you desire) to make up for where the other player is deficient. Right now, as I've stated above, my player is playing an Undead Master (which is a Necromancer kit, so a wizard), meaning he has little to offer in the way of meat shield. Fortunately he has found a big, strong companion with mysterious powers to aid his character along.
- More Open GM-to-Player Dynamic:
This method allows the player a good bit more control over the game/game world. My player makes suggestions about how we should handle certain things, and can give more input about the game world... I'm not sure if I'm really describing this well, but what I mean is, my player can say "I really envision this spell working like this," and I can just be okay with that instead of having to worry about if that would "upset the balance" for other players. We don't have to wait until the end of the session to talk about things to "keep the game going." We can talk about it right then and there. No one's waiting on us. It's cool.
Now, All that being said, there are, of course, disadvantages to this method. The group interaction/social aspect is one obvious one. Another is the PCs not having opportunities to RP with each other.
Anyways, have you ever gamed one-on-one? If so, did (do) you like it, dislike it? Why/why not? Other thoughts/points/ideas/general ridicule?