December 23rd, 2002

It's All Me

Solo gaming: good, bad, fun, or creepy?

For the past few years, I've been friends with a guy who has no job, insomnia, and not much money, hence a great deal of free time. He's also an RPG addict and a great GM. He ran a really involving Mage game for several years, and I was fascinated with his NPCs. My character in the game was young and uneducated and trying to turn her life around, and I ended up running many, many side sessions with him, with just the two of us talking philosophy and magery in-character.

Now I'm running a game that he's in, and he's looking for the same level of depth, and we still run a lot of solo, one-on-one sessions so he can develop his character and talk to NPCs at length without boring anyone else. I've found I run a LOT of solo stuff for other players as well, but with him, I literally sit down for an in-character exchange and it stretches into a four-hour talk.

I vacillate on how I feel about this. My SO always got uncomfortable if I wanted to talk to one of the NPCs in his game outside of a regular session; he felt one-on-one gaming was sad and masturbatory and antisocial.

My RPG buddy, on the other hand, has a long history of lengthy solo sessions; before I met him, he was running private games for his girlfriend as a spinoff of a game she'd been in that collapsed; they wandered off to do solo stuff often enough that a friend of his used to leer at him, "Going off to 'play some Shadowrun,' huh?" because he assumed they were headed off to have sex.

I'm curious how much one-on-one gaming other people do, and what the general attitude toward it is. I sometimes find it a little sad myself - we could be talking like real people, after all - but I have to admit, most of the best, most focused, most intense, and most personal gaming I've done has been one-on-one.

What about the rest of you? Do you typically run or solicit solo sessions outside your games, and do you have general thoughts on whether it's a good thing or no?
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