Single Player Campaign (Another DnD Post)

I mentioned a while back I’ve been DMing for a group of new-to-tabletop gamers.

So the plan is to dive into Waterdeep: Dragon Heist as soon as we finish the short campaign included in the Starter Set (which just keeps getting cheaper and cheaper if any of you Fearless Readers don’t play, want to play, are looking to get started…)

Sort of in preparation for this, and partially just because the full group can’t meet as regularly or often as we’d like, Gabs and I have been running a single-player mini-campaign the last couple of weeks. (We meant to play a session on our vacation last week, but although we took the source books, character sheet, and my notes … we forgot a fucking pencil.)

This single-player campaign takes place, in my mind, about fifty to sixty years before the events we’ll get to in Dragon Heist. Gabs’ character has no direct connection to the Dragon Heist campaign, and probably won’t be connected to her character in that game either (we’ve talked about what kind of character she wants to run in that game, although she hasn’t done any actual work on that future character yet so that may change.) The main thing that’s important is that her character in Dragon Heist is meant to be familiar with Waterdeep, and I wanted a way to introduce Gabs to the city so that she would actually have some of that familiarity…

My plan is to bring her character in this 1P game to Waterdeep through a story that is tangentially connected to a particular NPC I definitely plan on highlighting in part of the Dragon Heist campaign… (I don’t want to give specific spoilers since the players may read this.)

Because it’s a one-player campaign, I had her start her fighter at level 3 and took it easy in the first session. I had a role-playing encounter first off, in which the story set-up is delivered:

A mysterious illness struck your village, seeming indiscriminate. Those who fall ill run terrible fevers and the strength leaves them as their bodies begin rapidly wasting away. You were sent by the village chieftain to seek help in the city. You’ve returned, accompanied by an elven cleric who may be able to help…

The elven cleric is there to make combat encounters go a little more smoothly, but I’m not planning on keeping her directly in the story forever. And she can’t help with the illness because…

In your absence, a party of raiders attacked the village. With so many of the able-bodied wasted by fever, they met little resistance. Strangely, they ignored the houses where everyone was sick. They have abducted all the healthy children who were not struck down by sickness and departed to the east…

Keep in mind this played out over an entire session – those two blocks of text are just summarizing about an hour’s worth of play, questioning the surviving villagers – who have all miraculously recovered from their illness in the 24 hours since the raiders came to take the children.

Gabs’ fighter, Fritjof, sets off to follow the raiders’ tracks, still accompanied by the elven cleric. They also have a mysterious talisman found in the village, apparently lost or discarded by one of the villains. And at this point I threw in some hungry wolves, because it’s been a harsh winter and so on, but mainly to test the fighter’s abilities and limits. I started small and then threw in a couple more wolves to strengthen the pack. With the cleric’s help, this still wasn’t a problem, so I figured I’d found a good baseline for combat encounter difficulty with a single player (plus one NPC). And by then it was time to close out the first session.

I don’t know if this is of particular interest to any of you, Fearless Readers, but I’ll probably keep posting about it as the game goes on.

One thought on “Single Player Campaign (Another DnD Post)

  1. […] Single Player Campaign (Another DnD Post) @ John A. Underwood – Some thoughts on a single player RPG campaign.  It’s not something I’ve ever really thought of doing, mostly because RPGs are a very social experience for me.  That said, we’ve done some limited 1-on-1 sessions, usually to fill gaps between campaigns or for character development stuff.  It’s good to read the author’s experience and thoughts on this approach. […]

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