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One-on-one D&D Adventures are Fun, Here's Why

Updated: Mar 4

One on One D&D Adventure
Playing a one on one D&D duet with my wife, Devon.

Ever wondered what it's like to embark on a solo adventure in Dungeons & Dragons with just the dungeon master?

Now's your chance to find out! 

One-on-one D&D sessions are becoming increasingly popular. In this blog, we'll dive into the world of duet-style gameplay, exploring why more players are opting for solo games. 

I’ll even share some unique details about a solo D&D adventure I ran with my wife!  So, are you ready to discover the thrill of a one-on-one D&D journey? Let's roll the dice and find out!

Benefits of One-on-One D&D Adventures

You're Still Playing D&D

Remember this: one on one D&D is just dungeon and dragons at its core. 

You get over the initial notions or feelings of awkwardness of playing with just one player quickly in live play. Sure, the table might not “look” as full, but the elements of D&D remain the same. 

Despite what we did, a D&D duet doesn’t just mean you exclusively need to play with your partner. This style of game can certainly work with a close friend, roommate or even a family member! 

Personalized Player Storytelling 

Combat with NPCs in our D&D 1-1 game
Storytelling & NPCs are still - if not more - important!

In one-on-one D&D adventures, the spotlight shines on the player's character. This allows for a more personalized and customized storytelling experience. With the Dungeon Master's undivided attention, the player has the freedom to explore their character's backstory, motivations, and personal goals in greater depth.

Solo Character Development

Without other players, one-on-one D&D sessions offer ample opportunities for intensified character development and immersive role-playing experiences.

Players have the freedom to delve into the nuances of their character's personality, quirks, and relationships without the need to compete for attention. This is especially beneficial for quieter players who tend to get talked over in large games.

This heightened focus on role-playing allows for more meaningful interactions with NPCs, as well as the exploration of complex moral dilemmas and character growth arcs.

Less Juggling for the Dungeon Master

For the DM, there are fewer player interactions to juggle all at once. It helps the dungeon master stay in the moment with the single player, and guide them with their undivided attention. 

Fast, Streamlined Gameplay 

D&D dungeon map with dungeon tiles, 3D and 2D terrain
Your Player will Progress Faster Than in Typical D&D

One-on-one D&D adventures often boast streamlined gameplay and faster pacing compared to traditional group sessions. 

With fewer players to manage, combat encounters and key decision-making moments are made more efficiently, keeping the momentum of the adventure flowing smoothly. This quick pace allows for more content to be covered within a single session.

More Weight on the Individual Player's Choices

In a one-on-one setting, players enjoy a heightened level of immersion. Every decision made and action taken carries greater weight, leading to a more intense and immersive gameplay experience.

The focus on one player's choices allows for a more dynamic and responsive narrative, where the consequences of each decision shape the course of the adventure in meaningful ways.

It’s Far Easier to Schedule a Game

With only one player to accommodate, scheduling sessions becomes simpler and more convenient, avoiding the dreaded game cancellation when players are missing! This flexibility allows for more frequent gameplay sessions, ensuring that players can continue their adventure at a pace that suits their schedule.

Best Tips for Running One-on-One D&D Campaigns

D&D accessories, D&D pawn 2D and 3D displacer beast
A Displacer Beast Side Kick: Because why not?

Adding a Sidekick to Help Balance the Party

When running a one-on-one D&D campaign, it's essential to adjust encounter balance to suit the capabilities of a single player. 

One effective strategy is to introduce a sidekick character to accompany the player on their adventures. This character can serve as a valuable ally in combat, providing additional support and filling in any gaps in the party. 


Sidekick Tip: The sidekick character should complement the player's chosen character class. If the player's character is a melee-focused fighter or barbarian, consider adding a spellcasting sidekick to provide ranged support or healing abilities.

Alternatively, a stealthy rogue sidekick can assist in scouting and skill-based challenges, enhancing the player's capabilities and bolstering their chances of success.


Crafting Dynamic NPCs to Enhance Player Interaction

Remember, the only other person at the table is the Dungeon Master. That’s why crafting dynamic NPCs is crucial for enhancing player interaction and immersion.

Consider incorporating NPCs with unique backgrounds or personal quests that intersect with the player's journey, providing opportunities for role-playing, questing, and more character development.

Balancing Encounters for Solo Play

Boss Combat Encounter in one-on-one D&D
Boss Encounters are Harder in Solo D&D

Balancing encounters for solo players requires careful consideration of the player's strengths, weaknesses, and playstyle.

Keep the following points in mind for encounter balancing: 

  • Understand your player’s strengths and weaknesses.

  • When designing obstacles, what skills will your player struggle to complete

  • Will they have help from an NPC or a sidekick?

  • Consider the action economy: adding a couple of extra monsters with attacks gets overwhelming for one player when designing combat encounters.

  • Magic Items: Be generous and provide magic items to help fill gaps. A barbarian may find more healing items or arcane weapons whereas a Wizard may find a tough golem or shield guardian to attack enemies at close range.

Take Frequent Breaks & Have Shorter Sessions

In one-on-one D&D campaigns, the Player and Dungeon Master often have less downtime compared to larger group sessions.

Taking a coffee break during D&D game
It's important take a few breaks

With the spotlight solely on the player, the adventure moves at a much faster pace, requiring the DM to be constantly engaged and responsive. To avoid burnout and maintain the quality of gameplay, it's essential to take frequent breaks and consider shorter session lengths.

These breaks provide valuable opportunities for both the DM and the player to recalibrate, recharge, and prepare for the next segment of the adventure.

Shorter sessions can help prevent fatigue and ensure that both parties remain focused and immersed in the game.

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FAQ: One-on-One D&D Campaigns

Can you run a one-on-one D&D campaign?

Yes, one-on-one D&D campaigns, also known as duet-style gameplay, are becoming increasingly popular and can offer a unique and immersive gaming experience.

How do you Run a D&D campaign with only 2 Players?

How do you make/write a D&D campaign for 2 players?

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