Tabletop role-playing games are all about the adventures of a party, but does that have to mean a group of people? Although the ideal number for a Dungeons & Dragons party is generally agreed upon to be three to five people, plus a Dungeon Master, it’s also possible to play a great game with only two players.
A two-player game in D&D can be organized in two ways; either as a party with two players and a DM, or the DM and one other player character. Both types of games are just as rewarding and exciting as the kind you can play with more people s long as you follow a few simple guidelines.
7 Choose The Right Adventure
Not every D&D module is ideal for or can be tweaked to fit a two-person game, but luckily there are a few that are ideal for this kind of adventure. The Crystalline Curse Trilogy is specifically tailored for a duet campaign, which means one player and a DM, and contains three different adventures intended for players that are new to the concept of a smaller party.
Other options for duet gameplay include The Dragon of Icespire Peak, which takes players through the first six levels. For those who would prefer to walk a darker path, there’s Land of Vampires by Rove Guardian Press that goes up to level 10.
6 Use Homebrew Materials
Don’t forget about the flexible possibilities offered by homebrew materials. This doesn’t have to be something that you create yourself, although it can be, because there is already a wide variety available online and almost always free of charge.
D&D Beyond is one of the most popular and accessible sources of D&D-related materials on the internet, and another handy resource with volumes of ideas is the 5e Homebrew section of the D&D Wiki. Failing all of that, homebrew is all about making up unique content within the rules, so have your own creative fun.
5 More Time For Character Development
A common complaint that players in bigger games have is the lack of development or action their characters get to experience, which also means less gear and level progression. One of the top reasons players leave a TTRPG game is out of boredom.
In a two-person game that’s never the case, and more time can be dedicated not only to the character’s progression but also to their backstory. That includes ideas that characters in more crowded games can never develop, like professional lives or hobbies that aren’t directly related to combat.
4 Scale To Difficulty Level
Part of adjusting an adventure to suit a two-person party is making sure the difficulty level is appropriate. Dungeon Masters can decide to use a conventional module with a duet game provided they change the materials to suit the players and their characters.
This might mean, for example, nerfing a boss that would normally be faced by four players with reduced HP or special abilities so two players can face and defeat them.
There’s a downside to scaling an adventure. It can be awkward because it’s possible to go too far and end up with a boring adventure that doesn’t present any real challenges. DMs should make up certain “house rules” to handle or avoid character deaths or other bumps in the road no matter how many characters are in the party.
3 Use The Dungeons & Dragons Essentials Kit
There are some tips and tricks to playing more creative campaigns at the beginning of D&D materials, including the best kind of games to play with one or two characters. For players that are new to the world of tabletop gaming, using The Dungeons & Dragons Intro Adventure Set is highly recommended.
More commonly known as the D&D Essentials Kit, it comes with rules for a party with only one player along with all the information you need to get the adventure started. That includes the duet player module, The Dragon of Icespire Peak, along with other practical materials like dice and character creation sheets.
2 Rotate The Role Of Dungeon Master
For more experienced players or those that are keen to learn the ways of the Dungeon Master, this is a great learning tool and another way to make a game with a single player and a DM more interesting. This is another time when the D&D Essentials Kit is handy because it also has instructions for how to be a DM, in case a player is a beginner who is new to the role.
It’s one way to have a party of two players plus a dungeon master. The characters might be in different roles or locations initially, which is one way to make a parallel storyline, or they can interact in situations in which each player takes a turn behind the screen.
1 One Player, Two Characters
Another option for duet play is that a single player rolls the dice for more than one character, which could be an enticing prospect for working on character development or different ideas for a character’s role or backstory. For a lot of players, character creation, development, and customization are the best parts of the game, and a duet-style of adventure has the time and space to fill in every gap.
Experienced players can take this to the next level by doubling up on both characters and DM duties, ultimately forming a party of four if each of them takes on more than one character and swaps the DM’s tasks. Something like this is feasible but would have to be carefully planned to fit into a certain dynamic. It could be a story of two couples in the same module, pursuing the same goal but with differing methods, or one side playing the villains and the other the heroes.
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