We’ve been experimenting with the role-playing aspects of a few of the 5e spells in our duet and wanted to share them with you! Up first: commune!
Below, we share the tweaks we made to the commune spell and how they played out in our one-on-one game. Then, from these specific instances, we’ll offer a few broader suggestions to spark ideas for your two-person games!
The basic premise of the commune spell is that a character reaches out to their deity and asks three yes or no questions, and the DM answers as the deity.
Changing the spell situation
Our first adjustment to this spell was transferring its effects from a spell to part of a ceremony that my PC got to take part in. My character is a Circle of the Shepherd druid, so she wouldn’t normally have access to commune (instead, druids have commune with nature). Unlike most druids, my PC has a strong connection to a particular deity, Cassandra, the goddess of fortune.
My character, Persephonie, joined the other Seers to reach out to Cassandra, and I had a bit of time in advance to prep the yes or no questions for the spell. Jonathan incorporated this ceremony at a pivotal story point in our game. We were moving out of a transition narrative and into a new campaign arc.
This experience helped make her feel connected to her people and to her deity. At a time of indecision, when she wasn’t sure that she was on the right path, this creative spell usage helped her to recenter herself and allowed me as the player to focus on her most pressing concerns.
Application: Even if your PC doesn’t have access to 5th-level spells, commune can lay the foundation to help the PC understand their current situation or to anticipate what’s coming next.
The main PC in a one-on-one game is also almost always the protagonist, and allowing them to commune with a higher being can really help them feel like the “chosen one” and/or give them clarity on their next steps, depending on what you’re going for.
Beyond Yes or No
I would recommend maintaining the “yes or no” question part of this spell, but what made it really memorable was that Cassandra answered Persephonie in stories.
When she asked if it was possible for one of her new friends to extract themselves from a difficult situation, Cassandra told her a story about a clever young fox who found a loophole in the powerful binding magic that an evil queen had used to hold the fox and her allies.
Translation: yes, it is possible, but it will be tricky.
Other stories involved a mermaid and a princess that provided similar answers to the one above, going slightly beyond yes or no to indicate the importance of a certain path forward and what its achievement might entail.
Application: Find a creative response beyond “yes” or “no” that fits the PC. Stories and storytelling are central to my character, so this was a perfect and meaningful way for her goddess to answer her. Maybe the PC in your game responds to something else—a tapestry, a song, a memory.
You don’t want to go so far as to reveal what will definitely happen—they’re asking because it’s unknown and in the future—but including this spell in your campaign leading up to a significant event or new arc can create a unique, memorable experience for the player and their character.
The final tweak we made to commune was allowing my PC the chance at two more questions if she succeeded on a high Wisdom saving throw (which she did!).
The possibility of these extra two questions was really fun for me as a player, both in the preparation stage and during the question-asking ritual. I ordered my questions based on their importance to my PC but then had the added choice of deciding between what I’d already prepped and follow-up questions that were inspired by the answers to the first three questions that I hadn’t anticipated.
We think it’s really important for the player to know what their PC wants and where they’re headed, and commune offers a great opportunity for them to put that into practices in a way that’s creative and different from their standard session prep!
I hope that these tweaks to the commune spell have sparked some creative and interesting ideas for your duet game! I’d love to hear in the comments below if you’ve tried something similar with commune or other high-level spell, especially for lower-level parties.
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