We’re here to help you start your one-on-one D&D campaign, providing you with the resources, ideas, and inspiration you need to begin playing a two-person game with a partner.
If you’re looking for a way to connect with someone you care about, spend time with them, and create something meaningful together, you’re in the right place!
There are lots of different forms of one-on-one games, which we call duets. We play as a couple, but you may be interested in playing with your child, a close friend, or someone you’ve just met. As long as you want to invest in your relationship with that person and build a story together, you’re set!
Why use “duet”?
Several other posts, blogs, and podcasts describe two-person games as duets, but you may also see one-on-one or two-player, and we use all of these terms on our blog. However, by calling it a duet, we want to emphasize the collaborative aspects of playing a one-on-one campaign. D&D and other role-playing games (RPGs) are already about working with others to tell a story together, and duets depend even more on that collaboration, which is part of what makes them so wonderful!
Things to Consider for Your One-on-One D&D Game
Creating a Character
One of the best parts of playing D&D is getting to be—to embody and interact with others as—your character. You can read more about how to create your campaign’s protagonist here, but part of what I found so special about creating my character and her story was that we wrote it together.
In D&D, there are different classes of characters to choose from, and they each cater to a variety of strengths in combat and in social interactions. For your character’s personality, I would recommend carving out aspects of yourself, exaggerating them, and then building a story, backwards and forwards, around that character. It doesn’t even need to necessarily be an ideal version of yourself, but a change in emphasis in parts of your personality.
As an example:
In our game, my character is extremely sweet and innocent (though there’s a toughness and determination to her as well), much more so than is the case for me personally. But I can easily tap into that about her, and it has the added benefit of me getting to exercise that aspect of myself. In contrast, one of her best friends, another NPC (non-player character) that I play, is extremely confident and sexy, which is quite different than my primary, relatively shy character.
Playing with these different personality facets, and the creativity that goes into D&D in general, provides opportunities for deeper self-understanding and new, unique ways of interacting with the world.
Working on a campaign with someone else, or a group of people, is about working together to tell a story. Playing D&D with a partner creates lots of opportunities for you to each contribute to a shared and valued experience that you count on one another for.
This can happen in really small ways. I, for example, take care of the music during each of our sessions, and Jonathan almost always sees to the food. I use some regular playlists on Spotify, and others I make up myself for special events in our game. He adds in surprises for our weekend exploits at the grocery store, creating an extra-immersive experience when we have fancy bread, cheese, and fruit, like our characters might be eating on their travels.
Community and Gifts
Stretching beyond the immediate adventuring party, one of the coolest parts of playing D&D is the amazing community of players and DMs along with incredible artists, writers, and artisans.
In addition to the already interesting and expansive official content from Wizards of the Coast, there are lots of online databases and compendiums of content other people have written that you can adjust for your game. For example, we have best-selling adventures for duets listed on the DMsGuild as well as their sister site DriveThruRPG with adventures you can also pick up in the DnD Duet shop! (More on this in a moment.)
You can also check out these resources, if you’re interested, to help you further personalize the world of your duet.
We hope that our resources and adventures are helpful for you and that you and your partner get as much happiness, fun, and enjoyment out of playing D&D together as we do.
Introductory Adventures for One Player and One DM
If you’d like to start your own one-on-one campaign, we’ve written a series of three adventures specifically for duets that are available as a bundle on DMs Guild!
We’d love for you to try them out! The first adventure in the trilogy, First Blush,* is based on the beginning of our home game but has plenty of options so you can customize it to suit your own preferences. You can also check out the follow-up adventures, Second Glance* and Third Time’s the Charm,* that continue the storyline and will take your and your D&D partner all the way through level three.
Resources to Get Started
You don’t need to buy all the D&D books to try out playing. There’s a boiled-down rules set, called the SRD, that you can explore to get started for free! We also cover the basics in this post for both DMs and players to start to understand the game.
It can be helpful to watch someone else play, so we have a video just for you of us playing the first half of First Blush, our introductory one-on-one adventure!
As we discuss below, and in the video, this adventure is based on how we started our own one-on-one game, and we hope it’s a helpful resource for you.
How Our Duet Began
It all started with a typo: Duchess and Dragons. One of my students had misheard the name of the famous role-playing game and transcribed that error in a scene sketch for class. My husband, Jonathan, had been playing Dungeons and Dragons for about a year at that point, and he had asked me a few times if I wanted to play with him and his group, but the answer was always no.
But Duchess and Dragons, I told him, was a game that I would play. And so our game, favorite hobby, and shared passion was born.
We first played together in March of 2018. Jonathan and three other teachers began a campaign during spring break a year before. There were times when I didn’t understand why their sessions took so long on a weekend, but I also was not interested in D&D. So he continued playing, with occasional teasing from me. It was something he really enjoyed and looked forward to, and he often told me about the different exciting things that had happened in their sessions or what his character was doing.
He took to it quickly and, shortly after the word choice error on a paper, he was going to lead his first session, and I agreed to participate. By that point he was working on our campaign, “Duchess and Dragons,” setting up the world and narrative arc and helping me create my character.
During that one-shot with friends, I wasn’t comfortable enough with the role playing or the game itself to try to fully embody my character, and I also found it intimidating that our friends had been playing for such a long time while there was still a lot that I didn’t understand. But I enjoyed that session, and Jonathan continued working on the campaign and character for me, and he said that we would play just the two of us.
It has since become one of my very favorite things to do, something I look forward to constantly, and an amazing way for us to spend time together and have fun.
Our campaign has even sparked a novel series—Age of Azuria! The first six books (three novels, three novellas) in the series are available now! (Learn more about Beth’s fiction on our sister site.)
We hope that this blog and the adventures we create for one-on-one games will help you to start your own two-player campaign and have fun creating characters and a world with someone you care about!
If you’re interested in supporting us and what we do, be sure to check out our work on Patreon and get a new location supplement every month!
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If you like what you’re reading, please consider supporting the blog by purchasing our adventures and supplements in our shop or on DMsGuild or sponsoring us on Patreon. We’d also love for you to follow us on Twitter and Instagram. We appreciate you so much! Thank you for reading. – Beth and Jonathan