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.
Beyond the world and the characters, the sessions themselves allow you to help each other out and express care and excitement.
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, and we also have adventures and one-on-one campaigns available in the D&D Duet shop!
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.
If you’re looking for more, D&D Beyond has a great resource for starting your D&D Adventure!
And we have some planning ideas and resources for new DMs to begin to research and put together your own encounters and then campaign arcs!
For the player, we break down best practices in two tips: be active, and know your character.
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.
We’ve also started a weekly stream, Tales of Eldura, which you can check out on Fridays at 7pm ET.
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!
We’d also love to have you join our community for news and updates, plus a free adventure set in the world of Azuria!
This post may contain affiliate links which means that, at no cost to you, we receive a small commission when you follow the link and make a purchase.
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
My wife agreed to play dnd with just me and her. This was exactly what I was looking for.
Yay! That’s awesome! I’m so excited for you both! We’re very honored that we were able to help; our duet means so much to us, and being able to share that with others has been such an incredible experience. Please let us know if there’s anything further we can do to help or if there’s something you’d like to see discussed that we haven’t talked about yet!
Thank you for your kind words 🙂 We really appreciate it!
Going to try this with my wife, although her English skills are not the best.. we have tried a little before was ok, but she thought the RP was a little awkward, hard to get into, i guess this comes with practice tho. Wish you guys could make a Youtube video, of just the first 10-20min of First Blush, to help newbies get an idea how it could be done.
That’s a great idea! We can totally do that, and thank you so much for the suggestion!
I will say that yes, some of the ease and natural-ness does come with practice, and it’s ok for there to be a disconnect between what your character would know and what you know about them or how their conversations would feel as opposed to how they’re coming out in early RP. And I know it’s easy to say “don’t worry about it feeling awkward,” but it will feel more natural given time!
As far as the English goes, I saw a really cool post on Reddit a week or so ago where a teacher had a student in their school club who was having trouble with some of her RP because she didn’t know how to say what she wanted to in English. So, because her character was a high elf, he encouraged her to think of English as being the equivalent of Common, and her parents had forbidden her from learning it. When she wasn’t sure how to say something, she would say it in Elvish (Spanish), and one of the other students would translate for her. And so if at all possible, I think it would be really cool to see what might otherwise seem like a language barrier as a really incredible RP opportunity! And personalizing the character’s history in that way might also help the character feel more natural as well!
Thanks for the reply, and the language bit was a really god idea. we have been speaking mostly in Norwegian and translating to ease things, but this might actually solve the problem tho 🙂
I’m planing on starting a Duet with my soon to be wife, she recently started playing with me in a couple of groups but I wanted to do this thing to bond more! she loves the arthurian tales, so I’m homebrewing a setting for her with aspects of this tale, I stumbled with this page today and it is really fascinating, I will try to comment more when we have our session 0
First, congratulations to both of you on the upcoming wedding! How exciting!
And a setting based on the Arthurian tales sounds amazing!!!! I can’t wait to hear more about it as you all get into it! Thank you for your kind words about our page, and please keep us posted as you go!
Unintentionally, my best friend and I have been playing a duet game for the last 7 months or so.(usually we play with our two friends who are a couple and who have a tendency to start up arguments at the table…fun). We hadn’t wanted to stop gaming just because we were having issues with playing with our friends and trying to find a group to play with. We’ve been playing Curse of Strahd, I DM and play two characters (one my own from the beginning, the other repurposed from the characters one of our friends played) while my friend currently has 4 characters she plays.
Considering she and I have been doing little RPing asides between our characters since nearly the beginning of our time gaming, it wasn’t that much of a stretch to broaden that idea from role playing a scene between two characters to playing out an entire story with ten (give or take).
I was intrigued by your site and wondering how someone else does the one-on-one storytelling – and that other people are doing it at all! I’m excited to look through your site and see tips and tricks that might make my life easier as I create this story for my friend. It’s really cool to know that other people play this way as well!
Ten characters! That’s so many and so impressive!
I’m sorry you were having trouble in your group, but it’s great that the two of you have continued to play together! I think accidental duets are really special. And we’re playing through Curse of Strahd together right now!
Do you use full character sheets for all of your people or do you use stat blocks? We would love to hear how your duet is going and if there’s anything we can add to be helpful!
And I agree with you, we have been delighted to find so many people playing this way!
I absolutely LOVE the idea of doing this with my girlfriend! She’s actually really into the idea. Thank you for creating this repository of cool stuff and tips/tricks!
That is such exciting news! Yay! We can’t wait to hear how it goes, and I hope you both have so much fun!!!
We really appreciate hearing that it’s helpful, thank you!
And here I am, looking for a way to introduce my larp-happy husband to the tabletop world I grew up loving 😀
Yay! So perfect! I’m sure larping will translate into some amazing RP! Please let us know if you have any questions along the way! Really happy we could help!
I have two kids (8 and 5) that I’m trying to run adventures for, but its hard to find adventures for just 2 players. Do you think your duet adventures would work for two PCs plus DM?
Yes, I think they would work great for two players and a DM! We design the adventures for the PC to run around with a DMPC, so they’re scaled for two characters already, and adding a third (for your DMPC) shouldn’t throw the balance off too much. For the lower-level creatures in a medium-difficulty encounter, you might look at adding an additional creature for them to fight and either have it there at the beginning or bring it in during a second wave. I think some of that depends, too, on whether they like to team up together to fight things or if they each want their own monster to defeat.
We’d love to hear how it goes after you’ve had a chance to run through an adventure or two! I hope you all have so much fun!
Steffen Pedersen says
Bought your Crystalline Curse Trilogy recently to get my best friend into DM’ing, to hopefully get a group started and finally get me started of a hobby I’ve been wanting to get into for almost 20 years now…
But since I’m not the DM I’m sacred of reading too much into the adventure, so have a question I would like answered.
Are the Pre-Generated characters a must to use, or could/should I create my own?
I’m not much into either of the classes, but it sounds a bit to me like their stories are written into the adventure… not a complain at all… looking CRAZY forward to it, even if I have to play one of the Pre-Generated characters…
Just wondering if I should prepare a character or not before starting 😆
Since he’s new to DM’ing (and D&D as a whole) and also just got a daughter, time isn’t our biggest resource…
Could you give advice on the most absolutely important things to know as a DM?
Think I’ve narrowed it down to:
Reading Monster Blocks
Ability checks, saving throws etc.
Any additions (or removals) to that list?
I’ve already bought a DM Screen, so he’ll have that for referencing a fair amount of things also
Thanks beforehand 😀
Can’t wait to play your adventure
Thank you for your kind words and great questions! You definitely don’t have to use the pregenerated characters; the most important thing about them is that they each have an amulet that’s important to them, so as long as the character you make has that (or other, agreed-upon item of significance), you should be fine!
I would definitely encourage you to prepare a character before you start, and that could be fun for you and your best friend to do together too! It really helps for the DM to get to know the PC.
I am so excited for you both! I can already tell that you’re going to have such a good time!
As far as DM advice goes, yes, I think those work great as the basics. It can be helpful to watch or listen to other people play so you get an idea for the mechanics in general. It also lets you see/hear how they play out at the table. You can watch our sessions on YouTube for duet play or check out livestreams like Critical Role 🙂
For additional DM advice, Jonathan put together this post for DMing your first game: https://dndduet.com/5-dm-tips-for-running-your-first-game/
I hope you both have so much fun with your duet campaign, and welcome to the hobby!!!
Thanks for your answer 🙂
Yeah, we’ve already spend some time watching introductory videos, including Jonathan’s, so we should hopefully be able to figure it out.
And cool…. will get on character creation then
Me and my better half love this site! We have just finished the Crystalline curse trilogy, The proving glade and In the Heart of the forest… Our favorite was the Crystalline curse trilogy as both of us love to RP and the trilogy is full of it.
Do you have any recommendation what we could pick up next to serve as a continuation of the story?
Craig Curry says
Hi. I’m about to start DM-ing the Land of Vampires. I San trying to figure out where to place the Kingdom of Linolynn on the map. Is there a map I just didn’t see in the download?
I’m so glad you’re about to start Land of Vampires! And I think it depends on which adventure you’re looking for the map in. We have a map of Azuria and a regional map of Linolynn in the introductory arc adventure, but they’re not in Parts One and Two. If you do have the intro adventure, Linolynn is on the western coast of the eastern continent, Caldara.
We’re working on a new resource that provides more setting and lore details about Azuria to make running campaigns in Azuria easier. I put this post together for you, and we’ll keep adding to it and the site: https://worldofazuria.com/kingdoms/ ☺️
I hope that helps!