What do you need to know to start playing a duet?
In this post, we answer some frequently asked questions and link to other resources across our site to help you get going!
Have a question that isn’t answered in what follows? Please post it in the comments below!
What makes playing D&D one-on-one different than playing in a group?
One of the biggest differences between playing in a duet versus playing in a group is the focus on a single character’s storyline. It’s more Harry Potter or The Hunger Games than Lord of the Rings.
Duets also provide players with a lot of say over the narrative. Again, this is true in group games too, where players may go a completely different direction than a DM had planned. But in one-on-one, if the DM sets themselves up for the player to innovate and to let their PC drive the action forward, then they can collaboratively build the world and the story together.
DMPC Character Development
The other effect here is that it’s easier for the DM to play a dedicated PC! For DMs who don’t often get to be a player but want to be, this is an amazing play-style option! You can run this character as a DMPC or as a sidekick, or maybe you’ll want to try out both!
Another difference between one-on-one and group play comes from the DM trying to avoid talking to themselves when playing multiple NPCs in a single scene. There are a few methods for managing this without talking to yourself, which we cover here.
Prep Best Practices
How do you prepare before a one-on-one D&D session?
If you’re just getting started with your campaign, we suggest having a conversation with your player to find out what they like and prefer, and then bring that element out in the game as much as possible. Anything that the two of you don’t super enjoy, skip.
Resources for new DMs
Scaling for One-on-One
Most creatures in 5e are scaled for parties of four or more characters, so there are a few tweaks to make when playing in a duet.
First, you’ll want to keep an eye on action economy. This means that you should avoid the PC and any party members being very outnumbered. Opt for waves of combatants instead. We cover strategies for scaling encounters here.
Start Your Adventure
Is there an adventure we should start with for our one-on-one game?
You’ll find three adventures in the bundle: First Blush, Second Glance, and Third Time’s the Charm, which will take a PC from level one through level three.
First Blush in particular we created to help introduce people to D&D.* It walks through the three tiers of play: role-play (RP), combat, and exploration and is a great starter adventure for new DMs and players.
You can also join the DnD Duet Community and get our free 5e adventure, The Penshaw Poisonings!
Continuing the Adventure
What should we play after The Crystalline Curse Trilogy?
We suggest The Proving Glade* after the Crystalline Curse Trilogy, followed by In the Heart of the Forest. Neither of these adventures are strictly part of the same storyline, but they’re level 4 and 5 respectively and take place in a woodsy environment.
We’re working on follow-up adventures specifically written for the Trilogy, and we hope to have them out later this year.
Player Advice Section
What are some important considerations for the player in a duet game?
Player Best Practices
We hope this helps to get you started with your own one-on-one game!
If you have any further questions, please try the keyword search below or leave them for us in the comments section at the end of this post.
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