Hey DW People.

Hey DW People.

Hey DW People. I want to talk about 2 player games. (meaning one GM and one player). Hopefully we can have a discussion about the potential pitfalls of one-on-one DW =)

A recent conversation has (at least for me) gone on a bit of a tangent, so I thought I’d share that tangent separately for discussion.

DW is meant to be played with larger groups of about 4 players and one GM. It’s structured to have an interplay between those players and each of their weaknesses can be buttressed by the others strengths (ideally).

So when you play with just one player and one GM you really have to watch what you do. The player is alone and has no other moves to help her. There’s no one to “aid or interfere” her, and hirelings are only so helpful as written in the rules.

So to help out with this, I’ve overcome these problems by adding a BFF system in a previous game. As me player explored the world she met characters that were obviously important to her, so I made these NPCs into buffed up hirelings. They each had GM moves associated with them, like a monster, and they each had an actual, mechanical move that the player could leverage. Each time she embarked on an adventure she could bring 2 BFFs with her to help her along.

The BFF GM moves were triggered when she rolled a 10+ while in a sticky situation. Sort of like a reverse-hard move. So when she succeeded her whole little party succeeded.

I’ve linked the document I created for that adventure. And I’d love to hear what everyone thinks about this mechanic, how it might be improved, and also what other people’s experiences have been like when running one-on-one games.



20 thoughts on “Hey DW People.”

  1. I’m glad you think so 🙂

    I feel like DW is such a great game, but I’d hate to think that people might be having trouble playing one-on-one like I was.

    Though I’m not sure how many people actually do that.

  2. We haven’t tried a solo game in dungeon world yet, but we’ve done it a few times with Houses of the Blooded and Marvel Heroic. 

    I think next on the list of games for us to try is Murderous Ghosts, which is a Powered by the Apocalypse game specifically designed for two players. 

  3. Yeah. I’ve thumbed through that, though it’s a bit too competitive. When I play solo with my wife we don’t like to compete. It makes choosing games hard sometimes :/

  4. Numenera is by far the best system I’ve encountered for small parties. I can’t quite put my finger on whether it’s because you don’t gain exp in the traditional sense, or because of how story-driven it is (even the combat), but it makes for a very non-competetive “let’s explore this world together” aspect for the wife and I

  5. Well aren’t you clever. I love this idea. I think a way you could improve this is by adding a BFF level up system giving the more trainings and such, maybe even some new moves the player would be able to choose from.

  6. =) Thanks! I’m glad you like it!

    I’ll try to formalize it into a more official looking rulesy type document and post it for everyone.

    I think a level up system is a great idea. Any thoughts about how it might work? I guess they could just level up with the player. Though they could also have some kind of separate XP that they earn when their “Cost” is paid. Although that might become annoying to keep track of.

  7. I think the of them leveling as there costs are paid, or at least gaining some sort of XP is a good idea. I mean as the GM I don’t think BFF’s would have to be limited to the ‘costs’ of the current hirelings, you could quite easily make some ‘costs’ tailored to the BFF in question. And I don’t think it would necessarily be to hard to keep track of, a lot of different class sheet styles have a small box for hold on them now, something like that could make it much simpler.

  8. Yeah, that’s true. I think the cost would have to be tailored to each friend. Out would have to be something that is actually a cost, it’s a little too easy if the cost were something like “share camaraderie”.

  9. I played a couple of sessions with my son. First session he created and played a Paladin. He befriended an NPC. During the second session we swapped roles. I played the NPC as a PC and my son GM’d. It worked really well and was a lot of fun. 

  10. That’s a cool idea too. My wife’s not a fan of GMing though, and I generally enjoy GMing more than playing (or at least whenever I’m playing I wish I were GMing).

    I wonder how many people actually play one-on-one though.

  11. Ben I think a lot of people wish they could play one-on-one, for reasons. I’ve played Hollowpoint, Bootleggers, and a couple other games with my wife and we’ve had fun–but none of them were designed or modded for 2-players, and it showed. So a game like Scarlet Heroes or a mod like yours are most appreciated.

  12. Yeah, I have a hard time finding like-minded people to play with. It’s nice to be able to play with my wife (especially since we can just start playing whenever we have time), but you’re right Brian Wille, most traditional RPGs aren’t designed for that.

    So I’ll certainly create this mod as a formalized document and post t for review at some point soon =)

  13. I taught my girlfriend Dungeon World one-on-one though we didn’t get that so far as henchmen but this looks pretty good if you were to do it as a campaign. Usually when I learn a new game system I sit down with a friend and walk through a mini adventure one-on-one just to get mechanics down. We just recently did that with 7th Sea. Which as a side note also works pretty well for one-on-one, so does L5R, it’s parent game. Though fair warning on L5R it’s super deadly at lower levels then evens out to be just deadly when you rank up so that can be a problem. I also have Lone Wolf rpg, which has a suplement designed for one player though I haven’t played it yet. That could be helpful to you for reading anyways.

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