Solo Campaign

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  1. #1

    Solo Campaign

    I'm trying to figure out how to make a solo campaign for my bro. I'm currently using the Pathfinder core rulebook and bestiary. Any tips would be helpful. Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by KingVic; Saturday, 12th December, 2009 at 12:28 AM.


  • #2
    I've run one or two solo sessions, but not a campaign.

    I'd consider using multiple PCs or DMPCs or gestalt (UA), both for getting more mechanical capabilities and more story possibilities.

    You might also want to look at a reserve point (UA) or other alternate healing system if he doesn't play a healer.

    I'd suggest aiming very low on encounter difficulty. 1 character (or even the options above) is tactically even weaker than one might expect for lack of options. If you have a mage, he'll simply be helpless against a golem. If he can't fight ranged, he'll be helpless aginst flying creatures. And so on.

    Storywise, in a way it's actually easier with less people. Use the character's backstory and/or interests heavily to shape the game since you don't have to worry about screwing over/alienating the other players.
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  • #3
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    Waghalter (Lvl 7)

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    It can be done. It can be done well.

    The biggest things I can think of:
    0) Make everything cinematic. It's a one-man show; you have the time to describe actions, locations, appearances, and effects in detail that make the entire story ineteresting and cinematic. Make sure to encourage his descriptions of events, actions, and so forth.
    1) Losing a fight won't usually get him killed: like any solo hero (pulp novels are a great example, as is Indiana Jones) he usually gets knocked out for interrogation, thrown into a death trap, or otherwise left with a way to make up for that previous failure.
    Of course, another failure will end his story. You can't be too generous, or it stops being interesting.
    2) Lots, and lots (and lots) of non-combat encounters. Role play, skill-based challenges, and other stuff that moves the story and accomplishes goals without serious risk of killing the character.
    3) Center the story entirely around his choices. Trouble may come looking for him but the story is about the PC, not the world he's in.
    This is true for any campaign but especially true for a solo campaign.
    4) Excessive items. Give him a more items than usual, allowing him to have really good gear for his level. It helps a lot.
    Healing potions, items that give options (Thunderstones, Tanglefoot bags, etc), items that provide isight and warning (Gem of True Sight, Alarm chimes, etc), and items that give him the ability to reroll a bad die roll from time to time should really increase survivability without making him broken.
    5) Helpful NPCs. Hirelings to provide needed skills; merchants to provide rituals, items, or spells that he can't provide for himself (for whatever reason).
    6) Lots of good advice appropriate to the character's experiences and mental statistics. Make sure to describe things in ways that are likely to give him useful insights and helpful guidance.
    If he's really stuck, make a few suggestions that only use the knowledge his character has. This can still lead to badness but that's his fault for not looking into the highly suspicious activities that gave the big clue of victory.
    7) Say Yes. If an idea is good, makes sense, or would be fun to watch then let him do it. And set the DC appropriate to how much you want it to happen and less about how hard it should be.
    8) I'd recommend some sort of super-action point mechanic. One that really lets the cinema shine through and holds the unfun story-inappropriate random death at bay. Something like Conviction would be good.

    Good luck.
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  • #4
    thanks for the advice but I would also like to know if there's a way to convert normal adventure modules into solo adventures?

  • #5
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    Waghalter (Lvl 7)

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    Quote Originally Posted by KingVic View Post
    thanks for the advice but I would also like to know if there's a way to convert normal adventure modules into solo adventures?
    There's a way. It takes a lot of work.

    As far as combat goes, either have the PC be 2 to 4 levels higher than the adventure claims it is for, or reduce the EL of the fights by 4: either quarter the number of monsters or use a monster that's 4 CR lower (for single critter encounters).

    If the PC can't deal with a particular challenge (traps but no trap-finding, required spell that he can't cast, etc.) then either provide an alternate solution or eliminate it if an alternate doesn't work / can't be thought of.

    And stick with the rest of my advice.

    Again, good luck.

  • #6
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    Magsman (Lvl 14)

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    Regarding running modules:

    The base assumption of 3e (and the assumption by which most pre-made modules are created) is that a standard party will consist of 4 characters. Of those characters, at least one will be a healer, one will be prepared to handle traps and locked things, and one will most likely be an arcane caster.

    This said, I've DM'd solo campaigns with modules to great success. I generally give the player 3-4 supporting NPCs. Gestalt rules works well if you have a party of less than 4 adventurers; I'm currently DMing a solo campaign with 4 gestalt-ed PCs and they are far above the expected power level of the module as is.

    Your player will love Gestalts.
    Last edited by Herobizkit; Sunday, 13th December, 2009 at 01:34 AM.

  • #7
    I was wondering if anybody knows of any solo modules for 3.5/pathfinder edition (I've heard they have a few for 2nd edition).

  • #8
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    Cutpurse (Lvl 5)

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    I haven't seen any for 3.5/pfrpg. Not as many people seem to play solo mods, and when people play solo, they usually have a highly detailed plot about the main character, instead of being module based.

    Pathfinder adventure paths would make good solo campaigns with some work, since they're already plot driven.

    My advice is to run Counsil of Thieves as its the only adventure path using the new rules.

    I like some of the plotlings in the older material too, but you're already going to have the work of converting it from a 4 man team based campaign to a 1 man campaign, and upgrading from 3.5 to pf may be too much fo you to do on the fly at the same time.

    Unless you have some decent prep time that's what I'd probably use.

    If you need to save some serious time, try adding in NPC Characters so he actually has a full team. But then you need to play 3 players. alot of work.

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