"Solo-crawling" Dungeon of the Mad Mage
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  1. #1
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    "Solo-crawling" Dungeon of the Mad Mage

    Browsing through Dungeon of the Mad Mage I had a feeling of nostalgia for my youth, when on some summer nights I would stay up until the wee hours of the night, running myself through the 1E DMG Random Dungeon Generator. On first blush, that doesn't sound very fun, but I remember having a blast. It was a form of make-believe: I would get to both create a dungeon and be surprised by what I randomly generated, and also engage in combat (even though there's always the problem of "playing chess against yourself"), and even make-up some kind of storyline or quest.

    Anyhow, I'm guessing that my 40-something self wouldn't quite enjoy that as much as my 14-year old self, but thought it might be fun to at least give it a shot. But here's the dilemma: I'm not sure I want to run a party of four characters. I was thinking either one crazy maxed out powerhouse superhero, or a dynamic duo--ala Fafhrd and Gray Mouser.

    So my question for you all is three-fold:

    1) What would be the "best" duo in terms of class combinations for a dungeon crawl?

    2) How to translate party size at a certain level to a smaller party at a higher level and keep the challenge level about the same?

    3) Any other tips on how to make a "solo-crawl" more immersive?

    My first thoughts:

    1) Some kind of fighter/rogue and some kind of spellcaster. Alternately just a fighter and a rogue, and hope for the best without magic. Or maybe I need to cover all four core classes: say, a paladin (to combine fighter/cleric) and a wizard/rogue.

    2) I was thinking of using the XP Thresholds in the DMG's encounter building guidelines. Taking the first level of DMM as an example, it recommends a party of four 5th level characters. Using the chart on page 82 of the DMG, a 5th level character has a 500 XP threshold for Medium Encounter Difficulty; x4 characters and that's 2,000 XP. According to the chart, for two characters that would be one 8th and one 9th level character.

    Does that sound right? Four 5th level characters is roughly equivalent to two 8-9th level characters?

    3) Just wing it and have fun. Try to be as objective as possible in terms of playing monsters and traps and such. Don't read ahead, just read the room linearly - and act accordingly. I'm also thinking of revisiting the Mythic RPG for suggestions, which I have the PDF of.

    Thoughts?

    I have a feeling that I won't get very far with this, but it is fun entertaining as a thought exercise: how to make a solo-crawl enjoyable and with some element of surprise and immersion.

  2. #2
    My go to for role-filling these days is the bard, so probably bard plus... dunno probably not a weak spellcaster.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Mercurius View Post
    1) What would be the "best" duo in terms of class combinations for a dungeon crawl?
    There is only right answer to this question: a fighter and a bard. Named Xena and Gabrielle

    Okay, two right answers. A ninja and an acrobat. Named Batman and Robin.
    Laugh Blue laughed with this post

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by happyhermit View Post
    My go to for role-filling these days is the bard, so probably bard plus... dunno probably not a weak spellcaster.
    Paladin and Bard? Both can stand up the other if they drop. Bard works best if they can have a non-support character to make shine.

    Valor bard doesn't get the juicy magical secrets at 6th for a single AoE direct damage and some other goodies like revivify, but their better armor does help their survivability. Or maybe cleric (life) 1 / bard (lore) X instead.

    And with only 2 characters, my worry is about having enough actions per round not to end up like a solo vs. a normal party, but with a bard's crowd control I think that might work out.

  5. #5
    My vote is Barbarian and Druid.

    My 2nd vote is 2 archer rogues.

  6. #6
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    One superhero PC and three "minion" NPCs - something that requires minimal recordkeeping, like a sword-and-board fighter. Their primary Action is "I step up and hit the bad guy in front."
    (An archer minion's Action would be "I shoot the guy in the rear who cast that spell at us, and step behind partial cover." For this purpose, bow-and-arrow = Eldritch Blast = Sun Soul attack.)

  7. #7
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    One character. Thief Rogue, Path of Shadow Monk or Beastmaster Ranger. Difficulty would probably be Hard, normal and easy respectively.

  8. #8
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    One character. Thief Rogue, Path of Shadow Monk or Beastmaster Ranger. Difficulty would probably be Hard, normal and easy respectively.

  9. #9
    I would probably go with a paladin and a monk for the saving throws at the deeper levels, if it were me.


    In general:
    Someone with good arcana and perception bonuses.
    Getting out can be challenging so at will or short rest abilities would be my preference.
    The wandering monsters can be an issue so attempting short rests will be easier depending on the DM
    It's one of those dungeons where knock isn't a bad idea to carry if someone can.

    2cp

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