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Setting Up The Solo Game July 6, 2009

Posted by elopingcamel in 4e, DM, Solo Game.
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I was practicing running through the next encounter for the 3.5 Basic Game (so I’d be more familiar with it when I finally did run it with my little group), setting up my maps and miniatures, etc., when my wife walked in and asked what I was doing. I briefly explained and she surprised me by asking if I wanted her to play. I almost said, “No,” because I was so shocked. She has been a great sport in playing along with me and seems to have enjoyed herself in the process, but she has certainly never sought it out. Needless to say, I was excited.

The first thing I did with her was to ask her the following questions (which I completely stole from Oakspar77777, only tweaking my explanation of each to her slightly):

1. Game play/Mechanics: Role vs. Roll Playing – What aspect of the game does she enjoy more? I was surprised to learn that her favorite part is rolling and fighting. She does not care hardly at all for the back story or character development. That is good to know (although that is my favorite part, so it will probably cause for some interesting situations along the way).

2. Mechanics: Power – Did she want her character to be incredibly (and perhaps unrealistically) powerful or did she want to feel the challenge and be required to use her creativity/brains more to solve problems? She chose high power.

3. Setting: Fantasy – Did she want the world to be High, Mid, or Low Fantasy (see Oakspar77777’s examples of each)? She chose Mid.

4. Setting: Magic – Did she want the use of magic and magical items to be commonplace, extremely rare or somewhere in between? She chose in-between.

5. Setting: Tone – Did she want a darker or lighter feel to the adventure/world? Again she chose in-between.

6. Action/Setting Description – How graphic or censored did she want the game to be? She chose a PG Rating.

Asking these questions opened my eyes to what she finds enjoyable in the game, and sparked a few followup questions. Very quickly I learned that her least favorite part of playing was creating a character. This seemed so odd to me because that aspect of roleplaying is my favorite part. Ah well… So we used the Quickstart 4e rules and characters to just jump on into the game without having to drag her through the things she doesn’t like. My wife chose to play the Eladrin Ranger (originally named Riardon Brightvale), but changed her name to Ela. I quickly added some backstory elements to help make her being a ranger logical–her father is a woodsman/hunter (where she learned her tracking and woodland skills) and her mother was abducted before she was old enough to know her (thus explaining why she’d have so much time to run around the forest and become so independent/self-sufficient. It also helps to explain any potential racial enemy aspect to the game; we’d just choose the race that abducted her mother as her racial enemy). I also decided to name the town in which she was starting Brightvale, claiming that it was founded by an ancestor of hers. The town was described to her as a very small fontier town that has Eladrin, humans, half-elves, and halflings, but no dwarves. Also, there is a community of tieflings nearby that enjoys a fairly friendly relationship with Brightvale, although there are plenty of people in Brightvale that distrust the tieflings and desire not to deal with them. The last bit of back story I gave her was that her best friend is a half-elf warlock named Tira Duskmeadow (another 4e Quickstart character).

That pretty much sums up the game setup. I didn’t have much time to develop things, and, as I said, I am new to both DMing and especially 4e. The best we could do was just move forward and hope for the best.

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