Just two players

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Just two players

#1 Postby DHub » Wed Feb 08, 2017 5:31 pm

Looking for some advice. The only regular players I can get a hold of are my wife and our 11 year old son. They both enjoy playing, but we've been putting it off while we try to corral a third player. I'm ready to say screw it and just start something with the two of them. If someone else wants to join later, cool, but for I'm tired of looking.

I'm currently debating between a supers game and a fantasy game.

What kind of special considerations should I make for having only two PCs? Obviously I can't throw hordes of baddies at them, but what else do I need to keep in mind?

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Re: Just two players

#2 Postby Freemage » Wed Feb 08, 2017 5:59 pm

First off, I recommend Supers, because two-man teams are common in the source material, or if you want to go Fantasy, I'd say Lankhmar (after all, that's the original composition of the books, two heroes).

Either way, the big thing to keep in mind is that 'skill spread' is going to have some big gaps. In a large group, you have the luxury of designing adventures with lots of options for skill use. With two PCs, you'll need to make sure the challenges focus on their skillsets, without becoming too repetitive.

One option: Have them make a 'team' of Superheros, with the understanding that most of the time, only two (maybe three, later on) get sent out on missions. They get a situation briefing, and then pick two characters to play that give them the ability to meet the challenges presented (and you can always slip in a curveball where they end up lamenting, "They should've sent Glowworm!"). This will also remove the sting if a particular PC gets captured by the bad guys--now a new team gets put together, as a rescue mission. Think of the JL animated series from a few years back as your guideline.

And, if you ever want to have a battle royale, well, that's the session where a supervillain team attacks their base--ALL the PCs come out, at once.

Another option, if you don't care for the multi-PC option, is to make it a bit more limited, with each of them just making a primary with Sidekick. (This could even be ported over into a fantasy campaign, by using Born a Hero, which would allow them to make a character with a Sidekick at Novice.)

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Re: Just two players

#3 Postby galu » Thu Feb 09, 2017 2:23 am

If you write your own adventures, it will not be a problem.
Just keep in mind, that they will lack skills in some areas, even if they start seasoned.

- you might want to set them up as part of a team (followers of an inquisitor, members of a thieves guild, a knight and his mentor/squire), so that they can be reinforced.
- you might want to allow henchmen/hireling (such as in Pendragon. It is quite normal that every character has ~40 servants at home: serfs, falconers, butlers, etc.)
- simplest: give them the free sidekick edge, or just simply create an NPC or two to go with them

If you want to use published adventures though:
- keep in mind that there are lots of "save or die" effects in adventures, even in low level. (stuff like hold person or ghoul touch) You might want to read these adventures and minimize save or die. The reason is that 1 successful ghoul touch is not a problem for a team of six, but is very dangerous for a small group.
- skillchecks. Escpecially, if the team doesn't have magic users and means to detect magic, might become a problem. (maybe use an item, or give them an NPC help if you cannot remove the skillcheck)
- enemy horde: there are lots of speedbumps in pre-written scenarios. 6-8 goblins are no match for a 4 guy party, but might become a problem for a small group.

I think these are the three things you should look out for when using published material.

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Re: Just two players

#4 Postby Darq666 » Thu Feb 09, 2017 11:29 am

RPG'S are very scalable. Just make sure the encounters match the capabilities of the group. You may need to decrease the number of extras as an example or give them more time in a time sensitive situation. You also may need to provide more clues as they have a limited "brain pool".

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Re: Just two players

#5 Postby ValhallaGH » Thu Feb 09, 2017 7:16 pm

Another possibility is to give them allied Extras.

Example: Two players for a Real American Heroes game. The players create two amazing special operators, Dog Master the K-9 expert (and his trusty mutt, Ghost) and Fatwa the CQB expert (muslim american woman, specialized in Close Quarters Battle). On most missions, they have a half-dozen Army Rangers deployed to support them, using the Allied Extra rules. So Dog Master and Fatwa get to be the central heroes, but they have enough personnel and firepower to have options; and surviving Rangers can gain advances and improve, and give you lots of opportunities to have cool RP and give friendly advice in character with supporting and subordinate NPCs.

The great thing about allied extras is that because the players make most of the rolls for the allies, the successes feel like the players' successes. Despite being a separate character. 8)
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Re: Just two players

#6 Postby Wibbs » Sun Feb 19, 2017 12:11 pm

I regularly run Savage Worlds for 2 players. The approach I take is to fill Skill gaps with capable allied NPCs, and to give them allied Extras in combat to make things more interesting. It works a treat.

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