Solo Dungeons and Dragons: That's a Thing?!
So I am sure those that are familiar with Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) are probably scratching your heads right now. Tabletop RPGs are, by nature, group activities. You get together with a handful of friends, choose a DM, and get adventuring. For most, this would be an exciting endeavor-- for me it's anything but exciting. As a social introvert meeting new people is incredibly difficult and takes some time for me to be comfortable around someone-- especially when it comes to D&D. Role playing is an activity that requires a considerable amount of acting and that is not something I can do even around close friends. What made me disappointed about my dilemma was that the adventures for D&D 5th edition looked so amazing, yet I had nobody to play with. That is where I came up with a plan: I'd game by myself.
There are two ways one could go about this. Mythic Game Master Emulator or my own way. Mythic is a great system where an adventurer sets the scenario for the session and then through a strong of yes or no questions and a bit of applied logic, the adventurer is taken through their adventure. Action is broken into scenes not unlike a regular RPG setup. I tried this system, but it seemed a bit fiddly for me and I didn't really like the amount of setup that went into a session. With Mythic out of the equation, I was left to come up with something of my own. Going into this, I knew that the role playing aspect would be lacking, but that was ok for me since I like the action of RPGs. I will definitely do some role playing, but it will be more like making up dialogue for the characters like I used to do as a kid playing with action figures. Also, I do my very best with not reading character descriptions too much and instead roll to discover more about NPCs. Another thing to realize is that the adventure would be a bit linear since role playing would be limited. Again, this is ok with me as role playing is not my favorite part of gaming. With that explained, let me now get into the tools I use for the adventures.
Roll 20 is a website that allows gamers to come together to play tabletop RPGs over the internet. It provides a set of tools so a user can design their own adventure or upload an existing adventure onto the website. There are also packages a dungeon master can purchase which provide all maps, icons, and adventure information. Roll 20 has been great for me as it is free and very easy to use. I chose to upload all of my maps into my adventure. I was also able to upload custom icons for my player characters and enemies. There is a limit to file size when uploading, so if you have hi-res maps you will have to scale them down. What is also great is that there are built in character sheets that are programmed to compute the math for dice rolls. That's another thing-- you can roll dice right in the game window which helps keep everything together and creates a record of dice rolls. While I like this feature, I prefer rolling actual dice as it adds to the excitement of the game.
Notebooks and Pencils
I like to keep a written record of my adventures and to do that, I am very selective with what I use. For my paper I like to use the Kokuyo Campus Sarasara Dotted 6mm rule B5 paper. This allows me to draw a grid for a map when I need it, but still provides lines for me to write down information. I also have a small pocket notebook next to me to jot down quicker notes. I also use a small ruler to draw straight lines. Pencil-wise I use anything except for really soft graphite such as the BW Pearl or my prized Neon Casemates. A good old number two pencil usually does the trick. Mechanical pencils are also good for this task as the have a very small point and can help with drawing detailed maps and writing in margins. A mechanical pencil that I love is the Uni Kuru Toga Roulette as it rotates the lead every time you lift the pencil off the paper which helps with even wear.
For the adventure I am running, I am using Dunegons and Dragons 5th Edition. All I have picked up so far is the Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and the first adventure book Hoard of the Dragon Queen. If D&D isn't your thing or cost is prohibitive, a good system to use is Basic Fantasy which is a rules-light version of D&D that resembles tabletop RPGs of the 80s and 90s and is COMPLETELY FREE in PDF format. You can also purchase the rulebooks in print if that's your thing too. Basic Fantasy is a game system that I plan on reading up on and may revisit in the future.
I obviously use dice to play the game so I would recommend picking up a few sets. The best (and most economical) way is to buy a bag of dice off of Amazon for $20. You get several sets of quality dice and it is great for starters. If you want a bit better quality you can always get a set or two of Chessex dice in your favorite color scheme, but depending on which colors you choose they may run you around $10 a set. Oh and you will also need an imagination-- a lively one!
Well that's it for how I am going to do this. What is next is me *actually doing it*. I have never done this before so I might completely hate it. I play board games solo all the time and enjoy that, so why not this? My only reservation is that it might be a bit fiddly when it comes to controlling multiple characters and such. I guess we'll find out soon enough!