Rather than the Southlands setting I had used before, I went with a very simple set-up: "Here's the dungeon - the Tower of Xylarthen - and nearby is the village of Kingsbridge. It's tiny and on the edge of everything. Go kill some monsters and get their loot." Gene rolled up two characters: Kyle, a halfling thief, and Grollan, a dwarven fighter. I rounded out the party with Garric, an apparently fearless (or foolhardy) human magic-user with 1HP.
Some of my inspiration for this came from a series of posts on Ars Ludi about the West Marches campaign. I figured that my weekly open game would lend itself to that kind of set-up, and I hoped that having a relatively simple game would be less work for me as a referee (which turned out to be true). I also made a point of shamelessly swiping stuff from my collection of gaming magazines and materials, and then filing off the serial numbers to fit them into the campaign. A lot of this was done simply to re-familiarize myself with the rules of Our Favorite Game, and to avoid me making a big creative investment in the world (an old mistake of mine).
Adventuring with just one player has been fascinating. I've ended up re-sizing encounters to make it possible for an adventuring party of 3-4 characters to survive, though I haven't completely fudged everything. I've also encountered real questions dealing with all sorts of stuff:
- Combat: should initiative be just a d6 roll, including or not including a Dexterity bonus? What about weapon length?
- Base mechanics: who gets to roll for what? Do I roll for opening doors? How many chances do characters get?
- Experience points: awarded for killing monsters, check. What about monsters defeated or thwarted? What about experience points for gold? What about taking character level and dungeon level into account?