Mutants & Masterminds
HQ    ABOUT M&M    SUPER-VISION    GIMMICK'S GADGETS    M&M SUPERLINK    ATOMIC THINK TANK    M&M SHOP
Saving the world, one d20 roll at a time

Solo Campaign

Here M&M GMs can trade tips and seek inspiration. Look out for SPOILERS! Players, surf elsewhere or ruin your own fun.

Moderators: The Mod Squad, The Justice League, M&M Line Developer

Solo Campaign

Postby Adventure Dan » Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:43 pm

I'm interested in getting my feet wet as a GM on the board, and for whatever reason the idea of a solo campaign really interests me, but even without any experience, I can see some falling-outs with it, so I wanted to get some opinions from anyone who has done something similar. For example, is playing with just one person even any fun? Should I have at least two or three players? Also, how much freedom should I give the player(s) in constructing the world, since they would obviously be center of it. It seems like I'd almost have to make the player a co-GM to be involved. Thanks in advance for any advice.
User avatar
Adventure Dan
Cohort
Cohort
 
Posts: 274
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2012 6:33 pm

Re: Solo Campaign

Postby FuzzyBoots » Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:55 am

Playing with a single player can definitely work. It has the benefit of very rapid interplay between you and him. As for world-building, my feeling is that, in general, it's good to let players flesh out their immediate world in terms of who their friends are, or sometimes letting them insert NPCs into the world, but it requires a player who is as willing to create aspects of the world that hinder them as to make the world incredibly convenient ("Hey, we need an Peruvian archaeologist. Would you believe my high school friend went on to study Peruvian mummies? Wonder if I still have his number...") although as a GM, you always have the final say, and the player's suggested bits of world-building can always represent more perception than reality ("Oh... so you kind of washed out of the program after they caught you in the casket with Princess Afuella's preserved body, huh? Yeah, that is a really bad place to catch mummy rot. Did they say they might be able to reattach it on day?").

With one hero, you also have a lot more power over Hero Points, whether through giving or taking away (those convenient bits of world editing can easily fit under Scene Editing using a Hero Point and you can always Fiat away a source that's a little too helpful).

One other thing to remember is that, while M&M has a number of mechanisms in place to make single-versus-many fights more viable, as per the source material, a single hero can easily get overwhelmed by a group of weaker foes, particularly with a few bad rolls, so focus on smaller numbers of enemies, gently suggest tactics to avoid having to face the entire Imperial Army, or add/allow NPC sidekicks/peers for the hero.
User avatar
FuzzyBoots
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
 
Posts: 9671
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2007 10:15 am
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Re: Solo Campaign

Postby saint_matthew » Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:30 am

Adventure Dan wrote:I'm interested in getting my feet wet as a GM on the board, and for whatever reason the idea of a solo campaign really interests me, but even without any experience, I can see some falling-outs with it, so I wanted to get some opinions from anyone who has done something similar. For example, is playing with just one person even any fun? Should I have at least two or three players? Also, how much freedom should I give the player(s) in constructing the world, since they would obviously be center of it. It seems like I'd almost have to make the player a co-GM to be involved. Thanks in advance for any advice.


There is no mechanical reason why you can't play with only a single player & over the last couple of years, i have most certainly run a few solo scenes over the years; usually of the "avenger of the night, breaking into a building to get some info, without anyone spotting him" type encounters (where the guy in the clanking armour is going to be more liability then benefit).

However i would suggest going for a two person game if you plan on keeping it a small group. The problem with playing solo is always that your player will lack for diversity of powers & keeping the focus on one character, is tiring for both the GM & the player in question.

Now, a duo on the other hand appears to work a lot better. You can split the story telling between 2 people & they can talk with each other, which means that as a GM you are not solely responsible with entertaining a single player... Not to mention that the strength of a tabletop RPG's is companionship, shared history amonst players.

Like i said: No reason you can't do it, but i personally have found its easier & more fun with atleast 2 players.
“Anti-Intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge’.”
-Isaac Asimov
User avatar
saint_matthew
Overlord
Overlord
 
Posts: 4340
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 9:31 pm
Location: Perth, AUSTRALIA

Re: Solo Campaign

Postby Adventure Dan » Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:14 pm

Thanks for the advice from both of you. One thing I was considering doing to encourage recruitment (since players may be hesitant to spend time applying for a game were so few or just one will be accepted) would be to make it very open: whatever PL the player wants, unlimited PP, and whatever setting/genre/scale, and I would roll with it. I fear this may be casting WAY too wide of a net, however. Thoughts?
User avatar
Adventure Dan
Cohort
Cohort
 
Posts: 274
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2012 6:33 pm

Re: Solo Campaign

Postby saint_matthew » Sat Oct 20, 2012 12:02 am

Adventure Dan wrote:Thanks for the advice from both of you. One thing I was considering doing to encourage recruitment (since players may be hesitant to spend time applying for a game were so few or just one will be accepted) would be to make it very open: whatever PL the player wants, unlimited PP, and whatever setting/genre/scale, and I would roll with it. I fear this may be casting WAY too wide of a net, however. Thoughts?


My thought is this: Give players the world & they have no idea what to do with it. Tell players they can do anything & they are usually stumped for what to do. However if you tell players that this is what we are going to be doing & here are the limitations you have to work within & players excel.

Atleast thats always been my understanding... An its not just gamers, but pretty much every creative field. Let people do what they want & they run out of ideas almost immediately. Its something i personally found with deviantart... I was never as creative as when i was working under someone elses paradigm, be it a contest, or a challenge.

An to be honest with you, i did the "design whatever you like" style game as my fuirst campiagn... Needless to say that campaign lasted less then 7 session before it was completely dead. One could say that "it collapsed faster then a speeding bullet, it could jump the shark in a single bound."

After all what does it mean to tell your players to create a "comic book character?" Someone creates an Captain America character, someone creates Batman, someone creates Batman from The Dark Knight returns, someone creates Hellboy, someone creates Punisher & finally someone creates some wierd comedy character.

My suggestion & i cannot stress this enough: Be specific in the type of game you want to run. After that disasterious first campaign i started writing a player manifesto for each new campaign i ran. The manifesto informs players of exactly what sort of game this is & what design concepts will be allowed.

Atleast, thats been my observation.
“Anti-Intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge’.”
-Isaac Asimov
User avatar
saint_matthew
Overlord
Overlord
 
Posts: 4340
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 9:31 pm
Location: Perth, AUSTRALIA

Re: Solo Campaign

Postby kirinke » Sun Oct 21, 2012 3:18 pm

For a starting GM, one of the most common mistakes I see as a player is starting everything off at PL 11 or up. I'd think, the best way to go, is probably stick to around a PL 8 for a first time adventure. Going any further than that, creates alot of problems for a newbie GM, chiefly among them is what can I pit against these god-like guys and still keep it fun for everyone?

Also, remember, that the first fight is where you generally find the design flaws of a character, so expect a bit of tweaking here and there to clear it up.

Mebbe for a first time adventure, a 3-man team of PL 8's?
kirinke
Cosmic Scion
Cosmic Scion
 
Posts: 5178
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 8:14 pm
Location: Behind the mayo, to the left of the cheese, next to the mystery meat leftover from last week

Re: Solo Campaign

Postby Elana » Sun Oct 28, 2012 12:03 am

Time to put my two cents in.

Solo campaigns can work great, if you can create believable NPCs.

Players need people around to bounce ideas off on.

Also fights are a bit harder to create.
As you must make sure that it can be interesting, but at the same time have to make sure it doesn't get too "deadly"
(That is of course true all the time, but the problem worsens in solo play)

Of course for some concepts the fights don't have to be hard.
In a fair fight between Batman and the Joker you know, Batman wins.
And the Joker is still an interesting opponent up to the final confrontation.
(And it satisfying to finally be able to smack him)
Beware, I have an evil ruber duck..and I'm not afraid to use it!
User avatar
Elana
Henchman
Henchman
 
Posts: 235
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:27 am

Re: Solo Campaign

Postby Nillaman » Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:17 pm

For Solo Games, I can't claim any experience, but I can think of a few good guidelines.

Major villains should equal the main character in Power Level, with their minions never being higher then your player character's Power Level minus 5. Folks who act as the lead bad guy's right hand shoulder be above minion power levels, but below their boss. Sometimes you may want to increase the power level of your bad guys to give the hero a real challenge, but I would avoid going more then two or three levels above the hero. Also, try building a theme with your villains, such as making them all based on various kinds of mental conditions, products of super-science, or a sudden outbreak of meta-human a

It's worthwhile to invest in a single city, with the hero acting as an independent agent, so you both retain a tighter control on the setting, while also making them the local go-to guy, instead of just a small-timer in someone else's territory. This both keeps them feeling big and powerful, but the subtle implication that they're able to handle a single city, not the entire country/world/universe.

Just as important in what they do in costume, is what they do out of costume. Don't forget to include segments of their everyday life or even make the people they know as their Average Joe persona react to their heroic actions in their own way.

Overall, with fewer people, the story becomes more personal, and is probably better if the scope of the story is mostly local clashes with others. Of course, the local clash might be dismantling a secret cult attempting to turn your city into a new hell on earth. But, remember to keep it about the hero, the people they save, the people they fight, and the people who just plain annoy them.

In other words, a solo game is all about people.
Roster: http://www.atomicthinktank.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=47345

Zork is the best onomatopoeia in the world.
User avatar
Nillaman
Firebrand
Firebrand
 
Posts: 812
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2011 9:26 pm

Re: Solo Campaign

Postby Kevin_MacTaggert » Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:01 pm

Adventure Dan wrote:I'm interested in getting my feet wet as a GM on the board, and for whatever reason the idea of a solo campaign really interests me, but even without any experience, I can see some falling-outs with it, so I wanted to get some opinions from anyone who has done something similar. For example, is playing with just one person even any fun? Should I have at least two or three players? Also, how much freedom should I give the player(s) in constructing the world, since they would obviously be center of it. It seems like I'd almost have to make the player a co-GM to be involved. Thanks in advance for any advice.

Yes, it can be fun - depends on the GM & Player.

Adding Players can magnify our fun.

Give your Players as much freedom as you feel comfortable with.

Your Player(s) should be Co-GMs, helping you craft the Plot (the Story is yours)
User avatar
Kevin_MacTaggert
Mastermind
Mastermind
 
Posts: 2499
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:55 am


Return to GMs' Eyes Only

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 2 guests