[Technoir] One on One

edited July 2012 in Play Advice
Hey Folks,
I'm visiting my brother next week and he is keen to try Technoir for a few sessions in the evenings (he's been working on a Bladerunner-esque graphic novel and is suitably energized for the concept of a sole protagonist working both sides of the law in a distopian cyber-future).

I explained the limits as I saw them for Technoir one-on-one as I haven't run it yet, being so fully engaged with Dungeon World at the moment. But after a good re-read I think It can work, I just need some tips from those of you who have played with small groups. Especially in the realm of connections and tapping them to embroil the fiction a little. The three node triangle plus one or two connections seems a little forced with only one player. I plan on working push dice pretty hard, and rolling with plot the dice come up with, adding elements as they rise organically from the initial seed. Any suggestions?


  • Just off the top of my head, it seems to me that connections wouldn't necessarily need to be limited. That is, a single connection could definitely be "the key" for starting an adventure. So it depends on what you might want to hash up with your brother, what adventure he wants, what adventure you want to give him.

    I've been trying to work on this idea myself: How to build for the one-on-one experience specifically? It's a manner of playing that I've found myself committed to all too often before, so why not cultivate it? What I've found is that it is necessary to assert your own in-game persona as demi-GM -- that is, not a specific towering NPC for the game, though that's not necessarily all that bad of a possibility -- who stands in a position to help the player, not to harm him, but who also questions the player regarding wherever he goes and whatever he does and whatever he sees and imagines. Now, my game is not a Technoir game; it's more of a modern day fantasy setting. But it's a reasonably open one, revolving around simple tasks and characters and variable situations, so I think there are important parallels there.

    The way I see it, the one-on-one GM needs to control a proxy of some sort. On the one hand, choosing to play the ultimate villain becomes tedious very quickly. On the other hand, choosing to play the player's best bud and party mate is a dull excuse for lacking other players. The problem: You already know how to "win." A model I have in mind right now is the *former* ultimate villain of a particular "dungeon," who has let his dungeon fall into disrepair, who still wanders his dungeon, but who needs to be reasoned with, who needs to be motivated and reminded of things, but who is just as surprised as the player to discover whatever wonders there are in the world of the game. He doesn't know how to "win," not anymore, and he doesn't completely trust the player, but he needs the player, and the player needs him.

    Eh, it's an idea I'm still trying to work on. I'll let you know as soon as I run a decent session of my game. That is, if there's much in the way of constructive stuff that happened. Let me know how your own game goes.
  • Hey Noofy

    Did you ever play Technoir one-on-one with your brother?
    I've just read through it and I'm wondering how well it'd work one-on-one.
  • Yup, one session. It was heavily Blade Runner inspired version of the Twin Cities playset. We only got through a few strongly framed scenes that focused on threatening the connections established in chargen and pushing there. In some ways, all the AW/DW play helped drive the story forward. Aidan then jetsetted of to Scotland to play at the fringe. He's back now, so hopefully session 2 will happen very soon! I quite liked it played as written.
  • Good to hear! I'm hoping to run a session soon too.
  • I try to avoid focusing too much plot on one connection, unless they're shared by all the PCs in a multiple-player game. In a single-player game, you don't have to worry about that! So that's something.

    I really would suggest going with three core elements to kick things off, it makes things a bit more complex. I'd start the PC with three Connections, to ensure unstable alliances and conflicts, and be sure to use the Connection adjective rules. Consider putting the PC on the map as well: with only one, there's probably room.

    Here's an idea. Look at the relationship map, and for each Connection, ask:
    "What is the thing on this map that they want?" For instance, Trisko may want to use the Orion Pathogen, to win Loren Truba's heart, or to star in an Immatrix shoot.
    "What on this map is preventing them from getting what they want?" The Syn Set may have the Orion Pathogen, or Loren might be in love with someone in The Syndicate (or the PC!), or someone's put a price on Trisko's head and Tom and Dick are hunting her, so she can't show her face in public.
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