AW with 1 player... how?

edited September 2013 in Play Advice
Im going to try MCing AW for one player soon. I want to change as little as possible but Hx (and I guess a large part of AWs assumptions) wont work this way.

What should I do? Could it even work? How?


  • edited September 2013
    I would suggest introducing 2-3 VIP NPCs, which would have Hx with the player as if they were PCs
  • I've MCed for my wife only, and I did what Archangel3d suggests. Worked well for us. Overall, instead of PC-NPC-PC triangles, you'll obviously need NPC-PC-NPC triangles. So make sure you really flesh out several NPCs who are very closely connected to the PC (think of the three Fs for ties: family, friendship, fucking).
  • The social conflicts are where AW really shines: watching highly capable characters' goals clash is awesome. NPCs can often be turned into cannon fodder. So yeah, make capable, driven NPCs that actively pursue their goals. Hx rules optional, I think: if the player interferes with an NPC, they're probably just triggering their own Move. It's also a minor source of xp, so maybe dole out some campaign-based xp rewards from time to time.
  • I've run a fair amount of DW solo for my son. I also used Hx (bond) with a couple of key NPCs.
    IMO it makes it easy to have mechanics for NPC effects eg the NPC tries to do something important, roll +Hx.

  • I actually hadn't considered that you might roll for the NPC, that's a good point if you want more mechanical interaction. Might make sense for single player.
  • Thank you for the suggestions!
  • When I asked Vincent before, he said to just not even use Hx with 1 player. Hx exists to make player-to-player interactions interesting - really no point, here.

    Just play as normal, but with no Hx. Easy-peasy! Of course, you'll need an auxiliary way to earn XP: I believe Vincent told me that an alternate way he once used was to evaluate whenever one of your fronts had a question answered, and then award an XP for it. Something like that.
  • That'd be my instinct as well. Hx is pretty much just for player interaction, because otherwise it'd leave them at the mercy of the other player's roll. It's probably unnecessary to do NPC Hx, but not impossible or anything if you really wanna.
  • Isn't AW basically about characters facing outward, united against the world? That makes it a different beast from a game like Monsterhearts, which thrives on characters who are pitted against one another. Should work just fine solo.
  • edited September 2013
    As MC I find that occasionally rolling for NPC effects takes a certain amount of narrative responsibility away from me, in IMO a good way. My son also liked sometimes getting +1 when his allies helped him in a contest...but did the ally get endangered as a result? The Hx roll told us that.

    Edit: PS On reflection this could come from a complication to the PCs move roll on a 9- but this adds an additional source of complication when your NPC friends help.
  • You could take out Hx and replace it with Strings from Monsterhearts or Debts from Urban Shadows. Gives the player a sort of currency they can spend to effect the NPC's in interesting ways.
  • I feel like Hx = the advanced seduce/manipulate move, when you turn someone into an ally/friend. (Maybe that's when they get Hx, if ever?)

    Not sure why you'd need to increase the speed of advancement: with only one player, they'll be marking a whole lot more experience, since they're "on screen" all the time.
  • I ran a little bit of a one-player AW campaign a while back. At first I fretted a little about how it was going to work, but we just jumped in and played and it was fine. Don't worry about it was the main lesson I took out of that.
  • We played one-on-one with NPC Hx and used all the moves in the advanced fuckery section that used Hx as a stat - works awesome.
    Also, as MC, make HARD moves as required, like always front load the scenes with aggressive framing. There are no other players to snowball moves against, so its just this back and forth between you two. I found if I held back and just made a soft(ish) move the fiction halted. Be obvious, be a fan, ask provocative (loaded) questions and barf forth at every opportunity.
  • Thank you all for your suggestions! Maybe I'll use Strings but I'm still not sure.

    Also, the player chose the gunlugger. He is new to story games and wanted to choose something traditional... I immediately realized that I'll have to put a lot of effort into making the gunlugger's life not pointless and boring. But after I've read this I feel I'm more confident.

    Could you give me any more idea about running 1-1 with a gunlugger?
  • Here's a SG thread about starting scenes for Gunluggers
    There is also a John Harper one about how you extract threats from players that focuses on a Gunlugger example.
  • Great one, thanks robb! I also found the John Harper post which is also cool.
  • We played on Saturday. We did not use Hx but used some of it's sentences to make up NPCs and relationships. As I said, the player is a trad gamer but he immediately got 'it' and just poured and poured great ideas (I think it has something to do with being a GM type). He havent played like this before but totally digging it now.

    I draw inspiration from my Southeast Asian experiences, so the setting looks kind of intimate to me. I hope I'll succeed expressing this! Stay tuned...
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