When you imagine D&D or other tabletop RPGs, you probably picture a big table with a gamemaster surrounded by the typical party of 3 to 5 players. Sounds amazing, right? But it can also be really hard to pull off on a regular basis. Have you ever considered 2-player role playing games?

One-on-one RPGs have a lot to offer tabletop fans! So let’s learn how you can manage one-on-one D&D or duet-style D&D as a dungeon master, and also take a look at other TTRPGs specifically designed for two players.

Different Types of 2-Player Role Playing Games

There are a few different ways you can approach playing tabletop RPGs with only two people. The most common is probably one-on-one or duet-style D&D. Many folks have been playing like this for years – for example, D&D Duet.

However, two-player DnD was introduced commercially with the Essentials Box, which provided official rules for one-on-one play, and the adventure Dragon of Icespire Peak which was designed to be played with one player and a DM. These rules introduced the idea of a sidekick – a simple additional character controlled by the player, to help balance the game. Now, you can easily go to DMs Guild and find a variety of 2-player adventures.

But if you’re interested in looking beyond the world’s most popular tabletop RPG, there are also a variety of newer games that have been designed from the ground up for two-player mode. Some of these follow the one GM and one player model, but many of them have two players and no one filling the roll of gamemaster. This includes “no dice no masters” games.

Whether you want to use modified rules for an existing game, or play a game that is made for two, is up to you!

Why Play 2-Player Role Playing Games?

Interest in tabletop roleplaying games has never been higher. Unfortunately, getting a large group of busy adults to sync up schedules and play has not gotten any easier. One-on-one D&D means you can play more often!

Two-player RPGs offer some of the advantages of solo RPGs, with some of the elements of group play. It can be the best of both worlds!

It can also be a great remedy for the “forever DM” problem. You can either partner up with someone and alternate the role of GM, or choose a GM-less game to get a break from running more traditional campaigns.

Playing 2-player RPGs is also a low stakes, low stress way to introduce someone new to tabletop roleplaying games. It can be intimidating for a new person to join an established group! Inviting them to a one-on-one game can get their learning curve out of the way without a big audience. It also lets them figure out if they like playing without a big commitment. Similarly, it can be a fun way to introduce your partner to tabletop RPGs, as a potential date night activity.

Two-Player RPGs to Check Out

If you’re now curious about exploring two-player RPGs, it’s time to consider what system you might want to try out first! Here are some popular options:

D&D: Official rules for one-on-one play were introduced in the Essentials Kit in 2019, but there are now plenty of adventures available.

Ironsworn: A dark fantasy RPG designed for solo, co-op, or guided play. It features a strong narrative focus and a unique system that uses both dice and a move-based resolution system.

The Witcher: A Book of Tales: Based on the popular Witcher series, this RPG is designed for two players and focuses on storytelling and decision-making in a dark fantasy world.

Scarlet Heroes: A fantasy RPG designed for one GM and one player. It includes tools to adapt existing adventures for solo or two-player play.

Duet (by The Warden): A generic RPG system designed specifically for two players. It is adaptable to various genres, allowing you to create your own stories.

Cthulhu Confidential: Set in the Lovecraftian universe, this game is tailored for one GM and one player, providing an intense and personal experience in a world of cosmic horror.

Star Crossed: While not a traditional RPG, this two-player tabletop game focuses on creating a romantic narrative between characters. It uses a unique tower-building mechanic instead of dice.

When playing traditional RPGs with only two players, keep in mind that some systems may require adjustments to accommodate the smaller party size. It’s always a good idea to discuss expectations and preferences with your gaming partner and, if needed, make modifications to the rules to ensure an enjoyable experience.

How World Anvil Supports 2-Player RPGs

Pro DMs often offer 2-player games as an introduction to those who are new to tabletop roleplaying. World Anvil can support you by making it easy to create a simple primer to make prep fast and easy for your new player. This can make you less reliant on official licensed adventures and settings, allowing you to play in your own original worlds.

For people who are planning longer, ongoing duet-style campaigns for D&D or other games, World Anvil makes it easy to build your own unique game world together!

Whether you’re prepping a game for just one other player, or for a whole crew, World Anvil is here to support you!