What is a Solo DnD Adventure?

What is a Solo DnD Adventure?

A solo DnD adventure is exactly what it sounds like: an adventure you can play alone.

This means it contains all the narrative and gamplay elements of a standard DnD adventure you might play at a group session as part of a regular campaign. However, it's different in that there is no Dungeon Master (DM), Game Master (GM), or even a group of other players. You are playing a lone hero against the challenges set before you.

Want to try one for yourself? Check out an Obvious Mimic solo adventure. Or read our list of some of the best solo adventures

What to look for in a good solo DnD adventure

Not all solo adventures for DnD are created equal. There are certain elements to look for both as a matter of personal preference and just for a smooth experience.

  • The adventures should focus on story. There are lots of solo RPGs out there that allow you to create your own story, and many even use well known systems like Dungeons & Dragons: 5th Edition. However, to have a true single-player adventure, the focus should be on a story and
  • You should be able to play your own character. So while it's easy to assign the player a character and build a story around it, that's more of a classic gamebook approach. Your DnD character is your avatar in the game, so being railroaded into a particular pre-build takes away from a big part of the fun. We like those solo DnD adventures that allow us to play whatever character we love right now.
  • The solo adventure should work with minimal self-DMing. Though there are lots of people out there who enjoy tactical RPG combat or making being able to do actions "off the page," it should be optional and not required to enjoy a solo adventure.
  • Make sure that there is a solo adventure PDF. This means that care has been taken to create multiple formats. And that DnD solo PDF should have clickable links that help you navigate the document. Anything less results in clunky, plodding gameplay. Even if you opt for a hard copy, the existence of the digital version means that some care has gone into the experience.

There are other features that didn't make this short list, but these are the things we look for in solo adventures we play and that we include in the solo adventures we make.

If you have anythign you think we should add, however, please feel free to let us know in the comments below. We'd love to hear your thoughts on what you're looking for in a single-player Dungeons & Dragons adventure.

Solo adventures vs solo rpgs

These two types of solo TTRPG gameplay often appear together - and sometimes are even used interchangeably - but we really want to start clearing it up. 

solo adventure is a self-contained interactive story that includes elements of tabletop roleplaying game mechanics. The mechanics usually come from existing systems: Dungeons & Dragons, Fighting Fantasy, The Dark Eye, etc. That way it's a solo game experience that emulates another system.

solo RPG is a whole ruleset or system designed for solo play. This might include games like Ironsworn or Wicked Ones. These often use a randomization element (often called an Oracle) that generates a story as you go, and journaling is often part of creating and referring to the adventure you make for yourself. 

Final thoughts on solo DnD adventures

Solo adventuring is a great, fun way to play more of your favorite roleplaying game. It's a way to introduce new players to the game, build backstory, provide some downtime activities, or simply give players a chance to play when they otherwise couldn't. 

But solo adventures will never replace a group led by a DM. Solo play can supplement a campaign, of course. TTRPGs are social events where we get together to play and imagine a story together. It's just hard to make all the stories by ourselves, so it's nice when there's a narrative to follow for a while. 

We also make a strong distinction between solo adventures and solo RPGs (or a solo roleplaying experience with a system like Dungeons & Dragons). Solo adventures are interactive stories to play as a player, while solo RPGs give you the absolute freedom of being DM and player. Neither is better than the other, just different and subject to a player's preference. 

If you ever want to try a 5e solo adventure from Obvious Mimic, you can find our solo adventures here.

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