Can you play Dungeons and Dragons with 2 players?

Yes, you can absolutely play Dungeons & Dragons with just 2 players. While D&D is typically played with a larger group, the game can still work well with only 2 people. Here’s an overview of how to play D&D with 2 players.

The Basics of Playing D&D with 2

When playing D&D with only 2 people, one person will be the Dungeon Master (DM) and the other will be the player. The DM takes on the role of narrator, describing the world and story, controlling non-player characters (NPCs), and refereeing the game. The player controls their single character in the world the DM presents.

You’ll need the D&D rule books, character sheets, dice, miniatures, and any other game aids you want to use. The player will create their character just as they normally would. The DM will adjust the published adventures or create their own adventures suited for a single PC. Combat and skill checks work the same way as a larger group game.

The dynamic is definitely different with just two people. It’s important that both the DM and player add energy, roleplay well, and engage with each other. Listen, make eye contact, speak up, describe things vividly, use voices for NPCs, and so on. This helps creates immersion and draw you into the adventure.

Adjustments When Playing D&D with Just 2

There are a few adjustments DMs should make to ensure a fun and workable 2 player D&D game:

  • Encourage creative problem solving over combat – With fewer PCs, battles will be more challenging. Add puzzles, mysteries, and roleplay encounters.
  • Reduce number of enemies – Cut down on the number of foes the PC faces to limit overwhelming odds.
  • Give the PC an NPC companion – A DMPC, hireling, or summoned creature can provide story and combat support.
  • Allow the player to run 2 characters – Let the player control 2 PCs so they can fill more party roles.
  • Provide more information – Give the player clues, knowledge, and exposition to avoid dead ends.
  • Allow retreating from combat – Let the PC flee battles that are clearly unwinnable.

If you follow these guidelines, you can make sure a 1 on 1 D&D game still feels heroic and gives the lone PC a chance to shine.

Advantages of Playing D&D Duos

While small, a 2 person D&D group provides some cool advantages you don’t get in larger groups:

  • More focus on each character – With just one PC, their story takes center stage every session.
  • Closer RP – The back-and-forth between two people lends itself to immersive RP.
  • Faster pacing – Fewer players means less discussion and faster decisions.
  • Easier scheduling – Harder to coordinate 6 busy people than just 2.
  • Intimate adventure – Quieter and more intense than a big group game.
  • PC-NPC interactions – More time spent on relationships with DMPCs and others.

The limited group size allows you to delve deep on characterization and creates a close-knit game.

One-on-One D&D Campaigns

You can absolutely run a long-term D&D campaign with just two people. This offers the chance to tell an epic story focused on a single hero. Here are some tips for 1-on-1 campaigns:

  • Work with the player on their backstory, goals, and motivations.
  • Create a roster of NPC companions that can rotate in and out.
  • Build your adventures around NPC relationships and the PC’s story arc.
  • Make sure each session has a healthy mix of roleplay, exploration, and combat.
  • Encourage the player to keep a journal from their PC’s point of view.
  • Check in periodically to make sure the player is happy with the story direction.
  • Be ready to adjust – With one PC, you may need to modify plots based on their actions.

If you collaborate with your player and focus on their unique hero’s journey, a 1-on-1 campaign can be amazing.

Published D&D Adventures for 2

Many published D&D adventures are designed for larger parties, but with some conversion work DMs can run them for just 1 PC. Here are some solid options:

Adventure Description
Lost Mine of Phandelver Classic starter adventure with NPC allies.
Hoard of the Dragon Queen Epic adventure to stop Tiamat’s return.
Curse of Strahd Gothic horror adventure against vampire lord.
Storm King’s Thunder Stop evil giants from devastating the Sword Coast.
Waterdeep: Dragon Heist Urban treasure hunt in city of Waterdeep.
Dungeon of the Mad Mage 23 level megadungeon under Waterdeep.

For converting modules, read through the entire adventure first. Look for NPCs that could become allies and cut down on unnecessary combats. Be ready to help guide the PC through key story beats. With some tweaking, these all work great for 2 player games.

Tips for Running D&D Combat with 1 PC

Combat is the most challenging part of playing D&D with just two people. Since the PC has no backup, battles can swing wildly. Here are tips for running combat smoothly:

  • Use fewer, lower CR enemies so action economy isn’t overwhelmed.
  • Provide potions, scrolls, and magic items to increase PC options.
  • Make enemies retreat or surrender before they kill the PC.
  • Allow triumphant flourishes like intimidating foes that flee.
  • Use interesting terrain with cover and tactical options.
  • Make sure short rests are available to recover resources.
  • Remind the player to use consumables like potions or inspiration.
  • Fudge dice behind the scenes if you have to in order to keep things dramatic and fun.

With creativity and flexibility, you can craft exciting D&D battles even with two people.

Roleplaying Tips for 2 Player D&D

Roleplaying is the heart of any D&D game. Here are tips for encouraging great RP with just two people:

  • Discuss PC motivations, flaws, bonds, ideals. Use these as RP hooks.
  • Give the PC secrets to uncover and goals to work towards.
  • Create interesting, quirky NPCs for the player to interact with.
  • Build NPC relationships that evolve over time.
  • Add romantic interests, rivals, mentors and other compelling connections.
  • Focus on PC emotions and inner turmoil when appropriate.
  • Use vivid descriptions, voices, and mannerisms for NPCs.
  • Avoid rushed conversations – let exchanges play out.
  • Inject drama into interactions wherever it fits.
  • Discuss highlights after sessions and work to improve as a duo.

With commitment from both people, a 2 player D&D game can enable phenomenal collaborative storytelling.

Building a DMPC Ally for Solo Games

In a 1-on-1 D&D game, the DM often creates a DMPC (Dungeon Master Player Character) to accompany the PC on adventures. This provides in-character guidance, extra skills, and combat support. Follow these tips when creating a DMPC:

  • Give them a simple personality without elaborate backstory.
  • Make them helpful and friendly with the PC by default.
  • Pick a combat role like fighter or healer that complements the PC.
  • Give them minimal dialogue and let the PC do most of the talking.
  • Never allow them to outshine the player character.
  • Use them to pass helpful hints and exposition to the player.
  • Take a background role in conversations and planning.
  • Have them defer to the PC’s decisions.
  • Make them obedient lackeys, not leaders.
  • Avoid saddlebag syndrome – don’t let them steal items or rewards.

With a barebones DMPC built for support, you enable exciting adventures without overshadowing the player’s fun.

How to Be a Great D&D Dungeon Master for 2

DMing for 2 people makes different demands than larger groups. Here’s how to excel as a D&D Dungeon Master in a 1-on-1 game:

  • Engage the player – Make eye contact, converse, inject energy into the game.
  • Encourage roleplay – Get into character voices. Lead by example.
  • Personalize the story – Build adventures around the PC’s backstory and goals.
  • Use vivid details – Descriptions, sounds, sights, etc to draw the player in.
  • Prepare flexible outlines – Improvise around player choices, don’t railroad.
  • Ensure proper pacing – Balance roleplay, exploration, and combat.
  • Communicate often – Check in with the player about what they like and want.
  • Limit retcons – Avoid undoing events unless truly necessary.
  • Build a living world – Have events happen without PC involvement.
  • Spotlight the PC – They are the hero; make them feel legendary.

If you focus on player agency, engagement, and fun, you’ll be an amazing D&D DM, even with an audience of just one.

Finding Other D&D Players for Small Groups

While playable, some may wish to add 1 or 2 more PCs to the campaign. Here are ways to recruit more D&D players:

  • Ask friends if they’d like to try D&D.
  • Check online communities like Reddit or local hobby shops.
  • Use the Roll20 LFG system and filter for small groups.
  • Post on D&D Facebook groups or forums like EN World.
  • Search r/lfg for players ok with duos or trios.
  • Don’t overfill the group – 4 players max, including you.
  • Explain you are happy to teach new players.
  • Offer easy character creation and premade character options.
  • Encourage friends to observe a session before committing.

With some targeted outreach, you can gradually gather 1-3 more like-minded players.

Alternatives to Traditional D&D for 2

Besides the core D&D 5E rules, there are some game variants perfect for 2 player fun:

  • D&D Duet – Variant rules by Pruitt for 1 DM and 1 PC.
  • Scarlet Heroes – D&D-based RPG from Sine Nomine optimized for 1 PC.
  • The Sterling Vermin Adventuring Co – Has 1-on-1 class options.
  • Black Streams: Solo Heroes – 1 PC supplement for any RPG.
  • Tiny Dungeon – Minimalist D&D alternative welcoming 1-2 players.
  • Fourthcore Team Deathmatch – D&D PvP arena combat for 2.

The minimal investment and quick play of these systems complement 2 player D&D nights nicely.


At its core, D&D is about imaginative play and storytelling. That works just as well with two people as it does with large groups. While there are challenges, with the right approach you can run an immersive RPG campaign or have one-off adventures with just you and a friend, no problem. D&D duos require some adjustments, but can enable incredibly close-knit and engaging sessions.

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