You know what would be awesome? A fully realized adventure RPG specifically designed for one player and one GM.
Yes yes, I know all about Mars Colony and Beast Hunters. But those games don’t have the widgets and advancement and economies and scope you get in a more traditional GM-and-Players setup. But the problem with that setup is that they’re not really built for a single player. If it’s a tactical traddy game, the game kind of relies on ability niches to cover lots of challenges. If it’s a character-driven storygame kind of game, you don’t get all the nice interlocking relationships. I guess you could have the player side play lots of roles, but do you give up development and investment? Dunno. The DCC funnel folks don’t seem to care much either way. Scarlet Heroes looks like it’s purpose-built for one-on-one play but man I’m just not feeling the OSR thing at all.
There’s always something missing, some compromise. Too big a prep footprint for the GM. Too much (!) screen time and intensity for the player to carry. The constant feeling that there’s a lot of rules weight happening and do we really need all that, you know, just the two of us?
I’ve been reading Ryuutama the past few weeks and its killer app is probably the fact the GM levels up and gains additional options. It’s neat, really neat. And it seems like something you could leverage in a purpose-built two-player RPG experience. Both sides are interested in expanding their options and it wouldn’t have to be competitive. I could see it being an interesting collaborative game as well as, you know, a game with distinct roles being played across many sessions.
Dunno. Just something that’s been on my mind for a while. Have I completely missed something that does this?