Hi all :) I'm hoping to start up a campaign with my wife, I'll be the DM and she will play. The chosen game is going to be Pathfinder (we took a look at 4E but it didn't really appeal). Neither of us have much experience, but it's pretty obvious that most D&D variants seem to be balanced around party size of about 4-6, which is obviously an issue with just one player. I'd really like to hear the thoughts of more experienced gamers (basically all of you) about whether we should aim for a scaled down game of say 1 PC and one hired companion, try to play 4 PCs with the 1 player for a balanced party, or something in between. I'm not really sure what the relative merits of the different options are. All help appreciated!
As an FYI, we were thinking about running the Paizo mod Hollow's Last Hope for an easy intro.
I played an off and on Star Wars campaign for over seven years with just me (player) and my best friend (GM). He created memorable NPCs which became party members naturally. Though he gave me the frame work for the NPC, such as this guy is a bounty hunter, I was free to build that NPC's stats. Eventually we molded their skills and such based on their character. During combat, I controlled them but he was free to overule any action if he didn't think the NPC would do. Ultimately this made it a shared and very enjoyable experience without having to change any balance.
Also, a party of NPCs means characters can actually die. If used at pivitol moments within the overarching campaign NPC death greatly enhances the story and believability of your world.
Since it is a single player and you are both relatively new, I will aim for the least complicated solution.
I start off by going against what I just said and pitch something slightly complicated, let her make a gestalt character. This would let her make a powerful character that can fill multiple roles. These rules were written for dnd 3.5 but they work for pathfinder as well for the most part. Also let her start a level or two up from where the mod would like her to start. And then I would give her an ally (probably a cleric so it can heal her and buff her).
I would advise against the 4 PC's because that will become alot of paper work and possibly get quite complicated.
The least complicated thing to do would be to not run a mod and make your own little setting so you can make encounters that she can combat with just herself, and puzzles that play off of her characters strong points. Like if she is a rouge, lots of traps and sneaking around, not very much head to head combat. If she plays a fighter or barbarian just the opposite, Lots of head to head combat with no traps, and only weak magic. If she plays a wizard or sorcerer depending on the spell route she goes it could vary greatly. So on and so on.
Hope this helps and I'd be more than willing to give any more advice i can think of.
You could try her as a Gestalt Character. Those are rules for 3.5 but they work with pathfinder as well. Giver her a healer type hireling and she should be good to go.
I would second the 1 on 1 adventures by Expeditious Retreat Press. I've got the book with all of the converted PFRPG adventures and it has been a lot of fun.
Try out a couple of those and it will give you a better feel for how to create your own and/or how to adjust other adventures to suit a 1 player game.