Is it possible to play Paizo's Adventure Paths "solo"? If yes, how?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


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Hello everyone.

I would like to play some of the official APs by myself. I have my good reasons for wanting to do that, so please avoid replies like "you should find a group of friends" or "it is a social game". I know that, thank you. I've already visited r/Solo_Roleplay, bit didn't found anything related to PF1E.

Thank you in advance for your help and time.


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As a tactical exercise, its simple enough. Make enough character sheets for the party you want to run and have a go. Roll dice, make decisions.

As a narrative exercise, its largely the same except you want to write out the NPC and PC interaction between the tactical game.

You could do it without writing anything down, but that's a lot of hours dedicated to a really ephemeral experience.

You might have issues with running the monsters and the PCs at the same time, but the GM always has the ability to take it easy on the players or to maximize the creature's ability to kill PCs, so perfect knowledge on each side of the encounter is rarely going to be a large hindrence.

If you mean, running only one PC, then you'll also have to adjust the number of monsters and challenges, but its otherwise the same.


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I started out running RotRL solo running a 5 member party. I thought it would help me memorize the AP. It might have, but I got bored with it and quit.
Aside from that, it’s perfectly doable.


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It is classic to make a pile of bards or an all Harsk party.

I'm sure a wizard(diviner) with a flowing monk dip could do the whole thing. I'd just wonder where the fun in that would be.


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^Got to admit, Pile of Bards goes one better over Wall of Horseflesh.

And: thread about Smallest party that can complete an Adventure Path.

Scarab Sages

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I'd also suggest watching/listening to a few actual plays e.g glass canon, mummy's mask and the like to see how other people play characters and the concepts that they use. That way you can grab one you like and try to play that character as one of your party. It's not the same as having another person there but if you know "this character tends to act like this" you can have them do that in your game to generate situations you wouldn't get just by yourself.


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Technically yes it's possible. You're going to be the GM and all the party members.

I thought about it before, but found it not to be a enjoyable practice once I started to plan out anything regarding it. Without other people involved....I just decided to go play a video game.

Might I suggest the Pathfinder computer rpgs from Owlcat games? It's not the same, but my personal experience was that it was more enjoyable to do that than to fight myself. Running a game against myself just felt like work.


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I came in here expecting a discussion on completing AP's using a one-man party... a well put together gestalt character could potentially complete some of the AP's all by theirself. My first thoughts were a Ranger/Warpriest or Bard/Paladin... both have full BAB, all good saves, and 6+Int skills per level... both have swift action self healing, which would be important running solo.

Running an entire party through an AP where you both GM the campaign, and run every character seems like it would be a lot of work for little reward. You know their every move, no surprises, the only suspense is if you roll low in the encounters or skill checks you knew were coming. You know all the DC's and what will happen with failure or success on those saves. If you want to test various builds and playstyles, you can playtest character concepts without forming a party and running that party through an entire AP.


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VoodistMonk wrote:

I came in here expecting a discussion on completing AP's using a one-man party... a well put together gestalt character could potentially complete some of the AP's all by theirself. My first thoughts were a Ranger/Warpriest or Bard/Paladin... both have full BAB, all good saves, and 6+Int skills per level... both have swift action self healing, which would be important running solo.

This is exactly what I'm going to do for two of my players down the line, though in their case it will be four class gestalt.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

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VoodistMonk wrote:
I came in here expecting a discussion on completing AP's using a one-man party... a well put together gestalt character could potentially complete some of the AP's all by theirself.

Likewise. I think that if you make a single-attribute caster (e.g. sorcerer or oracle, with charisma to initiative and AC and so on) then from mid to high level you should be able to fight your way through numerous adventure paths.

The main risk is failing against a save-or-lose effect, so you need either a way to recover from that, or an AP that doesn't have a lot of those.


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Beside the computer games there is the official card game, covering a lot of APs. It doesn't require a GM and as a solo player you have the same amount of actions as a group of players altogether.

Mechanics are quite different though and the story is vastly reduced. On the other hand, you will have to spend less time and optimizing your card deck can feel rewarding.


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Being both the GM and player is not really playing an adventure path. This is more like a GM preparing to run a game and running through it so they get a better feel for how it will play out. I don’t use published adventure paths but do something similar when I am planning out a game to make sure what I have designed is not too hard or too easy. The CR rating is too generic and crude to make sure the combats are actually right for the party. Running the numbers before a game makes sure that the party will be appropriately challenged while minimizing the chance of a TPK.


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Mysterious Stranger wrote:
Being both the GM and player is not really playing an adventure path.

How so? the GM is playing. The players are playing. That one person fulfills both roles doesn't stop the game from having been played.

If someone can play chess by themselves, then they can engage in the tactical game of Pathfinder by themselves.

Seems like a lot of people are putting surprise or unpredictability as a derived value from playing the game, but the rules of the game work exactly the same if the players have perfect knowledge of what's coming.

My only real question is how highly one values the narrative experience. A solo game could resolve all role playing encounters like "And Lem will charm the sheriff into giving up the next plot point." or go to the effort of actually doing the dialogue or scene. And that's a function of what the person playing actually wants out of the game.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kurald Galain wrote:
VoodistMonk wrote:
I came in here expecting a discussion on completing AP's using a one-man party... a well put together gestalt character could potentially complete some of the AP's all by theirself.

Likewise. I think that if you make a single-attribute caster (e.g. sorcerer or oracle, with charisma to initiative and AC and so on) then from mid to high level you should be able to fight your way through numerous adventure paths.

The main risk is failing against a save-or-lose effect, so you need either a way to recover from that, or an AP that doesn't have a lot of those.

For a solo PC, gestalt is probably the best way to help cover all the bases. In general, the solo gestalt PC should probably be three levels higher than the expected APL for a party of four (four creatures of CR x are roughly equivalent to a single creature of CR x+4 and a gestalt character of level y is about as "powerful" as a non-gestalt of level y+1).

In addition to save-or-lose effects, a solo PC will need to have high defenses overall (AC, resistances, etc.) since there will (usually) not be other targets for the enemies. Of course, you could always turn that around and solo using a gestalt cavalier 4/hunter (courtly hunter) Z//summoner [Z+4] with Boon Companion, Eldritch Heritage (Arcane), and Horse Master; probably a half-elf for Adaptability (free Skill Focus to qualify for Eldritch Heritage) and the +1/4 per level to the eidolon's evolution pool from the alternate FCB. Full-powered courtly companion, full-powered eidolon, full-powered mount, and an almost full-powered familiar.*

*- adding a cohort (that can be switched out between adventures) with Recruits as well is probably going overboard...

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

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Dragonchess Player wrote:


For a solo PC, gestalt is probably the best way to help cover all the bases.

For everything, gestalt is going to be the best way to cover anything. But it's kind of cheesy and I don't think it's a PF rule in the first place. The more interesting question is, can you solo it with a regular build.


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Kurald Galain wrote:
Dragonchess Player wrote:


For a solo PC, gestalt is probably the best way to help cover all the bases.

For everything, gestalt is going to be the best way to cover anything. But it's kind of cheesy and I don't think it's a PF rule in the first place. The more interesting question is, can you solo it with a regular build.

actualy im playing a solo campain using brawler at first to be more tactical whit the martial flexibility, and now im brawler 9/ moontoouch shifter (wolf), its realy hard whit the problem of having slow progretion, wound threshold (grity moode), and no enchatment equip (since its in prehistoric era), i only have 4 miselaneus feat to support my feral improvment, 1 defensive feat and the rest are attack feats, and use martial flexibility to get some more defense feat and fight defensive to immprove my ac

right now im like this: (note im naked sice im an outcast and a cursed of my tribe)

Elspeth
Half Elf female Brawler lvl 9/ Moontouch Wolf (Shifter archetype) 4
Medium (humanoid), Age 22 years

Initiative:+9 Senses: Low Light Vision, Perception:+26
_________________________________________________________

Defensive

AC: 20, touch +20, cornered +13 (+5 dez mod, +2 Brawler Dodge, +2 Wis mod, +1 defensive instinct)

HP: 104 (13d10+26) grazed 78 wounded 52 critical 26 incapacitated 0-2

Fort: +11 Ref: +15 Will: +5, +2 vs. enchantment
Immunity: sleep
_________________________________________________________

Offensive

Speed: 30 feet

Special Attacks: Martial Flex 7/day, knock-out 1/day, lycanthropy aspect 4min, Shifter claws, lycanthropy shape 1/day

Melee: unarmed strike +18/+13/+8 (1d10+2/x2) or Brawler flurry +16/+16/+11/+11/+6 (1d10+2/x2), brawler flurry claws + 17/+17/+11/+11/+7 (1d10+8/x2) or 2 claws +19 (1d10+8/x2)
_________________________________________________________

ability score

Strength 14 Dexterity 20 Constitution 14 Intelligence 10 Wisdom 13 Charisma 14
Base Attack: +13 Base Combat Modifier: +15 Base Defense Modifier +36

feats: Wilding, skill focus (perception), improved unarmed strike, weapon finesses, aspect of the beast (wild instinct), animal soul, combat expertise, weapon focus (claws), feral combat training, shifter edge, weapon specialization (claws ), endurance.

Skills: acrobatics +21, perception +26, survival +20 (+22 track), sense motive +6, knowledge (nature) +10, knowledge (geography) +5, swim +6, climb +6, profession (herbology ) +13, stealth +14.


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Playing a solo campaign is no different from shadow boxing or mental chess.

If you add in Roleplaying, it's no different from writing a novel. You have the basic plot structure, just need to write down the character interactions.


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Temperans wrote:

Playing a solo campaign is no different from shadow boxing or mental chess.

If you add in Roleplaying, it's no different from writing a novel. You have the basic plot structure, just need to write down the character interactions.

I was going to bring up the option that one should just write a story, rather than playtesting a party through an AP. I am glad others think the efforts and results would be similar, as well.


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One thing I encountered when trying to solo the Kingmaker computer game: The available equipment is based on the expected level, not on your increased level as a solo PC. So while you got a lot of wealth, loot and shops not necessarily provide the items for your level. And prices scale quickly anyway: A +2 weapon costs as much as three to four +1 weapons.

Naturally, PCs less dependent on equipment are less affected, so it's one more argument for summoning. A powerful pet might still suffer a bit from the lack of proper items, a group of (let's say) three pets might be better off with the available items.


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SheepishEidolon wrote:

One thing I encountered when trying to solo the Kingmaker computer game: The available equipment is based on the expected level, not on your increased level as a solo PC. So while you got a lot of wealth, loot and shops not necessarily provide the items for your level. And prices scale quickly anyway: A +2 weapon costs as much as three to four +1 weapons.

Naturally, PCs less dependent on equipment are less affected, so it's one more argument for summoning. A powerful pet might still suffer a bit from the lack of proper items, a group of (let's say) three pets might be better off with the available items.

Kingmaker CRPG is based around having up to 6 PCs. Balancing around 1 PC would break the game.


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If you think you could enjoy writing a story then playing an AP by yourself might be enjoyable to you as well. It's kinda similar, but easier since a lot of the work is aleady done and the outcomes of events are semi-random due to being decided by rolling dice.
I've never done it myself, but I think it could be fun for me, because I enjoy the mechanical/combat aspect of TTRPGs. It could also double as playtesting/practicing APs or testing PC builds.


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FWIW, I'm playing a campaign solo and writing the results as a story. It started years ago when PF first came out as a way to test the game; I'm playing it exactly as if I were GMing it in the normal way, and RPing all 5 PCs. I have their personalities well enough defined in my head that I can write the non-combat RP bits more easily than the fights.

I don't fudge the dice at all, and there have been a couple of very close calls thanks to either a cluster of bad luck or bad misjudgement of CR.

The only thing about doing it this way is that it takes forever. I'm up to 80000 words (including the play-by-play commentary footnotes) and they're still barely scratching 4th level on Slow XP.

If you're doing an AP and not writing the novel, it'll go a lot more quickly as some 70% of the work is done for you, depending on how much you go off-piste. You just need to develop a bit of selective schizophrenia. But a GM should be able to do that anyway.


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Temperans wrote:
Kingmaker CRPG is based around having up to 6 PCs. Balancing around 1 PC would break the game.

Hrm, I didn't expect it to be balanced. But I played through Baldur's Gate II with a single character, so I thought I give it a try at the spiritual successor.

When it comes to actual Pathfinder, I see a few advantages in playing solo, with a single PC: The whole party (you) is available every session. Everyone has the same goals. Coordination in encounters is a given. There is no squabble about how to use the loot.

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