One x One Roleplaying for Newbies

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Returned from the Void
Original poster
Invitation Status
  1. Looking for partners
Posting Speed
  1. One post per day
  2. 1-3 posts per week
  3. One post per week
Writing Levels
  1. Intermediate
  2. Adept
  3. Advanced
Preferred Character Gender
  1. No Preferences
Urban Fantasy, High Fantasy, Epic Quest, Sci-Fi, Time Travel and World Hopping, Steampunk, Action/Adventure, Modern Drama, Mystery, Slice of Life, Romance, and many more.
"I wanna try a One x One, but I've only ever done groups!"


So you want to try a One x One! Excellent! They're a lot of fun! Many players choose a one x one because:

  • They can move faster!

  • It's easier to get character development done!

  • They tend to be more collaborative!

  • You can be more selective with your partners!

Are you excited? You should be! But there's a few things you should know about one x ones before you set up your first partner search! You see, they function a little differently from groups. Here are some trends I've noticed after 10+years one x one-ing.

  1. Pairings:
    This is a kind of roleplay plot/idea unique to one x ones! sometimes people list off pairings like "Vampire x Hunter" or "Royal x Servant" et cetera. These are called Pairings! They're often opposing roles; and this is actually a pretty good way to brainstorm story ideas! Suppose a vampire and a vampire hunter did have to team up; why would that be? How would they interact? Would the experience change them? Would they make a good team?
    These pairings are often intended as romantic matchups, but not always. Mainly they just indicate character roles. Sometimes a player will have a preference for which of the two they would like to play. It's generally considered polite to give the person who posted the ad first choice.

  2. Romantic Prevalence
    A LOT of One x One-ers want a romantic angle. In some cases, it's straight-up assumed. If you're not looking for romance, or want a story completely free of it, make sure you tell your partner right away before they get their hopes up!

  3. Worldbuilding and Plotting
    You may have noticed a lot less worldbuilding evident in one x one requests as opposed to group ads; don't be fooled! Many one x one-ers put just as much thought and effort into their worldbuilding as group RP GMs do, it's just less evident in the format. Because one x ones are two player games, a one x one-er is often engaged in many different RPs at once, and will put out an ad hoping to attract multiple partners. This differs from a Group Ad hoping to attract multiple players because with a one x one, it's more likely that each partner will choose a different roleplay. They're fitting like, 10+ Group RP ads' worth of plot and lore into a single partner request; they have to function on an 'ask for more info' basis, otherwise each ad would need a website to itself! So if the plot or world looks skimpy, try asking the player to tell you more about the idea before you go assuming that's all there is.

  4. Everyone is a GM to some degree
    Another difference between group and one x one worldbuilding is that it tends to be more collaborative. Often in a group, the GM will devise the world and plot, and guide their players through it. They may be open to suggestions, but in the end the GM has final call. In a one x one, it's pretty common for both players to be equally involved in building the world and devising the plot, as well as coming up with plot twists and NPCs. For example, if you decide to play an alien character, you may also be asked to decide the details of their race, home planet, and culture! Throughout the roleplay, both players may pitch in plot twists and world expansions into discussion as the ideas occur. There are some players who prefer to act as GM to a more passive partner, but most one X ones will have some degree of collaboration.

  5. Implementing Twists/Surprises
    Another difference is the mechanic of surprises. In a group, GMs may get some giggles by keeping their players on their toes, but in a one x one it's more usual to discuss any twists or plot ideas you'd like to put in with your partner before implementing them. Of course, some people like to be surprised, but it's good manners to make sure your partner is okay with your occasionally putting something unexpected into the story before you go striking the roleplay with a sudden earthquake!

  6. Characters and NPCs
    In a two-player roleplay, it's a lot harder to populate a large world! Many players prefer to keep their cast list to one PC each and throw together an NPC when other people need to be present (like innkeepers and school bullies and teachers and family members). Others like to play a wide and rotating cast of PCs, and some keep it at a tidy two each (often called "doubling"). Ask your partner what they'd like.
    Some players also have a preference for the gender matchup, especially if they're requesting or hoping for a romantic plot or subplot! Some players only play a certain gender, others are fine with either. Some may have a preference for who they want you to play! Make sure you straighten these preferences out before you introduce your character(s)

  7. Speed
    When you've only got to wait on one other person before you can post again, you may find your roleplays move a lot faster than you're used to! Because of this, more active plotting is often encouraged; it's super important to keep an active OOC conversation and to share your ideas for what could happen next in order to keep things interesting!
Of course, "the more things change, the more they stay the same." You may have noticed already, but a lot of the things it's important to keep in mind for a one x one are the same as for any roleplay!

  • Communicate!
    Ask your partner to tell you about their plots and worlds, they may surprise you! Ask how many characters they like to play and what gender(s), and if they have any preferences for your character(s). Ask if they want to share the worldbuilding and plotting responsibilities, or if they'd prefer to act as a GM; talk about what's happened so far, talk about what you hope will happen, what you hope won't happen, what could be funny or interesting or exciting if it did happen; talk about characters you want to introduce, areas you'd like to explore. Talk about everything!

  • The key to longevity is activity!
    Don't procrastinate your replies too long; hash out whatever crap comes to you right away, even if it's in cliff's notes. Work on it as often as you can until it's ready, and don't be afraid to talk to your partner if you're feeling stuck; they may have some ideas, or be able to tweak their last post to make it a bit easier for you to work off of! And don't forget to always have an eye on the future. What are the characters moving toward? What should happen next? If you have something to look forward to, it's a big help for keeping interest on both sides!

  • Everybody is different!
    There are going to be one x one-ers who disagree with every single thing I've said here. There are going to be one x one-ers who are unlike any other player you've ever encountered. Every. Player. Is. Different, whether they do one x ones or groups or charps or Dungeons 'n Dragons! They're going to have their own style and preferences and ideas. Get to know each partner and learn to work with them as an individual.
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