How to play DND solo by yourself

DM screen

Whether you're a Dungeon Master looking to test scenarios, struggling to find a dedicated group, or simply yearning for more adventures on your own terms, DND solo play presents a range of possibilities.

In this guide, we’ll explore several ways to play solo DND, empowering you to unleash your creativity and embark on thrilling solo campaigns.

Why play DND solo?

Playing Dungeons and Dragons solo can be appealing for a range of reasons. Most notably, it allows you to try out new things, practice your skills, and experience fantasy adventures even if you haven’t found a group of adventurers to play with.

  • Difficulty finding a group: it can be tricky to find a DND group to play with, be it online or in-person. Solo play gives you the freedom to play without depending on other people or when you want to play D&D without a Dungeon Master.
  • Testing new ideas: playing DND by yourself allows you to experiment with different scenarios, encounter designs, and storytelling techniques before implementing them in your campaign.
  • Character exploration: solo DND gives you a chance to bring to life a character you’ve been eager to play, but don’t have the opportunity to. You can try out unique character concepts that may not fit into the current campaigns you play.
  • Immersive roleplaying: you can fully immerse yourself in the mindset of your character, making decisions and shaping the narrative without external influence. This can lead to a more personal and introspective journey.
  • Practice and skill building: playing DND solo can help to sharpen your skills. Whether it’s understanding the basics such as how DND dice work, strategic combat, problem-solving, or improvisation, solo play lets you hone your skills and become a more confident player.
  • More flexibility: the need to schedule and agree how often to play DND can make playing difficult. Solo D&D means you can choose exactly when to play, and you can immerse yourself in the game at your convenience.
  • Greater self-fulfilment: some people prefer to play single-player games, and solo DND provides a personal escape, a chance to unwind, and a means to indulge in the joy of the game at your own pace. It can also be more enjoyable if you want to play D&D with social anxiety.

Can you play DND by yourself?

Yes, you can play DND by yourself! Playing solo offers a unique and exciting experience that allows you to delve into the world of Dungeons and Dragons, even if you don't have a group of adventurers to join you.

While you can play Dungeons and Dragons alone, it is a different experience than playing with a group. Playing alone requires you to take on the roles of both the player character (PC) and the Dungeon Master (DM), meaning you need to create and play the story by yourself.

How to play solo DND

There are various tools and resources available to guide you on your solo gaming journey, whether you choose to adjust D&D using homebrew means or use AI to play solo.

Tools for enjoying a D&D-like experience solo

  1. DM Yourself by Tom Scutt: this guidebook provides a framework for running pre-written modules in a single-player format. It offers suggestions from rebalancing combat encounters to acting as your own DM to help make D&D suitable for solo play.
  2. Solo Adventurer’s Guide by Guilherme Bento: this guide offers a ‘Dungeon Master emulator’ that allows you to enjoy solo play in fun, random, and unpredictable ways.
  3. Solo gamebooks on DM’s Guild: there is a wide variety of DND 5e books designed specifically for solo play. While they do cost, they can help itch that craving if you find yourself wanting to play in a fantastical world.
  4. Solo RPGs: there are a range of free and paid solo roleplaying games on the platform Itch.io, including 5e Arena, a pit-fighting game that offers simple yet captivating gameplay.

Using AI to play DND solo

You might have heard of playing Dungeons & Dragons with AI (Artificial Intelligence). AI can provide unlimited opportunities to indulge in fantasy campaigns, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the world of tabletop roleplaying.

There are two main options available when looking to play solo DND with AI: ChatGPT and AI Dungeon 2.

ChatGPT

Powered by OpenAI, ChatGPT can act as a virtual Dungeon Master, allowing you to indulge in solo play. It can generate non-player characters (NPCs), provide ideas for stories, and craft vivid descriptions. With ChatGPT, you can engage in interactive conversations and explore dynamic narratives tailored to your preferences.

Playing solo DND on ChatGPT

Above: an example of our game in ChatGPT. Curiosity, a tabaxi ranger, was stalking through the forest. Little did he know he’d bump into his future adventuring group.

While ChatGPT excels at generating descriptions and responding to prompts, it relies on you to provide clear prompts to create meaningful events. It lacks the initiative to do this on its own, and requires specific instructions to move the story forward. Also, it can struggle with consistency, forgetting previous details or making occasional mistakes.

It's worth noting that ChatGPT can act and speak for your character, which can be useful but may also lead to unexpected outcomes and may be frustrating. Running combat encounters is also challenging, as it doesn’t grasp the intricacies of D&D’s rules and mechanics. Patiently guiding ChatGPT through combat situations and providing explicit instructions can help create a smooth experience, but it won’t always be exactly like D&D.

We recommend checking out Oracle RPG’s guide on writing prompts to play DND with ChatGPT.

AI Dungeon 2

AI Dungeon 2 is an online tool that leverages OpenAI's platform, offering a more structured approach to solo play. Instead of free-form conversations, your input is limited to four actions: "Say", "Story", "See", and "Do", each providing a specific direction to guide the narrative.

With "Say", you can have your character speak, engaging in dialogue with other characters or the world. "Story" allows you to input story beats, giving the AI a clearer sense of the desired direction for the narrative. "See" empowers you to describe what your character perceives in the environment, offering some freedom to shape the setting and atmosphere. Finally, "Do" dictates the actions your character takes within the story.

Playing solo DND with AI Dungeon 2

Above: an example of our game in AI Dungeon 2. Curiosity encountered a very different challenge in AI Dungeon 2, after hunting a wild beast that was more than it initially seemed!

Compared to ChatGPT, AI Dungeon 2 provides a more regimented experience. While it may occasionally go off on random tangents, its structured approach allows for more focused storytelling. However, AI Dungeon 2's descriptions tend to be more basic compared to ChatGPT, lacking the same level of depth and detail.

For those who crave a more open-ended experience, ChatGPT’s free-form conversation style may be the ideal choice. Its greater freedom allows for a more dynamic and flexible experience. However, this freedom can sometimes feel overwhelming or challenging to navigate for some players, which is where AI Dungeon 2’s structured approach may be more suitable.

Alternatives to playing DND solo

Here are a few options to consider if you’re not sure whether solo DND is right for you:

  • Create a homebrew world: dive into the realm of worldbuilding by creating your own homebrew world. Develop rich lore, unique story arcs, and intriguing quests that you can explore at your own pace or use in the future if you choose to play with a group of friends later on.
  • Write a book: if you have a flair for storytelling, why not channel your creativity into writing a book? Craft your own epic tale set in a fantastical world, where you have full control over the narrative and characters.
  • Explore solo roleplay communities: the community r/Solo_Roleplaying allows solo players the opportunity to connect. Share your experiences, gather inspiration, and discover a wealth of resources and ideas to enhance your solo gaming sessions.
  • Choose Your Own Adventure books: rediscover the magic of Choose Your Own Adventure books, where you become the protagonist and make critical choices that shape the story's outcome. Immerse yourself in interactive narratives and embark on thrilling adventures between the pages, or online with Choose Your Story.
  • Try some new games: for even more immersive experiences, have you considered trying video games like DND? There are a range of video games that capture the essence of D&D and provide exciting worlds for you to explore.

Alternatively, why not try your hand at being the Dungeon Master? It can sound daunting, but being a DM even if you've not played before is a deeply rewarding experience. You learn lots of new skills and get to be the architect of a story that you and your players will remember for years to come.

Is playing DND solo any fun?

After exploring the reasons why people choose to play DND solo, one question remains: is playing DND solo truly enjoyable? The answer is a resounding yes!

While the experience may differ from traditional group play, solo DND offers a unique and immersive journey that captivates the imagination, encourages creative problem-solving, and allows for personal growth as both a player and storyteller.

Whether you seek the flexibility of playing on your own schedule, want to delve into character exploration, or simply enjoy the freedom of forging your own path, solo DND provides a rewarding and fulfilling adventure limited only by the bounds of your imagination.

Enjoy our dice to accompany your solo play

Why not try playing D&D with two people? This provides a fun way of playing with a friend or partner, while the narrative is deeply focused on you and your character. Or you could consider playing D&D without a DM.

If you’re ready to enhance your D&D experience, then look no further! Explore our exquisite collection of DND dice sets, perfect for adding a touch of enchantment and style to your games.

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