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Forums » RP Discussion » 1-on-1s VS groups?

I notice more people do 1-on-1s around here and I'd be curious to know why, or specifically, what your preference is and your reasons?

I personally prefer group RPs. That's not to say, actual groups, but something like open forums or PMs with more than one person. I tend to play supporting characters and it's a bit easier to feel like a "support" role if you have at least 2 (but my ideal number is 3) more characters besides yourself. I like to see my characters grow and have arcs, but I prefer it if other people take the lead in where the party is going to go, or describe the scenes or towns or world, and then I can fill in the details. I am also usually the last person to post. I also don't really have characters with really complicated arcs, and prefer it if whatever their arc is can be linked to another player's somehow.

The problem with 1-on-1s for my style is that this is a lot of burden to place on another person. With at least 2 other people, they can split being the leader between them and I can comfortably play backup, effectively just adding flavor to their stories.

I also just can't really understand putting a lot of effort into a setting that will only be shared between two people in PMs, that is most likely to just die in obscurity. Open forums at least have the potential to last a lot longer because you can get a rotating cast so the effort isn't wasted. You also don't need to rely on just 2 people playing every NPC, and with larger groups, you don't even need as many NPCs because actual players will take the spaces where NPCs might normally be sometimes.

I don't have anything against 1-on-1s though. When I first joined, I considered them to be off-limits, but a really good RPer and someone I consider a friend has been wonderful in a 1-on-1 that we intend to introduce another player into. I do think 1-on-1s work better for short-term or really zoomed-in RPs though, since the focus is just on two characters and a few scenes, as opposed to a big setting with some over-arching narrative. At least, for me.

Curious about others' thoughts though.
I have mostly started off in groups because I joined a number of in game RP guilds in different MMORPGs I play online through nearly seven years and started very young doing group RP through tablet top games. such as D&D. I have noticed after a year and a half on RPR that it seems difficult to maintain groups for various reason. People may be more forgiving of waiting on 1x1 than in groups when you know its more than one person that has to wait their turn to post. The turn out rate for posting in groups may be expected to be faster and feels more like real time for that reason. Also if it takes long for a group player to post it may grind the RP to a stop if there is not an accepted understanding amongst the group that a player's turn will be skipped if they have not posted after a certain number of days or weeks even if RL concerns take precedence. This may be why 1x1 may be more forgiving when there is less time pressure to post unless your partner has set expectations.

I have been lucky to find a few excellent and dedicated people I do small group RP with and am doing a few 1x1, having now gotten to know them well and trusting them both IC and OOC. I think there is good OOC communication and solid boundaries that are respected.

I have come to prefer group RP for the simple reason that it is easier to see how people treat other characters IC and OOC aside from my own characters and myself OOC. I feel group RP is more transparent and I have had a few bad 1x1 RPs experience when I took chances on unknown players where I felt gaslighting and manipulation was involved. I've discovered wonderful 1x1 partners through group RPs current and past.

I feel I put in as much effort into 1x1 as I do with group RP because I want my partner or partners to enjoy it as much as I do and I'm more than happy to put effort in for them as much as myself because I take pride and joy in my writing when I feel I have done so to my own standards. I also seek to improve my writing regardless of how many people read it.

I don't mind RPing minor or side characters as well as mains, so that is less of a concern for me, but I do feel bad when my 1x1 partner is RPing more roles than I am. I feel at times I'm not carry my weight in the RP. I try to make up for it by writing longer or more descriptive posts when I can, but on average my posts or 2 to 3 detailed paragraphs long which I think may be better suited to group RP. I don't tend to write 5+ paragraphs, that is more the exception with me when I am very inspired and I feel I need to go into lengthier details.
Because I like long term roleplay. I joined multiple group roleplays when I first joined this site, but they never last long. People vanish… the GMs gone in the early game… and the roleplays ended up discontinued. Uhm, maybe it's just because I haven't found a good group roleplay yet. Maybe I'll try my luck again in another group roleplay someday.

For now, I like 1x1 roleplay more because I met a lot of amazing long-term rp partners through 1x1
Falyn wrote:
I don't mind RPing minor or side characters as well as mains, so that is less of a concern for me, but I do feel bad when my 1x1 partner is RPing more roles than I am. I feel at times I'm not carry my weight in the RP. I try to make up for it by writing longer or more descriptive posts when I can, but on average my posts or 2 to 3 detailed paragraphs long which I think may be better suited to group RP.

Oh, I hope I don't unintentionally make people feel bad because of my roleplay style. I love playing multiple characters for support roles, like straight man and wise guy couple, or just a simple ‘helper’ to keep the story going… and I also love to play npcs in 1x1 roleplay. I don't feel burdened at all because I like it.
Group RP is alright, but I find they die quickly unless the group is tight knit OOC'ly. 1:1's so far provide the most long term and consistent RP for me.
DeathandtheMaiden

I prefer groups to 1+1. 1+1 I've been left stranded after a short while but in a group you can have several writers who are dedicated to pushing the story along because they want to involve themselves and be part of a team. I suppose I've been lucky in that my friends host several groups and have been very active for nearly two years.

We've got good writers who are helping with the development of the story, and we've had writers who've posted once every few weeks and held others back or have been chaotic stupid and put very little effort into the group, as a DM I've had to remove them because it's unfair to the others. But our groups are still active. :)
I personally prefer 1 on 1s cause they're generally easier. In my experience, Group rps die off pretty quickly, and they need a post order if you don't want to risk one person falling behind or not. Sure 1 on 1's aren't perfect and have their issues, but in my experience it's less than those in group rps.
0V3RL0RD-P4RR0T wrote:
I personally prefer 1 on 1s cause they're generally easier.

Same for me. Group rps are something I'm not confident in as before, one of the reasons being because people were pretty quick at responding and for me it took like a minute maybe to come up with something. Another reason is because I'm more of a, you could say, spectator than a player in them. I also tend to spend more time thinking about responses and not exactly knowing what to do, which I guess is strange cause in 1x1 rps I can come up with responses with more ease. Plus, it's easier for me to focus on one person rather than multiple people. One time in 2020 (when I was in this one rp guild in Guild Wars 2 that pretty much died) so many people were added to our rp session later on. Like, about ten-fourteen people from what I recall. I can't explain to you how difficult it was to keep track of everyone... oof...
In addition, I also prefer to rp in DMs, reasons because of my writing and I overall feel more comfortable rp-ing in private. I'm still learning to write and yeaaah...
Whilst groups are typically about as reliable as 1x1s when it comes to lifespan on the short and medium term, the issue is that due to the group setting, it feels more... substantial when group RPs die. Particularly given that often more work has to be put into them, and it could end up that a single linchpin player is what unravels the whole thing. Add into the equation things like players who have their characters go off doing their own thing right away and expect others to come to them even when they're doing nothing to attract other characters over, and often you end up getting a disappointing experience out of them. You also have to take into account player count. A long-term group RP is a rare thing because there are more players around to potentially lead to its demise. Sure, you could get one or two players in a group who are great at long-term commitment, but other players could still cause the group to fizzle out. Meanwhile in 1x1s, those same reliable players are enough to stick with it for months or even years.

Don't get me wrong, I've been part of some fantastic group RPs on this site... particularly event-related ones. But equally, the let-down - especially when the group setting means you're putting particular effort into being punctual - when one fails can be very off-putting. Thus, I gravitate more toward 1x1s.
I'm flexible.

Most of my role-play is done through Furcadia where the setting is open in the sense of.... you can be in a space in the world and another character can just walk by. You can code rooms to lock to have privacy but if you are in a public space in the dream you are in, it is technically a public role-play as your posts aren't hidden. Other folks can join in - although it is polite to ask first. Group role-plays can very easily happen in that someone can just throw out a post and then multiple people start replying and engaging. Which, honestly, is a really good feeling when that happens.

I'm actually fairly new to semi-closed groups on RP Repository but I am finding them enjoyable. I also find them quite useful as I am able to write and engage at a different pace than I do through Furcadia.

Whether it is through a server or 1 x 1, Discord is again quite 'as and when you can' for post responses which works out well when we want to role-play but our time zones and/or schedules are not ideal. Same in principle goes for 1 x 1 or group private messages on RP Repository.

So, for me at least, it isn't really a 'versus' and depends more on who I am role-playing with, what platform we are on, and our respective schedules.
Aardbei Topic Starter

I didn't expect longevity to be the determinant factor in everyone's preference, to be honest. When I started this thread, I thought it would be more related to social anxiety or more about being unable to keep up with the pace of a group. In my own experience, both 1-on-1s and group RPs fizzle out at equal rate, so it wasn't really something I thought about beyond "a 1-on-1 actually needs me to be there but in a group, I can dip for a bit and the others can keep it going, so it's more reliable to me." I guess I can do that because of the kind of role I prefer.

Since Furcadia was brought up... I actually do prefer that style the most, the "Drop in, drop out" style of RP that also has visuals for scenes and where character descriptions are a portrait and a paragraph. I haven't played Furc in years though and the characters I enjoy the most wouldn't really work since they aren't furries. Shame there are no true alternatives to Furc though, and I've definitely looked.
Hate 1-on-1s, almost never do 'em. It generally just feels awkward, and makes me uncomfortable.
Aardbei Topic Starter

MagmaSlasher wrote:
Hate 1-on-1s, almost never do 'em. It generally just feels awkward, and makes me uncomfortable.

I actually started out on this forum just like that. In my previous experiences, 1-on-1s were played by people who only wanted one thing and I am incredibly averse to doing that one thing.

It took an amazing partner to break me out of it. They were one of the first people I felt comfortable doing a 1-on-1 with. It eventually became my go-to simply because it was easier to manage.

Although... Personally, I still prefer groups. I prefer feeling less like the "main character" and more like my character's moments are vignettes in a wider world... Too bad I haven't found a group where any of my characters could shine.
I prefer one-on-one because, well, I’ve found they last longer than Group RP. But I'm not opposed to them.

From personal experience in group RP, people are more often inclined to let someone else interact with their character than the other way around…which is problematic when everyone is doing the same, especially if they don’t let an opening in their post have people actually interact with their characters.

Group RP are harder to manage also: they need an interesting story and elements to keep the players hooked and set the rules to stop the RP from derailing or falling apart, the GM must be willing to play some side characters to get things started, they have to make sure the players are around the same level of writing style or willing to play at a set style, the players must be willing to interact with other players and make an opportunity in their posts for other characters to jump in, there must be an order for posting so two people don’t clog the topic with their replies and end up pushing everyone’s else replies behind, things along those lines.

GM must also be aware that, even if they want to play a side character, they’ll sometimes have to steer the plot along to keep things interesting instead of just letting their players plan things on their own, and also have to keep making sure nobody is left behind in the RP. Some people in the Group RP don’t want to play NPC, others like to make a post and wait for someone else to interact with them instead of checking previous replies to see if they can jump in and interact with someone right away, others are the type that can pump 12 replies in a day but are all a single sentence that doesn’t help move the plot or the story along or worst, could all be done in a single reply instead of clogging the topic. It takes time to be the GM of an RP, and it can be quite the pressure to know you have to post so the players can continue.

For 1-on-1, since it’s just two people, it’s easier than trying to get a bunch of people to agree on a plot point for one, and since it’s just two, there’s no real pressure to post quickly to have the other reply to keep the plot moving, there’s no fear of someone getting left behind because the plot is advancing too quickly for them, the two players go at the same pace, and depending on the story, you don’t need a large cast of NPCs around. Everything is more...relaxed, and while it may take me a while to try all my characters, I don't have to be jumping from group to group because they don't last a week >_<
In all honesty my issues with group rps is that I’ve just had too many bad experiences with group rps mainly because the more people involved the wider pool of things going wrong there are. Even in groups where I trusted everyone as a good friend, one of them would end up just dropping it and the whole RP starts to slow to crawl and not being able to come back just because of one or two of the members vanished or lost our pacing.

If you are doing quicker, shorter response RPs I can imagine that a group setting must be a lot better but I tend to make my post much longer and what not and usually do best vibing with just one other person that’s on my wave length, and I’m more than capable of playing more than one character if the RP wants a bit more of a larger cast. And also in most group settings above 3 people, like somewhere beteeen 4 or 5, things get a bit too congested for me sometimes and that’s not even to mention it always seems like there’s gonna be that one guy that I’m not really jiving with lol.
As someone who's been a GM, been a part of other role play groups, and does 1 on 1's, I've come to the conclusion that 1 on 1s are the right fit for me, but its certainly not for everyone.

Group role-plays are fun in the element of creating characters and forming backstories and such with other characters, as well as open forums- but I've found it really difficult to get substance out of them. Maybe its the group of role-players itself I've been a part of that doesn't mesh well together, but even with being a GM where I've managed things fairly well and had an active base, it just doesn't last that long and characters that may be needed don't reply, and then it feels a bit underwhelming when the world you've created goes silent.

Personally I have always been someone who likes the depth of 1 on 1s, as I prefer a happy medium of quality and quantity (not to mention being a bit nervous writer), and really like being able to dive into my character and my partner's that way, plus I am more than happy with playing multiple characters if needed.

At this point I only do 1 on 1's because its where I've found the most success, both with longer term and short term role-plays, I just think its easier to manage and communicate OOC if need be (or if wanting), as well as spark joy from.
Aardbei Topic Starter

Admittedly I think part of my comfort with groups is the opposite. I'm socially anxious, and addressing people more directly feels a lot more stressful than vaguely addressing a group. I'm not sure how to describe that feeling other than, directing everything at one person opens up the possibility that they will respond more intensely than I can handle, but dispersing the burden of responding to me (especially OOC) between several people is more likely to get a less intense response from each. I suppose passive questions get passive answers.

I've mostly been doing 1-on-1s because that's all that's been available to me, with one exception, and it's forced me to work on this fear of people a bit. But even after a few months of practice, I still prefer groups.

I also think I'm just more comfortable in chaos. Things can happen spontaneously, and more people means more chance for that than just 2. My friends and I have been experimenting with GMless games like Wanderhome and though it's taken us a bit to figure it all out, we're slowly getting the hang of it, and I definitely prefer it over more rigid structures.

Suppose it also helps that I'm a very concise poster, heh.

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