I really ought to check out all the older issues of Dungeon and Dragon magazine, since I have that D&D Insider account. I decided I wanted to look up the article that originally presented the “Arena Fighting” series of feats, and I found a related article that talked about designing encounters for solo combat. I mean, it’s one thing to figure out how things work through trial and error, it’s another thing entirely to find the work done for you.

The article “Fight!” in Dragon 368 (October 2008) has a section dedicated to arena encounters, and it has a subsection that talks about designing “duel” encounters. It has a table that goes by character role, with a list of suggested monster roles to match. Honestly, you could throw a skirmisher against just about any character type and call it done, but there are other suggestions. (Controllers apparently fair better against artillery…)

I’ve thought on and off about designing adventures intended for single characters. You want to do some different things with solo adventurers, and this article even suggests assigning experience based on completing quests rather than defeating what will often be single creatures in combat. The “experience budget” breaks down a bit when there’s only the one character “getting paid” out of it.