As gamers, we have all been faced with a playing session where one or more of the participants can not attend due to something unexpected. It could happen for any number of reasons. In some of these situations, there are other options that will allow the game to continue - DM can control the character, another player can control the character, the character could sit out for a session, or the remainder of the group could pull out a board game or something else. Under any of these circumstances, game night can continue on.
There are also other times that an absence or two can have a tremendous impact on a game session so it would be best to just cancel. Maybe the campaign is at an important crossroads? Maybe several players have to cancel for the night? Regardless of the reason, game night is officially cancelled and you are left with some new free time for recreation. Sure, you could pull out a video game or a movie but that is not going to satisfy the itch. You are really in the mood for some fantasy gaming, so what do you do in this situation?
My solution for this problem is a proposed game I call Dungeon Grind. Admittedly, the experience will be different from playing a role playing game with a group of people and closer to something like a rogue-like game. Although the experience will be limited in scope, it will still offer the basics of the role playing experience.
The Concept Explained
The game rules will allow a single player to take a party of characters on an adventure through a dungeon, maze, etc. Creating the party of adventurers is the first step in playing. The player will have 4 slots in the party to fill with warriors, mages, priests, thieves, etc. It is entirely up to the player how the party is made up. Something similar to the characters produced in Searchers of the Unknown would be ideal; in fact, SoTU will serve as a great blueprint for many of the features of Dungeon Grind. After the characters are created the party is ready for adventure.
The player now sits down with dice, pencil, graph paper, party sheet, and rules to play the game. The party always starts at room one on level one of the dungeon. Using charts and tables in the rules as a guide, the player will generate the rooms and corridors of the dungeon. The rules will also help determine monsters, treasures, and stairs down. As the game progresses, the map gets drawn out on the graph paper. You can keep playing and keep going further down in the dungeon for as long as you are alive or until you get bored. If you got tired of drawing the dungeon as you go, you could swap a dungeon with another player and play through theirs. A site that shares all of these dungeons could also be set up; people could download and play them.
I do not know if I would ever get around to doing anything with this but I might someday. The idea just came into my head and I needed to get it out. There is the basic idea.