Similar situation to this question: Tools/techniques for optimal tabletop gaming with one remote user

I will have one remote player, but I'm not worried about technical aids. My question is rather how to design a scenario specifically to work well with one player being remote.

We have accepted there will be loss of information and probably even some "downtime" for the remote player and thinking to try and make use of this instead. Specifically it would be difficult to have the remote player fully take part in combat as that would mean either information loss or a significant slowdown of the whole game (see discussion in linked question for details). Having the remote player's character also being remote in-game would avoid that. My setting is SF so having the remote character at another location communicating over radio or similar would work perfectly fine. Instead I need to involve that character in the scenario in other meaningful ways.

The remote player could get access to some other resources, a map, a puzzle they need to solve based on clues the main group will find. I guess I'm aiming for a kind of asymmetrical co-op game in roleplaying format. How would you design a scenario for that?

I'm looking for a strategy to follow when building the scenario. What to think about and what to avoid in terms of player/character interaction. Not looking for plot specifics (though examples that illustrate a strategy are welcome of course).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Do you mean remote in-game or remote-physically? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jun 28 '19 at 14:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ Both, but the in-game character could of course link up with the others over the course of the scenario, maybe for the ending even though the player is still physically remote. \$\endgroup\$ – SpacemanSpiff Jun 28 '19 at 14:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ This seems... perhaps a bit too open-ended. It reads as less of a "how do I" and more of a "give me ideas". \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Barden Jun 28 '19 at 14:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm still unclear as to how this is different than your linked question because you specifically manage information resources (which are the tools in the linked question.) Why do you think you'd need to design an adventure differently if it isn't about tools for interacting together? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jun 28 '19 at 14:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you've got the tools in place so that the remote player can interact in real time, why do you think there will be other issues about being remote? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jun 28 '19 at 15:09

Take advantage of the aspects of the situation to provide interesting game mechanics is a good idea.

Physically Separate

The remote player can be viewing different material and the players have to describe it to one another to solve a puzzle. At table tops, this has been done by sequestering subsets of players into adjacent rooms where they can only hear one another. An example of this is Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. The difference there being, seconds are of the essence, and it requires synchronous communications. Still, the basic setup can be entertaining.

Temporally Separate

Scheduling and timing can be problematic. At a table top where one player had prior commitments that prevented them from being present at the start, an interesting mechanic was to have the other characters actively engaged in a holding action. In one case, it was a hopeless battle while the absent player's character was engaged in opening a portal for their escape. When the player showed up, their character finished opening the portal and the party moved on. This sort of thing is especially useful if there will be expected schedule mismatches.

At longer intervals, the lagging player can be given a different task. This has been successfully co-opted to have that player write some of the narrative from their character's point of view for the other players to discover during the session. Given the restriction of only being able to leave 5 messages of 5 words in length at specified points, the absentee player had to pen in character messages that would lead the rest of the party in their footsteps (and to their rescue).

Combat Aversion

In some situations, you have player that cannot or will not engage in combat. Some people don't like that sort of thing, or just happen to have an awful connection that makes doing it remotely too much of a hassle. In this case, having a secondary objective for them to work on while the rest of the part protects and moves them around can be entertaining. Especially if the secondary objective and combat can interact. An example of this is something a minesweeper puzzle where the non-combatant is trying to figure out where to go next not to incur stepping on a mine and the party is trying not to get harmed by opponents. The conflicting movement constraints of the puzzle and combat can be both engaging and entertaining.

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