The dramatic is one of the central things I am looking for in my solo play. Often it can be difficult if you know the overall structure of an adventure.
I use a variety of techniques to bring a sense of the unknown into my games.
One of my favourites is a card deck, or more rightly a suit from a card deck. Going right back in time, this card deck was inspired by Monopoly and the Chance Deck.
The first time I came across this was for playing an Aide de Camp for a general. Dealing a card from this suit would influence the fate of this poor aide. The Ace (low) represented his or her arrival at their destination. The higher the card the worse the fate for the poor aide. The King could see the aide dead in a ditch, the 10 could have their horse shot out from under them. Thirteen cards and thirteen possible events.
With four suits in a deck, four individual factions could be tracked using a single standard deck of cards.
Another tool I use is a countdown dice. In this mechanic, with each failure or delay I advance the die. As the die counts down, I can see the impending danger approaching. It isn’t as random as drawing a card. As the danger ramps up, I have to be more cautious or risk the consequences. This ramps up the tension.
Playing for Drama
There is always simply roleplaying the drama. Drama and tension affects the character just as it does the player.
Playing alone, does not mean that you have to give up on that level of excitement that comes from not knowing what is going to happen next. It just means that when you can step it up, you should take the opportunity.