1 on 1 MG

Advice on setting the level of conflict if you’re playing 1 gm 1 player?

Seems like working together and pooling dice are important. How do I give my player a fair shot without clobbering them over the head if he can’t get help from other players?

I was actually thinking of posting this same question, but in the BW forums (I hope it’s okay to put it here; the solution may be similar) for a BWR game.

What I was thinking was for the 1 PC to rely on friendly relationships + circle up a band of NPC henchmen to help with dice. Maybe keep the Obs lower as the PC gains fame and his retinue slowly increases.

I don’t see why a mouse couldn’t do the same thing.

I’ve used 2 solutions:

  1. play it straight. You wind up with a player spending a lot of checks recovering in the player turn. But due to the way the overcoming obstacles rules are written, mission success is only on the line during a conflict, as after a twist, you go back and continue as if you’d passed it.

  2. let them have a second character.

This was how I playtested MG with my wife. Generally, I either made sure that the opposition was in line with the PCs skills or I had other mice tag along. After all, the PC should have mentors, and trainers and trainees and the like. Its easy enough to have Gwendolyn assemble a team one time and a solo mission the next to keep things fresh.

Here is the bare bones for a 1 on 1 Mission, I will be running with my wife.

GM’s Turn
The PC is asked to investigate signs that the lower levels of Lockhaven’s library are haunted. The library is old and built on a damp spot at the base of a tree. It is known to often make noises but most dismiss any suggestion of being haunted.

Main Obstacles
Animal – Rot has created an entrance in the lower levels allowing Frogs to invade the lower levels. Their noises and activities have been mistaken for ghosts.

Mice – Carrick is a member of the Open Ear, a scholastic brotherhood. He is using the Frogs as a diversion to steal certain books from the library. He does this by stealing crickets from Lockhaven’s farm and releasing them into the lower levels at night.

Weather – heavy rain combined with the activity of the PC and Frogs causes parts of the Library to collapse and become unstable.

Mice – Conn the Archivist doesn’t trust the PC in his library and accuses her of the ongoing problems, possibly even getting in her way at the worse possible moment i.e.e chasing Carrick

Player’s Turn
The Player may use this turn to determine the structural instability of the library, work out which books Carrick was stealing, herd up the crickets, deal with the Frogs.

I like how there is the possibility of 3 conflicts. A social one to convince Conn that the PC is not to blame. A chase after Carrick, followed by a fight.

The Frogs are small animal (Nature 4) and can be dealt with by 1 PC.

OK, quick read of the rules: So my friend misses his rolls, I allow him to succeed at the Mission, but he’s Angry.

Or, same thing but there’s a Twist he has to deal with now or later.

Sound right?

Pretty much. Once the twist has been successfully dealt with you move the story forward as if the PC had overcome the initial obstacle that caused the twist and now either put a new obstacle in their path or move to the completion of the mission.

On saying that if the twist was unsuccessfully dealt with you may move them on to another twist instead.


Actually, here, see a flowchart:

+-------------+                 +-------------+               
|  Briefing   |                 |  Briefing   |               
+-------------+                 +-------------+                                 
       |                               |                                 
       |                               |                                 
+-------------+                 +-------------+               
| Obstacle 1  |                 | Obstacle 1  |               
+-------------+                 +-------------+               
       |       \F                      |       \F                 
       | P     +-------------+         | P     +-------------+
       |       |   Twist 1   |         |       |   Twist 1   |
       |       +-------------+         |       +-------------+
       |      /                        |      /p              \F              
+-------------+                 +-------------+               +-------------+
| Obstacle 2  |                 | Obstacle 2  |<--------------|   Twist 1a   |
+-------------+                 +-------------+               +-------------+
       |       \F                      |       \F                 
       | P     +-------------+         | P     +-------------+
       |       |   Twist 2   |         |       |   Twist 2   |
       |       +-------------+         |       +-------------+
       |      /                        |      /               
+-------------+                 +-------------+                 
| mission done|                 | mission done|               
+-------------+                 +-------------+                 

On a fail on a tist, I usually impose a condition, and move on.

I note that after a Twist, you don’t necessarily go back to the Obstacle. As explained on page 91, the Twists can themselves become their own story arc and it OK to follow them rather than return back on track.

Thank you gentlemen!

PS To what Wraithbone said overhead: I think this advice plays well to BWR as well.

PSS I imagine my player, once he figures out what Circles does in MG, is going to spend a lot of time seaching for help…also tapping his Mentors and Friends, Family, etc.: which is all awesome roleplaying stuff. So Yah!

(my initial concern is clobbering this guy with impossible obstacles was going to turn him off from roleplaying…he’s never played before! I wanted to stay true to the game without Nerfing anything)

I like that and my steal it. :smiley:

Z-Dog said:

PS To what Wraithbone said overhead: I think this advice plays well to BWR as well.

Thanks for remembering me, Z-Dog! :slight_smile:

Just remember that you aren’t doing the PCs any favours by setting low Obs. They need those high Obs to get the fails to advance. Set the Obs high but allow the Player to use Help, I am Wise or find their own alternatives.