Looking for a One Player One Shot Mission

I planning to eventually set up a couple of patrols. I think one patrol will have at least two kids (ages 10-15); and the other will be a bit older (a couple of college 18-20, and their auntie at about 30). In both cases, I might be able to draw my wife in … but she has no experience with RPGs. (The others have a smattering, ranging from computer games and boardgame variants to a light sprinkling of D&D (not as heavy as mine at all)).

Anyway, I’d like to succeed at having my wife get into roleplaying; and for once, it’s not about “fighting those ugly monsters” like orcs, trolls, draconians, undead, vampires, etc.

So … I’m wondering if anyone else out there has done this, and if they had good ideas to share. Keeping in mind that despite my avid participation on these forums, this will also be my first time at running a Mouse Guard game!

Anyway, aside from your ideas and experiences, I’d like to also discuss the possible framework to work from. Some parts of this framework have the potential to carryover to the first session with the multiplayer patrols. So here goes…

Single Player I’d like to use one of the sample characters. Sadie may be the most appealing simply because she’s featured in the graphic novel, is female, and is a rather “pretty cute mouse”.

Helper GM-controlled PC? I want to keep the concept that the patrol rarely functions on solo; plus, we need to learn the mechanisms behind teamwork (helping dice, alternating actions, etc). I’m thinking of the GM having either a naive tenderfoot or a lazy and apathetic patrol leader.

Two cycles: GM1 - Player1 - GM2 - Player2 I think it’s important for the players to immediately know that they are more than just “half the game”. They have a huge impact on GM2, and I don’t want to make them wait before they see it in action.

No conflict mechanism on first session I think I want to stick with simple and complex tests. It’s tempting to have a non-life-threatening conflict in GM2, however. But it may be tough to plan for that without having a good “railroad” dictating GM1 and Player1.

Once I get enough feedback, I’ll start brainstorming themes to fit over this framework.

Thanks for the help in advance!

I had this situation a few times in other games and I don’t see MG as to different in needed approach.

First off I’d recommend against the npc. It’s a noble goal to teach the aid and team mechanics right away, but if she is unfamiliar with RPGs in general just simple checks and parsing the character sheet are going to be a lot of stress. It’s likely she we will be taking things really seriously since this is a chance to connect to you and she won’t neccesarily tell you if she is overwhelmed by the flood of rules. Also the presence of the tag along npc makes it feel less like her show, which can lead to less investment in what is happening. If the potential gamer is made to feel personally important the chance of conversion is much higher. And If they do want somebody to help or tag along, they will usually ask for it anyway in which case they still feel they are the focus.

As to scenario, something sort of serious but not deep tends to work well. Finding something lost (an orphan, a lost book of scientific discoveries, a herb that cures a common illness) tends to go over really nicely. Plus these set up a lot of potential ideas for player turn followup. They may want to find the orphan a good home or adopt it themself, make sure the information in the book is put to good use, or arrange medical teams to distribute the herb far and wide.

That was very helpful, Serpine. Thanks!

Yeah, I had a feeling that the tag-along might be too distracting and reduce her immersion.

As for theme, I think I should keep Sadie’s character in mind. And that’s probably in the rulebook somewhere, but we’ve heard it alot from Luke in these forums – build the mission based on the player’s beliefs, instincts, etc. Challenge their character, almost literally whatever is on that sheet!

So it’s beginning to look like Sadie’s about to go back to the coast … maybe looking for a run-away mouse who took a leaf boat into the unknown.