Solo starter tips

I am going to start a solo MG game with my wife (who, BTW, has no RPG experience). She has created a tenderpaw from Sprucetuck with her two best skills being Loremouse 3 and Fighter 3. She has an enemy named Sloan (not the one from the rulebook) who is from her hometown and was responsible but not convicted for crippling her best friend Gwenyth when he pushed her in the path of a cart.

I want to do a sort of pre-mission to get us both acquainted with the rules. (I have many years of RPG experience under my belt, and have played BE a bit.) Inspired by the Winter Olympics, I was thinking a “Tenderpaw Tournament” prior to being assigned to Patrol Leaders. I was thinking of the objective being winning her particular event, probably a combat event.

If she succeeds her Fighter Obstacle (recommendation for level?) she wins the tourney in her class. If she fails, the Mouse Twist is that she has to have a Fighter Conflict with Sloan in the final, with his intent to not only win, but Injure her.

I welcome feedback as to this starting point and recommendations as to where to go from here.

Going by “Fun Once! Let’s Not Do It Again” on page 90, I wouldn’t follow up a failed Fighter test with a Fighter conflict. During the GM’s Turn, you’re free to frame the scenes any way you choose and simply could say “You’ve made it to the tournament finals. Sloan is your opponent.” When planning missions, I make up four possible obstacles (one of each type), and pick two for the mission obstacles and keep two in reserve for twists.

That being said, the tenderpaw tournament is a great idea, and I imagine it would encompass other guardmouse skills (e.g. pathfinder or weather watcher), too. You might be better off framing the first mission obstacle as a wilderness or animal test (loremouse, an atypical skill among the guard, could come into play in the latter), and saving the duel with Sloan for the second obstacle. There will be plenty of unfinished business for the Players’ Turn.

One other thing: make sure there are strong goals for the fight conflict. Injuring Sloan or your wife’s character is an easy compromise outcome, and whoever wins the duel will be obvious from tracking disposition. You both should aim high with the conflict goals: perhaps a win for your wife’s character means that Sloan will have to face up to what he did to Gwenyth, while Sloan winning the tournament might mean that your wife’s character gets assigned to a less-than-desirable patrol leader.

Good luck! Be sure to post afterward and let us know how it goes.

Thank you for the great feedback, Wanderer.

With your input, I’m probably going to have the GM’s turn consist first of a wilderness challenge where the four or five Tenderpaws competing are led through the woods around Lockhaven into the early spring slush and quizzed about certain things, giving Joella an opportunity to shine with either her Loremouse or Survivalist skills. This also gives an chance for a Weather or Animal Twist. After that, she’ll find herself in the combat finals against her enemy, a fight conflict. I think this will give her a good taste of things in the MG world before she actually heads out with a patrol. It will also give my wife a loose structure with which she is mildly familiar, as this smacks of the beginning of Harry Potter.

Also, thank you VERY much for advising me to strengthen the Goals for the Conflict. It will not only be exciting, but she will see that there are more overarching ramifications to losing a conflict than the conflict itself.

This is an excellent setup for a mission obstacle. Also, and this probably sounds silly, but don’t forget to roleplay out the non-crucial stuff leading up to the tests (i.e. the wilderness competition and the first rounds of the martial contest). Pump your player for information about how her character goes about things or responds to the proceedings. I only say this because, when I GM, it’s easy for me to jump to the dice roll at the heart of a scene and gloss over the other stuff. But not everyone is as impatient as me!

I’m glad you found what I said helpful. I struggle with making interesting conflict goals, so I’ve become tuned into them. There’re definitely sessions I wish I could go back to and punch up the goals so a conflict didn’t turn out flat. C’est la vie! Looking forward to hearing about your game.

So I ran the game Friday night. Brewed some tea, put Sting: Songs from the Labyrinth in the CD-player, and got to work. I set the mood reading the background straight from the book, as well as describing her hometown of Sprucetuck. Her Goal: “Join Glenn’s Patrol as a tenderpaw.”

In late autumn, Abigail (we changed her name) packed up and said goodbye to her best friend and her parents. A Guard Patrol lead by Glenn (to be her mentor) arrived to escort a reinforcing dose of the scent border north along with picking up the recruit. They moved north to Elmoss, where she found out that another recruit is Sloan, the son of one of the ruling families of the town and the mouse responsible for crippling her friend. He remained remarkably quiet (but still grinning slyly) during the trip to Lockwood.

In Lockwood, they found they were two of several newbies. She and Sloan were immediately put to work outside gathering nuts and berries, which they did day in and day out for the next couple weeks. When the first flurries started to fly from the air, patrols began to straggle in. After everyone returned and was accounted for, the shutters were sealed and the doors locked for the winter.

Then, combat and field training began with Glenn. After many bruises and split knuckles, Abigail chose the staff as her preferred weapon. Over the weeks and months, Sloan slurred her behind her back, claiming she left Sprucetuck because she was too stupid to be a sciencemouse along with other insults. They celebrated Yulefrost and learn of the exploits of the mice who had fallen that year. Quite a few recruits decided to quit, but Abigial forged on.

In the early, early spring on a day that was just far enough above freezing to turn the snow to slush, the five remaining potentials participated in the Tenderpaw Games. In the first half, a guard captain named Roland and his crew took them out and grilled them on outdoor knowledge. At the end of the day, they stopped and were required to unexpectedly set up camp.

Here I gave her an Ob3 challenge of either Loremouse or Survivalist, her choice, to impress the judges. She chose Survivalist, boosted by Calm and a Persona point. On five dice, she rolled a 4 and four 1’s! So, I invoked a Weather Twist and started a freezing rain. She made her Health roll and avoided becoming Tired.

In the morning, they packed up and slogged back to Lockhaven. After eating lunch, the combat began. Training weapons only on a point system. Each mouse would fight one another once with the greatest number of successes being the winner. After setting the stage of the final being her versus her enemy, Sloan challenges her to a bet, which she accepts. Glenn also drops the hint that if she wins, she’s automatically in his patrol. All the mice of Lockhaven, fraught with cabin-fever, all gathered to watch the event.

Her goal (at Wanderer’s suggestion) was to get Sloan to admit to crippling Gwen (a long kept secret). He was to win the bet against her and tax her Resources by 1. Odds were on her side - both had Fighter 3 but she had Nature 5 while he had 3. He chose a sword versus her staff. They both rolled a 7 Disposition. Long story short, my wife got the short end of the stick on Feints. The two she tried were countered, while the two Sloan tried - including the second where he involved his Cunning - pounded her, even after being disarmed during a Maneuver vs. Maneuver. It was 6-0 at the end.

Sloan was declared victor while Abigail left the ring in shame, her pockets a bit lighter.

End GM’s Turn.

Since she hadn’t been brave enough to use her Traits negatively, she only had one check in the Player’s Turn. She spent it Persuading Glenn to take her anyway. After a Abigail’s Persuade boosted with Persona versus Glenn’s Will, she convinced him to take her on anyway. (This could have been more involved, but my wife was exhausted by this point.)

Overall, it went well. My wife picked up on the system quickly, but was seriously disappointed that she lost. I learned the following for the future:

  • Having my pregnant wife sit at the kitchen table for 2 hours at the end of the day is a bad idea. Couch next time.
  • I need to seriously sedate my 4-year-old son before we start the session.
  • I need to encourage my wife to use her Traits to gain checks.

I welcome any feedback on this and ideas for how to continue this solo game.

Looks like things went well. Creative use of Resources to handle the bet. Was there any compromise from the conflict?

I was so relieved to read this thread. I’m in a similar situation. Every so often I get bit by the RPG bug and really want to give it another shot (played D&D a fairly long time ago). I saw this book at Borders, and showed it to my Wife who said “I’d try that.” Several months later and I buy the book yesterday. Still making my way through the book, but I’m getting amped, got story ideas buzzing. The only thing was I was a little unsure about it being just the 2 of us.

Reading through this thread, I’m really digging the idea of the Tenderpaw Tournament. I may try something similar as a warm up session, but a little less “Thunderdome”, and a little more “Running Man.” If that makes any sense. Also very relieved to hear that just 2 people worked out well. Thanks for posting this!

I know this thread is pretty old but…

Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts! I’m also in a similar situation and this helps me plan our first adventure.
I think it’s interesting how MG seems to be the gateway drug for spouses and girlfriends!

Agreed Sigma70! My wife and I created her character two nights ago, she is also pregnant so the game may flop before it begins. Anyway, I really enjoyed this thread, and was glad to see it emerge again. I forgot all about that Tenderpaw Tournament storyline. Will have to give it a shot.

If your still going on with this game with you and your wife iamnotanum6er, I would love to hear how its gone so far. And others as well, I’d really enjoy to hear if anyone else has some tips & tricks to playing a two player with wives/girlfriends/etc.

This is extremely heartening to see. My wife and I are also playing a solo campaign (tho she is not pregnant :wink: ) - and we’re taking a slightly different path. We created her mentor, who is accompanying her on her final year as a tenderpaw. We’ve put it on hold temporarily for the moment (as we’re trying to move our BW solo campaign to a better stopping point before moving back to MG).

Our big problem is the whole player/GM turn - but I think I know how I’m going to handle it next time :slight_smile: