Magical Kitties Solo Adventures

Published by: Michelle Nephew

We recently got a question about how to run Magical Kitties for just one kiddo. "Want to try to run this with just the one child," they said, "but not sure how to best go about that. She loved the graphical adventure and was very interested in continuing, but I've not tried to GM w/just one player. Anyone have thoughts on that?"

We have MANY thoughts on that, actually! In quarantine, getting a group of kids together in person can be nearly impossible, so we've gotten plenty of experience with solo adventures. Here are some ideas from the creator and producers:

Michelle Nephew says, "I've done side-tracks with just one of my kiddos plenty of times. The biggest thing to watch out for is that the challenges are things that the kitty's magical power can handle, since they won't have a whole Kitty Krew's worth of magic to fall back on. I'd also be more generous with awarding Kitty Treats, and on helping the player in roleplaying situations, since they'll have to step up to do everything on their own. But you know, at its heart Magical Kitties is just telling a story with your child, so don't be intimidated!

Justin Alexander says, "The biggest structural thing for me in solo play is fragility, which tends to take two forms:

"(1) The loss of brainstorming. If you're playing in a group and one player misses or misunderstands a clue, there are a bunch of other players who might figure it out. And just the act of chatting about the game world will often shake stuff loose that none of the players had individually noticed or understood. Redundancy like the Three Clue Rule (MK, p. 43) is very important for solo play. It's also useful to have some active elements in the adventure – stuff that can come TO the kitty if they get stuck and don't know what to do next.

"(2) TKKO (Total Kitty Knock Out). If one kitty has some bad luck and gets KO'ed in a scene, most of the time the other kitties will still persevere. In solo play, when the kitty goes down that's all she wrote. Unlike other RPGs, Magical Kitties Save the Day is already better for this because a KO doesn't mean death. But, particularly if you're used to GMing other RPGs, this is why you should give some thought to what KO can mean other than being knocked unconscious. Maybe the kitty gets thrown out a window; or maybe the bad guys escape using their dimensional portal gun; or maybe the building collapses. Look at what the kitty was trying to accomplish with the fight (catching the bad guy, preventing the building from blowing up, saving the Ruby of Bast) and frame the KO as them definitively failing to do that. (Maybe they can try again in a future scene, but this scene is over.)

"When a KO does mean a literal knock out, think about how you can make that more interesting than just 'you wake up a little later in the place where you got knocked out.' Who might be waking them up? Where are they waking up? What's happening when they wake up?"

Matthew Hanson says, "Along with the fragility the Justin mentioned, there's also the fact that in a party, there's normally at least one person who's good at each of the main attributes so as a group they can handle lots of different kinds or problems. With one kitty, they'll be bad at something, so try to stay away from those types of challenges.

"On the flip side, you can really cater to that one player, keeping things things focused on their character and their goals and going into more depth with those."