A Flower For Mara is a Live Action Roleplaying Game. However, it can be made into a Solo RPG like a basic tabletop RPG. It just needs elbow grease. Luckily, I’m here to provide elbow grease. I’ll assume you know the rules to the game, if not, go grab the game, read the rules through, maybe even play a game or read my two-part session of the game.
Let’s begin with grabbing the necessary tools for this game. You will need, at least:
- An NPC Emulator
- An Idea Generator or Driver situated towards back stories (like BOLD or Mythic’s Backstory Generator)
- A GM Emulator
For these, I recommend all three of Conjecture Games’ systems, UNE, BOLD, and CRGE. They’re free, easy to use, and addictive. The guide will assume you’re using these three. Decide how many characters will be in the game and their ages. Next, open up your Driver/BOLD. Generate Waylays for the six characters, but don’t generate their solutions. These will become the Griefs for your characters and their backstories. Try to keep within three rules:
- The setting’s real life, so make it as realistic as possible.
- It has to do with Mara.
- It has to be something they’re grieving
For example, for Zoe, I rolled savage animals. While this could mean she encountered savage animals, I have to put Mara into the mix and make it realistic. Perhaps she had a pet as a kid, but was so angry and violent that Mara had to either give it away or put it down. I could also put that Mara saved her from a vicious animal, and either make that her death or the trauma from the attack is what makes her grieve.
Next, randomly determine their relation to Mara with a D6 unless the Griefs are enough information to tell you their relation. Here’s the table for help:
For example, if we go for the aforementioned Savage Animals thing, depending on what route we go, Zoe could either be bitter towards Mara for giving the pet away or devoted to her in order to honour her sacrifice.
Roll one more Waylay, this time with a solution. This will be Mara’s cause of death. Keep in the tone of the RPG and make the death as abrupt as you can. While we can do the Savage Animals thing, we’ll be generating one for Mara and use the first outcome of the Savage Animals backstory. For example, her outcome is Avoiding Meek Holdings. We’re still keeping the above three rules, but adding the new one that it has to be abrupt. So I’m assuming that she became homeless all of a sudden and disappeared downtown, presumed dead.
Take some time to get an idea of the relationships between the family members and Mara. Don’t worry about how Joshua and Zoe are getting along, just worry about how their relation towards Mara is for now. After you figure that out, you can fill in the rest. For better results, don’t hesitate to ask your GM Emulator for additional details regarding the information you’re given.
Next, decide who you will play as. Do you want to jump in the shoes of one of the characters or enter the game as a new character, a seventh wheel to the story? You can roll to determine it or choose. If you choose to play a new character, you can create your own back story or generate one the same way you generated the others. I personally recommend playing a new character, at least for your first time, because the outsider’s point of view on the situation can help you get adjusted to the game.
If your GM Emulator keeps track on threads, add “moving on from Mara’s death” as a thread. The game begins at the funeral dinner. From here, you will be following a rinse and repeat phase of the game. Use your Conversation emulator to figure out what each of the characters has to say regarding you or the situation at hand. Start everyone’s mood at neutral
For example, Zoe’s conversation mood towards me at the start will be neutral. For the conversation at the funeral dinner, so her result would be Neutral/Aid/Knowledge. This could translate into her wanting to help you with knowing something. Because this is the Funeral Dinner, maybe she’s helping you with knowledge about the concept of death or the process of a funeral, such as when an appropriate time to read the will is.
Play out the scene, soliloquies and all, and ask questions when you need to ask them. At the end of the scene, take note of who was nice to you and who wasn’t. This will let you know what to step their Conversation Mood to when determining the Conversation next time. For example, if I had Zoe talking kindly to my character, I’d take note of that and make her Peaceful for our next meeting. If she’s nice to me there too, I’ll bump it onto Friendly and so forth.
Next are the Spotlight scenes. You can do whatever method you feel is best, though if you want a suggestion, build up from the previous scene. For example, if the first scene was Zoe and my character talking about death, then perhaps it could evolve into hanging out at the library and reading up on information. If all else fails though, use the Waylay Generator.
From there, it repeats until the game ends. There’s a special rule though. When it comes to Flower Soliloquies, it’s a matter of getting characters to reveal their backstories and get them to be ready to accept Mara’s death. If they have done so, bump their Conversation Mood up to reflect that they’re being better about it.
Other than that, it’s all up to you. What I wouldn’t recommend, though, is playing with an antagonist or goal in mind. It ruins a bit of the experience and immersion since you’ll be more focused on the endgame than on the current game. Trust me, I know from experience. And that’s it. I hope you all enjoy playing A Flower For Mara solo.