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Tangled Blessings - a Solo TTRPG that Takes You to Magic School

It's been four long years. It's about time to take your final exams and fly out of here (literally?). It's a given you'll pass, but will you be able to beat your rival? Hope the time spent in school was worth it.


Tangled Blessings is a solo TTRPG by Cassi Mothwin where you get your letter to a magic school. You're a prodigy, but so is another student. By the end, will you surpass them or will they beat you out? Only your last-minute study session can save you now.


Welcome to the second installment of our Solo TTRPG series. Solo TTRPGs are a highly underrated method of playing games on your own and I highly encourage you to look into them more. If you're looking for more, also be sure to check out Thousand Year Vampire.

A dark image of a library book shelf that implies there are multiple floors  through a railing and a ladder.
Photo by Henry Be on Unsplash

 

Takeaway - Good Introduction to Solo TTRPG

  • Ideal Number of Players - One to two players

  • Materials - something to write on (optional), tarot deck

  • Where to Find - The Author's Website

  • Format - Digital and physical

  • The Good - Additional content, lore, inclusive

  • The Bad - Prompts can be precise, hard to get back into if you take a break



You're Magic!

Journey of Self-Discovery

Creating a wizard is very easy. You just make them how you would like - No stats. No rolling. There are a few questions to prompt what information you need for your character. Only one part of your character is determined by randomness - your house. Determining your house is simple though with drawing a major arcana card and matching it to the corresponding house in the book.


One thing to keep in mind as you're creating your character is you also need to create your rival. Rival is a little bit of a deceptive term in that they're your main competition for top student. The relationship between the main character and the rival can be anything your heart desires (mine were enemies to lovers - don't judge me.) The rival's personality is determined however you like, but there is a nice personality guide associated with major arcana cards that can give some inspiration.


We Have to Go Back to School?

The majority of the game takes place at the Brackroot Academy itself. Rather than playing directly through your years at university, you are playing as a student studying for their last exam and looking back fondly, or not so fondly, at their experiences at the school. This last exam is a direct one vs. one with your rival to determine who will get the prestigious opportunities that come with being top student.


Four years at a school may not sound like much content to work with on its face, but you play through six events for each year - three for you and three for your rival. Events are determined with the draw of a major arcana card and a minor arcana card and corresponding them to the prompts.


Reasons to Journey to the Cursed Academy

More please!

I feel like one of the largest hurdles with solo RPGs is the lack of replayability; however, the wonderful author of this game continues to make content for Tangled Blessings. At the time of writing, there is one expansion for a "winter term" with more prompts, guides on studying with a teacher, and more rival interactions.


We Do This for the Stories

If you've had any extended conversations with me on TTRPGs, you'll know that I play these games because I want to tell a story, AND I like reading stories. As a result, I love lore. I will consume all the lore I can and will ask every question possible to learn the ends and outs of the story/world. This game comes with background lore on the school, the magic system, and the world. It's enough information to help a player get a basic starting point, without being too much and boxing a player into a corner.


Games for Everyone

This last positive I'm pointing out is such a minor thing, but I want more authors to do it - so I'm acknowledging it. A lot of our literary works and inspiration come from problematic backgrounds and individuals (looking at you Rowling), and it's really easy to choose to ignore the prejudice that is built into the literature itself as a result of these people and backgrounds. That doesn't mean ignoring the incorporated problems is the proper course of action though.


Academia in particular has a horrid history of racism, ableism, and just all-around cruelty. Cassi states as much on one of the first pages of the book, indicating how important it is to recognize the background of these items. The creator further provides resources to look into the topic more and tries to show that players of all types are welcome to play this game and welcome to its world.


Dangers Ahead

Detailed

The prompts are good - I really enjoyed them. There is a lot of meat to them though. An unsuspecting player might get roped into the same game over and over again if they aren't careful. This isn't impossible to overcome though. As long as a player puts more into the thought as to the whys of the prompt and not only the direct prompt itself, games can still end up incredibly varied.


Where was I?

This one might 100% be an operator error. I had to take a break in the game, and when I came back it took me a while to get back into the feel of it. There were details and motivations that I forgot even though it had only been a short time. Reading back over my journal probably would have resolved it, but I can't be sure since I didn't.


Final Thoughts

Recommended!

Tangled Blessings is another great entry point into the solo TTRPG world. The mechanics are easy to learn and it's not an overwhelming concept. Many of us as children dreamed of the day we would get our letter inviting us to a school of magic. This game provided a wonderful opportunity to explore what that would have been like on my own terms with an effort towards being inclusive.


So concludes the next entry into my journey on solo TTRPGs. If you want to see other solo games, check out our full series here and the previous entry covering Thousand Year Old Vampire. What do you think of the game? Have you played it and have any feelings? Do you have any other solo TTRPGs you'd recommend?

A picture of a forest in the fall with numerous tall trees and some shorter trees that with yellow and red fall leaves. The atmosphere has a greenish atmosphere to make look more mystical.
Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash


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