A few GM questions

I GM’d Mouse Guard for the first time and I now have a few questions.

  1. Maneuvering during combat uses Nature. Is there a risk of taxing Nature, since it’s used in combat?
  2. Can a “wise” skill be used to help another player? Let’s say a player has “Path-wise” and another player tries to find a path. Can the player with the “wise” skill help him if he succeeds his test? Does he gain a Pass/Fail even if he helps?

I may have more incoming, because I’m pretty sure I had more questions during the game. Thank you for answering (and sorry for making so many threads, I’ll try to stick to this one from now on).

  1. The test must involve escaping, hiding or climbing in order to fall under the untaxed use of Nature.

  2. Yes.

  1. That’s a very good question about the Manoeuvre… I’m having to think hard. I think the answer is to find out the context of the manoeuvre. So the mouse is positioning, how did that happen? Did the guard mouse climb a tree? Did he lure the creature by escaping? Did he confuse the opponent by hiding?

What if the mouse was going to hide from the owl, rolled really well and chose to disable the owl’s Powerful Wings trait? The player and the GM would have to work together to craft those things into the narrative. “The owl swoops down, but his prey vanishes into the small hole in the log. Unable to stop himself he collides with the branch and hurts his wing!”

I hope that doesn’t discourage the players trying to describe their character being more badass “I disarm him with a parry from my blade!” “Sorry, that’s against nature, describe it as hiding in the tree again.”… Seems there is still more to think about…

  1. The applicable wise I think does help another character. +1D to his friend’s test. Helpers do not log advancement.

Thanks a lot for these quick answers!

More questions, concerning death.

  1. “If you win with a compromise in a group conflict, one character takes it for the team. Everyone else is Injured and Tired.” I guess “one character takes it for the team” means someone has to die to kill the opponents? It seems a bit rough, even more than winning with a major compromise, which makes every character left for dead, but alive. Am I forgetting something?

  2. The rules from “Death and Killing” are applied everytime one party’s goal is “Kill the enemy”? If so, then “Kill the enemy” is not a goal that should be taken lightly, or am I forgetting something? I’m just asking, because in the pre-made game I ran (the grain peddler one), my players chose “Kill the snake” as their goal. This means the snake could have killed one of them with a compromise?

Edit : Oops, I just saw that these rules only applied to mouse and weasel characters! I just answered #2 myself, I guess.

It seems to me that the wording is a bit confusing but, as far as I understand:

  1. One character takes it for the team means one of the losing characters. Meaning, the players managed to kill one but the other enemies escaped, injured and tired. A ‘clean’ kill happens only if there is little or no compromise, as seen on page 130.
    Don’t misjudge the major compromise, the penalty is really big - and quite interesting from a roleplay standpoint. Being left for dead can have quite an impact.

  2. Teams can have entirely different goals - you could have your players trying to “Kill the Snake” while having the snake trying to “Scare away the intruders”. This means that the snake could not kill them with a compromise but rather that, should the snake win, the mice would scatter from near her nest. Important to remember that “Killing” goals should be voiced out loud at the start of the conflict.

Thanks for answering, but I don’t think you’re entirely right.

1.“If you win with a minor compromise in a group battle, then one or two of your opponents have been killed. The others are injured, but alive.” This is what happens when a minor compromise must be made, so I don’t think your answer can be correct. And yes, it does have a big impact, but I’d rather be thought dead than just dead.

  1. It is not written anywhere that the other team must try to kill your team to make the Killing and Death rules come into play. The way I read it, if Team A tries to kill Team B, even if Team B is only trying to capture Team A, the Killing and Death rules still apply if Team A wins. So even if Team B had no intention of killing Team A, they could, as part of the compromise (if there is one), kill or injure a member of Team A.

“A character or his opponent may only be killed as part of the goal of a conflict. You’ve got to tell your opponent outright that you’re trying to kill him.”


I know, but he doesn’t have to reply “I also try to kill you, then” to make these rules come into play.

The Killing and Death rules section assumes that you’re trying to kill your opponent, then it talks to what different levels of compromise mean. So yes a team has to state their goal of killing the other team to be able to kill them.

“One player takes it for the team” means that one of the losing team dies and the others are injured. The compromise is that not all of them are dead. The winning team does not have to pick a character to die.

As I said earlier, this is also what happens when a minor compromise has to be made : “If you win with a minor compromise in a group battle, then one or two of your opponents have been killed. The others are injured, but alive.” Does this mean the same thing happens with a minor compromise and a medium compromise, with the exception of the losing team also being tired? I don’t think so… the wording is very different from an option to another and there would be no point in making a medium compromise if it does the same thing as a minor compromise, no?

With a minor compromise you can kill two opponents. If I only got to kill one (because there are only two maybe), then the last one should be Injured and Tired, so it’s not worse than a compromise. I think it’s written with bigger groups in mind than two, and in that context it makes sense.

Okay then, I guess it works that way. I’ll just rule it differently if I want to. Thank you for your answers!

I believe that’s precisely the difference. In a minor compromise you get one condition, in a compromise you get two conditions.

That doesn’t make sense. These are conditions inflicted on the losers. A compromise should be better than a minor compromise for the losers.


True, hadn’t thought about that. It IS weird.

It’s weird because that ISN’T the main difference. The main difference is how many losers die.

The weird thing is, more losers die in a minor compromise than in a compromise. The minor compromise entry says “one or two” while the compromise entry says “one player takes it for the team”.

Miro, more losers should die in a minor compromise. The winners only had to compromise a little bit. The bigger the compromise, the less losers should die.

Techno is right. I misread the text. I blame my head cold.

Wow. So true. Thanks guys!