A Troublesome Belief

Hey all, I just started a MG campaign and we’re a few sessions in. I’ve been pretty light on challenging the players’ BIG’s thus far, until they got the hang of things, but I think it’s time to start adding some dramatic punch to the sessions. I’ve come up with potential challenges for most of them, but one player’s belief in particular is giving me trouble.

Belief: “Technology is key to making life better in the territories”

The only way I can think of challenging it would be to introduce a situation where a new, dangerous technology was being misused to the detriment of the territories. That’s hard to do though, because I don’t think many possibilities like that exist with medieval era technology.

I can see potential in this belief, but nothing specific is coming to mind. Any ideas?

Runaway science experiment.
The scent border turns out to be poisonous to mice.

Ooh that’s a good one; I hadn’t even thought about the scent border. You’re right though, chemicals are nasty business. All it would take is a good rain to get the gunk into a nearby town’s water supply, and suddenly we have, what everyone perceives to be, a plague on our hands. Maybe the patrol is then ordered with quarantining one of the afflicted towns, and at the end they discover that the “plague” is actually poisoning from the new scent border mix.

Thanks again, Luke!

The mice of the Territories have all kinds of technological advancements you and I wouldn’t consider as such. They mine copper and iron, husband insects, and keep written records. That’s where the real conflict with technology lies—between mouse nature and everything the mice have done to survive and propagate.

It’s intentionally easier for characters with low Nature scores to learn skills. The conflict I’d want to see is does the player risk his character being removed from play in order to keep to his Belief? Getting this mouse intentionally to push toward Nature 0, however, could be difficult.

Here are some other ideas.
[ul][li]Rebels with access to printing presses are producing anti-Guard propaganda along with maps of Lockhaven for their eventual siege
[li]Mining in Copperwood becomes more dangerous every year as the mice are forced to delve deeper for new sources of ore. Miners are on strike while families of deceased laborers are trying to get them mines closed down
[*]In trying to raise heartier bees that can better survive the winter, apiarists in Lockhaven have bred a strain of temperamental bees that they can’t control.[/ul]

You can also present an easy but non-tech solution and a slightly harder tech-based solution to some problems. IE:

river is flooding, threatening village
non-tech solution: move villagers (high will in the village, maybe plus a die or two)
Tech solution: move, divert, or dam the river. (Season Ob)

Bird is causing a nuissance, raiding village for mice
Non-tech: scare bird off. Conflict against bird.
Tech: build a device that protects village from bird’s entry. Ob 8 or so science test.

Wanderer: I like the nature idea, I could see that being a long-term background challenge for the player to deal with. I also like all of your more situational ideas. The printing press one is particularly excellent, considering how censorship is an issue even in society today.

Aramis: Another excellent idea for a more subtle, but longer-term way of challenging his belief. I can see this resulting in some good table chatter among the players.

If you’re having trouble challenging a Belief, don’t be subtle. Be obvious to start.

Taking the high-Ob, technological route just might encourage the player to tap Nature in an effort to succeed, although maybe this is being subtle in the way Luke advocated against.

I don’t think Luke was advocating against subtlety, just pointing out that you want to get things rolling with a more obvious challenge.

Still, I really like the combination of ideas that Wanderer and Aramis came up with. It continually challenges the player to risk his mouse’s nature in order to fulfill his belief.

I deleted that comment because I felt I was parroting, not adding anything to the discussion.

Luke is wise, William also. Go big and then ride that momentum.

Daniel and Mr Hostman are masters of the art. I’m not negating their advice in anyway. I am, however, advising you to confront the player with a big, obvious challenge to his Belief right away. It’s like snapping your fingers to see if someone is napping.

If he’s paying attention, then he’ll jump right in. If he’s napping, then all that subtlety is going to be lost on him.