abusing Wises

Browsing older threads, I ran across this conversation:

So I went in and checked it out. The Big List of Skills With Their Relevant Factors has a much more limited description of a wise’s use…

…but the run-through of what a character looks like has Twice Born’s quote (I assume the slight difference in page number is due to a hard/soft-copy change):

Can players really try to change the course of the story like this? If p33 is correct rather than p255, what kind of Ob would you set for this use? I like the idea of players getting to add their own twists to the story (how very Baron Munchausen!), but I can imagine this being a NIGHTMARE if somebody decides that they can start changing my plot points and even (apparent) character motivations! I don’t think I’d ever get to stop rewriting the plot.

I’m not sure you’re reading it quite how it was intended. There is no conflict, wises can be used to bring in information, and only information.

from p33: there are three ways to use a wise
(i) Test to reveal information about a hidden fact from the GM
(ii) Test to bring in a new fact relevant to your wise
(iii) Augment a skill test.

(iii) is just using a wise as a FoRK. The key thing about (i) is that it doesn’t introduce anything new, it just lets you get clarity from your GM. (ii) is the one you’re interested in - the exact wording is: “You can test to bring in a new fact about something in the game that’s relevant to youur wise’s area.” I think the confusion is that you bring in a fact, but not a physical thing.

I don’t think that the examples quoted at the start of your post work, as you’re not introducing new facts, you’re introducing new items (unless you’ve already found the weasel fur, or Celborn has already been established to have a lockpick and bandit robe).

What you can do is say: “Weasel-wise - this is exactly how weasel scouting parties attacked our forces in the big war, I bet they’re involved.” This might then let you make a scouting check to look for weasel fur, or somesuch. Regarding the other character: “Crime-wise - If Celborn is part of the secret society of bandits, he must have some lockpicks and a black bandit robe around here somewhere.”

You can’t just say “Gold-wise - oh, look what I found in my pack, a big lump of gold!” or “Sword-wise - he’s clearly holding his sword wrong, he drops it”

Yes, players can use this to twist the plot to a certain degree, but you still narrate. For example, in the weasel-wise case, if you the GM know that it was actually done by a mouse in the nearby town, you could let the players make a search roll but find mouse fur instead of weasel fur - and when they get to the town if you need to prod them or they get close to the mouse behind it, they might notice books about the big mouse-weasel war. Alternately, perhaps the mouse in town was working with the weasels - it can help if you’re willing to be flexible, it gives the players a real sense of being able to affect the story and not being railroaded quite so much.

FoRK? Sorry, don’t understand the acronym. I follow that use of a wise, but I’m stumped for a translation.

I like your read of the rules more than TB’s; I can see where he’s coming from, but I agree with you that his read of “fact” is too broad. This can make for some fun twists without totally pillaging the plot. I’ve seen this sort of GM flexibility over the years, and it tends to dovetail with the better GMs and better games.

Also, OS, I think it would be helpful to you if you ditched the notion of plot in a MG adventure. There is no plot. Certainly not your plot. Your role as the GM is to make the characters look like heroes by challenging them with adversity. That rule is on page 8. First paragraph. You challenge them by examining their Beliefs, Instincts and Goals and creating obstacles which trigger or interfere with what they’ve written.

Anyway, Matthew’s reading (restatement?) is correct.
And if someone says “I chop down the tree!!!” How? “With my Fighter skill!!!” Would anyone in the group take them seriously? Would you let them roll the dice? No. You’d ask them what the hell was going on and try to guide them back to earth.
“And snakes attack and kill everyone!!!” is the same thing. Abuse of the rules is abuse of the rules. It’s not a “gm thing.” It’s a “we’re friends and I’d appreciate it if you’d play this game correctly” thing.

Sorry - FoRK is Field of Related Knowledge. I don’t know if it’s referred to as such in MG (don’t have my books with me), but that’s what it’s called in BW when you use a related skill to add a die to a roll.

But… doesn’t there need to be a plot/mission in order to frame the challenges? Otherwise it’s just a random collection of events without a narrative. I’m not married to a plot by any means (twists would be impossible if I were) but there needs to be SOME kind of structure to tell a coherent story!

Maybe we’re using terms differently.

I like to play games by RAW, unless there’s a pressing need to change them. Knowing your intent with the word “fact” makes me comfortable with that. The bad reading is “It’s a fact that there is weasel fur here!” which is much broader than I liked, but I’d’ve tried that way if that were your meaning.

Ah, thanks.

Plot implies forgone conclusion.
But with one twist, the action can head off in an unforeseen direction. It’s not possible to completely plan out a MG adventure.

Anyway, this is a topic for another thread.

In Mouse Guard, it’s all help—either helping yourself or helping others. See “I Am Wise” on page 92, and “Teamwork” on pages 93 to 95.

Yup. In Mouse Guard, as in BW, “plan how the scene or challenge begins but never how it will end.”