Additional tests during GM's turn?

Additional tests during the GM’s turn? Is it allowed? I mean how strict is the GM’s turn? When approaching obstacles my players what to use their own skills to learn more about the threat. The team understands how to use wises to give their skills bonus. So were not talking about that. For example. During an animal conflict. One member wanted to use their hunter to test for more information about the beast’s weapons. I didn’t know what to do. In real life a hunter would only require a split-second to determine an animal’s weapons. But in this game the GM’s turn seem so strict. Here’s the obstacle and here is what you need to roll to over come it. Bing bada boom! Now narrate the scene.

Am I being too strict? In may other RPG’s this isn’t an issue. Or should I just charge them 2 checks to do something extra in the GM’s turn?

So the main question I have is can the members perform other tests, all on their own( that are appropriate to the situation) including the tests I want them to overcome?


If this was a fight animal conflict, the player could have tested Lore (representing knowledge of his quarry) while Maneuvering so that, had he achieved enough successes, he could have disabled one of the animal’s traits for the remainder of the conflict, which with the right color would fit perfectly into what you’re describing above. Between extended conflicts, complex obstacles, and help, it’s not difficult to fit what you’re describing into the existing turn structure.

That being said, I don’t think you’re being too strict. I’m a stingy game master and it works out fine. If the players balk, emphasize the danger and urgency of the mission, and encourage them to plan ahead during the Players’ Turn. One of the key skills of GMing Mouse Guard, however, is identifying the most crucial point of a scene, obstacle, or conflict (I mean conflict informally.) and framing the test around that moment. I’m liable just to give a player more information about a situation if I think it will enrich play, especially if it’s appropriate to the character’s background and skills.

N.B. Players only can spend two checks during the GM’s Turn to gain a test for recovery, not to get a full Players’ Turn scene.

Thanks Daniel for the greater insight on this subject. I first thought I would allow him to make the test during the conflict instead of an action. But I didn’t and I’m glad for that. What you suggested makes perfect sense. I can’t understand why I didn’t see it the first time he asked. I was just caught up in the moment like the players. :slight_smile:

GMing many years, I just naturally take the time to describe a scene fully. I get so much more from my players when they focus on their own character’s actions and not spending mental energy painting the world around them. I half expected one of them to ask this question sooner-or-later. :slight_smile:

In your gaming experience with mouseguard have you come across anything similar? Or is this just how you would have approached it?


In the GM turn, all tests are the GM’s call. Offering choices of which way to go is being a nice GM… Letting them pick their skills and rolls is being overly generous.

In that case you cite, tho, the best answer from my POV is to simply say yes to the hunter (and thus prevent the roll and resulting experience), and give him some more detail.

Generousity isn’t one of my strong suits. :wink: Thanks for the advice Armais.

My philosophy on it is slightly different. The GMs suggested tests are the obvious way to proceed, but if the players come up with a plausible alternate approach, they can try it. The key thing is if the player suggested tests are driving at the current scenario obstacle, or advancing a side agenda. If a player isn’t focusing on the mission, then that’s definitely something that should be held for the Player turn.

My take on this is somewhat similar to rafial’s. I usually prefer to give some direction to players, sometimes require certain specific tests, and other times let the players completely work out which skills they’d like to use.

I feel that the differentiator for GMs in this game is less about how many rolls you allow in which turn, and more about making sure that you’re focusing on challenging player characters’ Beliefs, Instincts and Goals. It seems that the more mainstream RPGs are more goal challenge focused, without the same attention to the “softer” aspects, like Beliefs and Instincts. I think if you as a GM are challenging BIGs during the GM’s Turn, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be playing the game right.

Whether due to lack of focus or because I just want to get to the crux of the current conflict, I tend to be short on my descriptions of a scene. I appreciate when the other players contribute details as it lessens the burden on me. Furthermore, in my gaming experience everyone’s mental image of what’s happening differs slightly (sometimes greatly) regardless, so it’s helpful when a player makes vocal a detail he’s latched onto, because then either we all can incorporate it into the scene or we can clarify what’s going on for everyone’s benefit. Something I like about Mouse Guard is that it recognizes the ability of, and creates opportunities for, any player to contribute significant details to a scene.

Radial and Slashdevnull I can’t agree with you more. I tell the players one way to deal with the problem and let them devise another if they wish. If I think their plan is implausible then I shoot it down. But my focus is on the game play and the characters. I don’t have trouble challenging their goals. It’s always challenging their beliefs and instincts.

Wanderer- I’m sorry for leaving the impression that I give all the details. I have a very imaginative group. But I can’t tell them they’re in a swamp and leave it at that.

I’ve had the fortune to play rpgs with some really cool and different DM’s and GM’s. By far my favorite style is from a storytelling point of view. Your correct in not painting so much of the background it takes away from the players imagination. I’m always learning and trying to balance everything. We’ve been playing awhile now and MG is a lot of fun.