Are circles tests really hard or am I doing it wrong?

My reading of the circles test seems to make it really difficult to pass successfully unless you are looking for somemouse like neutral laborers. Given that a mouse often finds himself injured or sick, a healer can come in handy. However, I understand a healer to typically be something like obstacle 6 (uncommon in town, 3; no power to speak of, 1; and willing to help in some capacity, 2). Even Gwendolyn is only Circles 6. Unassisted she would be successful 1.5% of the time. With two mice assisting she would only be at 14.4%. Add hometown advantage and finding a prior contact and we’re still at 37.7%.

Buying things seems comparatively easy. Even a sword or heavy armor is only obstacle 4.

As an aside, what do you typically do with neutral (1 factor) or unhelpful (0 factor) mice anyway? Do you need to pass a persuasion check against their will to get them to be willing to help?

Well, if I was factoring that healer test it would be (uncommon in town, no power to speak of) Ob 4. I wouldn’t require them to set the attitude of someone whose job was healer, unless they wanted a particularly friendly fellow or there was a reason that the NPC might be unwilling to heal them. And the reactions of neutral or unhelpful mice depends a lot on what the players ask of them.

The example on page 240 shows Lieam making an Ob 5 Circles test (uncommon in town, mid-level power).

Thanks, James. That would certainly make it easier if you didn’t have to include that factor. I assumed that they didn’t include the factor in the example because the cartographer they were looking for was actually against the Guard.