'Balanced' Chargen

Okay, just for the sake of argument, if you wanted to generate recruits with more equivalent levels of competence even at differing ranks, how would you go about it?

This thread isn’t about arguing whether it’s a good idea, or whether it’s warranted. I see that those threads already exist, and I don’t have any particular points to add to that discussion. But I don’t mind exploring design space, and for the purposes of this thread the goal of ‘balanced’ Guardmice is a given conceit.

That being said, I’m sure there’s some way of giving less-experienced characters extra Fate or Persona points to take the sting out of having less dice.

I’ve often thought that you could set a skill point cap instead of a lifepath cap. e.g. take as many or few lifepaths as you want, but your total skill points must add up to less than 30. My suggestion for a why to figure out the appropriate cap for your situation is to burn up a “model” character who is in the zone of competence you’d like to see, then use the SP total for that burn as the cap. You might tack on one or two more points to provide a little flexibility.

I’m sure this system would be subject to abuse in its own way, so it’s no substitute for the GM and Players approving each others burns.

It’s a simple two step process.

  1. Create a new character.
  2. Photocopy that character enough times to make sure everyone in the group can have at least one. Granted, they’ll all have the same name. Because of this, I recommend naming them “Bruce”*.

A little more seriously: I believe that characters actually are fairly well balanced('ish) straight out of character creation. Some of the adds that older guardmice get are balanced with some of the things they don’t get that the younger ones do. And vice-versa.

Regardless of that, if you create your characters as a group (recommended), you should be working for a balanced group, not balanced characters. Your “social” built character will never be “balanced” against your fighter when it comes to fighting, and the reverse is true for duels of wit.

If it helps your players to buy into this idea, have them actually read aloud the Guard’s Oath. Especially this part: “With knowledge, sword, and shield, we do these deeds, never putting a lone mouse above the needs of all, or the desire of self above another.”

(* … but spelling it “Raymond Luxury Yacht”)

Might be easiest to just make four guardmice then give them different titles. You would be guaranteed balance but still have different skills.

(My guardmouse always wanted to be a lumberjack.)

So the answer to “how do I do this?” is “don’t bother”, with a side of implied “wanting it means you have a deficiency of roleplaying character”.

Thanks a lot.

Um… ok? I wasn’t attempting to insult you. If that’s what I accomplished, then maybe I should re-phrase my answer.

I believe that the characters built in MG are about as “balanced” as their equivalents would be in any number of other systems. It seems to me that a guardmouse’s rank is not nearly as indicative of his or her “power” levels within the game as their advancement is. So, a Tenderpaw who has been played through a full Season or two is potentially more “powerful” than a newly rolled-up Patrol Guard.

If you don’t like this, or Victor’s suggestion to build out all mice with the same rank, I’m really not sure that there’s a real answer to your question. I seem to recall in previous threads that Luke said that “balance” was not necessarily one of his design goals, but I might be mis-remembering that. If it was not something that was consciously considered as part of the game’s design, and if you feel that starting mice of different ranks are too mis-balanced, it really seems like the only advice anyone could give would be to roll up all of them as the same rank. I’m actually really interested now to see if someone has a better take on this.

How about a ShadowRun style priority system. For each element you must assign a priority so if you get the best skills you can’t also have the best stats.

Skills: As Guard Captain, As Patrol Leader, As Patrol Guard, As Mouse Guard, As Tenderpaw
Rank: Guard Captain, Patrol Leader, Patrol Guard, Mouse Guard, Tenderpaw
Nature: 6, 5, 4, 3, 2
Traits: 4, 3, 3, 2, 2
Stats: (6,2), (5,3), (4,4), (4,3), (4,3)

Skill: Allows you to select your skills, with the questions in the recruitment chapter, as that rank.
Rank: Determines your status, and you answer the Circles and Resources questions as that rank.
Nature: Sets your nature rating but you must now accept all restrictions of the questions in recruitment chapter.
Traits: Choose your hometown to fit one of your traits. Tell us where the others come from.
Stats: Put each number into either Health or Will.

This may result in characters that are totally inappropriate at their role such as the captain with no skill. But you can mess around with it until you think it’s balanced.


Beagan Bove
Priority 1: Traits - I get a mighty 4 traits. I could elevate them but I’ll keep them all at 1 so I can have more ways to earn checks.
Priority 2: Skills - I answer the questions about skills as a Patrol Leader.
Priority 3: Stats - I get 4 in both Health and Will.
Priority 4: Rank - I am a Mouse Guard with the resources and connections to go with it.
Priority 5: Nature - I’m not a mousy mouse. I will learn skills faster though! What a twink!

Even further you could switch out the priority numbers so instead of priorities 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 you could have 2, 2, 3, 3, 5 as long as they add up to 15.