Building/Making Gear in the GM Turn

Hello, I picked up Mouse Guard recently and found it to my taste in terms of style and system but I have a few questions and am hoping that you guys could help me. I want the mechanics to work for me rather then I work for them, which is the way they are meant to be I believe. But my lack of experience prohibits me from seeing certain possibilities and therefore I am faced with some impossibilities. I have never played Burning Wheel so please bare that in mind if you choose to reply to this topic. Finally, please forgive the weird english for it’s not my native language.

I will post a number of Threads for my different questions so that if other people search for the same information, they can find it more efficiently. I hope it will not bother you too much.

My first question’s setup is this:

I have seen a few places where making/building things are part of a Complex Obstacle. I have even read posts of people that recommend letting players build things to help give them a bonus on the next roll (be it a Simple or Complex Obstacle). For example: snow has just covered the wilderness so the players could try to make snowshoes, then proceed to their destination with a pathfinder test with a +1D bonus for equipment.

If I understand correctly, the Game Master’s Turn is meant to put the pressure on the characters. This is why a Recovery test, for example, costs 2 checks in the GM’s Turn and 1 check in the Player’s Turn. Making/building things costs you a check in the Player’s Turn.

Here’s my question:

Seeing that making/building things in the Player’s Turn costs 1 check, should I let my players build equipment during the GM’s Turn and if so, how can I best handle it.

I let them do one prep action per plotted encouter.

You might limit characters by letting them spend 2 checks, but that is a bit harsh IMO, or 1 (but that sucks away the player turn).

You could also give them a once per session marker allowing them to build something.

Players may only build things in the GM’s Turn if you tell them to.

I would give them a chance to make some equipment to assist them in overcoming an obstacle if there were no time constraint…but it would depend upon the situation. In the end, as luke said, it should be (and is) up to the GM.

The way I see it: If they’re reacting to something the GM does or a situation created, it is not a Players Turn type action. If they are initiating something outside of the current situation, it is a Player Turn type action. In terms of the snowshoes, I would say they could test to make appropriate equipment given it’s related to the situation at hand. If they wanted to make a new weapon or something, no go because it’s unrelated.

edit: errr… what Luke said.

Assuming it made narrative sense for the PCs to spend the time building equipment, I would allow it. I would probably impose a +1 Ob due to time pressure (see pg 232).

As I see it if the players want to volunteer dice rolls in the GM’s turn, it is really just an opportunity to add in more conditions and twists in to add the more pressure.

I like your approach Luke, straight and to the point.
And on top of that, it will always ring true.
But if I may pick your brain a little more, when should I tell them to?

What I mean is: what should be my goal into giving or witholding the building of stuff?

You’re goal should be shared entertainment and furtherance of story. If they want to build something, and it is interesting and improves the game, give them a chance. If they want to be tedious, such as sitting down in the woods and building a still because they, the players, are bored, then you need to liven the game up somehow…

Yeah, if the obstacle or conflict was to cross a river, you shouldn’t have to tell the players they can or should build a bridge. They ought to volunteer that option themselves or any other action that is appropriate.

I think I said it above, but I’ll say it again: reactive and mission/story relevant (actions that can be taken on a GM Turn) vs proactive and mission/story independent (actions that can be taken on a Player Turn).

Send them on a mission that requires gear – rope, skis, lanterns. Tell them there’s no time to go shopping. Must be done NOW. Don’t let them build or buy anything.

Next player’s turn, they’ll have plenty of motivation to spend those checks!

Cool, thanks!

I think I have enough pointers for now :slight_smile: