Challenging Beliefs

Some of my players have some beliefs that I’ve found some difficulty really challenging in a meaningful way. I’d love to hear what you all think.

Patrol Leader Ivy
An open mind and an open heart are more important than a sword and shield.

This one I actually don’t have much trouble with; I just throw irredeemable villains at her and situations that she can’t solve with anything but violence.

Patrol Guard Wilric
Hunt the hunters.

If anything, this one has proven too easy; he keeps getting the limelight because I find it so easy to push his belief. Or should I just use that to encourage the others to give me better beliefs? Anyway, I most recently put him in a position where he had to kill a beaver, orphaning a bunch of new-born kits. I’ve even got some long-term ideas that’ll really take him for a spin on this one.

Guardmouse Reinhard
Never leave a mouse behind.

I guess the obvious answer here means finding more dilemmas that would force him to leave mice behind? I don’t know, it seems like I need to find something meatier than just that.

Tenderpaw Moss
The most interesting thing you will ever see is always just down the road.

This one I really have trouble with. Do I try to tempt him with a nice, warm home and a girlfriend?

So, I have one player with a really strong belief, but I fear that he’s got one so strong that it overshadows everyone else. Any suggestions?

Is there any tension between Ivy and Wilric’s beliefs that might be poked at?

For Reinhard’s belief think in terms of mice taken captive, missing, lost in the wilderness and presumed dead. Mice in danger and in need of rescue, hopefully at the exact same moment that Wilric is trying to get them to hunt hunteds.

Moss’ belief is not very useful. I would ask the player what they want out of it and if they can’t clarify how its going to drive their mouse in play, politely suggest that they change it.

If the player has made no move to change the belief, its likely you are on the right track then. The only thing that jumps to mind is to use a relationship on the character sheet as the next irredeemable villain; Really hook that conflict of interests into the character.

A possibility is that he could raise the ire of some predator - the predator then follows him back to a town, and starts to devastate it. The aim being to challenge his assumption that the best thing to do is to eradicate all the pests. I’d make it fairly clear that its the same beasty - perhaps via scars or markings?

This reads more like an instinct to me. Its a condition and action, rather than a drive or motiviation.

That is a tricky one. I would be a little worried that its a ‘roach’ belief – the character scuttles out of the spotlight – but i think a more experienced player would need to back that up.

The first thing that springs to mind here is to push Ivy and Wilric into conflict. Wilric’s instance on killing is already at odds with Ivy’s open mind before violence. How about if you set up situations where wilric gets the rest of the mice in trouble. Threaten Ivy’s goal, Moss’s (hypothetical) Girlfriend, and perhaps make Reinhard have to get all together to close to a pack of wolves to rescue an endangered mouse. This sort of thing would make for great 2nd or 3rd missions in a continuing arc.

Hope that helps!

I second the idea to have Moss’s belief clarified – what does the player want out this?

I also second the idea of having beliefs intersect. What if a weasel or a mouse kidnapped another mouse, but left it in a cellar threatening to overflow while itself fleeing? Do you “hunt the hunter” or do you “leave no mouse behind”? Can you sacrifice mice for the greater good, as maybe an “open mind” would suggest, or can’t you?

I love the Never Leave a Mouse Behind belief.

Put lone mice in perilous situations in which the good of the many is balanced against the life of that lone mouse.

Evacuating a city, the guardmouse must risk himself to gather stragglers.
Fording a stream, a mouse gets washed away.
Completing a mission, another mouse makes a stand that he must go off in a separate direction alone.

That belief is rife with challenge!

I think that last belief would make a better instinct;
“Never settle down”
“Always keep going”
“I have to find the end of every road.”
It’s more of a driving force behind the character, not a moral compass. The only decision it affects is wether or not to keep being in the Mouse Guard. I remember reading that you never want to have a belief that is essentially “Be in the Mouse Guard.” It’s too static.

Potentially. To date, Ivy’s player has folded a bit too quickly to really find out.

That worked out well. She plays a Traveler (think mouse gypsies), and she made her enemy her brother, Hemlock. Everybody assumes Travelers steal and lie, so some guardmice took his eye when he wouldn’t return some merchandise (that he didn’t steal). So, he started up a roving gang to protect Travelers from the Mouse Guard. He considers his sister a traitor to their people.

Well, they captured Hemlock, and Wilric set about torturing him for information. Ivy eventually stepped in; I thought she might play up her belief on the Players’ Turn by setting an argument conflict to convince her brother, but she went off on a totally different direction. I don’t know if she got that she could do something like that, so I’ve explained that to her since.

I’ve got something even nastier in store. Seems that the real-world decline in large predators has increased the population of smaller predators. So, where you had a pack of wolves, today you might have a dozen coyotes. This puts more pressure on smaller animals, like mice. Wolves don’t bother with mice too often, but coyotes do. This has turned into a significant ecological problem in the real world. In the game, I have a few ideas to highlight how Wilric’s successful hunt has just made things worse.

Ooh, so wicked. I like.

Good ideas! Thanks!

Can you drag this out when the mice want to rest?

This sounds like a really good option to me.

Hi Carpe,

Welcome to the BW forums.
Please don’t necro threads.