Complex Tests

How do these work?

If I have a Pathfinder Ob3, Survivalist Ob2, and Travel-Wise Ob3 and my players roll for all three, do I give out twists/conditions for each failed roll or if they fail all of them, or fail two of them?

Single Checks and Conflicts make sense, complex checks don’t.

d :smiley:

Depends on the fiction?

Do the tests depend on each other? What’s the player’s intent?

The rolls in a Complex Tests tie together in some way. The final test determines success/failure of the whole endeavour. You do not apply a condition or use a twist per test because the various tests only affect the penultimate test.

Think of Complex Tests as being more involved regular tests. Instead of helping, however, the mice wishing to contribute are rolling something themselves to aid the process (and not simply handing over a help die). It’s up to you and the players when situations arise that call for Complex Tests. Some of the best instances are for over-time activities (sailing a boat from X to Y over the course of a few days, for instance). One person finds materials to build the boat and paddles (Survivalist). Another builds the boat (Boatcrafter). The final test that those two tests feed into is for the person rolling to keep the boat from going out into rougher waters, following currents and such (Pathfinder); ie, the pilot.

That’s just one example. It’s totally up to the group’s tastes as to whether Complex Tests are even used at all! If you aren’t comfortable with them, don’t use 'em. I find they add a nice middle ground between one roll and an extended conflict.

Hey man,

They’re actually called Complex Hazards and Simple Hazards. I don’t point that out to be pedantic but because the distinction is actually pretty important.

When you plan a Mouse Guard session, you pick two of four Hazards: Mice, Animals, Wilderness and Weather.

A simple hazard contains a single Obstacle, plus any additional Obstacles that result from Twists.

A complex hazard contains multiple Obstacles, plus any additional Obstacles that result from Twists.

Here’s an example:

I recently ran a game of Mouse Guard. The previous session had ended with a cliff-hanger in the Player’s Turn. A failed Circles test had led to the Moss Lord of Elmoss sending some of his soldiers to kick down the door of the house in which the patrol was staying and drag them off in the middle of the night. The next session would start in the Moss Lord’s dungeons (I titled it In the Dungeon of the Moss Lord). The patrol’s mission was to escape imprisonment and return to Lockhaven with their intelligence.

For this session, I chose Mice and Wilderness as my Hazards.

I decided the Mice portion would be a Complex Hazard. Here’s how it broke down:

[li]Interrogation by the Moss Lord. Essentially they’d have to withstand torture. This was an Ob 4 Health test to withstand the Moss Lord’s enhanced interrogation. Success meant the characters wouldn’t give him anything useful. Anyone who failed would succeed in holding out, but would gain the Injured condition. Afterward, the characters would be taken to a cell where they were to be held until they were sold to Weasel slavers.[/li][li]Breaking out of their cell. This was an Ob 5 Nature test (using the Escape descriptor). Success would get the characters out of their cell and free to roam the underground dungeon. Failure would lead to a Fight conflict with the guards (a Twist).[/li][li]Dealing with a flame trap on their way out of the dungeon. This was an Ob 3 Science test. Success would get them safely past the trap and out of the dungeon. Failure would result in a Twist: A raging fire that would race through the dungeons (killing the prisoners if not stopped) and possibly spreading into the rest of Elmoss.[/li][/ol]
I had some other Twists in reserve as well, in case there were additional failed tests, including a wedding party on the grounds of the Moss Lord’s palace.
The second hazard was a Simple Wilderness Hazard: a difficult journey back to Lockhaven on roads washed out by early spring rains. Flash floods and a hunting kestrel were the Twists I had on deck.

Does that make sense?

What? That doesn’t sound right at all. Are you talking about Complex Obstacles, p. 92? Because that’s where one obstacle (mice, weather, etc.) is represented by multiple tests, and each test acts like any other test, subject to a twist or condition upon failure.

Edit: Ninja’d by Thor. That’s what I get for walking away mid-post.

Edit edit: They’re called Hazards, now, Thor? Because that word doesn’t appear in the book I have.


Doh! If you look at page 60, under Designing a Mission, we refer to them as Hazards. We clearly failed to maintain that terminology through the rest of the book.

Hmmm… Maybe I’m getting my wires crossed with BW Linked Tests, but I thought the exact same mechanic applied in MG. I’m trusting Thor and Odie, though. Sorry, damiller, for any confusion I might have caused!