"Extended" fight conflicts against predators?

When first reading over the rules, I noticed that when it came to killing creatures two or above the food chain from mice, the appropriate skills needed were either Scientist or Militarist, for outwitting or outnumbering the predator… which makes sense, a very logical take on warring with the great terrible predators around these embattled mice. But then of course, the comic takes a different turn, and Liaem ruins everything by taking down a GREAT HORNED OWL with the help of poor Celanwe. It takes three or four issues, and it is totally epic, and now I’m wondering: Who wouldn’t want to recreate a scene like that?

I’ve been thinking of playing about with the fight conflicts to that end, adjusting them for deadly predators so the idea of going “Shadow of the Colossus” on a nasty predator can actually happen, and more NPCs can complain about “the balance of nature going awry” with all these uppity mice taking down these dominant creatures. Has anyone given this any thought? I was thinking of making battles go in certain “rounds” - where conditions are imposed on the mice, and one on the predator (tired or injured… or maybe hungry/thirsty since they’re pissed off about not getting food!) and if the mice REALLY want to take down this nasty, they can choose to go a second round with the predator, repeating for every food chain “category” at 2 and above.

As an example, Liaem and Celanwe would go “round 1” with the Barking Owl, and their disp is so low that the owl rips Celanwe apart. Liaem can choose to run and hide or save Celanwe, or keep attacking, so he goes another round and manages to kill the owl!

In summary: An extended conflict would entail an extra fight per “chain”, so an owl would require two fights to bring down, and a raccoon would need three, with compromises imposed on PCs for every individual round. Is this a sound idea, does it need tweaking, or should it be scrapped?

Wow. That’s actually a fairly clever idea, I think. It needs a little more tinkering. I mean, what if the owl wins the first conflict? Do the PCs need to win two more to kill it?


It really depends on the owl’s goal in the conflict - after all, if its goal in the first round was as Celanwe translated, “This ends in death,” then the poor mice PCs are up a certain creek without an oar… or in a certain owl’s gullet, in this case. But since fighting a predator to the death is a very risky, very outweighed fight, I think that a predator that wins a conflict successfully fends off its poor unmouse-like prey, and no further attempts on his life can be undertaken. The PCs are lucky to escape with their lives if that becomes the case!

EDIT: That said, I just had another thought: If the mice undergo the final round needed to kill the predator, the predator would now be defending its life against the nasty PCs and trying to get away! Fight would turn to flight, seeing as only the stupidest animals stay when they’re bleeding and outnumbered by tiny warriors with pointy objects.

I like your idea, i’d just like to point out that the comics dont really follow the rules of the game, but even if it did, Lieam was able to kill the owl because he wielded the Black Axe, the only thing that comes close to being a “magical item” in the mouse guard setting.

the problem with fighting predators to the death is that conflicts have compromises which means at each Round PCs would die. I’d suggest that this type of extended conflict would make the “defeated pcs” be considered “unconcious and dying” until the final conflict, at which point if the predator is defeated or flee they can be revived by health/healer tests to become merely Injured. If the predator wins or the remaining mice flee, the ones left behind will most surely perish.

The big problem is that you’d completely neuter Militarist and a part of Scientist. Aspects of those skills exist specifically to deal with situations of massive predators. I like the thematic concept behind what you’re saying, but I think you’d be losing out by allowing the mice to fight anything they wanted. Part of the fun in dealing with large predators is knowing that you need a completely different approach in your thinking and execution.

Overall i agree with Rafe, part of the Coolest thing about mouse guard is that we know how ridiculous it is to imagine a bunch of mice, even with swords, taking down some of the most deadly predators in nature. Owls have such huge and sharp claws for example, if they get to touch a mouse the poor creature will be nearly sliced in half.

Mouse Guard isnt meant to be like something like D&D where a bunch of pea sized humanoids can take down giant godzilla sized monsters on a regular basis, it is about showing the players that fighting is a last resort option, especially a fight to the death because it involves serious risks to Both sides. This makes players a lot more inventive, creative and pro-active infinding ways to get what they want with the least amount of risk. Running is nothing to be ashamed of, it is usuallly the best option.

But, if fighting Big Bad Mofos is what you want to do in your game, have at it… especially because winning a conflict with a predator is a hard thing to pull off, winning several conflicts with progressive compromises being made, would be insane to even try and heavily dependant on luck, persona points and fate points, the risk of death should always be present even on a hard-earned victory.

I have another suggestion even, to further enhance the realism of such battles

a) When PCs become “unconscious and dying” they must make ob 3 health tests at the end of each conflict to remain stable, or a healer player must spend 2 checks to make an ob4 test to stabilize their condition and prevent any “death checks”. Also, the dying player may choose to spend 1 Fate point to stabilize automatically after failing a test.

b) When the predator loses a conflict it suffers a condition related to its position in the food chain.

Position +2 (Owl): Conflict (1): Injured > (2): Dead
Position +3 (Fox): Conflict (1): Tired > (2): Injured > (3): Dead
Position +4 (Coyotte): Conflict (1): Angry > (2): Tired > (3): Injured > (4) Dead
Position +5 (Wolf): Impossible (don’t even try)

If you want to go with a ‘shadow of the colossus’ route, it seems to me the basic ingredients are already there. I mean, the players would need to describe precisely how they plan to get the predator into a position where they can ‘hop aboard’, and make that the goal of one conflict or a series of linked tests, then describe how they’d scramble to a point where the predator could be killed with a single blow from mouse-sized weaponry, and make that the goal of ensuing conflicts or tests.

Even under the best of circumstances it’s only going to work for certain predators- there’s simply no plausible way for a handful of mice to dispatch, say, a black bear- and Militarist and Loremouse would still be a lot more efficient.

I don’t like this.

If you want to kill a big beast, you must win every conflict to climb the food chain, win every single one of then. The first you lose, you’re finished (dead). Better to try to scare the beast. :slight_smile:

I’m pretty sure that the rules as written work pretty well for this kind of thing. I think that Mouse Guard’s “military/science” approach for fighting large creatures kind of follows the model of the Battle of Endor (ewoks vs. AT-STs) in Star Wars. There’s no way such small creatures could directly (with bows & arrows, claws and other personal-scale weapons) take on such an overwhelming force. However, with some clever strategy and tactics (Militarist) and proper design and employment of large-scale traps (Scientist), tiny furry creatures were able to defeat much larger, incredibly deadly opponents. When run in Mouse Guard as a Conflict, I think that a military conflict could be just as exciting, if not more so, than the more direct small scale battles you’re probably used to seeing in most RPGs. And, unlike most RPGs, you can actually “scale up” the standard combat system to handle large- or even epic-scale Conflicts with very few changes.

This is exactly what happens if a conflict is failed. Everyone dies. Im just saying that even if the players Win the first conflicts some of them will go down, its inevitable. But if the ones remaining manage to win the final conflict and kill the predator, there will be a chance to save those who fell during the previous conflicts.

This is exactly what happens if a conflict is failed. Everyone dies. Im just saying that even if the players Win the first conflicts some of them will go down, its inevitable. But if the ones remaining manage to win the final conflict and kill the predator, there will be a chance to save those who fell during the previous conflicts.

In one of my MG games, a fox wandered into our campsite. We couldn’t get away, we had to fight. We didn’t kill it, but we defeated it. What we did was because none of our mice had enough scientist to trap it, we jumped down from the tree we scurried up and landed on it’s back. We used rope to trip it up and other things like grapling hooks and well-placed spears to the eyes and nether regions to disable it. We managed to escape after it was blinded, ensnared and on it’s face in the fire. Creative solutions are what this is about. We disabled a large beast without the rules in the game. We used hunter, wises, traits and fighter to slowly weaken it enough our GM decided it was disabled. It took a lot of tests, but it was SO. FUN. It was an “other” kind of conflict because we weren’t “fighting” the fox because we couldn’t. We got creative and it kept us alive. Why do you need to kill something when you can maim it? If you have a fairly “loose” GM, that’s one way to have epic scenes.