Help, Teamwork, and here comes the Cavalry

Hi All

Sorry if this is a bit of a noob question but I’m still trying to get my head around the rules before our first game this weekend.

Am I right in thinking that if for example you had a team of two in a conflict the base score is taken from the mouse who initiates the conflict and all the other mouse adds (excluding armour and other factors) is a single dice for helping.

So if Saxon and Kenzie were fighting a snake as a team, and Saxon began the conflict. Saxon’s player would role 6 dice for his level 6 fighter skill and add the successes to his Health of 4 to give a base disposition. Plus they’d roll one more dice for Kenzie helping.

Is that correct?

Now if Lieam arrived on the seen after say two full turns but the fight with the snake was still going on. Could he join Saxon’s and Lieam"s team boosting their disposition by rolling another dice or would he have to fight the snake as a separate team? The section on page 114 Multiple teams, multiple actions suggests multiple teams with the same goal working against a single target should use the teamwork rules. Which would appear to have the same effect as joining an existing team mid-conflict.

And taking this to extremes if you eventually had three teams of three mice arriving to fight the snake (all with the same aim), would you do this as three separate conflicts or would you again work out Saxon’s base disposition and then add to this the results of rolling 8 more dice for the mice helping out?

I’d have Lieam sit out for the conflict, as per the rules on page 101.

But he would have an interest in helping his friends defeat the snake, why would you want him to sit it out?

Because he wasn’t present when the conflict was initiated. I definitely wouldn’t have him add to disposition. Either he brings useful skills when he enters the conflict, in which case he can Defend and raise the team’s disposition or whatever else he is inclined to do, or he has to miss out.

Remember, he’s not bound by the outcome of the conflict, either, so sitting out isn’t entirely negative.

Sounds right to me. I’m a bit anal-rententive, so I’d have Kenzie declare that he really is on Saxon’s team and all 7 dice are rolled together.

Now if Lieam arrived on the seen after say two full turns but the fight with the snake was still going on.

Whoa… wait. I don’t think there’s any way that you’d be conducting a conflict mechanism while waiting for other events with Lieam to resolve. You’d have resolved whatever delays Lieam had before you turned to the rest of the players who are already in the “main” room.

Which means that you, as GM, would already know if Lieam will eventually be in the conflict. If there were multiple teams involved, you’d have Lieam pre-assigned to be a member of one of them … if he wants to be involved.

Case in point: Fall 1152. That big fight scene in Gwendolyn’s room was technically just Midnight’s team vs Gwendolyn, BlackAxe, Kenzie, and Saxon. It took a few comic book panels before Lieam entered the room.

In this case, I would have allowed Lieam to add his help die at the beginning of the conflict as part of the initial disposition.

And depending on the “delay”, Lieam would be restricted from performing one of the volley actions until the “round he arrives”

I disagree. An absent guardmouse should not be adding disposition to a conflict he’s not in. That’s a really slippery slope (and unfair to the participants of the conflict, really).

So I side with wanderer with his “late-comers” interpretation; i.e., the late-comer can help out with actions or sits out but cannot contribute to the disposition roll (and, thus, also isn’t held to the stakes of the outcome).

Now I haven’t played the game in anger, so it’s hard for me to see how these rules work in play.

But the way things seem to me as long as the new player accepts the consequences of joining the team I don’t see why he shouldn’t? To me it seems logical the a team’s disposition could be boosted by reinforcements arriving. It seem much easier to do this than begin a second separate conflict between the snake and the late arrivers.

On a separate point +1D for each additional team member regardless of skill seems a bit mean. You could be an inexperienced tenderfoot who’s team mate is a level 6 fighter and for his help you get the same benefit as wearing armour or carrying a shield.


How does Liam arrive on the scene after the conflict is initiated?

It seems to me, in the case that this might happen, you would best have Liam make up his own team for the conflict.

Interesting idea, Patrick.

Stilton, I think you’re not looking at the framing of scenes in Mouse Guard the right way. Not contributing to the disposition roll means that, for whatever reason, the character is out of this conflict.

Lieam does not participate in the conflict.
There’s really no way for a character to wander into a conflict in progress. Either he’s in the scene or he’s not.

If he’s in the scene, he participates a team member. If, in the narrative, Lieam’s rushing in to help, then just give him the third action for the exchange.

If he’s not in the scene, then Lieam’s player is, of course, a good player and sits and cheers his friends on while they have the spotlight.


Thanks I’m happy with that, and just to let you know we had our first game last night and it went really well, so much so it looks like our Mouse Guard party could be going from two to five next week! Which is great, the only problem is the one area of the rules that I’m still a little unsure about is multiple teams conflicts. Which with five players next week I might have the odd one.

So if you’ll bare with me using the milk snake example again if I’ve got three mice on team A and two mice on team B and they’re both working together to kill the snake.

Am I right in thinking if a mouse on team A initiated the conflict it’s his health and fighting skill that is used to generate the base disposition? On top of this he receives +2D from his two team mates? And +2D to the disposition from the two mice helping on team B? And after that the fight is down team A’s stats and choices. Team B be just sit on the sidelines.



I encourage you to reread page 114 Multiple Teams, Multiple Actions again.


Some clarifications per my understanding:

  1. Each team has its own Disposition (p103): So Team A would generate its own Disposition based on the initiating mouse with 2 potential help dice. And Team B would generate its own separate Disposition with 1 potential help.

Note that I’m not actually sure who does the Disposition roll for team B, though my guess would be the first person to say something in character after the mouse who iniated the conflict (“We attack the weasels”=Team A roller, “Yeah, it will be a slaughter”=Team B roller, “That’s the spirit”+“No, our slaughter”=Players who get dice thrown at them for movie quoting). If nobody blurts something out I would assume senior mouse for team B gets the honor.

  1. Each team chooses targets and actions seperately (p114) and maps them against the enemy team actions seperately. As Luke is indicating, the book actually is really clear on when one teams action is reduced to a help die (and this is a single help die, even if three mice are on the team helping) and when you roll individually for each team. If you do end up helping, only the team actually rolling should theoretically suffer the disposition damage (since the other is just helping) so you can spread the damage around a bit this way, which is cool. If the tests end up being made seperately since they are different result types, you have the potential to dish out some terrifying damage, which is also cool. Double-teaming rocks. Don’t be on the recieving end if you can help it…

  2. Theoretically each team could have a different level of compromise depending on how much Disposition damage they individually sustained. One team could have taken the brunt of the blow and suffer a major compromise, while the other could have been left relatively unscathed. Arranging this can be a pretty entertaining tactical and role play element for the players in itself. Spread the pain so everybody is just a little messed up? Concentrate it so you still have some fresh bodies to head up the next meat-grinder? Do the grizzled old souls sacrifice themselves, or do the young-ones get used as cannon fodder to protect the elite ancients?

p.s. If your game went so well that the player count is multiplying, consider posting a summary in the Game+Life section in the main forum. Examples of play help everybody.

Thank Serpine that’s much clearer and as you’ve requested it I’ve written up our first session.