B: What is this saying about the self, Guard, other mice? It’s not a bad maxim for life, and rather optimistic, but a Belief needs to say something about the self at minimum, and maybe should speak about the Guard service or duties. Here’s a potential revision: A Guard must support settlement mice finding and working a solution for problems. See, this is fairly easy to play into, gives some room for playing against, and gives something of an ethical statement to encourage fellow patrol mates. I think it keeps the optimism without making this PC a slave to settlement mice or a constant perfectionist.
I: That’s too vague. And it slows play. The Guard need to be active–both proactive and reactive–in the face of heartbeat decision points. Also, an Instinct is best when there is a trigger that both GM and fellow players can set up the scene. Here’s a potential revision: In the face of new insects, I must pause to assess. This directs the Instinct toward a specific scene: catching sight of a new insect (not always ‘never-before-seen,’ but at least ‘not-currently-in-my-collection’); it creates a trigger the GM can use, but doesn’t slow play at each decision point. This allows the player to lean into the Instinct for a unique talent of Insectrist, and doesn’t anticipate the player stopping action or drama every time things seem confusing or chaotic.
G: Certainly an excellent choice for one session, but this clearly cannot be a recurring Goal. At each mission assignment, the players should write a new Goal. If this player wants to collect insects at every mission, that’s not terrible, but it will call on you as GM to support–sometimes this includes insects in the mission design, but also figuring how to include in Player Turn opportunities.
Belief- What others don’t know won’t hurt them
Instinct- Look at all angles
Goal- Sell a phony map to someone
B: Hmmm, this seems kinda negative, and lacks backbone, yet it isn’t all that bad. It kinda speaks to the self and to other mice. Here are some topics to hammer on this Belief: unknown illness, safety risks, dishonesty, disloyalty, bad habits vs good habits, poisons or toxins, predators, meaning of life/death, symbols of dreams. In fact there are loads of ways to both challenge the Belief and to support the Belief. Despite all that, the player needs to show this as an active Belief that impacts behavior, and I think that’s where a problem may lie. If the mouse opines that choosing dishonesty isn’t unethical, and never plays against that opinion, I’d say the Belief is failing. If they accept the influence of mission/session obstacles and twists, there is a good chance they will see when it is vitally important that other mice have the info that will keep them safe from harm. I’d suggest a slight revision, then watch if it grows from time-to-time: I don’t think ignorance is harmful. That draws it first to the self, and allows it easily to extend to others; it holds the potential for many ways of hammering by the GM, and possibly patrol mates would be threatened by it at times.
I: This is a bit like the Insectrist, and similarly too vague, slows play, and seems meaningless. Remember: action and drama–both proactive and reactive decisions–which fellows and GM could trigger. Here’s a potential revision: When I see a haphazard trail, I have to look at all angles. This isn’t strong, but it helps to direct the Instinct to specific scenes that the GM or other players can point out, such as, “Strange, this trail lies far from a water source. During the trekking your patrol has been making daily side-treks to get water multiple times each day.” That’s a small scene, and might not require action, but it could easily trigger the Instinct by inviting the cartographer into learning who made the trail, why is it far from water, can this trail be altered, are other good trail attributes lost if it is re-cut elsewhere? And, those can be designed into the obstacles or twists just as easily as left for a Player Turn Check. Of course, if you as GM present haphazard trails, yet the player fails to act, they are missing the opportunity, so you shouldn’t feel badly about that.
G: Maybe alright for one mission, although it could be greatly improved, clearly this must change for each mission. Here’s a potential revision which hopefully gives a principle: I’ll make a phony map to sell to a local thug which will lead to danger, failure, and ruin. Here’s my principle concern: a Goal should have a target (someone is a very weak target), an action (sell or make are both viable actions, but one must have the map before attempting to sell, thus two tests are implied in the suggested Goal), and includes conditions (just selling a phony map means very little; ensuring the map leads to danger, failure, or ruin requires effort). As I mentioned earlier, going about making and selling counterfeit maps is fine if directed toward the troublemakers, ne’er-do-wells, and tyrants of the settlements, so require this player to use his talent and mischief against those members of society rather than society at large.
Belief- The ends justify the means
Instinct- Talk my way out of any situation
B: What a boring cliche is this? Seriously, that’s got to grow or change right away. Keep in mind, a Belief speaks to purpose of self. Tell this player to think deeply about what experience in Guard service distinctly illustrated that the life of Guard service became the identity of this PC mouse. That’s what you write a Belief about! Fine if the invented past experience develops into a scene of ends justifying means, that’s really fine, but the Belief needs to be written from a perspective of self and Guard self. Here’s a potential revision: As a Guard, I must weigh the ends and the means of my decisions. That’s strong! That’s strong; because, it requires the PC mouse to consider choices–often choices made in heartbeat quickness–against the impact on self, Guard, and settlement mice. This allows the fellow patrol mates to make decisions which run contrary, without requiring this PC mouse to intervene. However, it still encourages this PC mouse to interject at times. In addition, this is a Belief that canbe played against in fast-paced decisions or really big heroics, such as, “I don’t have time to weigh the outcomes; this has to be done and right now!” Those moments can redefine the Belief or be fleeting glimpses of a decisive leader. Cliche is a killer of Beliefs and the core of Beliefs–strange thing.
I: Vague, but on a good path toward a good Instinct. Here’s a potential revision: I always try to negotiate. Even that is a little weak, but I don’t want to be heavy-handed. It is directed as a negotiation which relates to ‘talk my way out.’ This restrains the Instinct to scenes of drama rather than any/every situation.
G: Goals are written at the mission assignment, and at least one PC mouse should write specifically about the mission. So, it is more typical to have a Goal that is specific to a mission when posted in the threads. Just sayin’, it’s fine that you haven’t got something here right now.
Belief- No Judgement in healing
Instinct- Always offer Help
B: Fair, but needs a bit sharper teeth before it is put into play; otherwise, this will be too easy for a GM to stomp very hard. It could leave a player feeling insulted. I do like the notion that a physician or therapist has a sense of non-judgement; that’s a good positive outlook, yet may lead to complacency or complicit evil. Here’s a potential revision: As a physician I offer my talent to the downtrodden and sufferers only to heal rather than to judge. This hopefully stays true to the spirit, but places a bit of defense against GM-stomping-grounds. This revision directs itself toward those who suffer or are downtrodden–thus relinquishing accountability for the rich, liars, or freeloaders–and includes the non-judgement in favor of healing. In the revision, I include the condition, “only” to protect a player from feeling accountable for the causes of suffering, such as domestic violence, failed self-defense, personal foibles, etc. In contrast, this conditional allows the player to more selectively play against the Belief either by making judgments or by choosing to decline service for another reason, such as not having optimism about actually providing relief.
I: Slightly vague, but not weak. It’s a strong Instinct that needs a direction to generate a trigger. Here’s a potential revision: When I see mice suffering, I always offer help. This also support the spirit of the Belief without too much overlap–a little overlap. That sense of direction will create a better trigger; it exists in a conditional if / then sort of logic.
G: As mentioned, the Goal is written at the mission assignment.
Edit: I don’t like to see always or never in BIGs; that’s problematic and grandiose. In the case of Belief, there is a reward to play into and a reward to play against, but not a reward to playing the same again and again and again–in other words, the always or never is useless or overbearing. In the case of Instinct, there is a reward for playing up, but not a reward for ignoring, nor multiple rewards for playing it up again and again and again–similarly the always or never is useless or overbearing. Sometimes using the superlative is fitting, but I think it can be removed or diminished for better results.