I finally was able to make time and run a Mouse Guard starting campaign, and of course now I have a million questions for the more experienced BW/MG folks.
After a session of play, I notice two learning hurdles coming from a D20 environment. The most difficult for me as GM is getting used to the pacing (GM’s turn, player’s turn, most importantly, as a GM, when to allow rolls). That’s the easy one! The other is getting the players to realize how incumbent it is on them to play their character for and against their goals, reaping benefits in the player’s turn (and finding MG satisfying).
Most of my confusion comes from my cloudy understanding of the GM mechanics. I suppose I will note how the session went, and maybe some of the old salts will be able to give some advice on how to run a better game.
Spoiler alert, the below text refers to one of the sample adventures included in the box set.
I ran the weasel/scent border adventure included in the box set. It puts you right in the action, with the party either receiving a letter from or meeting with the matriarch and heading right to the scent border, and attempting a re-pour or scrapping with some weasels.
Here’s how it went: the patrol spoke with Celanwe, RP went well, then I narrated their journey (no rolls) and put them at the camp, at which time the lone mouse (forget the name) burst from the bushes and started the action. The party decided to hunt down the weasels which starts the action. Combat went well, and then the party tracked down the weasels to rescue the other captured guardmice, this was a conflict, resolved positively, then the scent border was repoured, they made some assisting rolls (cartography, etc to assist since none of them had science GAH!), same. and then we moved into the players’ turn.
My main question is, how many rolls do the players usually get in the GMs turn? The adventure suggests dropping them right into the action with no rolls, then there’s a conflict. How many rolls do you let the players take? For example, one player wanted to work on some maps headed back to Lockhaven, do you just let them roll as much as they want, to test out however many skills?
Should a MG enter the player’s turn with the max amount of opportunities to challenge their beliefs, goals and instincts, or should I be giving them 3-4 non-conflict ancillary rolls on the turn?
I have listened to the few MG AP podcasts I could find, and I don’t quite seem to think they follow RAW, so I suppose what would be helpful from some seasoned MG GMs is a quick rundown of how many rolls you actually allow on on the GM’s turn.
The second problem, how to make the players understand how important it is to try and challenge yourself, does this come with time? Do some players just never get it? Or do you sit down and tell them before the second session “remember how you only got to do two things last time on your turn? here’s how to fix that”.
I understand I should be throwing challenging situations at the PCs that inspire that sort of behavior, but they didn’t take the bait some of the time. I would LOVE to hear how some of you seasoned GMs positively inspired your players to help create the rich potential experience that BW/MG offers.
I will say at the end of all this, the players and I had a wonderful experience and we are all eager to play again, and once I understand the rules a little better I am going to be running open sessions at my FLGS.
Thanks for any help, and thanks to Luke and Dave for creating such an awesome experience.