Lost Flee Conflict aftermath

In our last TB session the party was assaulted by giant bats in a small room with 3 exits: the tunnel we came in through, another tunnel in the floor, and the door we had just knocked down which startled the bats. From the GM’s description the bats were nasty and agitated so we decided to run for it. The GM told us the goal of the bats was to hurt us and drive us out of the room (more on this later). We were thoroughly beaten in the ensuing Flee Conflict and earned only the smallest of compromises. The GM said we fled, but we could not go through the door (at least my character’s desired direction) and we were given the Injured and Angry conditions. I’m still not quite clear what our compromise got us. After some grumbling on the player’s part (myself included) we took our lumps and continued with a very entertaining session. However, discussing the Conflict afterwards, we have run into some disagreement about how it should have been resolved.

By my understanding of the rules:

  1. Monsters should not have Conflict goals. Only the party has a Conflict goal. I think this he been cleared up now after some discussion. There has been some confusion since several of us have been reading Mouse Guard 2e. However, to reiterate, if I (as a player) engage, for example, a creature in a Capture Conflict, it has no other goal/intent/motivation/etc. apart from “don’t get captured”. The creature may have an Instinct or other motivations in its description, such as “always steal every bit of gold I can get my grubby claws on”; however that doesn’t change the nature of the Conflict. With the same example, if I Lose the Capture Conflict, the creature escapes (or another suitable resolution of the GMs choosing) but it doesn’t mean it gets to escape AND rob me blind, right?

  2. p. 73, Losing a Conflict; You do not accomplish your goal as stated. I interpret this to mean that we could not have fled as a result of losing. The bats could have cut off any escape route, however, the GM wanted to do something enterprising (a la p. 72, Enterprising GMs should feel free to add to this list (list of Suggested Conflict Compromises). Nonetheless, since there was no compromise my understanding is that we could not have fled. Does adding to the list include inflicting a condition or even more than one, on top of the party not achieving their goal? Other prominent members of the TB community have said that Twists and Conditions are in the GMs toolbox when the GM wins a conflict. To me that says that the GM can do anything they like without limitations by winning a Conflict. Interestingly, the GM wins column on p.73 does not list a single Condition. Is a GM able to dole out conditions and a twist as a result of winning?

I would appreciate some clarification on this. Thanks!

Am I being too strict with the way I am reading the book? I also GM and I want to ensure that a) I am not too harsh on my players, meaning I want their own decisions to kill them rather than me piling on negative consequences more than I ought to be; and b) I am not restricting my options unnecessarily as a GM.


The bats don’t have a conflict goal. The GM determines the type of conflict based on how the party’s’ behavior interacts with the bats’ actions. So, the bats assault the party. The party decides to run, that’s a flee conflict. If the party tried to fight, the GM should probably determine if they’re trying to kill or drive off.

The GM has a lot of leeway in resolving conflicts, but since it was a flee conflict, I say you should not have been able to flee (at least not in the way you wanted), but should have gotten some other compromise. The rule states you do not achieve your intent. I might have considered allowing you to kill one of the bats, or maybe allowing you to flee the bats but getting lost further down the dungeon (a complete route probably not being what the party was trying to achieve).

The one caveat is that the game generally allows success with a condition in place of failure, so perhaps it’s in keeping with the general spirit of the rules to make it available to GMs in conflicts as well. But, then failure with a compromise is indistinguishable from success with a compromise.

It’s hard to judge at a distance. I can tell you that if it were me, I would have had the bats cut off your escape and then begin swarming you, forcing you into either killing them or driving them off, since flight is no longer an option. The minor compromise would have been allowing you to spot a bit of treasure hidden in the cave, a hole in the ceiling the bats are using to get in and out, or maybe just saddling one of them with a condition.

Generally, conditions are only given to the party as part of a compromise when they win conflicts (barring kill conflicts, in which losing results in the Dead condition for some or all of the losers).

Part of what raised this issue, I think, is not only that the GM stated a goal for the bats but that it really wasn’t in conflict with your goals. If the bats’ main wish was to drive you from the room and your goal was to flee, there’s not really a lot of opposition going on; personally, I would just have let you flee without going into a conflict.

Now, if the bats main wish was to feast on your plump bodies, they would want to keep you in the room (or at least from getting away from them); now there’s a real conflict and a reason to roll dice.

Good point. Monsters don’t get goals.