I’m preparing for my first Mouse Guard game (I’ll be GMing) and want to get things straight in my head first. Something I’m struggling with is how to handle the making of supplies to aid with a test in the players’ turn.
So to set an example, part of the Weaver skill reads:
A weaver can manufacture fabric and create
cloaks, aprons, blankets, sheets and tapestries.
The products of a weaver can be used as supplies
to recover from Tired conditions gained from
being cold and/or wet.
Weavers can take fur from hunters, fibers from
harvesters or silk from insectrists. Dyes come
from stonemasons, scientists or insectrists.
So if my player wants to spend a check to recover from Tired but doesn’t have any supplies already on them to add a die to this roll, they may want to use a weaver to try to make some blankets or something. Am I reading everything right in that the weaver would have to pass a test to make this stuff? And, if I am, can the two rolls be bought using one check (like some sort of complex obstacle) or would the player have to use one check for the weaving and one for the recovery test?
(In fact in this case, the question extends a further level with the weaver being able to get supplies for their test from a hunter, harvester etc, but I think the same logic will apply as above)
Welcome! First thing is that it’s good to have another GM getting a start.
So, I’ve marked notation beside the points I’m planning to address:
(A) Good for the player looking to be creative about the story of recovering; that’s always a positive contribution. I very rarely allow for supplies to give a +1 for Recovery tests, but I certainly have done it and do it and will do it. First thing to come to mind is an example of the patrol having a calming tea which gave each mate a +1 for recovery from Angry or from Tired (not both).
The story of recovery doesn’t always mean there is a bonus. Just having a good blanket to sleep under doesn’t always mean you get better rest, so I’d probably restrict that to ensure it relates to weather. In other cases, I’d look at whether the story interacts with Time, Night, or Weather–most often Time and Weather. Such as, recovery from Tired during calm, mild Spring isn’t being impacted by Weather; recovery from Injured while the patrol is only working on a long project over Summer doesn’t relate much to Time urgency. Those are only quick examples, but my general principle would be, “Is there something in Time, Night, or Weather the mouse needs to mitigate in order to improve the recovery. If so, what are they doing to mitigate the impact?”
I don’t think that recovery is often the right place for supplies, and the inclusion of supplies should be a highlight rather than a routine. If it is becoming routine, I suggest curtailing it somewhat to ensure that recovery focuses on the mouse rather than the supplies mouse has (or hasn’t). Also, I suggest not allowing delays to gather beneficial supplies in order to improve chances of recovery. But, that’s probably worthy of a longer discussion.
(B) Right skill for making blankets, but is it the right story? Partly, you need to ask, what step of manufacture has the weaver got to start at? From fibers? From yarn and thread? From woven or knit fabric? Each of these steps of manufacture is a task which relates to the Weaver Skill; try thinking of those living museums where docents are illustrating the process from harvested flax, to processed fibers, to spun threads, to woven fabric, to cut and sewn, etc. All that is time consuming.
So, yes, the weaver should probably face a test to carry out the crafting. And that test represents quite a bit of time spent.
I should maybe have made clear that I knew this would be a rare occurrence, and in reality perhaps a hypothetical, rather than a regular thing! It only really came up in my mind because of the bit of rules that I quoted, and I won’t promote it to my players unless they ask or if it seems genuinely relevant.
The reminder about recovery tests not getting help was very helpful for me. I had known it, but not really processed its intent ie getting assistance on this is not trivial; so I was still thinking that two checks was a bit steep compared to similar actions in other situations. But as you point out, recovery is largely unassisted, so it makes sense to me that assisting via supplies shouldn’t be a quick fix.