MG: First Time, write up and some questions.

Last night I grabbed a couple friends and ran them through the first two pregen missions in the book. V had read the very first comic and C hadn’t read any. I brought my copy of the first MG book for them to look through and get an idea of the setting and genre.

We started out picking characters, V took Kenzie and C took Saxon.

First mission went pretty badly for the ice. I didn’t realize that it was a VS test to find the missing grain merchant, so they rolled Kenzie’s low Scout against ob 6 and failed. I used the Animal Twist from the book. The book has the snake start out by trying to scare away the mice. The player response to that was “fight!” so I skipped that step and went right to conflict.

From a rules stand point, every conflict in the game went really smoothly. However, the mice also lost every single conflict they were in. In fact, in the first two pregen missions the players managed to win exactly one test.

Back to the snake, which trounced them. For a compromise V suggested that the snake eat Liam, the suddenly assumed-to-be-present NPC. I went for and narrated the snake knocking over the cart in the process so the guardmice found the map hidden there.

The players didn’t seem to interested in continuing that line and hadn’t earned any checks (so they just had one). I skipped the players turn (prop. a bad idea, won’t do that again) and went right on to Deliver the Mail.

The players reactions were pretty funny when I told them the name of the next mission. Something along the lines of “Really? We’re going to deliver the mail? Wow. Not.”

They started out from Lockhaven with the mail. They kept their characters and changed the goals. Actually, Saxon kept the same protect Kenzie goal and Kenzie changed his to, “Don’t be stopped by rain, sleet or snow”.

(The pace was pretty slow as I had to look up stuff on the PDF every few minutes. The players were getting understandably bored and silly.)

As per the pregen mission, delivering the mail went fine till the failed the roll to find, um, that town they were going to. I used the raven twist from the book. The badass raven beat them handily and flew off with all the mail. For a comprise and offered that the bag was ripped so the mice could follow the ravens trail and collect some of the mail.

They followed the raven back to the nest and engaged him in a conflict to get back the rest of the mail. Again the raven gave them a thumping. Instead of a comprise I gave the mice some conditions. And I think I messed this part up because I just realized the raven didn’t suffer at all from losing some of his dispo. He got off clean and he shouldn’t of.

So with only half the mail the mice continued on to, um, that town. Once they got there I had Martin the carpenter ask for their help, as per the pregen. Instead of refusing the players just said “sure!”. I went with it, but ended the GM’s turn there anyway.

At this point V got a little confused. I explained how to use checks during the PC’s turn. He pointed out that he could either heal himself or go do this mission, but not both. I thought about it and decided that it was a design feature, not flaw. The point is to make you chose between what you want to do and what you need to do. Right?

Player’s Turn!

V had two checks and C had one. V used his first check to find and befriend a duck with Beginners Luck Loremouse+Nature+Help+Wise and manged to pull it off. This was the only test the players succeeded at the whole session.

C used her check to find their way to the ruined city where Martin’s chair was. She failed so I used the advice in the “twists in the player’s turn” section to narrate in a large weasel army about to march on the Territories. Probably won’t come back to that particular story, but it was an interesting thing to add.

I wasn’t sure what complications or obstacles (if any) I could throw in front of the players during their turn, so I let them get the chair and come back to, um, that town.

V used his last check to start a fight with that raven again. They flew back there on the duck and lunched an aerial assault! This was by far the best part of the game. We were all cracking up at the image of mice ridding a duck attacking a raven. And the raven still beat them pretty badly. It would have been worse, but I scripted a Feint for his very fist action. Dur, I wasn’t thinking.

The raven’s goal was “protect my eggs” and the mice went for “Kill the raven!” The compromise was that the mice get one of the ravens eggs, which then traded back to the raven to get the mail. The trading back part probably should have been another test, but the player were out of checks so I just gave it to them.

Whoo! Do I get workhorse for writing all that up?

I did forget to give out fate/persona at the end, but next time we play we’re going to make our own mice anyway.

Questions time!

  1. Can you earn checks on a test you know you’re going to fail? Ex: “Ok, make a ob 6 scount test to find you’re way through the snow.” “Ob 6?! I have scout 3. How about I make it scout 2 and earn a check, I’m gonna fail anyway.” Valid?

  2. Connected to one, can you earn checks on a Beginners Luck test?

  3. Can you earn multiple fate from once action? Ex: When the snake popped up, Saxon drew his sword. This earned him a fate for his Belief and one for his Instinct. Valid?

Question four is how the hey to mice actually win, but I’m gonna start a new thread for that.

Thanks for reading!

No, pick one of recover a point of nature, recover 1 condition, or 1 skill experience tick for the recap.

Start with it; by retiring the pregens, the rules say you can transfer the fate and persona to the new characters. but that also puts them off limits as NPC’s… :wink:

So long as the trait used justifies the reduction.

So long as the trait used justifies the reduction.
I’d apply it after the halving. but that’s me, and may be wrong.

unlike BW, beliefs, instincts and goals are earned per session(BI)/mission(G), not for specific acts per se. So, at the end of session, did he play the “Draw sword at first sign of trouble” instinct? Sounds like. Did he play the “everything can be solved by use of the sword belief” during the session? Possibly. Did he accomplish this goal between writing it and the end of the payer turn? each is a separate question; the only two that are exclusionary are MVP and Workhorse.

By remembering: a failed roll isn’t of need failing the task. It’s one of:
[li]Failing the task[/li][li]suceeding at the task intent, but getting tired/hungry/angry/hurt/sick[/li][li]succeeding at the task intent, but encountering a plot twist[/li][/ul]

So, by your invoking the snake, they should have found the dead mouse.

Oh man, I’m totally going to remove the condition “stressed”. That will make this weekend so much simpler!

Re. fate/persona awards: Good idea! I forgot that rule, totally going to do that.

Re. traits: Right, the trait used to earn a check has to be relevant to the situation had hand. Didn’t know that, but it makes perfect sense.

Totally missed the fate/persona rewarding change! Makes my question rather moot.

Yeah, I get that “failure” in MG isn’t always “failure” in a tradition rpg sense. Changing up the impact of the players failures kept the players from feeling like they were totally being reamed. But the players won only one of the four tests they had and lost all three of their conflicts. A ratio of 1 to 7 seems pretty rough on the players. (And the mice.)

Thanks! I’m way more ready to run it the second time around.

Not quite. If a PC fails a roll then there are two options:

[li]Failing the task and encountering a plot twist
[/li][li]Suceeding at the task but getting tired/hungry/angry/hurt/sick

If you add a plot twist the roll is still intepretted as a fail. in other words, the twist is the consequence of failure.

To quote the rulebook:

If a player fails an ability or skill test, one of two things can happen. You can decide he fails to overcome the obstacle and throw an unexpected twist into the
story or you can allow the player to succeed with a condition.

I was referring to the action itself, not whether it counts as a fail. Also, go reread p91.

After overcoming the twist, one carries on as if one succeeded.

So it should be “Succeed at the intent after overcoming the twist”

And the option for simple failure is still present… but best in player phase, and it is explicit in conflict resolution; rolling 0s in an attack is not a complication; it’s simply failure. It’s also appropriate when the intent is to avoid some ill fate.

Not to be argumentative (as I am finding this discussion to be constructive) I am still not seeing the distinction you are making. If the GM chooses a Twist then the PC is treated as failing to overcome the obstacle.

To use the example given, Lieam fails his roll to spot the grain pedlar. The GM introduces the snake as a plot twist to explain the failure. Lieam isn’t then treated as succeeding in spotting the grain pedlar. My reading of it is that a twist is the consequence or explanation of failure, not a concession of success like the conditions.

Looking at page 91 closely, the following passages seem to support this:

You can fail to overcome the obstacle and the GM can inject a twist into the game, or you can succeed at your attempt, but at a cost.

If you, the GM, choose to twist the direction of the story or inject a complication into the lives of the patrol, you get to decide on a whole new obstacle for the guardmice to contend with, a brand new problem that’s developed because of their bumbling!

Maybe a different example will help. You fail a roll to navigate your way back to Lockhaven, and encounter a twist. After you deal with the twist you find your way back to Lockhaven. So after the twist, it’s basically like you failed the first roll, otherwise, you could never get back!

That does help :slight_smile:

How I would read that is that you have failed to get to Lockhaven on your roll and may not do so until you deal with the twist. In comparison, if the GM imposes a condition, it means that you successfully get to Lockhaven on that roll but with a penalty.

I think this is the kind of language being used in MG, though I agree that there can be some confusion as to what constitues a “failure” in terms of the immediate consequences vs the overall goal.

Example from a recent session:

Pouring the border is defined as TWO tasks: pathfinder to know where, and Science to do it right.

Intent is to identify where the border is to be poured.
Task action is finding the old border.
They fail the pathfinder roll. Several options present themselves…

  1. not where they are supposed to be. (Simple failure with later plot implications.)
  2. have an encounter, while still finding the right place.
  3. take a condition while finding the right place.

Then, in any of the three, make the science roll.
In case one, they have moved the border. Time to apologize to Gwendolyn…
In case two, the one I used, they had to drive off crows, and it cost them a cloak and a sword! (They DoW’d the crows… whole party now has Loremouse!) They get the border poured in the correct spot.
In case three, they still pour the border in the right spot, but have to deal with the condition.

I understand what you are getting at (thanks to technomonkey), but I still find your phrasing to be confusing as it runs contrary to the wording in the rulebook and this may cause issues in some examples YMMV. How I would phrase it would be that if the PCs failed the Pathfinding roll the GM may decide that either:

  1. A twist occurs that must be dealt with by the PCs before they find the right place.
  2. The PCs find the right place but suffer a condition.

Wait, now I’M confused. I think you’re both saying the same thing.

Aramis’ description seems to be right. Page 91 seems to bear him out. Skywalker’s points are two of the options available to the GM.

Page 91 has two options for twists – playing twist to twist or playing twist to obstacle and then getting back on track.

Skywalker is right, Aramis. Your #2 and 3 are valid options, but #1 is not. As per Failure on page 68. You cannot just fail. There is either a twist or a condition. This is awesome because it essentially means that built into the rules is the fact that the Mouse Guard will always ultimately succeed, or die, it just may take a bit of work to get there.

Yay for searchable PDFs.

In conflict, you always just fail. page 117.

There is no reason that one should not have simple failure on some tasks. And, in fact, some tasks specified in the rules DO have a simple failure condition, in that failure is both binding (let it ride), but no condition nor twist: Recovery rolls for injury or health. The condition of failure is you simply fail to get better. (And, due to let it ride, can’t get better without external help; that help does have a built in twist mandated.) p.129

There are some mandated situations for simple failure. There are other situations where it makes sense to extend that for story reasons. Or, in other cases, for session reasons.

I read playing ‘twist to twist’ to be the case where you fail your roll to deal with the twist, so then a new twist is added. Eventually the mice will either succeed their roll on a twist, or be given success with conditions, and be back on track. Is this correct?

Aramis, I forgot I about cases like recovery where you can simply fail, thanks.

Tech, that’s correct.

I think we are too, in broad terms. However, I think Aramis phrasing of it is off and though it doesn’t cause any major issues in the examples given, I think it could in other examples.

Essentially, if you fail a roll and get a twist, the twist must be dealt with. After the PCs deal with the twist, they will either get back on track (this is what Aramis is on about), decide to do something else entirely or as a result of unsuccessfully dealing with that twist they will be presented with another twist.

In all cases, I think it best to consider the first roll a fail as the immediate objective of the first roll is not obtained, even if it might be obtained eventually. The problem with Aramis’ phrasing of calling the twist a “you succeed but encounter a twist” cuts out the second two possibilities by assuming the PCs will go back to achieving their original goal, where in fact the game may continue to twist and the immediate objective of that first roll may become irrelevant. This twisting is one of the strength’s of how MG is set up. Start with a simple problem and watch the mechanics twist it beyond recognition.

So, I think its better to keep the determination of success/failure to an immediate time frame. If you look too far ahead you remove possible twists and get into some very weird predetermination, seen in technomonkey’s making a roll to find Lockhaven. A failed roll means that you failed to get to Lockhaven on that roll, not for the rest of time :slight_smile:

If you don’t go back, then you are ignoring the rules on p.92, which do say that you continue as if you had succeeded after the twist.

Are you refering to page 91? I can’t see what on page 92 you are referring to.

If you use a twist, then there are two options. One is to go back on track and insert a new obstacle or go to the completion of the mission. The other is go with twist to twist, which allows the story to evolve through twists themselves. As such, what I am saying is supported by the rules by my reading.

To give an example, the mission is to establish the scent boundary. The PCs fail their roll to find the right place. The GM enters a twist that the PCs wander across the tracks of a weasel raiding party. The PC become very enthused by this twist and decide to pursue it. This twist evolves into the main story i.e. stopping the weasel raiding party.

Once dealt with, the mission ends. It is now open for the group to decide that the PCs go back and find the scent boundary. It is equally open for this to be done in the player’s turn by the use of a check. Finally, it is open to just ignore it completely if the PCs have developed a more interesting story for their next mission that they wis to pursue, such as a juicy “rescue the prisoners that the weasels took” mission

Technomonkey pointed out today that you explicitly can not simply fail a test. I had a “wow that’s awesome” moment.

Now, you can fail a die roll. If the die roll is part of a conflict, right? I roll an independent test for Defend and get two success, I failed that roll. No twists or complications.


More appropriately, you can’t fail the intent on an mission obstacle’s test; you either make it now, or have a diversion and then achieve the intent after overcoming the twist. (p91, rt col.) Note that this can daisy chain.

I try to do a, fail the roll, and take twist B
I fail at B, and take twist C.
I make C, which then returns as tho having overcome B, and that enables me to accomplish A…

the hidden subtext in the rules on 90-92… you can not fail a mission unless you either give up, or no one is able to test due to injury, or you lose a conflict.