First a bit of a background, so you guys know where I’m coming from. I’ve got ZERO tabletop RPG experience, though I’ve played a few computer RPGs in the past (Fallout 1 & 2, Neverwinter Nights, Icewind Dale, etc.). I wanted to play D&D but balked at the complexity plus I was hoping to play with my wife and son (age 6) so I felt D&D was too, I dunno, rough and brutal for him, so I shelved that for a few more years down the road.
I’ve been scouting around the internet and stumbled upon a few reviews of Mouse Guard and decided to pick it up… and I couldn’t put it down. The comics are simply awesome and so far, only Conrad and Celanwe have died and in a way that is easy to explain to a 6-year old kid, so that’s good.
I’m now halfway through my SECOND read of the RPG book, and while it has been a very interesting read (much better than the D&D Player’s Handbook, and the art is simply awesome), I feel like I still have to grasp the actual game mechanics of this “simplified” Burning Wheel concept. While I love the idea that roleplaying is what is rewarded, as opposed to how many bad guys you put down, I’m having a bit of a trouble wrapping my head around this concept.
Again, guys, I have no previous tabletop experience, so please bear with me. I don’t even know how to begin, so I’ll just throw these questions out there as I come across them. These are what I have for now, but I bet they’ll lead to more questions and I’ll even have more as I go through my second, more-detailed read of the book.
“The Little S” = is the success applied BEFORE or AFTER determining if you made it? ie., if I need 3 successes (maybe an Ob 3 test), and I have a “+1s” and I rolled 2 successes, does the “+1s” mean I actually get 3 successes? Or does the “+1s” only work if I passed the test and it only serves to increas my margin of success?
Gear (p.35) - Does this mean that weapons give a +1D to rolls that use Fighter?
Must the BIGs be challenged/tested on each mission? I mean, must I test EACH mouse’s BIGs each session? Or can I push Mouse 1’s B, then challenge Mouse 2’s G, and maybe challenge all their Is on a session?
Rewards - If a patrol works towards a goal and actually accomplishes that goal, does that mean they get one Fate point and one Persona point?
Actual Game Play - In this example, let’s assume I’m playing with two other players (my wife and son). Now I’ve set up a game wherein they deliver the mail, but find the “usual path” blocked by a fallen log. Does this mean that I narrate the introduction, give them the mission (pause for them to write goals), then narrate a bit up to the log, then just call for, say, a Pathfinder test, Ob 4 maybe? If they pass, they find a way through and on to the next obstacle, if they fail, they find a way through but one gets Tired and another gets Hungry. Does this sound correct?
Game Time (GM Turn only) - now assuming I follow the above game, and I know I haven’t played before, but won’t this just take up, oh, about 10-15 minutes? Maybe 25-30 minutes if I include the second obstacle? So that’s maybe an hour if I include the Player’s Turn. Is there something I’m missing? From what I see, the only other “event” that would take up more time is if I have them do a battle (er, conflict, I think the MG term is), or table chatter. Maybe I could make a more complex test, like doing a Scout test to “steer” the Pathfinder test in the right direction (“Do we go left and find a new trail that way or do we go right?”), but that’ll add, oh, maybe 5 minutes to the game. And again, that GM Turn looks to me like I’ll be doing all the talking, I think the D&D term for it is “railroading.” Again, I may be completely off target here, but this is how it looks to me at the moment, I’d appreciate if someone would explain this part to me.