So I’ve seen some great advice about having the players have to complete the mission on the Player Turn, and I love the idea of players having to chose between the mission and personal goals. My problem is that I’m not sure how it would work out as far as spending checks.
Here are a few scenarios I could use clarification on. All occur on the Player Turn:
Player A’s mouse wants to argue with Player B’s mouse, and spends a check for a conflict. Player C wants to help A. Does C need to spend a check to participate?
A mouse needs to be escorted to another town. It is a Pathfinder Ob 4 test to do so. If the whole party goes, does only one player spend the check or does everyone who goes along spend a check and only one rolls?
The party wants to rescue fellow Guardsmice from weasels. It is a Pathfinding Ob. 3 to get to the hideout, and Scout Ob. 4 to sneak in. If the whole party goes, does that cost everyone two checks, or just one from each of the mice rolling?
If the failed Scout test turns into a conflict vs. the weasels (they were spotted and have to fight/run away), does that cost any checks or is that part of the original check(s) spent?
This last one has me wondering if attempting complex tasks during the Player turn is too close to the GM Turn. Any thoughts?
Thanks for the input.
No. Page 77, “Contribute to your friend’s turn. Offer to help.”
Only one mouse needs to spend a check to attempt the Pathfinder test, but everyone who goes along is bound by the outcome.
Similarly, only the testing mice need to spend checks, but anyone accompanying or helping them are subject to whatever happens in the situation.
A good rule of thumb for spending checks is that one check equals one test. Page 73, “Each time you make a test, erase one of the checks next to your traits.”
If the failed scout test twisted off into a conflict with weasels, the players don’t need to spend additional checks. This situation you’re describing in #3, however, might be better served as a followup GM’s Turn rather than requiring the players to spend multiple checks to rescue the guardmouse. See pages 75-76, “Failure in the Players’ Turn,” for further information.
Thanks for the reply.
Has anyone ever had issues with who has to spend their check? (and if so, is that a feature rather than a bug?)
I think what you’re alluding to is a feature, but can you be more specific?
I could have been more clear.
I was asking about players discussing/debating/arguing over who is the one spending the check for the team – as opposed to on themselves for recovery or whatnot. Has anyone any experience with this happening, or do their parties easily agree on what they should do? Is this a feature – as in is this conflict a good thing?
No problem. I’d say the kind of table talk you’re describing is a feature. More than once, I’ve had a player enter the Players’ Turn with more checks than the rest of the patrol combined. The players discussing how to distribute those checks is part of the game. While a player cannot spend two checks in a row (pages 73-74), I’ve never seen someone be stingy about donating checks.
Is this true? If I fail a test in the Players’ Turn the GM can give me a free contest? I thought the GM would Twist into a new situation, but another check would have to be spent in order to deal with the Twist.
The GM has some discretion in the delivery of the Twist.
- GM could choose to use the twist as initial obstacle of following GM turn, thus allowing the Player turn to conclude without pressing the matter. This works well if the group enjoys multiple sessions per season–the Player turn can conclude with seemingly little in-game time passing by while the Twist looms. As next GM turn begins, limited time has passed for the Twist to get out of hand, but they must face it right away. This may not always work so well in a group which enjoys one session for each season–the timeline might not ‘feel’ right. It can indicate the Twist gets totally out of hand before the mice can deal with it.
- I like to use this method I’ve mentioned. Once, a failed test in pouring the scent border during the PT provided me a twist of placing a beaver’s dam and pond over top of the scent border–this twist wasn’t noticed by the Guard immediately–which began to encroach on Wolfpointe during the following season. They had to deal with it next season, but the PT went on. Recently, a PT ended in which the patrol had hidden a parcel shipping to Barkstone; during the session, the Ptl Grd’s enemy got interested in their mission and tried to follow them back to the hidden parcel. Their success at Scouting prevented the Twist (in my mind) of their enemy finding it first.
- GM could choose to use the Twist as a flavorful change of circumstances which affects the group immediately and in the following GM turn. This might be a lost bit of equipment, change of weather (possibly requiring Health tests), or a flavorful description of misfortune. In essence, the GM can kinda say, 'that failed to work out as planned, but you’re generally not much worse off." This works well if the group enjoys one session for each season–the Player turn can conclude with limited impact–since the Twist doesn’t do much to their progress. This can also work well for a group which has just spent several checks recovering and the GM doesn’t want to slap a condition back on their shoulders. When the next session will be a new season, this helps by concluding the Twist more-or-less as the Player turn ends (except in the case of weather).
- I use this method on occassion. Some players take it well, but not all. Some players get frustrated easily, so I do try to be fair. In one example, the group wanted to make their way to Pt Sumac to meet a friend and gain rest for the whole team at once. The failed circles brought in a potential enemy in their friend’s co-worker answering since the friend was away. They still made it to Pt Sumac and found the right house, but the friend wasn’t around to provide shelter. They had to test for recovery on their own. It was a simple Twist without putting them out too badly.
- GM could choose to use Twist open a new story thread. What I mean by this is a tempting new revelation that might lead to adventure. It works well when an early Player turn check is failed–the GM can dangle a shiny hook watching to see who will spend a check to follow-up. This works well regardless of whether the group enjoys multiple or single sessions per season. It is there for the taking, but someone has to spend a check to follow through.
- I like this method, but have fewer examples of perfect execution. I do have examples of players taking the bait as often as ignoring it. In a Player turn failure, I had a king give the patrol a letter for Gwendolyn he wanted them to deliver personally and read aloud personally. He was so impressed that he wanted them to represent him. They had few checks, and chose to fulfill their mission instead of following the hook. Too bad, it was going to be the proposal to build Calogero outpost using financial support from Dawnrock.
The Twist doesn’t have to be dealt with right away and doesn’t have to provide them a free test. But it can. It can also simply place them in proximity to drive in a new direction by using a check.
In the GM turn, the Twist has to be dealt with right away and will require tests. And, it will likely place them in proximity to drive in a new direction by suggesting appropriate tests or alternative tests.
Some of my players are still on the new side, so a lot of times if I’m going to force them to spend checks to complete the mission, I’ll give them an up-front warning. Nothing major, but just something like, “just so you know, dudes, you’re going to want to earn some checks for the PT.” I’ve actually found that it also helps players to understand and internalize how to earn checks if they know that they’ll be used. Otherwise they end up with their free check, blow it on something stupid, and we’re back to the GM turn and they’ve learned nothing.
Perhaps it’s my interpretation–I don’t see anything specific about this under “Twists in the Players’ Turn” on pages 75 and 76–but I wouldn’t twist a failed roll in the Players’ Turn into a conflict and then require the players to spend a check to deal with it. What happens if they don’t have a check to spend? Do they lose the conflict automatically? I maintain that twists in the Players’ Turn should not create immediate confrontations; they should be used to introduce long-term problems, assign conditions, or set up the next mission.