More questions! Second mission!

I got some great feedback about our first mission in this thread:

Some more questions, from our second mission…

I’m still getting the pacing down, epecially the GM’s and Player’s turns. I had a couple things jotted down for the GM’s turn - a trip to Pebblebrook, a thunderstorm and a twist with a lovestruck young mouse following the patrol. Except it all went by pretty quick, and the players made short work of the tests (mostly Pathfinder tests) - through good use of helping dice and traits.

My big prepared conflict was two weasel spies, which I was sure the patrol would go after (one of them is a hothead with a disdain for orders and a goal related to getting his weasel-fight on). But they refrained! And went straight to Pebblebrook.

So the GM’s turn was pretty short - a little less than an hour.

The players were surprised when I turned it over to them, but they rolled with it, and a great Circles test (enmity clause!) got us right back into some action. Which led quite organically back to my weasel spies, and I took back the job of setting the pace for a while, which worked out pretty naturally.

However … since it was still the player’s turn, they couldn’t earn checks for causing themselves trouble. (Right?) But we hadn’t managed to really connect with that part of the game rules so far, and suddenly the opportunities were popping up and the players were pushing for it.

Fun play and getting important concepts down trumped the “turn” sequence for me, so we decided it was a new GM’s turn, knowing full well we wouldn’t have time for a subsequent player’s turn. Most of the checks earned so far had gone unspent, so I said to save them.

I’d rather not open the next session with a player’s turn, since the last one ended at a very dramatic point (one PC captured by weasels and the other two standing in a raging storm in the dead of night).

Thoughts? Are we doing it wrong and ruining Mouse Guard for everyone? I’m not looking for "The Right Answer!"™, so to speak, since I’m happy with the way the game is going. But it’s nice to hear what more experienced players have to say.

Also, I can’t for the life of me find anything in the rules that says how traits advance. Do they advance?

Wait, sorry. Ignore that traits question. I found the answer! (Should have done a forum search before asking).

Right. Brian, your instincts on running Mouse Guard are keen. I’ve had success accelerating the GM’s Turn/Players Turn cycle. Sometimes that’s just how the timing works out, and sometimes it feels more natural, but I’ve found it also gets the players more comfortable earning and spending their checks.

Are you kidding? This is a great time to call for the Players’ Turn. Make them use their checks to rescue their comrade (or he can try to escape on his own). I had a session go this way (one character carried off to a crow nest), and it made for a rich Players’ Turn.

What was the mission assignment? What were your two hazards? Did the hotheaded character’s disregard for the weasel spies factor into the session’s Fate and Persona awards?

The mission was to meet up with a retired guardmouse matriarch (one of the PC’s mentors) living in Pebblebrook and pick up some intel on the weasels for Gwendolyn, from her “secret source”. Plus find out what happened to the last guard patrol who came this way (dead!). Both of which they accomplished, although only one player’s goal referenced those things.

The hazards were a thunderstorm and the weasel spies.

The hotheaded character actually had a Goal about fighting weasels, which he eventually fulfilled. But since it was a goal, rather than a belief or instinct, he didn’t get a reward in the early part of the game when he passed up the opportunity.

Yeah? So I’d just invert the usual Player’s turn and GM’s turn? Hmm. But then I’ll be off FOREVER.

It’s an interesting in-game situation, and it’s worth it to keep to the cycle, unless you think you all really need to get back on track. Also, I feel the way scenes are framed during the Players’ Turn handles characters either separated from one another or doing their own thing better than the group-focused nature of the GM’s turn.

That being said, it could be a short Players’ Turn: present the “mission” (rescue their comrade), and ask that the players only use checks to recover or to prepare for the coming mission. Probably, you could do this in fifteen minutes.

Were both of these overcome with Pathfinder tests?

Do Player’s, GM’s, Players’ in this next session. I think it will work well.

So your weasels were your animal hazard ? What do you mean when you say the players refrained?

It sounds like you did a fine job, but I recommend you carefully consider how you’re framing your hazards in the GM’s Turn. Hazards in the GM’s Turn should be things the players cannot ignore. That doesn’t necessarily mean the encounter is ‘on rails’ – if the patrol doesn’t want to fight a party of weasels, they can always run or try to scare them off or what have you– but it does mean that your hazards generally shouldn’t be something that the patrol can go “Nah, we’ll take care of this later,” and walk away from. You can’t walk away from a thunderstorm, right?


The thunderstorm was overcome with Pathfinder - since the goal was to get through to Pebblebrook. (Although it turned into multiple Pathfinder tests, since the patrol split up to track weasels and take a lost mouse back home).

The weasel spies were not overcome with a Pathfinder test, that was a plain old fight. But it didn’t happen in the GM’s turn (see response below).

It actually never occurred to me that they would ignore it. One of the PCs is DYING to scrap with weasels, and they uncovered the bodies of three murdered guardmice. Who knew they’d head off in the other direction?

Ok, I’m convinced. Short Player’s Turn to prepare (as Daniel said), then GM’s Turn, then another short Player’s Turn.

So, along those lines - the two PCs standing in the rain are in pretty okay shape. They each have three unused checks, both have suffered 1D of Nature tax, and one is injured. Assuming one of them gets ride of the injury with a prologue, what sorts of things could they do in the Player’s Turn to prepare for the mission?

It seems weird to make them spend checks to do Scout or Pathfinder rolls to start things off. I’d let them do that stuff for free in the GM’s Turn. And what about the captured PC?

Oh, by the way, Mouse Guard is a great game! I’m really liking it.

Yeah, but you also don’t let them recover from conditions in the GM’s turn :slight_smile:

The players decide what they spend their checks on in their turn. They may circle up a posse. Or someone who knows the way to the weasel’s lair. They may decide they need a map or some gear. They may decide to track the weasels and rescue their friend.

It’s the captured PC’s turn too.

I’m glad! I’ve had a lot of fun with it. Thanks for posting about your sessions.

I hope I’m not trying to put too fine a point on this, but I’m interested in how you presented these hazards to the players. Pathfinder test to deal with inclement weather seems pretty straightforward. How did the lost mouse (I assume she was the lovestruck one) get introduced? How did the weasel trail get introduced? To my outside perspective, it looks like Pathfinder got tested over and over, which may have been appropriate, but it seems like it’s butting up against Fun Once! . . . on page 90 (I interpret this as Mouse Guard’s version of Let It Ride).

Encountering the dead mice and the weasel spies looks like it could have been framed harder if you were using it as a hazard. Consequently, the patrol treated it as information and used their checks in the Players’ Turn to investigate, rather than being forced to deal with it immediately. Am I reading these situations accurately?