Hi all. Apologies if there has already been a lot of threads about this, but I couldn’t find anything to fit my specific question.
I’m a little bit confused about how the conflict rules are supposed to work with animals that do not have natures which fit the conflict at hand. I have an example from a session that I ran yesterday.
I was running a mission from the supplemental box set rules. It has the mice trying to stop a beaver dam from flooding Longpine. The party got to the dam, scared the beavers off temporarily using some good Loremouse roles, and then set to work breaking up the dam. I used a conflict to have them try to pull it down, and they ended up losing. In the compromise, they got a small hole in the dam, which the beavers would have to patch when they returned.
After rolling over to a player turn, they decided to spend some checks on setting up an ambush for the big mom beaver when she returned. They set up next to the area the beaver had been harvesting from, and then spent a check initiating a Fight Animal conflict with the beaver.
This is the part that threw me. How do I handle the fight with the beaver? It’s nature only allows it to engage in “Gnawing, Swimming, Building, and Tunneling”. Would the correct play here been to not allow a Fight Animal conflict since fighting isn’t really in the beaver’s nature? Should Gnawing have been used as the attack skill? I assumed Gnawing was in the context of biting trees, since allowing it to use it for Gnawing on mice seemed a little gamey.
In the end, I ran it as a kind of asymmetrical conflict. The guard mice were trying to hurt the beaver badly enough that it would leave the area, and the beaver was trying to get the sapling it needed to patch the hole and make it back to the water. This seemed strange too, since the guard was using Fight Animal, but the beaver was rolling on entirely different objectives. It was also weird when I was trying to get the beaver to push through them and get back to the water, since none of it’s nature really matches that sort of fleeing from danger. It’s out of water, so there’s no real way to use Swimming, and Tunneling/Building don’t seem to fit much either.
TLDR: I’m looking for help in figuring out how to frame the narrative around conflicts with animals, where the animals aren’t suited for the conflict at hand due to previous narrative positioning. Thanks for any help, and any pointers on rules I got wrong are appreciated as well!