We’ve had the Mouseguard game for about 2 years and only played 15 or 20 games. My Christmas present to my daughter is a year’s worth of Mouseguard games (a mouse’s year - so, about 15? Pre-planned and waiting for an instant game at the right time Meanwhile, I am posting whenever I can, so that I can learn more and get better :).
Tonight we played a game I’d like feedback on if anyone is interested. It is from someone else’s idea here on the website and is based on the movie The Village. It did not go quite as I had hoped so I have some questions along the way.
First, because Gizzelle explained where she’d been after a long absence, she got to make a test. She tested Hunter by tracking a beetle. Would that be a versus with the beetle’s nature? Or would that be an obstacle 3 or so for finding the beetle? Bella did the same and she tested Weather Watcher. I am still trying to get a handle on that. She failed. But failures would be a success with a condition or a success after a twist, right? And I already knew I was planning a rain storm. We just said that she could tell it was going to be sunny for awhile, and it was, u
The mission was simple: Deliver mail to Wolfepoint. But the mission was just an excuse to get them there. When they arrive there are about 15 poles in a semi circle outside of town with 10 or so people standing on them. It is The Annual Wolfepoint Bravery Test. Last person off the poles alive wins. The suggestions from the creator of this idea were that perhaps this would be a chance to recruit brave souls to the Guard. Perhaps there is a flash flood that traps the mice on the poles with imminent drowning. Perhaps there is a heron that eats one or more of the mice. I went with all three. A persuader test to recruit a mouse or two, I wasn’t sure what to go with for rescuing the mice, and a Conflict with the Heron.
My first problem was that I did not know these characters very well. As it turned out, the leader was young, mild-mannered, not a fighter, not easily angered or intimidated. I really wanted to get her on the poles too, but she did not want to. It was not in her nature to even consider it. I put the mail carrier, Starlight, on the pole, goading and cajoling the young leader Bella, to joining her. I enticed her with possibly earning the respect of the other mice on the poles and perhaps recruiting some. However, she doesn’t find Wolfepointers trustworthy enough to want them in the guard and her job was to deliver the mail and not to recruit so she still did not want to go up. She just wanted to know where to deliver the mail. (So, she did not end up trying to persuade anyone to join the guard.)
Starlight eventually got Bella up on a pole reluctantly (because Bella lost a persuader versus test and I made her go up - This persuader test turned out to be the first obstacle. Starlight wouldn’t tell her what to do with the mail until she got up there. She tried to persuade Starlight to come down and Starlight tried to persuade Bella to go up) and when Starlight won, the mail was given to Gizzelle, young and headstrong, to deliver to the head of the town, Dagon. She found Dagon railing in his office, waving his sword, rambling on about not being made a fool of and getting revenge. He asked Gizzelle if she wanted to help him out and she was game for anything so she said sure. He had her toss the mail in a chair (mission accomplished) and on the way out of town a few more, somewhat drunk, mice joined them. They made it all the way to the poles before Gizzzelle found out that a Heron had eaten Timmy off a pole earlier that morning and Dagon was off to kill it. This gave Bella a chance to get down off the pole and help out. They tracked the heron and suggested to the mice that they wait while the guard went ahead. The mice agreed to let the Guard fight the heron for them.
Conflict. The heron wasn’t hungry so its goal was just to get the mice out of its nest. Bella didn’t really want to kill it, but Gizzelle did, so that’s what they tried for. However, they failed miserably, being at 0 disposition with the heron having only lost 2 points. So, I said they drove the heron away, annoyed, and were tired (Bella) and angry (Gizzelle) but they did not kill it. They also gathered a lot of pretty heron feathers.
Before they could head back, a sudden rain storm hit and they were stuck in the heron’s nest for a few hours. Sludging back through the mud, they first find that the men are gone (of course it was pouring rain) and back at the town they find 6 or so people stuck on the poles in the middle of raging water, in imminent danger of drowning. The players seemed stuck trying to figure out how to help. Neither was very skilled with anything very useful. So, I suggested they use carpenter to put together a floating raft like ball of sticks with a rope around it. They floated it out to everyone and got them to safety except one 8 year old boy who was too scared to come down. I was trying to trigger Bella’s Instinct to put yourself before others only in a fight. So, I wanted the boy to almost drown Bella and her have to make a choice between her and the boy, but I didn’t manage it well. She finally got the boy to safety. He kicked her shins and started loudly claiming the title of Bravest since he was the last one down.
Dagon, saw the heron feathers and thanked them for bringing them to him (though they hadn’t been offered) and decided everyone should go to the Tavern to celebrate, announcing that the first round would be on the Guard. Bella, did not argue, its not her nature, and she had 100 coins. At the tavern, Gizzelle, being a bit of a braggart, told such good stories that Dagon gave her a feather for saving the day.
So, the main problem I ran in to was that it was not in Bella’s nature to do most of what I wanted her to do. She had no internal motivation to get on the pole or recruit or kill a heron. And I tried to give her “angry” condition, but the player insisted that her character simply would not be angry about this, so I gave her tired instead. In fact, since the mission was technically over as soon as the mail was delivered, she would likely have just left town. She didn’t like Wolfepoint anyways.
Also, I seem to remember having been cautioned that the patrol does not usually split up. Was this wrong? To have Bella maneuvered into getting on a pole and Gizzelle going on in to town to deliver the mail?