No weasel??

Hi guys,

Here’s an interesting phenomena that occurs sometimes in play. In BW theres a No weasels rules who is basically saying that once an obstacle has been given, you can’t back down and not roll with it. Great rule in my book. BUT sometimes, players think about obstacles before stating intentions and sometimes its kinda implicitly obvious what the obstacles is gonna be. Example: This NPC has been a Will 4 NPC the table knows it and the PC doesn’t wanna try to intimidate him because it might go wrong and they know it’ll be hard so they go around and weasel it out but the obstacle has never been stated so it kinda doesn’t count as a No weasel situation. Also some players who play HARD will look at what test they need and justify it that way like: I dont need a difficult or a challenging I need a routine therefore I avoid all difficult and challenging test in order to advance…

Have you guys encounter that in your sessions? Do you mind it? How do you deal with it? Is it simply part of the game? Do you allow it?

Thanks for letting me know!

No Weasels is a Mouse Guard rule.

Isn’t it discussed a bit in the Adventure burner somewhere?..I think I just took the name as a cool expression for a cool principle…Is there anything wrong about using that principle in BW?

I describe the situation to players saying things that (hopefully) envoke the difficulties that the characters may face. It becomes the players job to ask for more specific details, and the depths of those details may well depend upon wises or other skill rolls.
Once we have determined the obstacle and all of the advantages/disadvantages that becomes decision time to roll, or not.
(The character isn’t committed until he throws the rock, although he may have to fast talk his way past the guards questions about why he’s standing on that cart with a rock in his hand)

Note that all obstacles (in our game) may be higher or lower than the characters estimation of the difficulty of the job (the players always know. The characters, not so much) this is imperative to the fairness of a cooperative style of play, but it also requires players who are willing to let their characters screw up if it makes sense for the scene we are in.

It is mentioned very briefly in the Adventure Burner as a good guideline that isn’t entirely appropriate to Burning Wheel. Anyway, what you describe is part of the game and totally kosher with me.

No weasels is appropriate in MG because failure leads to a twist or condition. I don’t apply it to BW because the GM has a lot of freedom in choosing what failure means. The GM is free to put important things on the line precisely because, the player isn’t bound no matter what. You learn as much about the character from what theyre not willing to risk as you do from what they are willing to risk. The alternative is timid players not wanting to propose a test for fear that the GM will make them kill their mother.

Let me recycle an old post:

There’s also always the Prime Directive of Roleplaying: don’t be a dick. If there’s a huge discrepancy in Ob expectations it’s reasonable to allow a different choice.

“I climb a tree. I need to get away.”

“Okay, test climbing, Ob 7.”

“Huh? You said it was a forest of knotted, gnarly old trees. I figured they’d be, you know, climbable?”

“Nope, they’re made of polished obsidian. And it’s raining. Ob 7.”

“Your description really didn’t convey any of that. My character isn’t going to try to climb trees that are obviously slick glass. I run away instead.”

In this case, I think it’s a failure of the GM to accurately convey the situation, and the player has every right to demand a different action based on incorrect understanding. Because the player’s perspective is always far more limited than the character’s, and making characters behave like idiots because of player-player interactions is, in my experience, not great gameplay.

Yeah, we walk away from tests all the time once possible failure outcomes are described. “Screw that!” It’s part of the game.

Yes. The unspoken rule is that there is no negotiation at that point. You do something else.

Thats interesting. We’ve been playing in a no weasel fashion for so long that we completely forgot about the fact the BWG is written in a way that it should be played like that. I mean the GM telling the players the outcome and the Ob before the roll…i think I prefer the No weasels approach make for more dramatic and less negotiation outcomes and forces the players to go for challenging test and to shut the f*&?$ up as well.

I don’t like it, for the reasons I said. The players can get locked into incredibly difficult tests with dire consequences and inadequate signaling of such. That’s mean. But if you and your players are enjoying it, that’s what matters.

Yeah of course. In our case we trust each other and we mature people not around the table to be mean to each other so it works well. We even do it without telling what the consequences would be before hand, sometimes we do but most of the time we dont. It makes for a lot of fun surprises and crazy twist coming out of nowhere.

For mr it’s not a trust thing. I want the GM to have free reign to punch me in the gut as hard as they can. I don’t want them to pull their punches. My free will gives them permission to take the kid gloves off and make shit matter. It’s like having a persona point means the GM doesn’t have to worry so much about giving you a mortal wound.

“No Weasel” wouldn’t seem to jibe with the heavily emphasized suggestion that both outcomes of a potential roll should be stated before dice are even touched more often than not. In practice, with a regular group, this isn’t always strictly necessary of course, but I think knowing both sides of the coin, at least in terms of general probable outcomes, is crucial in BW where it should be a player’s prerogative to dump Artha, call for some help, consider advancement, etc. and otherwise judge/finagle the mechanical- in addition to narrative- repercussions of an action.

I prefer to lock down a situation with a relevant wise, perception, or observation test beforehand, that way the test reveals what I should know before I ask for obstacles

(My character has a B4 Perception and an instinct to assess before taking action and the watchful trait. What are my escape options?)

It helps to focus the scene while relying on the characters BITs to do so.

Gents, be careful when you dabble in threadcromancy.

My Apologies, it came up on my phone as a new thread. I forgot to check the freashness date.