As GM it’s my task to put my players into situations where they get to use their skills and traits. The basic thought being Gwendolyn picked this team because they had the right skills for the job. Players also have a job to play off their skills whenever they see an opportunity. However not all skills are created equal.
With a skill like ‘Glazier’ I just can’t think it comes up very often. A player need a decent number of points assigned to any given skill to even have a 50/50 shot (Even with help/modifiers). So now one party member has a lot of points in Glazier in order to have a decent shot at succeeding, but how often will he ever try and make a bottle or a pane of glass? I can’t have a glass blowing contest every session! Should players be dissuaded from skills like this? How would you deal with a Glazier (Potter/Archivist/Miller/etc)?
Not the biggest deal, just wondering how others have dealt with this. Thanks!
While I fully support customizing the hazards the patrol will face to areas in which the players have documented interest (a highly ranked skill being a good example), Mouse Guard is up front that there are skills that are more valuable to the guardmice–the ones pre-printed on the character sheet–than others. A player shouldn’t expect these other skills to come into play often, but even then, they’re not meaningless; they often reflect a character’s hometown and relationships, and provide valuable helping dice.
One of the nice things about Mouse Guard is that any skill can be turned into a conflict (page 99). Glazier and Health, for example, would be used to make tests in a glazier conflict. This is more depth than a lot of games provide. As a player, however, I wouldn’t count on a spotlight moment like this more than once per game year, and even then there probably will be room in a given session to focus attention on only one person in this way. Further uses of the skill will have to be sought out in the Player’s Turn.
Oh, I have to say first that this is not really the perspective which fits MG best. The PC mouse who makes an attempt is pretty nearly certain of getting a 90/10 shot just for attempting. See, the result will be Success w/ Condition or Success after Twist.
Success w/ Condition means they get what they were seeking. Sure, they exchange it for a Condition, but they get full success–not partial success or nearly success.
Success after Twist means that would get what they were seeking except something got in the way. Sure, they get sidetracked and derailed, but they’ll get the success once they’ve dealt with the sideline issue.
I don’t support customizing hazards to favor trained skills, but I do agree with Daniel to customize for areas in which the players have interest.
I suggest differently. Look at the Duties, BIGs, then contacts.
First, check pgs 20-22. The game introduces the core expectations for PCs. They’ll be fulfilling the duties of the Mouse Guard. This is fairly huge in respect to identity of the game. The GM should use the duties to indicate which obstacles get stage-time.
Second, pull the BIGs into center-stage. If the player wants a skill for crafting, and places a Belief of, “My talents will be best used in serving others,” then you’ve got a great reason to customize the obstacles toward his crafting skill and consider what duties it may also support.
Third, frequently use the Friends, Enemies, Parents, Artisans, and Mentors (roughly in that order of priority) to create surrounding story-threads. If the contacts are not showing face-time frequently, players may forget them easily. Think of contacts like the repeated cameos on a sitcom or rom-com–they’re always going to be poking their nose into what is not their business and getting into trouble they need the PC to fix.
Yes, a player will need to look for ways to practice their craft in the Player Turn. This relies on both GM and Player anticipating a spare check or two for their own pursuits.
I would also really encourage a read-thru of my Player Turn Suggestions (link). I might even make some edits soon to include a few more suggestions I’ve been writing.
If a player wants his favoured skills to be an important part of the adventure, he can always write a belief or goal about it, or tie in his friends and enemies. Not sure why an ambitious artisan like that would be running around with the guard, but, hey.
I don’t dispute your approach, but a mission involving a character’s hometown, parents, or mentor easily could hinge on the non-guard skill that the player learned from that place or person. That’s not going outside the scope of the game, however it should be used sparingly.