On Mentalités


I spend some time studying the Mentalités section in the book and would like to know when you roll on Mentalités in your game, and to what effect.

Knowing what games Luke designed in the past, I assumed that Mentalités are used like Wises in Torchbearer or Mouse Guard. This is mostly because of the following passage from page 21: “Your rank simply represents your depth of experience and study in this area.”
If we now skip a few pages forward to the respective section in the book, we learn that Mentalités are rather affiliations or perspectives of your character (pp. 34). This interpretation gets further reinforced by the ‘Advancing Mentalités’ section on pp. 162, where we learn that you have to take sides with the respective faction, nation, or religion to advance your Mentalité.
This leads me to the conclusion that Mentalités could be rather compared to Circles, which we find in other BWHQ games, spiced up with some esoteric knowledge only available to insiders.

How would you test your knowledge about Mentalités that are not your own? A Frondeur would certainly have some knowledge about cardinalist politics, and a Royalist would know something about the Hapsburgs. I assume a simple Intelligence check for everything that isn’t too esoteric is plausible, and an untrained skill test for knowledge that requires experience and contacts? Or would you argue that this could be solved with a test in a Mentalité your character possesses, since they should know something about their enemies?

Do you share my interpretation? How do you use Mentalités in your game?

I hope we can share a few insights here.

Vive le roi!

I think you’re right! They’re a combination of wises and circles. They are not a measure of “how much” of a thing you are—how French, how Catholic or how Royalist. It’s a measure of how much you know the ins-and-outs of that faction or culture.

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