Hey all! Had my first attempt at Mouse Guard today and I have to say it was a lot of fun. It was later in the game that I had an aha moment where the party was trying to extract information out of a bandit mouse that they had captured. Their goal was to get the mouse to spoil his guts about what he knew and I set the bandit mouse’s goal as “try to give them fake information and they buy it”. We even made a new conflict type called Interrogation as most of our nice were not very good persuaders. I struggled with conflicts a bit at the beginning but it got a lot easier as the game progressed. Like so many one shots I have done it didn’t assuage my want to try new games but made me want to run it again and do it better! I have a few questions about conflicts:
Having a group of mice only really gives you a bonus with disposition, correct? It does not give you any advantage on your turn? If I have 3 mice in my group I don’t get bonus dice for my action for the other mice on the team for helping?
2)Can you have a wise with a weapon (sword-wise, for example) that adds an additional die to your fighter roll? Can other members of your team add their wises to a roll you make within a conflict? Can wises add a die to roll for initial disposition?
I guess the crux of my confusion is that it seems the only benefit you have being on a team is a larger starting disposition? Is this right?
On page 97 it says the only things you add to your Action test is from gear or weapons. On page 92 it says you can add them to a skill test. Are skill tests and action tests different? Can you use a wise within a conflict?
I had a blast but was fairly convinced that I was doing a fair number of things wrong. I suppose my one saving grace was that I was consistently wrong. Thanks again for all the help! Already looking forward to playing again!
Yes, you can have sword-wise and it would add a die to your fighter skill if you were using a sword and narrated how your wise was adding a new insight (it’s a little boring though, isn’t it?). If you’re testing a skill or a wise, other mice can help you with their own relevant skill or wise. And “The player who initiated the conflict tests the listed skill for his team. The other team members may help (Page 103).” So, they can help with a wise if a skill is being tested.
Does “Teamwork in Conflicts, page 102” help clear things up?
Oh, and don’t worry about getting things wrong your first time. I’m still getting things wrong
Also note that you’re not just getting automatic bonus dice for having other mice on your team. They have to narrate how they’re helping and saying what they’re helping with. Don’t let them just hand a die over without saying anything.
Absolutely! Nothing for free! It was fun to see how they could come up with different ways to lend a hand. Thank you all for clearing that up! I have to say that Mouse Guard is a lot of fun! It is certainly the coolest journey that I have ever had the pleasure of roleplaying through. Wish we had gotten to more action, though!
I a bit surprised and curious about this. I would treat an interrogation with an Argument Conflict encouraging Haggler as a Helper from those who happen to have it.
Something I’ve felt about Persuader, Orator, Deceiver and (the rare times I’ve seen it trained) Haggler is these are never intended to be very strong and the result is that using these skills often leads to Success with Condition or Twist. In a conflict, the Condition might be promises required in the compromise, or undertaking duties in exchange for compliance.
The odd fact is that they didn’t take any of the mice that were good at Persuasion so they were, for lack of a better term, trying to beat the truth out of this mouse that was guarding the bandit camp that they pounced on and took out before he could alert the rest of the camp. They were all MUCH better fighters than they were talkers and so I made up a new Conflict that would allow them to play to their strengths considering they had the upper hand after winning the previous Conflict with this bandit mouse handily. It was a spur of the moment decision and I thought it was viable if they wanted to use physicality as a method of interrogation versus persuasion. A little macabre, but I drove home how hard a life it is in the Guard. The Guard leader was also a stone cold soldier from the Weasel war and did not mince action at all.
It played out well but I am curious what everyone thinks about that Conflict? It mentions in the book that you can make a Conflict for anything (I believe the example was of a science fair). I peppered in Fighting for Attack and Defend, Orator for a Feint, and Persuade and Deceive were able to do all the actions with the bandit mouse being unable to use physical skills (he was captive). I really enjoyed the Conflict resolution for this game A LOT. While I thought it would be hard it actually became fairly straightforward very early on in the game.
Aaah, See that is something I would play much to the opposite. As they had taken the upper hand with mounting an ambush and taking a mouse captive, I would challenge the skill they least prepared.
Also, I would hold close to the rules.
In fact, I did have a mission in which the assignment was to track an occasional informant to see what secrets he was still keeping. The patrol opted for an ambush and interrogation. Seeing they had reasonable ranks in Fighter, I didn’t make a scene of that. I didn’t see much conflict in it, since their mark had very little Fighter to contend and wasn’t aware of being watched. Then the team realized they had little preparation for an interrogation.
I had imagined they would use the trained Scout for a stealthy Chase conflict. So, I had considered up front how their skills could be used. They simply thought of a different solution.
As a side note, Orator is intended for swaying crowds. I wouldn’t recommend it for individual or small group communication. In addition, Fighter, Healer, or other skills can be excellent ways to color to Helper efforts during an interrogation instead of making them primary skills in the attempt.
Was this hunky dory with everyone’s beliefs and instincts? I know the stone cold soldier was fine with it. How about his patrol mates?
They were all MUCH better fighters than they were talkers and so I made up a new Conflict that would allow them to play to their strengths considering they had the upper hand after winning the previous Conflict with this bandit mouse handily. It was a spur of the moment decision and I thought it was viable if they wanted to use physicality as a method of interrogation versus persuasion.
I probably wouldn’t have made it a conflict if they chose to physically interrogate the mouse. A simple versus test would do. Beating information out of people isn’t that hard, after all. The choice for me would have been what to do on failure, Twist with false information or the death of the bandit?
Hadn’t thought of that. A vs test would have probably worked just as well and a twist would have worked to plant false information. When do you find it helpful to use a vs test or a conflict to resolve something?
In this case I put a twist into the mix by making the bandit mouse try and feed them false information. A vs test is best used when trying to resolve a perfectly opposed struggle (trying to extract information vs trying to give any information), correct? Using this as an example, which would you all use, a conflict or a vs test and why?
I suppose I did step out of a Mouse Guard frame of mind there. I should have made them roll for Argument with the idea there was a good chance they were going to fail. Once they failed (vs. test OR conflict) is the time that the twist comes in. In this case the only thing that feels different between the two possible approaches is that, with a conflict, they know what the twist is up front as opposed to a vs. test where it would have been a surprise. I got good “Ohhh!” from one of my players when I dropped the cross purpose of the bandit mouse which was very satisfying but perhaps I should have made them test Argument. Perhaps those with Fighting could have helped (the threat of or actual physical violence). Food for thought for next time!
How much do you all let your players narrate when things go badly?
I often will ask them for a description of their action up until the time when I throw the twist. My twists never, ever involve mice performing poorly. If they’re sneaking they’re super sneaky, if they’re climbing, they’re super climby. So, letting them describe that part works well.
I prefer a conflict when the opposing force connects with at least a Belief, Instinct, or Goal.
In my own ambush, a mouse had placed a goal about this informant’s actions. He would have incriminated himself under questioning, so forcing a conflict was like saying, “Oh, that’s your goal? I can make that possible with a bit of effort on your part.”
It can also be a chance when players are really engaged and ready for the extra steps. If players are having trouble keeping up or feeling a connection, that can help turn toward Test.
I agree that a directly opposed struggle is a good place for a Test rather than Conflict. In my own ambush, the informant wanted to be recommended to G for Guard service, and knew his dealings with weasels was incredibly dangerous; he was afraid of being killed without being able to warn anyone. His own actions had gotten himself in too deep, but he couldn’t just tell someone. So, his overall goal in the conflict was to give information in exchange for support and a recommendation. That added complexity against the patrol’s desire to get information and report wrongdoing was a perfect candidate.
In the case of your bandit, it could tip either way. He could be looking for a way to inform the Guard without becoming a target of his own fellow bandits for being a snitch. He might have wanted to receive a promise of leniency for giving up a more valuable bandit to arrest. So, I would have checked how to tie a Friend or Enemy, BIG, or play on a theme of the mission or campaign.
I tend to think about a theme I want to recur in the campaign (or at least one mission). Chasing the informant was related to my theme of Rescue. He had info about a captive Guard; he was involved in dangerous dealings with weasels and wanted a way out; the weasels were injecting counterfeit currency into the Barkstone economy. In many ways, the actions of the patrol would help to Rescue–either tracking info about the captive Guard, getting the informant out from working with weasels, or warning the town of counterfeit coinage. When I’m trying to bring to life a theme, sometimes a conflict is best to illustrate one or two facets of that in a mission.
I agree with noclue, pretty near any test is going to go reasonably well until the Conditions or Twist hits the patrol. And even then, the mice will not flub the attempt; it is just that something comes up.
One of my fave examples is of playing a Tenderpaw being told by my Mentor to take on a Pathfinder test. The rest of the patrol each could have mustered more dice than my pool. What that meant was I would have plenty of help from the patrol. They were not going to let me stray from the right course. As a Tenderpaw, I simply needed to learn the skill for myself. When my dice came up cowards, the GM used the patrol’s help as a decision maker for the Twist–I was doing quite well on the trail with the guidance of Mentor and patrol mates. The twist was an unexpected animal taking interest in our mail bag.