Question about Circles test

I ran a Mouse Guard game at Cafe 28 on Monday. The game went pretty well, even though I hadn’t read all the rules and created my own little scenario instead of using the adventures in the book.

But we ran into a dispute about the use of the Circles skill: can a player use a Circles test to make ANYONE appear?

During the GM’s Turn, the players learned that Shane the Trader destroyed most of a village’s food supply and blew town. On the Player’s Turn, a player spent a check for a Circles test to have Shane the Trader pop up in the scene.

Ultimately I allowed this because I couldn’t find any text explicitly contradicting it, but this use of Circles to “summon” a named NPC (who in my imagination was far far away) struck me as subtly different than finding “someone” who’s useful to the plot or the players’ desires.

Does Circles grant players scene-framing abilities of this kind? If Mouse Guard were “The Fugitive,” could you just bust out, “I use Circles to find the One-Armed Man” in the opening scene?

Hi James,
Note the first paragraph of the Circles description on page 239. “Characters from the guardmouse’s past…allies.”

That’s it! The only way to bring in enemies is to fail a Circles test and have the GM use the Enmity Clause.

Heh Nope, but they could have used Circles to find someone on-side with the Mouse Guard and who saw Shane head off. On a failed roll, a good invocation of the Enmity Clause might be to have someone who is against the MG show up who saw Shane head out, but he ain’t talkin’ to no damn self-righteous mice police. (Argument or negotiation conflict to bring him around.)