Question about Circles


I’m reading thru the rulebook prior to starting my first campaign (as a GM). The only thing that has me a little bit hung up is Circles. It suggests in several places that contacts made with Circles essentially become “friends” once the Circles role is successful. I have three questions, and both relate to the Attitude factors.

  1. Why even have attitude as a positive scale (Neutral, Willing to Help in some Capacity) when successful Circles makes the target helpful, regardless? i.e. after a successful circles roll, a Neutral mouse will help the player, so why would any player ever look for a mouse who is specifically willing to help? Does circles not make mice helpful? And if not, does that mean 90% of circles rolls get followed up by persuader/deceiver (con)tests?

  2. In the example given for Circles (Lieam looking for a conspirator), the computed ob was 5. This was due to 3 for Uncommon profession, and 2 for mid-level power. Why was it not ob7, as he was looking for a conspirator that would get him into the rebel army (“willing to help in some capacity”), or at least ob6 (“neutral”)? It seems only Profession and Power were tabulated, and not Attitudes.

  3. Why would Attitudes start at Neutral? It seems like this would mean every Circles roll should be ob1 by default, unless I guess you were looking for mice that wanted to hurt you.

I am guessing that either I am missing something in the book, or that this becomes obvious in play. Can someone shed some light?


I think the Lieam example is a good one to answer your questions:

The cartographer was not willing to help Lieam, he was simply aiding a mouse he thought was looking to join the Black Axe. This deception may have to be tested on seperately, though I believe that would be up to the Story Teller (I tend to require these checks myself). He wouldn’t have aided Lieam to sabatoge or hinder the army, as he wasn’t helpful. If the roll had failed, since he wasn’t neutal, it would of made perfect sense for the cartographer to turn him over to the rebels. Being neutral or helpful will definetly change the manner which the NPC will help the characters, and can influence any twists which may occur.

It’s important to note that if a Story teller occasionally requires persuader, deception or barter and resource rolls in order to get help from neutral or hostile mice, it would definetly encourage searching for helpful mice during the Players Turn, as each check is so precious.

Thats my take on these questions, hope I’ve helped.

  1. They are not automatically helpful. Future tests may be called for at the GM’s discretion depending on the situation.

  2. I’m presuming the GM decided the Attitude factor was not applicable to the test. Lieam was explicitly looking for someone that was opposed to the Guard.