Questions about mechanics

Friends, Hello!

Some time ago in the country in which I live localized RPG Mouse guards. Unfortunately we do not have a very large community of players and presenters, and the publisher is quite “amorphous” and very little support for players. So I decided to turn here - including on the advice of David Peterson - I turned first to him, because the form did not work.

I apologize in advance for:

  1. My English is not very good, I can not very clearly Express my thoughts because of this;
  2. From the fact that my English is not very good - I find it difficult to use the search. If I ask questions that have already been discussed, please just give me a link.

I have already played a number of games on the system. And the longer we play, the deeper we dig the rules. I immediately say - I did not play the original system - Burning Wheel. Actually questions:

  1. Conflict. The order of drawing cards during the conflict is determined in advance? ie, Players can’t respond to map an open leading, and to choose a more advantageous for them.
  2. Conflict. Let’s say it’s a " fight." One team looks like this: Damon, Charles, Kane and Paulie - they are mice, guards. The other team is Gulgar and his team. All five of them. Is it possible in this conflict split second the command as follows: Gulgar - captain, and the other five will be one “unit”. ie, they only add +1D when checking Golharam skill “Fighter” in determining disposition. And they will receive one action card at all.
  3. Going back to step 2. So - how to count the number of dice that must to burn incense, this “unit” with the skill check? Arithmetic mean? amount?
  4. Again, the situation from paragraph 2. If you can. For example, if two of the five sailors have equipment “light armor”. Let’s say these five play the action “Attack” against the “Attack” of the Guards. Have detained marks 3 success. How can you use “units” of equipment which would reduce the damage of the Disposition? One? Two? or none?
  5. One of my player he is a terrible lover of all “combo” - put forward this idea: the Mouse is advantageous not to have skills that would replace their ability to “Nature”. I will say not having the skill to “Fighter”, the mouse to throw the definition of Dispositions in the “Battle” can throw “Nature” - and for that it will be nothing, because this test cannot fail. I didn’t argue, but I think it’s really weird.
    Russian-language book confirms that so can be to do. I will be very grateful to the answers. Even stronger I would be grateful if you will indicate where in the book you can find answers to these questions if they (answers) are there. my players and I have found solutions to these game situations, but I really want to find the “right” or “official” answers to better understand the system.

Sincerely Boris.

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Hello Boris! I’m happy you’ve come. I’ll try to keep my answers short and clear. I hope they will translate well. I need to dig my book out for precise answers to all, but will give some now. Also note I’m referring to the second edition of the game. I don’t know which version was translated to Russian. I also can’t give page numbers as I presume they are different in the Russian translation.

Burning Wheel and Mouse Guard are related games, but they do not use the same system. The rules are very different in many places. Advice given for one does not usually apply to the other.

Yes, each round the team will select three actions and may not change them. If a character is knocked out, another character may lead in that slot, though.

No, each participant is separate.

Only the armor of the lead character for that action counts.

Yes, they would not be taxed there, but using Nature in the actions themselves would likely tax them quickly.

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likewise, welcome to the forum. I hope we will hear more about your games.

  1. echo of stormsweeper; the cards are selected in three for each side, and revealed in order–they will change for the second volley if the teams have Disposition after those actions.

  2. So, the GM side team is the five sailors commanded by Gulgar? and they are in a Fight Conflict against the four patrol members? So, I would always treat that with each member of the GM side and each member of the player side get to act individually. I know that groups of NPCs often have the same stats, but I note names and have them act as individuals. Also, they will offer Helper Dice to one another.

  3. The individual NPC will act and will have a rating for the skill, they may have others offering Helper Dice. In some cases, the individual NPCs will have different stats, so if players notice that they might target weak points–that can be a good strategy for players to attempt.

  4. the individual who rolls the dice of an action may use the gear they have. So, a group might have the same stats, but each carries different weapon, or one has heavy armor instead of light armor. So, this is another way the players could be watching for weak and strong individuals on the opposing GM side. For example, one of the sailors carries an ax and rolls Attack actions, but another has a knife and rolls Maneuver actions.

  5. I think I understand that the players is feeling that Nature 4 without Fighter at all is better than Fighter 2. In a fight, that kinda works; I would say that’s a bad route to play the whole thing. Rolling the initial Disposition, I’d encourage if any player does not have Fighter rated at all, they cannot be the Conflict Captain–unless no patrol member is rated in Fighter at all. Or, if they want to have a solo duel, but do not have Fighter, I would require they use the rules of Beginner’s Luck rather than roll Nature. During the battle, when the action calls for Fighter, I would encourage Beginner’s Luck, but allow Nature if desired. When they test Nature during a fight, they are going to be Taxed; if they use it for each action, it might be taxed to 0. If they do that in a duel without passing actions to other members of the team, they will be taxed pretty quickly, and might be required to surrender when they can no longer roll any dice from taxed Nature. It is a very risky choice. But, if they use Beginner’s Luck for all the actions, they might get lots of progress to learn Fighter!


Thank you very much for your answers. I was very busy and could not get to the forum and answer you. You have dispelled many of my doubts. Unfortunately, our localizer - in Russia - is extremely no competent in the field of rules and does not give clear answers. I’ll ask you a few more questions later.

PS. unfortunately I do not speak English very well, but I will try to write a small report about some of our games.


New question. I perfectly understand that a lot of things in a game the Mouse Guards are solved by common sense and dialogue. however, I want to understand how it works from the point of view of mechanics.

  1. When determining the starting disposition. Is it possible to help the captain, who performs a skill test - “knowledge”? I am confused by the fact that the book clearly says “abilities and skills”. Plus if the mouse helps “knowledge” - it is not covered by the negative impact of the audit, and in this case, the “conflict”. It’s very embarrassing.
  2. On the character sheet has skills “prescribed” initially. Tell me, are they mandatory? Is it possible to replace and fit instead of not having the skill rating of some other, if the hero’s character sheet, there are no remaining lines except for this one. The representative of the localizer claims that the skill “fighter” is mandatory, but the book has a ready character - Sloan. She doesn’t have the fighter skill.
  3. I am still very concerned about this question. When the mouse is checked for example the skill “Scout”. The book says that you can help with this test skills “Pathfinder” and “Hunter”. Is it possible from the point of view of mechanics to help other skills? “Weather watcher” or “survival Specialist.” I would like to have an answer from the point of view of mechanics. Or you just need to apply the idea of “it should make sense” and listen to the explanation of the player.
    I want to write a summary of the rules for the players at the club. And I want the players to understand the mechanics. But at the same time, of course, I will point out that everything remains at the discretion of the host. And if he’s satisfied with the explanation that he can prevent actions which are partly not consistent with the mechanics of the game. For the sake of the integrity of the narrative and flow of the game.

Welcome back!

  1. I think I understand your question: When rolling Disposition, does each member of the team offer Helper? And, can they use a Wise as a Helper for Disposition?

I’d say yes the team members in a Conflict offer Helper dice to the Conflict Captain to roll Disposition. I would allow a player to describe offering a Wise as Helper to that Disposition dice pool. The rules do not have a different rule for the Disposition test than other tests (except that it does not count toward pass/fail for advancement).

I think you are also asking: Since offering a Helper from a Wise, they do not become impacted by a Condition; does that change anything about the Conflict results?

I would rule that small portion is ignored. It’s an interesting topic. The Conflict will be much more than one test, and the results, the Compromise, are a negotiation between winner and loser of the Conflict. In that result, sometimes there are Conditions and sometimes Twists. Everyone gets to negotiate a bit. I can understand that one player in the team might want to avoid a Condition, and that could be accepted in the negotiations of the results. I would not make that a rule, but sometimes it might be appropriate from the story.

  1. The pre-generated characters have skills selected. In the sample missions, those pre-generated characters are all set to go; however, there is a portion of the sample missions text that describes alterations to things set on the sheet. You can change the skills or the ratings of the skills. You can reduce a skill to minimum 2 and move those points to another skill to maximum 5. But, that text about alterations says the existing skills cannot be removed, and new skills may not be added.

Looking a bit later in the Recruitment chapter, skills are granted based on many choices. The first choice is Rank; only the Tenderpaw rank lacks the skill Fighter. Other choices which add to Skills are Hometown, Natural Talent, Parent’s Trade, Social Graces, Apprenticeship, Mentorship, and Specialty. In each of those choices a player could take Fighter or avoid Fighter.

So, it is not mandatory, but there is only the Tenderpaw who can totally avoid Fighter (Sloan is a Tenderpaw). Unless you create a custom Recruitment process. That is something I’ve done; because, I do not like the pre-selected package of skills. My custom brew needs some revision though. It makes characters too strong.

  1. I always start with the rules, then make adjustments. In respect to Scout, I would probably allow it as Helper for Survivalist, but maybe not Weather Watcher.

In that sense, I agree to just apply the idea of, “it should make sense,” and listen to the explanation. That is a great way to make adjustments which are not rules, but just the right choice for a scenario.

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Thank you so much for your so quick answer :slight_smile:

Back to the question of Wise.

I had such situation that the patrol won the conflict having lost a half of points of a disposition. The player who did not manage to get an action card not spent a single check, and helped only different Wise. It created a strange situation in my head. Of course, he suffered the consequences of compromise. but mechanically he was not involved in any way that we could apply the rule “what you sow, so shall you reap” - don’t know how to spell it in English. Of course, my players are wonderful and will not argue with me during the game, but after we often arrange heated debates about the mechanics.

While I wrote all this decided for myself that I will not allow players to help to determine the disposition of “Wise”. Only in extreme cases, a very good language.

I am also from Russia, and also very sorry for my terrible English :slight_smile: .

I have another question, we had a lot of arguments about order of actions in conflict. There is a rule in second edition that GM reviles his action first, then players reviles theirs. So can PC team choose any of their remaining actions, or they must stick to the order in which captain gave those actions? And if there is a rigid order, than why GM must revile his action first, and players second, why not simultaneously then?

On a side note, IMHO Russian localizer isn’t incompetent, more like they don’t want to give any definitive answer when they don’t have crystal clear picture or official explanation from authors…

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Dmitriy, hi. Your question I asked under number 1, in the first summit. The answer was that the order could not be changed.

Just regarding the topic of why a GM reveals first:

In all areas of the game design, the instruction is for the GM to reveal first what the players are up against. So, if it is a factored obstacle, the GM reveals the Ob test. If it is opposed by another force, the GM rolls the dice of the Vs test. And in a Conflict, the GM reveals cards first.

Following this pattern, the players can always make a bit of adjustment to how they pull together dice. For example, seeing a low Ob or low Vs result might invite a player to use a Trait as detriment. Or, seeing a high Ob or high Vs result might invite a player to tap Nature using Persona.

The hope in following the pattern is that players can make those decisions ahead and speed up the mechanical portions of game play. The GM does not have Fate and Persona points to use, and cannot gain Checks by using a Trait as detriment. So, it is faster to roll dice or factor the obstacle (Ob).

And, this reduces or eliminates the action being hidden from players. You may be familiar with other games in which the GM rolls dice for the players behind the screen, or rolls for the NPCs behind the screen. That sort of hidden action is a behavior that Luke wanted to reduce or eliminate from Burning Wheel, and he kept that attitude in writing Mouse Guard and later in Torchbearer.


Thanks a lot for detailed explanation, now I see why “GM rolls first” instruction is there.

Sorry, somehow didn’t notice that part (

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