Questions from a first time GM

Hello all, I have just finished my second read through of the Mouse Guard rpg book, and there are a couple of things that stick out for me that I still have questions about. Any help would be great.

  1. In a conflict (specifically a fight conflict), how much help can one mouse receive. Let us say that Saxon, Kenzie and Lieam are on one team in a fight conflict. Saxon plays an attack against another attack. Saxon has a fighter of 6. Can both his teammates (Kenzie and Lieam who both also have fighter) give him a helping dice.
    Could Saxon get 6+1(Kenzie)+1(Lieam) for a total of 8?

  2. Conditions in a conflict. I assume that conditions still affect your rolls in a conflict. If Lieam is Hungary and sick, his disposition is -1D (sick) and -1 overall (hungry). And all of his rolls in a conflict are at -1D for being sick. Is this correct?

  3. Teams in a conflict taking disposition damage. So let us say that we have Kenzie and Saxon on one team, and Lieam and Sadie on a second team and they are fighting one team of weasels. If both mouse teams play an attack action, and the weasels also play an attack action, the mice with get one roll with one team helping the other, the weasels get one roll (independent vs independent test). Let us say the mice roll 4s and the weasels roll 6s. Do both mouse teams take the total disposition damage of 2 from the weasels? Or is it split between them, one apiece?
    3a) If the same teams above play different actions. Let us say the first team plays an attack and and the second team plays a defend. The weasels also play an attack. Kenzie rolls 3 successes on the attack. Sadie rolls 2 successes to defend. The weasels roll 4 successes. Will Kenzie’s team take 4 disposition damage(independent vs independent), Sadie’s team take 2 (versus roll), and the weasels take 3 (independent from Kenzie)?

  4. Weapons in conflict. If one character on a team has an axe and one has a sword. Does the character with the sword suffer the -1D to defend and faint from the axe, if he is the one performing the action. Basically, do tools effect the whole team, of just the tools of the character making the role?

  5. Learning new skills. You can use the Beginner’s Luck rule to roll half your Health or Will for a skill you do not have. Once you have attempted that skill a number of times equal to your nature you get the skill at level 2. However, can a character with the teacher skill instead use their ability to give you a free pass/fail to give you a free pass check. If you have 0 in a skill and get a pass check, that should give you level 1 in that skill. Likewise a second use of teacher (by either a second character, or on a different turn) could give you a new pass check which would push your skill now at level 1 to level 2.

Thank you all.

  1. Yes. Saxon can receive as much help from his teammates as is justified by the description of the conflict scene.

  2. That is correct. Conditions affect conflict rolls.

  3. I’ll leave this one for someone else.

  4. The character receives one die from the helper. The helper’s weapon does not affect the testing mouse.

  5. Instructor skill, page 248: “If your Instructor test is successful, you may give your student a passed or failed test for advancement. . . . You may also use the Instructor skill to grant your student a test toward a skill he’s learning.” This seems explicit. Either the student receives a passed or failed test for a skill he’s learned already, or the student receives a test toward learning a skill with Beginner’s Luck. For learning a new skill, passing or failing are inconsequential; only the number of tests made matters (page 229).

  1. Daniel: I thought that you can’t help with the same skill being used (i.e. Help a Fighter roll with your Fighter skill).

Hi Doc,

A mouse can help with the same skill, a related skill, or a wise–page 94 under “Skills and Wises Help Skills and Wises.” This is the same for conflicts (page 102, “Teamwork in Conflicts”).

  1. The first question to answer is “what is everyone doing?” You can’t figure out who takes what until you know what weasels do when they Attack. They could knock loose a bunch of rocks that fall on everyone’s head or the might fire an arrow at Lieam. And if their goal is “scare the puny mice!” An attack might have nothing to do with hurting them, or it might.

Hi Uncle Deadly, I’m also relatively new to Mouse Guard, but I’ll do my best to answer your questions.

  1. As far as I know the weasels chooses one team. Attack Vs Attack is an independent test with an obstacle of 0. Therefore in you example the weasels loses 4 disposition and one of the teams loses 6 disposition.

3a) As noted in number 3, I’m pretty sure the weasels choose a team to attack. As far as I know the other teams actions are considered independent. So if the weasels attack Kenzies team they do independent tests while Sadie makes an independent defend test ob 3.

re: 3.
I noticed no one clarified the conditions of more than two opposed teams. I rarely have more than two teams per conflict.

If the group of patrol mice feels large enough to split up into two teams for facing an opponent, they must also set goals which are divergent.

The following is not appropriate: (Team 1: We will defeat our foe; Team 2: We will not be defeated by our foe) The two goals are too similar. They are basically seeking the same result.

The following can be an example of appropriate divergent goals: (Team 1: We must chase this foe; Team 2: We must kill this foe) These goals are not very similar–one is a goal of dealing a mortal wound.

Another appropriate example: (Team 1: This stuff must be donated to support the settlement; Team 2: This stuff must be bought to support the settlement) This shows how the two teams must be seeking different results.

One final example of appropriate goals: (Team 1: These mice are innocent and must be aquitted; Team 2: These mice are guilty, but should be treated with mercy) This example again shows that the teams must be seeking different results.

In the case of all those appropriate examples, they might at times find ways to help each other while pressing for their own goal, but to truly win their goal, they must defeat each other also. The conflict must continue until there remains only 1 team with Disposition.

This is why multiple teams per side becomes rare; the teams must be seeking different goals. It is not enough to simply be a large group.

To clarify my post. You never split an attack between two teams.
It’s not unthinkable for two teams to have to deal with an attack, depending upon the fiction. But you wouldn’t split anything.

@ Kendesign: “It is not enough to simply be a large group.”

Page 100 (Box Set Rulebook): “If necessary, a team may be up to four mice big, but it’s not recommended. More than four to a side and you must break down into multiple teams.”

Having pointed that out, I’m not saying that your well thought out post on competeing goals per side in a conflict is wrong. It’s certainly worth pointing out. As far as I know, however if you have a group of 5 or more players who all participate in a conflict there will always be multiple teams in a conflict though. Two for the players and one or more for the NPCs.

If I have a large patrol that routinely splits up into multiple teams for conflicts (i.e. five or more players–I haven’t found four mice on one team problematic), I try to anticipate this when preparing my conflicts. For example, you can use multiple animals that split into teams with different goals, like one raven that wants to steal the mail and another that wants to eat a mouse.