Scientist Conflict

I´m about to play the mission from the New Rules / New Missions book, Dam beaver.

Throughout the mission, different options for the conflict are raised and my first and most important doubt is the following:

How would you approach the Scientific Conflict against the beaver dam, any ideas regarding the narrative of the actions or what an attack, defense, feint or maneuver would mean on the patrol or beaver side? ¿What about the Gears for the conflict?

My second doubt is the following:
When the Orator roll is failed, the game brings the introduction of Tuk the bandit in the game, should they then face this problem in the GM Turn, or just narrate to the players that they are starting to loot taking advantage of the situation but due to the urgency of the mission they should face the beaver dam first? What if the patrol decides to split in two to solve the two obstacles?

And a third doubt would be:
In the players’ turn, if the patrol fails during the mission, the option appears that a new patrol arrives to take over the mission bragging about the players. How would you plan this as an obstacle, and how could the players deal with it? An inter-patrol fight doesn’t seem to me the best option…


There’s a stream to the east of Lonepine that drains the Grasslake and runs out into the bay. Late last year, the beavers built a damn across it and then built a lodge in the center of the pond they created.
Destroying the dam requires a full Scientist conflict. Test Scientist plus Will for disposition.
Skills for actions are: Scientist for Attack and Feint, Laborer for Defend, Carpenter for Maneuver.
For the dam, you can use the Beaver Nature 7 or, if the beavers have been removed, use the season, spring 6.

How would you approach attacks using science, defense using Laborer, and maneuvers using Carpenter? I can’t figure it out…

I see you have another comment clarifying the question regarding the Scientist Conflict, so I’ll start here with the Mouse Hazard. Personally, I would call this out as a Wilderness Hazard, but let’s not worry about that.

The patrol must rally the town to respond in an organized way; Orator is a good candidate for that intent. If it rolls out cowards, I’d go for the juicy Mouse Twist (heads up, this is why I would revise the flooding to be a Wilderness Hazard) of Tuk the bandit with an entourage looting and otherwise exploiting the scenario. Personally, I have Tuk focused on helping mice out, taking them from town with their belongings, and administratively packing his bandit encampment with new residents, and stuffing his encampment treasury with an inventory of pragmatic new assets, but I view bandits in a bit different way than perhaps the typical understanding of the term.

It would still be in the GM Turn, requiring the patrol to leave the task of rallying and managing via Orator. The patrol could choose how to respond, but I would suspect a few optional courses of action to arise.

(a) The town leadership knows they’ve failed to resolve this emergency, and see that Tuk is about to lead away critical artisans, merchants, laborers, and other residents that will be far more loyal to Tuk than to Lonepine; they pressure the patrol to stop the Lonepine residents from relocating (possibly calling for a forceful expulsion of Tuk). This calls for the patrol to agree or disagree and stand for that decision. If they agree, they had better suggest how they will prevent Tuk from relocating Lonepine’s finest and deter loyalty from being placed in Tuk’s banditry/leadership. If they disagree, they had better suggest to the leaders how they can properly support Tuk and get behind him with full loyalty as well as commending Tuk’s leading bravado.

(b) A patrol mate who considers Tuk an enemy sees how much this will cost the Lonepine residents and will deter townies from returning to full-time residency, so that patrol mate needs to get fellow patrol members to join in preventing Tuk from relocating residents or looting the town of non-perishable goods. This calls a cloakmouse to stand up among the patrol laying their claims against Tuk and supporting such arguments with real or perceived evidence of bad conduct or the ills of banditry.

© A patrol mate who considers Tuk a friend sees how much this will serve the Lonepine residents and will secure livelihoods and goods for townies about to leave residency, so that patrol mate needs to get fellow patrol members to join in assisting Tuk to evacuate residents and salvaging the town of non-perishable goods. This calls a cloakmouse to stand up among the patrol laying their claims in favor of Tuk and supporting such arguments with real or perceived evidence of good conduct or the joys of banditry.

Now, there may be other routes to take that scene, but I think that’s about where I would aim. I would aim for a scene about the affairs of mice in regimented towns or enjoying the liberty of banditry.

I would expect the patrol should act promptly, but that Lonepine leadership can be used as a critical spur for the patrol to act in favor of the status quo in the request to drive off Tuk and the entourage. If the patrol takes up no action, as though it is just a neat element of the scene to see, I’d let it slide, but the status quo would be destroyed. Tuk and the entourage of bandits would evacuate and relocate those mice who they truly believe can serve the bandit camp and assist in relocating their personal things and would loot or salvage any other valuable goods for use in the bandit camp. If the patrol does nothing, Tuk gains while the Lonepine leaders are left with the less-desirable residents and the task of organizing an evacuation.

At a later time, Lonepine will falter all the more while the bandit camp’s and Tuk’s might grows.

If the patrol suggests a split, the issue with Tuk is the scene I would play out and roll dice over. The other scene would not roll dice and would go about as badly as I want to describe depending on the patrol mates who split (based on stats and rank) as well as how the other patrol mates fare in dealing with Tuk and the entourage. I would discourage the players from attempting a split-screen endeavor to manage two tasks by splitting the patrol mates. One side simply would not be allowed to roll dice, and would still not be able to participate as Helpers in the ensuing scene with Tuk. It’s a costly error to split the patrol.

Following the decisions regarding the Twist, then they can head out to consider what to do about the beavers and/or the dam.

The patrol must commit to resolving the issue. It might include driving off the beavers first. Whether the beavers are around or driven off, the scene is a lengthy montage of cautiously dismantling the dam or increasing the flow to ensure the town of Lonepine is not flooded.

Attack tests Science. This is the science of math, architecture, physics, and perhaps some materials science. The effort of an attack is to assess how and where to introduce damage to the structure that enables the water to overwhelm the construction.

Defend tests Laborer. This is the manual labor of digging, butting, pulling, hauling, levering, etc. If they can manage to output more oomph than beavers, they have a respite reflected by regaining Dispo.

Maneuver tests Carpenter. This is probably representative of large-scale timber works and making levees, locks, channels, sub-dams, bulwarks, walls, etc. that are instrumental in shaping the outflow of water and hopefully avoiding a catastrophic breach by which raging floodwaters tumble downstream toward the bay crashing over all the lands between.

Feint tests Scientist. Similar to Attack, but attempting something rather risky and prone to threaten the mice themselves.

But, the overall scene takes time. Try to avoid thinking any single action is similar to the 6-10sec that is often described by initiative-based systems. Each individual action could represent days, weeks, or months as the patrol must circumnavigate the earthworks and determine the effective course for removal. The overall Conflict might occupy all the period of the season itself. They are fully engaged or they cannot make headway against the beavers; they must face the massive structure despite the weather, other animals, requests from mice, or challenges of the wilderness.

And, with that note, I would consider if any weather, wilderness, or animals exist as Gear for the GM Side to wield against the patrol.

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It is a Mouse Hazard, so I’d focus on Persauder/Manipulator, Administrator, Instructor, Haggler, and Militarist tests to initially sketch the bounds. It will depend on the choices players make to respond in case the other patrol arrives with something to scrutinize after success or something to take over after failure. Personally, I would choose between having Tuk involved or having another patrol involved, but I’m not likely to use both.

So, that depends on the players and what Friends/Enemies they are using among the patrol mates. I like Tuk the bandit as a strong character for contention and dissonance. I don’t prefer bringing contention and dissonance from other cloakmice. I would personally lean much more heavily on Tuk as a source of trouble rather than another patrol of cloakmice.

You have simply made me understand something that has clarified the concept of the conflict itself. It must be a conflict taken over several days, like a journey or war conflict. When I play Mouse Guard, I often have trouble when narrating or directing in concepts of time scales. And that’s why I have trouble even advancing through seasons. Thank you very much for taking the blindfold off, now I understand the conflict perfectly.

I like the point of view that you have given to everything, you have clarified all the points of the game and I think I’m ready to play it, I was afraid of the scientific conflict especially since they are inexperienced players and I was afraid of not knowing how to explain the conflict, but now it is simply to make them understand that the conflict will be a summary of something that happens during several days.

Actually I have used “Dam Beaver”, the sample mission offered in the book “New Missions” to adapt it to my game.

The patrol was returning from a mission in sprucetuck when they found that Martin Mosse, the old governor of Elmoss was ill, one of the Elmoss healers offered to heal the old man but asked the patrol for two ingredients he did not have in his apothecary, broadleaf plantain and mandragora root, the patrol split up, one went in the direction of Ivydale, near the stone watchman where they knew the mandragora grew, after managing to chase away a striped snake that put the mice in serious trouble they got the root extract and returned to Elmoss, the other group had to cross a river near Elmoss to get the plantain that grew on the other side of the river, they failed in their boatcraft but the beavers were not at the dam at the time, they crossed over and in a nearby pond fought an amazing fight with a bullfrog to get the broadleaf plantain and returned wounded but triumphant to save the life of Martin Mosse, who is still convalescing but improving.

After all that they received the news that Elmoss had begun to flood due to the dam they found that day in the river. Martin Mosse is too ill to manage the Elmoss militia or take command, so Scott Mosse, his son should take over. Scott was seen on the players’ shift plotting with a Barkstone emissary escorted by two members of the dark guard, Barkstone’s militia, who were part of Midnight’s army at one time. Scott also didn’t seem too happy that his father and head of the Mosse family recovered from his illness… everything seems pretty clear that there is a conspiracy to take control of the city, together with the rulers of Barkstone and thus pit two cities against the guard…
But it seems that faced with the problem of the flood Scott has decided to flee, kidnapping his sister Margaret, (in love with a member of our patrol).

Instead of introducing Tuk, I will introduce Iker the terrible, he is a bandit and enemy of the patrol’s Tenderpaw, Iker persuaded his parents to join his gang, and his best friend Einar, the Tenderpaw has recently received a letter informing him that his parents have died, he may think it was Aiken, but it was really a group of scout weasels that have begun to make raids in the southern territories taking advantage of the old tunnels of Darkheater. His friend Einar will find himself and Iker manipulating the population to leave Elmoss and join their camp.

Iker is paid by the governors of Barkstone to spread terror, and create trouble for the mouse guard, they will also try to take advantage to loot, they are simply oporunists, but not murderers.

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