So I thought I knew what I was doing...

… but I really just have no idea. I just tried running a ‘test’ game as a GM with two other players. We knew this session was going to be rough (we wanted to at least have the three of us knowing what we’re doing when the others joined) but now we’re all slightly confused even more.

First, let me give you a background of myself. 20, been introduced to RPG’s since I was born in '91 and while other kids were playing baseball and army men I was pretending to slay dragons in the sandbox. Fast forward a few years, parents divorced and my dad, who was my RPG influence was now 6 hours away and my ability to play waned. Many years later I tried getting friends to try D&D to some avail, then another kid started a short campaign in 3.5, people loved it, kid left, and now I run a casual 3.5e campaign with my current group made up of some of the other group. Eventually we wanted to try something Sci-Fi, went to the local hobby shop, and left with the Mouse Guard Box Set instead.

Alright, now that you know where I’m coming from… I’d like to say that buying Mouse Guard was 5 days ago and I’ve since read the book cover to cover once already. I’ve gone over the rules, read the examples and already began contemplating buying the comics because I’m already in love with the idea of the game.

So tonight after dinner, me and two friends in the group (there’s 6 of us so I wanted to start small with the most RPG savy) decided that we were going to try a sample mission. We planned on doing this on Tuesday (before we meet on Wednesday for our usual game) but decided the extra session couldn’t hurt. Now, we understood the character creation rules fine so we went ahead and made their characters with no problem. I double-checked them, everything was in order- I found the Recruitment section to be rather straight-forward.

So, now instead of just doing the Grain Peddler mission like I should have I also decided to go for gold and I made up a mission on the spot. The mission was “Find out what is happening at the Beetle Farm between Lockhaven and Ironwood” (Do they have beetle farms? I dunno, just sounded good to me.) My two obstacles were a Bullfrog on the way there and then finding out why the mice at the beetle farm were not communicating. So I went ahead, gave them the mission, they picked appropriate goals and I sent them on their way. Up to this point I was sure I was doing fine but if not let me know, and especially from here on tell me what I messed up.

So I gave them a description of the path they were taking to Ironwood and their surroundings. I then said that a hungry bullfrog jumped out of a deep puddle, looking for a snack. Cue conflict, right? Wrong? They were not sure if they wanted to fight the bullfrog or run or what. I let them decide and they decided to fight.

Now, neither had taken Fighter or Hunter skills, so neither could really Feint or Attack, so I let one of them change one of their skills to Fighter instead of what it was. Cue Bullfrog demolishing them (with the Goal of eating one of them. Their goal was to kill the frog.) I let them go (even though they had not gotten any compromise) with Injured and Angry even though they were supposed to make the compromise I think. I said the bullfrog was tired of chasing them and hopped away.

One of them tried a Weather Watcher test, failed, and in came a Spring Snow. Then a failed Pathfinder test (which, I put in because the snow was starting to cover the trail. Does this sound right or should I not have?) led them to the Beetle Farm- destroyed. After a failed Scout test to find the mice who ran away the Bullfrog came back with the goal of eating them both. Their goal was to run away. The bullfrog won without compromise and since it was getting late and at this point we realized that we were not as sure as we thought we were we decided that this was a bad dream their characters had and left to do more research of the game.

Now, a couple questions did come up during the game. So they chose to run. I was not sure if they could even run, but I guessed that Chase could work for this. We understood the different skills used (again, not skills they chose) and this is where the questions began to rain.

  1. In a conflict, can you change the type of conflict? So if they’re running away (or chasing) can one mouse decide to actually attack the bullfrog like in a fight or do you have to stick with the conflict chosen?

  2. Also, since this is a bullfrog and not a mouse/weasel, should it have been attack animal or is that reserved for the big guys?

  3. How much narrative are you and the players supposed to give? Should you jump right to the next skill/conflict or should you give a bit of a description of the journey/let the player’s describe what they’re doing? We were not really sure too much on this and while the game encourages role-playing like no other it does not give much in the way of ideas or standards for this kind of stuff.

I know there’s more we were asking but I can’t think of it. Regardless we’re going to try the Grain Peddler on Tuesday with the Pre-Gen characters (I think Kenzie and Saxon) and see how that pans out. Again any and all help is appreciated!

  1. No. A fight is a fight, a chase is a chase from start to finish.
  2. It should have been Fight Animal so Hunter or Fighter would have been appropriate for the Bullfrog.
  3. The GM controls the first two obstacles (and the twists) and then turns the control over to the players. The players can choose to accomplish goals or recovery during their turn. You should always, always, always described the surroundings, the perspective of being small, the weather, the sounds and smells of the forest. It’s a roleplaying game afterall.

-So was using Chase for them to run away right then?
-Also, during the conflict when we show the actions we’re supposed to say what we’re doing, right? So I’d say the Bullfrog is try to jump onto a mouse, while the mouse might say it is trying to stab the frog when it lands? What we were doing was whoever won the actions (the bullfrog or that mouse) I let describe that action playing out before drawing the next card. Or should I just be doing all the describing here?
-Is it reasonable to ask them what they’re doing during the GM’s turn? For example, reading the Grain Peddler, if they’re looking for the map in the cart it says to ask them what they’re looking for and apply the corresponding test. This seems to go against the whole ‘holding the reins’ during the GM’s turn idea but I do like the idea of more player interaction and decisions throughout the game.
-Is introducing a new test due to the result of a failed test a good idea? Like adding the Pathfinder test to find the usually detectable beetle farm when it started snowing from the failed Weather Watcher?

Thanks again!

-chase is fine for running away if the frog is going to give chase, and you want to make it a full conflict. Remember, if they don’t have the right skill, a mouse can always use their Nature (running is even in line with mouse nature, so it doesn’t get taxed like it would if they used it to fight). Mice can also use Beginner’s Luck to use a new skill and start learning it at the same time.
-both the GM and player should describe what they’re doing. One of the GM’s key roles in a conflict is to make sure that there’s plenty of narrative color, so everyone can visualize what’s going on.
-yes, you can ask them what they’re doing after youve presented an obstacle, but would just call for a test. “if anyone wants to search the cart it is an ob3 Scout test…”
-failures can lead to twists, which can mean additional tests. it’s no different than if you had badgers attack after the failed WW. You would just be calling for stabby rolls, then.

It sounds like you had a good start. Also, you had a fairly good mission–an animal obstacle which became a fight animal conflict, followed by a mouse obstacle which became an animal twist. You also had a weather twist.

So, there are some good things happening in your description. The players chose for their mice to stand and fight the bullfrog. I’d like to say a few things about the inclusion of a buillfrog. While they are predatory and carnivorous, they are not much larger than mice. They do share the prey of an area with mice; that is a good place to see things at odds. A bullfrog doesn’t have lots of tools for a fight like mice do, but it might very much want to chase or scare the mice away from its own lair at least.

Even when using a goal of killing or eating a mouse, find room for an interesting goal that players can play towards, for eaxample, “I will kill one of these mice without becoming badly hurt,” “These mice attract predators, and I must kill them for my babies to be safe,” “I’ll chase these mice away from their settlement, and come back to eat them while they are lost, injured, and tired.”

You’re going to read the goal to the players, so they can play into the goal. If the goal is simply, “I will eat one of these mice,” one of the first questions might be, “Are you still going to try that when the mice brandish a sharp sword or axe?”

Later, when the mice chose to run away from the frog, A Chase conflict is the best tool. I’m really curious how they could have lost without compromise. Consider this, the bullfrog does have predatory as part of its nature, but what if the critter doesn’t have a nature for pathfinder-like and scout-like activities? It probably shouldn’t be very good in a chase.

With the mice on the run, they should easily be able to call Nature (Mouse) for any action unless they really want to rely on Pathfinder or Scout instead. Mice should nearly always triumph at hiding, escaping, and climbing (which the bullfrog could not do easily). Only predatory creatures should be able to threaten them (which the bullfrog is).

When mice are running away in the chase, rather than chasing, I would always allow them to call on Nature (Mouse) for their actions. In fact, I probably wouldn’t make a conflict of it, just a simple obstacle. Mice should always be the best at escaping and hiding.

When the players are saying, “We want to run away from this threat,” it is a good sign to push that down to an obstacle unless they are running from weasels or mice. in those cases, there is more room for conflict creating a fun scene. the weasels and mice can talk and taunt each other during the chase, and could have more creative compromises.

I do want to mention the description of the Weather watcher, then pathfinder, then scout. It sounds like you are allowing a complex obstacle to represent their search for the mice of the beetle ranch (oh, awesome idea by the way; i’ve used it myself in the past). Was that what you intended? I like to use complex obstacles to allow a patrol to think of not just one task to fill, but several, yet still have to consider and weigh which tests are most important.

I’ll describe one use of a three test obstacle at my table two weeks ago. I told the mice they had an eight week trek from Wolfepointe to Flintrust, but must move quickly since they were expected in the previous season. They would get three tests to represent the time and distance. Knowing that it could be more than Pathfinder, they started to discuss creatively what other skills mattered. One proposed that weather watcher was key to having good travel. Another felt that Survivalist was essential to proper rest along the way. Also, Harvester, Cartographer, and Scout were all mentioned. It almost looked as though one mouse might argue into having all three tests. Ultimately, they decided that each mouse should take one test; first for Weather Watcher vs Season, a second for Survivalist vs Ob, and a third for Pathfinder vs Ob. They helped each other and may their tests in that order.

I encourage loads of player narrative. I often use it to determine just how much a mouse seems invested in an obstacle. It might turn a simple obstacle into a conflict after they get into the narration.

I ask lots of questions to clarify descriptions too.

During conflicts, I require them to describe actions. I describe results after the actions are resolved. Outside of conflicts, I allow them to describe and ask questions, but I establish the required test and Ob or vs based on their described actions.

When you get to running the Grain Peddler, certainly ask them about what they are looking for, or where they are looking. Be careful not to offer leading questions. Ask open questions. Sometimes just say, “Tell me more about …,” to force them to describe the world around them. It could be what they are doing, what they are looking at, who they are talking to, what are they feeling or thinking.

As for instroducing a new test as the result of a failed test, I want to say the following: decide on success with a condition, or failure with a twist. Let that dictate whether a new test is afforded. So, if you choose success with a condition, tell them about the success. Allow them to chime in, but you dictate the results. Also tell them how their condition comes about. Once, a mouse pulled a Cartographer on too large a task (which is great!), so i described him carefully scribing a wonderful map. His fellow patrol mates thought it looked great. However, it simply wasn’t up to his expectations; it left him angry that something seemed not good enough. Later, during the player’s turn, he wanted to get rid of angry and wanted to pass at Cartographer, but had only one check. I reminded him he had already succeeded at making a map. The coward dice didn’t mean the map was bad; I had already dictated the success of mapmaking, but the anger of personal expectations. He chose to recover from anger by describing himself settling down to redrawn the map to his expectations.

In the case of failure with a twist, you don’t have to introduce the twist immediately next, but it will become the next scene. Finish the current scene, but stop them short of the successful goal. Then introduce the twist. You almost did that in your above example, “Checking the weather, you see a late spring snow starting; it covers the trails. You arrive at the beetle farm to find it destroyed. You spend time looking for the mice, but the same bullfrog ambushes you!” What I question is whether you meant it to be a three test obstacle. Was that the intent, or something that seemed like the right next step?

If I had established, “One test for this obstacle,” all the rest of the scene would rely on that single test. Any others would be untested, but described to the group. If someone asked for a test, I’d respond, “you get this result.” They would not mark a pass or fail since they are not actually being tested for that additional skill. So, make sure you establish if the obstacle can be faced with one, two, three, or more tests; stick with that decision once established. Also, if you establish a challenge must be faced with a conflict, only back down if the mice are choosing to back down from the challenge in retreat or surrender.

I suppose I am not in tune with my inner bullfrog haha. I was thinking that eating/killing was an easy goal but you’ve brought up some great points and alternatives. Now this has spawned two more questions for me, one of which I think I know the answer.

  1. When I presented the bullfrog I kind of assumed that it would be a conflict. However, it seems that I should be basing this on their reaction and action (run or fight) rather than deciding ahead of time. I think the reason I thought this was because there is really no other way to due a pathfinding test for example. So is the deciding of course of action which will determine obstacle or conflict one way the player’s have power in the GM’s turn?

  2. How intelligent are other animals? This has been bothering me since it’s not addressed too much. Obviously mice and weasels can talk and have societies and it mentions hares speaking softly (but still able to communicate). So does that mean they all speak the same language? Do other creatures speak languages (I guess what I’m asking is, could they tried to talk to the bullfrog instead of fighting it?)

Alright so this is making perfect sense in that I see where I screwed up but I do have a couple clarifying questions again. What I did was I failed to realize they could use their nature (I made them use Scout and Pathfinder…) and I kept giving the bullfrog his full nature on rolls. Since this conflict was not in the bullfrog’s nature, what should I have been doing?

Also, what roll do these natures play into conflicts? If a creature isn’t predatory, for example, does that mean it would not try to eat/kill the mice?

In retrospect I would probably just have made in an obstacle with an appropriate Ob.

I actually messed up here. A lot. I did not initially plan the Weather Watcher or Pathfinder. Even though it was the GM’s turn I let the player take a WW test (which, I know realize I should not have- that’s for the Player’s turn!) even though it was not my idea. Since he failed it (let’s just assume I had planned the WW test…) I introduced the Pathfinder as a twist- I described the weather and how now the path was becoming unclear on the rest of the way to the farm. They then failed this, so as an added twist the farm was destroyed. Initially the farm was going to be intact and the mice there were going to be angry at the Guard for something but instead I just made them not there. This brought up the Scout test to find the mice, which again was failed. So I introduced the bullfrog again, which chased them down and won (since I had messed up this conflict).

Now a question, this scout test was a Ob. It SHOULD have been a versus test against the farm-mice’s Nature (since they’re hiding), correct?

Now, say I had planned all three events ahead of time like in your example. I understand it’s a different situation, but did you give them Pathfinder ahead of time or did they know to use it themselves? Did you tell them it took 3 tests and depending on what they chose (and the results) bases the setting/status of the next scene?

Also, I’m very confused on helping on both tests and conflicts. Is it just +1D? Do they have to describe HOW they’re helping and have it be within reason? I understand for helping with Disposition but not other areas.

I think I already brought this up above. With the pathfinder, they failed, but still found the farm. The twist was that it was destroyed and the mice were missing. Was this a good thing? And then I brought back the bullfrog when they spent too much time (failing) Scout, not because of the conflict earlier.

Ok, this is a huge clarifying point for me. So let’s start a new example. Let’s say on the way to the beetle farm there was no bullfrog. Maybe I decided it was a two test obstacle to get there. I would… do what, say “It’s a Ob2 Pathfinder and then a Ob3 Scout to get there”? Would I ask them what types of skills to use for those two?

And then, if they wanted to incorporate, say, Survivalist as a third skill they wouldn’t roll- I would just include it in my description of what’s happening?

I know I’m asking a ton but thanks for everything! The more I’m asking the more I’m realizing things myself (it helps to actually think about them) but obviously I’m not all there yet.

Why did the players choose to fight the bullfrog initially, even though neither of them had fighter or hunter? I’m surprised both of them got out of Recruitment without any points in those skills. What skills did their mentors stress in training? What skills did they choose to have experience and specialties in?

I love that Mouse Guard make nonviolent situations as interesting as fights, but this is unusual.

Yes, well, that was one thing that somewhat slipped past us during the process. I did not realize it until we started playing neither took either (they’re remaking the characters next time, after we use the Pre-Gens).

One was a Tenderpaw under the other, a Patrol Leader. The Patrol Leader’s mentor had stressed Weather Watching, as did the Patrol Leader to the Tenderpaw (I told them that they did not have to, but they said to them it made sense role-playing).

Actually, looking at their sheets now, the Patrol Leader did take Hunting and it was his specialty… I don’t know why when I told him he could use that to substitute he didn’t. I think we were all confused and winging it and hoping it would suddenly make sense.

I’m also curious how they managed to lose without reducing the frog’s disposition even a little. Could you give us an idea about how the exchanges played out?

Another thing to keep in mind is you don’t have to Twist on failure. You can give them a complete success and impose a condition. That’s often a good choice to avoid adding further complications when things are messy enough.

When helping, you can pass over your 1D only if you can describe what you’re doing to help.

In your Complex Hazard example, if someone wanted to add a survivalist test, they couldn’t. Just ask them to describe all the neat survivalism that they are doing without a roll and without mechanical benefit (better yet, say “That sounds like a helping die to Leam’s Scout test…”

Well, I used the Frog’s nature on everything (5) and they used… 2 or something… so yea that’s how that happened.

I did give them Injured and Angry for the first fight- the rest was a complex obstacle.

Thank you! This pretty much what we did last night for helping. I take it that whether or not their description of what they’re doing to help is at the GM’s discretion? They tried saying something last night that did not make sense so I did not let them help.

Hi Robb!
I’m really new to MG too. Stick with it. As an OLD old school D&D’er, this to me is the best RPG going. I just bought Burning Wheel last week and I can’t wait to start learning that as well.
I’ve only run 2 games, but the 2nd time was markedly better than the first, and the support here is killer. As Luke said to me in one of my threads, it uses different brain muscles than D&D. That it does!
My thought for you: In MG, atmosphere is paramount. Get into the descriptions. Dive into the perspectives of being a tiny mouse in a huge world. Play some good Celtic acoustic instrumentals softly in the background. And personally? I get my Star Wars geekiness on and draw out my long-standing love for the Jedi Knights. To me, the Guard is almost like the Jedi, and that thought helps me put on the mantle of GM for this excellent game.

It looks like this mostly was an anomaly of figuring out things during your first session. When I challenge the players with an animal obstacle that doesn’t have a strong tie to the character’s Beliefs or Goals, I present the situation and ask them to decide quickly how they want to deal with it (e.g. fight or escape). But like Luke said above, once that decision is made, the players are stuck in that conflict type for its duration.

I apologize if this is rudimentary, but if both the tenderpaw and the patrol leader took Weather Watcher, that’s a big flag to present them with a weather obstacle, right? You gave them animals and mice. Not everything needs to be in the characters’ wheelhouse, but it would have been a great opportunity for them to show off their skills and roleplay the teacher-student relationship.

Thanks for the words of courage and wisdom! And I’m already feeling much more confident thanks to everyone- having our second ‘test’ session today and I’m running Grain Peddler or Deliver the Mail (or both, time permitting!)

I need to dive into the descriptions more. I always do so when I’m DMing D&D but I’m a lot more familiar with that. I just need to think small and realize how big the world is I guess haha. As far as music, again something I do in D&D but I just gotta find the right stuff for here. Celtic music sounds good indeed for this atmosphere so I’ll try to find some good tracks. Any recommendations?

Ah, excellent way of describing the Guards almost like Jedi. When I think about it and from what I’ve read I think it’ll help click in the position of the Guard to my players- a group of Do-Gooders doing what they can to help, but even other good mice might not see eye to eye with them.

Also, after hearing and reading more about the Burning Wheel (and the fact that it’s a more complex version of Mouse Guard) it will definitely be my next RPG purchase after I get people invested into this system!

Yea, I just think that we just did not know what skills were important. I’m pretty sure everyone is going to put some checks into Fighter now (if not Hunter) and now we know how to help in a conflict for the extra +1D.

When you say decide quickly, do you literally say “What do you do?” and give them a few seconds to answer? I like the idea of that because it shows you have to think quickly and your first decision may not be the best (and of course, Instincts!)

The Weather Watcher thing was a fluke on my fault. Again, first time playing it let alone GMing it and now I know! Thanks for the advice, as obvious as it may be!

Ok, most of this seems like learning curve stuff and you seem to have a good handle on things for next time. I did want to mention a list of options that the players had for dealing with a Nature 5 frog and only having skill 2, just for the learning.

First, keep in mind that animals can only act in accordance to their Nature. Mice are able to act against their Nature.

Okay, so options:

  1. The aforementioned substitution of Nature for missing skill (with the option to tap Nature and roll a big handful of dice).
  2. Helping. 2 mice in a Team are now rolling 3D in most cases.
  3. Helping yourself with an appropriate wise if available.
  4. Bringing in appropriate Traits, if available, for 1D.
  1. you can decide that a scene will be a conflict, but consider how it might defuse into a simple obstacle based on the patrol reaction, or decide it will be an obstacle and upgrade based on patrol reaction, or present it without pre-designation and watch the patrol reaction. I like most to decide then watch, but on occassion I leave it open then watch.

  2. I always assume animals are slightly more intelligent than we might give credit. Each has a unique method of communication which mice can learn through Loremouse. At all times, I try not to allow animals to take on too much anthropomorphic personification. In one mission, I had a beaver initiate an arguement with the mice; later, I wasn’t so pleased with the conflict. Yet, I learned something which I can use again in the future.

it wasn’t completely outside the nature of a bullfrog. But, the thought which comes to mind is that it has a sticky tongue to grab prey, and then tries to eat prey whole. So, that could be very difficult to do with a mouse of only slightly smaller size. The bullfrog wasn’t going to cut pieces from the mouse to eat in sections in the way we might consume a cow or chicken.

I did mention Pathfinder to the group, but the group brought up Survivalist, Cartographer, Weather Watcher, and Harvester on their own. I had already told them I was going to allow for three tests to accomplish the obstacle.

I always request the players describe how they are helping, then ask the testing player if they accept that help. On rare occassion, I allow the testing player to request help and describe the help they want from each mouse; then each mouse can answer whether they want to help in that way.

Well, I’d start with the question to the group, “Is the Survivalist more important than the Scout or Pathfinder?” The patrol might decide the distance is short, the path maybe not a difficult matter, and feel that the most important aspect is a good camp each night using Survivalist. Maybe they would say, 'there aren’t dangerous beasties to scout for, having a good path and a good camp is most important.

However, the second half of my response is that you could decide that one or more skills must be used, and simply tell them which skills must be used, or tell one of a few then allow them to fill in the rest. Last, you could decide the skills which are required and narrate the use of other skills which are brought up.

In D&D, there is a trick of ‘taking 10’ or ‘taking 20’. I assume that asking to use a skill which I won’t require a test is like the mouse taking 20. I consider the best result they might get from rolling all those skill dice as successes.

Bullfrogs eat mice.

Alright, so we had another two practice sessions yesterday with me GMing and the same two people as before. They both read this forum and we went over where we messed up and what we could have done better. We did the Grain Peddler and Deliver the Mail.

So, we started with the Grain Peddler. Figured it was a simple enough one that we would not run into any/many problems. Well, we actually ran it twice because the first time it only lasted 15 minutes, and again, the snake won without compromise in a fight against them both.

So, this first time, I described them getting the orders from Gwednolyn, Lockhaven, the path they were taking, and so forth. They had taken Kenzie so I also included the part that the grain peddler might be a spy and to find out signs of this. So after all the descriptions were concluded I called for the Pathfinding test. They failed it. No big deal, they found the cart overturned and some snake trails indicating that the peddler was likely eaten by a snake. Then the snake came and destroyed them (I think I messed up here- not the conflict, before it- the scenario said that the snake tries to chase them away and then if they persist to conflict. I jumped right into conflict).

The way they lost without compromise was they took Defend and Feint as their first two action. The snake did Attack and Attack. Their disposition was only 7 or so and on their feint I got 5, and I had beaten their defend by 3 or so. So that ended that. I tried to just make them injured and angry or something for the sake of getting to the Player’s turn. Neither had earned checks and that just ended when they failed to get rid of angry.

So, I felt like something had gone askew. Aside from possibly the initial snake trying to scare them off, did I mess anything up? I know I could’ve been more descriptive but that’s still coming. I’m not used to doing Pre-made adventures in ANY RPG (they’re almost a taboo to me, no idea why- I think it’s because I like the whole creation process) so I wasn’t sure of everything.

So, realizing that we had messed up pretty bad, we started again. I gave them the descriptions again, this time I tried it again and was more confident in making up the area. Again, they failed the Pathfinder test and found the cart overturned- which again I tried to give more details about. The snake then chased them away (still not sure about here…) but Kenzie decided it was imperative that they go back and search the cart. Now, question- should this have been the Player’s turn, or was it fine on the GM’s turn?

Anyways, on the GM’s turn, they went back and fought the snake. This time they lost but with a major compromise. I said that Kenzie (who initiated the fight) was Injured and Saxon was Angry (since his goal was to protect Kenzie and he failed). So they then searched the cart and failed, so Kenzie became Angry that it took him so long.

Now, they had 3 checks between them, including the free ones. Saxon used his one to alleviate Angry. Kenzie got rid of Angry and went back to Lockhaven to give the map to Gwendolyn. Now, should this have been a test to go back? I just assumed they’d be able to get back pretty easily. So he went to go give the map to Gwendolyn and I turned this into an argument conflict because it wasn’t enough evidence. Admittedly we did not clearly state good goals but his was “Convince Gwendolyn that the Grain Peddler was a traitor” and her’s was “Convince Kenzie that a map is not enough Evidence”. I did not know if this would really apply since she had told Kenzie to find evidence in the first place, but we went with it. Again, the player’s lost but with a medium compromise. Kenzie was made Hungry and Gwendolyn said she would ‘look into it’. Still getting the hang of the compromise system.

That took us all of 45 minutes, so it was a step in the right direction I feel.

Then, we did the Deliver the Mail scenario but with the same characters Kenzie and Saxon. Skipped the Prologue part because it was supposed to be in the Spring anyway and this isn’t anything new to us- I make my player’s do this in D&D just for continuity. And because it was weird to go straight from Fall to Spring. So we started off on that. I gave them the mission (I had them make up their goals without looking at the Pre-mades for that adventure. Kenzie’s was “Ensure that all the mail reaches it’s destinations” while Saxon’s was “Acquire a new weapon along the way”. I didn’t know if that would really work, but I figured that since it was completable within the scenario that there was nothing wrong with it.

So again, with some better descriptions it would’ve been better but I managed to describe their journey through Elmoss and Spruetuck and finally on the road to Gilpledge. I don’t have the book in front of me, but they passed their first obstacle- I think it was a pathfinder or something like that. So then they were almost at Gilpledge when good ol’ Martin showed up. They absolutely destroyed him in a argument and sent him on his way. Saxon earned some checks here because, though Kenzie did not want to help, Saxon was ‘Fearless and wanted to go to dangerous areas’. Was that a right way to use it? I gave it to him because it showed more roleplaying and getting into his character.

So they then went into Gilpledge, and since they had all the mail, delivered it all to everyone including the mouse in the twist. The had 2 and 3 checks now so they both used their first one clearing up Angry. Kenzie then used her second check to go find a healer and got Injured removed from the previous scenario. So Saxon still had two. He wanted to acquire a shield to go with his sword and fulfill his goal. I thought I had read somewhere about using resources but for items I wasn’t sure exactly how to do it. I just made him roll resources against the Ob that an Armorer would have needed to make it and he got it.

Saxon then decided for his last check to go and find Martin and head to Walnutpeck. They failed the Pathfinder and got Angry at each other- Kenzie at Saxon for failing, Saxon at Kenzie because his map was no help. And then they failed the scout against the Weasel which I decided turned into a conflict with said Weasel. It was a decent battle and they got other a medium or major compromise. Their goal was to “Grab the Rocking Chair back from the Weasel” while the Weasel’s was “Make sure the Mice cannot recover this chair and drive them away”. The compromise ended up being that the Mice got none and the Weasel got half. He got the part where they couldn’t get the chair and I said he smashed it on the ground into pieces and then ran away himself. (Question- do THEY get to say what they want to happen for the half, or is that still me?) Another Question: Can you earn more checks during the player’s turn? Saxon ‘earned’ one in the fight so I let him use it afterwards. He made a carpenter check to repair the chair and failed by 1. I decided he succeeded in it was was Hungry because it took him so long and that Martin wasn’t entirely happy with him either.

And then I ended it after giving out the Fate points and Persona and such. This took about an 1 1/2 to 2 hours. We were more pleased and they said they were starting to understand the earning checks and how everything plays out, as was I. Agreed we talked about it for a while while just hanging out. They decided to keep the pre-mades but change the names to what they wanted. We’re adding 1-3 more players today, so I’m going to try to be on the ball more.

Also, one final question: Is there a session of Mouse Guard being played somewhere online that I can watch? We all looked but found nothing and I feel like it would really help us a lot.

Thanks again everyone! I’ll let you know how today goes!

Pretty much. I’m a slave to the GM’s Turn-Players’ Turn structure; it hasn’t failed me. I don’t spend much time on preamble before presenting a mission obstacle. If it’s something like an animal that could be fought or avoided, I’ll give them a brief opportunity to decide how they want to engage the obstacle if appropriate. Most of my color and descriptions come out after that.

Any time the patrol is on a mission and needs to travel from one settlement to another, I use Pathfinder tests as my wilderness obstacle. It’s a skill that gets right to the heart of life in the Mouse Territories. Once we’ve settled down (written Goals, etc.), often I’ll begin the GM’s Turn with something like, “You’re traveling from Rootwallow to Gilpledge. It’s a long journey, but the route is well-traveled, so Ob 4.” I’ll get some description from the players about how they’re using their skills, and supplement as needed. If they succeed, great; if they fail, I’ll take hold of the reins. Failed Pathfinder tests segue well into conditions or twists (usually weather or animal, sometimes mice).

I try to represent the arrangement of the GM’s Turn-Players’ Turn in the setting by conveying that time is always of the essence and there’s never enough time to do everything one needs to do. Life in the Guard is hard, and the characters should be getting beat up during their missions. If this isn’t coming across, I’ve seen the other player’s investment in the game falter.

That is precisely the intent.

1.) I can’t parse Find the Grain Peddler right now, but usually my players haven’t completed their mission or accomplished their Goals by the end of the GM’s Turn—they’ll have to spend some checks in the Players’ Turn pursuing these ends. Also, if you run through a GM’s Turn and Players’ Turn quickly, just repeat the cycle to fill out the session. In your instance, after the players spent checks on recovering their characters, you could have started a new GM’s Turn where you challenged them with obstacles to get the map back to Lockhaven safely or journey on to Barkstone to see if they can root out the peddler’s contact.

2.) Page 75, “You may not use your traits to hinder your character and earn checks in the Players’ Turn.”