Too much GM leeway?


Probably a very dumb question to ask but I am stumped:
Unless I’m reading the game wrong, the GM has almost absolute power of discretion in choosing actual obstacle numbers for most things, excepting the ones explicitly mentioned in the book (ie. the “Spring Snows” rules on page 138 (an Ob 3 Health test for spending too much time in the snow)).

So what’s to stop the GM from picking a high/near impossible/impossible number for every obstacle (4 & up)? I know nearly all the GMs reading this wouldn’t do such a thing in their games - I certainly wouldn’t! - but there are some people who call themselves GMs that would (I know some by their deeds & the problems they’ve caused for doing this).

Is there a place in the rules where it asserts some kind of balance against this or a list of sample obstacles, for say, the Wilderness? Or am I missing some very important text (I hope I am!)?



There is Rule Zero for RPGs. (Or rule -1, as some games already have a Rule Zero.) Rule Zero is “Don’t Be A Dick”.

Great thing about Rule Zero is, if you break it people just stop playing with you!

As a side note: I think most GMs who want to give high obstacles just to be mean would do it even if the game explicitly forbid it.

Specifically to Mouse Guard, there is a system for assigning obstacles. See Factoring Obstacles, pg 231.


Seasons is the place to go for obstacles.
Wilderness doesn’t have any obstacles listed in the Territories section because the GM is supposed to assign the obstacle, the players inform him how they’d like to overcome that obstacle and the GM determines which skill is used. The skill obstacle is factored from the lists in the Abilities and Skills section.