Twists and conditions after failed Wises

So … there’s really nothing different about testing wises in mg, right? This is something that just suddenly struck me as weird: test bee-wise (say) to determine that bees are known to attack weasels, fail, and afterward it … starts raining? You’re angry?

I think it’s the fact that there’s no real action resulting from a Wise test. It’s just seeing if you know a thing.


Technically, Wise tests should obey the same success/failure rules as regular skill tests.

Sure, that’s kind of why I wanted to start the conversation. While everything else is provoking or carrying out an action, wises don’t. So I’m having some trouble wrapping my head around what a twist or condition looks like after a failed wise test. As in, in the fiction.

Neither twists nor any of the conditions feel like they emerge naturally from seeing if you know something.

I feel like this is probably a case where wise failures need a special twist, like how circles get the enmity twist and resources get taxed.

(And no, I have no idea how this slipped past us in testing. :-/)

Make up a new fact equal to the level of fact they were trying to make up? Not a terribly creative consequence, I know, but it seems like it’d work

The bees attack weasels you said? Ha! What a joke. But you know that bees are attracted to the yellow, right? Well, you should, because your coat is yellow. Run, Forrest, ruuuuuuuunnnnn!

Do you often test Wises straight up? Between the structure of the GM’s Turn and the economy of the Players’ Turn, I’ve found them to be rolled rarely. Mostly they’re just used for helping dice.

Daniel, totally agreed that it’s an edge case! I want to patch that hole for uh…other purposes. I’m gonna be vague at this point. :slight_smile:

Right now I’m leaning toward implementing a special twist: “yes BUT”.

Right on. I think my solution might be to use weather twists. Even if the characters aren’t threatened immediately, changing the weather would be something tangible going forward, as well as advance the in-game calendar.

Still a bit of a stretch, perhaps, but at least the consequences would have relevance in play. This probably, however, isn’t quite what you’re looking for.

Conditions are also perfectly appropriate as the consequence of a failed Wise test. Particularly Hungry/Thirsty, Angry or Tired.

I’m not sure I understand the issue.

I mean, in BW there are complications introduced with a failure. The players act on the information and that generates the complication. I don’t think it’s so difficult to use the MG twists to this same effect. In a pinch you can vary from the 1 of each 4 rule.

Conditions are maybe trickier. hungry or Tired would work if it’s described as taking a long time. Angry might work for the right character; imagine you’re trying to recall the knowledge but you only get it right because some other mouse said something similar (without knowing why) that lead you to the solution.

Well…okay. Here’s what is tripping me up: every other roll in the game represents the character taking action. The only exception I can think of is Circles, and it also has its own special Twist. A Wise isn’t a character taking action, it’s a player making a statement about something the character “knows”. So the off-the-shelf Twists don’t make sense as direct consequences of “knowing” or “not knowing” something. They DO, however, make good sense once you’re doing something with that information. But once you’re doing something, you’re rolling a normal skill and you’re back to being open to normal twists and conditions. So, yeah, I could totally see that ACTING on that information would open you up to a t/c. Maybe introduce the t/c in lieu of making the roll?

Let me think through this with an example…

GM: You’ve come upon a weasel stronghold. You’re outnumbered but if the weasels break camp, they’re going to come across your settlement and then you’re really in trouble. If you’re going straight in, it’s a Fight conflict.

Player 1: Well…what else do I have available to me? (Looks at character sheet, see Apiarist). Huh. Are there bees in the area? Maybe I could engineer a distraction or drive them out.

(Procedurally, I’ve always allowed the players to bounce around ideas just so long as they’re not wheedling down the situation. I believe this is also RAW.)

GM: Got Bees-wise? You could roll that.

Player 1: I so do. What’s the Ob to know that there are bees about?

GM: Let’s say 2.

Player 1: (rolls, gets nothing but traitors :frowning: )

GM: (So…does that roll generate a t or c? This is an Animals conflict so I don’t want to double down on that. So that leaves me with a wilderness, a mice or a weather twist. But…how to implement any of those? “While you’re thinking about bees in the area, a mouse merchant comes trundling down the pathway headed straight toward the weasel encampment.” That’s a nice, tense twist but it in now way arises organically from my knowledge of bees.

So a condition maybe? “You look around, taste the wind, scamper up a tree and confirm that, yes, that was bee-sign you saw earlier. But all that investigating has left you Tired.” That one feels a little better, but now I’m extrapolating beyond the mouse KNOWING a thing and a mouse acting out how he would know the thing. Which is fine and maybe even a useful modification of what -Wise looks like when it’s used. But it’s not really RAW, is it?

Or I can bank that -Wise failure until they’re about to act on that information, and then decide if a T or C makes sense.)

(Aloud): Yup, totally bees. What are you doing with that info?

Player: (Knows he’s failed and doesn’t know what’s about to happen) Mmm…I guess I’ll try to drive the hive into their camp.

GM: (Before the player can make his Apiarist roll) So you get up in the tree and smack the nest, but wow, bees do not like to be messed with! As you smack the nest, the bees come out in force and attack you! Now you’re Injured.

… and play continues.

So, functionally, that last one makes sense but it’s a modification to accommodate the uniqueness of the -wise roll’s timing. I mean, yeah, Guy is totally right that nobody really just “knows” things without acting on them, or that you wouldn’t make the -wise roll until you’ve got a plan of action in hand. In my scenario above, I think as GM I’d have to extract some clarity from the player as to what his intention was with the -wise roll, mostly just reiterate “If there are bees in the area, your plan is to drive them into the weasel camp, right?” And then pre-empt the action with the T/C.

Sound right-ish?


I think you might be parsing things a little bit too fine. A Wise might require you to think on things for a little while. Memories can bring up associations.

Identifying the scent of Weasel musk in the air with Weasel-wise could make you Angry thinking about the friends you’ve lost to the depredations of weasels. Remembering the best place to find sunflower seeds (Seeds-wise) near Appleloft could make you Hungry. Entering those brambles may be the best way to elude the skunk (Bramble-wise), but just the thought of slogging your way through makes you Tired.

As for complications, time-based ones make a lot of sense. It’s on the tip of your tongue, but you spend too much time pondering. Others also make sense depending on context: Sure you lose the skunk in the brambles, but find yourself being dive-bombed by a shrike.

Also, your example is perfect. Remember, the GM gets to take control of the character momentarily on a failure. A description like yours is perfectly legit.

Another approach: The weasels are comming to you. That’s the obstacle. You want to use Bee-Wise to establish that there are bees in the area, so you can make a distraction and avoid the fight. Maybe two tests: Bee-Wise, and Apiarist. If you fail you can’t avoid the weasels.

Maybe there’s some wording that says otherwise, but I thought testing a Wise was like anything else. You have to describe your action(s) in a way appropriate to what you are claiming is true. It could simply mean remembering something, but it doesn’t have to be limited to that, right? In that case test bee-wise to say that “Bees attack Weasels” could mean that you’re trying to coax some bees to attack weasels, or simply researching some facts to set up a trap outside of Lockhaven for some approaching weasels; regardless, I think it’s simple enough to come up with story reasons why a mouse might suddenly be attacked by bees (twist) or become hungry/thirsty/tired (long nights in the library).

He doesn’t have to have Bees-wise, right? If he came up with that idea it could be BAM! Test Bees-wise to see if any are in the area (Beginner’s Luck if he doesn’t have it).