Weather Twists and Weather Watcher: What the fudge?

I’ve worked myself into a confusion…

I recently ran a variation of Delivering the Mail. During the player’s turn, a guardmouse failed a pathfinder test to escort Loretta to a different city. I instituted Cold Spring Rain as a weather-based twist; ob 3 Health test to avoid taking the Tired or Sick condition. Easy enough. The same player thought about using his Weather Watcher skill for another check later on to change the weather to something more pleasant… however, the following question arose, “If I already passed/failed the Health test incurred by the Weather-based twist, what is the point of changing the weather? I don’t have to test Health again because of the rain right, as per Let it Ride?”

So my question to you almighty MG forum readers is… is Weather Watcher simply a story-telling skill? Meaning, changing the weather won’t avoid Health tests incurred by weather-based twists, but it will change the story of the game… i.e. if the Cold Spring Rains continue houses could be damaged, floods could occur, newly planted fields could be destroyed, etc. But, if a weather-watching mouse uses his skill he could bring in unseasonably warm weather or something to mitigate potentially disastrous consequences resulting from the rain.

If I’m not mistaken, Weather Watcher allows the player to dictate the weather in the next turn.

Rain is often a Factor in tests, which makes things more difficult. Also, note that Weather Watcher doesn’t change the current weather, it allows you to affect the upcoming weather. So yes, it allows you to mitigate the longer-term effects of weather, but does not bypass the Health test or prevent the rain from increasing Factors.

Yes, it does, but does a ob 3 Health Test imposed by a Weather-based twist carry over to the next turn? It shouldn’t right, because Let it Ride should hold if the players make the health test in the current turn.

I think I got it then. A player would want to change the weather to improve conditions during the next turn (eliminate penalties due to rain for example) AND/OR mitigate potential story effects (a massive flood due to long periods of heavy spring rain, for example).

We were having trouble figuring out what would be the mechanical advantage of a player determining the weather for the following turn. Thanks for the answer Thor.

  1. There is no Let It Ride in Mouse Guard.

  2. However, you would only make this test once for the weather. After that test, you don’t retest.

  3. You don’t see the benefit of the mechanical advantage of clear weather for a mission?

  1. Can’t cite a page number because my book is at home; it’s not a distinct rule as in BW, but I"m pretty sure there is a small section titled “Let it Ride” which you more or less summarized in your point #2. Long story short, the player makes one Health test and that stands for the duration of the Cold Spring Rain, right?

  2. I see the mechanical (from the game mechanics) advantage of not having a penalty for rain, now that Thor reminded me of that. I had forgotten about it originally. I definitely see it from a story-telling (i.e. what kind of crazy complications can I throw at the patrol, mwahahaha) standpoint. In that sense Weather Watcher is a way for players to attempt to anticipate what types of complications the GM might throw their way.

This all stems from the player asking, “Why would I spend a valuable check to predict the weather (meaning, change the weather next turn) if I’ve already passed/failed the Health test? I don’t need to make a new Health test next turn, so what does changing the weather get me mechanically?” This was juxtaposed with “On the other hand I can use my check to complete my goal”. I’m pretty new to the game and the players are all brand new, so we’re still feeling this out.

Now, after this discussion it is clear that since Cold Spring Rain is still pouring down, the patrol will have to deal with that in the form of increased ob’s to tests outdoors and potential complications/twists resulting from rain. As GM I will be sure that they feel the cold, wet wrath of nature :wink:

  1. If a patrol had passed through the weather in the GM’s turn (and made health tests due to weather conditions), I wouldn’t ask them to make a health test during the Player’s turn for that weather (if I decided it had not changed). However, if no mouse chose to make a WW test to dictate weather, I’d determine the weather I want, and that might require a health test during the next GM’s turn. Also, if they faced a weather twist during the Player’s turn (though I use that rarely), I might consider calling for a new health test if it applies. Lastly, if they face another weather twist during the same or next GM’s turn which causes the weather to change significantly, I’d call for a health test as appropriate for that weather.

So, they can possibly benefit from dictating favorable weather by spending a check during the Player’s turn for WW test. On the other hand, if they dictate the weather for the next turn, there is a slightly increased chance of a weather twist being used (i.e. the weather is great until a failure garners a twist).

Hah! I completely made this one up. I was confusing “That was fun, Let’s not do it again!” with Let it Ride. I shouldn’t be reading MG and BWG at the same time.

Yes, I’ve thought about many situations like this. Good to keep them in mind for upcoming missions. Thanks.

Does it actually require a Player’s Turn check? I thought as part of the mission structure that a Weather Watcher could basically always make a roll at the beginning of the mission, as part of the determination of the weather.

Honestly, my favorite part of Weather Watcher is the havoc it wreaks by failing and making the weather constantly bad/worse.

Could you give a page reference for this? I’ve read other people’s posts where they do the same thing, but I don’t recall it being a rule. Maybe I just missed it.

It requires a check during the player’s turn.

pg. 136: “The GM sets the weather at the beginning of the session. Thereafter, the weather changes when one of two things happens: Either a player uses his Weather Watcher skill or the GM uses a weather-based twist due to a failed test from a player.”

pg. 254 (Weather Watcher): “The predicted weather takes hold at the start of the next session, or due to a weather-based complication this session.”

The page 254 text suggests a mouse looking up at the sky, saying the weather is going to turn, and then the next twist being the result, during the GM’s turn. If there’s no weather twist, then the next session. It is very unclear why it would be a player’s turn check, as they are interacting with the weather during the GM’s turn.

Well, if they want to test weather watcher in the Players Turn, I’m pretty darn sure it costs them a check. If they want to test it in the GM’s turn, no check, but they can’t test unless the GM says so.

This was how I read it. Either the player uses a check and changes the weather for the next session, OR the weather changes as a twist due to a failed test. I don’t see anything in the text that says a player can simply declare the weather is changing.

Whew! This is very confusing. I’ve got my first ever game of MG underway via PBEM and I don’t understand weather watcher. Can someone please give an EXAMPLE of proper use? I sort of don’t understand how/why this really works. I’ll make ut work with my players by being flexible and allowing them to help determine twists, so they can always sort of “choose” to activate a weather twist
. Although thinking about it, its not much of an exciting twist to experience wonderful weather. Maybe I could throw in nice weather WITH the actual story twist?

Help me understand?

At the beginning of a mission (let’s assume it’s the first, for simplicity), the GM can set the weather (arbitrarily, as seen fit). During the mission, when there is a twist to be introduced, the GM can choose (instead of a new complication or condition) to evoke a weather twist. For example, the weather could start as clear and calm and, after a failed test, the GM can (using a twist) change to weather to, say, rain (and apply modifiers, etc. as given- see Seasons).

During the Player’s Turn, a player can use a check and, if successful, determine what the weather will be at the beginnig of the NEXT session.

Weather Watcher is not used during the session to immediately affect current weather; a player should use Weather Watcher to set favorable conditions for the next session.

Also, remember that the weather is dynamic. That is to say that if a player uses Weather Watcher every chance he/she gets to give the Patrol warm and clear weather, it will eventually cause doughts/harvest sortages/etc.

Regardless of how the weather was determined at the outset of a mission, a GM can use a twist to change the weather.

Hope this is helpful.


Well said, Bad*. I actually understood that very clearly. Thanks.

So, I may be doing this wrong, but I would probably allow a player to make a WW test during the GM’s Turn, with the understanding that they could twist the weather to something more favorable for them during the Players’ Turn, or even during the current GM’s Turn if there is a weather-based twist. This is because my Players’ Turns tend to have much more happening in them than just healing/recovery, and the difference between good and bad weather could totally make a difference between success and failure in the Players’ Turn. I see the the trade-off is that player making the check during the GM’s Turn has the potential for pulling a condition for failing the WW test. Depending on the current weather or season, I might even make them Sick (from exposure while out in the weather).

Being able to set the weather during the next GM’s Turn just seems like it’s too far removed from what’s currently happening at the table, unless I’m maybe running a game that’s based on a long-lived weather situation, like a drought or something along those lines.

In one-shot games, it’s definitely important to allow the players to use WW during the GM’s Turn to be able to modify the weather during the PT, or the skill will be a risk with no chance of payoff.

Making a WW test during the GM’s turn is very powerful. It means that the GM can’t bring in nasty weather as a Twist. Don’t forget the “…or due to a weather based complication this session” part.