Weather Twists and Weather Watcher: What the fudge?

I get that. I also see my players celebrating at the table when they are told that they get to bypass that twist thanks to a patrolmate’s thoughtful weather watching. I also see the opposite scenario: A weather watcher failing, taking a condition (and possibly others taking conditions as well, if they provided aid), without me even having to bring a weather twist into the game. I also see some already-beaten-down mice getting their tails handed to them after failing a WW test and then having to deal with the weather twist on top of that. If I were an evil GM (and I probably am, although that’s a matter of perspective), I might play a few sessions without a planned weather twist, allowing the players to take the risk of Weather Watching without any immediate reward, then hit them with a big weather Twist when they decide to stop trying to use WW, or fail at it.

Yeah I agree with that. Something still isn’t sitting well with me thematically on this. In my current game which I’m GMing (my first ever MG game by the way) one of the players wanted to check the weather prior to setting out on the mission. I agreed to this (prior to this whole discussion so work with me here). She went up on the wall and agreed to the following conditions: if she makes the roll vs nature then she can set the weather for the GM turn. But if she fails then I get to reserve a weather based twist if that becomes an option during the GM turn. Now, granted, the same things hold true no matter what the outcome of the roll was anyway. That’s what’s got me perplexed.

Frankly, since I’m WAYYYYY more of a story/character/role playing oriented GM, this stuff doesn’t really have me too bent up. I just roll with it and if it adds to the story or my players enjoyment, then I’m all over it. But for the hard-core crunchy rules-lawyers out there, I still don’t get how this works. The rules seem to indicate that players can’t initiate tests in the GM turn. Therefore, they should be able to only use weather watcher by using a check in the PLAYERS turn. And that would allow them to set the weather for the following …ahhhhhh…what about THIS???

What about this: it’s the GM turn. The weather is bad and the mice have struggled against a storm. Now it’s the PLAYERS turn and a player uses weather watcher and is successful on the roll. He then says " looks like tomorrow this will all clear up and be nice and sunny!" . THEN, the other players use their turns on the PLAYERS turn and they say they want to travel to another town or what-have-you , thereby making the weather watching helpful since they know they will have a good travel day because the first mouse could “set” the weather for the next day’s travel. It would seem weird if the mouse could predict the weather for the next GM turn, which in game terms might be weeks or months away in the future. Although maybe that’s exactly what it is intended to do?


It’s also a potential solution to bad terrain encounters… like burned out grassland - weather watcher “to know” that the rain should be here by nightfall or that the wind is going to blow the fire over that hidey hole in the hour nap you’ve got planned.

Well, if they get a condition then they get the benefit of success, so the next time you set the weather their weather happens.

Yeah, that would have been me, though the way it worked out was that my character had his tenderpaw make the check as a learning experience.

I’d have sworn I read something where you could do that before the start of the mission, but when it was pointed out that this seems odd, I went and dug for it and couldn’t come up with where I’d seen it. I’m pretty sure at this point that I’d simply misunderstood something, and it had gotten anchored in my head incorrectly.

This is true (to noclue’s statement).

So in the game I’m running, a player tried and failed a WW test vs Spring before leaving on the mission on the GM turn. I held a weather twist in reserve. The players then failed a scouting test to reach a destination, so I allowed them to find the target but I threw in a snowstorm for them which will make their next challenge, a river crossing, more likely to have dangerous consequences if they fail the test.

This could be all wrong but it seems thematic and fun. If the mouse had PASSED the ww test up front I would have been inclined to allow the weather to have stayed favorable.

Anyway, we’re having fun.

If you weather watch as your last player turn check you can control the weather in the next session. So you start the next mission in favorable weather.

The GM could also use weather watcher as a required skill for an obstacle. He says: It’s important you help the movement of these sick mice to this bigger city during good weather. Make an Ob 3 Weather Watcher check to predict the weather. On a success the weather is accurately predicted. On a failure make it rain and impose a condition, or use a wilderness twist where it starts raining hard half-way there and the team needs to make a pathfinder check to find shelter.

I find that to be incredibly powerful. I’d prefer that my players use it to negate a weather-based twist during the GM’s Turn rather than actually set the initial weather for the next session. But since it’s in the rules, it’s not like I’ll stop them.

Actually, it’s a required skill for a Journey Conflict. Which makes me wonder: In a Conflict, it’s possible to have multiple passed and failed tests for the same skill. How would this apply to WW? Would you say if the players passed their first WW test during the Conflict (the one that they record P/F on their sheet), they get to set the weather for the next Turn? Or just if they passed at least one WW test during the Conflict? Or maybe none of the above, since WW is being used to directly combat the existing weather?

As a side note: Conversations about the weather are generally a boring, time-killing thing, but I’m pretty interested in this one.

I’m having trouble picturing a conflict using weather watcher. How do you feint, for example?

I was referring to a Journey Conflict, where you use Pathfinder for Attack and Feint, and Weather Watcher for Defend and Maneuver (p. 112).

The weather is your opponent for the Conflict. So, I see it as maybe Attack = pushing through the weather, making progress along your route; Feint = maybe taking a shortcut or alternate route (which could work well for you, or not); Defend = being able to get some rest by knowing when and where to take shelter against the worst of the weather’s effects; Maneuver = knowing enough about the weather and its effects to be able to bypass certain hazards (mud pits, snow drifts, etc).

A scenario I’ve mulled over involved a patrol on a boat in a conflict versus a thunderstorm. Without being able to reference my notes, I believe I had Boatcrafter for Attack (driving the boat into/through the storm) and Defend (quick repairs- batten down the hatches and all that, stay on course) and Weather Watcher for Feint (predicting the wind and swells and adjusting course to take advantage, predicting how long the storm will last) and Maneuver (positioning the craft to make best use of the weather, understanding the cell and moving out of the storm).

I was thinking about letting people use Weather Watcher during the GM’s Turn (as a Hack) much like the same way you do with recovery tests. You spend two checks and you get a Weather Watcher roll. But then, after careful consideration, the RAW make the following scenarios possible:

a) Next session (it doesn’t mention extended sessions).
b) Current player’s turn weather twist (possible waste of the check in my opinion).
c) Next GM’s turn weather twist (considering the fact that the next GM’s turn doesn’t set a new weather like the beginning of a session does)

The only thing missing is the all-too-powerful “predicting the next weather twist in the GM’s turn” That basically is what I wrote for C. The real problem rests on what Slashdevnull said. If you try to test Weather Watcher in a GM’s turn and you pass, everything is heart and flowers. However, if you fail, you didn’t get to change the weather and now things are worse than before (possibly a weather twist, ohhh the irony) or you did change the weather thanks to the condition you have now.

It really isn’t that much different from the way other things are handled. So you could spend 1 check during the GM’s turn and test Weather Watcher. Recovery tests are not subject to conditions and twists, so to balanced things out WW tests could cost 1 check and BE subject to conditions and twists. What do you think?

P.S. Everything I’m saying here considers the use of Weather Watcher to predict the weather (and change it prior to the next session/GM’s turn or to nullify the next weather twist), not as part of a single test obstacle or complex test.

So I’ve been thinking about this quite a lot actually. I subscribed to this thread and have read all the updates along the way. I have 2 MG PBEM games well underway and weather is a major issue in one and will be an issue in the 3rd game that I’m launching now. So here are my thoughts based on the ideas tossed around in this thread:

  1. The rules seem pretty clear that players can’t initiate tests on the GM turn. There isn’t an obvious rule that weather watcher (WW) is an exception here, so I have to assume that the intention of WW is that it is not to be used in the GM turn.
  2. Even if you COULD use it during the GM turn, I don’t understand how it would really work. Maybe the player is successful so the GM is not allowed to throw in a weather twist. Maybe if the player fails, the GM intentionally DOES throw in a weather twist. BUT that doesn’t seem to work as a game mechanic, even though that is actually what I did in my active PBEM game. I wouldn’t do it that way again and here’s why: because as a GM I can throw in a weather twist whether or not the player fails a WW test. And even if the player is successful and theoretically avoids a weather twist during the GM turn, who really cares? The GM could throw in a different twist that could be even worse! So I just don’t see it really being a big deal to have WW being used by a player at the start of the GM turn.
  3. The rules DO indicate that players can spend a check to initiate a test during the player’s turn. So it seems pretty clear that WW should be used here, in the player’s turn. But then the rules are sort of vague about WHEN the effect takes place. I mean, what exactly is the “next session”. Do they mean the session that’s about to begin, in other words, the current player’s turn where the players are spending checks and initiating their own story, OR does it mean they use WW during the current player’s turn and then they set the weather during the next GM turn which would be the next game session. Which brings up my next point…
  4. It doesn’t make thematic sense for the WW to affect the next GM turn. Often the next game session may be take place weeks or months (of in-game time) AFTER the use of the WW skill in the player’s turn. It makes almost NO sense to me that anymouse would be able to predict the weather that far in advance with any degree of accuracy.
  5. Therefore, the only possible sensible use of weather watcher that I can see is for the player to use WW on the player’s own turn by spending a check and then determining the weather for the next phase of the player’s turn.

Here’s an illustration. The GM, on his turn, sets a weather twist when the patrol mice fail an obstacle. The GM determines that a harsh summer rainstorm blows in and threatens travel for the team during the GM turn (I’m making up the effects of a rainstorm since I don’t have my rulebook here right now). Anyway, the effects of the rainstorm are in effect for the duration of the GM turn, thereby putting the guardmice at a disadvantage for the GM turn. That is the punishment they must endure for failing their test. But then on the player’s turn, a mouse can spend a check to use WW to effectively dispel the bad weather, the same way he would otherwise use a check to heal an injury or not be tired, hungry or angry. That seems to make perfect sense to me.

The weather twist is a punishment inflicted on the player for failing a test. And the WW skill is how he can “fix” the punishment. If you fail a test and become sick, you have to spend a check to attempt to heal. WW, in my opinion, should work thematically the same way.

And best of all, the end effect is actually quite meaningful for the guardmice. They can immediately set the weather to favorable conditions so they can best accomplish the things they want to do on the player’s turn. For example, maybe they’ve completed their main mission, but now want to travel to a distant town to reveal important information to somemouse. Well, if the rainstorm was still in effect, they would have trouble traveling. But if the WW skill is successful, the player can predict clear skies and, BINGO! Travel is now easy and the special message they want to deliver will be much easier.

OK guys, let me know what you think about my theory. But I’ll be sure to try this out with my group in the future and let you know how it goes.

Regarding WW tests during the GM’s Turn: It is possible for a player to make a WW test during the GM’s Turn under the following conditions:

a) In a Journey Conflict, the Weather Watcher skill is tested against for Defend and Maneuver (p. 112).
b) The GM allows the players a Weather Watcher roll as part of overcoming a planned obstacle or twist (see p. 70, which states that players can suggest which skills they’d like to use, subject to the GM’s judgment).

My interpretation of Weather Watcher, after re-reading about it on pp. 60, 136, and 254-255, is that basically it’s “GM insurance” against extreme weather. This is either protecting against a Twist during the current session, or the starting weather of the next session, (which may even be in a different season). If the players choose not to use their successful WW to protect against a weather Twist (or there is no weather-based Twist to use it against), they get to basically tell the GM what the weather will be (within the limits specified in the skill description) at the start of the next session. As a GM, I don’t particularly like that rule, but then again, there are plenty of rules in other games that I don’t like, and generally play by them regardless.

It’s also important to note that Twists can happen during the Players’ Turn (see pp. 75-76). They may not be that common, but I could see a scenario in which a player chooses to use WW during the PT, which would then override a GM’s weather-based Twist due to some other failed roll during the PT.

As a follow up to my own post (sorry about that), two more quick points:

  1. Yes, based on what I’ve said, I’m likely to “run as written” rather than house-rule Weather Watcher.

  2. As a GM, if I have a serious or significant weather-based Twist planned in a session, I will probably make sure that the players have at least one opportunity prior to that Twist to make a WW roll during the GM’s Turn, through the methods defined in the rules. Example: I may require my players’ mice to undertake a voyage done as a Complex Obstacle requiring Weather Watcher as one of its tests, with a weather-based Twist such as a season-appropriate storm, tied to its failure.

So I guess I still don’t understand what you mean by “run as written” with the WW skill. How do you see it actually being used. Can you clarify?

I had mentioned earlier in this thread that I would possibly house-rule Weather Watcher so that if a player successfully used it during the GM’s Turn, they could be able to set the weather during the Players’ Turn of the same session rather than at the start of the next session, which is not how it seems it’s supposed to be used, “as written” (barring weather Twists).

I see it being used in the scenarios I mentioned above: In the GM’s Turn as part of a Journey Conflict or a simple- or Complex Obstacle presented by the GM (not player initiated); or in the Players’ Turn through the use of a check. Here’s some GM’s Turn examples broken out into a little more detail:

GM Turn Example 1: A mission requires an overseas Journey Conflict to get from Colgero to Frostic. During this Conflict, if the players script a Defend or Maneuver, they must roll Weather Watcher. They roleplay this as something along the lines of spending time in the crow’s nest, “keeping a weather eye” on the weather as well as watching the horizon for pirates, etc. The fact that they are actively paying attention to the weather means that they are likely to predict upcoming weather with some degree of accuracy.

GM Turn Example 2: Same mission, but the GM chooses to use a Complex Obstacle for the sea voyage instead of a full-on Conflict, since he would prefer to use a weather-based twist as a possible consequence of failure rather than having to negotiate Compromise with the players. The GM makes Weather Watcher one of the required tests in the CO. If the testing player fails, the group is subject to the planned Twist. If he passes, not only is the group not subject to the effects of failure (the planned Twist), but can also bypass the next weather-based Twist (if any) that might happen during that session. If there is no weather-based Twist that session, he can set the weather for the start of the next session (not the next Turn. Grrr… ).

GM Turn Example 3: A player is permitted to use Weather Watcher as a helping skill to assist another player with a skill test called for by the GM.

GM Turn Example 4: The GM calls for a Weather Watcher roll (a simple Test) at any time in the GM’s Turn, for reasons appropriate to the current situation in the story.

I think that part of what initially confused me (and maybe others, from what I’ve picked up) about the WW skill is that I read about it several times in the rules before finally getting to the actual WW skill description near the end of the book. Those initial mentions made it sound as if the player testing WW could more or less immediately change the weather if/when they passed a WW test. So, I kind of had this “I know how this works” mindset before actually reading the WW skill (listed on p. 254). That way of thinking was reinforced by the statement “If the player wins, he can predict what the next change in the weather will bring” (third paragraph of the WW skill description on p. 254). The point that breaks this is the start of the following paragraph, which specifically states that the change will not take place until the start of the next session unless there is a weather-based Twist during the current session.

It seems that “as written”, the weather can never get better during a session, which does not necessarily make sense. If I were to create a scenario in which a town is flooding due to summer thunderstorms, and the players completed the mission during the GM’s Turn, then it would still be thunderstorming during the entire time they’re spending recovering and helping the townsmice to rebuild from the floods during the PT. In a scenario like this, I would have to consider letting common sense take hold and possibly allowing a successful Weather Watcher roll to take effect earlier than the rules as written indicate, but I would be choosing to break the rules.

Unless Luke erratas “next session” to “next Turn” for us. :wink:

I don’t know where you get that idea. Nothing in the rules stops the weather from getting better.

I’m referring to p. 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.”