I recently took a look at Mouse Guard and it looks like it’s a great game. I’d like to have a go of it, but one thing I’m having trouble wrapping my head around is how to handle social conflict. Attack, Defend, Feint, and Maneuver makes sense in physical combat, but coming up with a general sense of how it would really play out in social combat eludes me. It’s just a little abstract. Let’s say you’re trying to talk your way past a guard, or convince a fugitive mouse to turn himself in, or convince an ally to let you borrow a piece of equipment. If someone could give examples of how to handle these situations with each action (and possibly elaborate on how the actions apply to social conflict further), it would be really helpful. Thanks.
We have a Mouse Guard Argument Conflict here:
check out a bit before that to get more of the context.
However the book spells out what an Attack/Defend etc. is in an Argument conflict on pages 106-108.
The first step in this is to allow, or tolerate, the conceit that a player or a GM does not fully know the character whom they represent. There is a certain amount of unknown which must be tolerated. If you can tolerate this, it helps when a dice roll indicates that Persuader, Deceiver, or Orator (or Haggler too) has influenced the character in some direction.
Attack, Defend, Feint, and Maneuver makes sense in physical combat, but coming up with a general sense of how it would really play out in social combat eludes me. It’s just a little abstract.
That is true. It feels a bit abstract. Just as mentioned above, the text gives some examples of how those actions translate into a social conflict such as Argument or Speech Conflicts.
If it helps, you might note on a separate paper:
Attack= Make my Point
Defend= Support my Point
Maneuver= Give Evidence of my Point
Feint= Admit Opposing Points
Let’s say you’re trying to talk your way past a guard, or convince a fugitive mouse to turn himself in, or convince an ally to let you borrow a piece of equipment. If someone could give examples of how to handle these situations with each action (and possibly elaborate on how the actions apply to social conflict further), it would be really helpful. Thanks.
I can address these examples and mention two others.
Talk past a guard: probably a simple test - Persuader or Deceiver (of the PC) Vs Will (of the guard)
Convince a fugitive: probably an Argument Conflict, depends on the goals
Borrow equipment: ask nicely, not really a candidate for a test; if the test is really needed - Persuader or Deceiver Vs Will
Patrol is asked to mediate a trial of young bandits.
They hear the side of town’s council: they attack, they steal, they kill; they ought to be executed
They hear an alternate side from town’s folk: they don’t have jobs, they don’t have parents, they don’t have homes; they ought to be required to serve in the Guard
They hear the bandits’ story (while they linger in jail awaiting trial): we are not free to make choices, menial labor is forced on us, we’re angry and trying to earn our due
This is a candidate for an Argument Conflict or even a Speech Conflict (which is how it went down at our table); depends of goals.
Patrol is asked to recover town’s folk who broke away to make a new settlement.
They hear the king’s side: they were my subjects, they have important skills, my kingdom needs them back
They hear the settlers’ side: we want liberty from taxation and forced labor, we want businesses that provide lucrative recompense, we feel it is our right to settle a new town
This is a candidate for an Argument, Speech, or Negotiation Conflict; depends on goals. At my table, this became a complex test - convince the king we’ll handle the recovery (Deceiver Vs Will) followed by escort the settlers safely and without notice to establish the new town.
I’d say part of a social conflict is this second step: As long as you are not dead set on what your character will or will not do, think, believe, then you can make a decision to roll dice over.
The third step: If it doesn’t really matter which way things go, don’t roll dice; just make a decision and move forward with the consequences of that. (i.e. borrow equipment from a patrolmate or friend)
In a recent game, I ran ‘Deliver the Mail’ with the Mouse Obstacle of Martin asking for the patrol to recover the heirloom chair. I’ve seen that a few times at the table. This most recent event was really neat. Martin was prepared to really argue to the extent of an Argument conflict in order to gain a promise from the patrol. When he made the initial request, the patrol member spoke up right away, “Sure. We’ll help you doing that. That should be fine.”
There was no need to really make a conflict over that. The goals wouldn’t have traction.
However, the Patrol Leader returned to the table and listened to what was promised by the Guardmouse under his command. He decided, “Yes, we can uphold the promised help, but Martin will have to negotiate with our hare mounts to make the trip fast and safer.”
That produced a simple test of Persuader (PC) Vs Haggler (NPC). They won and Martin tried/failed his negotiation with the hares. The final result was the patrol confirmed the promise, but said they must find another patrol to assist such a dangerous task. Martin was reassured, he promised to trust in their return. The patrol left town.
One used a check to Circle up another patrol in a nearby town.
So, the social test might become a conflict, but might not. And just because they agreed to help, didn’t mean they were unable to make decisions about how to help
Praion, the video was pretty helpful, and funny, too. And the video looked great. What softs are you using to get the portraits, dice rolls and captioning on the screen? I’ve never done online gaming, so I don’t really know the tech that’s out there.
I did read that bit in the book. But the elaborations were scant and the only example they had was a physical combat with a snake. The explanation of maneuver in an argument, for example, was merely a single sentence about using rhetoric.
Kenneth, thanks for spelling it out. I was under the impression that any social interaction could be turned into an extended conflict, meaning a long court case, or just haggling over the price of a weapon. So, it’s really only for interactions that can clearly be drawn out in a complex way.
I’d like to know this too thanks Praion for the video.
The pictures are overlays you can put into a hangout with the “Hangout Toolbox”. You might want to look here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKFgGQmOmGQ
One of our players made these.
The dice are done with Dicestream.