Actual Play – Sadie Rescued Kenzie! – 5/16/2009

GM: Sean Nittner
System: Mouse Guard

Where we last left off, Kenzie had investigated the grain sellers contact but was caught in the process. Now, away from Lockhaven and in danger the Mouse Guard had to figure out they own plan.

Sadie (my 6 year old) was Hungry and Thirsty at from the last game so we let her do the prologue, which she did admirably. She remembered finding the grain, the map, fighting the snake and that the map was in the wrong hands.

Given that they were separated I gave Sadie and Kenzie separate obstacles.

Kenzie had been tied up and tossed into a corner while the Axe made their nefarious plans. She (in our fiction Kenzie is female) overheard their plans and was able to chew through her bonds, but when she tried to steal some of their armor to impersonate she was caught again, this time the mice were not so kind. Their leader ordered Kenzie throw in the raging river that ran along the wall of the city.

Sadie on the other hand was looking for Kenzie. I had her make a scouting check vs. the Axe’s nature for hiding and she missed it. I opted for a twist that she had found the cartographer’s house but was spotted by guards. Recognizing her as a member of the Mouse Guard, they gave chase. This time the roll was switched, the Axes scouting vs. her Nature. My dice were on fire today because she missed that as well, leading her to escape but she took the condition of “angry” because she hadn’t rescued Kenzie.

Then I played out the twist for Kenzie’s obstacle. She was thrown in the river, and Sadie who had run away saw her friend get dropped in the drink. This turned into our first conflict! I was sure there was a “wilderness” conflict but was wrong. No bother, I just made a new type of conflict called “rescuing” and modified the chase conflict. Disposition on the mouse side was Health + Survivalist test, and the raging river got Weather + a Weather test. The mouse teams objective was to rescue Kenzie and the raging river’s objective was to wash her down stream far enough that they would loose the trail of the army. For skills, I used Survivalist for Attack and Maneuver and Pathfinder for Defend and Feint. Because the river had slipper rocks I gave weapon: +2d to Feint as it might trip Sadie when she ran along the coast or make Kenzie loose her grip as she tried to pull herself out. I described most of the options in a way similar to a chase. After five rolls (2/3 into the second scripting) the mice triumphed over the river and pulled a very wet Kenzie out of the drink. Down to ½ disposition her compromise was being hungry and loosing her staff.

Finally, we got to the second obstacle of getting in front of the army. Sadie pulled off an awesome pathfinder roll, with the aid of Kenzie’s path-wise and her own star-wise to guide them at night.

The GMs turn ended with Sadie and Kenzie looking in on the Axe’s camp.

Players turn, Kenzie opted to forage for food, which she did easily and removed the “Hungry and tired” roll and Sadie wanted to sneak into the camp and steal back the map. She used rolled nature + nature (the persona point) + some help from Kenzie and totally trumped their scout rolls. In the dark of the night, Sadie slipped off with the map of Lockhaven. Talk about the MVP!

What rocked

I was very happy not only to do a conflict but also to make up the skills on the fly. All the moves (throwing a rope, catching a reed, swimming frantically, being pulled under water) made total sense. The conflict was very satisfying for me.

I felt like we got a better sense of the dice. Mouse Guard isn’t Burning Wheel. You can’t take a 2d roll and bump it to 10 with FORKs and help. Most of their good rolls they could get 5-6 dice by getting help and using I am wise.

I played around with obstacles today. 1 and 2 were easy money, 3+ were tricky. I noticed the mice spending a lot more persona this game, in order to add their nature in.

Sadie’s favorite part of the game was pulling Kenzie out of the drink with a rope!

We had some fun options for what to do during the players turn. Foraging berries and stealing maps. Rock.

What could have been improved

We keep forgetting about traits, both using them to get checks and to get bonus dice. Have to remind them to use them.

We didn’t know what skill to use to steal something and it took too long to look it up. I ended up letting her use survivalist in order to move things along.

I’m getting used to the GM turn vs. Player turn. I’m so used to saying “okay, what do you do now?” but the GMs turn is much more directed. You’re Mouse Guard, this is what you must do!


    • Very much so. On the GMs turn the players go through the mission. They have choices about how they face their conflicts but not what conflicts they face. During the GMs turn they earn “checks” which can be spent on the players turn to pursue their own agenda. For instance, if two mice disagree they can’t get into a fight during the mission. They make a single contested roll to see who wins out and then move on. During the players turn however, if the Mouse (or player) is still upset about something, they can use a check to get in an argument (or a fight for that matter) with another mouse. It is really different from how I normally play. And it works well with a 6 year old. She pretty much follows the mission and then at the end gets some free time to do whatever, but isn’t floundering in the middle to figure out what to do. Not sure how I feel about it for adults however.

      Also, of note, you can only recover from injury, being tired, angry, etc during the players turn. So, checks may very well be spent just on recovering.

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