Actual Play – Weasels at the Border (7/9/2016)

Mouse Guard CoverGM: Harry Lee
Players: Fred Lott, Joe England, and Sean Nittner
System: Mouse Guard 2nd Edition

Sienna, Bastian, and Delvin, a patrol of Guard mice were sent from Sprucetuck to lay the scene border along the edges of the territory.

On their way, they ran into Elmis, a fellow Guard mouse and learned that his patrol had been ambushed by weasels. Burdened with great responsibility the patrol had to decide if they would continue on with their very important mission of laying the scent barrier, or pause to help the injured Elmis recover his lost companions.

While Bastian tended to his wounds Sienna, the patrol leader but also youngest of the mice consulted with Delvin on what they should do. After some deliberation they agreed that mice in immediate peril was more pressing, and that they would help Elmis and find his patrol.

What followed was a brutal battle with weasels [fight with animals conflict leaving us all injured], laying the scene border [players turn], tracking the weasels to their den (a rabbit burrow that they took over), discovering their plan to attack Sprucetuck, shouting our defiance, and then fleeing out of the warren to safety [chase conflict].

2016-07-09 14.20.34What Rocked

really enjoyed the difficult discussions we had about duty. Sienna and Delvin had different beliefs but they both respected each other. It was fantastic to get that by in from the players to respect that neither decision was an easy one to make.

Second edition has done some great work. The traits are notably way better balanced (level 2 used to be unbelievably powerful) and the starting adventure is a great one (the sample adventure in first edition felt like it was trying to reproduce Fall 1152 too closely, this was so much more open for the Mice to direct).

Harry limiting the game to three players was really smart. It meant that in our TWO conflicts, we all got to be active participants in every round. Speaking of which, two GM turns, each with a conflict, and one player turn. Hellz yeah, we were some awesome mice!

Speaking of conflicts, ours were intense! We first fought off weasels with axes and a bow, and then had to flee out of their warren. We could have just crept out silently but it was so worth it to yell “The Guard knows! The Guard will be prepared!” before hauling ass out of there. My particular memento was leaving my cloak behind at the base of a warren to show that the guard was here.

There was a really cool scene with Devlin and Elmis where we needed them to buck up and move along without us. Devlin put his sword in the weakened Guard Mouse’s paw as Sienna told him, he could do this, it was his duty to do this. LOVED IT! Harry’s depiction of Emlis was also wonderful. Ashamed and scared but dedicated as well. So good.

What could have improved

Oh gosh, hard to say. This game was so good.

2016-07-09 17.01.22

Actual Play – Fate of the Mouse Guard (3/28/2015)

War-of-Ashes-Front-Cover-Mockup (1)GM: Kit Walsh
Players: Sophie Lagacé, Edmund Metheny, Sean Nittner, and his littles.
System: War of Ashes: Fate of Agaptus (re-skinned to Mouse Guard)

End of 2014, start of 2015 when we were still wrapping up on War of Ashes final edits and playtesting we talked about running another playtest, but this time using the Mouse Guard setting.

My little ones who have played Mouse Guard and War of Ashes: Fate of Agaptus before were with us and so we got another chance to see how well it played with kids as well!

The setup

Kit emailed us this in advance:

A Mouse team was ambushed by a pair of weasels while on their way to deploy the scent barrier that keeps gigantic beasts like wolves and deer out of the Mouselands. The weasels injured and poisoned the mice and took several of their packs. The able mice followed shortly after, and found that their packs had been ransacked a short distance away. Their papers had been taken, including the map of where the scent barrier was to be deployed and a letter of introduction identifying the bearers as representatives of the Mouse Guard in Lockhaven, addressed to the mayor of a moderately distant town at the other end of this segment of the scent barrier, Mossdown.

The weasels’ trail led, curiously, back towards the nearby town of Goldblossom, rather than into the wild. The survivors returned to town that night, and met up with a second team from the Mouse Guard that was investigating disappearances in the area.

The next steps are up to you!

Good stuff!

Character Creation

When we arrived Kit had a dozen or so prompts on index cards on the table. They were either questions like “why does the mouse Benjax keep getting off the hook when he’s arrested?” or statements like “a history with weazels.”

We each picked up a couple of the cards that spoke to us and made aspects off of them. We had some great ones like:

“I shot the Sheriff [of Goldblossom]”

“My brother the Mail Mouse is Missing!”

“Coal thinks he’s above the law. He isn’t!”

“Benjax won’t get away…again!”

“I stabbed Rostov [the Weazel]. He saved my life.”

Our Heroes

Xiomi – Patrol mouse from Lockhaven going on the mission because one of the missing mice is her brother!

Patrol Mouse with no name – Sibling to Benjax, who got away with his crimes because he blackmailed Gwendolyn with threats of selling information to the weasels.

Coal – A renegade mouse who works on his own. He wears a black trenchcloak and uses spiked brass knuckles he calls “weazel dusters”. He shot Sheriff Grom years ago in the Weasel War because he thought the sheriff was colluding with Weasels.

Daisy – The terrified tenderpaw who traveled with Coal. Here patrol leader Amber was kidnapped, and another patrol mouse was killed in the ambush.

Bernice – A seasoned patrol leader with a sordid weasel history.

Our Adventure

Bernice, weasel sympathizer.
Bernice, weasel sympathizer.

Two patrols join on the road for a common cause. To find the weasels who attack the patrol, to find the missing mice, to get back the letter of introduction, to get back the scent barrier map, to find out what happened to the mayor, to catch the sheriff red-pawed, and to get to the bottom of what looked liked a mouse-weasel conspiracy. Okay… maybe several common causes.

Some major highlights of the adventure:

  • The patrol mouse pushing their brother Benjax into a spider pit he intended as a trap for them!
  • Xiomi’s bee stinging Sable the Weasel.
  • Daisy trying to make up for her earlier cowardliness by sneaking off alone to follow Half-Wisker Willy, and then getting trapped by Benjax but eventually bringing him to justice!
  • Stinky Pete the Junk Mail Mouse handing out leaflets made of literal leaves that all said “Vote for Benjax”.
  • Coal and Sheriff Glom having a stare down at the Honeysuckle Tavern.
  • A spider chase with Daisy dragging the bedraggled Benjax after her.
  • Weasels getting away after Bernice and Rostov traded cold war banter and finding no ideological middle ground.
  • Patrol mouse with no name impaling Rostov with his own katana!
Spider Chase!
Spider Chase!

In the end, we rescued the enslaved miner mice, arrested Benjax, set the weasels packing, and collapsed the tunnel they were digging that would have given weasels a backdoor into mouse territory. Hooray for the Guard!

What rocked

The aspect prompts we really great. Gave us the power to make our own characters while ensuring they were tied into the story.

Based on that I love how personal we made everything. Everyone knew everyone. It felt like a game of Dogs in the Vineyard!

Junk Mail Mouse? Aw man, that is awesome!

Weight (weasels were weight 2) make a big difference and we really had fun playing with it. Zone aspects were also great. Maneuvers to push people were awesome too! Win, win, win!

Spider Chase!

I have just been listening to Tom Clancy’s Command Authority, so my brain was in very cold war era mood. This game fit perfectly!

What could have improved

We forgot about Roar/Froth, mostly due to time running short.

We never got the Sheriff. We’ll just have to hunt him down…next time!

Pedagogy of Play

Willem over at The College of Mythic Cartography and my own podcast on icebreakers led to a discussion about teach people through games, specifically teaching people games through games. Breaking down all the components of a game into easy to digest and fun to learn steps.

I applied this to a Mouse Guard game that I ran at the Endgame Minicon: Into the Wild – Spring 1152. Here are the exercises:

Continue reading Pedagogy of Play

Narrative Control – Episode 53 – Mad Props (Part 1)

Hi and welcome to Narrative Control.  This episode and the next are all about props we’ve used in games.  This show we’re talking about maps, apparel and dressing up existing game elements like dice, character sheets, etc.

Hosts: Sean Nittner and Eric Fattig

Length:  34:00

Show Notes

[00:28] Intro to the show.  Talking about props.
[01:40] We already talked about some of this in Episode 17 – Included props on the cheap, documents and customized character sheets. Check it out .
[03:30] Maps… the forgotten prop. [04:39] Map of Bel in Apocalypse World:

[05:29] Island map for Agon.  Showed which gods held dominion. Blank version.

[06:31] The Map of Rokugan showing off all the problems we had to handle.

[08:28] Territories in Mouse Guard. Big Map:

Little Map:

[10:30] The map of our memories in 4E.  I put in mud pots for you Babe.
[11:50] Dress like the fiction. Costumes.
[13:06] Gnome spies got (from such classics as Gnomes Like Us, Dr. Gnome and Gnome Impossible) got different hats for each important NPC.
[12:48] Put on a Chiton when you play a Greek.  Dressing up for Agon:

[15:30] Liberty spikes and “distressed” wear for Apocalypse World:

[16:22] Laurel wreaths for the gods: Laural wreaths at Amazon.
[17:02] Getting costumes at local costume shops, like this one at UC Davis: Enchanted Cellar.
[18:21] Mons in our L5R game. Badges of office, clan, family or post.
[20:07] More subtle effects.  Dresden Files cops game, I took the role as the police chief, I kept adjusting this:

[22:07] Dressing up the existing gaming elements: Dice, character sheets, game currancy (style dice, fate chips, artha, etc).
[22:50] Police Dresden game: Badges on Fate chips made with Token Tool.
[23:31] Used Gwendolyn and Liam for Persona and Fate in Mouse Guard:


[24:05] Matrix: There is no spoon.  Currency in RAM:

[24:49] More generic. Poker Chips: Discount Poker Shop. [25:43] Apocalypse World: Shotgun Shells.

[26:53] Mouse Guard – Dice color matched the cloaks:

[27:51] My Life with Joker: Purple and Green Dice at Chessex.
[28:12] Burning Empires.  Blue became the color of the common people.  Nobody wanted the blue dice.
[29:03] Burning Wheel. The Gift.  Dwarves get red dice, Elves get blue.
[29:44] Character tents.
[30:00] Pretty character tents.  Clear picture frames at Bed, Bath and Beyond
[30:36] Including other bits like characters keys (from Shadow of Yesterday), aspects (from Fate), etc.
[31:12] “Dude, where’s my sword?”  Players poking each other in the keys.
[32:23] Aspects on sticky labels to add to character tents.  Here’s my Mouse Guard traits:

[33:26] A hint of the topic to come soon.

Direct Download: NC_Episode_053.mp3

Narrative Control – Episode 36 – Dare to be Stupid

Hi, and welcome back to Narrative Control. This week’s episode was a bit delayed. Justin and I both went to GenCon last week and my recovery time is not what it would have been 10 years ago. But here the episode is, edited and with better audio quality than the last (cheating on account of the fact that the last one was recording at a con). This week Justin and I are talking about one of John Wicks’s Play Dirty videos. John, as always, has some great ideas, thing we wanted to expand on, specifically playing to fail, or in other words “Dare to be stupid.”

Hosts: Sean Nittner and Justin Evans

Length: 25:04

Show Notes

[00:27] Intro to the show and a super short GenCon review.
[01:05] Promo for White Wolf blogcast:
[01:33] A failed roll. Wait. I still find Lando?
[02:47] Inspired by John Wicks’s Play Dirty Video: Players, Players Everywhere (
[04:20] Succeeding all the time doesn’t make for a good story. Heroes aren’t de-protagonized by failure.
[05:56] A paraphrase of John’s youtube clip “Do Stupid Stuff.”
[06:25] This is counter to our intuition. Both of us usually want to see our characters succeed.
[07:05] Why do we feel the need to succeed. Fear of hitting a dead end or having their characters become failures.
[08:21] Fate System. Aspects describe both strengths and weaknesses of the characters. Encouraging player by giving them a fate chip for being compelled to foible. (
[10:00] Also puts the idea out there that you start the game flawed. We agree in advance that you’re going to stumble over something of your choice.
[10:49] Mouse Guard. Explicit encouragement to fail. Story structure -> Twists -> Advancement! (
[12:19] Players can also put their characters at more risk using their traits. Encouragement to stack things against yourself.
[14:38] An example of using traits against yourself.
[16:30] This is something that players have to get used it. It appears counter-intuitive at first.
[17:00] A voice from a player “Anytime I hear the word “Fail” I cringe” (
[18:22] Does externalizing the threat remove the sting of failure?
[19:51] Justin: It feels strange to look for ways mechanically to defeat myself. I’d rather put more at risk for a greater reward.
[20:55] Consequences stated up front in Burning Wheel and they are negotiated between the players and GM.
[21:54] What about times when heroes just fail? Example: Harry Dresden fails all the time.
[22:52] Failure is fine… but the story can’t end. This happened all the time in Burning Warcraft (

Direct Download: NC_Episode_036.mp3

Actual Play – Into the Wild – Spring 1152 (7/18/2009)

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Brent Sturdevant, Jon Edwards, Noam Rosen, and Shaun Hayworth
System: Mouse Guard

I ran my Mouse Guard game (which I had run my play test for a few weeks ago. AP report for that here) at Good Omens Con on Saturday evening.

I had four awesome players in my group. Brent Sturdevant, Jon Edwards, Noam Rosen, and Shaun Hayworth. I had gamed with all but Jon, but as it turned out he is running a Mouse Guard game of his own and so was already familiar with the system and setting. This meant I had all my players pouring a ton of creative energy into the game. As I’ve said many times before, the thing that makes a great game is great players, so I knew I really couldn’t go wrong.

That said, I was pleased with the game but also frustrated by my lack of proficiency with the system. My group needed very little prompting to run with the story and yet if felt that my implementation of the rules reined them in more than it encouraged them to blossom. In the end I think there was too much GM time and not enough player time. I’ll break that down more below.

I’m not going to give a recount of the actual game because frankly, even with the minor frustration above I had a blast running it and I want to run it again. I’m going to review the warm up exercises and then jump right into the pros and cons of the game.


I started by thanking everyone for being in my game and I think for the first time I had a table of players who all thanked me for running it (that was cool). I told them we would be doing some warm up exercises that would help us get into the mood of the setting, learn the rules and establish the back story for our characters.

That last one was really a selling point. In the discussions with Willem and Jason (posted about over here) and on the Myth Weaver’s episode, one thing we all have discusses is player buy in. Sure, you’ve got these great games to get people warmed up for the game but you don’t (as a GM) want to make the pedagogy of play a pain. It should all be part of a whole expereince so that it naturally transitions into the game as published by the author. I took some advice from Willem by starting the game announcing my intent and making sure the players at least tacitly agreed. Most gave me somewhat neutral responses except for Jon who was feverishly taking notes.   I got the impression they were all saying “Cool, lets see where this goes.”


Our first game was Mouseball, derived from an improv and team exercise “Soundball.” We had a little plush Liam that we tossed around spouting off things a mouse would encounter. We did what mice fear, what they like, what they eat but really got rolling when we talked about what mice hide in. The answer was apparently LOTS of places.

Epic Journey

The next game was the Epic Journey describing the trials and tribulations of the old guard (characters who were mentors to the cast of characters played). I read the quote “Send any mouse to the job and it may or may not be done. Ask the Guard to do the task, even death cannot prevent it from completion.” I explained that this has a real “in game” effect that a mouse of the guard never fails to achieve his goals, he just faces complications around the way. I reviewed the twist and condition results and then we got to telling a story.

This introduced a lot of mechanics. One player would draw a mentor to play and the player to his left would draw an obstacle card (Animal, Weather, Wilderness or Mice) and then present an obstacle. Based on the skills I knew the characters had I would tell them what skill to use and what the Obstacle was. We started with a single roll using only traits. Since this roll failed I then introduced a twist. The next roll involved a skills, traits and teamwork and as it failed I introduced a condition. The next roll introduced wises to the mix, etc. With each roll we built on the mechanics and the story of the Mentors.

Group Conflict

I read the motto “It’s not what you fight; it’s what you fight for” and we jumped into a fight that the Epic Journey had been building up to. Fights are the easiest conflicts to explain because the weapons are on the conflict sheet and all the actions make intuitive sense (Attack, Defend, Feint and Manuver). Once the Goals were written and disposition was rolled I asked each character to Narrate a bit of awesomeness that had done, then I did the same for their opponents and then I told everyone to cut their disposition in half, rounded down.

The reason for this is that a) conflicts can go long and I didn’t want to drag this one out, b) I wanted to make sure the players were familiar with making concessions and c) I wanted the “Defend” maneuver to be immediately useful (which is generally isn’t when you are at full disposition). The conflict was bitchen and the results really charted the game from then on. We got more practice using skills, wises, teamwork and traits. We also introduced conflicts, fate, persona and compromises.

I See

Probably my favorite game, though not one that engaged the system much was “I see.” Each player picked a character and then was handed three stickers with traits on them. The player went around the table assigning each other those traits, which were stuck to the character tents for all to see. Why is it that everyone makes Dain the fat one? Hard to say. This process we talk about how the traits could be used to help or impede the mice and what the benefits of that are.


The last exercise was “Accomplishments.” This was probably my least favorite. I gave each mouse a trial they had to face with the aid of a single other mouse. It was really an arbitrary test with the goal of giving them a meaningful challenge to form a belief around.

This introduced beliefs and skill advancement as well as reiterating the olds stuff, plus gave them a chance to earn more player checks by impeding themselves (as they had previously been playing their mentors so we didn’t track the checks they earned). I’ll talk more about this below. It introduced some important things, but of all of the exercises this one felt the most GM directed and exhausting for me. This might work better if I prepare the accomplishments in advance but I’m thinking about dropping this all together.

Then we proceeded to the first GMs turn and the Mouse Guard kicked some butt and took names. Details on this part will be revealed in another post when I finally put this adventure to bed.

What rocked

As I said before my players were awesome. They really brought the game to life and made it a joy to run.

The props were so worth it. I put a ton of energy into preparing them and loved it every time I handed one to a player. I’ll take some pictures of them and then post those up in a separate post.

I started catching on (remember me talking above about lacking proficiency myself) that the cool way for the players to take more narrative control during the GMs turn was for them to earn two checks and then spend them to take an action I hadn’t previously described.

Some of the twists were just a blast to play out. The first one in particular was a lot of fun, I’m glad it came out both in the play test and in the con game.

The finale was not at all what I expected and probably not something that will ever come out again. It was a total blast and felt like the perfect merging of fiction and mechanics, with both of them reinforcing the other.

What could have been improved

In the Epic Journey I encouraged people to use traits to impede themselves but had no good way of rewarding that as we didn’t have a Players Turn following the Epic Journey. Maybe I need to treat the Accomplishments as a Player Turn so as to introduce that as well and reward them for impeding the mentors.  Also, during the Epic Journey I didn’t give an explicit goal for the mission.  I think if I did that it woudl be easier for the players to frame obstacles for each other.

The accomplishment felt oddly out of place. I like the idea of the characters playing themselves as younger mice earning their cloaks, but I want to put it more in their hands. I think next time I will treat it like a Players Turn and let them tell me how they earned their cloak and take a test accordingly. Also, this would give me the option to use twists again to have a second mouse bring in their accomplishment as part of the twist if the first roll is failed. Either way, putting more control in the hands of the players would be good at this state. Much of the rest of the game, I have a very heavy hand.

I had players wanting to do a lot more than the GM turn called for. I mitigated some of this through narratives (“cool, describe how you do that”) that were not tests and then (as pointed out above) figured out that if they really wanted to have a mechanical impact, I would encourage them to build up player checks so they could take the actions they wanted during the GM turn. Still, I did feel that I had to stifle the players some. Some of this follows the conceit of the game; the Guard isn’t free to do as it wishes. Some just felt artificially biding.

Overall, many thanks to the players for making the game so much fun for me to run as well as for your fellow players to be in. As I will probably try to run this at Game on Demand at GenCon please let me know if you have any suggestions for making it better. I’d love to hear them.

The Pedagogy of Playing Mouse Guard – A Crazy Circle of Life

The irony of the loop between (I hope I’m getting the order correct) Jason Godesky, Willem Larson, Zach Greenvoss, Justin Evans, and me (Sean Nittner) is just crazy.

This is really the first time when I have felt like the internet created meaningful connections between people with similar interests.

To hear the beginning of this story, and a great podcast about how teach games as you play them improves the flow of the game and reduces (or eliminates) those lulls in the game where the mechanics stop serving the fiction either because a rule is forgotten or misunderstood or because players (or GMs) don’t understand how to apply the mechanics; go listen to this: The Myth Weavers – Episode 13

Also, if you follow that link, it will give you links to all the pieces that have come so far. And now I’d like to spin the wheel a little further.

As my previous post indicated I ran my Mouse Guard game, implementing the pedagogy of play components that I had been discussing with Jason and Willem online. For the most part it was a success, but I learned two important things from it:

1. Any exercise of significant length that addresses only setting elements and not the mechanics of the game, should be revised.

Case in point. When we played Mouseball, the players tossed around a plush Liam and talked about elements of a mouse’s life. This was a lot of fun, got people thinking about what dangers a mouse would face, and took less than five minutes. No mechanics were taught here as it was meant to be a gentle introduction to the game. The second exercise, however, the “Epic Journey” also fostered creative juices without introducing mechanics, but it took a good 15-20 minutes. To the players this was a frustration. They wanted to be “playing” (i.e. acting out their character and rolling dice) sooner. When we got to the accomplishment, however, they were interested again (as it involved engaging the mechanics).

2. The rules I didn’t go over during the teaching exercises are the ones stuck out like a sore thumb.

As Willem said on one of his comments in my LJ “If ever the players look overwhelmed, overly hesitant, or unsure, you know you’ve missed a step. Don’t blame them, blame your teaching plan. You probably then need to find a game that will get them over that particular hump.” In this case I realized that when I introduced traits in the “I See” game, I didn’t talk about how they relate to “checks” and that is what fouled me up in game.

So I’ll recap the chronology as best I can:

  1. Jason and Willem talk and Willem writes this series, “The Pedagogy of Play” (parts 1, 2, 3 & 4)
  2. Willem ran a game with Zach Greenvoss as a player at Gamestorm
  3. Zach told Justin and Sean and then we did a podcast on Episode 29 of Narrative Control
  4. Jason heard the postcast and told Willem about it
  5. Willem got in touch with me over on the Narrative Control forums and told me about his process (see part 1 above)
  6. Sean comments about a pedagogy for Mouse Guard
  7. Sean’s starts cobbling things from Willem and Justin together to create his process
  8. Jason creates his own process which seems more tuned toward campaign play than one shot games.
  9. Jason runs a few sessions both over Skype and in person. He talks about them on the Burning Wheel forums and on The Myth Weaver podcast
  10. Sean has now run a play test using five exercises to teach the game and warm players up to the life of a mouse, which I reported on in my other Livejournal posts.

So, wow, it’s just cool to see all of this unintentional interaction due to a couple of strange not-quite coincidences and the internet. Neat.

Actual Play – The Leafboat Expedition (6/7/2009)

GM: Sean Nittner
System: Mouse Guard


We picked up the third installment of Mouse Guard on Sunday. Sadie started us off the prologue recalling how Kenzie had broken out of being held by the Axe, but then caught in her attempt to take back the map, and thrown into the River. Sadie, after being chased off by other mice, saw Kenzie being taken downstream and leaped to her aid. Together they pulled Kenzie from the river, but not without losing a lot of ground on the army marching toward Lockhaven.

Sadie scouted ahead and found a path her patrol could use to catch up with the Axe. Crawling along the bark of an old spruce they found the army, hundreds of mice strong, making camp.

Kenzie was hungry from getting pulled down stream so she rounded up some berries for the mice to eat. Meanwhile Sadie, thought still angry, opted to spend her time sneaking into camp to steal back the map. And she did!

Actual Play of the MouseGuards swaying speeches, leaf boat journey and the preperation of Lockhaven.

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!