Here’s the plot, have fun with it.
Mouse Guard has a very peculiar play structure I have not seen in any other games yet. The game is divided in 2 “turns” that each last 1 or 2 hours depending on how things go. The first one, the GM’s turn is what classic RPGs call the adventure and I covered it in detail in parts 2 and 3. Once the mission is completed (or failed), the GM’s turn ends and the Player turn starts.
Each player then get to do either of 2 things: 1) Attempt to recuperate from a condition (like Injured, Angry, etc) or 2) Set a scene to accomplish a goal, push the plot forward and/or create new plot/setting elements. Of course, there’s a trick. In order for players to get more than one ‘turn’ during that period, they need to earn them by playing against themselves during the GM’s turn. There are, of course, mechanics where you can impede/hurt your character’s chances to give yourself extra turns in the Players’ turn.
Convincing your players to gain such additional turns (called checks), especially those focusing on success/fearing failure, can be a challenge. But it’s a self-rewarding process that players usually grok after a few sessions. Since all PCs are likely to have at least one negative condition by the end of the adventure, they need to get themselves more turns if they want do something beyond recuperating.
Slummin’ it in Port Sumac
In this, our first session of what was to become a campaign, the players poked with their turns, not quite sure what to do with them. Malcolm healed his injuries while Finn found himself an artisan for some new skill he didn’t have (Armorer IIRC) and asked him to show him the basics. The NPC, somewhat annoyed to be interrupted by a Guard gave Finn a task that no newbies could achieve. Finn (helped by veteran armorer Edgar) managed it (using the “Beginner’s Luck” rule) and got closer toward learning a new skill.
Finn also tapped into Malcolm’s underworld contacts to secure enough Scent to reseal the breach, setting up the next mission nicely and opening a meta-plot element: “How come criminals have access to a supply of Scent?”.
Edgar roused the city’s population and gave a well-felt speech to calm the local population, promising that the guard was on top of the predator issue but that the Territories should still be ready to mobilize should it become necessary. Malcolm used his deceiver skill to disguise himself and act as a member of the crowd and shouted “It’s true! I believe in the guard, we’ll be safe” over and over again.
It worked… I blame the writers.
Finally, Jasper, wanting to impress his mentor (Malcolm), crafted a good luck charm with a tuft of Fox hair. All other PCs chipped in to help, but none of their “dice” helped… yet he succeeded in spite of that! Which made for a funny anecdote that all the advice Jasper got was wrong.
Thus was our first session concluded. A great success. As the next session will show, we all got much better with the game itself and the players literally drove the campaign in a new direction.
Thanks for reading!
P.S.: Next posts will be shorter. Likely 2 parts per session, outlining the highlights of the GM and Players turns respectively and the main GMing calls that I made in each.