June 22, 2011 Wednesday-Two Mice Want to Walk into a Bar…

The sticky sweet scent of rotting apples permeated the whole town of Appleloft, even the smell of baking apple pies, fritters, or just plain roasted apple could not hide the sweet and sour smell.  Cullen, who was tired and angry from fending off the constant threat of wasps over this last day, could only find complaints to share with his fellow travelers.  “Great, just when I am threw dealing with the fish monger; I have to suffer the BO of this town.  If it is not one thing, it’s another.”  Cullen scowled at the grey mouse merchant.

Logan, Cullen’s younger brother and fellow Mouse Guard, was admittedly tired; however, he did not take the wasp’s interest in the merchant’s salted minnows as personally as Cullen seemed to have nor did he blame the merchant.  After all, the merchant had shared roasted tadpole over the last two nights with them and wasps were all over the fallen apples that peppered their day’s walk towards Appleloft.  “Brother, what you need is a cup of their famous hard cider to put off that gripe.  That is what I am looking forward to….and the possibly snuggling up in the warm soft fur of a girl for the night.  What we both need is Appleloft’s finest tavern.”  Logan waved his hand and tail up into the air in praise, as if the town was theirs.

“I am sorry to say, my dear protectors,” the grey fur mouse interrupted them, “Appleloft’s mice are independent folk, tradesmen yes; but they compete with each other on a more personal level.  If there was a tavern in Appleloft; then everyone in Appleloft would open a tavern.  To avoid such high expenses, those who have brewed a good cider would compete in the town’s square.”

The Mouse Guard RPG infuses three facets of role-playing together; mechanics, metagame, and then the story.  First off, a game session is divided into two turns-the GM’s turn and then the Players.  During the GM’s turn, she throws at them all sorts’ problems to wear the characters down; yet at the same time, how the players role-play their characters determines how much they can do during their own turn.  During the players’ turn, they try to recover from the crap thrown at them and possibly gain an advantage in the next game session.  This is done by limiting the number actual effective dice rolls made by a player which influences the metagame, called Checks.   Additionally, the character’s advancement is solely based on players’ choices; not on rewards given by the GM.  There are no “Classes” in Mouse Guard, just skills, traits and special abilities, each sub-category advances only if you use them.  From a metagame perspective, a player is placed in the following character dilemma during their turn; do I try to recover from the crap my character has suffered, do I try to advance the mission that has been given to my character, or do I try and advance my own goals in my character.  Then the final veto facet; can I tie in my decisions into the current story?  Based on these three facets, a player has to choose which takes priority. 

Tomorrow we will continue with an example.

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