Have idea, need plan

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So it's my turn next to DM. I've always wanted to play Mouseguard because I like the idea of the different point of view (and the fact that the rat quest would actually be hard!). No one else really wants to play, so I thought of a way to compromise; have a wizard mshrink the party, and they have to fiure out how to reverse the spell. 

I'm just not sure how to start it.  

Any ideas? I'm fairly new to the DM sceen, I've done a couple pre-mades, but nothing serious. 
Start first by asking your players if they're into the idea. It sounds like the goal would be to get changed back to normal, whatever that means in context. You'd build your scenario around that and have the location be the wizard's hut, tower, or whatever. The villainous wizard, full of hubris that the PCs are surely done for and can't possibly change back and give him his just desserts, goes about his business in that location. Other threats and challenges will suggest themself naturally.

If you have their buy-in, commence with action. Perhaps they are being chased by the wizard's hermaphroditic house cat Mister Fifi. 
If they weren't chomping at the bit when you first propsed the idea, I would certainly double check on this compromise plan before railroading them into a variation of something they didn't really want to do in the first place.
If they weren't chomping at the bit when you first propsed the idea, I would certainly double check on this compromise plan before railroading them into a variation of something they didn't really want to do in the first place.

Hear, hear.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

They did like the idea of the mouseguard campaign, they just don't want to learn a game system. They think it sounds fun but we are all really busy with work and school (I'm getting my masters and the other girl is getting her PhD, boys work full time) and just want to play, not learn, lol. 

After thinking about it a bit, I think I have a start of a campaign. Please review and add suggestions. Laughing


Party is sitting at table in tavern. Crow flies in, message attached to leg. Once the word is uttered, the party is transformed to the wizards keep - Jayde Fizban. She wants the party to find the ring of nine facets, stolen by a rival wizard - Tiberius Alatar.


 Party must enter tower through back entrance in lower dungeon. Within the dungeon they trip a spell that shrinks them to 1/4th their current size. Spell can be revered in the potion library in upper level.


 Monsters/obstacles: cat, rats, cockroaches, puddles


 Helpful items to find: thread (rope) 


 
Party is sitting at table in tavern. Crow flies in, message attached to leg. Once the word is uttered, the party is transformed to the wizards keep - Jayde Fizban. She wants the party to find the ring of nine facets, stolen by a rival wizard - Tiberius Alatar.



What happens if they kill and eat the crow and disregard the message?

Party must enter tower through back entrance in lower dungeon. Within the dungeon they trip a spell that shrinks them to 1/4th their current size. Spell can be revered in the potion library in upper level.



Everything before this point represents a lack of choice. You assume they'll take the quest, but there's no guarantee of that during actual play. If there really is no choice for the characters (because this is the scenario and the players want to play), don't offer the choice in-game. You ask out-of-game for buy-in. If they agree to your premise, you don't need questgivers. Just say why they're there and what they need to do.

You're better off, in my view, asking the players if you can start the characters off already having accepted the quest and already changed into mice. Then start with compelling action. "The entrance to the dungeon is in front of you" is not compelling action.

Monsters/obstacles: cat, rats, cockroaches, puddles

 Helpful items to find: thread (rope)



Lots of players will have seen the Secret of Nimh or watched Tom & Jerry. There are plenty of things they can draw upon to add challenges and detail to your scenario. Before play, ask them to try and remember those things from books, TVs, movies, etc. "Remember when Jerry hopped in an egg carton that looked kind of like a plane and 'bombed' Tom with eggs? That was awesome." Write them down and use them during play.
If they kill the crow, as long as they read the message the plot will continue. This is more of a role-play aspect. 
If they kill the crow, as long as they read the message the plot will continue. This is more of a role-play aspect. 



And if they don't read the message?

I'm not saying "Don't do this." I'm just saying it's superfluous to play out this scene if you already know they're going to take the quest (because the players want to play!). There's really no choice to be made by the characters, so it's not necessary to offer them a false one in-game. I would just narrate where they are, what's going on right now, how they got here, and what they need to do to be successful in their goals. (Or, if you like, collaborate on those things with the players on the premise that the characters have already accepted the quest by whatever means.)
I'm just saying it's superfluous to play out this scene if you already know they're going to take the quest (because the players want to play!). There's really no choice to be made by the characters, so it's not necessary to offer them a false one in-game. I would just narrate where they are, what's going on right now, how they got here, and what they need to do to be successful in their goals. (Or, if you like, collaborate on those things with the players on the premise that the characters have already accepted the quest by whatever means.)



Everybody may agree that they are willing to play a scenario where the heroes are transformed into mice until they can reverse the effect, but they don't know exactly how the DM plans to get them into that situation. Some people like to play out the setup of a scenario in-game, even if there are no real choices involved. It helps to establish context in a colorful way. As long as it doesn't take up too much game time, I don't see any problem with that. On the other hand, I do think it is a great idea to start an adventure in the middle of the action. (I began my current campaign in the middle of a fight with a dragon.) Perhaps you could start things that way and then fill in the background with a couple of quick flashbacks.
Everybody may agree that they are willing to play a scenario where the heroes are transformed into mice until they can reverse the effect, but they don't know exactly how the DM plans to get them into that situation. Some people like to play out the setup of a scenario in-game, even if there are no real choices involved. It helps to establish context in a colorful way. As long as it doesn't take up too much game time, I don't see any problem with that.



I think that pacing takes a hit and roleplay tends to become forced when you're playing out scenes that have no stakes. There are no stakes there because, as established, the players will accept. We're not really playing to find out what happens ultimately because we know what happens - the PCs take the quest. I prefer playing scenes where both the "what happens" and "how it happened" are revealed through play, not just "how it happened," as in the case of already knowing the outcome and just seeing how we move toward it. That's basically just a flashback scene. It works better in the movies than in an RPG in my opinion.

It's possible you could make a quest-giver scene have stakes other than "Will the PCs quest or not *wink *wink*?"  Examples might include finding some hidden details or improving one's relationship with the NPC because the outcome of those things - success or failure - would matter in context and change something.
We're not really playing to find out what happens ultimately because we know what happens - the PCs take the quest. I prefer playing scenes where both the "what happens" and "how it happened" are revealed through play, not just "how it happened," as in the case of already knowing the outcome and just seeing how we move toward it.



You've got a valid point here. I was thinking of such an opening scene being useful more because it can establish "why it happened". Yes, we know "what happens", and "how it happened" may not really be that exciting to roleplay if you all ready know the outcome, but players might enjoy roleplaying "why it happened". We know we're all going to be transformed into mice, but why did it come to that? Why did we land in this situation? This can create interesting dynamics among the characters later in the adventure. Is everybody mad at the guy who thought that taking this quest was a good idea? Is everyone angry with the klutz who triggered the trap? Dynamics like these are hard to include without the context of "why it happened". And if you simply gloss over the "why" instead of actually playing through those contextual scenes then any such dynamics will feel forced. How can everyone be upset with the paladin for getting them into this situation if the paladin's player didn't even get the chance to roleplay the context at all?

Party must enter tower through back entrance in lower dungeon. Within the dungeon they trip a spell that shrinks them to 1/4th their current size. Spell can be revered in the potion library in upper level.



Are you aiming to actually turn them into mice?  Just the size of mice?  Or just really small?
Because if it's either of the 1st two, you'll have to shink them smaller than just to 1/4 scale.  Right now you've got the 6' types at about 8 inches.  Mice are around 3.

Just thought this'd be more helpfull than reading pages of other posters arguing the merrits of RPing/not RPing various bits....

 Party must enter tower through back entrance in lower dungeon. Within the dungeon they trip a spell that shrinks them to 1/4th their current size. Spell can be revered in the potion library in upper level.


 

How do you know they will go in through the back entrance in a lower dungeon? What if they go through the front door? Through force or guile?


or heck what if they try to join bribe the wizard into turning them back and then seek vengance on the wizard who tricked/blackmailed them into going on the adventure? He shouldnt be hard to bribe. "This guy you don't like hired us to kill you and steal your things. If you make us grow back to normal, we will go beat him up and take his things"

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