We're kicking off a brand-new Pocket-Sized Play series with The Woodlands by Andrew Medeiros, being played in the Mouse Guard setting. Enjoy!
Character Introductions (05:30)
Mice of Note (10:00)
The mission (15:04)
An unsavory request (20:14)
Mr. Thompson arrested (01:01)
Darkest self (02:18)
The Beginning of All Things (04:45)
Dumb, fragile, teenager victim (09:22)
Serina and Jonah (10:50)
Crime scene (19:41)
“It’s like Harry Potter!” (29:46)
Fairy circle (00:17)
Big Man (03:00)
“Have you ever wondered why you are such a lie?” (05:43)
The moonlit path (09:14)
Deep into the woods (13:17)
Gunfire and a splatter of blood (17:27)
So you just found out you’re a fairy… (18:40)
“What a morning, huh?” (22:53)
And YOU are a lie! (01:05)
“What the fuck was that??” (07:43)
Tender, with erotic subtext (11:37)
Smoking pot in the woods (18:44)
Kyle Norwood (30:13)
Wolf out (33:50)
School registration (35:16)
Poppies (10:33) This scene shows one of my favorite GM techniques. I call it “painting the scene.” Essentially, it involves telling the players the themes or motifs I want to highlight in the scene and then asking them to tell me what their characters see in the scene that reinforces those ideas. It’s an extremely powerful technique for enriching the “visual” of the scene and getting player buy-in.
Welcome home, sister (13:30) I am totally luxuriating in this scene (and the moonlit prince scene that follows). Every now and then I like to just take the narrative wheel and let the power flow through me, haha. I am particularly proud of the fact that I was doing this completely off-the-cuff. I knew I wanted this scene to be really special, and so I just kind of got into a zen place, pictured everything in my mind, and then relayed what I saw to the players. You can’t see the players’ faces in this format, but trust: they were entranced. I consider scenes like this a little reward for the players, like a particularly flashy cutscene in a video game.
Mobile home (00:25) Here’s a PbtA 101 note for folks who are new to running these games. In this scene, I use Margot’s missed roll to advance my Threat involving Big Man. I don’t actually say out loud that is what I’m doing, but rather just weave it into the fiction. My countdown clock said “Big Man is looking for one of the player characters.” I translate that into a scene where Margot’s father informs her that someone fitting Big Man’s description stopped by and asked about her.
Everyone loves Ben (05:26)
Feeding (10:34) Normally you’d pick your options from the move that fires off and then make the fiction conform to those choices. In this case, we talk about what is going on in the fiction and have that inform the choices Yoshi makes on his Feeding move. Both approaches can work.
Norma (14:36) This is one of my favorite techniques. Just straight up show the players something that is happening in another part of the world, as if they were the viewers of a TV show. I like to describe such moments in very cinematic terms. I wouldn’t suggest doing this all the time, but every now and then, it can be quite powerful.
And your little dog, too (16:25) ”How does that feel?” Always ask that question, particularly when the characters are engaged in something new and intense.
Mr. Thompson (20:15) Sometimes people get hung up on how to remove Conditions in MH. It’s not like D&D, where you can just go to the inn for a few days to heal up. There is a good example of how to do it in this scene.