For mice, there are four aspects to their Nature: Escaping, Climbing, Hiding, Foraging.
These aspects describe the situations in which you can use your Nature without penalty. If you use your Nature in situations outside of escaping, climbing, hiding and foraging, you risk losing a bit of it. The higher your Nature rank, the more mouselike you are. The lower your rank, the more “human” you are.
Acting with Your Nature
When action in the game involves escaping, climbing, hiding or foraging, you can roll your Nature instead of a skill at no cost. It’s very useful!
Nature cannot be used to substitute for wises.
Abilities and Skills
- Acting Against Your Nature
A mouse may use his Nature as a reservoir of strength to help him over difficult hurdles. If your character is in a situation that is against his Nature—fighting, researching, arguing, etc.—and doesn’t have the proper skill, he may make the test using his current Nature rating. This is not Beginner’s Luck. The player may roll his full current Nature rating, not half.However, if you’re testing to overcome an obstacle that’s outside of your Nature, your ability rating could be taxed.
- Taxing Nature
If Nature is used in a situation outside of escaping, hiding, climbing and foraging and the roll is failed, the rating is reduced by the margin of failure. We call this tax.
When your Nature is taxed, note your current Nature rating in a slash next to your original Nature rating on your character sheet. Any further tests involving your Nature use the reduced number. Nature can be restored back to its original rating. See the next heading,
- Recovering Nature.
Nature can be recovered in three ways: during the winter session, by delivering a prologue or returning from an absence.During the winter session, each character’s Nature is restored to its current maximum. If a player delivers a prologue, he may recover one point of his taxed Nature. If a player was away from the game and returns, he may opt to recover one point of his taxed Nature.
- Depleting Nature
If your Nature is taxed, instead of waiting to recover, you can choose to reduce your current maximum rating. When you reduce your current rank by one, restore one point of tax.
If your Nature is taxed by two—from 5 to 3—you can reduce your original ranking to 4. Youknock that point off, and you also recover a point of tax. Your current rating bumps from 3 to 4.
Now you’re up to your new maximum of 4.You can deplete your Nature in this manner at any point, even if it’s right before a test. There are a couple of reasons to reduce your Nature. Read the Nature 0, Nature 7 heading in this chapter.
- Tapping Your Nature
You may tap your character’s Nature to perform a heroic act. By spending a persona point, you may add your Nature ability rating to your ability or skill test (except Resources or Circles). Persona points are described in the Rewards section of the Mouse Guard chapter and the It’s What We Fight For chapter. If the test is within his Nature and successful, then there is no tax. If the test is against his Nature and successful, Nature is taxed by one. For example, you’re fighting a snake. It’s in your Nature to run away. It is certainly not in your Nature to dive into the snake’s mouth and stab it in the brain. If the test is failed, whether it was with or against Nature, Nature is taxed by the margin of failure. If a test is outside of the character’s Nature, even if he succeeds, he deducts one from his Nature rating. If he fails, he deducts the margin of failure. He’s going to lose at least one point.
- Double-Tapping Nature
If you’re acting within your Nature, you may test your Nature ability (even if you have a relevant skill) and use a persona point to add your Nature rating on top of that roll. Essentially, you’re doubling your Nature. Escaping mice are hard to catch! However, if you fail this test, your Nature is taxed as per the rule in Tapping Your Nature.
Nature 0, Nature 7
You never want your character’s Nature to rise too high or fall too low. It’s important to strike a balance. If Nature drops to 0 due to tax, the Mouse is strongly affected. He becomes unlike other mice. Perhaps he’s too thoughtful or too fixated on his ideals. Whatever’s happened, he’s become distinctly unmouselike.
- Nature Taxed to 0
If your current Nature rating drops to 0 due to tax, one of the character’s traits is immediately changed to a trait like Outcast, Odd, Faded, or something else appropriate to the test that taxed him. The group should make something up on the spot! In our group, Dro was playing his character Quentin and he taxed his Nature to 0 during a Scientist test. He was trying to manufacture weasel musk. We decided to give him the Musky Smell trait. He smells like a weasel. Sometimes this is useful!
After earning the trait, reduce your maximum Nature rating by one and erase your tax. You can’t have a 0 Nature in play—you just lose a point from your maximum Nature.If you had a Nature of 5 reduced to 0 by tax, you’d take your trait—perhaps Musky Smell—reduce your Nature rating from 5 to 4 and remove your tax. Now you can roll four dice for the ability until it advances or is taxed again.
- Nature Maximum Rating 0
If your maximum Nature rating drops to 0—for example, if you have a 1 maximum and you’re taxed—you’re in trouble! Your character goes a little crazy. He starts to see the world differently and doesn’t want to be in the Guard anymore. At the end of this mission, your character must retire until at least next spring. You may play another character until then.This is what happened to Celanawe before we meet him in the Fall 1152 series. He spent his Nature being a hero for the Guard and eventually had enough. He retired until he met Saxon and Kenzie and they told him they would help him recover his stolen axe.
- Nature 7
If Nature advances to 7 and remains at that rating at the end of your current session, the character has become too mouselike. He’s too settled and cautious for adventure. To represent this, one of his traits is changed to something like Settled, Oldfur, or Skittish. The GM may pick the trait to be changed.
- Nature Foraging Factors
A mouse forager can find sustenance for himself no matter where he is in the wild. He can also scavenge up useful bits and materials.
Food:Self, additional mouse, patrol
Stuff:Natural but useful (for Hunter, Survivalist), natural but rare (for aiding in building something), mousemade or medicinal
Terrain or location:forest and fields, rocky ground and swamps, open ground and rivers
Extreme conditions:Flood, drought (only use this set of factors if they’re active in your game)
For tests when Nature acts as a replacement for a skill, consult the skill that’s being substituted and use the factors described there.