|by Mike Young
Originally published in Metagame, Volume 10, Number 4.
|This scenario is a gathering of mice in a panel inside
the wall. Outside, in the room, lies a multitude of cheese, sausage, and
other foods. Unfortunately, patrolling around the food is a large, hungry
cat. If the cat were belled, the mice could hear it coming and escape,
but who is to bell the cat?
A couple of considerations: First, whichever mouse goes to bell the
cat will die! It doesn't matter if you are super-powered or a toon or have
a very clever plan. You might succeed in belling the cat, but you will
perish in the process. Nastily. Painfully. Secondly, if nobody is chosen
to bell the cat, you will all die. Slowly. Of starvation. Or the cat will
catch you because it is silent and undetectable. So, who will bell the
The mice have met to decide that very question. However, the
onechosen to bell the cat must be voted upon unanimously - not counting abstentions.
You are welcome to decide speaking order or public or private ballots as
you wish, but the vote must be unanimous. The chosen mouse must have some
sort of plan in mind, or he or she will fail completely.
Cut out and distribute the handouts below. You may want to let the
players read the three paragraphs above, or read them out loud to the players
before starting the game.
You'll need a GM as well. Several of the characters presented
below might seem to be copyrighted, but – in fact – are simply mice of
the same name as famous copyrighted mice. Note that this is not a
complete compendium of famous mice and you are welcome to create your own
mice for this scenario.
Secret GM Info
The following information is for the GM only. It contains information about
which mice can bell the cat and how. Do not read this information if you
are playing the game, as it could severely spoil your entertainment.
OK, first off: intelligence of the mouse is not a factor. Dumb mice
tend to be extremely lucky and smart mice tend to be unlucky so they cancel
each other out. Second off: there is no set mouse or plan which will work
or fail. Listen to the mouse's plan. Is it well thought out? Brilliant
in its simplicity? Entertaining? That's the key really, if you're entertained
by the plan, let them bell the cat, otherwise it's mouse fondue for dinner.
Sure it's subjective. If you really want to make it objective, you can
put in stats and dice roles and such. Or you could just go play Mousetrap
or something. Fun game, that.
cut 'em out,
and give them to the players.
Oh how you hate cats. They smash you with frying pans, chase you with lawn
mowers, and try to eat you every time you venture out of the hole.
Somehow, you tend to manage to get the upper hand, but this cat is no
mere tom, he's impressive.
You're probably clever enough to get the bell around his neck, but even
you couldn't survive.
Special note: You
cannot talk, but you may use gestures, written words, and sound
You have recently escaped from a laboratory where a scientific process
made you a kind, benevolent, caring genius.
You have an excellent chance of belling the cat, however, you are somewhat
enjoying your newfound intelligence and are not certain that you wish to
perish so quickly.
every half hour, and after every vote, you became a little less
intelligent. After five of these drops in intelligence, you turn
into a complete moron.
You're The Best! You're The Greatest! You're The Greatest Secret Agent
In The World! You're The Ace! You're Amazing... You're the Strongest...
You're The Quickest.... You're The Best!
Normally, you're out saving the world from the dangerous clutches of
Baron Silas Greenback with your trusty sidekick Penfold. However, today,
you must help save the mice. You would go yourself, of course - you have
an excellent chance of belling the cat - but then who would be them to
save the world?
No, somebody else will have to go. You have
your duty to England after all.
Who's the leader of the club that's made for you and me? Good question.
You are cheerful and bright and happy and always ready to start a sing-along
or roast marshmallows over a campfire. Every idea is a great idea and every
plan is a great plan.
Remember to be so bright and perky that the other mice might get you
to bell the cat just to get rid of you.
Choosy mothers choose Jif peanut
Twinkle twinkle little bat, how I wonder where you're at. You are so soused
that you can barely think straight. Well, considering that it's been your
un-birthday party for nearly 365 days, how can you be expected to think
straight or coherently; But really, you're the life of the party.
Yes! You have a wonderful plan to take over the world! Which you
can do if you bell the cat. All you need is an assistant, someone to Pinky
for you if you will. An intelligent assistant would be preferred, but you'll
make due with who you can. You will not go to bell the cat or vote for
yourself if you do not have an assistant to go with you.
Your secret plan is to feed your assistant to
the cat, while you bell it and escape to Take Over The
You are plucky and naive. You love all people and only wish they loved
you. You are covered in filth and spread disease!
And those are your good points. You are
a mere rat in the world of corporate culture, but you have been
able to fit in before and you can fit in here. This is just like any
other meeting except there are no doughnuts.
You are the mascot of a huge pizza and play company. You make it fun for
a kid to be a kid. You like to play and you like kids, but you care more
You won't be belling no cat unless there is a
profit for you. And death just doesn't seem to be the right profit
incentive. They need your vote to bell the mouse, and you don't plan
on voting unless there is something in it for