mouse guard – Do Laborers need tools to make tests, or do they get an extra die for having tools?

Let’s see… Going to the book…

Page 93 provides a general rule:

Gear Against Obstacles
If a character has a piece of gear that’s
appropriate to a particular obstacle—a
map, a sword, a bit of damning evidence—the
GM may grant the character a +1D advantage to
overcome the obstacle.

Add the extra die to the ability or skill rating and
roll all of the dice together.

The entry for Laborer (p.249) specifies what kind of tools are needed, with:

Laborers are the bulk of the workforce for the
mouse towns and cities. They gather wood for
the carpenters, stone for the masons and metal
for the smiths. They dig ditches, carry stuff and
generally just do what they are told.

Laborers need tools from a smith.

Note the wording “They gather wood for
the carpenters, stone for the masons and metal
for the smiths.” This implies mostly find, pick up, carry back. Not the kind of thing tools are essential for.

And gives the following factor list:

Labor: Gathering wood, cutting stone, mining metal

Since those items can all be done WITHOUT tools, then the tools would logically be a bonus die.

Gathering wood: tools from a smith would make it much easier… +1D vs Ob 1.

Cutting Stone: I’ve cut stone by use of hammering with other stones. Slow, but doable. Water and wood can also work. So again, Tools from a smith would be a bonus die… Taking a low chance better, +1D vs Ob 2

Mining Metal: most ores can be obtained without metal tools… horn picks are in fact known to have been used. But only metal tools for a bonus works here, too. +1D vs Ob3.

But note: all those obs are also assuming plenty of time, good weather, and small amounts gained.

Also note: Armorer doesn’t list a tools requirement, and it’s one that clearly does require some tools. Smith also doesn’t list a tools requirement, and again, obviously does.

I’m inclined to the tests being, as noted, for gathering… and the tools would be helping by making it actual mining or cutting, not just gathering and breaking.

Bottom Line: IMO, The line about tools specifies what kind of tools get the bonus, not that they are required for all tests.