Hey guys, I’ve only posted on this forum a few times and I’m still very new to Mouse Guard. I tossed up my first character, Angus, for critique a few weeks ago, and I received a lot of great support from the community. I was wondering if I could get some similar critique on this first story I’m writing up. I feel like I’ve got a good handle on the story itself, but I’m unsure exactly how to turn it into a Mouse Guard session: what might be some good obstacles, twists, etc?
The story begins in Lockhaven, in the first few rainy weeks of spring. Gwendolyn still hasn’t received word from the mice of Appleloft, in the south, and she’s beginning to worry. Early reports indicate that a caravan of merchant-mice out of Copperwood are stranded outside the town because the gates of Appleloft remain shut tight. Gwendolyn is also worried about these mice, as the weather watchers of Lockhaven report that powerful spring storms may be on the way, and flash flooding in the south could be extremely dangerous to any caravans out in the territories.
She asks the PCs to travel to Appleloft and resolve the situation, and gives them each a pack full of supplies to help the stranded caravan (jars of honey, loaves of gabcroon, etc). I could use some help setting up some obstacles for the trip down to Appleloft, I think; I’m not sure how to set up travel obstacles yet. I know the difficulties have something to do with the current weather, but I’m not sure how to fit it all together. I was thinking a decent twist for a failed test could be that the scent from the foods in their packs have attracted a hungry skunk, or something?
Once the PCs arrive at Appleloft, they find the stranded caravan, and the merchant-mice (who are hungry, tired, and maybe sick?) inform them that the mice of Appleloft refuse to open their gates; they’ve had no word from inside since they arrived, and until the Guard arrived, they didn’t have supplies enough to make it home to Copperwood. They fear they may be too sick and tired to make it home before the coming storms now, however.
Not long after the PCs arrive, a representative of Appleloft, a tired and visibly sick guard with a white bandage over one eye, opens the gates of the town to the Guard only, and he makes sure they keep their distance from him once inside. He doesn’t allow them into the town proper, and explains that the mice of Appleloft are extremely sick; a disease of somekind ripped through the tree during the winter, and it has festered there for months; many mice have died. The town guard, understanding the danger this sickness represents to the territories, has maintained a crude quarantine, using force when necessary. The guard informs the PCs that there are several families who, thanks to the quarantine, show no signs of illness, but he believes they simply haven’t shown the signs yet. He informs the PCs that he hasn’t long to live, and that his burden must fall now to the Mouse Guard – maintain the quarantine at all costs; the sickness must not be allowed to leave Appleloft.
What would be a good challenge here on the GMs turn? I suppose it’s up to the PCs to see how they handle the situation? Like, if they decide to maintain the quarantine, they’ll have a mice challenge where they have to keep the “healthy” mice trapped inside the tree? Or a weather obstacle, where they must protect the stranded caravan outside while the spring storm hits? Or do they bring the caravan within the gates and try to use their skills to heal the sickness? Or do they take their chances and try to get the mice who aren’t sick yet out of Appleloft? I don’t know, that sounds to me like Player’s Turn stuff, am I right? That’s what they decide to do on their turn, right?
Also, I figure I could play up the fact that the merchant-mice of the caravan are sick, as well. They’re really just suffering from a cold because they’ve been stranded out in the rain for a while, but are the players willing to take the chance that it’s just a cold? Maybe they’ll try to trap them inside the tree with the rest of the people of Appleloft. I don’t know; it’s really their decision.
In any case, I need more obstacles or challenges for my DM’s turn, I think.
Anyways, I’d love some help / critique on this. Hopefully, we’ll start playing our first game next weekend, and I’d love for this to go smoothly. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys.