Big List o' INSTINCTS...

I started a similar thread for Beliefs…

Coming up with a Instinct is not as easy for some as it is for others. Some folks just need a good set of examples to come up with one of their own. I thought it might be cool for all of us to put a list together of Instincts. Others can use it as a example-base or just plain ol’ steal one when they need it.

What I’ll try and do is take any that are posted in this thread and update this starting post with them all listed out.

The list thus far…

Always consult Saxon when trouble arises.
Always create useful things in my free moments.
Always delegate tasks to the less-experienced.
Always draw maps of all the new locations through which our patrol travels.
Always draw my sword at the first sign of trouble.
Always keep a sharp blade.
Always protect the tenderpaw.
Always seek revenge.
Always write down the details.
Anticipate what the patrol leader needs.
Check the weather early each morning.
Defend others in danger.
Hide first, think later.
If I am near food I eat it.
If there’s work to be done, always offer help.
Measure twice, cut once.
Never delay when on a mission.
Never trust a rich mouse.
Never turn down a drink, especially if it’s free.
Repel adversity with fortitude.
Take action when others are threatened.
When meeting a new mouse, always offer them something.
Where words can’t, the axe can.


This is a GREAT idea. And it would be even better on the wiki.

Sorry, no MG wiki yet.

Category:Mouse Guard on the page?

Some of these would be good for heroic characters of any stock…

Here is a list of instincts I compiled from example characters on the forum and turned into a handout for Burning Wheel games:
(adapt to Mouse Guard as you see fit)


-When talking with a man, make sure to get in close so I can stab him in the face if things go bad (start at Inside if I have time to talk).
-I never go anywhere without my knives.
-Always be Inconspicuous.

  • Pray to God each dawn, noon, and dusk, as well as after each victory.
  • If I fail at something, my temper flares up.
    -Clean and mend after hours.

-Always map strange dungeons as we go.
-Always keep salt handy.
-Always give thanks to the spirits before undertaking a task.

-Take a bath every morning.
-Always flirt with men who have something I want.
-Always touch old things.

-Never dare to offend the spirit.
-Always carry a deck of playing cards.
-Never travel without a sturdy walking stick.

  • Always carry several poultices to treat wounds.

  • First thing every morning, practice my kata.

  • When a noble puts on airs, make a snide comment.

  • Taste food before serving or eating.

  • Always have enough ingredients for noodle soup.

  • Keep wok securely tied to my back when traveling.

  • Always dress in my finest for the situation.

  • Always grab a stout, stylish cane before going out and about.

  • Always bring an appropriate gift when calling on people.

When bored or traveling, make conversation.
Always have writing utensils with you.
Always enter combat in aggressive stance.

  • Always avoid looking powerful people in the eye.

  • Load and carry crossbow before going into an obviously dangerous area.

  • When taking a break or resting, light my pipe.

  • When see dwarf or dwarf stuff, smash! (Go aggressive stance when dwarves seen)

  • Look for good rocks

  • Fix hammer after bashings
    (These are a troll’s instincts.)

  • If I have a spare moment, draw what I see around me.

  • Always keep my herbalism stocks full and close at hand.

  • When confronted with danger, pray for the Forest’s Blessing.

-Always introduce myself with full name and title.
-Always look people in the eye when you speak to them.
-Always begin a fight in aggressive stance.

-Cross self when encountering anything new.
-Always keep herbs on person.
-Constantly search the ground for money.

  • Always position myself to maximize my view of the area.

  • Always do maintenance work.

  • Always save and gather arrows.

  • Always be polite to higher ranking nobles.

  • Always keep food and rations on hand.

  • When threatened with a weapon, use Call of Iron.

  • When in danger, always cast Turn Aside the Blade.

  • Never forget spell books.

  • Always replenish Herbalism and Apothecary kit.

  • Draw at the sight of naked steel.

  • Automatically run towards a woman’s scream.

  • Check for signs of ambush before turning corners.

  • Always has medical supplies on hand.

  • Ready sword and shield at first sign of drawn weapons.

  • Note all exits.

  • Hide at first sign of danger.

  • Loot the bodies at the end of combat.

  • Hug the upset.

  • When people draw weapons, talk them down.

  • Always have some honey and some honeycomb handy.

  • Always be in front protecting the weaker when in a fight.

  • Always sleep with my sword by my side.

  • Always salute my betters.

Always count the money before considering the transaction complete.
Always speak to the kids when in the Marketplace.
Never leave my district without a poisoned blade.

Whenever talking to a cop I don’t know, use Falsehoods.
Always be Conspicuous in Duskgate (“this is MY town!”).
Always tip the bartender a little extra (“hey, Cyrus - what’s the good word?”).

  • I always drink heavily after “defeating” imaginary monsters.

  • I always polish my gear to avoid looking destitute.

  • Always write in my journal before I sleep.

  • Always carry a deck of cards.

  • If I’m in suitable terrain, attempt to forage while moving through it.

  • When surprised, ready my shield.

  • Always be polite to the Gentry and Womanhood.

  • Never keep all your coins in the one place.

  • Never refuse a drink even if you’ve no money to buy a drink back.

  • Offer to the Old Gods at sunrise and sunset.
    -When surprised, fall into defensive stance!

  • At the first sign of combat, always have my mace drawn.

  • Always appear weaker than I am.

  • Always work carefully and patiently when handling poisons.

  • Always stealthy in the forest.

  • Stand near the rear of the group at all times.

  • Spout my manifesto loudly when drunk.

  • Always have my pistol on me/under my pillow.

  • Always check for surveillance.

  • Always be prepared for bad weather.

  • Always have a sweet in my pocket for children and beautiful women.

  • Make the sign of my patron deity to ward off temptation.

  • Always wake before sunrise.

  • Always see to Alluren first.

  • Always try to place myself between my daughter Alluren and danger.

  • Always check for being followed.

  • Spit when I see a pardoner.

  • Always take a bath before my husband comes home.

  • When waiting, whittle.

  • Always post a man by the back door.

  • Always feed the cat before bed .

  • Never sleep in the same place twice.

  • Never touch a man without me gloves on.

  • Move inconspicuous-like outside me turf.

Never leave a bar on my own two feet.
Never own more than I can carry.
If coin is left unattended I will steal it.

  • Always keep some cash on hand for petty bribes and hush money.

  • Always assume logical explanations for strange occurrences while grave-robbing.

  • If I am grave robbing, then I am hooded.

  • Always put away writing tools carefully when finished.

  • Always be prompt for meetings with my superiors.

  • Always be late for meetings with students.

  • Always test the knot once it’s tied down.

  • Always pray at sunrise and sunset.

  • Always obey my elders in the church immediately.

  • I always eat and drink as soon as food and drink become available.

  • I always try to be inconspicuous whenever anyone is shouting angrily.

  • I always sleep holding my shoes, lest someone steal them on the road.

Thank you. I will “mouse these up” a bit and add them to the list over the weekend. Thanks again for sharing.

I have a bunch of BW Beliefs, too, but in Mouse Guard terms they are either Belief+Goal or mostly just Goal.