(This has some Spoilers from the Autumn series of Mouse Guard. Be warned.)
When Sadie travelled to to the shore post Calogero, she found a lone member of the Mouse Guard, the peg-legged Conrad. When the Post was overtaken by crabs, Sadie barely escaped, due to Conrad’s noble sacrifice.
This decision to station one Mouse Guard member was hotly contested by Sadie, who believed that an organized troupe could have fought their way out without casualties. Conrad’s death and Sadie’s relentless campaigning brought about a new initiative.
Each Troop would be assigned an area of the Mouse Territories, an be in charge of activities within that area. They would be provided with a watch post from the generous donations by the Mouse settlements in their area, and would stay in this region for the year. Diffusing the Mouse Guard in this manner means that troop response times are much higher, and the immediate problems in the region, be it wild animals, dangerous weather, or other wilderness problems, would be dealt with quickly.
Each troop would be assigned with maintaining goodwill to the neighboring mouse settlements, as their watchpost depends on those settlement’s donations. They will be responsible for resupplying the watch post, and keeping it in good working order.
In the late Autumn, the disparate troops will be recalled to Lockhaven, for a full report over the winter months.
So that’s the premise of my Mouse Guard Campaign. The Initiative idea was based on my wish to develop a specific part of the Territories in great detail, specifically the Lilygrove-Oakgrove-Flintrust-Willowroot-Birchflow settlements around the small lake. By placing the troop in this single location, we can zoom into that part of the map and develop the area in great detail. The players are excited to use wises to detail the location, and develop the various inhabitants with Circles.
I’ve taken the time to consider things like trade routes amongst the settlements in this part of the Territories. Disruptions in trade will make for interesting missions, both in terms of shortages causing problems, dealing with the disruption itself, and the mice that are on either end of producer and consumer.
A lot of the Mouse Guard I’ve played has been in the kind of Star Trek:TNG sort of vibe, where we go to all kinds of disparate locations and solve problems. This has created a sense of disconnection. If I forge ties to someone in Shaleburrow, but then never have a mission near Shaleburrow again, it feels like the relationship I forged is a waste of time. I’m trying to create a vibe similar to Deep Space 9, where the problems solved create other problems in the area, and the relationships deepen and change over time.
We’ve taken some time to create characters with this initiative in mind, and I’ll get them up in a bit. Our first mission was a bit of a mess, mostly player eagerness to play right after we created characters, and because I didn’t know things like Beliefs and Instincts it didn’t go so great.
The second mission, with time to prepare and keep Beliefs and Instincts firmly in mind, went much better. I’ll detail that in a bit as well. We’re on a bit of a break over the Christmas season, but I hope to restart in January and play through the full year in the region.