How is Gwendolyn in your games? Motherly leader of the Guard? Drill-Sergeant? The biggest source we have about her is Spring 1153 and it seems she cares for her Guard but is willing to risk the live of everyone of them if it is needed for the greater good. In the end it was her that declared war on the weasels…
I try to only have my players get direct “face time” with Gwendolyn at the beginning and ending of a campaign. During those scenes, I try to play her as caring for the mice of the Guard, but also knowing that for every patrol she sends out, at least one of the guardmice will not return. She is caring, but hard, and devoted to the greater good of the territories above the needs of any one specific mouse.
In the sessions where Gwendolyn is not directly interacting with the guardmice, I prepare letters from her to them. I’ve found a font that I think works well, and use it for each letter in order to maintain continuity. (I’m actually considering giving the patrol a letter from a false Gwendolyn, with the only clue being that the handwriting is different than what they’ve seen in previous letters.)
Every session at least contains a reference to Gwendolyn, even if it’s just to inform the players that they are currently operating without direct orders, or something like that.
In person, I do not have her directly addressing tenderpaws (or even referring to them by their names), preferring instead to address the senior member(s) of the patrol, thus enforcing a bit of a military feel. One of our members was a grizzled veteran, whom the group and I more or less figured that she must have had some kind of a not-so-great relationship with in the past, based solely on the tone she uses with him in her letters. In the Winter session, when (if) the patrol’s tenderpaws earn their cloaks, they’ll receive the honor of being presented to the rest of the Guard as full members, as well as actually getting a private one-on-one chat with Gwendolyn.
I envision Gwendolyn as the sort of charismatic leader who clearly cares about her people, and earns their devout respect (and even more - I’d guess that Saxon is hardly the only member of the guard to have admired her from afar). Rather than attempting to strictly micromanage the Terrirtories (a task that is not only outside her jurisdiction but also impossible) she tries to match each challenge with the subordinate most suited to overcoming it, and then trusts them to accomplish their mission as they see fit.
When Gwendolyn assigns a mission to a patrol, I have her say a word to each member, referencing the previous mission they were in, or if they are new characters, the backstory they developed in character creation. Maybe she’ll congratulate them on a job well done, or offer a word of warning, or simply ask how their family is doing. It’s a quick, easy way to draw the players into the world and make them feel like their characters have place in the world beyond the confines of the game session.
Personally, I take root in other fictional characters and how they are portrayed, and I imagine Gwendolyn being a mousy version of Catelyn Stark from Game of Thrones, balancing strong northern strength and caring motherhood well.
Would she smile at a common mouseguard ? Of course. Joining the guard alone is a true sign of bravery, and a little morale goes a long way.
Would she smite a mouse that has failed or betrayed his village ? By gods yes.
She doesn’t need to be harch to be strict. No need for her to raise her voice in order to be taken seriously.
I’ve always imagined Gwendolyn as being similar to “M” from the recent 007 movies (as portrayed by Judi Dench). Always prim and professional, a little cheeky from time to time, a little bit maternal, willing to lend advice and critique to those under her command who need it, but also willing to let them be their own men and women. She knows the business, and she knows how to conduct business. She gives orders, and expects them to be followed. . .
Hm. I think I just got an idea for an MI6 hack for this game…