large MG mission

This is a first attempt at writing a complex mission for Mouse Guard, something beyond “escort the ambassador to Sprucetuck.” The mission takes place over two ‘acts’, each composed of a GM’s Turn and Player’s Turn. The plot centers on an elicit romance, the Black Axe and an underground resistance group called The Clover Alliance that wants to return mice to a more natural, less civilized state. Consequently, it’s focused more on politics and mouse-on-mouse conflicts rather than dealing with predators (although there’s some of that too). I’d appreciate any comments, especially since I’m still getting comfortable with the rules. But first a small amount of explanation is needed regarding my writing format:
[li]I notate independent tests differently from the rule book. Health 3 [Pond-Wise, Flood-Wise] means an Ob 3 Health test with possible assists from two wises.
[/li][li]I like to handle Circle and Resource tests similarly to Shadowrun and anyone who’s played that game will recognize my list-by-open-success format. This mission in particular is heavy on investigation and there are lots of open-ended Circle tests as a means of data-gathering. In other words, greater margins of success = more and more detailed information uncovered.
Finally, I’ve never been happy with the title so if anyone has a better suggestion I’ll be happy to hear it. :slight_smile:

I encourage any comments or criticism.

My gut says don’t do large missions. Rather, set a large scope (a campaign), and break it down such that you have the very first mission for the campaign. This (and each subsequent) mission should fall into the standard Mouse Guard GM/Player’s Turn format. During the GM’s Turn, your players do not get a lot of choice as to what direction they can take, so “investigation” is kind of forced. So if you want an investigatory game, set up lots of good clues, then drop a juicy hook or two at the end of the GM’s Turn that your players just can’t ignore… then watch them possibly ignore it, or approach it in ways you didn’t anticipate.

Play through the Player’s Turn, then stop. If the story of the campaign is not complete, then run your next GM’s Turn – effectively continuing the storyline. Since the players can (and will) go off on all kinds of tangents during their turn, trying to force a big story to happen during two acts (where you have very little control in the second act), has a lot of potential to lead to frustration rather than fun.

Embrace the randomness and work with it. Embrace the structure, and use it. Dream long-term, but only plan for the next session.

Slash is right here. The system is perfect for running continuing campaigns and doesn’t need to be lumped into one mission.

I would use the books for an example. The Guard Mice are sent out on a simple mission that leads to clues of a much larger plot. Tackle the story in parts at a time, like the LotR series where there is some down time to recover and gather the Patrol’s strength.

Also you can then find ways to insert sub-plots through twists as you lead the Patrol to the epic end of the Campaign.

It will make your job much easier and will be less confusing for the players.

As far as your idea for the Main plot I have to say I love it. And this can be dragged out over many missions where the players gather parts to the over all plot that leads them to the under ground groups leader and HQ. Not to mention this story line will leave many opportunities for this tale to come back and haunt the Characters in future missions.(Fanatical followers of the Clover group blames the Patrol for its groups demise and are now out to hinder and harm the characters in future missions.)

Thanks guys, these are great comments! I especially like Slash’s advice to “dream long-term but plan for the next session.” Admittedly, the way this mission was structured is in large part because my group—to include me—has taken some time getting used to a non-traditional game narrative. We’re all really enjoying MG, but in the beginning my players just didn’t know what to do with the cooperative story-telling. We started off more structured than a MG campaign is designed to be because that’s what people were comfortable with and have been loosening up more and more since. Murphyslawyer, I’m glad that you like the story so much! It’s going really well and the group loves it. In the real world, I’m a Middle East political analyst, so you can see where the social conflicts in the story come from. :wink:

Yes, ‘‘dream long-term but plan for the next session’’ was a good saying. I usually do it that kind of way, with success I think, both with Mouse Guard original and different hacks and also with more traditional games.