# Mice population

About how big is the mice population in The Territories? In the game book there are examples of how many mice would have to be organized together to take down certain enemies. How many of the mice in The Territories are 20 000 mice, would that be almost every adult (or rather half of the adults since I figure one of the parents have to stay at home and run the home and other things even if it doesn’t have to be the females and grand parents are too old)?

Approximately how big is The Guard? A fox matches about 100 mice, how many is that? Almost the whole Mouse Guard?

I know, exact numbers are always fun but some proportions is nice to know the difficulties to fight a bigger animal or in case of a rebellion or something like that.

[swedish]Tjena Illern, kul att se dig här /Måns[/swedish]

We touched this topic briefly during our last game and I said that there are “a couple of hundred guard mice” If thats true (it is in our game) a village should have a popoulation of some 100-500 mice and a town could house more than 1000. If you look at the map of Barkstone in the Fall album there could easily be 100 houses, at least. That gives us at least 500-600 mice in Barkstone, but if they can muster an army they have to be even more.

You can always use this guide:
http://www.io.com/~sjohn/demog.htm

Hi Måns, seem like the ring fell of your user name
Oh, Medevial Demographics Made Easy, that’s a classic one, had almost forgot about it. According to that document there would be about one tenth cities and nine tenth towns. I found two in the RPG but according to total number of towns and cities it would be possible with three or even four (hmm, wasn’t one town mentioned as a former city?). A small city is more than 8 000 citizens, let’s say 8 000. If we go for maximum numbers this city would be about 40% smaller than the next bigger city (8 000 / 0.60 ~ 13 500). The next bigger city would be 22 500. If there’s yet one more city it would be 37 500 citizens and that would be maximum.

4 cities total => biggest city < 37 500 citizens
3 cities total => biggest city < 22 500 citizens
All cities > 8 000 citizens. The towns would range between 1 000 and 8 000 mice living there. A standard town might have 2 500 mice living there. A village would range between 20 and 1 000 living there and a standard one 50 - 300.

According to this the total population for a for city population would be maximum 6 million mice and a three city population maximum 2 100 000 mice.

Of course this can be tweaked in a lot of ways depending on the situations in The Territories and the need for suspension of disbelief. Then of course one could make a more ancient times Mouse Guard and have a lot bigger cities

You could take the opposite tack, and instead of trying to model mouse populations on medieval humans, go from mouse populations.

http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/animals/mammal/pema/all.html

But then you’ve got to figure out the size of the Mouse Territories. In that thread, Serpine says 1" ~ 1 day of traveling time. I use 4mi. for this, a figure I totally pulled out of my butt. I’d love to know if anyone has something with more reality to it–this one comes from the figure of human soldiers able to move 12mi. a day on foot, divided by 3 (another number pulled out of my butt) because of their size.

But if 1" = 4mi., and you’ve got an approx. 15"x 8" map, then the Territories covers ~ 120mi2, or 76,800 acres. Using Dalquest’s average above, the Territories could support a population of 30,720,000 mice, but since David Petersen put the Mouse Territories pretty explicitly in Michigan, the Canadian figure seems more appropriate, which would give you approx. 76 - 537 thousand. If you assume half your population either falls into the category of “too young”, “too old” or “otherwise unfit for duty”, you’ve got 38-268 thousand mice who could possibly serve. On the low end, that army of 20,000 mice really does get close to mobilizing the whole population.

Please notice the number of WAG’s in there, though.

Ah ha! I found some better numbers!

http://www.fs.fed.us/ne/newtown_square/publications/other_publishers/OCR/ne_2002_maier001.pdf

So, the maximum recorded 24-hour travel distance of a deer mouse: 37km The paper also cites Murie and Murie (1931), who found a mouse returning to its home from 3km away over 2 days (so, 1.5km/day), similar to Calisher’s data on a deer mouse homing 1200m in 24 hours. So, to round things off, perhaps we can say 1km for a regular day’s travel, 1.5km if you hike through the night, like Kenzie & co. in Winter 1152?

That changes the numbers significantly, because then you’ve got the Territories covering just 120 sq. km, or about 29,652 acres–so, using the Canadian averages again, you’ve got 29-207 thousand mice living in the Territories. If you again assume that only half could serve in an army, you’ve got 14-103 thousand mice who could join. So on the low end, you don’t have enough mice to raise the army of 20,000 you’d need to fight off a bear. And even at the high end, you need one fifth of everyone who can fight to join up.

Which sounds appropriate to me: you’ve got to rally pretty much all of the Territories against, essentially, a living god.

Id say, to make things more playable, you can chase of a black bear and raise an army of 20 000 mice if you unite the Territories. And all would have to do their part, young or old. Of course, infants ond so on not included. Tgat would give us a total population of some 30-40 000 mice, right? Including wild mice! Dont forget those. To chase of the bear you have to convince the wild mice to join the territories!

Id say, to make things more playable, you can chase of a black bear and raise an army of 20 000 mice if you unite the Territories. And all would have to do their part, young or old. Of course, infants ond so on not included. Tgat would give us a total population of some 30-40 000 mice, right? Including wild mice! Dont forget those. To chase of the bear you have to convince the wild mice to join the territories!

I’ve been working on a variety of measures for Mouse Guard, although I’ve been focused more on recipes for Gabcroon than population statistics. Since Lockhaven doesn’t levy taxes then there doesn’t seem to be a need to conduct a census, and, at least at the player level, the true population of the Territories is unknown. One thing I like about the setting is the local focus & perilous nature of the wilderness; the Mouse Guard just doesn’t have the resources or organization to count every mouse.

I like gefgodesky’s speculation about mouse travel. In my campaign I measure travel by length of day–summer days are divided into 7 sunlit periods while winter days have only 5. Each “period” is called a Full Rest (because it’s approximately the time it takes a working mouse to eat a full meal, drink a mug of ale, and enjoy a nap before resuming work), and the mice can travel farther if they skip rests, although doing so brings on the hungry & thirsty condition (mice are hungry creatures, and nibbling on a nut while marching hardly satisfies true hunger). Anyway, I haven’t nailed down exact mileage between towns in my campaign, but I track distances by number of “Rests” and the mice need to camp during starlit time unless they risk running into nocturnal predators. Without standard measures then distances would be relative anyway & failing a pathfinder roll could lead a mouse to underestimating the true distances between towns.

Anyway, 20,000 mice mustered for an army sounds too big to organize, in my mind, regardless of the base population available. The recruitment drive necessary seems beyond the means of the Mouse Guard. It makes more sense for everyone to hide & hope the bear moves on soon.

jefgodesky
That’s interesting numbers. Then one might think that civilized and organized mice like these would be able to sustain a larger population than normal mice, sorry, inferior mice When humans went from hunters/gatherers to farmers they went from sustaining 20 people/sq km to 100 people/sq km and with advancing agriculture to 200 people/sq km so I guess one could multiply a usual mice population with something. On the other hand the mice in the graphic novels doesn’t seem to have such an extensive agriculture as human farmers (there would be small villages scattered almost everywhere in the novels in that case). Therefore the number 5 (from human h/g becoming farmers) might be too high, say 2 instead?

Then the population would be 58 000 - 414 000 mice.

If we use the human proprtions on cities and towns from Medevial Demographics Made Easy which to me seems right since it’s quite a human way they are living we would get the following on…

…the lowest population:
Biggest city: 3 600
Next biggest city: 1 800
Third biggest (noted as former city): 1 400
The rest is towns (small ones) with less than 1 400 mice and somewhere around 1000 (humans) and in this case (small population) maybe 500 we get villages.

…the biggest population:
Biggest city: 9 600
Next biggest city: 4 800
Third biggest (noted as former city): 3 900
The rest is towns (small ones) with less than 3 900 mice and somewhere around 1000 we get villages.

In both cases most of the town should be nearer the lower citizen numbers than the higher, the mean number of citizens would not be the mean of the lowest and the highest. This for two reasons; one bigger towns/cities are rarer than small ones and the number of mice living in cities and town can’t be high if it’s not an advanced, almost industrialized farmer culture.

Big cities like Rome was special in that way that many poor who had lost their land went to the city to earn a living (they also went into 20 yrs contracts with the army) working (for the rich who now owned their former land). Also a lot of slaves were imported and captured and kept in the city on low maintenance.

mans:
That’s also an interesting way to do it. If one takes your numbers of 40 000 mice you’d get:
The biggest city: 3 000 mice
Next biggest city: 1 500 mice
Third biggest (noted as former city): 1 200
The rest is towns (small ones) with less than 1 200 mice and somewhere around 1000 (humans) and in this case (small population) maybe 500 we get villages.

Another related question (to both of you and anyone else):
Do you think Lockhaven is the biggest city in the Territories? It is noted as a city but on the map that the traitor in one of the graphic novels has it seems to be more of just a big fortification? I think I read somewhere that it’s almost only guard mice that live there which also would be an argument for Lockhaven not being the biggest city. Most important doesn’t have to be biggest. Maybe Copperwood is a candidate for being the biggest city.

While reading about the cities and towns I stumbled upon a fact: There is about 70 guard mice in Lockhaven (although they’re on missions most of the time).

Now I just have to decide which way to go with all this Lucky me, I have another campaign to finish before I have to decide.

That’s a nice concept, feels like it fits well both with mice and older cultures without mechanical clocks everywhere.

I’m finding this discussion immensely interesting.
Thanks guys.

I would not. Have we ever seen the mice farming? Ever? Notice: you have Harvester in the skills list, not Farmer. These mice still hunt and gather. But mice don’t live the same way humans do, so maybe mouse hunter-gatherers can live in towns and villages.

Almost certainly not; like you mentioned, only guardmice and the artisans they invite live in Lockhaven. I imagine it has a pretty small, specialized population, actually.

Actually, in the spring section it’s mentioned that some settlements do plant and tend crops. You have a point though since it’s only some settlements and the obstacles according to the rules are high although scientists and laborers can help. Maybe we have a differentiating factor here. I some parts of the territories the population is a bit more dense since they have agriculture and in some parts it’s less dense.

I guess the farming settlements can do a profit from selling to the other not farming settlements. Well evolved trade can sustain much bigger cities or towns than would be possible normally by import of food usrplus elsewhere so living in cities and towns is fully possible with trade and trade is mentioned as important.

I stumbled on a fact about the army from Barkstone, it was 114 mice strong. If the guard was about 70 mice strong it seems that a hundred mice strong army is quite ‘‘normal’’ for an army in internal struggles in The Territories. Also it is mentioned that they returned to their homes. There for it seems that an army of a hundred mice is possible to muster in secrecy.

114 mice was left outside the gates of Lockhaven. We dont really know how many came through before the gate was closed. But your point is still valid. But I think it says somewhere that not all of Midnights soldiers were from Barksdale. Either way, an army of 100 mice is probably not very big.

Anyway, regarding mice economics and so on. There have never been settled hunter/gatheres in our history. Hunter/gatheres are always nomads or “semi”-nomads. Id say we can explain this with trade and caravans organized by the guard. No mouse will starve in the terriorires as long as one guardmouse draw breath! Or so they (might) say.

I think some 3000 mice in the biggest city (Copperwood?) sound ok. And yeah, 70 guardmice in Lockhaven. But there are some more stationed at other places right? 100 altogheter maybe?

I like the “full rest” thing. Very cool and fitting!

Now we’ve gone too far down this little burrow, and I’ve just gotta start pulling out my anthropology textbooks…

Hunter-gatherer humans became sedentary only under very unique circumstances. For instance, the salmon runs in the Pacific Northwest meant that most of the nutrition in the ecosystem came upriver, once a year. For that, settlements and chiefdoms worked out well, because of that very unique circumstance. Typically, however, hunter-gatherer humans have to move around. Nomadism doesn’t mean patternless wandering, though; they moved more in seasonal cycles. You’d eat everything around, then move on; by the time you came back, next year or the year after that, the plant and animal populations would rebound, and you could start again.

But! This happens because humans have a good bit of biomass, as far as mammals go. We take in about 2,000 calories a day. Mice, like humans, can eat just about anything, so they can survive longer on the same bit of land. But they don’t have nearly our size; they only need about 4 calories per day (based on the figure of a prairie deer mouse eating 2g of whole wheat grains per day, cited in Ecology, vol. 3, by the Ecological Society of America, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 1922; then crossed with the figure of 2 calories in 1g of whole wheat bread–so, some WAG’s in there, admittedly). With so much less need in terms of calorie intake, that would change the “rules” for hunting and gathering drastically. Unlike humans, mice probably could feed large, sedentary populations, simply by harvesting wild foods.

Now we’ve gone too far down this little burrow, and I’ve just gotta start pulling out my anthropology textbooks…

Hunter-gatherer humans became sedentary only under very unique circumstances. For instance, the salmon runs in the Pacific Northwest meant that most of the nutrition in the ecosystem came upriver, once a year. For that, settlements and chiefdoms worked out well, because of that very unique circumstance. Typically, however, hunter-gatherer humans have to move around. Nomadism doesn’t mean patternless wandering, though; they moved more in seasonal cycles. You’d eat everything around, then move on; by the time you came back, next year or the year after that, the plant and animal populations would rebound, and you could start again.

But! This happens because humans have a good bit of biomass, as far as mammals go. We take in about 2,000 calories a day. Mice, like humans, can eat just about anything, so they can survive longer on the same bit of land. But they don’t have nearly our size; they only need about 4 calories per day (based on the figure of a prairie deer mouse eating 2g of whole wheat grains per day, cited in Ecology, vol. 3, by the Ecological Society of America, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 1922; then crossed with the figure of 2 calories in 1g of whole wheat bread–so, some WAG’s in there, admittedly). With so much less need in terms of calorie intake, that would change the “rules” for hunting and gathering drastically. Unlike humans, mice probably could feed large, sedentary populations, simply by harvesting wild foods.

Nah, we haven’t pulled out our graphic novels to count the mice that get into Lockhaven on the picture of the event and add that to 114 to know exactly how many they were

Jokes apart, I find stuff like this interesting and it’s always possible to back up a bit when you’re going to play if you have over-analysed the matter.

Maybe, but of course youd have to take into account how many calories are being used up while harvesting those nuts, fruits and whatnot.

Even so, that was kinda my point, mice are not men. But since trade seems to be quite important in the Territories Id like there to be some economic (in its widest sense) use for it. In my game at least.

And although its been some 10+ years since my anthropology studies I am aware of how hunter/gatherer used to live (and still do, sort of), and have no intention of making this into a “this is how it should work” discussion.
Im talking about talking and walking mice in a fanatsy world, and am just trying to get some numbers straigt. So lets be creative.

Btw, english isnt my native language so I might not be able to say exactly what I want to say, even if I think I do.

I would find it very interesting if you two and any one else posted about stuff like this you come up with in actual play, both number you just wing in the moment and numbers you find you have to calculate/research when you see the course the campaign is taking (for example Måns’ number of “a couple of hundred guard mice”). Also it would be interesting to know what you thought about the numbers, were they good, too low, too high? What about a couple of hundred guard mice? Maybe The Territories actually need a couple of hundred guard mice? If there is just 70 of them, is it ‘‘too easy’’ to hide a revolt? Maybe a natural evolution would be against more guards?

Talking about revolutions, the ferrets has been suppressed by the weasels Long Enough