My first mission design

Hello Mouse Guard fans,

i will be running a session of Mouse Guard at the local gaming club next sunday and (after having GMed the Gran Peddler mission) wanted to create my own mission to show of what i like about Mouse Guard.
I wanted Wilderness/Weather and a Mice conflict.

The patrol will consist of the Grain Peddler Mice characters so no one has to create his character.

The mission is as follows.

The patrol will go from Lockhaven to Elmoss, deliver some mail and pick up some of their medicine moss. They will get that moss to Spurcetruck and get medicine for Gilipledge that is suffering from a desease-wave and needs all the help they can get before winter is coming.
The mission takes place in Fall and in rain. It has in fact rained for a few days allready.

The second obstacle will be a group of 3 Bandits, trying to steal the medicine for themselves. This can be either a Fight or Negotiation conflict.

The first obstacle is what is giving me a hard time. I want to have a complex obstacle so that there will be a few more dicerolls and oportunity for failure. I also want to make it a hard to overcome obstacle to improve the chance for twists. I know this is mean but i want them to see that the live of the Guard is hard and that failure is fun.
For one of the twists i want them to find one of their enemys (probarly Lester the Storyteller) and have to rescue him and than see what to do with him.
I’m thinking of turning the rain to snow maybe as one of the final twists.

When they arrive in Gilipledge there is a lot of stuff they can do. They can help with the remaining harvest, evacuate everyone that isn’t sick, care for the sick (and decide who they want to treat with medicine and who not) or they can go after the bandits to get the medicine back.

But this is all just a rough guideline. I still have no idea what to do with my wilderness obstacle. I like the idea of brambles or a swamp (the floating river is a bit overdone i think) but i have no idea what tests to use or how to even frame that obstacle.

Any other hints for designing or running missions? How much gametime in the GMs Turn should be spend on stuff that is not related to the obstacle?

Thanks for your help

i admit I had to reread this a few times before seeing where I could make a comment.

Here is what I would suggest about obstacle 1: it might be best represented as a complex obstacle, but a journey conflict might also suffice (i describe that in a second post).

Complex Obstacle: Travel from Lockhaven to Elmoss for delivery and pick-up; travel to Sprucetuck for delivery
The group will have a trek on their hands to handle travel during the cold fall rain. With their efforts dictating the possible life or death of many mice in Gilpledge, they are given the mission to travel to Elmoss to negotiate a one-time gift of moss to Gilpledge with little or no return.

The patrol must make the following tests in order:
Pathfind from Lockhaven to Elmoss - failure could indicate that the trip takes too long and the weather changes
Survivalist for encampments during the travel - failue results in mice taking sick, angry, or tired condition (sick falling to the mouse making the test and tired falling to helpers; angry falls to a non-helper that is unhappy with the poor encampments)
Health against the cold rain (or other weather) - failure results in mice taking the sick, tired, or hungry/thirsty condition (sick to those failing by higher margin than those failing by lesser margin)
Circles to find a helpful moss harvester or wholesaler - failure resulting in a linked resources test or a negotiation conflict

Those three tests cover the travel to Elmoss and gathering of moss. There is not much reason to ask much of the mice delivering mail except to narrate they have carried it and delivered it. Delivering mail might mean they must wait in town a short time to ensure all is distributed. Now that they have the moss (and conditions of any failed tests) they must make their way to Sprucetuck and negotiate a one-time medicine brewing gift for Gilpledge with little or no return.

The patrol must make the following checks in order:
Circles to find a helpful mouse herbalist or medicine brewer - failure may create a new enemy who is dissatisfied that the Guard seems to ask so often for free medicines for other cities
Haggler to form a barter for the brewing - failure may lead to a negotiation conflict to ensure the Guard will recompense the mice of Sprucetuck for their generous giving each year (you should expect that mice make promises during the conflict which should be binding)

Now the guard has completed a complex obstacle which very likely left some mice with conditions, created a new enemy (maybe more), and bound them to promises of compensation in two cities. They have acquired the moss and had it brewed into medicine. They are now prepared to travel to Gilpledge to deliver the medicine. If they have not been earning checks during these tests, shame on them.

Obstacle 2: A small cohort of bandits has come from nearby Dorigift where many other sick mice are now in need also
These badnits are from the nearby city of Dorigift, but the families of Dorigift have been sick only a few days. The illness spread easily between the two towns. These bandits counted on the Guard attempting to fulfill a request for aid from Gilpledge, but are intending to steal some medicine for their own families in Dorigift. The illness and desire to serve their own families has overcome their natural inclination to treat the Guardmice well. They have been watching for a good ambush point outside Dorigift to overtake the Guardmice travelling to Gilpledge.

They will initiate a fight conflict, but might be willing to hear out a negotiation conflict as long as the mice understand that it is to negotiate medicine for Dorigift also.

Immediately after the bandit obstacle is resolved, end the GMs turn. the players will need their checks for the following tasks yet unresolved:

  • finish travel to Gilpledge (not quite as big a deal that a Pathfind Ob is needed, but a mouse needs to decide that the group must fulfill the original mission to Gilpledge)
  • treat sick mice in Gilpledge (this could require two checks)
  • Retread some steps to treat sick mice in Dorigift (the town is so nearby that a Pathfind Ob is unnecessary): If the treatment of sick mice in Gilpledge did not go well, there might not be any medicine left
  • return to Sprucetuck for additional medicine (this might require a check to Pathfind and a check to Haggle, but I would not require checks to return from Sprucetuck)
  • Any additional treatment needs (if they have acquired additional medicine)
  • Pathfind to Appleloft or Lockhaven for oncoming winter
  • finish the fall harvest in Gilpledge/Dorigift region
  • possibly track bandits with stolen medicine (if the bandits got away with medicine, this will be an option)

I wouldn’t spend much time during the GMs turn to allow out-of-mission checks, but you might allow them a chance to voice ideas for preparation on this trip. Some examples might include, gathering winter cloaks or extra candles, negotiating hare mounts, gathering simple trade goods for barter. Each might provide a +1D for some of the upcoming tests.

A journey conflict might suffice as a method of handling the first obstacle of travel, delivery, pick-up, travel, and brewing. In such a case, you have many facets to the travel. I worry that one result of this is that the dispo of the team or of the travel might be knocked down so quickly that it feels less challenging and provides fewer conditions.

Journey: Goal of Wilderness and Weather: These mice are tasked with something too hard; I will tread upon their motivation; I will deteriorate their health and will; I will cause them to turn back in failure.

Some possible actions during the action sets:

  • the weather becomes more formidable than expected
  • your encampment was hardly weather tight, no one got good rest
  • the path is washed out for a few miles, are you sure you are still going the right way?


  • you can’t predict the cold weather of fall
  • mice in Elmoss/Sprucetuck are not as generous as you had hoped
  • the path is completely unpassable at this time of year
  • the leaves of summer might provide shelter, but the cold, wet mass of fall leaves is not a good idea


  • the weather lets up for a day and you travel quickly; you might forget valueable equipment in your haste to profit from the calm weather
  • the wind knocks a tree from its roots, you will probably need a new path
  • a badger has taken up dwelling too near the remaining food source, you will probably need a new path and will go hungry this night
  • the cold of oncoming winter shows in the frost each morning, equipment sensitive to cold is disarmed, the medicine bottles might break from freezing

Feint: the weather/wilderness might not bother with a feint

  • the shift in weather is short-lived, you are caught in a surprise storm on a previously sunny fall day
  • dunno

Don’t forget to give the season some features to play with
Fall Nature (Fall): 5
changing, chilling, storming

Fall Weapons
Creeping Frost: +1D to Defend actions against Survivalist
Wet Leaves: +1D to Maneuver actions against Pathfinder or Survivalist
Mercurial Weather: +1s to actions opposed to Weather Watcher

That could give some things for the team to disarm, some things to keep in mind, and a few features of the season that could enhance the conflict a bit. Still, the dispo of the weather/wilderness of fall might not be very high; it might be very easy for the group to overcome the conflict quickly with a few good attacks and feints. If the group has a strong Pathfinder, their dispo is likely to be quite respectable.

Compromise of weather/wilderness: The team suffers from hunger, fatigue, illness, and a downtrodden anger, yet they live and drive forward to fulfill their mission.
You could throw in something about Elmoss and Sprucetuck too.