New multi-season campaign being planned

Hello fellow Guardsmice!

I am planning a new campaign that will take a few seasons to work out. The basic idea is that in light of the recent invasion of mouse territories from the south, Gwendolyn plans to send out an exploration and settlement mission to the north, further up the shore than Frostic.

I’ve already started planning the first few missions. I’m making a list of the things that need to be done, and complications to those things. I thought I’d bring it here to see if any of you might have any great ideas, or be able to point out something I’m missing.

The game is currently at the end of summer, so the first two missions are going to be in the fall. Then there will be a winter session, and the expedition will likely leave in the second of two Spring sessions.

So, the first thing the patrol is being asked to do is to deliver payment and a contract to a shipwright in Darkwater. This shipwright is going to spend the fall and winter constructing the ships needed to carry the expedition and its supplies.

Let’s riff!

so, this kinda sounds like a Corps of Discovery type of journey; if you use the history of Lewis and Clark as a rehashed backdrop it could be a bit easier to develop some stories.

There are two immediate concerns which come to mind, and I have a suggestion to cover at least one of those concerns.

First, as the Guard members walk beyond the borders of Mouse Territory, any Parents, Artisans, Friends, Enemies or other contacts suddenly become stuck far behind them. This is a concern to my mind; because, these NPCs are critical to developing a story with PC buy-in. For example, a mouse is in distress–the players may well care; however, a parent, sibling, or Friend is in distress–this demands every effort to solve the problem. It becomes far less credible that the Guard members are sent across the border to discover their relationships are all along for the ride.

Second, unless the concept is related to near-future colonization, the short-term, mid-term, and possibly long-term results of this expedition probably mean nothing to mice of the Territories. I’d say this places an incredible pressure on the players to ignore the Guard’s Oath and Duties of the Mouse Guard which are so central to the meaning of the gameplay. It degrades the foundation of the Guard member role to have them sent across the known borders of the land.

Having said that, I’d like to make a suggestion about the first item; this concern can be mitigated somewhat. In this case, tell players to avoid placing a single individual as a Mentor, Artisan, Friend, or Enemy. Take Celanawe, for example. In the box set supplement, Celanawe is given a character sheet which lists Enemy: Wolves, all of them. So, you could encourage the players to consider a wider range to serve as the Mentor, Artisan, Friend, and Enemy roles. I’ll provide a longer example you could encourage players to consider:

Kipper, the blue-cloak blondefur of Marshbottom (a tiny hamlet near Grasslake)
Parents: Doyle & Ila (Instructor and Harvester, respectively)
Artisan: Potters’ Society (all potters could be an immediate contact)
Mentor: North Shore Scouts (Guard members assigned to patrol North Shore settlements; any number of North Shore Scouts might have been ‘lost’ at sea, wandered beyond the borders, or taken as prisoners beyond the border)
Friend: Ducks, all of them (among Grass Lake marshes, a mouse gets accustomed to ducks throughout the year)
Enemy: Thieves, anywhere (so, anyone that seems like a thief, or steals even once, becomes an enemy)

So, Kipper might be a common member of the corps of border-crossing expedition. If the group finds wild mice who have even a slight culture of pottery, Kipper might find a helpful contact with common skill or wises. While across the border, Kipper will always keep in mind the many whispers of lost North Shore Scouts who were never recovered; if he comes across one of the mice who make up that venerable battalion it is immediately an important NPC to meet. When the mice have any sort of dealing with ducks, Kipper can easily describe duck-speak, shows friendship and empathy, and gains trust quickly with the animals. Also, not only wild mice or settlements of non-Mouse Territories shelter thieves; but also, if anything goes missing among the supplies Kipper will quickly imagine a thief is among the patrol somehow. In these examples, Kipper can still draw upon the relationships, despite that the patrol is travelling far from home and known lands.

I don’t specifically have a suggestion for the second concern. I can say at least, this is simply a key consideration to provide a ‘same page’ tool for players. Imagine how compelling the tale of the Black Axe became once Celanawe understood his family relationship to Farrer; despite his oath as a Guard, the orders as well as the quest for the axe redefined the foundation–not just for readers, but also for Celanawe as a character. So, as you describe the campaign pitch to players, it would be helpful if you have a short, written reference to redefine the Duties of the Expedition (such as, not delivering the mail or maintaining the scent border, but instead, developing new allies and building up forage caches). These could easily be described as a fully new set of orders specifically given to this expedition by the Matriarch. You’ll just need to make sure that the GM and players are on the same page about why these mice are accepting and hopeful of succeeding the quest of this expedition beyond the border. That is to say, if a player comes into the campaign expecting to carry mail around and see their parents in most sessions, it will greatly surprise them if they can’t expect to see parents ever again, and won’t be moving among known settlements with postage and parcels.

Thanks for the really great advice.

I neglected to mention a couple of things. One, is that these are established characters that have already played two seasons. So, to address your first concern, I may have to do some adjusting, probably during the Winter. I can work with that, and I will certainly make use of your idea. I may have them change some of their things like Mentor, Senior Artisan, etc. to the people who are going along on the expedition, or have some of these mice on the mission. But they will certainly miss out on Parents and Friends.

The other thing I didn’t mention is that I was going to have the expedition encounter Wild Mice up in the north. That is, mice that are not quite as ‘civilized’ (to use a loaded term) as the Mouse Territories we all know and love. They will obviously have never heard of the Guard. This is going to be the primary tension of the mission. They will be trying to set up a new settlement on ‘claimed’ land. Some of them will befriend the Wild Mice, so they can add new Friends that way.

Also, this expedition is obviously outside of the Scent Border, so predators will be a problem and I will make sure I remind them of this.

The existing party is quite well suited to this kind of adventure. Their primary skills are Fighter, Survivalist, Weather Watcher, and Pathfinder. One of the mice ALWAYS makes his goal to keep the other party members safe, at any cost.

Lastly (for now) one of the reasons I want to run this kind of game is that the group actually doesn’t make much use of their connnections. I know that it’s largely up to me to put those connections in danger, or have their enemies confront the party, but it’s just not something that we focus on right now, so I don’t think we’d miss it as much as many other groups would.

Does anyone else have any ideas, or different treatments of this kind of game?

Does anyone else have any ideas, or different treatments of this kind of game?

I recently created a contingency for a “several-season” expansion.
Since MG has a middle-age setting, the next advancement I wanted to play around with was the rise of the Mafia.
So I started creating a story arc for a mouse mafia, if the characters choose to navigate to the new land. Based on the map in the book, the island off the coast of Lillygrove seemed like a good place to start.

I have another portion of this written out in a notebook somewhere, but here are the character concepts:
Isle of Cecil

Seagull: Vatasir, Son of Keira
+Bird-Wise (all encompassing)

The Contessa: Mastermind of the d’Sorcio crime family.
-The brains of the operation.
-Wise, but stubborn and set in her ways.
-Not a micromanager.
-Bossy, but sweet and kind-hearted after a mission if her boys do good work.
-Runs the cafe at the front of the grain factory.
-Ranger Class-

Vincent “Vinnie” Caruso: A “Businessman” who has his hands in the pockets of the merchants for protection money.
-A Sinatra-Style smooth talker
-Natural leader
-Doesn’t like to get his paws dirty
-Well dressed.
-Bard Class-

Conchetta Sangiorgi: The contessa’s niece.
-Numbers runner
Loves exotic mice (other countries or towns)
-objects to some of the questionable activities of the family.
-Wants to be a Pentito (Turncoat).
-gives up information through hints
-Dancer Class-

Edvige Taglionni
Eddie: The “Muscle” of the group. Follows Vinnie literal commands without much hesitation.
-Confident that he will always win.
-when given too many instructions, gets confused.
-Known to go “too far” on occasion.
-Monk class-

Anthony “Tony two-tails” Luciano: A swift, clever, and crafty hit man.
-occasionally disagrees with the under-boss (Vinnie) about how to do things
-strategic planner
-Loves fish
-Rogue Class-

Alessia Thorntongue “Allesia the Ironfoot”: Once a good friend of Sadie while she was posted on the Eastern Shores.
Eddie’s kind-hearted friend.
Once a guardsmen who fled the order.
She is a seasoned, barbaric warrior.
Heavy drinker and eater.
Many stories from battles of old.
Dislikes the amenities of the city.
Doesn’t agree with the fascist nature of a military-run society, but is not an enemy of the Guard.
-Warrior Class-

The Isle of Cecil
The d’Sorcio family operates a grain factory as a front, however, it is a very profitable business on its own.
Greed and a lack of leadership from Lockhaven left the land owners no choice but to resort to
hiring “protection” from thieves and buglers. Since the food shortage has ended, and the scent border is stable,
there isn’t much protecting going on, but the Made Mice are still on the payroll.

Spring has arrived. The town of Carlotta sits in the distance as the travelers approach the shoreline.
The brutal winter waters have taken their toll, and the party is short on supplies.
The Guard does not have a presence that extends this far.
Rumors are the only source of intelligence in this new land.
Task 3 interrupt: The gold pieces have weighed the leaf boat down, slowing the passage of time as the party crosses the water.
Task 3 else: The leaf boat heads downwind, the
Fisherman boat:
Nerio - “Wet one”
Ponzio - “Seaman”
Remigio - “Oarsman”

A horn sounds as the party sails in. (Cow moos, ground shakes)

Watch tower:
Gregario - “Watchful” a guard.
Marcello - “Defense of the sea” a guard.
Orazio - “Good Eyesight” a novice guard, young age keeps him on Bee duty 25% of the time.

Bumble bee flock is on patrol.

Goal 1
Goal 2
Goal 3
Shrubbery: Fields of grain, nuts, Silk worms in captivity, Cows in captivity, goats in captivity,
Fishing bouy with nets span across the water.
The sounds of accordians and mandolins fill the air.
an open bazaar with merchants selling fresh grains, grass, Honey, mint, breads, barley wine, nuts, cane, tobacco, fish (small minnows), and strange looking seeds.

Characters in the market:
Damiano - “to tame” Has a cow farm.
Buonfiglio - “Good son”. Sells his father’s leather

Ovidio - “Sheep herder” Has sheep and goat.
Templeton - Rode on the backs of sheep to cross the water from the outer realms.
Estachio - “Fruitful” Sells fruit.
Fabio - “Bean” Sells beans and nuts.

I need a lot more work before I could run this as a campaign, but it’s a start.