Nipsy's Journey: Homeward Bound

Continuing The Grain Peddler:

Rather than continue to Barkstone after finding the map at the peddler’s overturned cart, Nipsy used the Player’s Turn to rush back to Lockhaven to confirm that the peddler was a spy and show the map to Gwendolyn. On the way she saved two mice: Rendon, who wanted to see the legendary Lockhaven in person, and Darrow, who wants to join the Mouse Guard.

The mission ended on the “to be continued” from Gwendolyn of “Make your way to Barkstone as quickly as possible to uncover this conspiracy.”

Nipsy is Hungry, Angry, and Tired after a tough time fighting a snake and the elements. Before she leaves, I will give her the opportunity to grab a hot meal with her artisan Grahame the Cook. If she manages to remember last session well enough to do the prologue, she’ll lose Angry and thus be able to get a good night’s sleep in Lockhaven. She will no longer be Tired. Otherwise she’ll be starting this trip Angry and Tired, which could be vicious!

The Pitch: The next morning, Rendon asks for an escort back to Shaleburrow. Darrow has been settled in as an apprentice brewer, and Rendon can’t be sure how soon another Guard will go to Shaleburrow.

It’s on the way to Barkstone anyway, and Nipsy happens to be from Shaleburrow. She is likely to oblige.

The Journey Begins:

The rain that marred yesterday is gone, but some of the rivulets are still growing as water gradually escapes the leaves of the trees and runs down the trunks. The path has sunk after the rain, enough that muddy water is flowing for some distance between this side and the far side.

It’s an Ob 3 Boatcrafter to make a one-time use boat for two, Ob 2 if she left Rendon behind to fend for himself. Likewise, it’s Ob 6 Survivalist to jury-rig a boat. The water is too deep to swim. It’s Ob 5 Pathfinder to try to find a way around.

Without tapping Nature or adding a die, all of those Obstacles will be impossible. But she does have a Persona point.

Complication: Nipsy successfully builds a boat, but an unexpected wind drives them far from the path down the ever widening rivulet. Eventually they manage to reach the intended shore, only to find themselves face to face with a surprised weasel who was drinking at the water’s edge!

Nipsy may try to escape (the smart thing to do) or stand and fight, trying to kill this weasel interloper. Since she tried to fight a milk snake by herself, who knows?

Escaping/Hiding: 4 Mouse Nature v 4 Weasel Nature, with a helping die from Rendon if he’s around. She may use Hidey-hole-wise for an extra die, too. If failed, she pushes herself as hard as she can and is Tired by the escape. But she also has dire news. There is at least one weasel between Shaleburrow and Lockhaven!

Fighting: A Fight Animal Conflict against a weasel with Nature 4, Fighter 5, and the Cunning 2 trait (adding +1D whenever he is being cunning). He is wielding a sword. Rendon can only help with Defend and Maneuver actions using his Nature.

The weasel’s Conflict Goal is “Kill these two mice before word spreads that I am here.” Thus a compromise could include Rendon’s death.

The Journey Continues:

The air turns colder, a reminder that winter only recently passed. Even a tough mouse needs to shelter against the air’s bite at night, and Rendon is not a particularly tough mouse.

It’s an Ob 2 Survivalist test to make a shelter for one mouse (one mouse makes more sense than for a Patrol, approximately four mice).

Complication: If Nipsy fails, they wake up from their crude shelter to find that snow has been falling heavily all night. The trees are white, though the ground resists it because of the recent rain. The journey past Shaleburrow will be harder.

One way or another, possibly Injured, alone and in the snow, Nipsy will likely reach Shaleburrow.


Rendon’s very-young brother will be watching the entrance of the tunnel leading down into the cavern-under-rocks that is Shaleburrow. If Rendon made it, he will be very happy, and Rendon will insist that Nipsy visit his family now or any other time she is in town. If Rendon isn’t there, the baby-mouse will ask imploringly, “Have you seen my brother?” (I’m not above guilting!)

Before she can take advantage of the offer of hospitality (or as she makes her way past the tearful young mouse), she sees a mouse in a gold cloak, unmistakably of the Mouse Guard, in the previously-ceremonial stockade in front of the Council Hall. The captain of the town guard appears to be lecturing him. When Nipsy investigates, the captain will tell her disgustedly that this mouse, Frederick, is a murderer. Frederick will protest mightily, saying he discovered the scene of a murder while searching for a weasel who had eluded him a few days ago.

“Councilor Hannidy saw you kill him.”

“Councilor Hannidy did the deed himself!”


Hannidy is a failed Guardmouse trainee who has resented Nipsy ever since(her Enemy). And now, apparently, a Councilor.

Shaleburrow’s government consists of three officials: the female mouse who most recently gave birth, the eldest male mouse, and the most successful forager of the year before. Hannidy, it would seem, was most industrious!

The Player’s Turn: Jailbreak! or Law & Order

Nipsy faces a choice, a particularly tough one if she hasn’t earned any checks and only has one to spend. She may try to break out Frederick by fighting the guard captain (Her Belief: “I will fight for and sacrifice anything for the Mouse Guard, who are my family.”), convince the Councilors of his innocence, or try to recover from Angry or Injured (recovering from Hungry/Thirsty and Tired is automatic, since she can go stay with her family). Just how much will she do for her Mouse Guard family?

If she tries to convince the Council of his innocence, she will have an Speech Conflict with Hannidy. If she tries to break him out, she’ll have a Fight Conflict with the Guard Captain. Hannidy is not that good at social skills, but Nipsy isn’t any better. If she fails the Fight, she’ll likely end up in the stockade next to Frederick. If she fails the Argument, Frederick will not go free. Hannidy will be delighted to have a guardmouse to punish.

If she ignores him because she feels the good of the Guard’s good relations with the towns come before any one mouse, she’ll earn a Persona point for playing against her Belief. If she tries to save him, she’ll get a Fate point for acting in accord with her Belief - you stand by your brother in his hour of need, whether he be wrong or right! And he is family, for he is a Mouse Guard.

Obviously some alterations on the fly will be needed depending on what she chooses as her Goal this session, and whether she changes her Instinct (currently “Always base decisions on good information,” but she never does that).

This is the first Mouse Guard mission I’ve ever written. Any feedback is welcome, criticism especially.

This sounds good and sounds like you’ve thought this mission out quite a bit. Relieving conditions should be done in the Player Turn though. I would allow her to relieve the Hungry Condition because she is in Lockhaven with her Senior Artisan Grahame the Cook (in future I would of handled that during the player’s turn when she came back last session) without a check. Unfortunately she’ll have to keep Angry and Tired (maybe she’s too Angry to sleep well as she ponders the map). Realistically only 1 of these will affect her in a physical conflict. This will also encourage her to earn more checks next time.

After going over this after the Prologue I would give her the Mission: “Find out who is behind the treason in Barkstone.” and have her right a goal (as a single player her goal HAS to have something to do with the mission. A good one might be, “Escort Rendon safely to Shaleburrow and then discover who is behind the treason.”

This is your first Obstacle: A complex wilderness obstacle. It’s a good one and makes since for this Mission. If she fails then I would use the twist with the weasel

I would remove this as you already have a Wilderness Obstacle. I think your second obstacle should be in Shaleburrow with the Guard Captain. Whichever option happens (she saves them or not). I would eventually have her get to Barkstone and then I would end the GM turn and let her spend her checks. If she only has one then if she wants to complete the mission then she will need to use it on that.

Overall I think it sounds great but I strongly encourage you to reduce it down to only two obstacles (with more with failures obviously. Actually the one you have with setting up camp would be good if the boatcrafter fails because you can say she made it to the other side but the boat rips apart and you and Rendon fall into the water and so you have to set up a shelter as the cold night air starts to creap in). By reducing it down to two obstacles you make it easier for you to manage and if their are failures it will get really insane (she already has some conditions to start).

Good luck though, I’d like to hear how it goes.

I actually ran this a couple of weeks ago, and aside from a problem or two that could have been avoided by better narration on my part, it went fine.

As I recall, of the four types of obstacles, Wilderness and Weather are considered two different ones. That’s why I went with the snow. It’s more an something to increase her obstacle for later, when she will continue to Barkstone.

You’re right about eliminating conditions only being in the Player’s Turn, of course. I only did that because she didn’t know to go eat with her Artisan during the last Player’s Turn and I didn’t think to remind her. (It was both of our first times playing Mouse Guard.)

She set her Goal to be about escorting Rendon to Shaleburrow. Since I was planning on not getting to Barkstone until the third session, this made sense.

As it turns out, she escaped the weasel rather than fighting him and triggered snowfall, so all Complications came into play. She won her Speech Conflict with her enemy using one of her checks (she had three), and recruited the guardmouse she had just freed to join her on her mission to Barkstone.

It was a successful session, though I’m still adjusting from Burning Wheel to Mouse Guard.

I kind of get the feeling she would be better suited to Burning Wheel, though. She tends to show initiative all the time, which is better suited to a less-structured game, I would think. But she loves the Mouse Guard feel (she borrowed Fall and Winter from me to read and enjoyed them), so we’ll probably stick to Mouse Guard.