NPCs to roundout patrol. Any suggestions?

Hello fellow mice,

This is my first post and I hope it’s in the right section of the forum. I’ve read the book through and I have been lurking on this forum for a couple of weeks. I really enjoyed the book and truly excited to get started. The forum here has been a great help answering most of my questions.

I’ve been GMing a group for 3 years now. There’s 5 of us and we played multiple RPGs throughout the years. I’ve pushed for a mouseguard game for a little while. Half of our group decided to take a break and the other wants to start a mouseguard game pronto.

After reading the book it seems the optimal patrol size is 3. There is only 2 players and me the GM. How many have you used NPCs working in the patrols. Any suggestions?

I’ve used NPCs in all of our other RPGs to help spur on the players, helping achieve goals, grounding them when things get a big crazy and comic relief. It appears to me from the book this is discouraged. Is it game breaking? I can’t foresee any problems as I’m used to it and my players have come to expect it.

I’d be greatful for any help.


I believe the best way to run NPC that help the patrol as wandering helping dice. It is easy to have an NPC to pop in for a session or web a scene and offer a helping dice for a hard task. Have to build a bridge? Well these workmice from town are here to help. Fox on the loose? A guard mouse in the area is tracking the same fox and can lend a paw. That way the NPC don’t overshadow the characters in anyway but thy can give a little bit of a boost.

I think it is important to note a few things about the game though; first, the system already has a built in system to have NPC’s help drive the story with both the Friend and Enemy that each character has. They can also elicit additional help through successful circle checks. By supplying a NPC patrol member that fills the gaps in the patrol, it diminishes the importance of these mechanics.

Also, while it may be ideal to have three patrol characters, the game is very runable with 2 players. While it will be hard to have a great skill in all the patrol skills, missing a few key skills won’t cripple a patrol. A patrol consisting of a patrol leader and a tenderpaw can be quite formidable pair. Also, since the story teller has such a large control over what type of obstacles a patrol has, it is easy to aim to story towered characters strengths, at least until hy catch onto the system.

You really don’t need an NPC guardmouse in a two-mouse patrol.
Focus on the players and their characters.

I ran a Mouse Guard game for 2 players last friday. It was amazing! Kenzie and Saxon do a great team. Don’t be afraid about that. And Sadie do her own missions some times. She is a Patrol Guard, after all. :slight_smile:

I wouldn’t worry… from what I’ve seen I think two would be fantastic. Not sure yet about how balance works out, but you may be a little more inclined to keep an eye out for +1d options to help… but even so it shouldn’t make or break you.

Crookedleg, Luke, Alejandro and Hawke- Thank you all for your replies. :slight_smile: Later this week we are going to run through a sample mission or two to get our feet wet.

Crookedleg mentioned their friends and enemies as NPCs which got thinking should I do a full work-up on those characters stats, equipment, and history or something really simple?


Keep it simple. 99% of the time, I use the mouse profiles straight out of the Denizens chapter for any supporting character.

That being said, I incorporate the characters’ relationships as much as possible. Send the guardmice on missions to their hometowns, make their friends trouble makers and their enemies sympathetic. Make them choose between their families and their mission, or focus the session’s action on how it affects those closest to the players’ characters. Including relationships is one of the best things you can do as GM.

I have also run a very successful Mouse Guard campaign with me as GM and only two players and it worked just fine. Maybe I had to work a little extra on ‘‘creating dynamics’’ via NPC:s than I have with the new three players group since they partly automatically and partly by design create more dynamics by the constellation of being three.

Thanks for the replies they’re very helpful! :slight_smile: We had our first session this week. We played Deliver the mail. They picked the two characters they liked most. I got to say it went well. I had to consult the book acouple of times. We had fun with game in general. But I feel the mission was really too tough( the way it was from the book) for just the two mice. They failed all the test other than the Martin one. Everything was taxed and tapped. The raven kicked the snot out of them. I was rolling 8-9 dice every action for the raven during the conflict. Compared to their 4 or 5 they could barely muster.

Just on a side note I do get the purpose of the whole game. It’s to challenge the players and have a good time doing so. I for one do believe in challenging my players. I can be quite mean at times. Failure is great for me in this game as I can throw more at them. But I still want them to succeeded some of the time. It wasn’t just a case of bad luck ether. There were so good rolls on both sides. Realistically the raven would have more likely got the bag from the mice without much fuss. The battle did last 3 complete turns. If I had lowered the raven’s nature by 1 it still would have been a challenge and they would still have lost the bag but with maybe a better compromise.


Are your players helping, using gear, using the I Am Wise rule, tapping their Nature, spending their rewards and using their traits to their benefit? I find that MG is pretty liberal with bonus dice if you want them.


Thanks for replying Luke. I have some pretty savvy players. All 3 of us are pretty new to the game but we get explore every avenue during the game. I’m not grumbling by the way, we had a lot of fun. It just turned out to be a difficult challenge for the 2 characters.

The character’s weapons gave them maneuver bonuses. But the best they could do was to impede the raven. All the while the raven was reducing their disposition. It was pretty exciting. The character’s disposition starting at 8 has been reduced to 2. I suggested using defence and their disposition crawled back up to 5. The raven’s disposition started at 11 and never got below 8. In the end, one player decided to use his maneuver to cut open the mail bag spilling the contents. They got the mail back but I had to give them a heavy compromise.

Were planning on doing another game this weekend. I don’t want to dumb down the game. Any suggestions?


Who won the conflict? The Raven? Was the bag splitting open the compromise?

Why would you dumb the game down? Your players will learn from their experience and play better this time.

Glug- The raven won the conflict. The characters only dropped the the raven’s disposition 3 points. If the raven’s goal was to kill the mice it would have been really bad. The raven got only the bag and not the mail. The characters were both left tired.

Luke- My feelings exactly! When they get the hang of this game they’ll both give me a run for my money. Looking back over the sample mission…it is with intention that the party or parties( there’re 4 mice given to play with.) were supposed to fail half of the time. There wouldn’t have been such great twists other wise. I want the players to fail so i can throw twist and conditions at them. But i want them to succeed to when it counts most. I’m just trying to find a balance here. It is just our first game with Mouseguard. But I pickup quick. :wink:


Did you players earn rewards for the session?

If you read the comics, the protagonists do not always succeed… We seek to emulate that feel in the game.

Let us know how your next session goes.

Yes, they earned rewards. I’ll be sure will let you know. :slight_smile:

Succeeding with a condition (page 68) is still success. (Although, not as far as advancement is concerned!) Just because Saxon got tired pathfinding from Lockhaven to Sprucetuck doesn’t mean the journey was a failure.

It’s a subtle—but important—distinction.

True. Succeeding with a condition is still a success.