Page 78 I would not rewrite. I think I would only place the crossed-swords rules icon in front; I’d consider it an official rule–more than merely a good suggestion. This is because a mouse reaching Max Nature 1, then being taxed to 0, loses the final point, gains a trait, and drifts into that forced retirement; to reach this point, a player and GM have been inattentive to the predicament, so a short duration of the PC being out of play seems a fair counter.
Page 235, following the paragraph headed by Nature Maximum Rating 0, I would add another rules icon paragraph approximately stating: In order to return from retirement, this mouse will undergo an altered recruitment process with collaboration from the other members of the playgroup. To recover Nature, the mouse will spend some time reconnecting with their inner mouse and reconciling their heroic actions to the duties and oath of the Guard.
This is because I would want a player to think of interesting growth for that mouse during the retirement duration; in addition, I would want to ensure the playgroup feels connected to the return. I think that marks one of the special circumstances of Celanawe returning to Guard service. Now, I don’t want to go overboard on canon, but considering he had a role in the Winter War of 1149, and the touching ending of The Black Axe, I feel that a we might imagine Celanawe as though he were a retired PC.
Someplace in a supplement, the following could be developed.
Return from Retirement Recruitment:
Guard Rank: If the mouse retired while a Tenderpaw, he or she can appeal to return as a Tenderpaw. If the mouse retired while a Guardmouse, he or she will generally be reintroduced as a Guardmouse. If the mouse retired while of another rank, he or she will be reintroduced at one rank lower (Patrol Guard=>Guardmouse; Patrol Leader=>Patrol Guard; Guard Captain=>Patrol Leader OR Patrol Guard.) [Special Note: The play group may deem the mouse worthy of a return to full rank by unanimous vote.]
Mouse Age and Ability: The mouse ages as normal during retirement; add the appropriate number of Winters to mark the new age. Use the rank to determine Health and Will prior to answering the following two questions:
During retirement duration, has this mouse lived feral in the wilderness or tame in a settlement?
If the mouse has been feral, increase Health and decrease Will by one each. If the mouse has been tame, decrease Health and increase Will by one each. If uncertain, make no change.
During retirement duration, has this mouse lived in clean or dirty conditions?
If the mouse has been clean, increase Health and Will by one each. If the mouse has been dirty, decrease Health and Will by one each. If uncertain, make no change.
Mouse Nature: The mouse must spend retirement finding him or herself, often focusing on digging through ideals versus instincts. A mouse returning from retirement begins with recovered Nature 3. Answer the following two questions and have the GM note the responses.
In the duration of retirement, does this mouse engage in confrontations or concessions with the Guard?
If the mouse concedes, increase Nature by one. If the mouse confronts obstacles, decrease Nature by one. If uncertain or the answer depends on circumstances, make no change.
In the duration of retirement, does this mouse express faith or doubt in the affairs of the Guard?
If the mouse expresses faith, increase Nature by one. If the mouse expresses doubt, decrease Nature by one. If uncertain of the answer depends on circumstances, make no change.
Where Have You Been?: Choose a mouse settlement which served as a community for your retired mouse. Use the available skills and traits from that town or city; else select the following: Homesteading–gain 1 tally of a relevant wise and Guard’s Honor. [in other words, you’ve learned something meaningful and you are returning for the sake of the Guard’s oath and duties]
Life Experience: Follow the instructions below related to the areas covered in typical Recruitment.
- Natural Talent: As written. In many cases, if you have practiced a skill in the past, you may have been naturally talented; this may be true of your parent’s trade or artisan’s craft.
- Parent’s Trade: You have either lost contact with your parents, your parents have passed on, or your parents took you in during retirement; in the last case, you may take up your parent’s trade. In other cases, you must find an older mouse to serve as a surrogate parent (this can include actual siblings); you now learn their trade. Unless you are naturally talented at your parent’s trade, you have lost the talent.
- Convince Others: As written.
- Apprenticeship: You have either lost contact with your former artisan master, the artisan has passed on, or your former master took you in during retirement; in the last case, you may take up your artisan’s craft. In other cases, you must find a new master artisan willing to teach you some of his or her craft; you now learn their craft. Unless you are naturally talented at your artisan’s craft, you have lost the talent.
- Mentorship: You have either lost contact with your former mentor, the Guard member has passed on, or your former mentor took you in during retirement; in the last case, you may renew your mentor’s tutelage. In other cases, you must find a new mentor willing to instruct you and appeal for your return to the Guard; you now learn their specialty. Unless you intend to maintain the specialty which you previously had learned from a former mentor, you have lost that talent.
- Guard Experience: As written. You may retain many of the skills you formerly knew, but all are a bit rusty. You may have learned some new skills, but even those are not perfected.
- Specialty: As written. You are expected to take up a specialty as any other Guard member.
- Knowledgeable About: As written. You may retain many of the wises you formerly knew, but all are a bit rusty. You may have learned some new skills, but even those are not refined.
- Tally: As written.
Resources and Circles: Your returning mouse begins with resources and circles as noted by rank in typical Recruitment. Answer the following three questions and have the GM note the responses.
Throughout retirement, has this mouse hoarded selfishly or shared selflessly?
If the mouse hoards, decrease Circles and Resources by one each. If the mouse shares, increase Circles and Resources by one each. If uncertain, make no change.
Throughout retirement, has this mouse lavishly spent earnings or thriftily stored earnings?
If the mouse spends, increase Circles and decrease Resources by one each. If the mouse stores, decrease Circles and increase Resources by one each. If uncertain, make no change.
When in need of a windfall, did the mouse borrow or gamble to gain the cash?
If the mouse borrows, increase Circles and Resources by one each. If the mouse gambles, decrease Circles and Resources by one each. If uncertain, make no change.
Mouse Traits: Follow the instructions below related to the areas covered in typical Recruitment.
- Quality from Birth: This is replaced by the Trait earned when you last caused your Nature to be taxed to 0; that would have been the last session as a member of the Guard before retirement. It has not worn off despite time in retirement.
- Learned or Inherited from Parents: As written; however, this Trait now probably reflects your recent surrogate parent (or sibling), new artisan, or new mentor.
- Life on the Road: As written; however, this Trait now reflects Life in Retirement.
Name, Cloak, Fur: Unless specifically given a new name or cloak, these remain unchanged. Unless the mouse has grown into an oldfur, the fur color remains unchanged.
Parents, Senior Artisan, Mentor: These have been replaced from the previous relationships; move former relationships into merely contacts and mark the new relationships.
Friend, Enemy: Unless deemed appropriate (e.g. a spouse as Friend), these have been replaced from the previous relationships; move former relationships into merly contacts and mark new relationships developed before, during, or shortly after retirement.
BIGs: As written; however consider the experiences of retirement. The mouse has struggled with his or her inner demons alone for too long in retirement; it has become weary to remain uncommitted to Guard service. Develop a Belief and Instinct which distinguishes the experience of retirement from former service–you cannot return with the same or a similar Belief or Instinct. If the mouse remains unchanged after retirement, it cannot return to play. All players in the playgroup must agree to reintroduce the returning mouse, even if a GM agrees.
Gear: As written.
Starting Rewards: As written. The mouse has struggled with inner demons to return to service; these starting rewards have been earned. [Special Note: Any rewards earned prior to retirement are lost.]
I can’t say that is any sort of official process, but it is a fairly good approximation on my vision of how a mouse can return from retirement. I tried to stress that former service and future service must be defined differently. Don’t have a mouse return simply because they want one more chance to stick it to their enemy or save their friend. Create new relationships and new dynamics of skill+wise synergies. Aside from name, cloak, fur, and a Trait, the process should create a fairly different mouse. I also wanted to alter the questions to emphasize the retirement experience as a time for identity-forming behaviors.