Stopping someone without the regular kill them 'all approach

I’m planning a mission expanding over several sessions for my new Mouse Guard (Senatus Populusque Muris) campaign. The mission will consist of the patrol being sent out from the city corresponding to Lockhaven to a city that is somewhat like a combination of Copperwood and Sprucetuck (big and somewhat rivaling the lockhaven-city and with a group of excellent scientists and philosophers). The patrol is sent on a mission with a need-to-know-basis-handling of information. They’re clearly not given all the details but they are told that only one patrol is sent out to not make it obvious that this is something important. Discretion is important. They are sent to the rivaling city to meet up with and escort a few civilian mice and something they bring to the lockhaven-city. This thing is apparently important and the mice from the rivaling city is clearly not fully accepting the chain of events leading to them going to and taking this thing to the lockhaven-city.

Now my question is, what kind of trouble could be sent in the patrol’s way besides the regular try-to-kill-the-patrol-and-steal-the-thing-back-and-let-the-civilians-return-and-tell-about-the-awful-robbery-and-hopefully-everything-is-getting-back-to-business.

If you were an organization in the rivaling city that don’t want this thing or the civilians to reach the lockhaven-city, what would you do?

If you were a third player and don’t want this thing or the civilians to go to the lockhaven-city, what would you do?

If you were a third player and don’t want this thing or the civilians to go to the lockhaven-city and also want the thing for your self, what would you do?

If you were a third player and don’t want this thing or the civilians to go to the lockhaven-city and also want the thing for your self and also would like to lure the accompanying scientist to come to your city instead of either the rivaling city or the lockhaven-city, what would you do?

What kind of trouble could happen that for the paranoid players/patrol seems to be connected to mission but aren’t?

It’s a kind of cold war-situation or something like the rivaling cities in the early city league of Italia before Rome became totally dominant.

Mice encounter the party with the goal of identifying them, so they can threaten their relatives, friends, etc. or dig up dirt on them to pressure them. These mice may be extremely friendly.

Spread news of false roadblocks (e.g. “I wouldn’t go that way, the road’s been washed out!”) to divert the players to somewhere more dangerous.

Arrange pretend (or real) problems elsewhere (e.g. "A badger is attacking

Send false orders in an attempt to get the party to take the macguffin elsewhere.

Kidnap a Roman senator to apply backdoor pressure to get the mission cancelled.

Having said these, it would kinda suck for the players just to be shuttled around only to learn that they’ve been wasting their time. Seems that if there’s a cold war intrigue thing happening, the players need to be in on it. For example, say a senator has been ‘gotten to’, and gives them orders to do something with the macguffin; someone else could come to them and explain this, telling them that their real orders are something else, but that they mustn’t tip off the senator. Then they’re sent to rescue his kidnapped relative or whatever.

Also, try to trick the patrol into taking a fake back to Lockhaven.
Try to convince the Patrol that the Guard should not be taking this thing and their duty to the Territories require them to refuse their orders.
Take something that the Patrol values and ransom it back to them for the thingy.
Paint the patrol as an oppressive force trying to steal our stuffs and lead a popular uprising to squash the Guard.
Give the thing to the Guard and then set a popular rival Senator after them. If the Senator gets the item, turn the Guard against him. If the Senator is killed, cool. See above comment about popular uprising.

Don’t just have the rumor of a road block- have a group destroy a bridge or create land slide to wipe out the road. The as the patrol try to repair it, bandits rush out of the forest and grab the item before escaping into the woods. A chase would probably favour the bandits as they can use nature for all actions to escape.

You could also have the civilian themselves be coerced. Could be offered large bribes to go to a different city or have their families threatened with violence. Maybe the head town has a gambling problem and has been told that if the civilians go to city A his debts will be forgiven and if they go to Lockhaven his debts will be carved out of his family.

Thanks, you’re having good and inspiring ideas. We have now created the characters and they have the following Believes and Instincts (some of them fit nice with your ideas):

Decia Rosonios Chelba (principales/patrol guard)
B: A pretorian always puts the safety of the territories before his or her own.
I: Always help those in need.

Gaius Rufius Aponius (centurio/patrol leader)
B: All mice should be valued based on their actions not their origin.
I: Always fulfill the duties expected by the guard.

Lucius Iustus Carnifex (principales/patrol guard, from a poor nobiles family in need of money and smart career moves to get back among the other nobiles)
B: A pretorian repressents the pretorian guard, not his family.
I: Always defend the nobiles

(Nobiles are the nobility of the society in the city corresponding to Lockhaven)

What if there are no Nobles around for Lucius to trigger his Instinct?

I liked the one from Burning Wheel (I think)… “push the youngest one to safety”, or something along those lines.

So, how about:
“Always defend the one with the most noble lineage first.”

(Or something less clunky than that one)

Of course there are going to be nobles around for Lucius. It’s the GMs job to put nobles in danger for him to defend.

Clearly, these instincts call for someone in need to distract Decia from her duties, thereby tweaking Gaius.

There needs to be a threat to the Territories too, either nobles are threatened or they are the threat itself. Maybe some kind of uprising!

Thanks for the ideas. We’ll probably start playing tomorrow. As with the last Mouse Guard campaign I will blog about the meetings here @ and twitter over here, Illern @ twitter

Exactly, I also hope to trigger either act within belief or play against belief when he has to choose between non-nobles from his own town and noble from another big town comparable to Asylum (his home town). Someone from his home town is of course worth more than someone from another town but if the nobles in his home town is worth more then non-nobles from his hometown maybe nobles from another town is worth more than non-nobles from the same town. Then what about another towns noble’s worth compared with a non-noble from his own town?

Does anyone have any ideas on how to make the macguffin (some sort of box) ‘‘seem omnious’’ so that the patrol might hesitate on taking it from City A to their own City (corresponding to Lockhaven) or making it seem so special and important that they will beleive even far fetched rumours about it?

Use an NPC to tell them, someone who has clearly gone to great lengths, risks, etc. to come and tell them directly (or even launch a persuasion attempt directly).

Have birds behave strangely around it.

What leaps to mind are things that would give a character of mine a moment’s pause.

[li]The box is locked obtrusively – four different fiendishly complicated locks, that perhaps even interact so that four mice have to simultaneously unlock it.
[li]It’s made out of an odd substance. Lead, or bear-tooth ivory, or wrapped in layers and layers of felt and rope.
[li]It sometimes seems to move on its own. Just a little, as if something were shifting inside.
[li]It is remarkably heavy for its size, requiring a squad of labormice just to move it into a cart. Or if it’s small, paw-sized, then it’s so heavy it’s all one mouse can do to carry it.
[li]It stinks, and the stink changes over time. Now smoke, now brimstone, now hot metal. Is something on fire inside?
[li]Someone has to be manacled to the box before it’s released to them. “I don’t care who, but somemouse must take the responsibility!”
[li]Seems unremarkable for a while until they make camp or it gets dark. Cold, dim luminescence seeps out of the cracks and seams of the box.
[li]It slips out of the bag, and before the bearers can recover it a mouse with Loremouse gets a good look at it and is able to partially decipher the dire warnings and curses impressed into the wax seals and they’re scary.
[li]Someone drops it as it’s being handed over and the mice bringing the box freak out. Not like “Oh no you just broke Aunt Sally’s best gravy boat” but “YOU IDIOT! You could have… eheh… here you are, gentlemice, take it and go! Now!”

Hope some of those help, or at least amuse.


When ever you refer to the box speak in very low tones. When you describe it, give it a personality. It is colored a black so dark it seems to suck the light out of the room. It sits with an ominous, brooding silence. When they get information of the box’s history describe how it was found beneath the corpse of its previous owner, after his properties had been razed and his entire family put to the sword.

That kind of stuff.

Thanks everybody! You’re wonderful, inspiring. This can be a good start of a new role playing year.

Implemented a variation of one of Fuseboy’s tips last meeting. A very important very rich and very successful nobiles senator visited the family of the poor and nobody nobiles character and among the usual politeness spoke about how important this mission was and how secret it was. How an opportunity this mission could be for a principales guard mouse who wants to be promoted, how an opportunity it could be for a whole nobiles family that wants to regain their former popularity and wealth. That is if the mission is successful. How important that it is that the box arrives in Asylum, of course it’s good if the scientists also arrive but foremost how important it is that the box arrives. I think that I managed to plant some paranoia among them and out of character the players, especially one, now is joking about that it is the first tactical nuclear weapon inside that box.

Still they haven’t seen it and isn’t even halfway to the place where they should pick it up. It will be very amusing to continue to implement the rest of many of your tips.

Have it be in the care of a woman named Pandora, and have her tell the patrol to “not open it”

edit: sry, didnt see there was a page 2