Swedish Mouse Guard campaign

Hi all,

We have recently started our first Mouse Guard campaign. The players have chosen from the template mice. I, the GM, decided to run “Deliver the mail” as the start up mission. The result of that mission was that the mice were trapped in the basement of a house in Walnutpeck(?) filled with weasels, where the wheelchair of Martin was found.

The previous mission the group consisted of Sadie and Lieam. Sloan was introduced in this mission. He was told that he had lost his patrol (Thom and co) in a blizzard and all of a sudden he was captured and kidnapped by the weasels. They accused him of espionage. The second mission to the players was to “Return Martin and his wheelchair to his hometown”. The goal (as I now recall them from my memory) of the players were:

Lieam - “Make sure Martin and the wheelchair is safely returned.”
Sadie - “Establish myself as the leader of this patrol.”
Sloan - “Revenge the weasels and steal something from them.”

I started of the second mission with these obstacles:

In the intro, just after the goals were set, Sadie and Lieam are captured by the weasels and to their surprise they find another mouse captured as well, Sloan. They find themselves tied together with rope in the old tavern of Walnutpeck, where the weasels have made themselves comfortable. A group of more than 30 weasels are gathered in the room and they seem to be arguing about what they are supposed to do with the mice. Weasel captain Smyth is having a speech, where he is trying to convince the rest of the weasel community to torture the mice to reveal their secrets. The mice group sees a chance to influence their destiny and they start to argue with Smyth. Speech conflict: Smyth’s goal is “Convince the weasel community to torture the mice to reveal their secrets”. The patrol’s goal is “Release us and let us leave unhindered.” The mice won the conflict and they were released. As a compromise I added the weasel captain as an enemy.

On their way back to the territories they find Sham the trader, an old enemy of Sadie, trapped with his wagon in the spring snow. Sham wants some help to repair his wagon, but the group is suspicious and doesn’t want to (despite Lieam’s instinct to always offer help to those in need). Sadie, with the instinct “Never delay when on a mission” is arguing to leave Sham to his destiny. When the group realize that Sham is outside the territories they start to question his intentions. He seems to be a bit nervous and after a few answers that are unsatisfactory he all of a sudden decides to flee! The patrol is surprised to why he would do that and start to suspect that there is something fishy with Sham. They hunt him down (health vs. health) and finds that he has the recipe of the scent to the scent border. Sham confesses that he intended to sell it to weasels to make a fortune. However they can’t reveal who gave the recipe to him.

Spring snow (possible twist). Was invoked when the players was hunting down Sham and failed the health check. They got him in the snow storm, but Sadie was sick in the end of the mission.

Water in some form. I can’t recall now, since it wasn’t used.

I was pretty pleased with the gaming session, even though the rules still feel hard to implement for us. We all come from the old RPG traditions, such as D&D and White wolf.

One of the players and I was talking after the session about setting goals in conflicts. We both agreed that it felt a bit too easy to escape the weasels. The disposition of the weasel captain was reduced to zero in two actions. Furthermore, we asked ourselves whether the rules forbid the players to set the goal “We will be kings of the weasels” in the speech conflict. My players are mature ones so no one did, but we were a bit confused about the goal setting in the conflict. Any comments?

All input and comments are welcome! Are the goals my players set good goals? Were the obstacles I created plausible? Did I do the right thing when I let it start snowing in the middle of the Mice obstacle, i.e., is it according to the rules to invoke a twist during the ongoing obstacle?

My plan is to introduce a plot in Sprucetuck, where a group of mice deliberately spread the recipe of the scent to weaken the position of Sprucetuck among the territory cities. All input and suggestions are welcome among those lines as well.

I hope you can stand my english.

Sincerely yours,

Roleplaying-wise, why would Smyth have agreed to even consider such terms? Like what was the character doing in that scene that he thought it was a good idea to entertaining releasing guardmice? Was there anyone in the crowd with sympathy for the mice?

And mechanically, why weren’t Smyth’s henchweasels helping him? He could have mustered quite a few helping dice from his underlings.

Smyth was trying to convince his fellow weasels that his idea was a good one. Quite a few of the weasels were not convinced that killing the mice, and thereby breaking the truce, was a good idea.

I really did not think of adding helping dice to Smyth’s speech. That mistake will not be repeated. :slight_smile:

Maybe. Sadie’s goal sounds odd. xD

I don’t like the first. Why were they caught? I think they should have fought to prevent capture. A Conflict maybe?

I think no. A weather twist or a Condition. Not both. It’s my opinion, of course. :stuck_out_tongue:

I hope you can understand my answers. My enlish sucks. :slight_smile:

How exactly did the snow cause Sadie’s sick condition: did she fail a health test to deal with the snow? Or did she fail another test while it was snowing that led her to being sick?

If either of these two caused her to become sick, then you played it out right. But if you simply said it’s snowing so now Sadie is sick with out any other test being failed, then I would agree with Alejandro.

If you want clarification, page 138 has the details of how to play out Spring snow.

I like that idea and also the idea of a mice trying to sell the recipe for the scent border to the weasels. Could on the way to the selling of it make for a good argument on wether the weasels will honor a transaction or just snatch the recipe and betray the mouse, maybe even catch the mouse and the recipe.


As you saw, you didn’t need a rule for this at all. The game made you ask yourselves a question, and you were able to answer quite readily.

Then I played it right. Sadie (and the rest of the group) was made to take a second health check according to the wether rules of “Spring snow”.

Hm. I guess you are right. But let’s say that the players weren’t that mature and set an inplausible goal of the conflict. I would force the players to change their goal. Do you think this is the right thing to do?

Well, something like this needs to be decided by the group and no rule is going to make players act maturely or decide for a group what makes sense to them. What would that rule look like? Goals must be plausible! It’s not very useful.

Does it make sense that the Mice could become kings of the weasels? That’s a subjective question. Given the situation you’ve laid out, I can’t see the Mice convincing the weasels to make them kings. It seems implausible to me. After all, you chose the example to be extreme. As GM, you could definitely make the call and have them make a new goal. No problem. The GM is going to have final say. But, if you guys were all “Yeah! that argument would totally rock!” you wouldn’t be wrong to set that as your goal and move forward, no matter how implausible it seems to me. Only you guys can really judge what makes sense in your argument. The test would be was it fun when you did it and, if not, then why did you do it?

That being said, I’ll note that in your game this hypothetical immaturity did not occur. It hasn’t occurred in my games either.

I might be wrong in thinking this but isn’t there an equivilent of Burning Wheel’s “Walking Away” Rule in place in Mouse Guard?

Walking away is where one party doesn’t accept the stakes and either leaves the scene of forces another to leave the scene.

I remember one time we had a social conflict in Burning Wheel where the players asked a spider to leave the the human community that’d made him mayor. He wanted to walk away. He had no stake big enough to stay for. More to lose and nothing to gain.

Until I decided there there was a bigger stake after all. The spider declared it’s goal to humiliate the group and then eat everyone who dared to argue against him, that’d earn him respect as the town’s tyrant. That’s a pretty high stake and players then considered wallking away.

Generally stakes should be negotiated and raised to approximately equal weighty outcomes. If that isn’t happening then one party can walk away.

Of course death as a stake in Mouse Guard should probably be reserved for combat.

My english is bad, so maybe I did not understand what you mean, but as GM is your job to put obstacles in the way of the patrol they can’t avoid. They must deliver the mail, but a raven wants steal the mail bag from them. They must fight! But… they dont’ want to fight. They want to run. Well, a Chase Conflict then! You can put a problem in front of them, they discuss a solution, decide what they want to do and you say if it is a Independent Test, a Versus Test, a Conflict or whatever. Then negotiate the Stakes. Why walk away? There is a problem to be solved. They can not just ignore it. They are the Guard! But the negotiation corresponds to the players, no the characters. You must be reasonable. You don’t just kill the characters. They must want to fight for it. There must be something important at stake. And all the players must be OK with that.

In the GM Turn, the GM calls for Conflicts. You can’t just leave without fight. Maybe I’m bigger and faster than you, or maybe just there is no other way. Sure, you can suggest a strategy to avoid the conflict. Maybe you want to negotiate, or maybe you want to drive away your enemys. (An Argument Conflict or maybe a Nature Versus Test.) But, if the enemy don’t want to talk (if they just want to kill you all) then there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s the GM desicion. It’s his Turn after all. Each part write his Goals (be reasonable) and then just fight. Walk away is just another type of Conflict. If you think you can do it, you can try.

If appropriate and you don’t want participate, sit aside and watch the show. :slight_smile:

The closest to walk-away-rule in Mouse Guard, as far as I can remember, is that you can accept the outcome of the test/conflict. You don’t have to take it on but then you have to accept the outcome since you don’t fight it.