The Cloak

A player in my PBP MG game asked me:

"but can [my character] requisition a plain undyed cloak for [the tenderpaw]? In his mind a cloak is more than just a mark of status, it has many uses especially when there’s snow on the ground.

blanket bedroll, pillow, coat, tent, short rope, etc"

I responded with:

"After thinking about it - yes, a plain ordinary cloak would be fine.

Most mice don’t wear cloaks. Its just not fashionable, in the same way that a beret is not fashionable on the streets of a contemporary american city. But you might see one. Mice often don’t need a cloak. They spend the winter holed up in their warm towns and burrows.

Guard cloaks are not plain, ordinary cloaks. They are crafted almost always by Lockhaven, though some mice get them elsewhere, but they are always a work of love and care. Even a child can tell with a glance a Mouse Guard cloak, and a cloak."

Comments, criticism, clarification?

Absolutely, yeah. I don’t see any reason why a Tenderpaw (or any mouse, for that matter) couldn’t wear a coloured cloak, even. If a Tenderpaw wore a green cloak, it could simply be a green cloak: useful for hiding under leaves while foraging, for breaking the wind, etc. But it’s not only utilitarian, it’s also fashionable. You mentioned berets in your post, and I think that’s a pretty good analogy; just because you see someone wearing a green beret doesn’t mean they’re a green beret, you know?

I say go for it.

I have to disagree. Uniforms are a way to separate and identify a select (special) group. The way I (we- our group) views it is like this: Our military ware uniforms, and I could wear Navy whites or don Marine dress uniform, but to do so and NOT be a member would mark me as a wanna-be douche bag. The same (to us) applies in MG.

Sure, a non-Guard could wear a cloak, but common mice would assume said mouse is a Guard member, only to be disappointed (or irritated/upset in the case of somemouse with Guard attachments) to discover the contrary. Non-Guard mice simply do not wear cloaks out of respect for the Guard and their sacrifices.

If you want anymouse to wear cloaks, there needs to be a way to differentiate between MG cloaks and non-MG cloaks; otherwise, what’s the point of the cloak (it’s no longer special)?


It’s kind of a strange situation, since the Mouse Guard doesn’t wear something as formal or easily-identifiable as Navy Blues or Dress Whites. The cloak, according to Wiki, is “as old as human history”. It’s a garment worn over indoor clothing, to serve the same purpose as an overcoat: to protect the wearer from rain, cold, wind, etc. It’s an incredibly utilitarian piece of clothing, especially in a world like Mouseguard’s, where it could also serve as kind of camouflage, to protect against predators in the wild.

I don’t personally think that the purpose of the Guard cloak is a matter of distinction; to identify members from the rest of the population. Rather, I’d say that it’s a matter of ceremony, pride, and honour. The colour of a Guard’s cloak is chosen specifically for them, to represent an aspect of their personality or history. It is a deeply personal thing. I don’t think it’s meant to represent the Guard per se, as much as it is meant to represent the person wearing it.

If anymouse wants to wear a cloak, I say “go for it”. It doesn’t mean anything. Without the weight of sacrifice and ceremony behind it, a cloak is just a cloak.

You’re free to disagree. It’s really up to personal preference, to be honest.