The Long Road Toward Copperwood - Spring 1154 (my first attempt at an MG story).

The story will begin, as stories typically do, in Lockhaven. Gwendolyn has summoned the patrol to her chambers, and is regarding a map of the Territories, intricately carved onto the surface of a large wooden table when they arrive. Positioned about the map are dozens of tiny, hand-carved game pieces. Gwendolyn has one final piece in her paw, as she turns to face the Patrol.

In this story, a sudden cold snap in the Fall of 1153 brought on the Winter Season much sooner than expected. Lucky mice were trapped within the walls of whatever town they happened to be in at the time, perhaps unable to return home to their families in other parts of the Territories. Unlucky mice were caught between towns, and never heard from again. Outside the thick stone walls of Lockhaven, the first rains of Spring have already started to fall, and the ground in many parts of the Territories is still frozen. Gwendolyn explains to the Patrol that consulting the wisest of Weather Watchers, and learning their predictions, is absolutely vital.

She informs the Patrol that to the South, on the long road toward Copperwood, lies an observatory called Greyview. Perched on the top of a rolling hill, and situated inside a large, craggy stone, Greyview is home to perhaps some of the best Weather Watchers in the Territories. Gwendolyn explains that Greyview is operated by a team of science-mice, led by a mouse called Mayhew, from Barkstone. Independent from any government in the Territories, Mayhew and his Weather Watchers trade information and coin with many nearby towns (especially Copperwood), but are generally not interested in dealing with the Guard; Mayhew, the Matriarch explains, was once a member of the Axe. After Midnight’s Rebellion was quashed, and their Leader marched beyond the Scent Border, the Army of the Axe was disbanded - One-hundred and fourteen surviving members returned to their homes throughout the Territories, and only three of them were punished by their local governments. Mayhew, it seems, still holds a grudge against the Guard.

Gwendolyn instructs the Patrol to bring along packs filled with supplies and gifts to offer Mayhew and the mice of Greyview: a new lens for their telescope, for example, finely-crafted by the glaziers of Lockhaven; a few dozen jars of the special grease they need to lubricate the telescope’s insides; etc. (All of these gifts are intentionally fragile, so that the Patrol has to be extra careful while transporting them). The Matriarch continues to explain, with a sad expression on her face, that the mice of the Territories need Greyview’s predictions - of this year, of this Season, of anything they have. If the Guard is to continue safeguarding the Territories, it needs that information.

“If Mayhew refuses to help us,” she finally sighs, “do what must be done.”



Spring Rain falls from the skies outside Lockhaven, and the ground is still partially frozen. Still, mice from all over the Territories are on the move. The early Winter of 1153 forced everyone inside before they were ready, and now that Spring has come, mice are eager to visit their families, return home, or simply to be anywhere but locked up behind closed doors. The Vernalstar celebration is in full swing, and every settlement in the Territories is welcoming travelers with open doors. Fresh brews and soups are being cooked, and can be smelled through every open window.

As the Patrol travels the long road toward Copperwood and Greyview, they are accompanied by many other mice. Before long, the skies open up and the rain begins to pour much harder than before. The Patrol seeks shelter beside an overhang near a quickly-growing stream. The area is safe enough, but there are many other mice who struggle to find shelter. It is then that a swift grey shadow descends upon them, snatching up a stray mouse and rising back up toward the barren branches.

A shrike.

Mice begin to panic all around, as the bird swoops past some thorny brush and flings its victim in, impaling it. As the bird comes back around for another pass, some of the traveling mice get swept up by the quickly-rising water.

This is where the first Conflict begins. The Shrike’s goal will be to impale victims in some nearby thorns, so it can feast on them later. If the Party fails, I will likely introduce a Weather-twist, and increase the Seasonal atmosphere from Spring Rain to Spring Storms. That would work out pretty well, I think, because I plan on the second Conflict I introduce to be a Journey Conflict, with the Season’s goal being to ruin the Patrol’s equipment. If the Patrol fails that Conflict, I will likely end up inflicting them with a Condition.

(Actually, the more I think about it, the more I think I should skip the Journey Conflict, and replace it with a Negotiation Conflict with Mayhew.)

I prefer the NEGOTIATION conflict with Meyhew. Have you played the scenario yet?

We did, yeah. It went pretty well, although we didn’t get as far as we would have liked. We completed the GM’s turn, including a successful negotiation with Mayhew, but we ran flat out of time for a Player’s Turn. We’ll just pick up from where we left off next time. We had enough time allocated for the game, I think, but when we actually got down to playing, we had to familiarize ourselves with a lot of new rules (this was our first Mouse Guard session). All in all, though, I feel like it went pretty well, as far as first games go.

One thing, in my view of the setting the mice of the territories are not really mobil. You don’t meet “mice from all over the territories” on the road. Just a selected few (and a lot of them in escort by the guard).

Thats my reading of the book.