The Song of Mice and Fire

Time Line:

1160- Something happens, common superstition holds that a mouse child with oddly colored fur and eyes was born and the following winter lasts nearly a full year and devastates the mice population. Six months into the “Winter-hell” the Guard ventures out and gathers the survivors of the various settlements and brings them to Lockhaven. Survivors assume family names based on their settlement names, these families become prominent for the professions their former towns were known for, Sprucetuck scientists and Barkstone Carpenters, etc. For the next 66 years winters are continuously brutal and unnaturally long. Lockhaven remains the only standing mouse settlement.
Due to superstition, black and white mice are viewed with suspicion, red more so and albinos are thought to be cursed.

1226- Winters return to normal. Fear prevents the Mice from truly venturing out to reestablish the territories but Lockhaven grows. Prominent families fission over money or ideaologies and begin competing for business creating a host of lesser families and a sort of Nobility.

1240- The Mice finally begin to slowly reexpand and reclaim their fallen settlements, rediscovering certain disciplines, like fishing, slow efforts.

1249- An attempt to expand Lockhaven’s depths strike’s gold making the home of the Mouseguard one of the richest settlements.

1251- Darkheather is rediscovered and Weasels within. The Mouse Archivist Malthus cites Lockhaven’s records and convinces the current Matriarch, Testarossa to form an army and strike first. She agrees, however the Mouse army is met with an immediate surrender. The Weasels sue for peace and beg for aid. An accord is reached. The Weasels argue well and a hostage exchange is established to insure peace. The children of prominent mice and weasels are exchanged for 15 years.

1252- For the first time winter consists of temperate weather and heavy rains. The comparative warmth keep predators active year round and the heavy rains wash away the scent border faster than normal requiring 2 extra applications during winter alone. The Mouse Guard becomes stretched thin.

1267- Winter proper has not yet returned and as a result the mouse population has exploded. The only thing keeping the guard alive is the vein of gold beneath Lockhaven and the continued enlistment of disowned or unclaimed black, white and redfurs.
The Weasel treaty is up, most of the weasel pups that were exchanged have returned to Darkheather where most mice think they will immediately reveal any secrets they ferretted out during their “imprisonment” while most of the Weasel-Wards have returned to their families where they are viewed with suspicion as possible subversives. The treaty is being renegotiated but most prominent mice look greedily toward weasel lands. They want new land to establish new settlements to house the growing numbers of mice.
Testarossa, at a staggering 98 years old, is adamantly against expansion. The soft winters have already made it nearly impossible to maintain the scentborder around the land they have and the average Guardmouse is run ragged fending off the perpetually active predators. The past generation hasn’t had a winter, they don’t recognize the need to prepare. She is one of a handful still alive that remembers the Winter-hells. It was only through proper planning and conservative living Lockhaven saved as many Mice as they had, should another Winter-hell strike them as they are now the Guard won’t even be able to save themselves.
Most prominent families think of the Guard as corrupt, due in no small part to the prevalence of “witchfurs” and convicts (the only other reliable source of conscripts are prisons), living off the work of the settlements. Testarossa has made no secret of her willingness to buy what the Guard needs with gold but she’s been called out for “bribing her way past any dissenting opinion” and there’s no telling when that vein will run dry…

Enter the players given the simple task of delivering the mail with the warning:
“Winter is coming, I can feel it in my bones…”

I’m going to throw some plays on biblical catastrophes in their (plague of mosquitos) a Zombie mission that will actually show up during the players turn since it happens in town (hah it’s just Rabies!).

Nobility in this setting is really just a name with a reputation, a player could turn it into an inborn quality no problem.

I also have a special Trait called “Weasel-Ward” available to Tenderpaws that gives them bonuses for being weasely and social drawbacks.

If anyone has any more recommendations let me hear them! I’d love some takes on an iconic scene from one of the books turned into a mission, Thanks!

Very nice background. A Mouse Guard where the Guards are viewed with suspicion and disdain? An excellent, dark twist!

Can you tell me more about being a “zombie”?

Heck, it’s a winner for the name alone!

In the Territories, this isn’t an uncommon view.

I know there are SOME, but it seems that he’s taken this to a whole new level with his background info!

Special how? In that it’s only available to certain Tenderpaws? Aside from that, there’s no need for Weasel-ward to function differently mechanically than any other Trait.

The zombie thing is a sort of group joke (we have our own zombie survival plan!) really it’s just an epidemic of rabies… maybe. The idea is that supernatural horrors are returning to the world so maybe it’s more than rabies. Mechanically, the zombie mice don’t use tools and have the conflict goal, instinct and belief: brains! I figure this is a good halloween mission.

The Weasel-Ward trait is only special because at the outset it’s only available to Tenderpaws.

I’m going to try and stick with 1 mission per season so a lot will happen “between turns” so to speak. Whenever the players hit the player turn I’ll give a brief description of major upsets that have occurred in their current locale and then they can spend their checks getting involved in those things or even staying out of them (like using Nature to hide from a civil skirmish).

I am loving this “zombie / rabies” idea, did you ever go any where with it?

No sadly, the game only lasted 1 “year”. I ran it square in the middle of one of the worst bouts of game ADD we’ve ever had. However, the idea was for rogue Sprucetuck scientists to research. Plague in the hope of finding a way to set it loose on the weasels. Instead it gets loose in Sprucetuck and infects a bunch of Mice who get matted fur glassy eyes and foam at the mouth as they swarm up and down the tree (but only after players gave spent hapf the session climbing the tree interior finding corpses in darkness illuminated only by candles on their hats or lanterns, maybe finding a survivor who’s dragged away into the shaddows, the eyes reflecting in the dark, notes from the rogues detailing their plans.

The final scene would be bursting out into the dawn light at the top of the tree and finding the lead rogue he gives a speech to the zombies swarming below about how sorry he is and what a mistake it was then hurls himself off into the waiting jaws beneath.

The solution was to lure the zombies into the tree, barricade them in and burn it down. Or turn the game into survival horror for a few years why they try and create a cure. (though a vaccinewas ready to go)

That sounds pretty cool.

Thanks for sharing.

Of all the hack ideas i’ve seen this is probably my favorite
and thanks White, i used the rabies/zombie thing (though not to the same scale) in my last session