Three years ago came the Winter War.
The Weasels, long our enemies, became our bane, as they smashed through our Southwesterly borders.
By the wit, wisdom, and leadership of Gwendolyn, Matriarch of the Mouse Guard; and no small measure of Guardmouse sacrifice & blood, we beat back the Weasel horde, but at great cost.
Our Southwestern border is not what once it was. Several mouse communities were lost, their citizens now homeless, or worse.
The Weasels threaten our borders no more, but in their absence a new danger threatened.
Disgruntled by the 'performance' of the Mouse Guard, various 'free Mice' answered the call of Midnight, to usher in a new era of Mouse dominance, both over other animals, and over other mice.
By the actions of the Guard, Midnight's army was broken at the gates of Lockhaven, the Mouse Guard's home & Sanctuary, but Midnight's poison had spread far & wide among those mice who had grown fat & powerful in their homes, and who saw little need to recognize the efforts of the Guard when it meant letting go their own dreams of empire.
The Winter War is done.
Midnight is banished,
but the Mouse Guard, and by extension all the Mouse Territories, are the least stable they have ever been in several lifetimes.
Are you the mouse to step forward & do what needs to be done?
Below, there will be a series of questions, thinking of your answers to them will guide you through creating your Guardmouse.
On the making of a Guard Mouse
First, you, the recruit must ask yourself these questions.
What is my name? I can hardly refer to you as 'Hey You!' At least not for long, not when there are as many Tenderpaws & Apprentices as I see here before me.
Who are, or were, your parents? What was their trade? All we are is the culmination of what has come before us. Great mice have come from humble beginnings, just as mean mice have fallen from on high.
Who taught you your first trade? All mice answer the call of adulthood. All mice take a trade, even if it is for the first time here, within the walls of Lockhaven.
Besides your Parents & your Teacher, who speaks up for you? A mouse is known by his boon companions, sometimes even more than his family.
Who would speak against you? One does not volunteer for the Guard if one is not a Mouse of strong convictions. Mice of strong convictions make enemies, sometimes without even meaning to or noticing, until too late.
On clarifying your role within the Guard.
Now you will consider more obviously concrete questions.
How do you see yourself? Are you the wide-eyed idealist? A curmudgeonly veteran? The 'roughest toughest guardmouse this side of the Legendary Black Axe'?
What Rank do you currently hold within the Guard? Below Gwendolyn, our current Matriarch, there are five general Rankings within the Guard. All Guardmice begin as Tenderpaws. With time & experience, they prove themselves as Guardmice. A Patrol Guard has proven him/ or her/self equal to a greater degree of responsibility & autonomy. Patrol Leaders are responsible for themselves & the patrol below them. Guard Captains direct specific Missions for the Guard overall.
PC's will not start above Patrol Leader, most will not start above Guardmouse.
Your starting Rank will affect your starting Age, Will & Health. Will & Health measure your overall Mental & Physical capability.
All living things act according to their Nature. Just as it is in a Weasel's Nature to be Aggressive, to Gloat, to be Clever & to Steal into and from Burrows. So too it is in a Mouse's Nature to Climb, to Escape harm, to Forage and to Hide.
Do you save for winter even if it means going without something now? Or do you use what you have when you need it, even though it might mean coming short later?
When confronted, do you stand your ground & resist, or do you run & hide?
Do you reasonably fear such predators as Owls, Weasels and Wolves? They are all much larger & more deadly than we, after all.
Consider each of these questions. Keep track of your answers, they will affect both your Nature & other things about you.
Given that I originally started this in response to this thread, and I have yet to hear a further responce fom anyone who posted there, I may well just go with the first three or four that post an interest here.
I Intend no more than Two Patrols. If players are interested, I may go for the 'Two Patrol Leaders/Two Tenderpaws' structure on one or both. Otherwise, I am trying to hold to the traditional Three Guard configuration.
If I get three people interested & characters burned, I will likely start play then, with the possibility of bringing another patrol later if more people take an interest.
If you have the book & have given it a read you will understand the importance placed on burning characters together. Which is why I would ask you to mostly keep an eye on this thread for a bit rather than jump into anything more than a Character Concept. Of course if you are asking because you have friends interested feel free to direct them here!
@UltraFennec: That is actually only about half the questions total. Briefly I still have to post questions & information about Birth towns, Skills, Resources, Circles, and Traits.
I will probably post Towns, Skills & Traits individually as they are each fairly significant subjects in terms of amount of information in each. Resources & Circles will be grouped together.
Towns will be next as that is the last category in which your choices made affect the options you will have available to you later.
Well since you asked us not to jump into much more than a concept, I'm thinking a Tenderpaw because that allows me to learn about the world and game from a combined IC/OOC standpoint.
His name is Wheat. Because he's the color of ripe wheat. A bit timid, not sure he's really cut out for this, but he wants to do his ma n pa proud.
|n o 417|
Aluce would like to be number four. A careful and stern Patrol Leader, that fights with sword and shield. His skills as a healer will prove invaluable.
If someone else wants to be Patrol Leader, that's fine with me.
I apologize for the lack of activity. I will have posts tomorrow. Life got complicated...
On the bright side, My son & I thoroughly enjoyed 'Wreck-it-Ralph' & watching it helped me with character development for the story that has been percolating in the back of my brain for quite some time...
Unfortunately, the story in question has absolutely nothing to do with anthropomorphic field mice. Sigh
Well. If we're talking tangentially, practically anything which could be of concern to motile, sentient beings is something that might concern anthropomorphic field mice.
If we look at literary history, some of the first (and still ongoing), most prevalent, uses of anthropomorphic animals in general is for allegory.
Therefore, allow me to clarify my previous post.
The story I have been developing involves subjects I have no interest in exploring in a PbP about anthropomorphic field mice.
On Where you come from
The Mouse Territories are composed of vast swaths of wilderness punctuated with occasional pinpoints of civilization. While there are several more Mouse towns & villages than the ones I will mention, these make for an acceptable representative sample. Where you were raised does much to influence who you will become.
Barkstone A busy, working-class town, Barkstone is known for it's Carpenters, Potters & Glaziers. Mice from here are known to have a Steady Paw.
Copperwood One of the oldest cities & home to one of the two mines in the Territories, Copperwood mice tend to be Smiths & Hagglers. They also have a habit of being Independant .
Elmoss A once prosperous city, known for it's medicinal moss, now Elmoss mice are best known as Carpentes & Harvesters. All that work outside tends to make you Alert.
Flintrust A town suffering from neglect & societal decay, the mice of this former city are known for their Smithcraft & their Tools-wisdom. They are also known for their Determination & Boldness.
Grasslake The second-Easternmost town in the Mouse Territories, Grasslake has it's share (some Grasslake residents grumble more than it's share) of outlander predation. Consequently they have a disproportionate number of Insectrists & Militarists among their population. Grasslake mice tend to be Defenders & Nimble.
Ivydale Renowned for it's Bakers & bread, Ivydale mice also are able Harvesters. It's difficult to be an Ivydale mouse & not be a Hard Worker.
Lockhaven First true City of mice & home of the Mouse Guard, Lockhaven has few residents, now being more military command & less civil center. Lockhaven mice aid the Guard as Weavers & Armorers. They are renowned for being Generous & having a Guard's Honor.
Port Sumac A busy little port town situated between two bays of the Great Northern Water. Port Sumac mice are noted as Boatcrafters & Weather Watchers. They also tend to be Tough with a keen Weather Sense.
Sandmason A sandstone castle surrounded by ever-shifting dunes. The sands make for superior glass, consequently Sandmason Glaziers are well regarded, they also are known for their Dune-wisdom. Sandmason mice tend to be Nocturnal & Quiet.
Shaleburrow A simple town known for it's delicious drinks! Most Shaleburrow mice are Brewers, Harvesters or Millers. They have a reputation as Open Minded.
Sprucetuck Known for it's scientists, medicine & scent concoctions. Most Sprucetuck mice are Scientists & Loremice. They are also generally Inquisitive & Rational.
The town (or City, or village) of your birth is considered your home when away from the Guard (not that you get much time away from the guard...) Your Parents (so long as they still live) can be found there, as can likely your Trades-master. It will also affect the skills & traits you have available to choose from. Consider the descriptions of mice from each locale & think of which ones sound most like who you see yourself as...
Correct. There are certain skills which are only available in certain ways. The only one that jumps out at me at the moment is Militarist, which is only available to starting characters who are either Guard Captains or from Grasslake, but that & a Home Trait are the only mechanical effects of the choice of Hometown.
Parents: Hopkin and Foxglove, Harvesters.
Trade: Parents taught him to harvest, but he's really interested in medicine. He's in the Guard because it's useful and his Da had some forebears in the Guard.
Who speaks for you?: Kinborough (Kin for short, she hates her name), Wheat's best friend since...well forever. Kin is the doughty, brave, reckless, outgoing half of their odd pair, whereas Wheat is the cautious cowardly part. But Kin has always stuck up for the timid mouse.
Who speaks against you: Piers, a greedy bully of a mouse that latched onto Wheat as a victim a long time ago, and tried to ruin Wheat's family more than once for some reason that Wheat's never been clear on. This feud has gone on for a long time though, and Wheat doesn't imagine it'll quit any time soon.
See yourself: Wheat is something of an idealist, though thanks to his ever cautious nature he's not entirely naive. He's just a bit too timid to make his ideas reality without help and some friendly prodding.
Rank: Wheat is a green Tenderpaw, a raw recruit.
Saving: Wheat will triage needs, leaning toward "saving for winter" as per his cautious attitude, but if necessary he'll use up resources now. Maybe. Are you sure we don't need that for later?
Confrontation: Wheat is totally a run & hide-er. Danger is best avoided when at all possible.
Fear: Reasonably fear? Wheat is utterly terrified of large predators. Getting him near one would require a feat on par with the most legendary of heroes.
Where You Came From!
Wheat is from Elmoss, and grew up entranced by tales of the Guard and the city's history of medicinal expertise that Sprucetuck has overshadowed.
On Skills & Wises
Though to be honest, Wises are merely a particular, broad category of skill. These are how you do what you do. Most activities will fall into the purview of a particular skill, though many are affected by many sills. Which is to say, if you know about more than one thing & they are related, you will be better able to accomplish your tasks. Most skills should be self-explanatory, however I shall add a brief description of each.
Administrator: An administrator manages towns, cities and other groups of mice.
Apiarist: An apiarist is a specialist who raises bees and harvests their honey & wax.
Archivist: An archivist is a mouse who specializes in documenting events for historical purposes. They are also adept at interpreting said documents of history.
Armorer: Armorers forge armor & weapons.
Baker: A Baker makes savory bread, delicious cookies, and sweet cakes.
Boatcrafter: The Boatcrafter knows how to build & effectively use boats, ships & barges.
Brewer: The brewer turns water, grain and/or fruit into the elixir of life.
Carpenter: A Carpenter makes useful items out of wood.
Cartographer: A Cartographer creates & interprets maps.
Cook: A Cook is capable of turning otherwise unpalatable (if nutritious) matter into tasty food.
Deceiver: A deceiver uses lies, half-truths, ugly truths, soothing platitudes and intimidation to get what he wants.
Fighter: The Fighter is one who has taken up the entirely un-mouse-like pursuit of combat, and is good at it.
Glazier: A Glazier crafts glass objects. Bottles, windows, objets 'd art...
Haggler: To Haggle is to drive the best bargain for you & yours.
Harvester: Harvesters are skilled in the best means of gathering food for the community.
Healer: The Healer knows how to keep mice whole & healthy.
Hunter: As Mice are not predatory creatures, the Hunter does not hunt prey, rather the Hunter acts to locate & neutralize the threats posed by other animals on mouse communities.
Insectrist: The insectrist is a specialist who uses insects, and other like creatures, for a variety of purposes.
Instructor: An instructor knows how to commit knowledge to mouse brains.
Laborer: Laborers are the backbone of the mouse community, gathering material, moving objects & performing the physical labor necessary to accomplish the community's goals.
Loremouse: Loremice study the ways & habits of animals. As Scientist deals with the physical characteristics of the world around mice, Loremouse investigates how animals deal with each other.
Militarist: A Militarist knows how to effectively direct large numbers of mice into combat as a whole. Necessary for dealing with Large Animals in a direct, forceful, manner.
Miller: The miller knows how to grind substances into powders for use in cooking, brewing & industry.
Orator: The Orator is skilled at touching the hearts & minds of large groups of mice with the power of their words.
Pathfinder: A Pathfinder makes & marks paths between the mouse towns, villages, and cities. All Guard Mice will have some skill as a Pathfinder...
Persuader: A persuader is skilled at showing other individuals how a particular course of action may be in their own best interests.
Potter: Potters work clay, crafting vessels , containers, and other items from that material.
Scientist: This skill combines the disciplines of astronomy, biology, chemistry, the earth sciences & physics. In short, Science!
Scout: The scout is adept at spotting predators on the prowl, sneaking behind enemy lines, trailing targets & finding hidden things.
Smith: Smiths work with & make tools of, metal.
Stonemason: Stonemason's cut & build with stone.
Survivalist: The survivalist knows how to make & find shelter, find water, build fires, and other vital activities for survival outside the confines of mouse communities.
Weather Watcher: This skill pertains to accurately predicting the weather, an ability of life-or-death importance for individual mice& communities alike.
Weaver: A Weaver can manufacture fabric and create garments and other items of fabric.
Wises, varied: A Wise is an area of knowledge or expertise which does not precisely fall under one of the other skills. Examples include: Boarder-wise, Border-wise, Weasel-wise, Guardmouse-wise, Lockhaven-wise, and many others. Usually, you will not use a wise by itself; instead, a wise may aid you in other skills.
On Circles & Resources
No Mouse is an island. The Bear acts alone. So too the Bull Moose & the Sick Wolf. Mice, however, are communal creatures. A Mouse alone is an affront to nature, and nature. Circles represent how well connected & regarded you are among the Guard & by extension, the Territories as a whole. These questions will aid you in determining your standing.
Are you gregarious? Do you have lots of friends? Do you make friends easily?
Do you have strong ties to the Guard? Familial or Filial perhaps?
Have you accomplished some great task within the Guard? Do you already have a reputation?
Do you have powerful enemies within the Territories?
Have you been convicted of a crime?
Are you a loner, tough & cool?
Keep track of your answers, in addition to affecting your starting Circles, they will affect what Traits you may select from.
Your Resources reflects not only your personal wealth, but also your ability to make best use of the materials you have available to you.
In winter, do you still practice a trade such as weaving, smithing or pottery for the Guard?
Are your parents smiths, politicians, merchants or apiarists?
Do you like to buy gifts for yourself &/or your friends?
Are you thrifty?
Have you ever been in debt? Are you generally bad with money?
Do you always pack carefully for a journey, ensuring you have everything you need?
As with Circles & previous questions, keep track of your answers as they will affect more than just your Resources.
Every mouse possesses (or is afflicted by...) qualities of character which do not readily equate themselves to mere sums in a ledger. These qualities we call Traits. Some will, at first observation, seem positive while others will seem negative. In truth, they all are boon & blessing in their own measure & at the appropriate (or inappropriate, as the case may be...) time. Some mice possess a great many traits, some mice only one or two. Most Traits are self-explanatory, those which are not, I will describe in greater detail.
Alert: You are notably talented at noticing things.
Bigpaw: Your paws are larger & stronger than average.
Bitter: You are definitely a 'glass-half-full' sort of mouse...
Bodyguard: Most of your life, you have devoted to the protection of another, not necessarily the same other.
Bold: You give little concern to potential dangers inherent in your actions.
Brave: You have faced your fear & risen above it.
Calm: You lack an impetus to excitability.
Clever: You possess a keen mind.
Compassionate: Your ability to perceive another's woes is strong.
Cunning: Your mind, while keen, is more attuned to tricks & deceit.
Curious: Often the first thought in your head is why?
Deep Ear: All mice have a keen sense of hearing. Then there is you...
Defender: You have survived direct action during the Winter War of 1149, or you have been called upon to defend your home against other predation.
Determined: You are difficult to sway from your goals.
Driven: It is difficult for you to acknowledge goals other than your own.
Early Riser: You are a morning mouse. Note: for those of you who are aware that actual mice are nocturnal, Mice in Mouse Guard are diurnal, much like people.
Extrovert: The phrase, 'I don't know any strangers', might have been coined just for you.
Fat: It takes you a while to really go hungry...
Fearful: You are very much aware that you are a small, small creature in a very big world...
Fearless: You aren't, somehow. See above.
Fiery: You are passionate.
Generous: You are always willing to give to others.
Graceful: You are a figure of poise & grace.
Guard's Honor: As a scion of the longstanding traditions of service & self-sacrifice inherent to the Guard, you are keenly aware of it's Honor & those actions which may affect the Honor of the Guard.
Hard Worker: You don't shirk your tasks.
Independent: You have experience getting things done by yourself.
Innocent: You have yet to be exposed to some of life's harsh, cruel realities.
Inquisitive: While a Curious mouse may ask 'why?', the inquisitive one will go looking for the answer.
Jaded: You have seen a bit too much of life's harsh, cruel realities.
Leader: You have a talent for motivating others.
Longtail: Your average mouse has a tail noticeably longer than he is. Your tail is noticeably longer than that.
Lost: For reasons known or unknown, you just can't seem to keep straight where you are & where you are going at the same time.
Natural Bearings: You always know where you are & where you are going, especially when you ave been there before...
Nimble: Particularly when you have an audience, you are light on your feet.
Nocturnal: For whatever reason, you find yourself more comfortable at night.
Oldfur: No matter your actual age, you have passed your physical prime.
Open-Minded: You are quite willing to contemplate new ideas.
Quick-Witted: You respond quickly to stimuli.
Quiet: By nature mice are quiet creatures, then there is you.
Rational: You are best able to communicate your ideas through reason & logic.
Scarred: You have been marked, physically, mentally and emotionally, by the experiences of your life.
Sharp-Eyed: Your eyesight is keener than normal. What was that?
Sharptooth: You have very sharp, strong teeth.
Short: Just so.
Skeptical: Somebody always has an angle. You always know to look for it.
Skinny: Perhaps a sandwich is in order?
Steady Paws: You may not have the strongest grip, but you certainly have the surest.
Stoic: Things happen, you deal with them, you go on.
Stubborn: You believe what you believe, no matter what.
Suspicious: Somebody somewhere is up to no good. You just know it.
Tall: There hasn't yet been a top cupboard you couldn't reach.
Thoughtful: Planning & preparation are first, second & third nature to you.
Tough: You may not be the strongest, or the quickest, but nobody lasts longer or through worse than you do.
Weather Sense: Mice may train for years to be able to scent the wind the way you've done since birth.
Wise: Seems like you're the smartest mouse in the room.
Wolf's Snout: That tidbit of food there, the one on the back shelf, in the back cupboard? Yeah, you knew it was there before you opened the door.
Young: No matter your actual age, you maintain a vigorous exuberance.
Traits are generally positive, even when they seem negative. Some traits are obvious oposites, you won't see any mice who are both Short & Tall a an example...
There are also traits which are unavailable to certain mice, you rarely see a mouse with a strong Nature who is also Fearless or Fierce...
I ask you all now to gather in your Patrols to attend to my next topic, soon you will be released from Lockhaven to make your way & perform your missions within the Territories...
Those are...big lists of skills and traits. Are there any guidelines for selecting them beyond "pick which make sense for the character?"
Wheat has a tendency to either clam up and barely speak or to ramble incessantly when he's nervous, which is often, so he could qualify as gregarious, I suppose. He doesn't have a lot of friends right now, but maybe if he could conquer his general skittish tendencies he could have plenty of friends.
Past generations of Wheat's family on both sides have served in the Guard, but no immediate family members currently serve. So he has a history of service, but no actual ties directly.
Wheat is a Tenderpaw and not a hero or anything, so he doesn't have a reputation yet (he's awaiting the inevitable confusion and derision his timidity usually brings when he talks about dangerous things like...being in the Guard at all).
He has not been convicted of any crimes, nor is he a loner, certainly not tough nor cool.
The Harvester that doesn't support themselves come winter isn't like to see the next one as Wheat thinks it. The off-season (as it were) is where he first developed his interests in lore and medicine, and his family history of Guard service. He looks to keep himself useful however he can, but hasn't had the chance to practice many trades.
His parents aren't involved in prestigious or particularly fungible activities.
Wheat does like giving gifts, but in keeping with his nature he's frugal and puts lots of thought into giving the right, best gift, since he doesn't have the means to give lots of them.
He's most assuredly the kind of guy that will check his pack three times over, and he's never met a knapsack that can't fit just one more thing in its already bursting confines.
The lists are so you have an idea what they are/do. Your choices will be affected by a number of factors once we start actually putting the Patrol together. I will be posting an example of total Character Creation later tonight, it will also provide you guys with a kind of 'mentor' NPC to interact with 'in-game'.
This is a huge job you have taken on here,GM.Very nice to see someone willing to put in the effort to get a great, but not often seen on these boards, game going.
If I was going to play an older mouse, is that okay. I am thinking more of a grizzled verteran of the patrol.Not foolhardy, but also ready to due what he must if necessary.
@Bilbo: Oh yes, an older mouse is fine. I only recommended a younger mouse for players not acquainted with the world/system as it will aid them in learning as they go. Given you have a copy of the rules, if you have questions, you are better able to find the answers yourself.
Alright, this is it. I will be burning up Uther, the Guard Captain your Patrol will be answering to most often. As soon as I have him done, I will be posting the example so you all have an understanding of what is to come.
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Yeah I'd have to stress that while I'm aiming for a healer and man of knowledge type, pretty sure novices aren't actually that awesome so if you wanted to make an older, more experience person Wheat could learn from that'd be OK.
Or maybe I should say I'm aiming for "starts timid and unsure of himself and his abilities, aiming to grow the character into a zealous defender of mice and courageous field medic, who maybe also fights because Mouse Guard."
One of the interesting things about the mechanics of the game, as Bilbo may have noticed, is that it isn't polar. none of the checks, tests, or challenges are pass/fail. Consequently, being a 'great healer' is only partly to do with your score in the Healer skill.
My apologies, writing up the example is taking longer than I expected. The actual process of Character Burning, takes comparatively little time, at least after you have been doing it as long as I have, it's documenting the process that is taking me so long...
I should have the finished post later today.
Once more, thank you for your patience.
Or rather, I will have a post, but I may wind up making two posts, if the second half takes much longer...
First define Crunch or Resolution. Otherwise, mechanically, it uses pools of d6' with 1-3 a failure, 4-6 'success'. Varying numbers of 'success' necessary in a check/test/challenge, dependent on how much of the result you want to be able to dictate as the 'winner'. Most 'stats' are actually skills. It can be argued that there are only three 'stats', Will, Health & Nature; everything else really falls into some subset of skill-ishness. But you comparatively rarely test with the three 'stats'.
Hopefully that answered most of your question.
I will help field questions where I can, though the DM has a far greater knowledge of the system. Burning Wheel systems seem to focus on the story more than the tactical combat like many games have turned to.
@Aluce, As for the age thing most mice enter the gurad around 14 and continue till around 60. Age begins to show itself in regards to your health, but I would say mechanics are not the main focus as a mouse does not tend to stand toe to toe with almost any enemy.
If you want to play that sort of mouse, a younger mouse just fine. Say one that wants to be treated like they are older, but not sure of themselves yet. The DM has put a huge amount of material up so I would look it over again. I am doing the same thing as I go over my book again, too.