My tabletop RPG group met last weekend for the first time this year, which reminded me that I've been meaning to post about our Mouse Guard campaign for a while now. The RPG is based off comics by David Petersen. Tiny anthropomorphic mice live in a world without humans. Their nation is made up of isolated, largely autonomous cities. It's the Mouse Guard's duty to make sure the ways between these cities are safe. The nation is protected from large predators by a border of scent designed to repel them, but occasionally they slip through. The only other animals that have higher intelligence and civilisation are the ferrets--natural enemies of the mice. They're portrayed with a Saracen influence that I find a bit distasteful, especially combined with their supposedly violent and cruel nature. The campaign is set some years after a war with the ferrets.
The system uses a variant of Burning Wheel. I've never played Burning Wheel, though we do own a copy. I've been told it is quite a complicated system and I believe it. It has been streamlined for Mouse Guard, but even so, it has taken me a while to wrap my head around it.
Our patrol consists of three mice: one patrol leader and two tenderpaws or trainee Guards. The Mouse Guard are designated by the cloaks they wear. The colour of the cloak has significance, with the colour picked out specifically for the guardmouse by their mentor on their formal acceptance into the Guard.
The patrol leader is Kole, a black-fur who carries a big axe. He's a gruff, grumpy mouse with a soft side he tries not to show. He grew up working-class in a port village and carries a bit of a chip on his shoulder when it comes to the upper-class and the educated. His mentor endeavoured to remind him to check his prejudices by giving him a cloak of royal purple.
Dorian Winterwhiskers is the first of the tenderpaws. Their fur is dark grey tipped in white. Dorian's parents own a prominent company that forge cooking utensils and so Dorian's attitude tends to one of a spoiled, rich brat. However, this doesn't bring them into conflict with Kole as much as you might think, as they are still eager to impress and fiercely loyal.
And the last of the tenderpaws is my character, Delilah Periwinkle. She's an intensely curious mouse with white fur and a passion for Science. Born to cartographers, she spent some of her childhood wandering the Mouse Territories and joined the guard so she could see more of the world (and also help keep it safe for people like her parents). She's constantly asking questions, to the despair of her patrol leader. Despite being both practical and blunt, she still has a sweet side and can be a little naive at times.
The campaign structure is tied into the year, with each season containing a limited number of missions. For example, spring is approximately 3 missions, while summer is 4 and autumn is 2. It culminates in a winter session, when the Mouse Guard take shelter from the snow in their fortress. This session is used to improve skills and share favourite memories of the campaign.
Our next session will be the winter session. This means we're faced with the choice of pressing on for another "year" or to wrap up for the time being and play something else. We have a player rejoining us after missing the campaign so far, so I half expect we'll move on to something else.