Spooky action at a distance

Townbuilding for Mausritter

So your mice have suddenly come to power in a local settlement? Have they been granted rule by a noblemice? Have organised a clever coup? Well, now they have new problems of managing a township. This post is written to guide you through this tricky process.

Township Turn

When mice perform town managing duties, time is divided into township turns, which last about a week. At the start of each township turn, roll a district die which will inform what happens on that turn.

Roll Effect Description
1 Encounter New characters arrive to the settlement. A merchant caravan, an attack by evil cats, or humans start meddling with the tree you dwell under.
2 Ruin Buildings and structures age and/or get damaged.
3 Weather Roll for weather (pg. 21). Poor conditions mean rolling twice and picking the lower result next turn.
4 Shift A change in the town occurs.
5 Omen A hint of future events.
6 Free No events this turn.

Note that after every 12 township turns seasons will change. If you want to make winters harsher, always roll at disadvantage during them.


Just like items, buildings are prone to wear and tear. Each building has 3 ruin dots, which signify it’s age. When all the dots are filled, the building is unusable. In order to erase ruin dots, a maintenance action must be taken during a township turn.

When the Ruin entry is rolled on the district die, roll a d6 for each building and structure in your town. Mark a ruin dot for each die showing 4-6.


Shifts are changes that happen within your settlement. They can be custom written for the settlement in your game, or you can use the generic table below for inspiration.

Roll Effect Description
1 Population decrease Settlement size is decreased by one step.
2 Faction conflict Major factions quarrel over control of the settlement. Results in either stalemate or change of the settlement’s main faction.
3 Natural disaster A structure or building is destroyed and becomes unusable.
4 Governance change A new type of governance (pg. 28) is rolled for the settlement. The current power can either accept the change, or battle against it.
5 Dynamism The populous is excited about the settlement. Governing mice gain two actions this turn.
6 Population increase Settlement size is increased by one step.


When managing a township, governing mice have a duty to protect and develop the settlement.

Similar to factions, each settlement has key resources. Resources can be a natural occurrence, like a river bank, or tall tree. They can also be an aspect of the settlement’s dwellers: frequent festivals, popular sports, caravan route.

Settlements are either pays taxes to a local noblemouse for protection, or keeps their own guard. If taxed, one key resource will always belong to the noblemouse, in exchange for a protected by noblemouse resource.

Settlements also have key scarcities, negative aspects of the settlement that hinders it’s dwellers. Scarcities are the core drive for the settlement’s goals. As with resources, they can be material or immaterial: dry soil, unlucky adventurers, rare entertainment.


Governing mice can take one action per township turn. Spending resource may give mice additional actions to perform on that turn. Possible actions include:

  • Diplomacy: meet with major factions and other settlements to influence their activities or gain resources from them.
  • Projects: build infrastructure in your settlement.
  • Maintenance: repair all damaged buildings and structures.
  • Expeditions: send brave mice to explore new territories.

In case of forms of governances with councils, mice must present their actions and gain a majority vote for it to proceed. Roll a d6 and add relevant bonuses.

  • +1 if it benefits the settlement.
  • +1 if it benefits the council.
  • +1 if it benefits a major friendly faction.

On a 6+, the action proceeds as planned. On a 4-5, the action is taken with delay on the next turn. On a 1-3, the action is declined and the GM chooses an alternative action to be taken instead.


When aiding or obstructing faction goals, or improving relations with other settlements, roll a d6, adjusted accordingly.

  • +1 for each spent resource
  • -1 for each relevant scarcity

On a 6+, you succeed. On a 4-5, one final step must be taken. On a 1-3 there is no change.

Relations are similar to creature reactions (pg. 21).

Relation Description
Hostile Actively obstructs settlement goals. Will add a scarcity if possible.
Unfriendly Refuses trade and will compete with the settlement if given opportunity.
Unsure Most settlements start here. A diplomatic mission will reveal their goals and available resources.
Helpful Ready to trade and perform small favours for the settlement.
Allied Will trade and exchange knowledge, can remove one scarcity.


A proper path must be laid out for the expedition mice, with travel time accounted for. During the next township turn, the GM will generate or reveal the hexes explored by the expedition.

Type Time/Hex Description
Trek 1 watch A hike across the land. Only major landmarks are revealed.
Survey 1 day More thorough look at the landmarks, hidden elements revealed.
Delve 1 week A deep dive into the location, reveals secrets. Requires mice-at-arms to be hired. If clearing an adventure site, the GM sets a difficulty of 2-6 dots, each filled during one delve.

In order to establish a new settlement, a hex must be fully explored and cleared.


Each settlement has an amount of tiles available for development. Proper housing is assumed and does not count towards the tiles. Structures usually take one tile, but larger, more complex buildings may take up two tiles.

Settlement Size Tiles
Farm/manor 2
Crossroads 4
Hamlet 6
Village 8
Town 10
City 12

New settlements always start at farm/manor size.

2 of those tiles are labelled Gates, another 2 labelled Square, the rest are Streets. Attacking factions will always move from gates to square to streets. However, having important building on gates or square tiles will give a moral boost to your dwellers.


Roads connect two or more settlements to each other. Hexes with roads in them increase travel speed by two. Instead of travelling one hex per watch, mice can travel two hexes per one watch. Each hex of road will take one township turn to build.


There are several options when it comes to populating settlement tiles with structures.

Type Examples Effect
Educational School, university, library. Increases amount of hirelings of a specific specialty.
Defence Walls, barracks, armoury. Provides a bonus when defending the settlment.
Faction Guild house, sorcerer tower, frog embassy. Houses a faction and provides one of their resources.
Production Cheese factory, blacksmith workshop, grain farm. Produces a certain good/item.
Special Sparrow nest, river dam, human bridge. Provides a unique resource to the settlement.

Note that special buildings may already be present in the settlement and/or are impossible to replicate.

A Note on Pips and Play

The mausritter rulebook provides prices for hirelings and construction projects which can be used in combination with this post. Gauge the interest of your playgroup in managing pips, taxes, fees and simplify to your taste.

Remember that townbuilding in this post is presented in order to fuel mice adventures. The town’s perils can be a great source of quests and mystery. Don’t let your mice become passive barons.

Further Reading

  1. Against the Wicked City - Meet the New Boss: advice on domain level play.
  2. Papers & Pencils - Investments, Citadels, and Domains: breaking down of high level management.
  3. Retired Adventurer - Your Landholding PCs Should Not Have a Good Idea of How Much Land They Own: what it says.

Published on April 13, 2022.

Tagged: house rules   mausritter   osr   domains  


Spooky action at a distance is a blog run by emmy verte, to muse on sci-fi, fantasy location exploration and short fiction. You can donate to support Ukraine here.