a custom mission: Study of Hares

Introduce the mission: Study of Fear
This session centers on the search and rescue operations by the patrol of a group of scienctist mice from Sprucetuck. The mice have been lost at least two weeks, but they were meant to be surviving in the wilderness. The patrol already knows the scent border of last year was no good and predators crossed into the territories. They should be aware that the wilderness is teeming with unexpected predators as well as badgers, racoons, skunks, and squirrels.

Assign the Mission: Find and Rescue the Lost Research Students
The patrol last stopped in Port Sumac. Friends and family welcomed the patrol. Captain Rand appeared with some instructions and reported he was headed to Frostic for a face-to-face report; he would be in and out of Pt Sumac during the next several weeks while he also visited Rustleaf, Darkwater, and Calogero. If the patrol needed anything, they should seek him out.

In addition, he reports that Gwendolyn has returned from Flintrust and is handling her duties in Lockhaven.

Here in Pt Sumac, they ought to ask the captain of the port for any duties he may stand in need of, but they should also visit Rustleaf, Darkwater, and the outposts, Frostic and Calogero before the season ends. He tells the patrol to get engaged in the duties of hte Guard, yet he has no specific tasks they must accomplish.

Collin, the recently elected captain of the port is beside himself with worry. A group of research student (4 plus an instructor) from Sprucetuck have come to spend the year observing hares on the north east scent border. They were meant to report weekly in Pt Sumac for supplies and to log their notes. They have been missing two weeks. Collin refuses to send sailors or dock workers inland; since the patrol is here, that is their jurisdiction anyway. “Get to it!” he says.

  • Allow the group to write Goals and review Beliefs and Instincts

Mission Scenes: Wilderness Weather
Wilderness Scene:
The patrol could have an idea that it isn’t a big deal, but that would be a silly, selfish outlook. They should respond immediately with the call to action and get to work searching for the lost mice in the wilderness. The summer is an excellent time to meet and work with animals. They know these science mice were specifically observing hares in the wild. It might be easy to find a hare the patrol could speak with.

Additionally, the patrol needs to consider other useful skills as they search. It is certain they will need to Scout the lost mice; however, Guard mice are trained in many ways beyond mundane searching.

  • Allow the patrol three tests to represent their search and rescue operations. One of these three skills must be Scout. Other skills or abilities will be dictated by the actions of the mice.
  • Allow the patrol to describe their actions in search of the mice.

The science mice had made an encampment about two days away from Pt Sumac in the wilderness. From this encampment they would venture further in search of wild hares to observe. Regardless of success or failure, the long-term encampment is empty and chaotically disturbed (such as by a racoon, skunk, or squirrel), yet another encampment being found is left to your discretion.

Weather Scene: Thunderstorm and Flash Flood
The patrol will spend several weeks fulfilling the first scene; surely the weather has varied during that time, yet the thunderstorm which has accumulated is nothing like what they faced earlier in the season. The wind, rain, and dark of this storm is truly a record breaker.

  • Allow the patrol to make a Health test to represent how they handle the wind and rain.
  • Allow the patrol to make one test to represent their actions before, during and after the storm. Do they continue searching, make a camp and wait out the weather, gather food from the fruit knocked out of trees? Let them tell you what becomes the focus.

The heavy rain has created a flash flood condition and the rising stream will pose a threat (to Pt Sumac or Rustleaf is left to your discretion) which the patrol must take seriously. In fact, they should be made aware that another mouse is calling for help among the rising water. While they do not identify it immediately, this should be a contact of a mouse (friend or enemy preferred, parents not a bad choice; science mouse if you want to reduce the tension).

  • Allow the patrol to make one test to represent their actions.

If the patrol chose to use Survivalist to create an encampemnt, remind them how secure, warm, comfortable, and dry their camp is compared to a swollen stream, sloshing mud, forest debris, and a scared, desperate mouse. They might want to avoid the risk.

They will only learn the mouse’s identity if they commit to an approach and attempt; else, they later find the dead body and identify it.

Mission Twists: Animal Mice
Animal Twist: Skunk
A skunk has been ousted from its normal territory by a predator that came across the border last year. With glee, it found a tasty encampment of science mice hardly capable of protecting themselves. Sadly, the hares acted to protect the science mice and carried them to their own hutches for safety (some might have been eaten at your discretion). The skunk is still prowling the area in search of wandering mice. When the patrol find the encampment, it marks a new prey. They very likely will have to face a Fight Animal conflict.

At my suggestion, if the patrol has been highly successful during the wilderness scene, they are able to take notice of the skunk’s tracks and might decide this should be brought up in the player’s turn.

Additionally, if the group has used Loremouse to speak with a hare (who are willing to accept the presence of mice) the hare will not think to mention the science mice visiting their hutches under any circumstance; they simply don’t connect the dots: the hares don’t realize that the patrol is searching for the science mice even if asked directly and with specific details.

Mice Twist: Lost and Found
Depending on the approach to the weather obstacle the patrol might need a nudge in the right direction (i.e. they didn’t leave camp). The science mice, having been protected from the skunk by the hares, return to their encampment and find the patrol along that route of return. They explain that no mouse was lost, but they were not able to get away; however, having made such good new friends, they now wish the Guard to put some resources on the table to work out terms of service exchange.

The patrol will need to engage in a Negotiation Conglict both to thank the hares and to arrange an exchange of services. The mice will offer something to the hares in exchange for hare mounts.

The research team is totally willing to engage in a conflict to argue the patrol into representing the territories in pursuit of these allies in case the patrol wants to walk away; this could push a compromise of the Negotiation Conflict taking place in the Player’s Turn.

This mission might have been too ambitious for our Monday Night Mice crew. We had three missing from our team of five. The remaining pair were good sports, but not fully engaged. We had laptops at the table and spent plenty of time before starting to grip about work and such.

They focused exclusively on success and failed no tests until the Player Turn. This meant that less of my plan actually occurred. I was slightly disappointed and broke a rule. I didn’t let them find the science mice at all–not a single one. It denied a player pursuit of their goal: “I will find at least one lost ass science mouse.”

I let it get under my skin that the mission wasn’t exciting to them. I even placed a friend in danger for the flash flood who probably wouldn’t have any reason to be near Pt Sumac. I covered that up by saying his younger sister was a student in Sprucetuck’s Loremouse school, and he heard they were coming out for the research observation. While she was near, he decided to reside in Pt Sumac to be near his sister.

Neither earned any checks, so the Player turn was pretty lame. “I test to overcome Sick which I’ve had for two sessions already; dang, failed.” and “I test Loremouse to speak with the whistle pigs about how they dig and what their homes are like; dang, failed.”

I left these two members of the team and the friend rescued from the flash flood out in the wilderness. We’ll see what has to happen in the next session.

I think this mission wasn’t connected to their Beliefs very well at all on my part.
Raleigh: “The maps I make will help society”
Julieanne: “The Guard must do the right thing even if it is hard”

While the search for the lost mice presented hardship, it wasn’t a hard decision to go try. Also, her belief doesn’t say she has to make hard decisions, just that the Guard has to. It is simply broad, and I wish she realized it doesn’t tug the heartstrings of her mouse.

Making maps is certainly neat, but she hasn’t been actively talking about making maps or trying to earn a check for mapmaking in each player’s turn. There are chances to pressure the patrol to go slow so she can make maps during the obstacles too, but she doesn’t bring it up. It isn’t a bad belief, but she doesn’t seem to keep it on hte tip of her tongue during play.

In contrast, they are getting pretty active in using their Instincts.
Raleigh: “Honeymouse don’t care!”
Julieanne: “When flustered or frustrated, I self groom”

Both come up in play and provide a good laugh to ease tension and boredom.