a custom mission: Trouble in Grasslake, again

Introduce the session:
In this Spring session, the patrol will be conducting a routine presence patrol in the Grass lake region. Gwendolyn has told the group to visit Mapleharbor, Sandmason, Burl, Lonepine, and Grasslake. They may choose to visit Wolfpointe also, but the patrols returning from the scent border are likley to come through that village. The Spring duties can be reviewed, Gwendolyn has no specific request from one of the settlements for the patrol to handle; they should look for opportunities to become engaged in the duties of the Guard.

Unbeknownst to the patrol, last year’s scent border was not well poured and did not serve as a deterrant to predators during the year. A small pack of wolves moved into the seemingly new territory; a bobcat also made its way into the territory. Both are finding themselves a niche of good hunting. The wolves have become a serious threat to a badger which has dropped a litter this year; the mother moved the den closer to a mouse settlement–Grasslake.

  • Allow a patrol mouse to offer a prologue if there was a session prior.

Assign the mission:
The patrol makes its way through the assigned settlements on a patrol; none have pressing matters at this time, but all are glad to hear the mice will be patrolling the region during spring. They are likely to call on them during the coming weeks. As the patrol enters Lonepine, the residents are very glad to greet them. They report that Grasslake has been harrassed many times by badger cubs already. They discourage the group from placing themselves in danger over it. (you might allow the patrol to accept the advice, but I think we generally expect the group will head to Grasslake to deal with the problem)

With a short trip around or across the lake, the patrol gets sight of an ongoing attack against the town. Two badger cubs have found the brewery and are already tearing into it for the smell of food and drink. The mother is not with them. Not only that, but the patrol also sees much of the town is devastated from other visits of these cubs. It is possible they’ve got mice in their bellies right now even. Nevertheless, the town had to hire a Lonepine apiarist after their hive was scavenged and the town apiarist(s) eaten by the cubs. (in our case, Harold the brewer and Clarke the apiarist were enemies of patrol mice in this session)

  • Allow the patrol to write goals having seen a portion of the situation. Answer questions with clarifying details of only this scene and what locals will talk about right this minute.

  • Review Beliefs and Instincts in case the patrol wants to make changes.

Mission Scenes: Animal, Mice
Animal scene:
The patrol will need to think and act quickly considering the pair of cubs is right in town and opening up buildings with nary a thought. The circumstances are dire indeed.

  • Allow the patrol to discuss how to proceed. Some considerations might include: fight animal conflict, chase animal conflict, scientist test, hunter test, or loremouse test.

  • Using the patrol’s proposed actions, generate an appropriate conflict, complex obstacle, or simple obstacle to resolve the scene.

(in our session, the patrol chose to ask help of enemy Clarke the apiarist in recovering a full bit of honeycomb from the hive, then having another patrol mouse weilding a spear skewer the honeycomb to smash against the snouts of the cubs in hopes of guiding the bees to swarm around them. It was handled with a pathfinder to get the honeycomb with Clarke helping through apiarist followed by a hunter to smack the snouts with a gear die for the honeycomb-spear. The team successfully sent the cubs running scared into the lake to escape the swarming bees stinging their snouts and mouths.)

Mice scene:
As the patrol creates a solution to deter the badger cubs, Harold the brewer and other mice are elated, but quickly want to put the mice to work around town. One mouse will come forward with the ambition to order the patrol mice to fulcill a task oon his behalf. This might be Harold asking the mice to rebuild his brewery, Clarke asking for help with the hive, a local asking for the mice to track lost kin taken by the badger. If the patrol isn’t willing immediately, this local mouse will certainly argue with a persuader or deceiver vs persuader, deceiver, or will to convince the patrol to work.

  • Allow the mice to respond; if they are not immediately inclined to fulfill the request, the local mouse will use Persuader or Deceiver to push upon them with greater pressure to comply.

  • Allow a mouse to respond with Persuader, Deceiver, or Will. Each indicates a different take on their response: Persuader indicates a Guard who wants to convince the local this request is not their priority concern; Deceiver indicates a Guard who wants to convince the local their other duties are far more pressing; Will indicates a Guard who will not be goaded or ordered into tasks by locals.

(our group ended up calling on Will with help from Orator to set the locals aright about the leadership decisions of the Guard in a publically humiliating way; despite establishing that they would make their own orders, the Ptl Guard of the group was Angry for having to make such an arguement.)

Since the team established they would make their own choices about how to proceed, I opened it to them what ought to be done; there are many things which could be selected or imagined.

  • Allow the patrol to describe the actions they will take to help resolve problems from the badgers near Grasslake. They’ve certainly been asked to help. Some appropriate choices include hunting the badgers, laboring in town, or scouting lost mice (or remains).

(our group ended up with a beker test with help from Honeywind as well as a BL militarist test to set the town militia in order; many had been tending to families in need rather than keeping their post.)

Mission Twists: wilderness, weather
If the patrol chooses to make a fight or chase conflict with the badger cubs, a great follow-up in the compromise is a wilderness test. The group may find themselves a good distance from Grasslake at the end and now must negotiate their own safe return.

Unless you have a strong idea about the weather, a failure in the helping around town is perfect fodder for a weather twist. Use late season, unexpected snows. Cause everymouse to make a Ob 3 Health test. If they have been enjoying contact with locals, include their Health tests also. This could mean that most of Grasslake gets Sick from the surprising weather.

Conclude the mission:
The team of mice is in a safe location. You can end the GM turn at any time once those scenes have played out. But, consider the many things unfinished–the town is disheveled, many townsmice might be sick, the team might be Tired, Injured, Sick, and more. Their contacts are not friends (that means no easy rest). It is perfect for a follow-on mission. Let’s not forget the badgers are still nearby; a pair of cubs needs plenty of food. The badgers are being harrased by wolves and might be occassionally pestered by the bobcat.

This was really fun just in the set-up, but it got really fun by handing over the creative resolution of problems to the players. I left things fairly open and allowed them to come up with solutions. They thought of the honeycomb-spear on their own. Asking an enemy for help was totally related to a Belief.

They welcomed the inclusion of new contacts. One has Honeywind, baker in Grasslake, potential enemy while another has Balthazar, militia commander in Grasslake, potential friend. Also, they have two enemies in Grasslake. Harold, Clarke, and Balthazar all became sick in the snowy weather.

During the player’s turn the innovation continued. One used a check to overcome Tired (aquired by trying to run Honeywind’s bakery while trying to help the suffering mice of Grasslake) by deepening the contact of Honeywind; the failed Circles pushed that relationship toward enmity. Honeywind had just sat back and let the Guardmouse run the shop–who turns down an unpaid intern?

A second used a check to overcome Angry by concocting a medicine of unnatural, mind-warping effects to offer Harold (her enemy) as revenge for his treachery against her father.

With most of the town sick, tired, hungry, and homeless, I am super excited for the follow-on mission next week.