First Mission - Feedback appreciated

Having run “Deliver the Mail”, I’m now preparing to start a campaign with original characters. I’ve got the first mission for them set up and it would be nice to get a little feedback. We’re starting in Spring 1153, with events in the two graphic novels providing a backdrop.

Spring 1153
Mission: Lay the Scent Border

Starting in Pebblebrook the Patrol must lay the Scent Border along part of the Darkheather.
To do this they have a scent cart, a two-wheeled contraption that can be pulled along by one mouse. It has a hand pump, hose, and a rack for a copper barrel full of scent.

Obstacles: Wilderness, Animals
Twists: Weather, Mice

GM’s Turn
Obstacle: Laying the Border

Laying the Scent Border is a difficult task at this time of year with the snow melting and the general difficulty of the terrain. The Patrol is assigned a section of the Border, from Beechwood Grove to Sandy Brook. Getting the job done requires an Ob5 Pathfinder test, helped by Scientist, Loremouse, Hunter or Cartographer.

Weather Twist: If the test is failed, the weather changes, becoming unseasonably warm. The lowland area they are in begins to flood. Survivalist or Pathfinder can be used to escape the rising water.

Obstacle: Weasel Spy

After laying the Scent Border, the Patrol comes upon Firouz, a weasel spy. They run into each other in a clearing underneath some trees. As soon as they see the Patrol, the weasel takes off. If the patrol gives chase, this is a Versus test pitting Firouz’s Scout skill plus Brambles-wise against his pursuers’ Scout skill and appropriate -wises.

If they catch up to Firouz, trying to kill or capture him starts a Conflict. Firouz’s goal in this case is to take out any mice that get in his way and escape. If the Patrol looks like they want to talk, Firouz takes the opportunity to sow some discord by giving them the following information on the condition they let him go. [I’m trying to decide if this could be a Conflict as well. The idea is, catching Firouz is one thing, but what they do if they catch him is another. A physical fight to capture or kill him is an obvious possibility. But so is questioning him. Argument Conflict, with any loss or compromise on Firouz’s part indicating how much of the info below he reveals?]

He was sent to receive a shipment of goods from Godrick, a mouse known to trade with the weasels. [Godrick is the Enemy of one of the characters, a mouse known to do business with the weasels. I’m setting him up as a patsy here though.]

Some mice in the Territories have reached out to the weasels for their support in staging another coup against the Guard.

Firouz has a contact in the conspiracy that he only knows as Red Mask.

If the Patrol doesn’t let him go, he threatens to whistle up a full patrol of weasels (which is a bluff). If they still won’t let him go, he’ll fight them to the death.

Mouse Twist: If they fail to catch Firouz or don’t pursue him, they find a cart of mouse manufacture of the type used to carry all manner of goods. It is empty but there are pieces of broken marble inside that look like they came off a finished slab. On the ground near the cart is a hammer with the blacksmith’s “T” mark on the head. There are several sets of footprints around the cart, both weasel, and mouse.

Player Turn

In the Players’ turn, they can head back to Pebblebrook to investigate further if they wish.
Whether they’re working off info from Firouz or their own suspicions of Godrick, they can spend checks to look into his activities.

Finding out who made the hammer isn’t too hard. The hammer was forged by Thom the Blacksmith, who recalls that he sold several of them as part of a lot of stone and metal working tools to Godrick the Merchant. [Can finding out who made the hammer be a Circles test? Or something else?]

Godrick can easily be located. He freely admits he sold the goods to the weasels. Godrick himself has no desire to see the Guard fall or the weasels invade again, but for him, money is money regardless of where it comes from. He feels that the weasel threat is overstated, and that they were soundly beaten in the war. He staunchly protests any accusations that his actions are treasonous, stating that anymouse is free to enter into any business agreement not specifically prohibited by the law of the settlement of which he is a citizen (Pebblebrook in his case).

Researching the law requires an Ob2 Archivist test with success suggesting that the law in Pebblebrook is actually unclear in this regard, and a case could be made for treason if the materials sold could be proven to have military value. With a failure, they can’t find anything that would allow them to make a case or even come up with a gross misinterpretation. If the Patrol wishes to pursue this avenue further, they’ll need to involve the Pebblebrook magistrate, Vidar. Hauling Godrick before the magistrate and charging him with treason is an argument Conflict.

Unfortunately, Vidar is one of Midnight’s sympathizers and also part of a larger conspiracy to collude with the weasels for their support of another coup attempt against the Guard.

How far the Patrol takes this investigation is up to them.

I kinda like the unfolding conspiracy thing with Firouz and Godrick, and that’s something the players indicated they’d like to see in the campaign. But I was also thinking of just making it a simple weasel scouting party and a straight up fight with no long term effect.

Any thoughts or advice appreciated!

My thoughts: This is excellent! I had a good time just reading it, I bet you’ll have more fun actually playing this out! Also, I admire the way you have everything planned and mapped out (who knows who, their motivations, etc.).

I haven’t had enough practice with this system yet, so I can’t say much about the Player’s Turn. However, while you can “railroad” them on the GM’s Turn, I don’t think you can on the Player’s Turn. Still, I see you mapped out the important stuff they “might” want to do, so I’d say you’re all set!

When you do play this with your players, tell us how it turned out. Did it go according to how you posted here, or did the players get to twist it some more?

Good luck with your game!

I like it too. How do you consider the trading with weasels-thing? Is it done in the open with a social stigmata or is it more of covert smuggling? This is an idea I like to use in my own game at some point forward from now.

Are any of the characters from Pebblebrook? What about Beechwood Grove or Sandy Brook?

Thanks for the comments!

Whether or not they pursue these avenues of approach is up to them, although the events are designed to take advantage of some of the characters’ relationships mostly, and their Beliefs to some extent. Godrick is the Enemy of one of the characters and lives in Pebblebrook. Another character has a Mentor there.

The Enemy angle is pretty strong bait and I think at least that one character will go for it. The trading with the weasels thing I’m treating as one of those “grey” legal and moral areas. It’s a border settlement close to the Darkheather, and the prevailing attitude there is going to be something like, “We’re here, the Guard is far away, and we’ll do what we need to keep our enemies in check, even if it means consorting with the enemy.” Call it a Belief for the town. I would suppose it’s not something the merchants make a big to-do about engaging in, though they probably all do it (except the ones who don’t - and may be mad about it happening). That’s why Godrick is going to get all huffy if confronted.

Of course some mice they meet in Pebblebrook may be staunchly anti-weasel (most likely the PCs Mentor that lives there). More fuel for the fire.

I made up the legal angle in case they decide to pursue it that way, but if they don’t no matter. I’ve got Godrick the amoral merchant, and Vidar the corrupt magistrate and I’m sure I can roll with whatever and however they decide to handle things - and if they just relieve Conditions, meet with friends and just chill, and then move on with no further inquiry, no sweat there either. That conspiracy will continue to fester…

I like it.

Me likey-likey as well!

Looks good to me. In their turn, the players will pursue whatever they find interesting or pressing. But I don’t think you overdid it with the notes you made in case they decide to investigate the situation surrounding Godrick (and the player whose enemy he is likely will want to do that).

Incredibly well-thought. I took a quick glance since I’m leaving for work in a few minutes and loved what I saw. Wish to see more about it soon.

Wow thanks for posting this! Looks really good. I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around how to do obstacles and encounters. These sorts of samples really help.

I’ll be running this next Thursday and I’ll let you all know how it goes.

I tried to model this on the missions in the book. Investigating Godrick is a likely course of action given the PC’s motivations and relationships, but if they don’t look into it at all I’m not worried about it. They’re just as likely come up with something more interesting and I can just run with it. Or if they just visit with friends, make a few Resources tests or spend checks on Conditions, that’s just as good.

All signs point to your session going well. Be sure to post a recap afterwards.

Ran this mission last night and here’s what happened.

First obstacle - get the scent path laid down. They got this done with a good Pathfinder roll and appropriate help.

So they hit the clearing, see the weasel and the one character with the hate on for weasels (Arkady) immediately instigates a chase. No hesitation. Everyone pitches in on the opposed roll and they handily corner that weasel.

“What do you want to do with him?” I ask. “Capture him!” Conflict is on. Man did I hose that up for myself. I stupidly laid down a Feint as my first move, and of course, they Attacked, leading with Arkady’s massive Fighter 5 plus Help, weapons etc. Weasel dispo was 7 I think and they just hammered him down in one go (with 8 successes and no compromise - Fate point spent on the roll).

OK, well, now they want to ask him questions. I say fine, ask away. Weasel’s Deceiver vs your Persuader, I’ll tell you if he’s lying or not if you win. Nope, they lost that one - they have to take what the weasel says at face value. This actually kind of funny - they don’t know that anything the weasel said is true, but the mere fact that weasel mentioned Godrick was enough to set Arkday off. It must be true! But aren’t all weasels liars? Yes, but…in this case it must be true!

Time to go home. But what to do with the weasel. Leave him tied up for the predators? Arkady kills him with a swipe of his sword and then hangs the body from a low branch, as warning to the weasels (the players’ attitude toward the weasels was "Kill 'em all let god sort 'em out). Okaaay. Given that there’s sort of a cease fire, or at least a cold war going on out here on the Darkheather border, and the border settlements have to live with this tension and threat-in-being, it seems to me this execution is going to be a major provocation. But I’ll get to that.

There was a lot of use of Persona and Fate and Traits, but no checks were earned.

They also find the empty merchant cart and footprints. Into the Player Turn.

When the weasel spy dropped the name Godrick, Arkady (the Weasel Hater) instantly wanted to hunt him down and kill him (“TRAITOR!”)

The Tenderpaw spends a check to track the footprints. Success leads back to Pebblebrook.

In Pebblebrook they look up Thom and find out who he sold his goods to. Godrick. OK, now what? Theo, the Tenderpaw Eodwyna’s mentor, wants to see what Godrick’s rep is, and if he’s up to anything shady and spends a check for a Persuasion roll to see what people think. Well, some think he’s an honest and fair merchant, others don’t like him for trading with weasels but what can they do?

Is Godrick actually guilty of anything? As I expected they decided to look up the law in this regard. Check for Archivist spent, easy test, OK, grey area. Hmm. What to do. Arkady just wants to march over there, accuse Godrick of treason and flay him. Abram the patrol leader tells him to cool his jets. They haven’t really got anything on this guy.

Go visit him? No, let’s wait is Abram’s call (especially since Arkady’s just got murder in his eyes). Arkady’s player gives Abram his free check and Abram uses it to make a Circles test and find a wealthy merchant ally who is a rival of Godrick, Henson (the question of whether Heson also trades with the weasels is left deliberately vague). We close with the patrol bending over Henson’s ledger in his study as the camera pulls out.

So, next mission this is what I’m thinking. The weasels find the body of their scout/spy not just dead but hoisted up on display. They’re enraged and send a delegation to Pebblebrook and demand justice (and make thinly veiled threats) for their dead comrade. The leadership of Pebblebrook is surprised and terrified, and want to placate the weasels as quickly as possible and make them go away. So, they grab the town drunk (or some other undesirable/untouchable) and are going to hand him over as the culprit (since no one knows the Patrol is responsible at this point).

So, how can I bring the patrol in and make dealing with this their mission?

I’m thinking of maybe having the (corrupt) magistrate ask the Patrol what they saw out there and ask them to testify that the unfortunate scapemouse did the deed (when of course Arkady did it). If the magistrate somehow finds out Arkady did it, I could see him possibly trying to find a way to give Arkady to the weasels.

And in all of this, I’m going to make Godrick actually innocent of any actual crimes. Yes, he sold goods to the weasels but so does almost every other trader in Pebblebrook save those who won’t on moral grounds. Right now, they’re really caught up in Arkady’s vendetta and hatred and it looks like they’re going to really try to accuse Godrick of treason. They haven’t seen the forest for the trees so to speak.

In the long run, failure to satisfy the weasels is going to result in tit-for-tat escalation and weasel incursions in the Pebblebrook area. Some gang of weasels jumps a mouse trader and murders and desecrates him, and things just slide downhill from there.

This is what they get for letting their emotions get the better of them! We’re still getting used to the game and learning how to use Traits and such. In all it was a good session, everyone had fun and we’re looking forward to the next one.

So the main obstacle in the GM’s Turn is going to be Mice I think, probably the Magistrate Vidar.


Perhaps some sort of argument conflict? That way some of your non-stabby patrol members can really shine. Looks like Arkady took the spotlight last session, see if you can tweak this session a bit more towards one of the others.

As a twist to use if they botch the argument you could have the magistrate find out it was Arkady. Which means he would want to offer him up to appease the weasels.

Wow, that was an intense session! However, it seems to me that things are going down, and going down fast! Since the patrol leader consented to having the weasel strung up, the entire party basically consented on declaring war with the weasels. Sure, a kill is a kill, but it would’ve been better if the weasel was buried quietly.

If things go really out of hand (weasels attacking the area), I would love to see how a war conflict plays out. Or, as Scip suggested, make the non-combatants of the patrol active members of the game, and maybe they can negotiate a truce or something with the weasels or rouse up the populace to put on a strong front versus the weasel’s threats.

IIRC, weasels are a big threat to mice and 1-on-1 fights vs weasels would be a big possibility of the mice losing, right? If so, I’d avoid that.

Yeah, they had several options, and they went with this. It was really kind of interesting to see how bloodthirsty everyone got. I want to give Arkady the Ruthless trait.

If things go really out of hand (weasels attacking the area), I would love to see how a war conflict plays out.

If things do get totally out of hand, I will push it to all-out war if that’s where it looks like it will go.

Or, as Scip suggested, make the non-combatants of the patrol active members of the game, and maybe they can negotiate a truce or something with the weasels or rouse up the populace to put on a strong front versus the weasel’s threats.

It wasn’t like the others were sitting on their hands, they were into it. But they had to follow Arkady’s poor impulse control. Abram started trying to rein it in later on though, and once they get hit with the repercussions of this, I think they’ll sit on Arkady more often. The next mission is definitely going to be less fighty (unless someone starts a fight) and Arkady is pretty weak on anything but fighting.

The thing is, right now, no one knows the truth about what happened out there but the Patrol. If I keep it that way, it makes an interesting moral dilemma, since it’s up to them to deal with it.

IIRC, weasels are a big threat to mice and 1-on-1 fights vs weasels would be a big possibility of the mice losing, right? If so, I’d avoid that.

If they go off looking for that kind of trouble and get themselves into it, they’ll have to get themselves out. They jumped that weasel 4-1 and it was an easy fight, but the next one won’t be so easy for sure.

So when stuff starts getting thick, I wonder what they’ll do. Will they let an innocent mouse take the fall for their actions? Will they lie about what they did? Will they continue to risk the honor of the Guard? Will they allow a war to start over this? If more mice die it’s on them.

Wow, Arkady’s really started something with his brute force approach!


Oh, JUICY is the word alright!

Are these new players? If so, then they may have just sat back and went with the flow. If not, then they deserve every beating they’re lined up for. Either way, as a GM, I’d be dancing a jig by now since the players themselves dug their own pit, and it’s a deep one, and it’ll be hell of a lot of fun to watch them struggle to get out!

IIRC, the GM may suggest giving a trait, but it would be better if the entire group agreed to it. It may be too early for the “award” though, let’s see if he keep on this attitude for a session or two, THEN hit him with it. Regardless, the system is beautiful!

I’m glad you’re willing to “go to war!” I look forward to reading it. As a new GM, I’m excited about it, but I am also scared since I have little idea how to run it. Good luck with that!

If I may suggest, why not have them come up against 2 or 3 weasels? Maybe in town, so they can’t get all ruthless, but maybe it would be better if they came upon them in the wild. Then let’s see if they’re still that bloodthirsty, knowing they might get their butts kicked. But with a previous victory over a weasel, they just might underestimate the opponent and try to push their luck. Oh, the possibilities!!

I think what I like about this situation is the potential for things to get really bad. What if the Patrol does keep this to themselves? What if they do let an innocent mouse take the fall? What if it does escalate to all out war? How about that? Tens or even hundreds of mice are gonna die because of your indiscretion - how do you like them apples?

Oh yeah, I’ll give them plenty of chances, choices they can make to avoid the worst, but in the end it will all be up to them.

I think I may have them run into some members of the weasel delegation in town and see how they react to that, especially if weasels play it smart and let the Patrol shoot themselves in the foot, so to speak.

Hmm, OK, how do I frame these events as a mission, since this one is not coming from Gwendolyn in the form of an actual assignment?

I’m thinking about it like this.

The obstacles in the GM’s Turn will be Mice and Animals (Weasels)

Mice Obstacle:

The Patrol is summoned to the town hall by Laird the Mayor. They see a group of weasels standing outside, and another group of armed town militia eying the visitors cautiously. The townsmice that aren’t keeping their heads down and minding their own business are keeping their distance and watching what’s going on.

Inside, Laird and Vidar the Magistrate welcome the Patrol. They explain that a delegation of weasels has arrived and demanded that the culprit responsible for the murder and desecration of one of their weasels be found and turned over to them for justice.

This is where I could go maybe two ways. One, Laird asks the Patrol to find the murderer and bring him to trial. Two, Laird and Vidar already have a suspect (Cory the town fool/drunk) and they want the Patrol to relate what they saw out on their mission but testify that they saw Cory in the area. That first one is more goal-like in that you could write a goal for it (even though they already know who did it). The second is tougher. It’s not so much an assignment to accomplish a goal as it is simply asking them to make a decision about whether to lie or not.

And as a twist on any Conflict involving the Mice Laird and Vidar learn that it was the Patrol, specifically Arkady, that killed the weasel (perhaps it was witnessed by another Mouse hunter in the area).

I don’t have this really fully formed and again, how do I frame this as a Mission they players can write goals for?

It would be interesting if it somehow turned out Godrick was the only mouse willing to actually help them. Like I said before, he’s got no interest in seeing the Guard fall or the weasels invade, he’s just a merchant making a buck like every other mouse (however odorous those bucks may be).

Well, if you make it a small band of weasels with a demand that the town turn over the murderer within a number of days or face dire consequences, you can create some space for a decision from the players. Once the weasels have left, the town leaders can hunt down the “guilty” Cory and bring him bound and bruised before the guard.

Then let the ranking guard mouse declare what their mission is. Of course, the others may argue with them…