Session Date: May 6, 2012
Players: Andrew (Robin), Patrick (Lieam), Sabrina (Sadie, Patrol Leader) and Isaac (Saxon)
Mission: Find the Grain Peddler
After giving a brief rundown of the basics and giving the players the chance to pick their pregen characters (I was expecting more players, which is how Andrew ended up playing Robin; otherwise I would have prodded him to play Kenzie), we started the mission as outlined in the book: I (Gwendolyn) sent the patrol to scout for the missing grain peddler, and requested Sadie to investigate the possibility that he may be a traitor.
Goals: (remained more or less the same, with just a few tweaks)
Sadie: I must find evidence that will determine if the grain peddler is a traitor or not.
Saxon: I will protect Sadie, Robin and Lieam on this mission.
Lieam: I will show Sadie and Saxon that I am a valuable member of the patrol.
Robin: I will prove to Sadie that I am a worthy tenderpaw on this mission.
The patrol jumped right into discussion mode, and tried to figure out the best starting point for the mission: “Should we start in Rootwallow or somewhere further down the road?” Sadie decided the patrol should start in Rootwallow to see if any citizens remember the peddler, who he was and if he left any impressions on people. I called for an Ob3 circles test, which was failed. The end result was that they gleaned no really useful information, except his name (I called him Hood). From there I tried moving the action along and called for the Scout test. Lieam rolled 5 successes vs. the peddler’s 2. Catching up to the peddler off the main trail, they decided to play it cool and not confront him directly. I played the peddler to be a bit nervous and somewhat ditzy. “Oh, I didn’t want the main road, this way was shorter… Oh, I don’t need an escort, I don’t want to be any trouble…” I called for an Ob4 Persuader test, which Sadie passed with help from Robin and Lieam. The peddler agreed reluctantly to an escort back to the main road and into Barkstone.
The Patrol, meanwhile, decided to split: Saxon and Lieam would pretend to head back toward Lockhaven, while Sadie and Robin would guide the peddler back to Barkstone. Once they were far enough along to Barkstone, Saxon and Lieam would investigate the path the peddler was taking to see where he would have wound up. I called for an Ob4 Pathfinder test. Saxon rolled 5 successes. Sheesh. I determined that the path was just a parallel path to the main path and would lead to the gates of Barkstone, where they arrived shortly after the peddler, Sadie and Robin did. They decided to remain stealthy and watch from a distance, all the while devising a cover story for if they were discovered: An emergency communique from Lockhaven, ordering Sadie’s patrol back immediately.
The peddler took his leave of Sadie and Robin, and immediately gave them the slip. Robin went off to his parents’ house to see if they knew anything about this peddler (they didn’t). Once the peddler was gone, Saxon and Lieam rejoined Sadie; I determined that they had been able to see where the peddler went. They led Sadie quickly to the still full grain cart parked outside the village cartographers’ shop. Sadie failed the Ob4 test to search the cart. Saxon, being impatient, went immediately into the shop only to hear the peddler following the cartographer upstairs. Attempting to sneak up behind them, he tripped on the first step. The peddler paused and turned around. “You!” he hissed. Saxon drew his sword (instinct), and the cartographer called for “The Axe! Guards!” Sadie ran to join Saxon, who was chasing the two traitors upstairs. Lieam stood guard at the shop entrance, looking for the town guard and remaining alert for both Robin to return and for cries for help from the patrol upstairs.
Team 1: Saxon and Sadie, Disposition: 9 Goal: Neutralize the threat by whatever means necessary.
Team 2: Four (4) Black Axe Guards (used the Soldier template, p. 200), Disposition: 7 Goal: Kill the guardsmice and hide the evidence.
Note: The peddler and the cartographer did not fight.
Action 1: The Axe guards Maneuver, attempting to surround the guardsmice and flush them into the room. Saxon leads with an Attack. Guards roll Nature 4 and get 2 successes. Saxon rolls Fighter 6 plus a helping die from Sadie, and gets 6 successes, including 3 sixes. Saxon spends a Fate point to reroll sixes; he gets 2 more successes. The Axe Guards’ dispo is reduced to zero. The fight is over, and the guardsmice win with no compromise.
“As the Axe Guards encircle the duo at the top of the stairs, Saxon leaps into the center of the fray and spins, dispatching the Axe Guards in a single, elegant maneuver. They fall backward like dominoes, as dead as can be. Saxon on one knee raises his head, sword outstretched, encrusted with blood. ‘Now, traitor,’ he growls. ‘Talk.’ He pokes the tip of his blade into the trembling peddler’s neck. The cartographer meanwhile thrusts the peddler’s map hurriedly toward Sadie in a gesture of shock and surrender. Lieam, who had no luck with the town guard, climbed up the outside of the building, hoping to crash into the room and surprise the villains. By the time he got there, he saw raw carnage and ended up simply tapping the window to be let in. It was actually quite funny. Robin returned about this time as well and decided to make a circles test during the players’ turn to try and find a reliable cleaner in the town who could be trusted to keep quiet.
Saxon guarded the cartographer and peddler while Lieam searched the shop, Robin arranged for cleanup, and Sadie watched the shop entrance. Lieam found a trapdoor in the office area behind the main room. It revealed a passageway leading down and to the north. This, coupled with the knowledge provided by the traitors that the Axe would be meeting the following night and marching on Lockhaven, ensured an exciting and challenging session would ensue next time.
Robin and Saxon were the only players to spend checks: Robin, to find a cleaner, and Saxon to buy a shield. He failed his Resources test and couldn’t find a shield that really interested him. The other checks were forgotten during the discussion about how the first game went.
All players achieved their goals.
Saxon and Lieam acted on their Beliefs.
Saxon was rewarded for acting on his Instinct.
Notes for next session: Better descriptions of locations! What does Barkstone LOOK like? How does it smell and sound? Of course, details can also derail the narrative. Be descriptive and rich, but avoid specificity.
Did I give the players too much leeway? Did they test too often?
Did I play the Axe Guards properly? Was Saxon’s single sweeping defeat of them just luck, or am I missing something?
What will the next session hold for the mice? Ideas?