I’m so excited to post a mission I just ran and hopefully get feedback. It was a mission posted here on the website and then revamped by Kendesign, titled “A Patrol Too Far.” I changed only a few things, but I made notes of lots of questions as we went along. I’d like to post how it played out for us and get answers and feedback, if anyone is game :).
We had three players: Forsythe (age 47, Patrol Leader); Acantha (age 19, Guard mouse) and Kiara (age 19, Guard mouse). Forsythe is a grizzled old fellow. Acantha is Guard’s honor all the way. And Kiara was raised in Wolfpointe with a hard life and she is trying to be a better person. I changed the season from Autumn to early winter as I wanted to work in New Year’s Eve somehow at the end. But, I figured late Autumn and early winter were probably fairly similar. The mission was to go find a patrol that had been sent to Sprucetuck to retrieve a Scientist mouse and his Healer wife who were coming to live in Lockhaven and train new recruits in the spring. But, they had not arrived. Gwendolyn warned the new patrol, that the initial patrol was given to infighting for authority and that might have caused problems along the way.
Forsythe delivered the Prologue and relieved a condition. Kiara explained where she’d been. (She was new. Forsythe and Acantha regularly play together.) She tested Weather Watcher. Question 1: She had water-wise. They thought that it should help with weather watcher as water could be snow or rain. Would it help?
They were gearing up for the winter mission. I said that since they were in Lockhaven, they probably already had a personal set of snow shoes and warm clothes that they would have in their quarters. Forsythe has a peg-leg and he wanted to get a sled and poles that might make it easier for him to get around on deep snow as a snow shoe wouldn’t work so well for his peg. We had him roll Resources OB.3 for a used, basic sled. Q2: Would that be right? We also decided that Kiara was young and new and did not already own snow shoes, so she rolled resources for some, OB 2. Q3: Does that sound right? Q4: When you roll resources, are they depleted when you succeed and “spend money”? Are they depleted if you fail? One person thought to take along “a lot of food” (which came in handy later). I said OB2 Resources since they were in Lockhaven and it was a lot of food, but for a mission. Forsythe is very furry and had a cloak so he didn’t feel he needed extra clothing? Acantha had a padded shirt under mail and didn’t feel she needed any? Kiara was a weaver by trade so we decided she probably didn’t need to go get more clothing. Later she wanted to weave some clothing or blankets for sick mice, but we decided that would take to long, and she wouldn’t have enough supplies with her to weave that much fabric.
First Obstacle was Complex - Wilderness:
1st test - Survivalist VS. Winter 7 We wondered about this. Based on the distance from Lockhaven to Sprucetuck (they didn’t know where along the route they might find the mice), the journey could take up to 3 days. So, it seemed to me, based on reading other things, that this roll of Survivalist was a general roll to know how well they would survive over the length of this journey, be it one day or three. That bothered the player rolling. She didn’t see how this roll could determine the next day or two. How was she supposed to roleplay the survival skill over the course of 3 days? She passed and I just kind of wanted to say, you do well at x, y and z and have what you need. But it really bothered her and I kind of played it out for her. Q5: What did this roll of survivalist really indicate and how would she roleplay it?
2nd test for the complex wilderness obstacle was Scout Ob 7 (as per the mission write up) Q6: Can you help your own Scout skill with your own Pathfinder skill? I was under the impression that you could use a wise to help a skill or a skill to help a wise, but not a skill to help a skill. They succeeded in both rolls and as per the mission write up, they should not have encountered the mice twist. But it looked like so much fun, I just included it as another obstacle (argument conflict)…
Argument Conflict: They found the patrol. It was 40 year old Thom and 15 year old Sloan. Thom was obviously in charge and far outranked Sloan, however Sloan just happened to be gifted in Pathfinder and Weather Watcher and he felt strongly that Thom should listen to him and let him get them to Lockhaven, should have listened to him already. Instead, Thom had led them through icy water, the Scientist and Healer were possibly sick, and they were in a makeshift ice cave that was not doing much good. In addition to finding the patrol arguing, Forsythe’s patrol found the two guests, bound. It was only because Thom and Sloan knew how important the guests were to Gwendolyn and the couple had considered at one point trying to get themselves to Lockhaven, so Thom and Sloan had bound them to keep them safely with the patrol (about the only thing Thom and Sloan had agreed upon). My new patrol were horrified that that had been done.
We played this out, but it was awkward (though fun) and I’m not sure we did it right. Thom and Sloan (GM characters) were arguing over who should lead. I told the guard they could take either side and presented both sides as making sense. Unexpectedly, Forsythe felt Thom had seniority and should be leading Sloan, however, given that Thom had tied up the guests and that they were in a pickle, it was obvious that Thom was not making good choices and Forsythe should actually lead (and he had 7 years seniority over Thom to boot.) This added a third party to the conflict. Acantha lives by her Guard’s Honor trait and believes strongly in the chain of command, so she backed Forsythe on principle, and because he was her leader. Kiara felt sorry for the Tenderpaw Sloan as her belief was to give everyone a chance, but her goal was to befriend the new mice. Taking either side would make an enemy of one so she elected to stay out of the conflict and tend to the possibly ill guests. This was a very difficult decision and roleplayed very well. I had not planned to challenge anyone’s BIG’s as I was focused on trying to get the mechanics right, but this turned out to be great!
Q7: Can you use a trait to hinder yourself and at the same time use a different trait for an advantage?
So, we had 3 different teams. It wasn’t as clear as 2 teams attacking one snake. All 3 wanted leadership. The disposition roll (as per the chart) gave Thom a disposition of 7 and Sloan a disposition of 2. It was clear that the Tenderpaw Sloan was not going to win, which is probably appropriate. I wasn’t sure who to play against whom until Forsythe pointed out that he wasn’t even arguing with Sloan. He didn’t consider Sloan an option. So, Thom and Sloan argued their first actions (attack vs. attack) and Sloan was out. He made his point and then gave up. Then I had Thom argue his first action with Forsythe (also attack vs. attack). Q8: Is that the way I should have done it? Q9: If they had all 3 been viable leaders, would they all have played their first actions against each of the others? 3 different rolls of first move vs. first move?
Thom and Forsythe continued to argue until they both went to 0 disposition in the same roll. That means they both win, right? And that is supposed to be dangerous? Hmmm. They can’t both lead. What to do? I decided the way that I would decide the outcome (and this was probably wrong) was to present the 3 options available to the group and have a simple versus test between Forsythe and Thom as to what to do. A simple test (send someone to the nearest settlement for help); complex test (hunker down); or Journey conflict (try to get all the way to Lockhaven) Q9: How else might I have handled this?
I rolled an OB3 Health test to see how sick the 2 guest mice were so they could have a little extra information about what course of action might be best. The husband was fine, just sniffles; the wife had a fever and wet shoes. Acantha gave her her dry shoes. We decided given that Kiara had specifically mentioned getting a lot of food before they left, that they had enough food for 2 or 3 days and since Acantha had passed her survivalist test, they had enough wood for a day. But Acantha and Forsythe felt going to the nearest settlement for help was best. Thom wanted to go all the way to Lockhaven to complete his mission and look good. Forsythe rolled his will of 5, plus one help from his deceiver, plus one help for being character-wise, plus one help from Kiara’s persuader. Thom lost. Since Thom was a GM character, I didn’t feel I needed to give him success with condition or twist.
Forsythe sent Acantha and Kiara to Ivydale for help. Acantha was concerned that Forsythe’s temper would get the better of him with Thom, but this seemed the best arrangement. The players actually spent a lot of time figuring out who should go and who should be left with whom. Acantha had to ask for her dry shoes back from the lady healer. Acantha needed an OB6 Pathfinder to get to Ivydale. She lost. So, I had her twist her ankle on the way in the city (injured) and her helper Kiara, got a deep cough (sick). But they made it and there were plenty of people to form a search party and bring the rest in. That was the end of the GM’s turn.
In the Player’s turn, Forsythe wanted an earring. He has wanted one for awhile. But I thought I remembered that Ivydale was a harvesting town and I thought jewelry might be hard to find. He only wanted something simple though. I set a Resources OB3 and he rolled a 6. I figured that was such a huge success that he found a great deal and actually got 2 earrings! He also wanted to practice Fighter since he was still not happy about losing to his enemy, Vidar, in our last game. So, Acantha, sparred with him and gave him some pointers. Acantha only had one check so she relieved her Injured ankle. Kiara relieved her sick. Her goal was to befriend the new mice and I didn’t think that would require a roll. She had already been nice to the Tenderpaw Sloan and so she just acted that out, but spent her check to do it. Q10: Is it okay that she didn’t roll? And lastly she tested Pathfinder. I asked her what she wanted to attempt. She was using Beginner’s Luck, so she wanted to try something small. I decided for an OB 2 she could talk to someone about pathfinding, rather than actually go out into the winter and try it. But, then I thought, how would she find someone who was good at pathfinding in a town she didn’t know? Q11: Did she need to roll circles to find someone? Once she found them would it be another check to actually attempt the test? And then I realized that the Tenderpaw Sloan actually had a 3 or 4 in Pathfinder and she had already made friends with him, so they walked around town and he gave her pointers.
Well, that’s it. At the last minute I remembered I had wanted to do something about New Year’s so I just said that some significant town’s people brought them special food and drink because they had missed the new year’s celebration. It was lame. But the game was good :).
I hear a massive amount of fireworks outside. Happy New Year Mouseguardians