Mission - Maintaining the Scent Border

Hello! So I felt like I got some really helpful responses to the first mission I posted that I thought I would write up a second, in case the group moved very quickly or decided they really wanted to keep going after their first mission. The players have all created characters and I think this mission’s conclusion should test their beliefs and push them in an interesting direction. Two of the players are currently playing brothers from Woodruff Grove who lost their homes in the Winter War of 1149. As such, their beliefs center around preventing similar tragedies from happening to others.

Areas I’m a bit puzzled on include how other Game Masters deal with players using Weather Watcher – does it prevent you from using a Weather-based Hazard (and just saving them for Twists) or do you plan alternatives if they chose not/fail to use Weather Watcher. When I was first writing the mission, snow played a major part in making things more difficult in finding where to place the scent, but I realized the group may have changed the weather to clear and warm rather than snow and that wouldn’t make much sense!

In addition, I am worried that the Chase Conflict may be too difficult as written. Are four (Garter) Snakes too much for a Patrol of four mice and two NPCs? Since it’s a Chase Conflict, they can all use Nature, so I know everymouse will be helpful, but does this seem like something a newly made Patrol could handle or am I putting them in way over their heads?

Season: Spring, 1153

Mission: Escort a Sciencemouse from Sprucetuck to the Scentborder southwest of Barkstone and help apply the scent to the area. This is a very important mission and is vital to the continued safety of the Territories – without the Scentborder large predators could invade the Territories and the death toll would be incalculable.

Initial Weather: Spring Snow. After a short burst of warm and clear weather, snow begins to fall again and blankets the Territories. So far it has been mostly flurries and brief bouts of cold wind, but the weather could take a turn for the worse.

Important NPCs:

Bertrand the Sciencemouse: Bertrand wears a robe of heavy spun cloth and a tiny pair of glasses on the tip of his nose. He is an experienced sciencemouse and has set up the scentborder numerous times with many members of the Guard. Betrand believes that the best way to help mousekind is with science.

the Laborer: Bertrand’s long-suffering apprentice, Micah dreams of becoming a sciencemouse in his own right, but for now has to content himself with carrying Betrand’s equipment and the heavy jugs of scent. Micah believes that sharing a burden makes it lighter for all.

Laurel of Whitepine (Guardmouse): A black-furred Guardmouse who wears a dusty red cloak. She comes from the village of Whitepine and was promoted from Tenderpaw during the Fall of 1152. She is a member of a seasoned Patrol that operates between Thistledown and Pebblebrook. Laurel believes that members of the Guard should never give up, no matter the circumstances.


Weather Hazard: After only a few short days towards the Scentborder, the snow begins falling in earnest. The sudden cold weather may harm a mouse’s health and everyone must make a Health (Ob 3) test or become Tired. It will make pathfinding very difficult, but the Patrol must press on in order to reach the Scentborder. Make a Pathfinder (Ob 5) test in order to locate the best places to apply the scent.
Failure: It takes far longer to locate the best places to dispense the scent than you would have thought it would and you wind up spending several days slogging through the snow. You must make a [i]Nature /i test in order to find food for the patrol or else everyone gains the Hungry condition as you make do with what little food can be scrounged up from the snow!

b Animal Hazard[/b]: The warm weather has left numerous signs of spring beginning to poke up through the last melting remains of the snow cover. The mice are crossing over a precarious log laid across a mud-flat when they begin to hear the dull crunch of rotted wood falling apart. The log shifts suddenly and a terrible hissing emerges from the mouldering inside of the log as black and yellow garter snakes begin pouring out! Fighting this many snakes would be suicide – you’re going to have to run! While most of the snakes seem to be more confused than anything else, four follow the mice and instigate a Chase Conflict!
Garter Snake Goals: Fill my belly with a delicious mouse!
Compromises: Compromises may involve conditions such as Angry, Tired or Injured, a jar of the scent being broken, losing a valuable piece of equipment, the teams becoming split up or one or more of the group being eaten by the snakes.

Mouse Hazard: The patrol has spent several days under Bertrand the Sciencemouse’s direction, pouring scent in varying amounts in numerous different locations. After three days of this (and a steady stream of complaints from Micah), the Patrol notices movement in the distance! Coming from the Northwest is a lone mouse in a dusty red cloak that could only be a member of the Guard – and there is a trail of spattered blood behind them! Mouse Guard-wise or Guardmouse-wise (Ob 2) will reveal the wounded mouse as Laurel of Whitepine and provide the information on her in the Important NPC section. A Healer (Ob 4) test can save her from her injuries. If successful, Laurel survives but is very badly hurt. She informs the Patrol that Pebblebrook is under attack by a pair of Coyotes, and the town desperately needs the Guard. Her Patrol was attacked while protecting a group of harvesters planting seeds, and her Patrol Leader told her to run for Sprucetuck to get help. She was bitten but managed to get away, but couldn’t make it much further.
Failure: Laurel slips in and out of consciousness, and states that she is cold. She looks bleary eyed and tries to grab somemouse’s hand, and tells him/her “Pebblebrook – p-predators… town is… town is in… danger…” before she succumbs to her injuries. Everyone must make a Will (Ob 3) test or become Angry.

Resolution: The Patrol is faced with a difficult decision – their work with the Scentborder is only half-way done, and is vital to the continued safety of the Territories. However if they delay, the mice they care about in Pebblebrook may not live through the time it takes to finish the job! Bertrand the Sciencemouse assures the Patrol he and Micah can handle things, but he is an oldfur and certainly incapable of dealing with the dangerous predators found along the Scentborder. Will the Patrol abandon their mission or leave a settlement full of mice they care about in peril?

Any thoughts from other GMs would be greatly appreciated!

Looks like a good setup, but if they fail the Ob5 Pathfinder test, I’d just give them the Hungry condition and move on rather than asking for a Nature test. Actually, that’s true with slot of the failure results. They get what they want with the condition, rather than they get another roll to avoid the condition.

Ah! I thought that worked a bit like the weather inflicting conditions, but that makes more sense! Thank you!

I really like the Will test to avoid being Angry after discovering who the lone staggering Guardmouse is. However, I would really twist the… twist.

I might make the staggering Guardmouse a friend or an enemy (somemouse one of the players knows, not necessarily a Guardmember- really try to tug at BIGs here…); give them some deep investment in this mouse instead of ‘just another Guardmouse’. Moreover, on a failed roll, I might not allow the staggering mouse to deliver any information, just have the mouse pass out when she sees the players’ patrol. That way, they will need to investigate to discover the problem (not to mention the choice between duty and assisting a friend or, more dramatically, an enemy…).

And… a PAIR of Coyotes!!!

You, my friend, are not nice. I like it…

Interestingly, I think that by leaving their friends and enemies out of it, it actually makes it a bigger pull to abandon their duty. Currently two out of three players have family and friends in Pebblebrook and the other player has an enemy there. By not making it one of these mice, it means they are all automatically in danger unless the players choose to do something. I feel like if I’d made it one of their contacts, it would have let that player rest a bit more safely, been a little too cliche and also have taken a bit of the emotional edge out of the story by having one of their characters potentially be killed off before the Patrol ever interacts with him or her. Plus I think that by leaving a member of the Guard behind (if she lives) it might help them feel at least a tiny bit better about going to pursue things at Pebblebrook.

Moreover, on a failed roll, I might not allow the staggering mouse to deliver any information, just have the mouse pass out when she sees the players’ patrol. That way, they will need to investigate to discover the problem (not to mention the choice between duty and assisting a friend or, more dramatically, an enemy…).

I like the idea of having it be someone they know, but I really don’t wanna kill someone off before the group really gets to interact with them. Also, having the mouse killed off before even delivering a message means the group won’t know exactly where they need to be or how far they might have to go to get there. I think this will make them a little more hesitant to leave the current mission, whereas directly threatening a place they are all invested in should really hammer 'em.

And… a PAIR of Coyotes!!!

You, my friend, are not nice. I like it…

A mated pair of coyotes, tending their young. I liked the idea of a Spring mission being about stopping hungry predators, and then dealing with the quandary over what to do concerning their offspring. In Fall 1152, Saxon and Kenzie show no hesitation about crushing snake eggs, but how would the group feel about potentially killing off a defenseless coyote pup? What about collapsing a coyote’s den? I think it could raise some interesting questions and make the group really dig into their Beliefs. Here’s hopin’ it’ll turn out well!

Yes, the test reads too much like a healing fail, rather than a twist. I’d make the twist that they have to split the party if they want to both heal Laurel and rescue the town. Or they can abandon one of them of course.