Well, we played a game today and I thought I would post it in case anyone was able to tell me what I did wrong, could have been done better or what I did right :). I had a loose idea in my head, because it was one of the player’s birthdays and somehow I wanted to work a birthday into the game, just for fun. I chose Elmoss, the birthday girl’s hometown. For the first time, I really tried to include characters from my players’ pasts, especially the character from Elmoss. Also, I really tried to take the BIG’s into consideration when planning a mission. Up till now, our missions just mostly focus on the mission. I’ve used other NPC’s but not usually related. And I’ve left playing the BIG’s up to the player.
The mission: Forsythe (age 48/a salty old sailor), Acantha (age 19/Guards’ Honor) and Moiara (age 18/hot-headed and from Elmoss) were hastily assigned a mission without much information. Go to Elmoss and assist their Healer, Lucille, with something she needs assistance with.
First, Forsythe attempted Weather Watcher on this Spring day. He failed. As far as he can tell, nothing is out of the ordinary. Then, Moiara wanted to attempt it. Since it was beginner’s luck, she went ahead and used her trait alert against herself since she was going to lose anyway. She said that because she was alert she was distracted by something in the bushes. Her instinct is to attack first and ask questions later. On her own, she said that she attacked the bushes and in a one roll versus test, she killed the cricket. (Which we found ironic since they can predict weather and it was not really a threat.) I had intended to invoke this instinct of hers in another way later, but since she did it on her own, I let it go.
QUESTION 1: Beginner’s Luck can never really succeed, can it? Most likely you are rolling a 2 or 3 and most issues are 2 or 3 or better.
QUESTION 2: If you have Weather Watcher 4 (or any skill) and the Obstacle is 6 (in this case because it is spring), how could you even hope to succeed?
QUESTION 3: Based on the factoring lists, you could have an obstacle with a rating of 7 or 8 or 9 etc. How could one hope to win against that?
The first simple obstacle was debris in the path to Elmoss. They could either use pathfinder to go around or health to clear it. Forsythe, tired from practicing all winter in Lockhaven, Let Acantha (with Moiara’s help) move the debris. They succeeded.
When they arrived in Elmoss, they sought out the Healer (using Moiara’s cirlces with a +1D for hometown advantage) who informed them that last winter they lost a lot of children to a terrible disease. There was a remedy that is hard to come by and a trader from Port Sumac by the name of Vidar is supposed to be bringing it to her. However, he is reputed to be an unsavory character and given the importance of this remedy, she had requested help in being sure the transaction went smoothly. (Vidar is Forsythe’s enemy. Forsythe’s player then decided that Vidar is adept at cheating people out of things legally and had done so repeatedly to Forsythe’s family in the past.) They said of course. Acantha chose to go to the inn to look for him. Forsythe chose to go to the Town Hall to see if there were any records of Vidar and Moiara went to see her family.
Moiara discovered upon opening her door at home, via a note in a chair, that someone had kidnapped her parents and she must give them the medicine by dusk the next day for their return. (I chose this because Acantha’s belief is that the greater good outweighs the needs of the few and I expected that she would disagree with following the kidnapper’s plan.)
My second obstacle was going to be a complex one of Scout and Circles (I hadn’t worked out details yet) in order to find the parents. But, I ended up going with what was intended to maybe somehow be a twist. Moiara, being hot-headed and needing to prove herself, keeps the kidnapping a secret. Without permission, she confronts Vidar at the Tavern. He is well-prepared and has a body guard. It turns out to be just a discussion between the two of them when Forsythe comes over and insults Vidar. They part ways tensely.
I had to wait through several rounds of roleplaying choices about the evening before Forsythe finally ventured outside alone. Then I sprung my obstacle on him. Vidar had been lying in wait for a sword fight with Forsythe. It worked out very well since all along the player had been acting out Forsythe as being slow and tired. This conflict was to challenge Forsythe’s belief that if you lose a fight, you didn’t try hard enough. I wanted him to lose. Fortunately, the dice cooperated (I used a +3s from the Enmity Clause) and I got to blame it on Forsythe being tired. However, we were running short on time so I made it a simple versus test. Vidar knocked Forsythe to the ground and cut a “V” lightly in his back before leaving disgusted. Forsythe incurred angry (at himself for losing). I guess maybe he should not have been wounded AND angry?
Meanwhile, the plan evolved to taking a fake bottle of medicine to the kidnapper, so I never ended up challenging Acantha’s belief. They meet a kidnapper by the old oak tree (Forsythe and Acantha arrived early and climbed the tree for an ambush.) But the kidnapper does not have the parents with him. He says they are at their home but will be killed if he doesn’t walk away safely with the remedy. He leaves and they rush home to find that the house is full of people shouting HAPPY Birthday to Moiara.
This was loosely thrown together to provide an excuse to hand the actual player a birthday present. What I narrated was that while the medicine exchange between Lucille and the dubious Vidar was real, the kidnapping plot was not. When the parents (friends of Lucille) saw that Moiara was in town and Lucille explained why, they concocted a mystery for her to wish her happy birthday. Acantha pointed out that she almost killed the kidnapper so it was probably not a well laid plan.
That’s about it. In the Player’s Turn Acantha tested to practice “Instructor” by teaching Forsythe some things about politics. Forsythe sent a letter to Lockhaven to be certain his cloak was mended (he didn’t usually wear one) but now with a V on his back, he would want to be covering it up.
Moiara’s goal had been to prove her worth to the older and more experienced Guardsmice. It just so happens that Forsythe has a habit of never remembering someone’s name correctly unless he has respect for them. So, he kept calling her Moriarty throughout the mission, until at one point she apologized for having confronted Vidar on her own and keeping the kidnapping a secret. Suddenly Forsythe began calling her by her name so in the end, we decided she had met her goal :).