So my first session is complete things went okay. There were definitely some rule questions that we ran into some issues with, but they’ve been addressed by the awesome Daniel H. already.
First a brief introduction to our Patrol:
Logan is an oldfur who had semi-retired from the Guard in the past after having become fed up with the politics and hassle of the “civilized” mouse world. He spent some time living in the wilderness but decided to rejoin the guard after the attempted uprising by Midnight. With the guard being vulnerable he feels that they could use his experience and skills once again.
Rank: Patrol Leader
Belief: I would rather face a threat in the wilderness than a stranger in the cities.
Instinct: When in doubt, listen to my surroundings
Jon is a rough around the edges smith from Copperwood who joined the guard to try to make a name for himself and prove that he can be a hero.
Rank: Guard Mouse
Belief: I will protect all innocent mice.
Instinct: Assess the threat to determine the situation
Nina is a young tenderpaw from sprucetuck who is academic and out of her element in any sort of physical altercation. She joined the Guard to see more of the territories and learn from the experience
Belief: I will pursue knowledge above all else
Instinct: When a threat arises, retreat and monitor the outcome.
The mission started with a tired Gwendolyn explaining that the merchant Lavertus had come to Lockhaven bearing gifts of fine silk cloaks, and while the gifts were appreciated, the portly mouse was eating through their remaining stores from winter rapidly, as well as becoming a bit too demanding of hospitality. Gwendolyn finally managed to convince Lavertus that he should be on his way with the rest of his goods, and that she would provide a guard escort. Gwendolyn assigned Logan this mission as he has just returned to the guard and has Nina to guide. She also requested a trusted mouse, Jon, to join as well to help acclimate Logan back into the guard.
Goals: Logan - Ensure that I do not fall victim to any sort of deception.
Jon - Ensure that no harm comes to the merchant that I am escorting
Nina - Follow my patrol leaders order without question
As they set out the merchant was amicable to the guard, trying to engage them in conversation. Logan had little patience for his endless prattle, but Jon was a bit more gregarious towards him, until the Merchant attempted to garner favour with Jon by promising to ensure he receives a “merchant’s welcome” in Copperwood, which is Jon’s hometown. Jon took exception to the fact that Lavertus thought he could provide a better experience than someone who grew up there. Throughout the conversation Lavertus tried to guide the patrol to a subtle short cut that he claimed would get them there a lot quicker. None of the patrol were biting, as Jon was already put off by the merchant, Logan didn’t want the added risk of going off the trail and Nina, while curious about taking the road less travelled deferred to her patrol leader.
Finally Lavertus put his foot down and insisted that as an honored guest of Gwendolyn, it was his right to dictate the path as they were mere “escorts assigned to him”. Cue the conflict versus Lavertus.
The players rolled well in the disposition so they were confident, and the roleplaying was pretty good. Some of the stuff they used to assist may have been a stretch, but they were engaged and trying their best to be creative so I was a bit generous with the assistance dice. Ultimately they wore the merchant down by pointing out the numerous threats off the beaten path, and insisting that since they were more experience with the wilderness, they should be heeded.
This is where I made one key mistake. In implementing a compromise, I decided that they would take the main road until they got closer to Copperwood, then look for a shortcut. I realize this was bad for two reasons. One, the players won the conflict with their goal to stay on the road, so this compromised their victory, not Lavertus’ loss. The second reason was it didn’t logistically make sense (since the road is straight after the halfway point), although Lavertus had his own reason to want off the road. In retrospect, having the mice become tired or thirsty from arguing so long probably would have made more sense for the compromise.
So they set back out on the path to Copperwood, with Lavertus being grumpy and less talkative with them. I had them make a Pathfinder check at this point (OB 4, since they were taking a partial shortcut. Again, should have been 3 with no compromise). Logan instructed Nina to do the Pathinding test as part of her learning more about her guard duties (which was great) which she failed, getting them hopelessly lost. They stumbled into a clearing and decided it was a good time to take a break and regain their bearings. As they consulted each other for a plan of action, an angry squirrel jumped out; as it was afraid they were trying to steal his food.
The party initially wanted to just run from the squirrel, which I suppose I should have allowed, and since the Squirrel just wanted them gone, it wouldn’t even have been a chase conflict. I decided that since this was supposed to be an animal twist, running didn’t really have the same oomph that I wanted, so I had Lavertus dive into a nearby hidey hole and refuse to come out until the Squirrel was gone. Jon was ready to fight the squirrel but Logan wanted to avoid the entire situation. He was upset with Lavertus as is, and was ready to leave him behind until his patrol mates convinced him otherwise (just through RP, no rolls). Logan wanted to try to convince Lavertus to flee with them before fighting so I allowed a persuader vs. will test, which he failed. At that point they jumped into a fight with the squirrel. The squirrel’s goal was to drive the mice off, the party’s goal was to provide enough of a window of escape for Lavertus to get out of the damned hole.
Nina is not a combatant so she fled to the edge of the clearing, scurried up a tree and began taking notes on the battle while Logan and Jon fought the squirrel. Jon hefted his blacksmiths hammer (which I just treated as an Axe for simplicity sakes) and walloped the squirrel pretty quickly. They drove it off long enough to gather Lavertus and finish their travel to Copperwood; though they were angry at the Merchant for all the trouble he caused (minor compromise from the squirrel conflict).
Once in Copperwood the merchant bid them a curt adieu and took his leave. Cue the players turn. Jon had earned one extra check in the argument with Lavertus (he used his independence trait to push the other mice out of the argument and handle it himself) so he started. He spent some time visiting friends and family to try to erase the anger he felt towards Lavertus. Success!
Logan was still too angry at Lavertus, as he represented everything he hates about city mice, so he decided to spend some time scouting the area, looking for more squirrels. (Failed the scout check, but I didn’t have any negative consequences. What should I have done on this, during the players turn?)
Nina wasn’t angry about the squirrel incident as it was a learning experience for her (didn’t participate in the conflict) and so she decided to try to find an apothecary in town who might be able to teach her more about the local flora and fauna (circles check, failed. Also no consequences. Thoughts?)
Jon spent his second check by joining Logan in his scouting, now that his spirits were raised. (Same as the other two, fail, no consequence).
After the players had spent their checks, we finished the session by having the angry group of Shaleburrow mice approach and accuse the patrol of aiding the shady merchant escape shaleburrow justice, and demand that they do something to make up for it.
This is where things could get potentially dicey. Logan’s player already told me OOC that he doesn’t like city mice, and this attitude is directly why. His logic is that the shaleburrow mice should deal it with it their selves, and leave the guard out of it. In character, it fits, but from my perspective, with the Guard already suffering losses from the rebellion in 1152, they need to re-enforce their reputation amongst the territories, not jeopardize it more. I think what I want to do is have the Shaleburrow mice enlist the town guard from Copperwood to arrest the guard, and then make next sessions Mission to convince the Copperwood council to let them go. I figure a negotiation conflict (basically a trial) to start and then maybe a storm hits Copperwood, so a complex test to try to assist the town. This gives them a bad start but a chance to redeem themselves in the eyes of the town. It also gives the merchant some time to get ahead of them, so they can pursue him as mission 3?