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11.04.2012

[Session 6] Escape to Frostic!


Our first game since the departure of Jiyambi (and her Tenderpaw Brand).  It has been two months, so while it was only a single missed game, it has been a really long time between sessions.  I brushed up on the rules before we met and had decided early on that I would try to bring in at least one full Conflict! during today's session to make sure we are not losing our edge. Walter's Player gave the Prologue, and opted to remove a Tax on Walter's Nature.  

We picked up with the Patrol consulting their maps as they planned for the journey to Frostic - a day and a half journey overland, or about half a day by boat - it was settled that they would hire the Rustleaf boat to take them there.  However, they had forgotten that the Snapping Turtle destroyed Rustleaf's only boat - and it would be weeks before they could build a new one.  Alas - the Patrol gathers up their provisions and heads out.

Frostic Research Station is the farthest point north within the Territories.  Sciencemice and student sciencemice from Elmoss and Sprucetuck travel there every Spring to finish their graduate work, and to do research.  Frostic is close to where the salt water from the Great Sea mixes with the fresh water of the Territories, and found there are numerous minerals, fauna and flora not found anywhere else.  The Guard escorts the Sciencemice to and from and one Guard normally remains behind with them to act as security against any problems that might befall them.  Normally mid-Summer the Guard sends a Patrol with the mail and the circumstances can be evaluated then, to see how they should handle the remaining time.  And by early Autumn, the Guard arrives again to escort everyone back to their respective cities.  This year, it is Finn's Patrol that is bringing the mail.

GM Turn

Weather Watcher
Millicent checks the weather, and as usual does not allow anyone to accompany her while she does so.  It seems this whole year she has miscalculated the weather each time and is very concerned that others may judge her perceived lack of ability.  The test is Millicent's Weather Watcher skill versus the Season (p.253) (beginning of Summer).  It is a versus test so the Ob is 0 and both simply count successes.  Summer gets 3 successes and Millicent scores zero successes.  Millicent predicts it will be nice weather - and while it is warm, it slowly becomes increasing humid as well, uncomfortably so.

Goals
Unfortunately, I completely forgot about goals!  We've gotten into the groove of goals being set once the actual session Obstacle presents itself, which may or may not be immediate - and since this Obstacle was not immediate, it totally slipped my mind.

Mission
The first part of the journey is through grasslands, with minimal tree cover.  There are bushes here and there and wildflowers as well, but the distance between trees is worrisome to Finn.  They will have to be especially careful as they move to be mindful of both birds above and ground predators below.  I call for a Hunter or Scout test, and Millicent rolls against an Ob3 Scout test.  Finn assists with his Hunter, but the test is failed.  I ask them to describe their actions.  While moving through the grasslands, each mouse of the Patrol keeps a watchful eye out at first; but the further along they get, the more they allow the scenery and surroundings to distract them.  None notice the silent hunter above gliding upon the warm thermals...

I call for everyone to roll their Nature and just count successes, as I need a target for the Hawk.  Eventually, Millicent is the mouse who scores the fewest successes.  

A bumblebee buzzes lazily along among the wildflowers and catches Millicent's attention.  She's been dealing with a wasp for so long now, sh forgets what it is like to deal with bees - and holds out her arm to attract the bee.  For a moment, every member of the Patrol glances her way: and within the blink of an eye there is screech, a blur of motion, and only empty space where once stood Millicent!  All eyes turn to see her struggling within the clutches of a hawk!

We go into full Conflict! mode - and the Patrol and the Hawk sets their goals.  The Hawk wants to get to a nearby tree branch (to make sure another predator is not lurking to steal hr prey, and then to have a meal); the Patrol has a goal to free Millicent.  The Patrol divides into two teams.

Millicent attempts a Maneuver in which to disadvantage the hawk at the least, or wriggle free at most.  Finn does an Attack, and hurls his sword at the slowly climbing hawk.  The hawk attempta a Feint, which is negated by Finn's Attack.  Millicent rolls 6 successes and takes away the hawk's +2D to any Maneuver action.  Finn removes 5 from the hawk's disposition of 9.

The hawk has a difficult time keeping its momentum with Millicent's frantic struggling, and its wing-flapping becomes erratic; and suddenly, a tiny sword thunks into its side!  The hawk reals from that and Millicent knows her team mates are frantically trying to save her.

Next action, both Millicent and Walter go for the attack.  The hawk attempts to maneuver, but has a -1D due to the effects of the prior action.  Both Walter (who used his sling to hurl a stone at the hawk) and Millicent (who stabs the hawk's talon with her tiny knife) succeed in depleting the hawk's disposition to zero.  A total victory with no Disposition loss!

The hawk drops the struggling mouse repeatedly stabbing its foot, and retreats higher and away, content to seek out less aggressive prey!  Millicent tumbles through the air, and lands upon a patch of wildflowers which break her fall (Total Victory, no Compromise, I allow her to come out of it unscathed).  Finn and Walter rush to her side and look her all over for injury.  Finn keeps watch of the sky for more predators, though now he is swordless - and the Patrol decides to take shelter and rest for a bit.

I should have ended the GM turn here and allowed a Player turn, but unfortunately, I was not in 100% Mouse Guard mode, so we simply continued on.

Eventually, the Patrol has settles their nerves and decides to continue onward. 

Another day's travel passes uneventfully and the Patrol arrives in the vicinity of Frostic.  They all notice that the area seems recently flooded, and soon they reach a point on the trail in which they cannot go any further without swimming or via raft of some kind.  The Patrol considers their next option - do they take time to construct a raft?  Or should they try brachiating through the trees?  Walter tests Ob2 Science and postulates that if they gather some tree sap, they can carry it with them and later their hands and feet with it, which would help as they climb from tree to tree.  Also, Finn uses his rope to tie them all together in case one should fall, the other two might keep them safe.

I have each of the Mice test their Climbing against Ob0 with the sap and rope counting at gear.  I was only looking for successes.  All succeeded, and so they all make it to the dry land on the other side.  Now, just a short climb up a hill to the Frostic Research Station.

Frostic Research Station is a stone building about two Fargles* off the ground, raised up on four stone pylons.  The Patrol notices that the elevator is dangling about halfway down and one of the four chains that support it has snapped.  No one responds to the ringing of the bell.  Suspicious they begin to consider how they might scale up the pylons and up to the hatchway above.

Using the rope and sap, the Patrol climbs up (after successfully making an Ob2 Climbing test) and enters the station proper.  Within, the station is in shambles - papers tossed about, footlockers and boxes opened and their contents strewn about.  The food stores look like the lock was hacked open via an axe and emptied of everything within.  They also notice that the mattresses are all gone, leaving behind empty bed frames.  The Patrol searches every inch of the station, looking for anyone.

Finding no one, they gather and compare notes:  It has been recently abandoned.  There is a stain on the floor that looks like it may be blood, but oddly someone attempted to clean it.  There are two holes in the wooden wall.  The weapons that the Guard keeps in a small locker (sword, bow & arrows) are still there.  Finn helps himself to the sword and begins sharpening it while the Patrol works through the mystery.

Millicent climbs up to the weather observatory above and finds it vacant and unmolested.  Walter notices that it appears that a small frog was being dissected at one point, but it was torn from its pins and now is nowhere to be found.  And back to the cleaned up stain - so strange!  Walter attempts to figure out what the stain is by using Science, and passes an Ob2 test.  It is indeed blood, but who would stop to try and clean it?  And for what purpose?

Finn keeps looking at the two holes in the wall and finally takes an arrow from the quarrel, and inserts one into the hole.  It slides in easily - not quite large enough to have made the hole, but now Finn suspects arrows are what made them.  He wonders if perhaps it isn't weasels, or ferrets (as any other relatives of weasels are too large to fit into the station).  For a second they consider perhaps rats, but rats are very rare in the Territories.

The Patrol wants to take a quick search about the area before they retire for the evening and decide what to do in the morning.  It is dusk, so they only have an hour or two at most.  After repairing the elevator, they head down.  Millicent attaches the bell to the elevator rope, so that if someone uses it while they are out searching, there is a good chance they will hear it.

They search to no avail and finally are ready to give up when they notice a shock of white through the branches not too far away.  Advancing slowly, they see one of the sciencemice hogtied and hanging from a sappling branch in a small clearing!  He is wide-eyed terrified and gagged.  Finn, Walter, and Millicent all look at one another and each of them mouth "Trap" at the same time to one another.

At this point, the Patrol sets out to watch for an ambush and try to rescue the sciencemouse.  I call for an Ob3 Hunter test for them to be stealthy and avoid detection.  Millicent failed, and Walter and Finn both tied and broke the tie in the Weasels' favor, earning themselves 2 checks each.  So, while the Patrol intended to be stealthy and silent, they spend their time shushing one another and give their presence away.

At that moment, the trap is sprung!  Out jump four weasels with axe, swords and spears, while two more remain in the bushes armed with bows and arrows!  The Patrol is surrounded!

Again, we enter full Conflict! and the Players are old hands at it now.   There are three Weasel teams (the leader and a soldier is one team, two soldiers are a second, and the bow armed are the third).  Their goal is to capture the mice.  The Patrol takes as its goal to rescue the sciencemouse.

The conflict is tense and vicious - the Player's feel totally outmatches.  And as well they should!  It runs two full sets of three Actions and eventually both the Weasels and the Patrol are taken to zero Disposition at the same time.  Both goals are accomplished!  How we decide to end the session is like this:

The weasels continue to block and surround the Patrol, as they valiantly try to free the sciencemouse.  Blow for blow, maneuver for maneuver, the Patrol holds its own, the weasels on their heels the whole time.  Finally, the Patrol is simply overwhelmed and surrounded, beaten into submission and captured!  During the chaos and commotion, the little sciencemouse runs away and never looks back, and continues to run all the way back to Frostic - making his escape, and technically being successfully rescued from the weasels.

 
NPCs:



Scientist (Olivander)
Will
6
Resources
7
Health
3
Circles
4
Nature (  mouse  )
2
Escaping, Hiding, Climbing, Foraging
Skills:  Scientist 5, Healer 3, Weather Watcher 3,Loremouse 2, Chemistry-wise 4
Traits:  Curious 2, Oldfur 2
Gear:  Notebook




Weasel Raider Captain Ren
Will
5
Resources
5
Health
6
Circles
5
Nature (  weasel  )
5
Aggressive, Gloating, Clever, Burrow Stealer
Skills:  Fighter 5, Scout 5, Pathfinder 4, Hunter 4, Deceiver 4, Militarist 4, Brambles-wise 4, War-wise 4
Traits:  Suspicious 2, Cunning 2
Gear:  Heavy Armor, Axe

Weasel Raider Mim
Will
3
Resources
2
Health
5
Circles
2
Nature (  weasel  )
4
Aggressive, Gloating, Clever, Burrow Stealer
Skills:  Fighter 5, Scout 5, Pathfinder 4, Hunter 4, Deceiver 4, Brambles-wise 4
Traits:  Cunning 2
Gear:  Light Armor, Spear

Weasel Raider Fank
Will
3
Resources
2
Health
5
Circles
2
Nature (  weasel  )
4
Aggressive, Gloating, Clever, Burrow Stealer
Skills:  Fighter 5, Scout 5, Pathfinder 4, Hunter 4, Deceiver 4, Brambles-wise 4
Traits:  Cunning 2
Gear:  Light Armor, Sword

Weasel Soldier Kol
Will
3
Resources
2
Health
5
Circles
2
Nature (  weasel  )
4
Aggressive, Gloating, Clever, Burrow Stealer
Skills:  Fighter 5, Scout 5, Pathfinder 4, Hunter 4, Deceiver 4, Brambles-wise 4
Traits:  Cunning 2
Gear:  Light Armor, Sword

Weasel Peasant Raider Go
Will
2
Resources
2
Health
5
Circles
1
Nature (  weasel  )
4
Aggressive, Gloating, Clever, Burrow Stealer
Skills:  Laborer 4, Hunter 2, Deceiver 2
Traits:  Fearful 1
Gear:  Bow and arrows

Weasel Peasant Raider Hul
Will
2
Resources
2
Health
5
Circles
1
Nature (  weasel  )
4
Aggressive, Gloating, Clever, Burrow Stealer
Skills:  Laborer 4, Hunter 2, Deceiver 2
Traits:  Fearful 1
Gear:  Bow and arrows

 
We stopped the game there and will begin the next session with a Player's turn.  


Even though I forgot about Goals, this game was one of the best to date.  Full of tension, mystery, and conflict!  Good fun was had by all.


*Fargle:  a measurement of 12 human inches.  I think it was our first game, we were attempting to come up with a unit of measurement for the mice that would allow us to describe distances in terms of feet - but not mouse-sized feet. 

2 comments:

Matt Smith said...

I love these types of breakdowns and you do an exceptional job telling the story. Please post more as soon as you guys play again!

Komorigumo said...

Thank you for the kind words, Matt. Our little group plays Mouse Guard once a month - not ideal, but as good as our collective busy schedules can accommodate. I do try to add supplemental posts in between though (though I am kind of slacking lately).

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