A custom mission: Children of Flintrust
Introduce the Session
in this session, the mice find themselves scolded by a fellow Guard for having missed a letter with orders from the matriarch. This fellow Guard hands them the letter, which is already opened and explains they were expected over a season ago in a settlement far from where they are currently to mediate a major dispute--no word on the nature of the dispute is given. They have a long trek, and should be under pressure to arrive promptly considering their tardiness. (in our case the mice were in Wolfpointe from last session and were needed in Flintrust)
# Allow a patrol member to offer the prologue
Assign the Mission
The patrol must course over several weeks of travel to arrive at their destination as fast as possible. They must deal with the mediation, then are free to patrol the nearby region for any other matters. Unfortunately, they do not know the nature of the dispute, nor whether it has already been dealt with. They have only this old letter (not more than a season old, but you get the idea).
# Allow the patrol to write Goals
Ensure the group is prepared to take on some personal goals. With so little to go on, they might all feel inclined to write a goal vaguely abotu solving a problem, but remind them they also have substantial travel ahead. It can make a good goal as well.
Review Beliefs and Instincts
# Allow the patrol to review Beliefs and Instincts
this mission presents wilderness and mice obstacles. You will want to look at how the group might face these in creative ways. Open up decision-making to the group; they will surely surpise you.
The trek from one settlement to another does not need to be an incredible Ob, but the patrol has a long bit of travel on their hands. Had they been actively patrolling the regions assigned to them during the season, they would have received the letter on-time. The distance to their assignment would be far easier.
Consider some of the ways the patrol must face this travel; what is most important? Is it best to find an excellent path, prepare a good camp each night, watch for fair weather days to travel the most, harvest the bounty of the wilderness each day for food, or speak with an animal about getting a faster beast to act as mount for the patrol? You can suggest some possible checks, but remind them to consider the world around them.
To represent the extensive travel they must take on, allow for three skills to influence the tale of this obstacle. They might share the tests; however, each test will influence the following tests as well. Remember that the skills are being used concurrently during the travel.
(the travel could be represented by a journey conflict, but that places the obstacle in greater prominence in the session; i do not recommend it in this case)
The mice of Flintrust are a close community. Each mouse works. Each works hard. The government of Flintrust is formed by an oligarchy of eight council mice, with two representative speakers augmenting their council. These speakers interact with the mice of Flintrust directly and then return to the council with their petitions for matters of the settlement.
Each mouse serves their community family with the skills passed down from one generation to the next. A mouse is really not considered an adult in the community until close to thirty years of age; they live at home until then. Rarely will a mouse be allowed to leave Flintrust; the skills of the entire community are needed. When parents die early, sometimes mice are considered children under the care of the community until they are much older. This is especially important when they have a needed skill.
(If it helps, think of it as a bit communist and a bit socialist. Everymouse works with what they can, and can have anything produced or provided by other mice of Flintrust; it is far simpler than even a barter system.)
Recently, the Baker parents, and Brewer parents left their eldest daughters in charge of the business of the family while they took holiday in Lillygrove. They were stalked, killed, and eaten by crabs along the coast. The daughters are distraught, but want to be considered adults to make their own decisions and possibly move away from Flintrust. Their skills are needed, so the council does not want to allow this.
In addition, there is a stone mason's son who has become the sole worker of the household; father is too old to continue. Regardless, it is still his father's name which is given credit for the work done by the son. (in our case this worked perfectly as the stonemason is the enemy of an patrol mouse. his inclusion was essential to that.)
Lastly, there has been a recruiter from Windselm (est. 1153) trying to get mice folk from the territories to move out intrepidly to Windselm. Not only does he have some families petitioning the council for a rightful stock of provisions to resettle, but also, he saw a chance with Kirsten Baker, Millicent Brewer, and Russell Mason--all very young mice--to bring needed skills, two pretty young mice, and a handsome young mouse to Windselm to further the growth. The council denied this outright.
In their anger the foursome turned toward banditry to seek the provisions to make the journey. Now, they have all been arrested and are being held in a makeshift prison. The council wishes the Guard to become involved as mediators. They would have liked their involvement before these youths had turned to banditry. The youth only wish to move from Flintrust to make a name for themselves and be treated as adults. They felt it was only taking what was due to them.
There are the two speakers of the council who are both fully interested in the case. Both are quite beyond adulthood and deep into middle age.
Platte is a female councilmouse of Flintrust. She is a skilled boatcrafter (an out-of-place skill in Flintrust). She feels strongly the four bandits should be hanged by the neck until they are dead. She hates banditry and sees their petition to be counted as adults an insult to the Flintrust laws.
Platte has a belief which she will argue for or engage the council in empassioned speech for: The strength of a home derives from the integrity of the family. (in other words, to her, the community family is what makes Flintrust strong; it must be protected) In the case of a speech conflict, she will argue for a goal of hanging the four bandit mice.
Royce is a male councilmouse of Flintrust. He is a skilled miller (a common skill in Flintrust). He feels strongly the girls have a good case for being counted as adults in their respective homes. Without parents, they will not be allowed to arrange their own marriage; that will fall to the council. They cannot make decisions about their younger siblings. He feels they should have been given the right already. He also feels strongly about the mason's boy being given status as an adult. In the case of the recruiter (Sinclair), he feels he took advantage of the girls and deflowered them in the as well as convinced them to banditry; however, he does not wish to kill this mouse. He would prefer he be exiled from Flintrust and news of his deeds be published throughout the lake region and Lillygrove. (let the guard take him far away)
Royce has a belief which he will argue for and engage the council in empassioned speech for: The strength of a mouse derives from the integrity of the home. (in other words, they will be strong mice because Flintrust is a good town; our community unity will last even if they go; they will carry it with them always) In the case of a speech conflict, he will argue the locals be forgiven (there is evidence), and Sinclair be branded an outlaw and expelled from the settlement. Furthemore, the local youths should be allowed status as adults and possibly be allowed to leave.
Sinclair is a male mouse who is in the area trying to convince families from the region surrounding the lake that Windselm is a great new place to resttle. The area boasts many skilled, hard working mice which would be an asset to fledgling Windselm. He does not deny the girls and the mason's boy became involved in banditry, but denies he was involved in that. There is evidence against him claim of innocence. He will admit, if pressed, that he did take advantage of the two girls inappropriately, yet claims they initiated those relations. Sinclair has not specific belief, but will be given a chance to speak before the council. He will argue the local youth be given status as adults, be forgiven their banditry, and be given provisions to resettle in Windselm. He includes that he should be aquitted of any charges, since he is innocent (though he denies evidence to the contrary).
If the patrol does not become engaged in this as mediators; the mice will all hang; Platte will be considered the winner.
In the case of travel going badly through a few dice rolls, use a weather twist to induce some condition, then move onward. The mice obstacle is far more time-consuming in this mission.
In the case of the patrol not getting interested in the matters of the council, use an animal twist to provide an added dimension of action. The patrol might not want to be involved.
This was a fun session, but it became lengthy. However, the downer was the absence of two players. Adelaide's and Scarlette's players were not present. Adelaide is the patrol leader. Scarlette is the most highly skilled Fighter and Healer. Bothe have beliefs I felt certain would be stomped on during the mice obstacle and resulting conflict. Regardless, a fun addition was two players who had been in touch with me since the campaign was announced. They were finally able to make it. I had prepared Tenderpaws for both.
Travel from Wolfpointe to Flintrust
As the scene opened, the group became split immediately. I made the claim that Pelham, mentor to Julianne, came into town bringing Seamus, mentored by Adelaide, who had been waiting in Pt Sumac for Adelaide to recover two more scent barrels awaiting his assignment to spread them in spring. It was not nearly autumn, Pelham had cared for Seamus during spring and summer, spread the remaining barrels, and scoured the region seeking Adelaide or his patrol. It now looked as though they were relaxing in Wolfpointe through summer.
He delivered the letter, then went on his way. Julianne was back in town shortly reporting that Pelham and her patrolmates were dealing with a fox, and she was told to return to Adelaide's side until further notice. Adelaide took Scarlette and headed off in search of the fox. He ordered Spencer to take the pair of Tenderpaws (both of whom are the same age as Spencer) to Flintrust and "deal with the problem". He would meet them later.
They each engaged a skill for the travel. Spencer used Weather Watcher to gauge fair weather and foul weatehr days to travel farthest on good days, and rest up on bad days. Unfortunately, he could not stop the chilling frost each morning and cold rain from time to time. Julianne became angry with his inability to predict the weather accurately.
Julianne is a fair Survivalist. She used the skill each evening to make a good camp. They rested well each evening, despite the weather and without fires.
Seamus felt it was most important to have the best path and fastest. He acted as the lead, despite that his wolf's snout was causing such distraction from Spencer's musky accident with the scent border fluid in spring. He found a good path in every stretch.
The Gallows of Flintrust
As the group arrived in Flintrust, Platte saw them and was happy to invite them into town. The mice of Flintrust all love the Guard and many serve in the Guard. She briefly told them of hte case before the council which had been put on hold until the Guard could respond. The prisoners had been held for quite some time now.
Royce later spoke with them. He made no excuses for the accused. He admitted the evidence was true. Luckily, no mouse had been killed, but several had been assaulted. He explained the circumstances could have been far better if the banditry was not involved. He was constantly arguing for the case of the girls and the mason's boy.
Seamus asked around town while Spencer spoke to the prisoners. They were not remorseful. Seamus found the town has a small notoriety as the poison capital of the Territories; something in the minerals among the flint stone. There were many tales of spouses poisoning each other through the years. He told Seamus a common phrase in Flintrust, "Always befriend who is making your meals." Not only that, the town was somewhat galvanized that these bandit mice should hang as Platte claimed.
The patrol ended up involved in the three-way conflict speaking on the same platform as Royce. The mice youths should not die, but should be treated as adults and allowed to make their own decisions. Sinclair spoke alongside Kirsten and Millicent (Russell Mason did not want to speak); they argued they should be sent away from town to live independently and the crimes ignored. Platte argued for the hanging of the bandit mice.
In the end, Sinclair had 1 dispo left of an original 7. Platte went down first from dispo 5. The patrol's team held out with dispo 2 for much of the conflict until Sinclair turned against them. In fact, Millicent had the winning last word.
The compromise came round that the youths would not be killed, nor sent away, but would be given status as adults as long as they did not leave until they had trained somemouse to take over their skillsets. In addition, any future cases regarding these three would require the Guard be called on for mediation. Lastly, Spencer's enemy Russell Mason is a rival for Spencer's betrothed in Lillygrove, his hometown. Having this rival remain so close left him angry about the results; he would have preferred the scoundrel be sent far away to Windselm. (Russell isn't really a scoundrel) It did make him wonder if he really wanted the arranged betrothal after all if she would find this fellow mouse attractive as a rival. Maybe Kendra was nothing like he wanted.
Fulfill the Mission
The mission was complete. The group had dealt with the problem.
The conflict took so much time that we held off on the player's turn until next week.
Now that we are preparing for the Player's turn, I'm waffling over allowing a prologue. It is a new session, but no obstacles or conflicts are planned. The two absent players should be present too.
What do you all suggest? Should I maybe have Adelaide and Scarlet make the trek from Wolfpointe to Flintrust as well?
This past Monday Night Mice session was all about the player's turn and the player checks. Since they were reluctant to gain checks, there was little to do. Also, Spencer's player could not make it. We knew roughly what he wanted from the PT, so I'll be granting him that. He wanted to cleanse himself of the musky stench from the scent border before going to visit LIllygrove, his hometown.
Adelaide's and Scarlette's players were able to make it, so we needed to include them a bit.
I decided to allow a prologue for the session, then allow the pair to tell what had gone on to keep them from coming south to Flintrust. They talked briefly of the fox hunt and each marked a skill for advancement. I allowed them to create a goal, but didn't expect they could accomplish much without being a part of GT events.
Before starting the PT properly, I had Royce make two requests, escort Sinclair someplace far from Flintrust, and publicize the sentence of the council around the surrounding towns. It wouldn't be part of a GT mission, but they at least had a touch of direction.
From there, I gave everyone a check, and the group began the PT.
Seamus used a check to begin learning Orator. He spoke with councilmouse Royce for a helping die and didn't want the patrol to know he was trying to learn the new skill. Otherwise he would have invited help from Julianne too. He was able to spend a few nights practicing with Royce and marked that practice on his sheet as though it were Beginner's Luck. I placed an Ob of his max Nature as one might do for Instructor.
Julianne, the young Tenderpaw of Pelham (an NPC who sent her to train under Adelaide due to the fox danger), chose to speak with Sinclair more directly about his actions and attitudes. She wanted to help him change his worldview and hopefully stay out of banditry in the future. His actions in and around Flintrust were a blemish on Windselm and its efforts to form a settlement of respectability. He decided to also try changing her worldview a bit. We rolled out a Persuader vs Deceiver. This required Beginner's Luck on the side of Julianne, but she rallied using Persona to call on Nature. Sinclair tried to argue she ought to deserve more as a Guard, but she defended her choice to serve and won the obstacle. Sinclair shifted his attitude somewhat to admit he let the grieving, bitter, and jaded female mice take charge of the situation and involved him; he probably wouldn't have been involved in banditry and licentiousness without their influence, but it now had landed him in nearly a year as a prisoner in chains.
Scarlette followed these two with a search for medicinal herbs of the region. * I might need some advice about the factoring. I came up with Ob 9, but fibbed and let her attempt Ob 8. I told her she ought to call on help from the patrol too. She even tapped Nature, but the margin of failure caused her to tax nature to 0. We all got a good laugh. I taught the rule; we reduced her max nature, cleared the tax, and changed a trait. She lost Bitter and gained Obsessive. In addition, I threw in the animal twist that Scarlette had led the patrol right down into a wolverine den. The creature was all too pleased to have a group of tasty mice coming by, he began chasing.
* i might need some advice on using twists in the PT.
So, I wasn't going to make a big deal of the wolverine just yet. I figured it would be a bit of a laugh and everyone would run away. But, Adelaide decided he wanted to use a check to use Loremouse to talk him down from eating a mouse. That resulted in 0s. So, Julianne quickly spoke up to follow with a check to initiate a Fight Animal conflict. It seemed right. Seamus then decided he wanted to use his check to run from the fight toward Flintrust to gather militia mice or other local protectors.
Adelaide, Kulianne, and Scarlette fought hard. They did reasonably, but did lose after four rounds of action triplets. In the end, our compromise came to, "The three mice of the patrol have lived, but are badly injured; Julianne's sword was damaged in the fight and must be repaired or replaced; however, Seamus returned with militia mice; the wolverine doesn't want to continue with so many sharp pointy things attacking him; therfore, the relationship between Flintrust and the Guard is complicated by their call for help and the angering of a local predator."
I decided to allow Seamus to use his check as a free additional practice of Orator (no dice required, check a use of the skill as Beginner's Luck).
That resulted in every check being spent, and the team was in Flintrust at the end of Autumn. They were ordered to over-winter in Lillygrove; Spencer's parents had made the request to Gwendolyn by letter.
Sicne we had more time during the evening, I created a one obstacle GM Turn and we made for a bit of extra play. The mission became, The patrol must publish the news of Sinclair to Willowroot, Birchflow, and Oakgrove and must arrive in LIllygrove.
Everyone made a simple goal, and we moved forward. Scarlette had a zany goal, "I must find reason to strike a mouse with my frying pan." She changed her Belief and instinct somewhat also, B: "No mouse should die unjustly," and I: "When I am fiery with passion, I brandish my frying pan (i.e. when i use Fiery trait, i describe the brandishing of my frying pan)."
I presented the group with the ordeal, the group must trek through cold, late fall weather through the towns, and may choose to return to Flintrust, or go direct to Lillugrove. They discussed how to proceed and finally settled on allowing Seamus to Pathfind a best route. Julianne and Adelaide decided they should bring Sinclair with them, rather than allowing him to wallow in prison all winter until Flintrust could form a group to escort him somewhere. So the group went. Seamu's Pathfinder was successful, so no twist. The group did end up speaking a bit with mice in Oakgrove that offered to hang Sinclair since he was an accused criminal. I was hoping that Adelaide and Scarlette would speak up sicne it should have touched both of their Beliefs, but they remained quiet while Julianne spoke up to refuse the offer. Her Belief: "A guard mouse must do what is right even if it is hard." Since he had already been tried, and sentenced in another town, she saw nothing right in allowing another town to pass judgement and sentence him anew. This despite his wrong doing, was her chance to call out her Belief.
The group arrived and Spencer welcomed them at his parent's home.
The PT began and focused mostly on recovery from Injured. Seamus also earned a check which was spent laboring to gatehr wood in preparation for Yulefrost. Poor Seamus had 0s and became overly Tired from the exhausting work. Julianne's injuries were too much for even the youth, healthful Tenderpaw. Scarlette overcame her light injuries. Adelaide circled up a strikingly ordinary mouse willing to run letters to Flintrust later in the season with his report to Gwendolyn and report to Flintrust; she was expected to be in Flintrust for Yulefrost.
We finished with rewards and are now looking forward to Winter session. I also plan to teach the method of creating mouse characters after our Winter session. We might have a different patrol during the mission of next year. I've already got three in mind which I'm building.