"Boat Eater" must be stopped!
This is one of the first missions I ran that I wrote myself and it seemed like a lot of fun for all. Please let me know if you like it and run it and critizism is always welcome. I'd love to hear how it goes for your Patrol.
My group had made their way back to Lockhaven after a few missions in Spring and this was their first Summer mission and they were starting in Lockhaven.
Weather: Unseasonably Warm but this session's passed Weather Watcher (taken after I gave them the mission) meant Thunderstorms for next session or with a twist.
Gwendolyn tells you she has recieved dire news from Grasslake. A lake monster known only as "Boat Eater" has come in during the flooding in Spring and now with the Unseasonable Warmth and the water level dropping the monster is unable to get back upriver and leave Grasslake alone. This monster is destroying Grasslake, killing the fishermice of Grasslake and local scientists are trying to no avail to figure out how to be rid of it.
Your mission: "Figure out what this "Boat Eater" is and kill it or push it back up the river."
I then allowed them to use Weather Watcher (they were successful and chose Thunderstorms to try to raise the Lake again) and then we wrote goals. Here are some suggested ones but by no means an exhaustive list.
"Find "Boat Eater" and ensure he dies for the mice he killed of Grasslake."
"Clear this "Boat Eater" problem up and help the mice of Grasslake rebuild their town."
"Help the mice of Grasslake recover from this attack and ensure my parents are ok."
The path is clear to Grasslake from other Mouse Guard teams that were dispatched in Spring. You arrive in Grasslake to see it's numerous knots and roots jutting out into a large lake with lillypads covering half of Grasslake, a large dock is splintered fairly far away from shore and a small fishing boat must rest at the bottom of Grasslake as you can see it's mass sticking out of the shallows closest to the edge of the lake. Very few mice are on the move and there is generally a somber attitude amongst the mice of Grasslake.
Obstacle 1- A complex obstacle to determine what is attacking the town.
They have to pass 3 skill checks to determine what is attacking the town. Have the first two hint at what it is and the third reveal what "Boat Eater" is. When they failed I used Conditions with a success rather than a Twist and Failure but to each their own.
Archivist- Ob 5 (Obscure +2 and Lost +3) Can only be done after a check to find out about the attack patterns and behaviours. They find out about a large fish that attacked Port Sumac in 1138. It has the same attack habits as this creature.
Boatcrafter- Ob 2, 3 or 4 (One use 1, a Mouse +1, two mice +2 or patrol +3) to build a boat and go out on the lake.
Baker or Cook- Ob 4 (a big family +4) to cook for some of the mice and learn about the attacks and a description. A large shadow went under the pier while they were fishing and the shadow was as long as the pier used to be (about 2 feet) but in the panic of everybody trying to get off of the dock I didn't see anything else (unless this is the final check and then he reveals what it is).
Carpenter- Ob 6 (equivilent to large exterior wall +6) to rebuild the dock and allow you guys to go out
Circles- Ob 5 (Uncommon in town (+3, No power to speak of (+1) and Neutral (+1) to find someone who seen something relevent about Boat Eater's attack pattern or something helpful.
Insectrist or Loremouse- Ob 4 (Stroke of luck +4 or Beasts of Water +4) to realize that dragonflys, beetles and other insects do not fly over the lake any more. This must be some kind of predator to those and mice. If using Loremouse, they also realize that the frogs don't go out on the lillypads any more but still swim underwater.
Militarist- Ob 5 (same as Archivist) to remember about the Port Sumac fish (same as Archivist).
Orator- Ob 4 (Average Nature of 3 and the townsfolk have been living in fear and no individual has really got a great view of "Boat Eater" +1) to speak of the Mouse Guard and seek information from a crowd of people about "Boat Eater".
Persuader- Ob 4 (same as Orator) but this can only be done after a completed Circles test to find a mouse who knows)
Scout- Ob 10 (Largemouth Bass Nature +9, Surprising +1, Predator +1) They have to come up with a way to Scout the water for it and if they are successful in this VERSUS test then they know what it is and don't need to do any further tests.
Obstacle 2- A Fight Animal, Science or Military Conflict, It ended up being a Fight Animal with my group.
I allowed them all a check to prepare for the following conflict. One of them gave a speech to the fisherman and obtained two vessels, a fishing boat (Chatter's Charter) and a yacht (Chasing Tail), the fisherman, Chatter, would drive (and provide a helping dice) and the rich yacht owner was an oldfur that allowed them to use his boat. Another mouse made a net (from the new rules and missions book) that they connected the two boats with to use as a weapon to guide the bass back out to sea. The last mouse used her check to Heal the Patrol Leader's previous Injury so their Conditions wouldn't hurt them in this Fight Animal conflict.
The animal is a Largemouth Bass with the following write up:
Largemouth Bass "Boat Eater" Nature 9
Swimming, Thrashing, Huge, Surprising, Predator
Formidable Size with a Gaping Maw (1 weapon)- Attack vs Attack is a VS action rather than independent and Attack vs Maneuver is an Independent action rather than vs (as a Bow). +2s on a successful attack. -2D to Defend and Manuever
His goal is to Eat as much as possible until I can get out of this lake. I told them that death was on the line for all that was involved. Except him, I put him 2 levels above them on the Nature Scale.
The 3 mouse team had never failed a Conflict up to this point. That changed here. They used their compromise (they had reduced it's Disposition by 2) to get all of them a "Left for dead" result. It was a dramatic scene and I said that Boat Eater rose up from the depths (in a Feint action) and engulfed the Chasing Tail. As the boat was being crushed along with yourself, some vegetable oil exploded and covered you. The Bass tasted the oil and spat you into the Lake. The other two mice on Chatter's Charter were pulled by the net (connecting the two boats) and slammed into the mast and the side and then into the water along with Chatter. Chatter was eaten as they fell unconsciuos from the blows to the head and sank below the depths. They were believed dead and washed up on the shore the following day during the thunderstorm. The bass went upriver and they had every Condition ticked and lost a point of their Resources and Circles. That's where I finished the GM Turn and turned it over to the Player Turn. They had earned 5, 2 and 2 checks (there were a lot of checks before the battle and during the complex challenge of figuring out what it was.
When they washed up on shore they were taken to the Turtle Shell Inn, an inn with a turtle shell roof, and given free board. They spent most of their turn trying to recover from the various Conditions. I allowed them to heal others if they doubled their required Ob, so for Hungry (normally an Ob 2 (One mouse +1 and obtaining ingredients +1)) I would allow someone else to heal Hungry if they got 4 successes and with 6 successes they could all recover.
This worked pretty good and they still had a few conditions for next session and then did some things to try to rebuild the town and restore some faith in the Mouse Guard (which they failed).
Even with the failure it was quite a fun adventure and one that I enjoyed writing and running. Good luck if you run it and please let me know how it went.
It's not what you fight, but what you fight for!