Ropecon 2011 - Perils on the seas
Post date: 07-Aug-2011 14:36:40
This post starts a series of reports from my games at Ropecon. I'm also releasing the adventures as I had planned them (in the case that they weren't pre-published adventures). All in all Ropecon 2011 was a blast. I met loads of new people and got to run 5 games and an an-hoc mini scenario.
This year the theme in my adventures was apparently failure. XD
Most games ended in a failed mission one way or another... here you can read all about the first game
Perils on the seas
The mice of the territories have become landlocked! The sea has apparently developed a taste for mice, or is it perhaps pirates? The harbor cities of Darkwater, Calogno and Port Sumac have pleaded to Gwendolyn, the matriarch of the Mouse Guard, to solve the mystery.
You are the brave Patrol sent to investigate the mysterious perils on the sea. Do you have what it takes to be a Guardsmouse?
The planned adventure
What really happened
This was the first adventure I ran. It started well enough, until the party reached Darkwater. Then they started to be creative. For some reason the party drew the obvious conclusion that the reason for the disappearing boats were pirate mice preying on innocent mice. A large part of the party was quite unruly and well miscreant, namely Finn and Brynn, the siblings from Dawnrock, and Kearra the tough dockside mouse from Port Sumac.
Together they caused all sorts of trouble for Hannidy the Innocent eager tenderpaw who looked up to old Angus, the Patrol Leader. The mice researched and were able to find that the sailors were not really happy with the Guard, since they were absent (the patrol went undercover, I suspect because they thought that the people from Blackrock were involved in piracy). Angus and Gale were able to uncover that there is an uncharted island in the bay, which would provide the perfect place for a pirate hideout. The place is full of shoals and pretty much in the middle of the bay. The only problem was that the island is a barren rock. Little did they know that the island was the nesting site of a water snake (Natrix natrix).
This is where their troubles began. While Angus and Gale were researching the rest of the party went to search for gossip. Poor Hannidy was put in charge of looking after the three troublemakers (Brynn, Finn and Kearra). Brynn tried to make Hannidy drink some beer, she even tried to force him to drink beer. Fortunately for Hannidy, he is quite strong and was able to resist;unfortunately Kearra decided to break it up. And when she does it she means business. She pulled a knife of Brynn and threatened to kill her. This didn't go over too well with Finn, her brother and pretty soon all three of them were involved in a general bar fight. Hannidy snuck out and called the city guard before going to report the situation to Angus, in hopes of recognition. The city guard arrived and broke up the brawl. The three brawlers had to pay for the damages, but were let off with a warning. When they returned to the inn Angus gave them a royal chewing out (which was noticed by the locals, and they knew that the Guard was in town [so much for the disguise]).
The next morning they planned to kick their plan into action. Kearra resisted authority and showed her defiance by refusing to wake up with the others. In the end Angus had to drag her out of bed, sleeping cap and all for mission briefing. It was decided that Finn and Brynn would acquire some sails to blacken, Gale and Angus were going to acquire the Tub, a sturdy but slow ship. Hannidy was to do some more recon work on the nature of the disgruntled mice.
Finn asked his sister to distract the mice on the docs, while he would snatch some sails from the fastest ship in port, the Nutshell. Not wanting to be out done by his friend Kearra, Finn decided to instead commandeer the whole boat! Meanwhile Angus and Gale were negotiating with the captain of the Tub for a lease. While Gale was finalizing the deal Angus decided to go and survey the Tub. To his surprise he found Brynn entertaining the dock workers with tall tales of fishing in the north. Angus promptly put and end to it, pretending that she was his niece and in need of medication. She reported what Finn had done, which almost gave the old mouse a heart attack! Dring this time Gale finished the contract and received the lease papers. When Angus realized that they had two boats, he almost fainted...
Angus glumly went to the inn to sulk and wait for Finn to return. When he finally did, Finn didn't even get a reprimand, since the old mouse had started to device a new plan... Plan B - we improvise! Just then Kearra entered and showed the deeds to the Hurricane, the second fastes boat in port. Now they had three boats... At this point Hannidy asked innocently from Angus: "Sir, are you now an Admiral?"
Kearra had managed to commandeer the Hurricane by sneaking past the deck guard and rudely surprise the captain in his drinking. Stunned, shocked and dazed from falling off his chair and being disarmed he agreed to let her have the ship.
Gale then reminded Angus that they need to go meet the revolting sailors. Together with Kearra and Gale, Angus went to their meeting with the disgruntled mice, thinking to still be undercover. Instead they found them selves to be surrounded by 30 angry sailors who were accusing them for not accomplishing anything! Angus gave them a fiery speech about acting like a bunch of weasels which got their attention. They calmed down and agreed to let the Guard to continue their efforts. But then in a moment of weakness he started to confess about the theft of the Nutshell, Kearra stepped in and instead delivered a speech about taking matters in their own hands and helping the Guard, instead of waiting to be taken care off. As a result the captain of the fourth remaining ship in port proclaimed that his crew and ship, the Salmon were at their disposal. Now they controlled all four ships...
Angus went to bed with a sense of relief and started forming a plan. He decided that they would blacken the nutshell and make a recon run to the island and then come back for reinforcements. Recovering the nutshell turned out to be a bit of an ordeal... First Finn almost didn't find the beach where he had hidden the boat, then during the sail back Brynn, who was daydreaming found her all of the sudden to be sent into the sea by a surprise (to her) gybe. Finn promptly jumped in to save her, and in the end it was Angus who organized the rescue of the two mice in the water.
The blackening of the sails went off without a problem and the mice headed out for the island in the morning. At sunset as they were approaching the island Gale spotted a shadow in the water following them! The team prepared for action as a snake burst out through the water and attacked! Kearra had heard about Lieam and his crazy stunt. Ever wanting to impress the other mice she decided to try for the same. The result was that the snake was wounded and dragged Kearra under... Gale peppered the snake with arrows. Finn found a harpoon on deck and harpooned the snake, and going after it on the rope, hoping to save Kearra. Hannidy axed the rope when the snake threatened to pull the whole boat under. Under water Finn and Kearra managed to hurt the snake more, but didn't manage to kill it, they needed to get air!
Angus was still thinking about pirates, but the rest of the patrol were convinced that the snake was their pirates. They decided to investigate the island and found that the snake had a lair in the middle of the island. Before they were able to secure their boat, Finn was charging with his spear intent on killing the beast. He managed an Amazing strike which killed the snake... the snake fooled them all except for Kearra, intent on killing the snake she approached it slowly and it struck her, but she managed to dive her sword into it's head killing it for good this time! The seas were safe again!
The biggest surprise came when Angus was about to promote Hannidy to the rank of mouse, but instead Hannidy declined and left the guard. "I'm sorry sir, but it seem that the Guard consist not of brave mice, but instead of a bunch of criminals, hooligans and oldfurs, unable to control the ruffians!" and with that he left Lockhaven to find some real mice willing to do something about the Guard.
Thoughts and player feedback
As you can see I changed the adventure a bit to make the ending a bit more cinematic, and I believe it worked. During the adventure I let the players run wild, this was after all a convention game, but maybe I should have reminded them of what it means to be a Mouse of the Guard. I could maybe have given them some clues as to what was really going on, but once they were set on the ide of pirates, I thought I'd let them run it and go find their island (something I hadn't thought of at all!).
Some player feedback:
- "Holy shit this was great."
- "Fun game; had a good time. Great characters, liked the system as well."
- "Mahtava peli. Siinä oli kaikkea mitä hyvässä pelisessiossa pitää olla (hienoja suunnitelmia, jotka eivät toimi ja eeppisiä tilanteita). Hauskaa oli."
Thanks to the players for making such an epic adventure!