Monday, March 29, 2010

Mouse Guard Session 2

I think this Mouse Guard session was a little less successful than the last one. The blame is totally on me, both sessions were run just using 2 of the premade missions from the book and the first weeks was very detailed and well written and easy to run without any real prep at all. The mission I intended to use this week wasn't as easy to just run without any prep and some of the stuff was specific to the premade characters they have in the book for use with the mission. That stuff could have been adapted I guess, but it didn't feel like the right way to go so I was forced to just make up some more stuff to expand the mission so it would fill up the gaming time. Anyway I think overall fun was still had, it just wasn't as polished as the first session. Here's the summary:

Mouse Guard Session 2

The characters all started out back in Lockhaven. It had been a couple of weeks since the previous patrol, and things had been busy. It was time to pour the northwestern Scent Border again and a large number of patrols were being assigned to the job, including the player's patrol. Al, Penelope, and Bran all set out with a large caravan of Guards and hand-drawn carts, following the trails from Lockhaven to Darkwater, then on to Lonepine and finally to Wolfpointe.

One night during the stretch of the journey from Darkwater to Lonepine, Penelope was one of the mice on guard around the camp and she heard some noises coming from the nearby undergrowth. Upon further inspection she spotted the gleaming eyes of a raccoon, right as it spotted the camp and came charging in. Yelling out a warning Penelope ran forward and set herself to face the oncoming predator. The rest of the camp woke quickly and rushed to help. Bran began peppering the thing with arrows while another patrol slipped behind the raccoon in a flanking position. The battle ebbed and flowed with both sides deftly maneuvering for position; but in the end the mice managed to be quicker and they drove off the beast; though a few injuries were sustained.

When they reached Lonepine the caravan left its wounded there to be tended to further, and then continued on its way. They had no more trouble on the rest of the journey out to the Scent Border and began to divide up into teams and move out to pour the sticky Scent Elixir along their assigned areas. Bran quickly identified the portion of woodland that they were supposed to mark with the Elixir, but the other two mice had some trouble working with the stuff and managed to get the stinky concoction all over themselves. With Al muttering angrily the whole time about being an archivist, NOT a field scientist; they went over to a nearby stream to clean up.

Penelope slipped a little ways upstream in order to have some privacy as she washed the Elixir out of her fur. While Al was also scrubbing himself clean and Bran was keeping watch a big old bullfrong suddenly popped up out of the mud along the bank of the river and tried to snatch up Al. With a yell or warning and some quick help from Bran, Al managed to evade the bullfrog's attack and they both ran quickly upstream to where Penelope was; warning her to get out of the water.

The patrol then left the stream behind and continued pouring the Scent Elixir. After more frustratingly slow work they finally managed to finish their task and went back to meet up with the rest of the Guardmice. Because of all the trouble they had they were the last patrol to arrive, so as the caravan headed back the Guard Captain in charge sent the three of them off at the fork in the path that lead to Grasslake, to check on the city and its inhabitants.

As they approached the city they were stopped by a panicked mouse who came running through the marshy grasses around the city, yelling for their helping and waving his arms. He breathlessly gasped out that the town was under an attack "A monster! A giant monster! Destroying the town! Eating mice!" The patrol told him they were there to help and to lead on. What they found was that a giant snapping turtle had crawled out of the lake and was basking in the sun in the town square, right in between the town bakery and the brewery.

It turned out the mouse that had come to get them was the owner of the brewery, Harold, and he led them to a crowd of mice on the far side of the square from the turtle, all the townsfolk were gathered up there staring at the beast and talking nervously. From talking with the mice they found that while of course everyone was very concerned about the turtle being there, the four who were the most concerned were Harold the brewer, Honeywind the baker, Lester the smith, and Thom the mayor; all of whose residences and places of business were in the town square and therefore in danger from the turtles actions.

These four mice began animatedly telling the guardmice that they HAD to help and they MUST drive the turtle out, and just how HORRIBLE it would be if anything happened to this or that building. After a quick side conversation they patrol decided to convince the mayor to calm the crown down and have them wait out of sight of the turtle.

After the crowd was gone they patrol began discussing the situation and their options. They decided that the most likely reason for the turtle being there was that it was a female there to lay her eggs. With their limited knowledge about turtles they figured out that if the turtle were to lay her eggs she would end up digging up the whole town square, which was something they and the village really wanted to avoid. They stood around discussing and brainstorming for quite some time.

Finally Al hit on the idea of trying to use some sort of herbs or plants to knock out or drive off the turtle and they went and questioned the mayor about the idea and whether anyone in the area knew about such things. He pointed them to a couple of ladymice, Josephine and Clove, but neither felt they could be of any help and didn't know of any herbs that would accomplish what the guard wanted.

While all this discussion was going on the crowd has been getting more and more riled up. Unknown to the players the smith, Lester, was a former Tenderpaw from the Guard who had failed to advance on to Guardmouse and was still fairly bitter about the fact and resentful of the Guard in general. Between him and Harold, who had a bottle of his own brew on him and had been sneaking swallows of it all day; they began to convince the crowd to take some action against the invading beast, whether the Guard would help or not.

When they noticed this change of attitude in the crowd the patrol attempted to talk them down from this idea; but their confusing rhetoric and flowery statements fell on mostly deaf ears. They did manage however to at least convince them to not actually engage the turtle in physical combat, just to try and scare it off.

Penelope was unhappy with even this however and tried to physically bar the way for the crowd; forcing them not to take action. Al tried to stop the younger Guardmouse but she wasn't listening. Luckily for them though the crowd merely pushed Penelope aside and any sort of real altercation was avoided.

The patrol caught up with the rest of the mice and they all began to work together to try and drive the turtle off. Penelope was her usual fearless self and led the spear waving and threatening motions from the front, while Al stayed back and yelled instructions, guiding the mice to the best effect possible; and Bran just ran around the flanks trying to help where he could. At first the turtle just ignored them or half-heartedly snapped at the nearest mice, but she didn't really move or become that aggressive.

The apparent indifference to their efforts at first weakened the mice's resolve; but after became heartened again after they managed to rile up the turtle and actually get it to react. The reaction was more than they wanted though and in a final destructive struggle the turtle was driven off but not before wrecking all the building they had wanted to protect.

With a somewhat dejected sigh of relief the town thanked the Guard for doing what they could and began to pick up the pieces. The patrol stayed around for awhile, helping them get the rebuilding process started and then gathered their belongings and began the trek back to Lockhaven.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Thoughts from a Waiter's Mind

I'll probably post random musings and b@%*hings about my life as a server from time to time. Its a horrible job and you get treated like crap most of the time; which gives you a lot of ammo for such rants. The things I want to harp on tonight is the "Waste of Time Table"

Here is what happened tonight. A table came in fairly late; I think less than an hour before I got cut (side note: Only 2-3 servers stay on the clock until the restaurant closes. Hanging out and chatting in someone's section for hours is most likely forcing someone to stay at work longer than they should have to, sitting around making $2.63/hour. So don't do it!) so something like around 9:30 or so. Not terribly late, so it wasn't that that pissed me off about this table.

The problem with this table is that they were a big waste of time. The table was composed of 7 people, 2 adults and 5 kids ranging from around 11-15 years old is my guess. So 7 people with at most 2 of them young enough to be ordering off the kids menu. And this is what the order was for the entire table:

7 Waters
2 Orders of Chips and Salsa
1 Order of Texas Cheese Fries
1 Order of Combination Fajitas
1 Dos XX Amber bottle

That is it! Here is the problem. This group of people is taking up my one big top table, my one real moneymaker table. And their total bill comes out to less than the bill on the two top right next to them!!!!!!! I would expect a bill upwards around $60-70 for a table of that size. Their bill barely broke the $30 mark.

If you can't afford to order food at Chilis, GO TO MCDONALDS! If you want to, as they said, "Just Graze"; GO HOME!! Or go find a frikkin field! You are denying me my best location for making money that evening for however long you are going to be there, and you aren't even making it worth my while (they left a pathetic 10% tip).

The table was a pain in my ass and a waste of time. For all the work I did refilling their drinks and chips, and cleaning up after them I'd rather have not my the $3.00 they gave me.

My Mouse Guard Campaign, Session 1 Summary

So I'd already posted this over at (fun site for any RP enthusiasts in the NWA area). But I figured I'd re-post it here for the folks that wouldn't see it there. The game we played is an awesome indy RPG called Mouse Guard. It's based on the Burning Wheel RPG system, which I really enjoy. The version of the system used in Mouse Guard is sort of "Burning Wheel Lite", and is a very sleek and well made game.

Mouse Guard Session 1

The session started out with Gwendolyn calling the Guardmice into her study. When they arrived they found her looking over a large map of the territories that was filled with various markers indicating Guard patrols and missions that were currently out in the field. She welcomed them with a smile and warm greetings and informed them that she needed them to deliver some mail. The players represented a fairly disparate group who had not worked together before and the oldest member of the party (Patrol Guard Alaphondar, know to most as Al) was at an age where frequent missions were a thing of the past. But the Guard was very busy at the moment and Gwendolyn needed to call upon all able-bodied mice in order to accomplish all that needed to be done, even simple mail runs. So with words of encouragement and wishes for safe travel she handed off the mail bag and sent the patrol on its way.

The patrol consisted of Patrol Guard Bran, a somewhat reclusive and solitary explorer who was more used to going on solo scouting missions than going out with a patrol; Patrol Guard Al, the above mentioned greyfur who had settled into a comfortable life in Lockhaven, teaching tenderpaws and spending time with other veteran mice; and Penelope, a bold and brash young Guardmouse who won't let anything stand in her way of being the best Guardmouse she could be and who was always ready for a fight.

They each gathered up their supplies and headed off on the mission. Their route would take them first to Elmoss, Bran's home city, then to Sprucetuck, home to Al, then on to Dorigift, and finally to Gilpledge. The only area where any trouble was expected was the route between Dorigift and Gilpledge; an area where the trails were not quite so clearly marked and blazed.

The patrol encountered no problems on the first leg of their journey, arriving in Elmoss after a few days and quickly delivering the mail for that city. After helping the postmaster, a grizzled old mouse named Gurney, to pass out the letters and packages, Bran visited an old friend and fellow map enthusiast, Jasper the cartographer, and then they all received a good home cooked meal with Bran's family and had a good nights sleep. Bright and early the next morning they set off for Sprucetuck, making it almost to within sight of the city before encountering the first challenge of their adventure. Penelope spotted a blur of red fur out of the corner of her eye as they were walking by a small stream near the city that had been greatly swollen by the spring thaw. Quickly becoming alert she warned the others that she had seen something and began a careful visual search of the nearby area.

She had almost written off what she had seen as just her imagination when a shrill scream carried to the patrol's ears and they saw a very young mouse child fall from the bank into the rushing currents of the stream. Without hesitation Penelope leapt forward and dived in to save the child. Bran moved almost as quickly and went to the bank to attempt to help them both out of the stream when they came down to where he was. The current proved stronger than anticipated and while Penelope was able to reach and grab the child she was too tired to get close enough to shore for Bran to grab them. So with a grumble about young mice and such Al leapt into action as quickly as his old paws would carry him.

Rushing downstream ahead of the floating pair he found a branch to hold on to and leaned out over the stream, extending his walking staff out even further. He managed to catch Penelope and with the help of the swiftly arriving Bran pulled the water logged mice back to the shore. After helping to comfort and dry off the young mouse Al softly admonished Penelope for being so brash and Bran grumbled about his own ineffectualness in the rescue attempt. The patrol carried the little one, whose name they found out was Lilly, in to Sprucetuck and returned her to her mother Dalia. She was very very thankful to the Guard and the patrol in particular and was very upset and worried about where they had found her baby Lilly at.

After she thanks them profusely and left them to take care of the child another young mouse, this one a few years older approached the Guardmice. He had obviously been selected by a nearby group of mouse children as their spokesperson and told the players that he thought the Guard were amazing and he wanted to be one when he grew up. He then asked them what was the most important part of being a Guardmouse. All three mice answered with different things, the overlong and wordy answers of Bran and Al going completely over the young mouse's head. But he was able to latch on to Penelope's advice to simply “Be brave.” Hands raised over his head in triumph he ran back to his friends and they scurried off chanting their new mantra “Be Brave! Be Brave!” Then the patrol delivered the mail to Finn, the postmaster in Sprucetuck, and they proceeded to get another good meal and a nights rest.

The trip from Sprucetuck to Dorigift was easy and calm and they dropped off the small amount of mail for that city with no real problems. A small spring rainstorm did tire them out but it was only a minor inconvenience. On the way to Gilpledge with the last of the mail Bran's path finding abilities failed him and they ended up starting to bed down for the night in a hollow tree trunk that was also inhabited by a startled raven. The bird's attention was quickly riveted on the mail bag that Penelope carried and a conflict ensued. Penelope once again leapt forward into the danger and boldly defended the mail and her patrol mates. Al followed his instincts and stayed back, offering suggestions and verbal support where he could, and Bran attempted to use his bow to create a distraction to assist Penelope in her attempt to slay the attacking raven. The battle was close and hard fought with both sides finally accomplishing their goals. The raven snatched the mail bag away, only to be brought down by an arrow from Bran as it fled.

The Guardmice quickly gathered up all the mail they could find, packing it back into the bag from where it had scattered when the raven landed. They settled in for the night with even more caution and the next day arrived in Gilpledge. Being a small town the mayor was in charge of things like distributing the mail and since he was very busy the patrol helped him to accomplish this task. As they did two mice stood out to them in the crowd. One, a middle aged, well dressed mouse in the clothing of a merchant or well off craftsman; the other a pretty young female mouse who seemed at first very excited about the arrival of the mail. The merchant studied the Guardmice, not really seeming to care about or pay attention to the mail. The young ladymouse was absolutely riveted as each name was called and each letter and package distributed. But as the stack grew smaller and smaller without her name being called her face fell lower and lower. At the end she fled quickly from the meeting hall, tears streaming down her face.

Bran attempted to catch her and find out what was wrong but he was accosted by the well dressed mouse, who identified himself as Martin, a well to do carpenter. He was overly excited but once Al calmed him down he explained that his daughter was scheduled to be married soon and how it would mean the world to her if he could include her grandmother's old rocking chair, a family heirloom, in her dowry. The problem was that the chair was still in the abandoned city of Walnutpeck, a city that fell during the Weasel Wars a few years ago. He told the patrol that he had been about to go himself to retrieve it, but now that the Guard were here they would surely help him on his quest.

At first the patrol members felt that their other duties were more pressing and that they couldn't spare the time; but Martin was quite convincing. Not to mention that he was arguing mostly with Bran, a mouse not used to such social situations; which led to them agreeing to help Martin to retrieve the heirloom. This agreement left Bran stunned, Al annoyed, and Penelope sullen. Martin hurried off to his home to prepare for the journey and the Guardmice went to the local tavern to collect themselves and discuss the situation. After much conversation Al hit on the idea of trying to find someone else from the guard to help the poor man out, because frankly Al was certainly too old for this type of thing. With a stroke of luck they were able to find a pair of Guardmice who were on their way back from a scouting mission out at the Scent Border, and Al pulled rank to get them to take over the mission of helping Martin.

The next morning as they set off they encountered the young ladymouse they had seen leaving the meeting hall in tears yesterday. She had what seemed to be all of her belongings on her back and was striding determinately and solitarily out of town. The Guardmice stopped her and questioned her as to what she was doing and where she was going. With a determined look and voice she told them her name was Loretta and explained that her fiance had traveled to far off Darkwater last spring looking for work, and should have sent her a letter telling her of his situation there and whether or not she should come to meet him. When she had not received a letter the previous day she had despaired and decided she couldn't wait any longer, so she was heading to Darkwater now and nothing would keep her from her beloved any longer.

The patrol quickly convinced her to travel with them and began to escort her back to Lockhaven. On the way back they went back by the hollow tree where the raven had attacked them and were able to find a few pieces of mail they had missed before, including the letter to Loretta. Unbeknownst to them they also encountered a small weasel patrol that had come pursuing the same raven in order to exact revenge on it for earlier conflicts with the bird. The weasels saw the mice and decided to ambush them that evening. As the mice sat around their fire the weasels leapt out and tried to seize them. Thanks to some quick thinking and cleverness on Al's part, the patrol and Loretta managed to escape the weasels, but they lost a good amount of their supplies as they fled. When they finally arrived back in Lockhaven they were tired, hungry, angry, and injured. The simple mail run had turned into quite an adventure. After being debriefed by Gwendolyn they all enjoyed a delicious meal cooked by Al and then collapsed into their own beds ready to rest and recuperate.

Mmmm, Bloga-licious

So on top of a place to record my random thoughts I had it pointed out to me that a blog is a good place to keep up on your writing and stay in practice of it. I've some writing projects I want to try and conquer over the next few months and I think that it is a good idea to work on my skill and discipline (to be read in cheezy Samurai Sensei voice).