Saturday, February 25, 2012

Mouse Guard at Game Day

So the NWARPG group had a monthly Game Day today, and I got to finally play in a game of Mouse Guard.  After multiple times running the game, it was wonderful to finally have the chance to actually play.  My mouse was Fandris Darkfur, the grizzled oldfur patrol leader with a penchant for Weather Watching and Survivalism.

Our adventure started when out patrol was called to Gwendolyn's office.  She informed us that the northern town of Dawnrock was currently playing host to the refugees from the nearby towns of Whitepine and Elmwood.  Spring thaws and early rains had come together to cause massive flooding in those two towns and many mice had had to flee and seek shelter elsewhere.  Our patrol, which consisted of myself, the seasoned scout Patrol Guard Finn, the bold Guardmouse Aria, and the two new Tenderpaws Mil and Ian, were to escort a caravan of beetle pulled carts loaded with supplies up to Dawnrock and assist the city and its refugee population.  In an aside after the rest of the patrol was dismissed Gwendolyn also instructed me, as the patrol leader, to watch over a popular politician named Jasper who was also being sent along to help with unrest and morale.

We grabbed out swords and slings and cloaks and struck out into the wilderness, a trio of beetles harnessed to heavily loaded carts, and their handlers coming along with us.  Finn led the way, scouting out dangers and blazing a path.  Ian, with help and protection from Aria, provided extra paws and a go between for communication between Finn and the caravan.  I predicted a clear and sunny day, perfect for traveling.  Unfortunately those conditions were actually to be found somewhere else, and more spring showers plagued us as we traveled.  We did successfully make our way to the halfway point of Thistledown, but much of our own personal supplies were ruined in the rain and we all arrived quite hungry and bedraggled.

I took it upon myself to find nutritious and hearty food for the patrol, and was able to successfully acquire a bountiful supply of delicious hardtack.  After making sure everyone was well supplied with the new rations, and instructing Mil the tenderpaw on the various culinary and military uses for the versatile substance, we settled down for the night and slept soundly.

The next day we enjoyed an early morning meal of hardtack, which is wonderful for the digestion by the way, as well as an endless source of energy for the day ahead, and then we headed out on the next leg of our journey.  I took a closer look at the weather signs today and this time was very certain of clear skies and good traveling conditions.  Being old, I don't have a good grasp of time, and must have been predicting the next day, for it rained once again.  Just as I predicted, as far as I remember.  Angered by the terrible weather, but safe in the knowledge of the emergency nautical application of hardtack, I led us forward into the wilderness once more.

Again our veteran scout Finn took lead, with help from both of the tenderpaws this time, Mil scouting ahead with him, and Ian scouting the rear and filling the role of rearguard with Aria.  I took it upon myself to make sure the carts and Jasper were well guarded, by staying as close to them as possible.  Sometimes a leader must sacrifice for the good of the mission.

Our forward scouts found signs of a snake in our path and reported quickly back to us.  I had Finn find us a safe and hidden path through the area, and we managed to get the carts and civilians past the danger; but the snake spotted our rear guard and moved to attack.  Ian and Aria boldly rushed to defend the caravan and drive off the snake, while the rest of the patrol moved to join and support them.

The battle was hard fought and filled with danger.  Both sides moved cautiously at first, maneuvering and assessing the others capabilities, while carefully striking out when opportunities arose.  Ian and Aria quickly became emboldened by their fighting spirit and pressed the attack at every turn.  Finn, Mil, and myself continued to harry and harass the reptile, mostly creating a stalemate between us.  Finally though, Ian defeated the creature with a victorious blow and drove it off back to the dark depths of the woods from whence it came.  The victory was hard won though, as both Ian and Aria received wounds that, while not life threatening, were still severe indeed.

In the chaotic aftermath I stepped forward as leader and brought mice and beetle alike back under control and to a state of calm and focus.  With assurances of the nearness of our destination and the importance of our missions I pushed the patrol to continue on and we shortly reached Dawnrock.

The city was in a sad state, with tents and refugees everywhere.  We moved quickly to turn over and distribute our supplies, causing much happiness and gratitude from the leaders and common mice alike.  Jasper moved among the people, speaking kind words and platitudes, assuring folks of the help that was here and that would come in the future.  I to followed this path, speaking specifically to the promises of help and compassion from the Guard.  Mil showed her skilled hand at the Healer's arts, tending to the injured and sick; while Finn ignored his own exhaustion and discomfort to scour the nearby area for more healing herbs and supplies to help out.

Ian attempted to do the same, but Finn chastised him for not taking care of himself and convinced him to rest and care for his own injuries.  Ian's injury must have been worse than we thought at first, because despite rest and care he was unable to completely recover and still suffered from the wound.  Aria was able to overcome her hurts thankfully though.  Feeling good about the good work we had done, and enjoying the calming presence of the nearby waters and coast I was able to take some time to myself and meditate and let go of my anger as well.

We close the session out there, and gave out rewards.  Most folks played well to their belief or instinct and/or accomplished their goals.  Ian was named MVP for the session, Finn received the Workhorse reward, and I was awarded the Embodiment award.  We broke there and everyone was quite happy with the game session and the roleplay as far as I could tell.  I know I enjoyed the heck out of it.  Hopefully I can play more Mouse Guard at some point in the future, though I think for next game day I will be planning on running Dungeon World.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dungeon World

So I have totally fallen in love with the simplicity and elegance of the rpg Dungeon World.  I have been intrigued by the Apocalypse World Engine since I first heard about it and very much enjoyed playing Dungeon World when I got the chance.  Afterwards I listened to the Walking Eye AP podcast of DW, and became very determined to run the game for some more friends of mine so that they could experience it as well.

So the other night I got the chance to run a game with a couple of friends and jumped on it.  We did the same adventure that I got to play, The Bloodstone Idol, because I figure the familiarity would be nice for the first game I was trying to run.  They chose the Wizard and the Cleric for their characters.

Starting out the PCs managed to find the above ground hidden entrance and sneak in the back way.  Shortly after entering the underground tunnels they encountered the home of the goblin clan and with spell and sword they managed to carve their way through to the tunnels beyond.

Coming out halfway down the enormously vaulted chamber with the Idol itself they carefully made their way to the bottom using ropes and scaffolding.  They dropped into the middle of a battle, having to take defensive action and move quickly to get out of the crossfire between the goblins and the lizardmen.  Upon reaching the "safe" side of the cavern they were able to luckily locate the hidden cache.

After supplementing their supplies with the potions, rations, and items in the cache they proceeded to sneak across the Idol chamber and out the other side, coming across Grundloch's Illusion chamber.  They proceeded to charge directly into battle with the phantasms, feeling like quite the fools when they discovered the fact that the current enemies did not really exist.  :)

The advisors in the Parliament room answered the PCs questions, providing valuable information about the big bad evil guy in the next room.  Armed with this knowledge they proceeded in the laboratory lair of the Grundloch.

The epic final battle was quite enjoyable, as the two PCs fought valiantly against the mad scientist-esque Grundloch and his arcane golem.  The battle was close, but the PCs prevailed and defeated him.  We ended the game with me totally stealing a page out of the Walking Eye's play book and doing a cinematic pan out of from the two heroes as they set up camp before heading back out of the dungeon depths, passing by all the various baddies they would have to fight on their way out.

Overall I had fun, and so did they.  I feel good about the system, and I think they would be interested in playing some more.  I hope to also introduce my other RP group to the game soon, and run a longer campaign.