This is an extension of the scenario generation post I made a couple of weeks ago. The initial posting listed six general types of scenario and this list expands on one of those options. This time, the subject of the scenario is a "Persistent Predator".
Is the bear scraping up the soil of the island, hunting out the colonies winter seed supply? Maybe an eagle is constantly sweeping over the island and picking off the lookouts from their tree top hides. Perhaps a turtle has taken up residence where the main-land ferry usually docks. A single big predator could easily become a regular adversary in your Mecha Mice campaign.
Brown-pebble leapt across the rivulet, scaled the bank and turned to encourage the others.
"Come on! Not far now! You're nearly safe!" He checked his suit's power reading, only two pads green. Not good.
Three mice splashed through the water and raced passed him, he gave them a smile that was only painted on, and turned to scan the far bank. He could hear them coming. They were closer. Gaining on him and his charges.
He raced after the others darting through the grass and fallen leaves. He estimated the distance to the boats where his fellow Paw member, Shattered-egg, would be waiting. It was too far. The enemy would be tearing the mice apart long before they reached safety. As he ran he went over the path ahead in his mind. There was a stream with over hanging branches not too far from here, he could ambush the pursuers there, perhaps gain time for the others to reach Shattered-egg and the boat.
At the stream he jumped across and used the strength of the mecha suit to leap for the branches overhead. Swinging round a twig he ran along the branch back towards the water just in time to see the first three rats streak out of the grass. As they hit the water, he dived onto the back of the lead rat.
Shattered-egg snapped round as the three mice broke from the grass and raced down the beach towards him. He had the boat launched before they reached him, and was waist deep in the water helping the mice into the boat before he realised that Brown-pebble wasn't with them.
"He was right behind us!" All four mice stared up the beach hoping to see Brown-pebble appear. The mice in the boat gasped at the sounds of combat. Shattered-egg took one step towards the sand before remembering the mice in the boat. If he left them to help Brown-pebble they'd be defenceless.
Brown-pebble threw himself backwards as the rat jumped. He slapped into the water jamming the staff's base into the stream bed. The rat landed on the staff's point yelped and jumped back. Before brown-pebble could react he was grabbed by the leg and being swung through the air. The rat's teeth were clamped on his suit's foot and he could feel the beasts roar vibrating through the metal covering. It let go and he crashed face first into the water and a rat was on his back before he could rise.
Shattered-egg was torn. His duty was to protect the mice in the boat, but knowing his Paw-brother was fighting so near at hand wrenched at his heart. He pushed the boat a few more paces out onto the waters of the bay before halting head down with tears of frustration forming.
A space to breath. The rats surrounded Brown-pebble, five of them. They'd learnt that he was no simple mouse to be devoured as a meal, but now they saw him as a challenge to their honour. They circled, each looking for an opening.
Another pad on his power display faded to dark red. He didn't have long. He wondered if the others had reached the boat, had he given them enough time. With his power-staff lodged under one arm the power point forward, he reached in and unholstered his bolas, started them swinging.
The rat to his right was the first to move, he sent the bolas flying to entangle its feet. Another came from his right, Brown-pebble thrust the power staff into its face, the staff discharged with a crack. The third came from his front, its huge jaws closing over his face plate. He punched it in the throat as the staff was ripped from his other paw. The warning beep sounded as the last pad of his power indicator started to fade.
The boat floated a mouse-jump from the shore. The sounds of battle continued. The mice behind Shattered-egg urged him to paddle, they wanted to leave, but he just couldn't bring himself to abandon his Paw-brother.
Duty finally won out and he picked up a paddle. Just as he slid it into the water one of the other mice silently thrust out an arm pointing up the beach. Shattered-egg whipped round to see Brown-pebble stumble without mecha suit, covered in blood onto the sand. Rats burst out of the grass to either side of him, themselves battered and bloody, but looking terrifying and huge.
Shattered-egg and Brown-pebble's eyes met, an understanding born of training and utter truth passed between them. Brown-pebble gave a yell of triumph and leapt at the nearest rat. Shattered-egg turned, furiously dug his paddle into the water as tears ran like rain over his his fur.
Grey-bear is the head of the weavers guild of Carlyle. She has lead the weaving lessons and allocated mice to weaving duties for the last two years. The "Great Weaving House" in Carlyle produces all of the woven materials used by the Searbay mice.
Everything from the great tents and canopies used for celebration days right down to the hard wearing sandals used by the miners are produced in the weaving house. The tents themselves are kept on one of the house’s attached storehouses. Other nearby storehouses hold the other woven products until they are needed.
One of the most sought after cloths produced by the Weaving house are the rarely produced silken blankets. These wonderfully warm and soft blankets are given to new mothers to swaddle their pinkies and traditionally they are handed onto the eldest as it comes of age. The reason these are in such short supply is that it is rarely that the silk producing worms appear on the island. Sometimes the Mecha Corp return with a worm or two that they discover while on their patrols, but this is very rare as they have more pressing duties.
As well as producing tents, and clothing, the woven materials of The Great Weaving House are used for other purposes. For instance they produce mats in various sizes. These are used to line tunnels, and for creating the roof of the covered way to the black-stone mine. Also as a platforms for crossing mud, which are used by the down-collectors who work among the water reeds. Surprisingly some of the boatmen use the mats to form the body of their coracles (subsequently sealed).
Inside the weaving house mice work in specific areas each mouse having a specific skill and working on a production line to create one type of item. There are similarities in the way weaving workers are organised to that of the Mecha Corp. They use the term “Paw” to describe a team of product specialists.
This is the third post expanding on the original scenario generator , and this time we're looking at possible natural disasters that you can use as the basis of a scenario.
Anything from a fire raging across the island heading for Carlyle, to a miasma of mosquitoes draining every mouse's life blood. The concept of using a natural disaster is ripe for exploitation during play. Even if the main scenario isn't based on an event in this table, you could use this as a sub list to add spice to the main story.
Blowing-feather crouched on the fallen log scanning the trees and the sky overhead. Her eyes also watched the gaps between the trees, constant vigilance was a requirement of the Corp and the duty was her life. Her ears however couldn’t ignore the conversation taking place below.
“Why should I come with you?”
“I’ve told you. You’ll be safer as part of the community. You’re safer on the island. We don’t let the thousand enemies onto the island.” That was Daisy-petal repeating himself again.
“Over the water! Are you crazy? My family can’t swim that far and there could be anything is the water just waiting for the chance to eat us!”
“We'd be there to protect you, and we go over the water you wouldn’t even get wet. You’d be safe, not just on the way, but for the rest of your life.”
“So what about-” He stopped suddenly at a shout from above.
“Sir!” Blowing-feather pulled her staff from its sheath. “Owl.” The word was whispered as she snapped her visor closed.
“Down!” Daisy-petal thrust the outlander mouse into the leaf mould and turned following Blowing-feather’s gaze.
The owl was coming fast, swinging left and right through the branches with its eyes locked onto Blowing-feather. Daisy-petal unpouched his bolas and stepped clear of the log spinning them above his head. It would be mere breaths until it reached them, but enough time for him to wonder if the owl had met the Mecha Corp before. If it had, it would recognise the suits and swing away.
It started a dive and that answered the question, it was new to the area. A sly smile twitched onto his face. “Time to teach the beast a lesson.”
Blowing-feather raced along the log toward the oncoming owl, the last thing it would expect. Daisy-petal shouted as loud as he could and let his bola fly. The powerful arms of the Mecha suit gave strength to the bolas flight and as he had planned, his shout had attracted the owls gaze for a moment. A moment that gave Blowing-feather her opening.
In the that heart-beat she leapt, clearing the owls reaching talons and smashing into its soft underbelly. She thrust her power staff into the down and it discharged. The owl flinched at the shock just as the bolas whipped into its face. With a deafening squeal it turned suddenly away. There was utter silence for three breaths. The outland mouse gasped and lifted his head in time to see Blowing-feather smash in a tree and tumble to earth a good distance off.
"I've never seen any mouse stand up to an owl."
"It's what we do." Daisy-petal closed his bola pouch. He wrinkled his nose. They had been good bolas, he would regret their loss.
"It's a shame it killed you friend."
"Yes. Were you good friends?"
"She is not dead." He rested a hand on the nervous outland's shoulder.
"But, the owl. She hit the tree."
Blowing-feather appeared back on top of the log. "We need to go."
Daisy-petal smiled up at her and noted the discharge burns on her staff. They were running out of weapons. "We're heading back to the island. Will you come with us?"
The outland mouse was staring open mouthed at Blowing-feather. He blinked, turned to Daisy-petal , nodded.
"Get your family. We need to move quickly and reach home before full dark."
C'luin is what is known as an "outland" mouse. That's a mouse not born on Searbay island but born on the mainland. He was discovered by a Mecha Corp patrol wandering the grasslands, injured and starving.
He was carried to island and nursed back to health. His story was all too familiar. His home destroyed, and his family killed by a predator that he didn't even clearly see. His only memory of the attack was of his family screaming as giant paws scraped away the roof to his home, and a giant betoothed maw reaching for him. He does not choose to speak of it.
C'luin fitted into the Carlyle community quickly and without trouble and soon became a trusted and reliable community member. Without prompting he took to leading the collection and processing of wood and grass for the meeting-hall fires. He it often seen out in the wilds of the island collecting bundles for drying and storage.
He has few close friends and uses few words but everyone knows and respects him. He has often paused from his own duties to help another before moving on, without waiting for signs of gratitude. During one winter feast, the community got together to shower him with gifts and other signs of honour and gratitude. He was deeply moved as everyone present could tell, but he he could not speak. In the days that followed, it was noted that he was handing out the gifts he had received but always to those who had a need. Once again proving his grace and wisdom to the community.
A few posts back I gave a list of six categories that can form the basis of a Mecha Mice scenario, one of those categories was "Shortages". Here's an expanded list of shortages that can form the basis of a scenario
Once you've rolled/chosen your option spend a little while thinking about how the mouse society is going to be effected and what might have to be done to resolve the issue.
A shortage of food is an obvious crisis, but what happened to the food? Did it get wet and rot? if so, are the tunnels still flooded, do they need to be drained?
A work force shortage might be due to industrial action, or an attack by one of the thousand enemies. If no one is left to mine black-stone, how will they make metal tools! If there's no one to collect the seed during summer, how can they find more mice to do the work. Remember mouse society is structured around "face" and convincing a member of the Mecha Corp to lower herself to "collect seed" would cause a lot of friction and insult.
The mice used to mine black-stone on the island but not any longer. The island mine ran out of black-stone about four years ago. Searching the nearby mainland for another source of black-stone was an epic adventure, but more black-stone was found.
The new mine is out of sight of the island over the hill crest. The journey to the new mine is perilous but many mice have to make that trip almost every day. In an effort to make the journey to the mine less dangerous a safe-path is being constructed on the mainland from the beach all the way to the mine. It is not complete yet and probably wont be completed for another year or two.
The safe path is a combination of full tunnel and covered way. It starts beneath a rock on the beach and heads uphill towards the mine. The tunnel passes under the rock and on the far side a ditch has been excavated and covered over with twigs and grass. The long term plan is eventually to dig this ditch deeper and cover it over with soil making it a complete tunnel, but that is going to have to wait until the covered way is completed.
The full journey to the mine, crosses the water of the bay, climbs the beach, dives into the short tunnel under the rock and along the covered way which already reaches to the top of the first hill. From that point mice have to rely on their wits and the protection of the Mecha Corp as they run to the mine in the valley beyond.
Each day as the mice return with their loads of black-stone, they spend a short time to extend the covered way a little.
Following on from the post before last when I listed some core possibilities for scenarios, here's another simple list expanding on the political options. This is just a suggestion, and you shouldn't limit yourself to just these.
Jurisdiction clash between Corp and Cops
Secessionist group wishes to seek another island
A split in the council over which work needs to be done
Floating-seed’s eyes were tightly closed and she really didn’t want to open them. However, the training given her as a member of the Mecha Corp was squeaking away at the back of her mind. “Open your eyes Floating-seed, see, assess, react.” Over and over the words bubbled up, but her eyes remained shut as her heart pounded so fast she thought she might die. Then the repeating words morphed, changing from her own voice into the sounds and words of her Paw leader.
She opened her eyes, and gasped.
Below her, so very far below, were the waters that surrounded Searbay island, the waters that kept them safe. As she thought of that she shook her head and felt the sad irony. She wasn’t safe now, the water hadn’t kept her safe from…A bird. A glance to her waist showed a taloned foot gripping her armoured waist. She turned her head straining to look upwards at the beast that had her. Grey and brown feathers and a great hooked beak. She started shaking, she’d never been so close to one of the enemies. In all her thirty days in the Corp she’d never once had had to use her weapons.
At the thought of weapons she went to reach for her power staff, but her foreleg was pinned by the hawks massive foot. Besides, she could see the staff was also pinned and bent out of shape, probably wouldn’t work. Her other foreleg was free and after a little effort she discovered she could reach her bolas.
In the hawks claws flying away from Searbay.
Power staff useless, only one forepaw free, bolas to hand.
She unbuckled the pouch and pulled the bolas free. She needed its full length so she let it slide though her metal gloved paw until she grasped the rope just above one of the balls. She got it spinning, and then keeping a firm grasp on the rope swung the other end to smack into the neck of the hawk. Nothing, no reaction. She swung again. This time the bird issued a tremendous screech and bent its head down. Floating-seed screamed as the huge pointed beak sped towards her face, only to be deflected from the suits glass helmet. Still screaming with fear she swung the bolas again, the far end swung around the pointed end of the beak and in the same instant she twisted her wrist , winding the other end around her suit glove.
The bird couldn’t pull its head free. It screeched again, flipped through a barrel roll, kept tugging at the wired bolas and then it let go with its claw. With a flick of its mighty head Floating-seed was whiplashed into freedom and flying through the air.
As Floating-seed tumbled through the air she realised the water of the bay was behind her and that below was a canopy of woodland trees. Somewhere above her the hawk screeched at its lost prey but she paid it no heed, she concentrated on the woods below looking for way to survive a landing. One problem at a time she thought
When it comes to actually playing Mecha Mice you need to base your game around a core adventure, a mission, an objective, something that must be done or overcome. The following table is provided to give you a starting place when coming up with a scenario. I plan to extend and expand on this tiny (mouse-sized?) table. Remember to come back, there will be more.
The Draydem scouts is a goup for young mice who find learning of lists difficult and thus are not suited to learning a trade that requires such education. The members of this group instead focus on self-improvement, with speed and agility being foremost. They carry messages as rapidly as possible across Searbay for all manner of reasons.
In the early days of their training to are sent into the wild parts of Searbay island to seek for berries, nuts and other wild foods which are brought back to the store houses. This is not especially dangerous work, although the squirrels can be a danger if they think some mouse is stealing their horde of nuts. The hawks and eagles that fly over present the main danger to a mouse in the wilds, but that danger is a part of training. It’s during this training that they say the scouts develop their third eye.
“One for the grass, one for the trees, and one for the sky.”
When times are difficult and food hard to come by, the scouts venture to mainland in search of food. This tends to only happen in the very worst of years as the commune works very hard to remain self-sufficient. Such expeditions are strictly carried out in small working parties each with a member of the Mecha Corp along to offer protection. This is extremely dangerous work and members of the Draydem scouts are honored for taking part.
Many young mice that have passed through the scouts have gone on to join the Mecha Corp or Carlyle police when they come of age. Those that don’t take that route often go onto the other more physical careers such as farming, mining and boating.
Nettle-stem the apothecary made a number of astounding discoveries during his lifetime, but the most useful to an island nation was the “drowning-brew”. This elixir could be administered to a mouse that had drowned, and if administered quickly enough would bring the mouse coughing and spluttering back to life.
As with many discoveries this too was an accident. It was an experimental burn ointment that he mistakenly carried to a drowning incident. A frantic young mouse had grabbed the flask from his hand and administered it to the algae collector who had fallen from his boat.
When the dead boatman jumped up gasping for breath, many mice ran away afraid, but Nettle-stem danced for joy and started composing the ingredients poem as he walked back to his workshop. That poem is taught to all academically minded mice as part of their schooling, and the brew is produced on a regular basis and the freshest batch sealed and kept close at all water activities.
The Black-face wire works in Carlyle is one of the larger manufactory buildings in the city. The output of the enterprise is a vital constituent in many of the electronic devices produced in the city. However it's primary reason for existing is to provide the delicate wiring needed for the construction of the Power Suits for the Mech Core.
The building runs from the top of a hill to its base in an odd long thin building. The red-dirt and the black-stone go into the building at the top. Wire comes out of the doors at the bottom. Thirty mice work inside the building as many again work outside constantly shifting the red-dirt and black-stone from the docks up to the top of the hill.
Those inside always emerge from a work shift with faces blackened by dust and sometimes burned, and a season never passes without some poor mouse being lost to accident within the walls.
The pounding of hammers during the working times acts as signal to the nearby school mice that they must learn hard and fast and that they can only rest when the hammers stop.
Yellow-flower jumped the branch and landed in the grass beyond. He kept low as he ran through the grass, the green blades whiplashed across the glass dome of his helmet and he pushed onwards as fast as he could.
There was a deep bass grunt from behind, Yellow-flower didn't dare a look. He knew what it was, and he knew the wolf was close. It had been close all through the chase. He dived left round a small sapling, then right round an upthrust rock.. Yellow-flower tried to concentrate only on running, but when his suit beeped in his ear his eyes flicked to the power-paw next to his chin. Two pads of the display were red. Two power cells drained. Only one pad was flashing pure green, the others were draining fast. He dared not think about what it would mean if the suit lost power here so far from home with a wolf on his tail.
How far was it now, how far to the water? He had no idea, Butterfly-sky had the map, but Butteryfly-sky was gone, most likely dead. Was he even heading the right way? Just keep running, that was his only hope.
The grass started to thin, Yellow-flower could run faster. The pounding of the wolfs feet was there right behind him. The thinner grass could mean he was nearing the slope down to the water. The next power pad winked from green to red. No! Hope was dying as he neared safety.
Then he was out of the grass and the water was there below him only two throws away. He jinked left aware that in the open he couldn't out run the wolf. The monster's jaws snapped on empty air to his right, far too close. He needed a break, something to open the gap or he was dead before he reached the water.
A large rock loomed suddenly in front of Yellow-flower. Grasping his Power-staff he leapt for the rock, smashed into the surface only his power suit making it survivable, and with every ounce of strength jumped straight back towards the open mouth of the wolf.
Too quick for the wolf to react Yellow-flower rammed the staff up it's nose tumbled over its head and crashed to the ground behind it. The power-paw beeped as another indicator flashed to red. He didn't look at it. In an instant he was on his feet and running for the water.
Behind he heard the wolfs snarl turn into a yowl of pain as the power staff discharged. He leaped into the air to hit the water as far out as possible and plopped down at least a wolfs length from the shore. When he bobbed back to the surface already swimming for the island of Searbay he dared a glance back, to see the wolf prowling the shoreline and looking right at him.
Another beep drew hit attention back to the power display. Only one pad had any green left it it. Well, he thought, one problem at a time, and concentrated on swimming smoothly to make the power last.
The island of Searbay is pretty big. It's no dot on the surface of the water. Its coast has beaches and coves, and even cliffs. In general the island rises towards it's center but there is not a single noticable peak as the landscape of the island undulates.
There are woods, scrub, grass and rocky areas. Much of the woodland is deciduous, although some of the rocky areas have various sorts of pines. These areas are generally avoided by most mice as the squirrels tend to urinate on any mice that roam beneath those trees.
The island sits in a huge natural bay and has a healthy amount of water between it and the mainland beyond. The waters are often rough and rarely freeze even in the coldest of winters. There are stories told of a winter where the waters froze and bears crossed to the island. They are dark stories and many refuse to tell them.
The mainland is more mysterious and more dangerous than the island. Many mice never leave the island and of those that do, many don't return. Entire Paws of the Mecha Core have disappeared, they were seen reaching the mainland beach and climbing to the grass beyond, never to be seen again.
The beaches of the mainland front green rocky hills and the tops of trees can be seen beyond. The Corp maintains a map of the land beyond but it is considered unreliable.
The cops in Carlyle were formed before the Mecha Corp was ever even conceived, they are the senior service. Their origin is remembered in oral lore and is always tied to the name of Sandy-hole. Sandy-hole was one of the original enlightened ones, those that brought the first communes into being, and it was his decree that formed the first police force.
The communes early days were filled with strife, both that caused by the thousand enemies and that wrought by mice used to self sufficiency and going-it-alone. The adjustment to communal life was hard. For in all of mousekind's history no family had ever helped another, the words of the enlightened were difficult to believe, and so Sandy-hole formed a sacred brotherhood of mice to settle disputes for the betterment of the commune.
The brotherhood's members had to give up their family and act as mediators and yes, even pacifiers when mouse could not agree with mouse. If a mouse could not accept the commune's agreement the brotherhood had the duty of finding them a new homestead and escorting them from the island.
In time, as the generations passed and communal life on Searbay came naturally to its inhabitants, the brotherhood's role changed to that of watch-keeper. Now they are known as the police (or sometimes cops) and they patrol the streets keeping trouble to a minimum, helping those in need, and standing ever ready to protect the city.