Azure Ghosts and Emerald Vipers

Monday, June 14th, 2021

The second in the series of posts providing overviews of the Band of Blades campaign missions from one of our groups. Below are the three Mission Sheets written and designed for this, the third phase of the campaign, and some additional notes and thoughts about each, particularly in terms of meta-game events and influences on play and GM rulings.

General information and a full archive of previously posted sheets can be found on this page.

The third mission phase finds the Legion still camped out at Plainsworth, gathering Intel, Supplies, and the good will of the Aldermani people. Plus making some big plans that would end up affecting the rest of the campaign.

The primary mission! At this point, the Ghost Owls consisted of two members due to an ambush by Zenya, which ad decimated them and severely injured one of the Specialists. The two survivors of the squad heard rumors she was in the area, and went AWOL to enact their revenge (clearly the two deaths the Legion would suffer if they didn’t pursue the mission or succeed here). The leader of the re-instated deserters from the prior phase was put in charge of a newly reinforced Ghost Owls squad — accompanied by two volunteers from the Ember Wolves.

The usual players of the Ember Wolves’ Rookies involved made the decision for them to volunteer, so asking for volunteers is how the Marshal solved the problem of having the Ghost Owls (minus two) actually take this mission to retrieve their squadmates, and of avoiding hard feelings among the Ember Wolves if she had been forcibly restructured the squads.

However, we also played out, both in-camp and during the mission, a lot of head-butting between the Owls’ new leader, and the leader of the Wolves (volunteer; he felt he was more experienced). With the Medic trying to get everyone on the same page before the mission fell apart. It was a lot of fun.

Alternatively, I could have started the squad down two members — with the first obstacle being the missing squaddies retrieval, to bring the squad back to full (Scene: found captured by a patrol, freed by the squad, now they all must fight their way clear. OR: located by the squad as they plan a daring ambush against a group of Black Oak. Etc.) — or I could have started the mission immediately after a quick narration of how the squad had already located or rescued the other two Owls.

This was a player-created mission, but it was not pursued this phase. They decided to push this mission off until the next phase, presuming they stayed in Plainsworth for at least one more phase. Given there wasn’t anything pressing about the mission goals, or a time-table that would have prevented its execution later, I allowed it, though I did still apply the given penalty for ignoring the mission, explaining it as Zora being particularly unhappy at the delay.

The players had decided this mission tied into the mission to Ettenmark. They told me the particular crates the Commander had requested contained special keepsakes from a time before Vlaisim was Broken and became Render. Thus the Commander and Zora had a plan to try and weaken him using these things.

This means, in our campaign, the given dates are off: they would actually take place 9 days later. Also, note the Lorekeeper change between the mission start and end here…our Lorekeeper player had to bow out (it was planned and expected). In the fiction, we decided the Medic was assigned to keep the Legion’s records until a new Lorekeeper could be found and sworn-in (we had been actively looking for a new player to take the role, and just hadn’t found one yet).

This was where ignoring the mission to secure the lumbermill on the prior phase was coming back to bite them, and was an extension of the prior. However, the Marshal rolled a critical on the Engagement. Had the mission not gone well, or had they retreated, I meant to give a particular advance to Breaker when it came time to do so, and not do so if they succeeded. Unfortunately, some real-life issues intruded on play, and the narrative got lost in the shuffle — I messed up and gave her that advance anyways.

Though I provided a clock the Quartermaster could advance if he wanted to research the relic, I didn’t actually know what it was for, either, and figured we’d discuss it as a group when and if the clock filled — it felt more fun that way. It wasn’t the only time we used that group-decision method, either.

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