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September 29th — The Eleventh Tribe, Session Two

This week we return to the 11th Tribe, but with a slightly different cast of players — Alistair has to drop out, but Jaimie and Rick take his place, bringing us up to 4 characters. Jaimie's Dusty is a four-year-old failed tinkerer from Tangle, while Rick's Lozenge is a two-year-old from Ghost with a great destiny written in her fur!

To Carpet Tile

Year One, Spring

Following on from last week, the 11th Tribe head to Carpet Tile. Along the way they run short of food, and can't resist the smell of something sweet and edible in the distance. It proves to be a pair of brightly-wrapped sweets dropped by an Eater. The sweets are perched on a metal grid above the one they are making their way along, so getting their paws on them requires some climbing and rigging up a winch to lower them down, but they manage the task and refill their pouches.

The Clippies

Soon the tribe reaches an outpost of Carpet Tile. Half of the Tribe (including wrestler Pock, survivalist Husk, and Cobalt's snail Dartagnan) stay in the Between, while the others venture closer. They encounter a mouse with red ink on its fur who, clearly afraid of the secretaries, refuses to speak to them. It says it has been red lined and could be punished more for speaking to them. Eventually they persuade it to tell them where they might find Refil, and then leave it alone.

Refil proves to be away, but they encounter Legal, another Clippy, who explains to them how the Clippies are a minority in Carpet Tile and poorly treated. This is especially true in this bit of the nest, where the Secretary (like a sub-chief) Arch particularly dislikes them. It is Arch, the learn, who saw Refil's mate Entricod punished for having a litter without permission. Entricod has been red-lined and sent to Darkest, the main part of the nest. Refil turns out to have been trading for scraps in the hope of buying back Entricod's freedom from Arch.

They meet the rest of the Clippies here — Loop and Bic, and the yearlings, Tack, Pritt, and Scotch — and learn that there is even worse news! Two of Refil's kits — Patch and Tiny — got lost along the way back from the Meeting Place, and Refil couldn't find them. Instead she was forced to leave them behind!


The party want to recruit the persecuted Clippies into their tribe, but its clear that they are nervous, hidebound, hesitant. Obviously some rescue attempts are warranted! Lozenge insists that they rescue the kits at once, and after getting directions to where they were lost, go in search.

Following Cobalt's keen nose they find Refil's sleeping spot, and work out where the kits went — into a network of old wiring and insulation. When they find the kits they have dug themselves into the middle of a knot of wires to escape a swarm of hide beetles, who are crawling all over looking for food. Cobalt charges in, but is overwhelmed by bristly larvae! (Takes 2 Hurt).

Dusty waves food to distract the beetles away, allowing Lozenge and Tribble to try and extract the kits from amongst the naked wires. Luckily Tribble grew up around burning lines, and is able to direct Lozenge. Poor Tiny is hurt, but Patch is very grateful to Lozenge, and promises to have lots of pups with her when she is grown up.


When the party return with the kits, Refil — who has returned empty pawed — is overwhelmed, and impulsively offers to join the tribe, but the 11th Tribe isn't done, they insist on rescuing Entricod too!

This involves making their way to Darkest, and finding a way past the bureaucracy there. Legal produces a document for them, and explains the fur markings — Secretaries and their Guardians use blue ink, criminals are marked with red, and others use black ink. He also explains that they will have to Cross the Empty! (drumroll)

The empty in question is a carpeted corridor. The sight of it is enough to make most of the party terrified (1 Afraid), but they press on ... only to see an Eater coming around the corridor! Luckily they manage to scurry around the corner without being spotted, and squeeze under the massive wooden vertical that separates the empty from Darkest.

Darkest is nestled in the between beside a place that the Eaters fill with paper. They encounter red-lined mice working at gathering paper, along with Guardians with blue ink on their faces. When they approach, they are stopped by two Guardians who want to see their 'papers'. The younger Guardian is keen, but the older one sends him off to check the 'log book' so that he can invite the party to bribe him for papers, which they duly do. Once past the guards they find a teeming nest made from chewed and torn paper, where red-lined Hylin do the work while blue-pawed Secretaries scurry by.

The party splits up. Tribble and Dusty create a distraction by asking to see the Senior Secretary, while Lozenge and Cobalt go to look for Entricod. Luckily Cobalt has a pouch of blue chalk that she uses on her fur, so Lozenge powders herself to look like a Secretary. When they find Entricod in a work party they manage to fast-talk the Guardian into handing him over by waving Legal's fake paperwork, and scarper!

New Members

Entricod leads them back to the other Clippies, who are so overwhelmed that they all join the 11th tribe!


  • I used the same sort of system for recruiting the Clippies as I used for the Bondmice in the previous campaign. 8 successes would cause Refil to join them, 10 would get Bic's family too. Successes could come from Persuasion tests, or from completing the two rescue missions, which were worth 4 successes each.
  • The mini-challenges worked well, though I may not have explained Tinkering all that well.

September 22nd — The Eleventh Tribe, Session One

The 22nd of September saw the start of the Autumn term at my local gaming club, and therefore the start of a new campaign!

This time I am attempting a more open world/sandbox style of play. Following on from Conpulsion 2019 adventure, we return to the world of The Ten Tribes, one week after the last game. It is the holy season of Xmaz in the Ten Tribes of Factori, and Paperclip — the Queen who ruled for one day, before abdicating and vanishing — has just declared the existence of an eleventh tribe, a home for outcasts like her.

Three players — Alistair, Ryan, and Robyn — sat down to create the Eleventh Tribe (a 4th, sadly had to leave halfway through).

Instead of the normal Tribe Creation system (6 dice, three traits, abilities) we made a tribe with 3 dice, 1 trait, and no abilities — everything will come through play, so we will get to test out the Tribe growth (or diminishment) rules I worked on over the summer to see if they can successfully increase the Tribe, or whether it will founder.

Seeking Recruits, and a place to live

Year One, Rain

Three renegade Hylin — Pock, Tribble, and Cobalt — form half of the 11th Tribe's founding members. The seventh is Paperclip, still missing. The other six agree that their tribe won't have a Chief (for now) and will decide everything with a simple majority vote of their Tribe council, who right now consist of the six of them. What happens if (when) the tribe grows isn't entirely clear.

Lacking supplies, numbers, and most importantly a place to live, the 11th tribe has hung around the meeting place — where the Queen made her announcement — looking for new recruits amongst the gradually dispersing crowd of Hylin who gathered when the old queen was dying. They are woken up by the noisy chatter of the seven pups belonging to a Carpet Tile mouse named Refill, who appeared to have come to the gathering alone with a load of food to trade.

Refill is looking to sell her last five pots of hungdu paste, and the players decided it might be a good idea to trade with her, and possibly find out if she was interested in joining their tribe. The trade goes well, but Refill grows defensive when asked if she had a mate at home. Cobalt's attempts to help only make things worse, but Pock has a flashback to a time when he was taking part in the annual underground Carpet Tile wrestling contest. He remembers that Carpet Tile believed in arranged matings. Was it possible that since Refill was from an apparently persecuted minority her mate had been taken away? He manages to communicate his inspiration to Tribble (through coded whisker-taps) and get him to change tack.

Tribble promises — without a vote — that the 11th tribe will soon be visiting Carpet Tile on a "recruitment drive" and manages to drop hints about how the tribe would be a place of freedom and choice; enough so that are sure Refill will go back to her people and say good things about the 11th (i.e. Tribble spent 4 successes on it!).


  • Most of the session was spent on character generation. Two people used the new online character generator, and it seemed to work fine.
  • The flashback went perfectly. Alistair spent Luck when I won the roll and threatened to use a fact to say that he won the contest, but cheated.

April 6th — Conpulsion 2019

Conpulsion 2019 (my local Edinburgh gaming con) brought me the opportunity for another game of InBetween.

Here's this year's blurb:

David Donachie is running Stealing Death using InBetween. Long ago the ten warring Tribes were brought together under the rule of a single great Chief, a Queen. For the first time the mice of Under-Boiler, Many-Rivers, Conduit, and all the rest, knew peace from the constant conflict that had marred their lives. Now that peace is at risk. The Queen has died before the sacred day of Xmaz when a new Queen can be chosen, and the Tribes are ready to go to war once more. There is only one desperate answer, you must steal the Queen back from Death itself! The quickest, sneakiest, most cunning mice have been chosen. You have a single day, a mission, and no idea how it can be done!

In Stealing Death, five Hylin were set a near impossible task, to steal back their Queen from Death itself.

In the realm of the Ten Tribes the Queen is the one thing that ensures peace between each of the Hylin nests. At the time of Xamaz she can choose a successor, if not, it's sure to be war — but she has died with days to go.

Justin Matters, Tiggs Cunningham, Ruth Durie, Mark Gould, and Emelia took the parts of the Queen's trusted advisors, Dandelion the messenger, Copper the seer, Regulus the champion, Paperclip the thief, and Ampere the tinkerer to take on the quest.

Threading their way through the crowd waiting to hear about the Queen's fate they rode fast mice to the Ghost Tribe's nest, read the map tatooed on the old Abbot's ears, and braved the inanse road to Death's Kingdom, where they saw Death seated on a pale beast (a stoat).

There they stole across the bridge over the Styx, and confronted the endless hordes of the dead. Amongst the many ghosts were their own loved ones — blind and deaf, but drawn to the feeling of living Hylin.

The party was nearly overwhelmed, but realised that they could give a little of their own life force (as Luck) to bring their loved ones back (or in Regulus' case, to strike down once again the old champion he overthrew many years ago).

With their aid they found the Queen, and persuaded her to return. Knowing, however, that Death obsessively counted each of the dead, and would know if one were missing, both Copper and Dandelion offered to stay behind. They challenged Death and told it that its count was wrong, which distracted it long enough for the others to flee all the way to the bridge. That was when Death saw that they were fleeing and gave chase, its beast transforming into something huge and fast (a fox).

While Ampere, Regulus, Paperclip and the Queen fled (along with Ampere's dead brother), Copper and Dandelion did their besst to try and distract Death. They shot the beast with Dandelion's pistol, and drove the dead to try and escape. Even so Death (now mounted on a snake) almost caught them, but at the last moment they reached a way too narrow for him, and left him behind.

Back in the realm of the living, the Queen named Paperclip as her successor, but the theif would have none of it, and passed on the job to someone else at once, but not before instituting an eleventh tribe for all the outcasts like her.

March 27th - Endgame

It is the Blitz, 1939. All across London, ancient houses are blown to pieces. Fire rages, the night is full of flames and the beams of searchlights. One accidental target is a Victorian gatehouse, standing at the end of what was once the drive of a private house. Long since converted into three small flats, the building still houses what was once the butler's cellar.

Most of the house's inhabitants have already left. Mr Connor was drafted earlier in the war, his children — and even his cat — evacuated over the winter, while his upstairs neighbour, a lone man of German descent, emptied his hidden strongbox of cash and fled the onset of war. Only poor Mrs Connor falls victim to the bomb that hits the house .... Mrs Connor, and two desperate tribes of Hylins and Rats ...

In the walls

The bomb causes instant and widespread damage. The roof above the Connor children's room collapses, taking down the next door chimney, which crashes through the upper floor, bursting water pipes as it goes. The incendiary itself hits the lower floor, starting a rapid blaze that consumes the basement first, then spreads upwards. Meanwhile the wall that runs opposite the chimney (and separates the wine cellar from the coal cellar) half-collapses ...

Deep within the wall, the Cold Stone tribe and their Bondmice allies are trapped by the falling wall. When the dust clears and the roar of the collapse fades, they find themselves separated and scattered, squeezed into the tiny spaces between the bricks. Most of them can't even see another Hylin, or — if they can — only one or two. Everyone takes 1 Afraid.

Slowly the survivors set about trying to find each other. Luckily some of the Bondmice are skilled diggers (Chardonnay's player took on Kindling, and Jinzu's player, who turned up unexpectedly, also takes on a Bondmouse), and they slowly manage to dig through enough rubble to get some of the groups together, although there is a constant danger of further collapse. In one incident Merlot is hit by a falling lump of brick, and her walking stick is broken (which upsets the player more than her death might have done!); in another a further collapse separates two groups who had just managed to get back together.

It takes a long time for the Hylin to gather, but eventually the survivors resume their journey back down the wall, counting their casualties and injuries.

Before they reach the bottom, however, the Seers — Merlot and the more distant Behold (back at the nest) as well as everyone else touched by the Green Fairy — find themselves dragged into an apocalyptic vision! Not their vision, but Absinthe's. The old seer speaks to them from out of the flames, the nest is burning, and the Ladder of Heaven as well! He tells them that his vision has finally come true. This is the time of the fire, the flood, the end of the Tribe! But there is time for one last vision. Behold sees his family safely on Jinzu's ship, Jinzu sees them meeting up, while Merlot sees the survivors (or some survivors at least) reaching the Empty, where an Eater Beast swoops from the sky, but then turns away.).

Shaken by the vision, the seers hurry everyone in the direction of Cold Stone, only to meet their nest-mates fleeing the other way, pursued by a fire!

The Fire

Flames swirl through the Between, consuming everything they touch. There is no fighting them, it is all the Hylin can do to retreat before them. There are a limited number of rounds to escape the fire before the Tribe takes Damage — everything here is on a countdown, each danger they face might damage the tribe, if it takes too much damage they don't escape. Alternatively, if they can brave all the Trouble with Life still left in the Tribe, they will make it to the Empty.

The Fire attacks like a Monster, targeting individuals (it is also large, and overwhelming, forcing them to use defensive edges), but the players succeed in getting most of the hangers on out of range. There are a few chancy moments, but for the most part they escape without casualties, but everyone is now Exhausted. They stumble on, heading through a part of the Between that they have never visited before, till they reach a sheltered place where the fire hasn't yet reached and decide that they dare a Rest.

Even as they collapse gratefully into the corners, dust trickles from above, and smoke begins to drift by, they don't have long.


  • Representing the fire as a Monster had mixed results. The new formulation of Overwhelming worked very well, but having the fire attack an individual on its turn, and then having them all roll against it on their turn, didn't make so much sense. I'm considering a new "Disaster" action, where it gets to roll against a fixed number of dice (number of players? 4? number of players capped at 5?) and then spend successes against everyone.
  • The group vision went very well.