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January 26th — The Eleventh Tribe, Session Eleven

Year Three, Winter

It's the first session of the new year, and I seem to have skipped a session ... ooops! Also I lost a player (Robyn moved to another game) and gained two more — Luca and Jamie (a different Jamie). As a result much of this session was spent on character creation for the two new characters, and catching up for the rest of the players. As well as checking out the Winter season results, which lead to Husk and Tribble having a kit!

A new face

It's early in the Winter of Year Three, the first Xmaz spent in the new Canteen nest, and the council is divided on exactly how to respond to the Black Seer's challenge. Should they concentrate on expanding the nest, or go in search of new resources, or make some sort of treaty with a neighbouring tribe — or even flee Canteen and the ghost's challenge!

As the discussions progress, a strange Hylin appears at the edge of the nest, a Many Rivers-mouse calling himself Rivet (played by Luca). It appears that Rivet is the first Hylin to actually seek out the Eleventh Tribe and apply for membership. There's a quick vote to approve his membership, it's largely a formality, but the voting doesn't stop there.

For self, or for tribe?

Tribble, it seems, has been brooding about the nature of the Tribe after the events of the Winter. He is convinced that it must pull together to meet the Seer's challenge. It isn't enough to just look out for yourself, no matter what Husk might say. The Tribe needs a new rule, ensuring that each tribe-mouse is compelled to look after the others. Basically, he wants the Eleventh to be a comune, where part of everymouse's labour is for the Tribe, not just for mouse-self.

Many of the Tribe agree, but some do not — especially Husk, but also Bone and Feather. Tribble goes into his usual campaign mode, attempting to persuade the others to his way of thinking, while meeting some unexpected resistance from Cobalt, and also Loop (who was being played by the new Jamie). Loop has started to have visions based on the sacred writings from the Far Up machine, and isn't certain that Tribble has the best vision for the Tribe. Rivet, keen to fit in, tries campaigning for Tribble, but only ends up annoying people. As a result, perhaps, the vote is tied, and Tribble has to appeal to the ghost of Paperclip ... who agrees with him.

Long live the Commune of Canteen!

December 8th — The Eleventh Tribe, Session Nine

Year Two, Late Summer

Ryan was not available this week, and Robyn went back to Cobalt, since Bin was trapped with the ghosts.

A need for food

After the disaster of the trip to the ancient nest, wandering ghosts have been sighted in the far reaches of Can-Teen. It's enough to put off any scrounging mouse, and so the food supplies of the 11th Tribe have been rather curtailed. The obvious answer is to deal with the ghosts, but Tribble is so overcome with grief and haunted by visions that he won't come out of his burrow — and Feather and Refil aren't inclined to help him either, so the rest of the PC's decide that they will go in search of a nearby food source.

When the tribe first arrived at Can-Teen, they were told of a place where the Eaters left huge amounts of food, a monolithic structure near the edge of the Empty that they have been calling 'scraps'. Although the monolith smells of food throughout the day, it seems to be empty and inaccessible at night, and the constant presence of Eaters makes tackling it in the daytime impossible.

Dusty, Cobalt, Lozenge, and Placeholder decide to take a look. They are accompanied by a yearling named Squab who wants to train to be a Scout, and looks up to Dusty. Refil, of course, won't allow Squab to go anywhere risky, but 'scraps' is just along the level from the 11th Nest, so she allows her to go.

The Monolith

The Monolith lies near the corner of two verticals, a little way into the Empty. It is tall enough that the Hylin can't see the top, but the bottom is visible from the little crack in the skirting that they slip out through. Everything in the Empty is lit green, by some light that casts deep shadows. It's scary, but they venture out.

The base of the monolith turns out to be inset, forming a space about the height of a Hylin standing on their back legs, with an overhang above. Although the outside of the structure is some sort of hard shiny plastic, the underside of the overhang is wood!

Lozenge immediately sets about trying to gnaw through ... that doesn't work so well. Not only does she not make a lot of progress (it will take weeks) but the noise attracts a roving rat, which has emerged to look for food. The four Hylin cower in a corner, paws over their noses, till it passes.

Plan B involves climbing the side. It's too slippery for paws, and too tall to jump, but they reckon that Cobalt's snail — D'artagnan — could haul a rope up, if they had one. They retire to the between to look for materials, and manage to scounge up some wire, and some strips of discarded plastic insulation from a Burning Line. With these they tinker up a long rope and a grappling hook made from a paperclip. It won't stretch the whole way, maybe, but most of it.

D'artagnan isn't all that smart, so Lozenge volunteers to ride him up. It's starting to get close to morning, but they don't want to give up, so they return to the Empty and set the snail on its way. The ascent isn't that easy (Lozenge falls once), but eventually she reaches a huge opening in the side of the monolith. Inside is a metal lining, dropping away below. Lozenge hooks up the rope and drops down into what seems to be a vast metal chamber. It smells of old food, and there are scraps of bread there that she can't resist eating!

Outside, the lights come on! The other Hylin shout for Lozenge, and then run for cover. Inside, Lozenge tries to find the rope, but she can't! She runs around in a panic, leaping up the walls and exhausting herself, but it's no good, she's trapped! A few minutes later an Eater enters and opens the monolith from above before dropping some sort of vast black Thing on Lozenge's head!

Panicing even more, Lozenge gnaws a hole in the black plastic and finds herself inside. Soon other Eaters enter, and start to drop food on her head!

Watchers in the Walls

The others know Lozenge is trapped, but there is no way they can help. Placeholder finds a vantage point further up the vertical to watch from, and the rest troop disconsolately back to the nest.

Placeholder keeps watch all day, snoozing when she can. Eventually, after a whole day, the Eaters pull the black bag out of the monolith and take it away towards the far reaches of Can-Teen. She runs to the nest and informs the others, who organise a rescue mission (without Squab). They head out along the verticals to the far end of Can-Teen, where they discover that they can slip through holes in the bricks to the place called Silver Pillars, where metal pillars support a metal roof over a floor covered in crumbs and fat. Beyond is the open floor of more Empty.

The Rescue

The Eaters carry their rubbish sack out of the back of Fac-Tory and dump it in a gigantic black container. Lozenge crawls out, but is stuck in the bottom, too tired to get to the top. As she ponders the problem, she spots movement, a strange Hylin is making its way along the rim of the bin.

Lozenge calls out for help, but the stranger is wary. He claims to be from Rubble Tribe, but Lozenge isn't convinced. Nevertheless she accepts an offer of help out in return for handing over the food she has on her.

The stranger says he saw Lozenge be thrown away. Once that happens, he says, she can never return to the Between. She is an exile now, and must stay here Outside. Lozenge refuses to believe this, and insists on being shown the way back to Facc-Tory. The stranger gives her a direction, but it's a lie. When she follows him — down a heap of rubbish and bricks — and heads away, she finds a huge vertical, so full of holes that it barely exists, with many plants on the other side, and beyond them some sort of flat black surface ...

Meanwhile, the others have crossed the Silver Pillars, tracking the scent of the black bag. It leads to the back of the Empty, where a narrow gap leads Outside. Mastering their fear (not without yet more Afraid Damage) they venture out, but soon lose their way. They don't know where the bag went, and don't dare cry out in case some Eater Beast hears them. They head towards a dark shape, and a bright light flashes out, blinding them! Luckily Lozenge sees the light, and scurries back to them, incredibly relieved to see her friends.

They all hurry home as fast as they can!

End of Summer

Although the adventure didn't secure access to food, it was a fine piece of exploration, so it increases their Territory score by 2. They allocate their Tribe Dice to Food and Nest and manage two successes on each.

Scores, end of Summer:



  • This was a very improvised adventure, but the Trouble and Test systems held up well, and it was easy to improvise the encounters.
  • It was hard to properly persuade the players that the Outside was suitably terrifying. I am not sure if I should have had a Penalty Dice alongside the Daring test, or maybe I should have scared them with an owl. An encounter like that would likely have killed them, though.

November 24th — The Eleventh Tribe, Session Eight

Year Two, Spring & Summer

We had to skip a week due to illness. This week Rick was away, so Lozenge was not being played. Also Robyn chose not to play Cobalt this week.

Can-Teen Nest

Having finally arrived in the lands of Can-Teen, the Tribe need to establish themselves. They do not have food, or a nest, or much idea of whats in the Between around here. Everyone agrees that these basics must be the priority. A spot is picked where two verticals meet — this will be home.

To fully establish the Tribe, it must reach a score of 4 in each of four areas: Nest, Food, Territory, and Spirit. Its score starts at 0 in each, except Spirit, which is already at 3. For each 0 score it still has at the end of a season, it will take 1 Damage. Points can be accumulated as Long Term Activities. Additionally, any successful adventure can contribute 2 points to an area.

The characters agree that the basics of survival take priority. They put their paw to the communal efforts; adventures can wait.

Scores, end of Spring:



By the start of Summer, Can-Teen nest is established, though at a very basic level. The nearest parts of the Between have been explored, and a basic level of food gathered. The Tribe is not yet thriving, but it is surviving; enough that minds can turn to exploring a little further.

We divide the map of Can-Teen into four parts, and establish that the Territory score of 1 means that only the nearest part has been explored.

Many months ago, Tribble had a vision of a secret tribe hidden in Can-Teen, a nest with a door made from bricks, behind which were many mice. It is here that he hopes to find Bone, somehow alive. Scavengers looking for food near the nest have found strange marks scratched into the bricks, ancient marks left by strange Hylin. They resemble — a little — the symbols produced by the Eater beast in the Far Up, and also the marks that Tribble saw in his vision. He proposes following these to find the hidden nest.

Dusty and Placeholder are interested in going on the trip, as is a yearling called Bin, who idolises Tribble, and wants to grow up to be a beurocrat like him. Tribble forbids Bin to come on this dangerous trip ... he comes anyway.

Its a long trip: past the rat hole, past the scraounger's camp, and then to the Thin Vertical ... a narrow space of thin wood where the noise of the Eaters is constant. They make good progress, until their way is blocked by a huge gap in the vertical. The only route past is to climb a hundred body-lengths and go over the top, then drop down the other side. Dusty manages this easily enough, and helps Placeholder and Bin, but Tribble is left to try and get over himself — which he manages with aplomb! (Actually he falls, but bounces, and finds a scrap of label on the way which he gives to Bin.)

The Ancient Nest

Not far from the climb the group finds the gate from Tribble's vision. It is vast, the doorway is an entire brick. On either side, flanking it, are ancient inscriptions; unreadable. They try to find a gap (fail), and call to get the attention of anyone within, with no result. After a while they conclude that the whole brick must move due to some sort of tinkering, and decide to try and open it themselves, despite not having a tinkerer on hand.

Using the few scraps they have on hand they re-purpouse Dusty's nail as a lever, making a sprt of pivot that they can wedge under the edge of the brick. Meanwhile Bin, who has a knack with languages, manages to decipher two words on the inscription "Can-Teen Nest". Is this a lost 11th Tribe? They don't know.

The device is pushed into place and with much heaving the gate lifts — it is clearly connected to some sort of counter-weight. They can only lift it a little way, but it is enough to let the squeeze underneath.

They emerge in a huge dark space. They can't see anything, but they can feel a breeze with their whiskers, and hear the echoes of their paws. They guess at a hall with many entrances. It smells of dust. Things move underfoot ... bones! The whole place is a charnel house, filled with Hylin bones, many dozens of dead. They gulp, Dusty doesn't want to move forward, nor does Tribble, but they don't want to flee. Eventually Placeholder volunteers to explore the chamber with the aid of a faint beam of light that Tribble reflects from a scap of shiny foil.

Placeholder's search reveals six openings around the chamber, three to the left, two to the right, and one — covered with a piece of hard material — at the very back. The flow of air hints at many adjoining chambers dig out of the brick. Tribble summons his courage and joins her, and of course Bin follows.

Deeper into Darkness

They choose an opening at random and venture on, leaving the bones to Dusty, who edges right back to the door. By touch they find side-chambers, abbandoned burrows, twisting passages through the brick. Then, a glimmer of light. Bin heads towards it, thinking it might be an exit, only to come face to face with a squirming, pouring, mass of ghosts! A tide of dead mice, their eyes blank, their bodies translucent and luminous, pour forth in a frenzy, fleeing something terrifying. They swarm over and through Bin, chilling him to the bone. Ghost sickness!

Placeholder flees, but Tribble tries to save Bin! He calls out the ghosts, then — realising that the maddened spirits can't even hear him — throws himself towards Bin, but the tide of ghosts sweeps him back out into main chamber, hurting him badly. No one can save Bin, he's dead.

The group spends their last 3 luck to save Bin, but he is still left behind in the ghost nest, and will be raised by ghosts ...

Placeholder graps Tribble, and all three mice flee (leaving their stuff and lever device behind).

The Black Seer

Back in Can-Teen nest, a badly shaken Tribble tries to meditate as the Ghost Tribe taught him, to call up a vision that will bring some comfort. He sees Bin, alive, but surrounded by ghosts who treat him as one of them. Then he sees a different ghost, a black ghost, full of malice and hatred; a Black Seer, and the Seer looks back and sees him!


  • This was the first test of the Long Term Activities rule to allow the Tribe to do things on a seasonal scale, and it worked well.
  • The system of Tribe areas also appeared to work well, the scores give a good gut impression of where the Tribe is strong or weak.
  • The ghosts were terrifying ... literally. Lots of Afraid Damage, but it was the Sick Damage that they inflicted on poor Bin, who as Yearling only had 3 life, that proved so dangerous.
  • There are hints of a mystery here. The ghost nest, the old marks, the strange symbols from the eater beast ... Players are drawing conclusions.
  • .

November 10th — The Eleventh Tribe, Session Seven

Year Two, Rain & Spring

This session saw the addition of a new player, Ruth, who has played in some of the previous InBetween playtests.


We ended the previous session mid-conflict, with Cobalt choking in a cloud of chalk, Tribble unconcious and being abducted by guard-mice from Stationary, and Dusty chasing after.

The fleeing mice were intercepted by Lozenge, but she couldn't get her blows in past Tribble's unconcious form, which the guard-mice were using as a Mousetage, and got run through with a straightened paperclip! Dusty threw himself into the middle of the combat, trying to wrestle Tribble away, with the aid of Cobalt (who escaped the cloud) and Pock. Cobalt attached a battery to his spear and turned it into an electro-spear, but unfortunately ended up shocking first Dusty, then Pock, and finally himself! This gave the guard-mice the chance to flee, without Tribble (success!) but with Dusty (failure!).

By the time Lozenge, Cobalt, Pock, and Tribble had limped back to the rest of the tribe, Dusty was gone!

Form Filling

The two Stationary mice turn out to be Duracell and Placeholder (played by Ruth). While Duracell went to find a suitable camp-site, Placeholder questioned Dusty — accusing him and the 11th Tribe of mousenapping a series of missing Stationary members. Dusty denied all of this, and succeeded in persuading Placeholder that more investigation was needed, though when she requisitioned all his belongings (she gave him a receipt of course), she felt that some were very dubious in nature.

When Duracell returned, she raised the possibility of actually going and checking out the 11th Tribe for evidence, but this would require a 147c "Authorisation of Independent Investigation" to be filled out, and neither mouse carried a copy of that form. After some discussion (mostly motivated by how cold and unpleasant their current location was) Duracell decided to go back to Stationary for the form (a 4-day round trip), leaving Dusty in Placeholder's custody (she made him sign a good behaviour contract with slavery as the penalty clause).

Duracell headed off, leaving Placeholder to make the best of a bad situation — slowly filling out forms while sitting on top of Dusty's bound (with gummed paper-tape) form. After a little while she fell asleep ... which was roughly when the searchers from the 11th Tribe found her.

Lozenge and Cobalt tried to sneak up on them and slide Dusty away, but they woke Placeholder in the process. For a moment it looked like there might be another fight, but luckily Dusty is able to intervene, once he's been gnawed out of the tape.

Independent Investigation

The players take Placeholder back to their temporary camp where it soon becomes obvious that none of the missing Stationary mice are present. Indeed, some of the information appears to have come from Twisted Pair in the first place. Twist (now a loyal 11th Tribe member) insists that he only passed on what he was told.

Tribble and Cobalt suggest that the missing mice may have been taken by cannibals from Asphalt, but Placeholder thinks that's a crazy idea. Asphalt mice just don't come up here.

Placeholder, naturally, wants to wait for Duracell to return with the 147c forms ... no one else does. Since it is clear that there isn't really enough food where they are (mid-way down a flight of stairs, hiding under the wooden risers) she agrees to come to Can-Teen, which everyone assures her isn't far away.

To Can-Teen! (Again)

The 11th Tribe moves on. They have been seeking Can-Teen for a year, and can smell that it is close. After a few days of exploration they encounter three wandering mice from Conduit: Cyan, Rouge, and Madder. Cyan is entirely taken with her namesake (Lozenge and Cobalt's kit), the other two are vague and mellow hippie-mice on a random scurry-about. Tribble tries to recruit them, but they aren't interested. They do, however, know the way to Can-Teen (or think they do).

The directions they give Dusty are vague and not entirely reliable, but they are enough. After months of travel, the 11th Tribe reaches Can-Teen!


The tribe arrives at Can-Teen during the night, skirting a deep dark pit that smells alarmingly of rat. They find themselves in a narrow and tight level, with a hard springy surface below and metal just above. The metal is sticky with grease — they have to crawl to avoid getting it on their fur. It isn't a pleasant place, but it smells of food, from very direction.

Abruptly, Light! There is a hum, clicks, and then bright cold light shines in from every direction, forcing them into the shadows that cling to the middle of the narrow level. The light also reveals two other Hylin — a pair of scraggly and grimy mice dragging a pack full of food.

These pair don't give their names, and they don't give their information willingly either. Despite describing Can-Teen as a place of bounty and no law, they are nervous, as if expecting to be robbed. Nevertheless they share some information. This place is apparently the Waycamp, a place where vagabond mice camp when taking food from Can-Teen, which is the place out in the light.

Yes, Can-Teen, is the Empty!

The mice say that Can-Teen is a place where food falls from the sky. In one direction there is a place called scraps that is full of food when it is light, but which vanishes in the dark. In the other direction is much food stored out in the open, and then a cold place.

Tribble tries to reconcile all this with his vision from Autumn the previous year, but none of the places described sounds like the mysterious gate flanked with symbols. When he asks about the gate, his informant clams up. He doesn't want to speak. It takes all of Tribble's diplomacy to make him open up, and even then, all he gets is a cryptic warning. The gate is a dead place, they shouldn't go there. Indeed, they shouldn't stay at all. No one stays in Can-Teen.

By dark, the two mice are gone.


  • Ruth used the character creator to make Placeholder, and appeared to be able to do so without much supervision.
  • The fight with the guard-mice was confusing to run. It was all theatre-of-the-mind but fictional positioning was exceptionally important, and the players had terrible dice luck, so they didn't have the successes to improve their position. Luckily we had a number of plushie mice at the table to help out, but I perhaps should have drawn a map.
  • Placeholder's obsession with forms was hilarious.