I recently ran a brief double session with some friends’ kids as a babysitting tactic. It was three young men–age 8, 12, 16.
The oldest played Patrol Guard Spencer, a naturalist from Sprucetuck, child of a Guard, and very science-minded. The middle played Patrol Guard Erick, a warrior from Grasslake, child of a Guard, and very crime-fighter minded. The youngest played Guardmouse Sinclair, a ranger from Grasslake, child of a Guard, and very poison minded.
They were given the following mission:
Lake Towns Mail Route
The patrol is sent on a routine mail route carrying large pouches of mail for Wildseed, Lonepine, Burl, Grasslake, and Wolfepointe. The course is long–such that it will require a midway rest–and wilderness, weather, and animals are the greatest worry for mice on this mail route. Gwendolyn admits to troubled heart and mind over the low recruiting–hopefully the patrol will be able to visit Rustleaf or other settlements for a festival; that’s often a good place for recruitment. In addition, she admits a troubled feeling that no Guard member is currently assigned to Frostic or Calogero; if the patrol can possibly confirm those are not occupied by a ne’er-do-well, it would do some good to her dreams of late.
Assign the Mission: Carry the mail to Wildseed, Lonepine, Burl, Grasslake, and Wolfepointe during the season–possibly requiring some backtracking to ensure all mail is delivered and new mail is exchanged.
Wilderness Obstacle: Crossing Snake-land
The route for this mail crosses many areas of terrain; the patrol should be careful at all times of the possible dangers. One particularly troubling area is that of several rocky outcroppings along the coastline of Grass Lake which are easy lairs for countless snakes–actually garter snakes. In Spring, this is a danger due to mating which brings together writhing masses. In Autumn, many snakes are desperate to get a last meal before a torpor through Winter.
The route cannot be planned in entirety; the patrol must choose a midway point to rest and prepare, then may continue onward. Due to this, the task is an Ob 6 Pathfinder, but will not represent the entire mail route. GMs and players should establish the midway point; the continuation of the mail route must be during the Player Turn or a subsequent GM Turn.
Mice Obstacle: A Cryptic, yet Irresistible Request
During the route, and certainly not far along, the patrol delivers mail and must await letters or parcels in exchange. While waiting, they are approached by a mouse (secretly a charlatan) interested in sending a special token or device to a specific mouse in Grasslake (which is an excellent chance to include a relationship NPC from the character sheets). This is an object (I used a glass token) marked very distinctly with the symbol, logo, or coat of arms from a prominent Sandmason family (who the patrol possibly does not know) which should be delivered with the following message: “I respectfully decline the opportunity for a business partnership.” (Or something like it)
Following the request, this mouse–pleased the Guard will undertake the task along with normal mail–offers a further request. There is a young [lady] mouse of Grasslake whom he wants brought to meet. She need not be brought under her own will; in fact, she is a known thief and arrest might be appropriate. She stole something of value which this mouse wants returned. He won’t volunteer to the Guard what was stolen, and would hastily concoct a false description of something valuable which he claims was taken.
The charlatan would happily bargain with the Guard patrol to serve them in some fashion to coax them into acceptance of the request. This probably will lead to a Persuader or Deceiver test, but the charlatan would be willing to enter a Negotiation Conflict to gain a promise from the patrol.
Animal Twist: The Lost Grain Peddler
Considering the well-known Long Trail begins in Grasslake, and leads through Burl into Sandmason, the patrol will easily find there is quite a lot of mail exchanged in Burl which requires they make a brief side-trek to Sandmason in order to make a delivery. Along the path, they will find an overturned grain cart. The grain is scattered, but otherwise undisturbed aside from perhaps some ants or birds taking an interest. The grain peddler is gone, having been eaten by a garter snake.
Using a Hunter Vs Nature (snake) will allow the patrol to discover the snake with a bulging belly. Using Scout Vs Nature (mouse) will take longer–the grain peddler is not hiding–but will lead the patrol to a similar discovery.
Having a variety of possibly results, allow the Player Turn to begin without requiring the patrol to attack the snake. Also, do not require the patrol to make the arrest of the young lady mouse. Remind them the remainder of the mail route must be planned from the midway point onward; some mail might require backtracking for delivery. It would be good to remind them to consider how they might settle matters which are troubling Gwendolyn too.