Escorts in Rustleaf - A Custom Mission

Season of Harvest
Rustleaf offers a large, festive, and welcoming Morton Harvest celebration each year. The village blooms into a mini metropolis while mice from both near and far settlements make the pilgrimage. This makes a busy time for the Guard as several patrols are tasked to escort travelers to and from the celebration.

Introduce the Session
The patrol will be assigned to escort duties for Rustleaf’s Morton Harvest celebration. The duty is routine; one or two other patrols will be assigned to this task as well. The tasks will press the patrol to deliver outstanding service.

In Rustleaf, a new shelter must be built to support the incoming pilgrims. This will be a key task in Rustleaf. There are mice outside of Rustleaf conspiring to short the supply of ale, beer, and mead to drive up the cost. Also, there is a predator prowling the surrounding area which threatens harvesters, traveling mice, and the visiting hares of Grasslake’s Militia.

In addition, a family of otters has decided to stake new territory for their growing clan. Winter comes early while mice are still trying to handle preparations. Overland travel is beset with swampy trails and frosty chill.

Assign the Mission
The patrol should provide escort support to travelling mice incoming and outgoing from Rustleaf as well as support the needs of Rustleaf during the festival

Murders of Morton Harvest (complex mice obstacle)
Rustleaf has hired hare-riders from Grasslake Militia to provide scouting patrols surrounding the town. A notice arrived ahead of the Guard (or with a mailbag they are delivering) telling of a locally known predator prowling Grasslake. Now that their own town may be in danger, the militia is trying to back out of the deal.

The town cannot spare the militia. They have drawn workers into town for building a shelter where pilgrims may rest for the festival. It is of highest priority to Rustleaf’s Provost Marshal that the shelter be built for visitors and the militia fulfill the contract.

The patrol may face this obstacle in a variety of methods. Some suggestions follow:

  • volunteer to build the shelter
  • volunteer to provide patrols for predators
  • volunteer to protect Grasslake
  • mediate the dispute between Rustleaf and Grasslake
  • ignore this problem and get started escorting incoming mice

Regardless of their choice, there are some background elements which the GM should illuminate. Firstly, the predator followed a group of early travelers into the area and has already begun to kill mice for food; the patrol might stumble upon remains of dead mice. Secondly, the port of Darkwater is filling warehouses with beer, ale, mead, wine, and other alcohols, but none is being shipped to Rustleaf nor even Pt Sumac to supply local merchants. Rumors are that an individual buyer is stockpiling selfishly. These elements do not need immediate attention, but might fuel Player Turn checks.

On the Trail Again (complex wilderness obstacle)
The town has lists of mice interested in attending, but nearly all need escorting. Some companies of wilderness-minded mice are offering a paid service and boats on the bay do provide transport. The patrol will have to find a way to serve as many mice as possible; there own effort may determine donations to the Guard. The patrol must provide escort services to any and all towns they can serve during the time allotted.

Keep the mice on the move and challenge multiple skills. Some suggestions follow:

  • Weather Watcher helps determine a good time for travel
  • Scout finds a group of mice lost by “professional” guides
  • Survivalist makes a good camp for travelers
  • Cook, Baker keeps travelers happily fed
  • Pathfinder blazes a trail which needs repair or replacement

During this period, the key is finding creative problems that might trigger Instincts or challenge Beliefs. Also, use ideas that oppose Goals; force the mice to work hard to provide their service.

The above background elements are ongoing during the escorting. Use the chance to have travelers complain about anything at all and most especially the price of alcohol.

The patrol may have failed tests during the above obstacles. Consider using these twists.

Animal Twist
The otters which are looking to expand their territory are not playful when a group of mice pass across their stream. They disrupt the pilgrimage, and the patrol must address the issue. It will probably lead to a conflict. Otters do not tend to talk things out.

Weather Twist
The weather was fairly chill this Autumn, but suddenly the unexpected snow begins to blanket trails and towns. The shelter better be ready in Rustleaf. Early snow doesn’t have empathy for unprepared mice.

I’ve just finished the GM turn and Player turn for this session. It is probably too large to describe it all, but I’ll highlight a bit.

The patrol had some good Enemies to use as fodder for the alcohol shortage; two merchants are teamed up to build a major supply (maybe a bit like Walmart in my mind). Also, a Goal was to enlist a hare in the effort to escort mice; that was an excellent scene.

The patrol chose to build the shelter and trade some work with the militia; the hare-riders sent a few back to Grasslake and helped with escorting some mice. That strengthened a Friendship and resolved two issues.

The Player Turn led to a Fight conflict against a Guard Captain and his Patrol Guard companion. That was intense!

I used a Fox as the predator of choice, but I can imagine other predators serving a central role. I named it Firebrand and imagine a history of predation in the Grass Lake region. We’ll see him again in a future session.

I didn’t use the otters as a twist. I did mention them as an interesting sighting.