My first custom Mission

I made this mission for our new year. I told the group we were going to have two Spring sessions, two Summer sessions, and one Fall session before another Winter session. This meant that I was going to watch their choices in the first mission to determine the second mission of the season.

Mission: Patrol the Darkwater Bay region

Assign the Mission:
Gwendolyn calls together the patrol for their briefing shortl after the Vernalstar celebration; most other patrols have long since begun their missions for this year. She explains that both Port Sumac and Rustleaf have already written letters requesting a patrol. Port Sumac suffered damage to a granary during winter and will be hiring harvester and forager mice from other settlements in an emergency effort to gather in food stuffs until the imports can provide enough. Rustleaf unwisely sent a winter expedition toward the scent border on an observational task, but those mice have not returned. The Port Sumac letter requests a guard patrol to protect the hired laborers during several weeks of the season; the Rustleaf letter requests a guard patrol to rescue the expedition team (if they still live).

Gwendolyn also instructs the patrol to visit the outpost of Frostic and have the mice there transport them by boat across to Calogero at the end of the season; she will send a letter with instructions on their summer season assignments to Calogero. Lastly, she reminds them, don’t be early; get engaged in the duties of the guard.

GM’s Turn:
Begin by allowing a weather watcher test before the patrol leaves for their first mission unless this was allowed at the end of the winter session in preparation. Otherwise, choose a spring weather (I chose spring rains).

Mission Obstacles:
The patrol must make a fairly easy Ob4 Pathfinder test to arrive at Darkwater; from there they can get a ferry across the bay to Port Sumac.

Mice Obstacle – When the party arrives in Darkwater, they are quickly recognized by a grain merchant (my table has a grain merchant contact that is friendly to them; otherwise look for a friend or enemy that might fit). The grain merchant has spent his entire financial capital buying up surplus grain in Darkwater but has no money to pay for the shipping cost. He hopes the patrol is willing to loan him the Resources to pay for shipping, or maybe escort a caravan of grain overland around the south of the bay. He starts by asking a few questions, and he is interested in initiating a negotiation conflict to convince the patrol to loan him the Resources or escort his carts (possibly even asking them each to pull a cart).

His goal might best be expressed as: I will convince the patrol to loan me 7 Resources (depleting guard members’ Resources to gain those 7) to cover the shipping cost or escort me overland.

A merchant should have a strong Haggler ability and Grain-wise or some appropriate wise to help his conflict.

(The patrol chose the goal: We will convince the grain merchant to donate a full cart of grain freely to Port Sumac in exchange for the loan of 7 Resources)

After the conflict, the patrol may be committed to ship passage or overland travel. The dock master is a great place to pull in another friend or enemy from the patrol. The dock master will expect 7 Resources to cover travel costs for the patrol, grain merchant, and grain. The overland travel will require additional pathfinder tests and might allow for a weather watcher test before engaging in the journey.

(The patrol won the conflict and agreed to deplete their resources as well as arrange the shipping; the dockmaster was an enemy, but one patrol guard was able to use Haggler to reduce the cost by 1)

Narrate the travel to Port Sumac. The grain merchant is grateful and gets about his business without asking anything further of the patrol. The GM’s turn ends after they arrive in Port Sumac.

Mission Twists:
Weather Twist – For failed pathfinder rolls a good twist of weather could bring in a new change. (I chose a spring snow and required all mice to make a Ob 3 Health test to avoid becoming sick)

Wilderness Twist – Failed pathfinder rolls might be related to a new bit of wilderness difficulty.

Player’s Turn:
The player’s turn begins as soon as the patrol arrives in Port Sumac. There are a number of things the patrol might need to do.

  • Test Circles to find a mouse with connection to the hired mice in need of protection
  • Test Pathfinder to lead the patrol to Rustleaf
  • Recover from any conditions acquired
  • Test Scout to track the winter expedition team
  • Test Survivalist to set up a Spring camp for the patrol
  • Test Instructor to teach a fellow patrolmate during the mission

The group might feel any number of other checks are fitting.

(Our patrol had a mouse that gained enough checks to test Hunter to find and kill a crab and Cook the crab for the patrol; this was to ensure they did not burden Port Sumac’s food stores while there)

Now, the next session will give the chance to expand on the results of the first mission.

(At our table, the Patrol Leader used a check to initiate a journey conflict to represent a multi-week patrol providing overwatch for the hired harvesters; this allowed his entire patrol to test skills related to that patrolling. I decided that a complex obstacle was best to represent it and allowed for Scout, Survivalist, Pathfinder, Instructor or Administrator or Militarist, Loremouse, and Weather Watcher and a single Wise to be rolled in support of the assigned duty. The scout found the second mission obstacle: Animals Obstacle – A fox had come through the territory during winter and found it quite a nice place; now the hired harvesters were providing a good quarry to hunt. It will feature in the next session, since it came up in the player’s turn. However, one mouse still had a check remaining and used it to Hunt the fox so that the party could take it by surprise as well as possible.)

I am a little confused; Why were their resources depleted if they passed the test? Resources is a skill like any other, and isn’t spent like a currency.

that’s true. It is something I’ll have to correct during next week. It should have been an Ob 7 resources test. With a patrol of six, the group has now gotten a clue about adding helping die to everything they possibly can. Next, I have to get them to start seeing how to gain checks; that is still happening only through prompting and needs to become second nature.

The following is the follow-up of the above mission.

I corrected the error of depleting Resources when the patrol covered the cost of transporting the grain merchant from Darkwater to Port Sumac. It should have been an Ob 7 Resources test.

Then we allowed a the oldfur to carry out the prologue and relieve himself of his anger.

I gave a brief intro and explained the mission.

Intro and Mission:
While conducting patrols to protect the hired harvesters around Port Sumac, the group of mice spotted fox sign and hunted down trails and dens where the animal had been; however, they had not yet seen the fox. So far, no hired mouse was reported missing, but there had been rumors of sighting the fox amongst the workers. It was also becoming clear through looking over the trails that the fox was encroaching closer toward the various sites where harvesters were gathering food sources. The patrol needed to act quickly to handle the predator.
Also, the patrol was given the order to visit Frostic outpost near the end of the season and request transport to Calogero from the two guardmice assigned there. In addition, they had been thusfar unable to respond to Rustleaf’s request for help in rescuing a lost winter expedition team.

Write Goals:
The members of the patrol each wrote Goals, some made changes to Beliefs and Instincts at this time also.

Mission Obstacles: Wilderness Animals
The patrol has been arranging a mobile camp in the wilderness beyond Port Sumac as they carry out their seasonal duty. The weather has turned to late spring warmth. Plenty of harvesters have become lazy during midday; others seem to be disinterested in working since there is a grain peddler making fantastic sales of Darkwater grain in Port Sumac.
Due to the mobile nature of the patrols, the patrol must make a survivalist test to represent the frequent making and breaking of camp.

Require a member of the patrol make a Survivalist test (factor the Ob as you choose; I think I factored Ob 8 to represent the full patrol, length of time, multiple sites, and such); one condition of failure could be the Tired condition, but a twist could be used to expand the story of their patrol.

[Alternatively, you could allow that the patrol is staying in Port Sumac and leaving daily on patrols. You could factor a Resources test to handle the lengthy stay.]

The guardmice have made occasional trips into Port Sumac during the patrols and might benefit from a better map. The territory of Port Sumac wilderness is not frequently traversed and even more rarely mapped. The likelihood of a detailed map being found is quite low, but a general map may be within grasp. [a general map will provide +1D as appropriate; a detailed map will provide +1s as appropriate]

Allow a patrol member to attempt a Resources test to obtain a map; encourage them to decide before factoring the test whether they want a detailed map or a general map. After factoring, the party may wish to Haggle the value of the map; permit them to Haggle vs Will of a Cartographer (pg 196; make sure he applies his Map-wise as he knows the value of his maps); one condition of failure might be Angry dur to feeling gouged on the cost, use depletion rules, or simply tell them they do not have the resources to obtain the map. (I factored the detailed map as Ob 10, but my group chose a general map and didn’t know either way)

Also, since they’ve heard a few rumors around town about the sighting of a fox, the patrol should show interest in finding the harvester(s) and gaining some information. The patrol has not yet seen the fox, so information from a sighting is helpful. [You should determine how this information helps; I was planning to grant +1s to the Disposition of the upcoming conflict]

Allow a patrol member to attempt a Circles test (factor as you like it; I factored Ob 2) to find one of the harvesters reporting the sighting; a condition of failure may be Angry (which i used while explaining that the patrol found a harvester which was reporting the sighting, but he gave them no useful information after all and could do little more than mumble about his fear to the patrol)

Now that the patrol has had the chance to gain an appropriate map and speak with a harvester that saw the fox, they are all set to track the fox for themselves and deal with the problem. The ranking patrol member is responsible for the safety of his/her patrol and should discuss how they will deal with the predator.

[The fox is three ranks higher than the mice. They would need an armed force of hardened fighters or crafty hunters greater than 100 mice to attempt an injury or killing. The only option for the mice is to make an attempt at forcing the predator to leave the region unless they are deeply committed to raising that many mice to aid them; it would be a totally new campaign to raise that number of mice, arm them, train them, feed them, etc.]

#Encourage the ranking patrol member to talk out the plan of action with the patrol; encourage the group to roleplay through a scene of making plans, marking maps, prepping gear, or just exchanging pulls on a flask of mead (which is what my patrol did while talking of life and death and heroism of the Guard).

Require the patrol to carry out a Hunter or Scout vs Nature (Fox) [you should also consider the factors of Scout skill if you feel the fox may deserve additional dice against being found] (my patrol chose Scout); the success or failure of this test is more crucial to the conflict which will ensue, so don’t place a condition for failure. If the test is successful, the party may initiate the conflict as they see fit; if it is a failure, the fox initiates a Chase Conflict [goal below] and gains +2D when testing for Disposition in this conflict.

(In my case, the patrol succeeded and chose a chase conflict, but could have considered other conflict types)

The fox has a specific goal in mind for his Chase Conflict, which he will adapt slightly to other conflict types: I will lead/drive these mice far from their settlement into the wilderness beyond the great wolf markings (scent border) and escape them; then I may return to eat them while they are lost and stranded in the foreign territory.

[The fox is a deadly predator, but his initial intent is not to eat the mice, but to cause fear; he wants to toy with his prey in a cruel way before feasting. However, if one of the mice seems incredibly unwary, he may turn and eat it right away; if a mouse actively attacks with a weapon, the fox will most certainly retaliate in deadly fashion. He wants to get them lost then follow up with a Fight Animal Conflict which places death as a possible result.]

When the conflict with the fox has concluded, you might have a compromise to settle. If the party has won but must compromise, the fox is hoping that he can double back after escaping the mice to find them Hungry, Tired, Injured, or unable to resist; at that point the fox will initiate a second conflict as a portion of the compromise which is a Fight Animal Conflict in which he can set a goal to gain a meal or more. If the party has lost and is able to request a compromise, the fox still wants to double back and initiate a Fight Animal Conflict, but the party may suggest a compromise that precludes that option. Be watchful of the group; make sure you don’t defang the predator just to keep everyone happy.

(In my case, the fox began with Disposition 13 and the patrol of five mice split into two teams: Team Alamo with Dispo 4 and Team Mission Accomplished with Dispo 7. The fox was Team Snapping Jaws. They set two unique goals: We will drive this fox across the scent border and we will not let this fox double back toward the settled regions.

The fox was all too happy to have a chase, since that was his initial intent; they were headed toward the scent border as he desired.

The dice rolled and the actions lined up in such a fantastic and unexpected way. The two teams lost 0 Disposition and through their combined efforts drove the fox’s disposition to 0 very quickly. They won without compromise whatsoever! It was very exciting for all of us.

I described the conclusion of the conflict with the fox running scared across the scent border and having no interest in returning toward the mouse territories, but it now had the Angry condition 13 times over.)

When the conflict and compromise are settled, end the GM’s turn and allow the party to make decisions.

Mission Twists: Wilderness
If you feel there will be time and interest, instead of handling the failed test against the wilderness survival solely through a condition, you could consider a wilderness twist. I had in mind the following:

A beaver has found a small stream and moved in to claim it right away. It has begun to create a dam. The result has created a slowly flooding wilderness section that the mice have ventured into during their patrolling. They will have to deal with the marshlands to get back into dry territory. This can be well represented with a Journey Conflict. In the future may hold a mission to deal with the beaver, but by then the expanding wetlands from the beaver dam may be encroaching Wolfepointe, Port Sumac, Rustleaf, access to the scent border, or some other area of value to the mice.

Player’s Turn:
The players have a chance to recover from the GM’s turn and try to finish anything not complete. Some suggestions may include:

  • Seek a map of the Rustleaf area
  • Recover Resources from the grain peddler
  • Pathfind to Rustleaf
  • Pathfind to Frostic
  • Recover from Conditions
  • Instruct another mouse
  • Practice a skill or wise
  • Initiate a follow-up conflict with the fox if needed
  • Scout for the lost winter expedition from Rustleaf

When the players have no more checks to spend, narrate the closing of the season and mission. Discuss rewards as a group.

If the group has not spent a check to Pathfind to Frostic, they begin Summer still in the region and have lost track of their orders to be in Calogero at the start of Summer awaiting Gwendolyn’s instructions by mail. There are tasks which Port Sumac, Rustleaf, or outpost Frostic could have for the patrol, but it still represents a serious failure to obey Gwendolyn’s orders.

If the group has not Scouted the lost winter expedition of Rustleaf, the settlement may feel deeply insulted that a patrol was not sent as requested. The families of the lost mice may harbor resentment for the Guard. This is great fodder for future missions and unseen enemies.