My Second Custom Mission

My Second Custom Mission

This is the summer mission following my first custom mission and the follow-up of that mission. The group is working through two spring missions, two summer missions and one fall mission of our second year of patrolling.

Mission: Settling Matters in Dawnrock

Allow a patrol member to predict the weather if this was not done during the Player’s Turn during last session; else, the weather has become warm and humid

The patrol has arrived at Calogero with the help of the Frostic outpost mice. The outpost of Calogero is a small converted home by the coast with limited space; currently, two mice are assigned to Calogero. Also, there is a mail courier camped outside Calogero with mail for the patrol and anticipates a report of spring duties from the patrol.

Allow a patrol mate to test Circles to see if they know the outpost mice or the mail courier (this isn’t essential to the mission, but it gives the party a chance to make tests toward advancement; I’ve been trying to provide more opportunities for the patrol to make tests). Failure might mean that they’ve encountered an enemy of theirs from among the guard.

Require the senior guardmouse to write or order another mouse to write a report of spring duties; this will be an Ob 3 Administrator test (this is something I’ve been including so that the senior Patrol Guard can show he is ready for promotion next winter; you might not need this for your patrol). Failure might mean that the chance for promotion later is more difficult; also, they may have a request for additional assistance to the region where they last patrolled and the failed report could easily mean that request is not convincing.

Allow a patrol member to offer the prologue to relieve a condition or recover a point of tax from nature. The report earlier should be far briefer than the prologue.

Assign the Mission:

Gwendolyn has sent several letters with the courier. There is a brief letter for each of the Patrol Guards in the party encouraging them to help the lower ranked mice. (Our own patrol also has a former patrol mate on a solo mission, so one letter was a summary of his first progress report; they’ll be meeting with him in fall). Lastly, there is a letter for the senior mouse with instructions for summer.

“I look forward to your spring report; I’ve had no word about your patrol through Port Sumac and Rustleaf during spring. Surely the summer mail will have something from those towns.

“The summer months are a good time for you to move the patrol through Dawnrock, Whitepine, and Elmwood. Although they have not requested a patrol, you certainly can find duties to fulfill there. Before the Weasel War, there was a small settlement that shared a gravel covered shore with an ant colony (name it as you like). Unfortunately, the trade economy through the war reduced the value of the stone coming from the town such that most residents moved to other settlements, particularly Dawnrock, Whitepine, and Elmwood.

“I understand some mice are interested in resettling their old homesteads; the war is over and some time has passed. Your patrol could provide protective escort for the colonizing mice. The stone from the gravel deposit would be a great benefit to Lockhaven’s occasional repairs.

“Most importantly, you are expected to arrive at Barkstone in the fall; don’t be early. Get engaged in the duties of the Guard.”

Allow the patrol to write Goals for this session and review Beliefs and Instincts.

GM’s Turn:
The patrol is beginning at Calogero and will need to make the short trip to Dawnrock. The outpost mice and other travellers have already established paths between Calogero and Dawnrock throughout the spring. It will be an easy trip.

Allow a patrol mouse to lead the group using an Ob 2 Pathfinder test; failure gains the thirsty condition as they’ve chosen a path that didn’t have water sources.

Mission Obstacles:
Mice Obstacle: As the patrol arrives at Dawnrock, you see a group of beleaguered mice returning from a western trail. Among the group is a trail of ants carrying pebbles and beetles trudging tents and household goods. These must be quarry workers coming back from the old gravel site. The group offers no welcome, but several keep their eyes on the patrol mice as both groups are headed into the town.

The Lord of the town is told that a guard patrol has come to the city and is all too happy to provide a flourishing welcome. The town of Dawnrock enjoys a government of nobility ruling over a class-based society of merchants, artisans, and laborers. The Lord of the town explains his predicament to the patrol.

Some years ago, his town welcomed the labormice who came from the gravel site. They were quite a boon to the economy as hard-working, tough souls. The city gained a new source of stone, which had previously been an expensive commodity. Soon, they may be able to begin exporting from Dawnrock around to Darkwater Bay from the growing port.

The laborers which came from the gravel site have been talking about returning to resettle their quarry town. It would be devastating to our growing economy; they provide a much needed resource. Without the labor mice of the quarry, we would return to a small fishing town with fantastic seaside vistas. No one can sell the sunrise after all.

Now that the patrol is here, the Lord expects you all can speak alongside him to quash this rebellious idealism here and now. He can schedule a public debate later this week. Meanwhile, he encourages the patrol to enjoy the delights of his town and spend some money at their inns and restaurants.

The Lord wants the patrol to speak for his side, he will not initiate a conflict to make them obey, but he will use Persuader vs Will of the senior mouse to convince them that he has good intentions. The senior guardmouse will test their Will, but each junior guardmouse must test their will against the Lord’s Persuader test -1s; they may not be the direct interest, but are nearby to hear his entreaty. Failure indicates the mouse is fairly interested in supporting the monarchal ruler of the town.

The party should decide whether they will rent from an inn or camp outside town. Use their decision and weather conditions to factor which test they decide. Failure causes depletion of Resources or Tired from bad rest outdoors.

Regardless of the location the patrol rests, a visitor comes to their side. He identifies himself as Dogwood (or some other name of your choice), the insect wrangler. He worked as a chief insect wrangler in the former gravel town. He saw the patrol come into Dawnrock while he led the trail of ants.

Dogwood has been talking with other labor mice and knows that there are many families desiring to go back home and rebuild the ghost town. He wants to resettle the quarry and rename the town. He is not a skilled speaker, nor are the other laborers. They need a speaker to represent them and argue for their release from Dawnrock. They need their new town protected from annexation by Dawnrock; they want to be independent, rather than workers.

Dogwood feels that they provided a strong support to Dawnrock during the war and after. They now deserve to be supported by the mice of Dawnrock in rebuilding their town and gaining independence. In his mind, this is fair and balanced.

The town of Dawnrock is overcrowded; allowing the mice to go would relieve some of the housing pressure and displace some of the economy from Dawnrock to this new settlement. It is a difficult argument for anyone to make against the Lord of Dawnrock. Houses can be built, but the resources provided through the quarry cannot so easily be replaced. A change such as this could ripple through the lower classes, artisans, merchants, and nobility. It may cripple Dawnrock’s growth.

Dogwood wants the patrol to speak for his side, he will not initiate a conflict to make them agree, but he will use Persuader vs Will of the senior mouse to convince them that he and his fellows deserve to run their own town. The senior guardmouse will test their Will, but each junior guardmouse must test their will against the Dogwood’s Persuader test -1s; they may not be the direct interest, but are nearby to hear his pleading. Failure indicates the mouse is fairly interested in standing against monarchal ruler of the town.

The patrol may feel less than capable of handling a major argument such as this. Someone may feel a strong interest in seeking a sympathetic politician to their side.

Allow a patrol mouse to make a Circles test to find a politician sympathetic to their cause. This should not be an easy test by any means. Failure means this politician becomes an enemy and takes side against the patrol; if they are supporting the Lord, he sees a chance to undermine the noble and possibly gain position in the new town; if they are against the Lord, he sees a chance to improve his favor with the noble and possibly be rewarded.

The patrol members must takes sides in the upcoming debate. They argue in support of the Lord of Dawnrock or against the Lord in support of Dogwood and the laborers.

The days pass with occasional visits from the Lord and from Dogwood. Each is trying to secure his position with the patrol. Neither realizes they may also be giving away secrets while talking with the patrol mice.

The Lord of Dawnrock has called for a public debate in the town square; he has invited nobles to join his cause as well as the Guard patrol. (The denizens of the territories has a few templates that can easily represent nobles; I used an Administrator and a Politician with slight adaptations to their skills to represent the Lord and one other noble. Dogwood is an Insect Wrangler and his laborers are harvesters, stonemasons, muscle, etc.; they are not skilled in Persuader, Deceiver, or Orator.) Dogwood has arrived with several families of the labor class interested in seeing their town renewed and given independent status. The patrol mice should take sides accordingly.

• Lord will have a goal of publically humiliating the laborers and convincing the people that he has the best intentions by continuing the status quo of Dawnrock owning the quarry land and managing it through hired labor.

• Dogwood will have a goal of convincing the Lord and the public that it is time now to release the laborers from employment and allow them full ownership of the quarry land as well as support them in rebuilding the town.

• The patrol mice joining either side may slightly adapt the goals according to their BIGs, but in general, the tone of the goals should not change dramatically.

Initiate an Argument Conflict to represent the debate or initiate a Speech Conflict to represent each side appealing to the public sympathies. Each requires different skills, so patrol mice may have a strong desire to see a specific conflict play out rather than the other. (I chose an Argument Conflict, despite this requiring that most of the patrol would have to use Beginner’s Luck for Persuader tests; most took Deceiver or Orator as their skill in convincing others.)

The conflict will play out and a compromise may need to be discussed. The Lord will want nothing to do with the new town. If he is forced to compromise, he will suggest something that requires little to no sacrifice from his own town such as restraining settlers from taking food stores from the town, barring residents born in Dawnrock or families with children born in Dawnrock from leaving, or requiring a fixed low price on the cost of stone. Use your imagination to come up with other compromises he might use even to the point of requiring a follow-on conflict. Dogwood, if forced to compromise, wants better pay, and permission to erect permanent buildings. He may also request a timeline of when rebuilding might be more appropriate. Think of other things he might suggest as a compromise.

Patrol mice that are part of the losing side should be Angry about the loss.

Wilderness Obstacle: Now that the debate has been handled, the patrol may be working for the Lord to arrange permanent boundaries of the annexation or working for Dogwood to arrange permanent boundaries of independence. The weather has remained humid and warm through the session and they now have several days of surveying around the region to mediate boundary lines.

Initiate a Journey Conflict to represent the lengthy period of surveying and handling the wilderness and conditions. It is more difficult to set goals for the wilderness, but this isn’t the sort of challenge where death should be on the line for the patrol. Some of the topics to consider include:

• laborers and insect wranglers that should be kept safe
• an ant colony has had reduced contact with mice for years and may treat them as an intrusion
• the coast may provide dangers to include as challenges in the conflict
• abandoned, old buildings are in need of serious maintenance

Think of how you want to challenge the patrol and create a goal that draws upon that. Use the decisions of the patrol through the conflict to inform the compromise

Mission Twists: (I didn’t plan out twists for this mission, so I’ve got nothing to write in)

Player’s Turn:
After the patrol has settled mediation in the debate you can hand over the reins or push them through the surveying. They get the chance to take hold of the mission. Some ways to use checks may include:

• Pathfind to Whitepine or Elmwood to announce the resettlement (if appropriate)
• Learn more about the local ant colony
• Help build homes or buildings (in Dawnrock or the new town)
• Persuade Dogwood of the new town’s name (if appropriate)

i’ll be posting the follow-up soon. It didnt’ get to fulfill the whole plan, we simply are running short on time to play through a full session.

Keep it up Kenneth! Great stuff so far.

We sometimes divide the sessions over two meetings for example if there’s a lot of role playing. In our group it’s not uncommon to do the GM’s Turn in one meeting and Player’s Turn in the next meeting. On the other hand we play regulary (once almost every week).

Below is the description of the follow-on mission after the group helped arrange the resettlement of a quarry-town that fell into a ghosttown during the weasel war.

This is also part of the ongoing year-long mission that Gwendolyn set for the patrol. They’ve picked up mice and had mice leave for other tasks during this year.

Intro and Mission: Untitled
When last we saw our heroic patrol, they had made their way to Whitepine after arranging the resettlement of a quarry-town. The name of the new town will remain Dogwood Hole (it isn’t great, but no one claimed to be good at naming places). The pattrol went to Whitepine to announce the resettlement; Dogwwod the insect wrangler went along since it was all his big idea anyway.

The patrol now has a chance to continue on to Elmwood or return to Dogwood Hole. Dogwood is eager to return, but it wouldn’t hurt to get the word out in Elmwood too.

Allow the senior-most mouse to decide if the patrol will return to the quarry-town or move on to Elmwood

Allow a patrol member to offer the prologue to relieve a condition or recover a point of tax from nature. The report earlier should be far briefer than the prologue.

The town of Dogwood Hole hasn’t got much due to the lack of generosity from Dawnrock. They’ve not got tools for building; the residents are living in sturdy tents and open-air covered pavilions. Only 16 families have moved out of Dawnrock to Dogwood Hole. They’re intrepid mice, but are lacking key supplies to make a go of rebuilding their old town. After living for several years in Dawnrock they’ve let their survival skills go unpracticed.

Allow a patrol member to predict the weather if this was not done during the Player’s Turn during last session; else, the weather appears to be brewing a thunderstorm

Allow the patrol to write Goals for this session and review Beliefs and Instincts.

(In case it seems indistinct, the mission is intended to be difficult for the mice to determine. The senior mouse should have decided whether the group heads toward or away from the Hole. They could be choosing to go speak at Elmwood or returning to the Hole to aid the settlers. They should be strectching a bit to engage in the duties of the Guard during this mission.)

GM’s Turn:
Narrate the patrol returning to the Hole or making their way to Elmwood. Dogwood will go along with them either way despite his anxiety about being away from his wife and children.

Allow a patrol member to test Pathfinder to go in either direction, but neither is very far. It might not be worth it.

Allow a patrol member to test Survivalist to make camp for the patrol. Under the circumstance, the thunderstorm is brewing and will strike during the night; if they fail the test, they will need to get out of their camp in search of a better location; if they pass, they could stay here through the storm to wait out the dangerous conditions.

Dogwood becomes upset as the wind picks up and rain begins to patter among the leaves of the forest. He is certain that this will lead to a flash flood in his new town. (He feels for the town like a new father might feel for a baby daughter; really play this up. Make it far more melodramatic than it deserves; get the patrol mates engaged in his panic. It is unlikely they have any personal contacts among the settlers, so they might feel disinclined to risk themselves over the issue.) Dogwood insists that the patrol rush through the night to warn the town and get all the mice to safety. If the patrol disagrees, he won’t stay for an arguement conflict; he will run away on his own in hopes of arriving back at the Hole before a flash flood wipes it from the gravel quarry.

This places the patrol in a precarious position, they may be able to stay where they are or find a new encampment, but a mad rush to warn the town is a good candidate for the patrol to get engaged in their duties. As well, they should be concerned for the safety of Dogwood during the nighttime storm.

Mission Obstacles:
Weather Obstacle: A thunderstorm rumbles as the sun sets; this is sure to be a large storm as the humid weather has been building up moisture in the region and breezes off the coast draw in cooler air beneath. The patrol will have to decide what to do. This could produce flash floods throughout the northwest settlements and wilderness. Most settlements will survive without much trouble through this, but he new settlement of Dogwood Hole hasn’t got stable buildings and storage houses. They stand to lose everything if there is flooding through the gravel pit.

However, the patrol would have a difficult time finding their way through the storm. It would be best represented by a Journey Conflict against the strength of the storm.

The goal of the storm (as strange as that seems) is to separate the patrol and prevent them from arriving at Dogwood Hole before the area is flooded and wiped from the gravel quarry.

The conflict will play out as they hurriedly make their way through the darkenss and turbulence of the storm. Hopefully it has been enough of a difficulty that one or more patrol mice has been lost in the storm. If nothing else, the storm should have caused some mudslides along the pathway that leave them Sick, Injured, Angry, and having lost equipment.

(This was a pretty fun section of our session for this mission. I’m going to write more about it in a subsequent post, but it was really exciting.)

It is unlikely that the patrol completely lost against the storm. Even so, the patrol probably made their way to the Hole. This makes a great follow-up conflict. Once they have arrived at the Hole, they need to ready the residents for a flash flood or help them to safety if the flood already struck.

Mice Obstacle: Dogwood has been spending time with the patrol for several weeks by this time. He garnered their help in Dawnrock; they helped him to survey the land and arrange living conditions; he came along with the patrol to make announcements about the resettlement (possibly in two towns). For this reason, the patrol may be quickly convinced of his panic; they may be ready to follow him into the storm without a second thought.

However, if the patrol resists his urgency in the interest of safety, they’ve got a mouse wandering panicked in the dark and turbulent storm. Considering how little of the area they can look over, it is the most closely connected mouse they know is out in the storm.

While they certainly could stay safe in their current encampment or seek out a better encampment, they ought to be headed out after Dogwood at least, even if they don’t intend to risk the trip all the way to the Hole. This would start a Chase Conflict.

[li]Dogwwod has the goal of keeping a step ahead of the patrol as he heads toward the Hole (this assumes he and the patrol disagreed about heading into the storm. If the patrol has changed their mind and wants to help, they’ll have to catch him before convincing him).
[li]Considering the storm also rages, the chase should be a fantastic place to make a stipulation that failures may lead to Sickness, Injury, lost mice or equipment, or drowning.

Mission Twists:
Wilderness Twist: Once the patrol has arrived at the Hole, they find things in disarray. The mice here have nothing prepared and are trying to help themselves while ignoring other families. Without Dogwwod or another clear-headed leader, they are unprepared for the storm or a flood. The patrol would have a bit of a difficult task of gathering the families and leading them to safety.

This is another good spot for a conflict to round up the families and lead them to safety. It could be a complex task including Survivalist, Scout, Pathfinder, and Weather Watcher. Administrator, Orator, and Hunter may be possible inclusions as well. I’d say that successes in one complex set of three to four tasks gathers four to five families into a safe location before the flood overtakes the region.

(I chose to make a special conflict using Scout and Survivalist and Weather Watcher against the Season’s rating; however, after that turned out far too easily beaten and gave little time for a developing challenge which should have looked like a race against time. Despite this, it was a pretty fantastic conflict as the patrol succeeded without compromise due to a fantastic roll of Survivalist to create a large bonfire in a safe location as a rally beacon regardless of the rain.)

Player’s Turn:
After the patrol has secured safety for as many as you will allow, it is the player’s turn. In this case, the mission did not include much indication of the storm and how much of a sidetrack it would create. This should leave the patrol without much accomplished from their own goals. So, hopefully they’ve gathered checks and are prepared to work toward their goals.

Some ways to use checks may include:

[li]Pathfind to Barkstone (since they are due to meet Saxon there after his undercover mission)
[/li][li]Build in Dogwood Hole
[/li][li]Make tools for the settlers

It did take a while to get this ready. I feel frustrated that our limited time cut this short. I had hoped to include some further points.

Skydut posted a mission, Snakes on a Plain, which really inspired me. I was thinking of making a mission with some elements from that and titling it Snakes in the Rain. That was going to include snakes in the gravel pit when they founfd a safe place to hide from the storm. I had planned to have these snakes be non-venomous snakes that are primarily insect eaters. This would place them lower on the order of things than mice and a competitor for food sources as well as a danger to the ant colony and beetles used by the quarry for carrying loads.

Thus, it would give the mice a fright and rely upon a Loremouse test to properly identify the snakes. This could mean they know quite well that the snakes are a nuisance for mouse livestock; these snakes are not a danger to mice and should be left alone in the mutual shelter against the storm; or the snakes are dangerous and the patrol must move the mice or fight the snakes.

However, with our limited time, I simply couldn’t throw in the extra material.

so, the storm was a fantastic obstacle and generated a great bit of roleplay. Initially the patrol didn’t realize that Dogwood had come along, so when he ran off, that was a big surprise. I should have made that more clear.

The patrol had trouble making goals, so the mission may need soem revising to provide them with a clear and distinct concept of goals which would be appropriate.

As Dogwood ran away, the senior guardmouse quickly decided they needed to get to the Hole and provide safety for the residents. Unfortunately, other mice in the patrol had worked together so well to secure an encampment that they knew they could safely wait in camp overnight without a fear of being washed away. Since a few patrol members wanted to stay safe, Dogwood ran off. The decision was to head straight to the Hole without chasing Dogwood. It was a hard decision to leave him without protection, but he was headed in the same direction anyhow.

One of the patrolmates didn’t want to obey the orders of the senior mouse; he didn’t want to leave the safe camp into the storm. He was so insistent that he didn’t want to place himself at risk he would not offer a helping die to any test nor to any disposition in a conflict. He came along, but gained no rewards, accomplished nothing and made the senior mouse and his patrol mates very angry, disappointed, and suspicious of him.

During the course of the travel, a mouse used a Survivalist to look for a small place the patrol could rest a few minutes from the stormy travelling. He failed very badly; I narrated a mudslide pouring through and carrying him down a hillside in water and mud. He lost his lodestone, food rations, and axe. The axe is a funny thing; he lost it during a mission of the last year and had to finish the year without it, so, losing it again was infuriating.

Having a mouse swept away in the mudslide was a very interesting complication; the senior mouse stopped everything to determine what to do next–should he have Leiam pathfind a way down the hill to recover their patrolmate or should he have Leiam pathfind a way past the mudslide and finish their travel into Dogwood Hole? (Leiam had already been assign the third action in the conflict as an Attack action which is Pathfinder.)

He looked at me and at his team for guidance; I kept a blank expression. The team felt they should head down the hill to recover their ally. I had described that he heard the other mouse squeaking in anger at the bottom of the wash, but inthe darkness he could see nothing below. He looked back to the team and to Leiam specifically with (and I paraphrase), “Let’s keep moving. Let’s get to Dogwood Hole.” That started an uproar. The mouse who would be left behind was upset they would leave him, Leiam was unsure he should leave anyone behind, other team mates sounded insulted; the team mate who wanted to remain safe at camp brought up that they could have kept safe.

He issued his command and followed it up with a reference to the Guard Oath (we had reread that the week prior), “He’s alive down there and can care for himself; he’s a skilled survivalist. Those mice in the canyon deserve our help and need it more than one Guard Mouse needs his team. The safety of the many residents of Dogwood Hole is of far greater importance than our own safety.”

All I could think was, “You just proved you’re worthy of promotion.”

The rest of the team got in line and got to work. Leiam’s final pathfinder actually killed the remaining dispo of the storm.

In the end, when they finally arrived at Dogwood Hole, two mice were missing, Dogwood hadn’t made it, and most of the patrol was angry or sick. Regardless, they knew a bit deeper what it meant to be Guard from their leader’s example.

We’ve been able to play weekly, but the closing hours of the FLGS now make it impossible for us to fit in MG after D&D Encounters earlier in the night. At least for now, our patrol will be on hiatus until we decide on a new location or different day and time.