The Long Road to Elmoss

Here is the working document for my next session. These are the exact type of notes I use at the table when running the game.

I present them to those of you who may be interested, and any feedback or cool ideas are appreciated. It is still a week till next game night, so it’s not too late to add or change ideas. :slight_smile:


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[Newly Edited]

The Mission
This is a very basic and direct mission. Gwendolyn simply assigns the task to the patrol and sends them on their way.
Escort a team of three laborers from Lockhaven to Elmoss. These workers are needed badly to help repair damage caused to Elmoss’ buildings and bridges after a harsher than usual late spring storm.

Gwendolyn will mention to the patrol leader that the Musfire Festival is going to be taking place in Copperwood during the time that the patrol is nearby. With a wink she suggests that perhaps this particular patrol has earned a day or two of downtime, and that the festival will be a great way to unwind. After the mission of course!

The Laborers
Laborer Pg 198
Nature (Mouse) 4 Resources 1
Will 2 Circles 1 Health 4
Skills: Laborer 5, Job-wise 3, Haggler 2
Traits: Bigpaw (1)

Tuck: The fore-mouse of the worker group. Tuck is an older mouse, and an easy going leader who’s has earned the respect of his workers by being both wise and fair. He has blond fur and wears thick spectacles. Tuck has the Construction-wise skill and the Oldfur Trait.

Angelo: Angelo is a large, quiet and not too bright mouse with brown fur. He is a hard worker but often needs to be given VERY clear instructions to follow. Angelo has the Hard Worker Trait.

Dimitri: Is a small black mouse with boundless energy and enthusiasm. His work ethic is second to none, and he attacks any and all challenges with youthful glee. He wears and apron and small yellow hat.

GM Turn 1
The patrol will most likely gather provisions, round up the laborers and head out as soon as possible.
The journey will be a difficult one, as the thick undergrowth that has cropped up during the rainy spring season obscures the patrols view, and hides landmarks from sight. Navigation will be very difficult!

Obstacle Number #1 (Wilderness)
Escorting the laborers from Lockhaven to Elmoss safely will require a successful Pathfinder test. These are not mice who are accustomed to such hardship and trail blazing. As such the Obstacle for the test is (Ob. 4).

Success: If the patrol successfully navigates the wilderness obstacle then move on to the Obstacle # 2 (Weather)

Failure: Run Twist # 1 (Animals)

Obstacle Number #2 (Weather)
Suddenly a fierce summer storm blows up! The sky darkens and the wind gusts, blowing the undergrowth about violently. Before long large heavy raindrops begin to fall splashing down into the bushes and leaves. It may be best to take shelter!

If the party tries to build or take shelter from the weather:

[li]Build a shelter: Ob 4 Carpenter. Will keep them safe from the elements. Fail: Ob 4 health or become Tired.
[/li][li]Find somewhere to wait our the storm: Ob 4 Survivalist (tis a mess out there!). Fail: Run Twist #2 (Mice)
[/li][li]The patrol may choose to press on despite the weather: Ob 4 Pathfinder.

Fail: Run Twist #2 (Mice)

Twist # 1 (Animals)
If the patrol fails their Pathfinder test then they wander slightly off course, and find themselves stepping into a clearing. A small community of grain farms lay nestled in this low valley just North of Ivydale. A young farm hand runs hastily across the field when he notices the patrol crying for help.

“Help us good sirs! A porcupine is eating all of our grain that we have toiled to grow.”

He leads the patrol to a nearby field with a small grain silo. The side of the silo is cracked up, and a large porcupine is eating from the silo and trampling the fields all around it.

Schroeder notices a familiar face in the small crowd of gathered mice. It’s B. Crocker! His old enemy from the Ivydale bakery. Crocker will try to sow dissent and distrust towards the patrol anytime Schroeder is involved in any actions.

Most of the hired guards for Elmoss are busy helping escort workers to and from the town. As such the harvesters and foragers outside the town proper have been forced to fend for themselves.

Porcupine Nature 6 (Pg. 217)
Stubborn, Slow, Sleepy, Quilled
Porcupine Weapons
Quills—+2D to Defend, +1s to Attack,
Maneuver and Feint.

The mice may try to drive the porcupine off with a show of force, or perhaps trap it or frighten it away with fire or science.

[li]Science to scare the beast away: (Ob 4).
[/li][li]To build a trap: Resources (Ob. 6 to gather materials), followed by trapping conflict. Attack and Maneuver: Scientist, Feint and Defend: Carpenter.
[/li][li]A show of force will require convincing all of the mice of the farming community to take up arms and fight in a War conflict. B Crocker will not like this idea one bit!
[/li][li]Persuader or Deceiver or Orator can be used to convince the farmers to fight.

Remember that if any mouse becomes injured to add the pain and discomfort of a barbed quill that is half a mouse length, embedded and requiring medical attention to remove without causing serious harm.

Twist # 2 (Mice)
During the harsh storm as the patrol looks for shelter they step around a bend, and see another group of mice approaching along the trail. Hoods up and leaning into the wind they do not see the patrol approaching, but it is obvious that it is another patrol of Guard mice on escort duty. They are leading several traders and scientists to Lockhaven.

Suddenly a great peal of thunder shakes the land, and lightening splits the sky. The rain picks up even heavier, and the patrol sees a torrent of muddy water rushing down the hill towards the road. The other patrol is right in the path of the boiling and tumbling flash flood!

If the approaching patrol is warned in time they will scamper to the top of some nearby rocks as the water crashes around them, stranding them on a rocky island, that is being blasted by water, mud and sticks.

If the patrol tries to help, point out that their own mission is at risk as well, the heavy rain can bewilder and pummel the poor workers, and the risk of them being swept away if they get to close to the water is very present. Make them struggle to prevent both parties from being injured or worse!

[li]To Swim / Move through the water with a rope: Health, Ob6. Very fool hardy action.
[/li][li]To Find a way to swing or climb onto the rock from above: Nature: Ob 4.
[/li][li]To throw a line to the rock and attempt to pull them to safety: Health: 5, it will require much strength to hold the line against the raging water.

If the patrol fails any test, sweep away either one of the other patrol mice or a worker in the water. A somber mood sets in at the loss of a comrade / fellow mouse of the territories.

Patrol of Three Guard mice
Pennington (green cloak) – A quick witted scout with a bit of a mean streak. Play him as a sarcastic and fast moving fellow.
Archibald (orange cloak) – A true warrior spirit. Archibald will never back down from a martial challenge and will defend anyone weaker than he.
Seamus (tenderpaw) – A Kind hearted youngster. Seamus is eager to prove himself to any mouse of the guard and thirsts for promotion.

Four Travelers
Pedro the Peddler
Cedric the Carpenter
Ewing the Harvester
Baron the Science Mouse

As the patrol approaches Elmoss, the cloud begin to break apart and the rain stops. Beams of evening sunlight stream in long columns through the clouds and trees overhead. The sounds of the forest return to normal and the group may take some time to catch their breath.

Once the twist is dealt with allow the patrol to complete the remainder of the journey un-interrupted. They arrive wet, grumpy and most likely injured.
The town of Elmoss has taken some serious damage during the spring season, many of the chambers within and beneath the tree are flooded or have water damage which is keeping all of the workers very busy. The town is bubbling with activity.

The Player’s Turn 1
[li]The patrol reaches Elmoss. They will probably spend checks to recover, or to help with the repairs (if they are carpenters etc.).
[/li][li]They may wish to use a check to travel to Copperwood for the festival. That’s o.k. Too!
[/li][li]They may spend checks to take part in any of the contests or festivities, alleviating hungry, tired or angry etc by carousing and having fun.

Spend some time role-playing the festival and keep the mood good natured and light. Reward them for their hard work with some fun, rest and relaxation.

The next mission will begin the day after the festival… when a messenger arrives with a letter from Lady Gwendolyn.

Excellent! Thanks for sharing! I dig the details like the rushing water and mice leaning with their hoods down against the weather. I’m totally stealing this mission.

That’s why I love this system.
Designing missions and characters is more about making them cool and memorable than it is about numbers. I’m a writer and designer by hobby, and Burning Wheel is by far the most influential system I’ve encountered. It and dogs of the vineyard have changed the way I write games.

I’ll post the next leg of the journey next. I believe a trip to the scent border is in order!

I think an Ob 5 Pathfinder to get to Elmoss might be a bit much even with the Laborers. It’s pretty much a straight shot from Lockhaven and a fairly traveled path. Maybe an Ob 4?

And I think an Ob 3 to build a trap for the porcupine is way low. If any of your patrol members has carpentry they’ll be getting at least a +3D from the Laborers should they get them to help build the trap.

Remember a Porcupine is two steps higher then a mouse and would require a small militia of 20 mice to kill. (Perhaps using Militarist they rally all the strong able bodied mice in the village? They’d need an extra ~14 mice)

A great reference for this conflict is Page 224 (Blinded with Science!). Which tells you the exact method for trapping or driving off an animal of that size.

I deliberately made the pathfinder test VERY difficult.
The boy sin my group have a very high pathfinder skill and need a few fails to level up. Plus I want to run my twists :slight_smile:

Your other points are quite valid though thank you.
I’m going to need to make a few tweaks apparently!

I’ll rewrite that encounter using the science rules for sure.
Good eye :wink:

If they need some fails they can always try and use they’re traits against them and refuse assistance. No need to make the Obstacles harder on them unless it’s something that lines up correctly.

They’ll figure out they need to fail sooner or later if they keep blowing through things.

Yes, I thought the Obs were low as well. Otherwise, good story!

Hmmm… it seems you’re missing a section on what happens between the raging flood and getting to Elmoss.

The first post has been edited to reflect the most recent version of my notes.
I think it will go much better for everyone now, and I like the idea of the trapping a large animal conflict (I hadn’t realized that porcupines were so big!).

I tinkered some of the objectives as people suggested and added a few more narrative details and personality notes.

How’s it look? :slight_smile:

I think the Science Ob needs to be the same as it’s Nature as well. Otherwise it would appear to be the easy way out. Well…sorta easy…that is if you have a science mouse on hand. Otherwise pretty good.

Well I’m not going to tell them the Ob. rating unless they pick one action or the other :wink:

I doubt my folks will think of that anyway, they’re fighters lol
So it should be interesting.