When an opposing army brings in the big weapons, your kingdom has no choice but to ante up or fold - and a trained Battle Mage from the Guild of Arcane Combatants if nothing if not a big weapon. But what happens your generals and their generals have a common goal?
While traveling trough farm land the PCs come upon a merchant sitting on a wrecked wagon without a mule attached to it, hid face burrowed in his hands. He explains that he was robbed by petty goblins, unable to defend himself he had retreated. He asks the PCs to help him retrieve the mule before the goblins roast it, as a reward they may keep his goods. How hard can it be?