Dissolution - A Murder Mystery in the Monasteries of Mouse Guard...

I ran part 2 a few weeks ago and it went swimmingly. Pretty much everything detailed in the mission was uncovered along with more details and red herrings.

I have a list of core clues that form the back bone of the mystery. They don’t tell you the whole story but should give you a good idea of what is going on. The clues with red titles were found during the latest session.

Robyn’s Reading Material…
The day before he was killed Robyn spent almost all day looking through Edwig’s ledgers.

Was there something in the monastery ledgers Robyn found?

This clue is very easy to find. The Abbot will talk about this as will many other monks who spoke with Robyn on his last day alive.

Fevered Raving
In the Infirmary the first night
Whilst suffering a deep fever Brother Welpley calls out…

“Robyn was not the first, there was another… Orphan”

His eyes focus on Alice…

“Poor poor girl… I warned her of the danger here?”

He collapsed to the bed…

“I must warn Alice…”

Brother Welpley was the mouse the guard saw being kicked by Mortiums. He had been under fed and worked hard for a minor infraction. as a result he is sick and feverish. I inserted the scene when Casey my Patrol’s healer decided to visit the infirmary and lend a hand…

Alice’s Predecessor
Orphan was young girl from Scarnsea, she used to be Brother Matthew’s servant in the Infirmary. It was unfortunate but she had some run ins with a few of the mice here. Both Mortimus and Edwig ‘approached’ her but Abbot Fabian made it clear to them any further incidents would result in them being cast out. She always kept to herself after that eventually running away, taking some silver goblets with her.

Who in the Scarnsea knew Orphan?

Talking to any of the head monks will eventually get information about Orphan. Edwig and Mortimus will turn this into a conflict, Abbot Fabian or Gabriel will probably just need a regular test. This should only really be followed up during the players turn.

Welpley Poisoned
When questioned about his words the night before…
Welpley had been poisoned… the only mice to allowed to see him in the infirmary were Mortimus, Edwig, Fabian, Guy and Gabriel.

Who poisoned the young mouse?

Obviously Welpley knew something, before the patrol cold talk to him any more he was silenced. Gabriel confirms who had access to him. Any mouse with Poison-wise or Healer can find out he was poisoned.

It wasn’t red…
“On the day he was killed I saw Robyn trying to get into the counting house, he was arguing with Athelstan, he was demanding to see Edwig. Robyn was pointing to a blue book, telling Athelstan that he had proof, shouting, demanding to see the bursar…”

Where is the Blue Book?

Assuming the patrol managed to get hold of Edwig’s red ledgers Alice will (at some point convenient to the GM) point out that the ledger she saw Robyn with on the day he died was blue.

The Blue Book
“Inside the blue accounting book are details of land sales that total a great deal of money. None of these sales were listed in the Monastery’s accounts and the sales themselves appear to be undervalued.”

Who bought the land?
Will they give their testimony as evidence?

This information incriminated Edwig. Do the mice get evidence or sit on the info? The almost certainly won’t have uncovered the murder by the time they find this info. Contacting the local land owners to confirm the sales will make sure they have evidence and can also be used by the GM as a time scale. He can deliver the evidence to the patrol when he wants them to get it (such is the trouble of gathering letters and such in Winter).

The Murder Weapon
“Wrapped within a monk’s habit is a broadsword. The habit appears to be stained with blood but just visible is a distinctive pattern that you have only seen being worn by one monk, Gabriel.
The blade has a Lockhaven blacksmith’s mark as well as a unique heraldry mark. This blade belonged to a member of the Guard.”

Was Gabriel the killer?
Who forged the sword?
Who owned the sword?

This is what happens when the patrol beats the Monastery at the search Conflict.

Body in the Mud
The body is badly decomposed but a small silver chain is hanging around it’s neck. On the chain is a pendant in the shape of an oak tree.

Whose body was found in the pond?

As well as the sword they also find another body in the mud.Astute mice will put two and two together and realise this could be the old Infirmary Maid ‘Orphan’. Obviously if they haven’t investigated her yet this could spur them on

Core Clue
The Axe and the Rack
“I was imprisoned at Lockhaven alongside a Guardmouse called Adrien. After being tortured Adrien was eventually removed from Lockhaven and in secret he was executed. During his final night Adrien was visited by two mice. The first was Robyn, who got Adrien to sign a confession, the second mouse arrived very soon after Robyn but I could not identify the voice…”

Who was the second Mouse?
Was Adrien executed for being a member of the Axe?

This is another clue that is really up the GM to drop ate the right moment. The patrol should get the feeling Jerome has known what is going on all the time… He will offer up this information at an appropriate moment preferably after the Murder weapon has been found.

Back to Lockhaven
The sword was forged by Lockhaven Master Smith Godwin. The sword was a gift for Patrol Leader Adrien.

How did Adrien’s sword end up in Scarnsea if he was executed in Lockhaven?

Traveling back to Lockhaven should be a Journey Conflict, it is after all Winter. Circles rolls or contacts can be used to gather this clue. The decision to travel back to Lockhaven should be a tough one.

Adrien was visited by his sister Elizabeth on the night he was moved from Lockhaven. The description of his sister matches that of Alice.


I’ll post a list of characters later on as well as the basic plot of what is actually going on.

Okay, here are the main NPCs of the story…

Abbot Fabian
An older mouse, regal looking. He is always dressed well and looks healthy. He tries to keep control of his fears and worries about a possible dissolution of the Monastery but sometimes he fails. Apart from not following the old beliefs and tradition of the Monastery he has done nothing wrong. He does not believe any other mouse in Scarnsea could have committed any crimes.

Orphan was the infirmary maid at the Monastery a few years ago. She was never very talkative but after her run in with Mortimus she withdrew even further. Eventually she was a victim to Edwig’s violent urges. Most of the monks believed she ran away but there are a few people in the town of Scarnsea (and Brother Welpley) that don’t believe that tale at all…

Prior Mortimus
An Ex-Headmaster. He is a tough mouse who likes to keep the others in line. He has been known to have ‘wandering paws’ when the female maids are around but the last time he is known to have lost his self control was with Orphan, the old Infirmary maid. He was suitably disciplined by Fabian and has his paws have not wandered since. He has not committed any crimes.

Bursar Edwig
A rotten mouse, rotten to the core. Like Mortimus he is known to have a thing for the ladies but worse than Mortimus he doesn’t take no for an answer. He had a run in with Orphan but when she tried to fight back he became even more violent and ended up killing her. He dumped her body in the pond along with some Monastery Silver to make it look like she had stolen them and fled.

He has convinced himself he needs absolution for this crime and the obvious way to do this is by raising a large sum of money and heading out of the territories where he has been promised he will be forgiven. He intends to take the money he has made selling off the Monastery’s lands and catch a boat in the middle of the night.

Brother Guy
Guy is the Infirmarian at the Monastery and a good mouse. He speaks in a slightly lisping accent and has bright red fur. He as committed no crime and is perhaps the most respected mouse in the Monastery.

Brother Gabriel
Gabriel is an ex-blacksmith who fought in the war 2 years ago and retired to the Monastery afterwards to try and reclaim peace of mind. He runs the Library as well as the choir and is the Sacrist. He was a soldier, is well built and strong so easily capable of committing the murder but he has don nothing wrong (unless he is spying on the patrol for Fabian)

Bugge the Watchmouse
Old, dirty, smells bad but otherwise is willing to help and has commited no crimes.

A soft mouse who was sent to the Monastery by his father who wanted rid of him. Welpley was no use as a farmer. He found a place in the Library and choir with Gabriel. Welpley was good friends with Orphan when she was still alive and he knew she was having a rough time. He never believed she had ‘run away’. He is killed by Edwig before he can tell the Patrol what he suspects.

Brother Athelstan
Edwig’s staff accountant. Athelstan is currently in Edwig’s bad books because he let Robyn get hold of the ‘blue book’.

Brother Septimus
A very overweight mouse who has committed no crime. Septimus can be used to showcase the cruelty of the other Monks.

Jerome of the Axe
Jerome was captured during the failed attack on Lockhaven by Midnight’s army. Contrary to Gwendolyn’s orders to let the mice of the Axe go several were help in the gaols. And some were tortured. Jerome was racked and his body ruined. He had no information to give up but he did not give in. He was eventually thrown out a cripple and slightly unhinged. Whilst in the Lockhaven dungeons he was witness to Robyn and various other Guardmice threatening, torturing and generally being malicious and nasty in a bid to get confessions and information. Some of the prisoners they brought in were not even members of the Axe but had somehow been condemned or set up by their enemies in a bid to be rid of them. Jerome paid very close attention to what went on because if there was any way to undermine Gwendolyn and the current Guard Zeitgeist this was it.

Alice was once known as Elizabeth, her Brother a well to do member of the guard. One day she would be too… All this changed when Adrien was dragged away to the dungeons. She managed to get in to speak to him once. A loyal, compassionate gaoler let her see her brother one last time. Adrien knew he was soon to be killed but he urged his sister to flee with his cloak and sword before she was accused as well. He told her of Robyn’s crimes.

On her way out of the dungeons she passed Robyn heading towards her Brother’s cell. She listened to her brother’s forced confession and then fled Lockhaven.

Captain Robyn
Took Gwendolyns orders to investigate the Axe a little too far. He was over zealous and bloodthirsty in his pursuit of information. Many innocent mice have disappeared after his investigations but Gwendolyn turned a blind eye because he was getting some results.

Eventually Gwendolyn dispatched him to Scarnsea in an attempt to remove him from his power base at lockhaven. When he arrived there Alice spotted him straight away and could not believe her luck. She lured him to the kitchens with false information and there, wearing one of Gabriel’s habits she killed him with her Brother’s sword.

Loving this stuff! I can only imagine how much fun the players are having with this!

We finally managed to re-convene to play out the next session of our Mouse Guard game and what a blindingly great time was had. We actually managed to play out 2 GM turns and 2 player turns and actually finished the mission, solved the murder(s).

I won’t bore you with a blow by blow account of what happened throughout the whole Session but there were some moments where I was very pleased with how the game worked and helped shape the story.

The patrol discovered there were two antagonists in the story. One was an insane murderer, embezzling money to pay off his sins. The other was a devoted sister getting her revenge for the false conviction and execution of her beloved older brother.

One was killed and one escaped.

Finally as a result of the investigation a new threat within Lockhaven itself was discovered and the schism in the guard widens…

Some highlights…

A Tenderpaw and his Patrol Leader are face to face with four attackers, realisation soon dawns that if they both stand and fight or both try and flee neither will make it back with the ‘vital evidence’ they are carrying.

So instead of resolving a fight conflict we resolved an argument conflict between the two guardmice, both of them believed they should be the one to stay and fight. We described the whirling melee as the background to the argument, narrating the clash of weapons as each mouse fought his assailants at the same time as trying to convince his companion to ‘get out of here while I hold them off’

“I’m getting too old for this but the new generation of Guardmice need a guiding paw” – Oldfur / Guard’s Honour / Stubborn

“The young fight and the old teach. It is the duty of a Tenderpaw to learn from and fight for the Oldfurs.” - Young / Brave

Both mice had strong convictions about being the one to sacrifice himself for the other. In the end the Tenderpaw was convinced to flee, whilst his Mentor, wielding sling and sword, faced off against the four attackers….

The final scene of the evening had the remnants of the patrol facing the issue of letting the murderer go free or taking her in… It had turned out the mouse that had been murdered (prompting the investigation) was actually a spy for an evil, shadowy group within Lockhaven.

On the one paw Alice WAS guilty but on the other she had, in her act of revenge, helped to uncover a nefarious plot inside Lockhaven. The belief of one guardmouse was severely tested during this scene…

All possibilities should be explored for the well-being of the Guard.

The Tenderpaw was arguing for the Alice to be taken in chains (after all his mentor had died so he could escape with the vital evidence against her) and against that the patrol’s healer was arguing that they should let her go, he is rather cowardly and would rather avoid a fight if at all possible. Then we had the guardmouse who could only play devils advocate between the two because he was compelled to consider all options…

It was the poor Tenderpaw, exhausted and a mess of emotions by this point, who was convinced Alice should be allowed to escape. The betrayal of his mentor’s legacy settled over him like a sodden cloak.

Out in the snow-covered wilds a body is found, the oldfur’s wounds are grave but still there is a flicker of life.