Presented is a selection of less well known creatures which reside in and around the mouse territories:
Wood Rat: Natural Order 4, Nature 5 (Wood Rat) Foraging, Hording, Midden Building, Dashing Away
Wood rats are giants compared to mice, but they are fairly gentle creatures and quite unlike squirrels do not make a meal of mice. In fact, they are largely vegetarian in their diet, and eat only the occasional arthropod. Mice generally consider wood rats to be dim-witted but satisfactory neighbors, and they are tolerated within the mouse territories provided they stay out of cities. Wood rats in turn have prospered owing to the comparative lack of predators in the mouse territories. Wood rats are solitary uncultured creatures, and males are highly territorial – but mainly with respect to other male wood rats. Wood rats build large middens under stones or stumps or in the clefts of rocks, and occupy these for generations. These midden piles are mostly made of twigs, branches, and small stones, cemented together with the wood rats dried urine. They drag nesting material into these middens as well as any shiny thing that they come across, for wood rats have a fascination with shiny and unusual objects. Thus, a mouse must be careful not to leave anything valuable laying about when in wood rat territory, lest it be snatched up as a trinket. Recovering such valuables can prove to be difficult, though wood rats have been known to trade for something even more shiny and unusual.
Red Squirrel: Natural Order 4: Nature 4 (Red Squirrel) – Climbing, Foraging, Nest Building, Darting Away from Danger
Red squirrels are common throughout the mouse territories wherever stands of conifers are found. They do not normally represent a threat, as they mainly eat the seeds, buds, and young needles of evergreen trees, and will not attack adult mice except in self-defense. However, care must be taken to keep squirrels from settling too close to habitation, as they will readily supplement their diet with any mouse pup too young to run away. Squirrel are quite active noisy foragers and rely on their keen senses, agility, and climbing ability to stay away from predators. A great many animals that prey upon mice actually prefer squirrels as a food source.
Grey Squirrel: Natural Order 4: Nature 5 – Climbing, Caching Food, Nest Building, Darting Away from Danger
Grey Squirrels are similar to their smaller cousins the red squirrel, but prefer deciduous forests and feed mostly upon seeds and tree nuts. They are however quite omnivorous, and will supplement their diet with bark, fungi, berries, and the occasional insect, frog or small mammal including the young of other squirrels and mice. Being larger than their close cousins the red squirrel, they will sometimes attack even lone or unwary adult mice. Grey squirrels cache large amounts of food within their territory ahead of winter. They are quite secretive regarding their food caches and take care to hide, as they also regularly spy on their neighbors and attempt to steal their food caches. They will happily haul away a settlements food stores if left unguarded. Grey squirrels are semi-social and will call out to their neighbors if they detect a predator in their territory. Mice consider grey squirrels annoying pests, but they are too numerous to drive from the mouse territories. They serve as food for many of the large bird predators found within mouse territory, especially for hawks, which does serve somewhat to reduce the dependence these creatures would otherwise have on mice for food.
Fox Squirrel: Natural Order 4: Nature 6 (Fox Squirrel): Climbing, Jumping, Foraging, Jumping away from Predators
Fox Squirrels occur only on the southern border of mouse territories, and are the largest squirrels which mice encounter. The live only in stands of old growth forest with little underbrush, and prefer forests of mixed conifers and mast dropping hardwoods such as oaks, walnuts and hickory. While they will make and live in leaf dens high up in trees, they are heavily dependent on dens in hollows of trees to survive the cold winter months and prefer therefore forests with active woodpecker populations. Fox squirrels eat tree nuts, seeds, fungi, roots, tubers, bulbs, and berries. Despite their large size, they are not aggressive predators of other mammals and confine their predation to the occasional bird’s egg or insect. Although solitary animals, they are not territorial and are very vocal and talkative creatures, calling to each other and giving detailed warning whenever a predator is spotted. With their great jumping ability and alert senses, adult fox squirrels are difficult prey for many predators, with the red-tailed hawk being the chief creature that they fear. While they have no commerce with mice, mouse guards along the southern border of the territories frequently take care to learn the rudiments of the fox squirrels language, as their presence can greatly increase the safety of teams renewing the scent border to those that know to listen for the proper signs.
Wild Mouse, Deer Mouse: Natural Order 3: Nature 4 (Mouse)
The tribe of Deer Mice are wild mice that are close kin to the civilized mice of the mouse territories. They live much as the wild ancestors of the present civilized mice do in simple nests and in small communities. Unlike civilized mice, their lives are quite short and their minds comparatively simple, but they mature rapidly, are to a large degree sapient, and are capable of conversing in a dialect of the mouse tongue. A few Deer Mice have even adopted by imitation some of the civilized ways of mice, wearing discarded clothes that they find and using simple tools. Despite their ability to understand tools when they see them employed, thus far, they have only shown rudimentary ability to manufacture tools for themselves. They thus live in a comparatively primitive and live simple lives that usually end in brutal deaths when they are preyed upon by predators that find their way into mouse territories. They have for themselves no guard mice, and no instinct for attacking that which threatens them nor do they employ weapons. Faced with danger, they flee and hide. However, Deer Mice often know a great deal about the wild places of the territories and have their own store of lore about the inhabitants there of. Opinions of Deer Mice within the mouse territories vary widely. Some see them as noble savages that have stayed true to their mouse natures. Others see them as less evolved cousins which civilized mice have a duty to protect and befriend as much as is possible. Others see them as dim-witted creatures that are little more than beasts and vermin to exploit or exterminate. A few Deer Mice leaders have earned the respect of nearby towns, but since it is rare for a Deer Mouse to live more than 10 years these relationships are sadly transient.
Wild Mouse characters are similar to civilized mice, but much more limited in ability. They never can become guard mice, and they live only for a few years. They can never gain the following skills: Administrator, Apiarist, Archivist, Cartographer, Fighter, Glazier, Militarist, Scientist, or Smith. They can never have more than a 2 in the following skills: Armorer, Baker, Boatcrafter, Brewer, Carpenter, Cook, Healer, Hunter, Insectrist, Instructor, Miller, Potter, Stonemason or Weaver. They can have up to a 5 in the following skills: Haggler, Laborer, Loremouse, Manipulator, Orator, Pathfinder, Persauder, Scout, Survivalist and Weather Watcher. The only traits available to wild mice are Bigpaw, Clever, Compassionate, Cunning, Curious, Deep Ear, Determined, Early Riser, Fearful, Generous, Graceful, Independent, Innocent, Longtail, Natural Bearings, Nimble, Nocturnal, Old-Fur, Quiet, Sharp-Eyed, Sharptooth, Short, Skinny, Steady Paws, Suspicious, Tall, Tough, Wise, and Young. All wild mice have the trait: Wild. A typical wild mouse will have 0-5 skills and one additional trait.
White Footed Mouse: Natural Order 2: Nature 4 (Mouse)
The tribe of White Footed Mice is group of wild mice that live mostly beyond the southern border of the mouse territories. Like all wild mice, they live much as the primitive ancestors of civilized mice, acting according to their mouse natures. Although they are sapient, they are short lived and usually forgo the use of tools and are unable to overcome their instincts to forage for food and flea from danger. White Footed mice are noticeably smaller in stature than civilized mice, with adults been scarcely larger than the pups of civilized mice. To civilized mice, they appear fairy-like and dainty. They live individually and in small often short lived communities. Commerce between the civilized mice and white footed mice is comparatively rare, but as with the deer mice of the territories, there is evidence that the proximity to civilized mice is altering their culture as white footed mice imitate the use of tools that they observe in their civilized neighbors.
Attributes for white footed mice characters are similar to that of other wild mice, except that they always possess the Short trait as well as the Wild trait and may never have the Tall trait. Additionally, owing to their small stature, their Health is never higher than 5.
Wolf Spider: Natural Order 2: Nature 3 (Wolf Spider): Pouncing, Chasing, Hiding
Wolf Spiders are among the largest spiders in the territories, growing up to half the weight of an adult mouse. Wolf spiders do not spin webs, but instead hide in leaf litter or under rocks and wait for potential prey to pass by, where upon the wolf spider rushes out and inflicts a poisoned bite on their prey. They are among the fastest moving spiders and will even chase prey over short distances. Although they generally only prey on creatures smaller than them, wolf spider bites can cause serious injuries and if venom is injected cause serious sickness and even death. However, predation does not go only in one direction. Even before mice became sophisticated wolf spiders were considered a potential food source. In modern times, roasted wolf spider is considered a fine delicacy and often served at autumnal feasts and celebrations in the territories.
Wolf Spider Weapons:
Long Poisonous Fangs: +1d to attack, +1s on a successful attack. Any mouse that suffers the injured condition as a result of the fangs of a wolf spider is also sickened.
Scuttling Legs: +1s to Feint or Maneuver
Jumping Spider: Natural Order 1: Nature 3 (Jumping Spider): Pouncing, Stalking, Hiding
Jumping spiders are among the most intelligent of all invertebrates, and insectivorist science mice have recently begun attempts to domesticate this most attractive and appealing of spiders species for use as companions and even guard beasts. A jumping spider will generally avoid taking on any prey as large as a mouse, and are not dangerous unless cornered and their threat displays are ignored.
Jumping Spider Weapons
Powerful Mandibles: +1d to attack, +1s on a successful attack
Jumping Legs: +2d to maneuver
Eight-Eyes: +1d to defense
Fishing Spider: Natural Order 2: Nature 3 (Fishing Spider) – Remaining Motionless, Charging, Walking on Water
A close relative of the wolf spider, the fishing spider is common along lakes and ponds, and grows to more than half the weight of an adult mouse. It feeds primarily off of water dwelling insects, but larger examples will eat tadpoles and small fish. It does most of its hunting at night so as to avoid birds, which might otherwise easily spot the spider floating on the surface of the water. Although it does not hunt mice, like the wolf spider, its bite is quite dangerous and encounters with fishing spiders can be lethal – especially for young mice.
Fishing Spider Weapons:
Gripping Poisonous Fangs: +1d to Attack, +1s on a successful attack. Additionally, on a successful attack any mouse that suffers the injured condition as a result of the fangs of a fishing spider is also sickened.
Scuttling Legs: +1s to Feint or Maneuver
Masked Shrew: Natural order 2: Nature 3 (Masked Shrew): Hiding, hearing, frantic activity, eating everything in sight.
Like most shrews, masked shrews will eat mice – especially young mice - if given the opportunity, but they are not as ferocious and feared as their larger, poisonous cousins, nor are mice their preferred food. Instead, masked shrews prefer to gorge on caterpillars and worms.
Masked Shrew Weapons:
Snipping Jaws: +1d to feint
Musk: +1d to maneuver
Poor Eyesight: -2d to resist attacks from range
Northern short-tailed shrew: Natural order 3: Nature 4 Gorging, poisoning, tunneling, sensing even the quietest sound like the beating of a mouse heart
Feared predators, the short-tailed shrew will kill and eat anything of its size or smaller including worms, insects, other shrews and mice. While they do not cooperate, and are indeed cannibals, they can infest mouse territory in great numbers very quickly and must be killed every spring when they are found. They are active in even winter and will kill much more than they can eat, caching uneaten prey below ground for later consumption if prey runs short. They are most feared because of their poisoned bite which induces sickness in those they injure. They have poor vision and are susceptible to attack by missile weapons, but in close quarters are dangerous foes. In recent years, northern short-tailed shrews have become an even greater problem than normal, for the very success the mice have had in driving away larger predators has allowed the shrew to breed in even greater than usual numbers.
Northern Short-tailed Shrew Weapons:
Poisoned Bite: +1s after a successful attack. Any mouse that has an injured condition inflicted on it is also sickened.
Musk: +2d to maneuver;
Poor Eyesight: -2d to resist attacks from range
Pygmy Shrew: Natural Order 1: Nature 3 (Pygmy Shrew): eating, sniffing, hearing, digging up food
Weighing only a tenth that of an adult mouse, the pygmy shrew is too small to make an easy meal of mice and normally would be a threat only the most helpless pups. However, the pygmy shrew is a voracious consumer of insects and their larva, as it must feed several times an hour or else starve to death. Mice with any skill at fighting will generally kill pygmy shrews when they encounter them out of principle, and also because they can quickly devour any swarm of insects pets or livestock that may be at hand. One attempt to domesticate pygmy shrews to use as insect hunters failed owing to their insatiable appetite.
Pygmy Shrew Weapons:
Sharp Teeth: +1d to attack
Poor Eyesight: -2d to resist attacks from range
Water Shrew: Natural Order 2: Nature 3 (Water Shrew): hunting in the water, swimming, diving
Weighing only about a third of an adult mouse, and specializing in aquatic prey, the water shrew is not as dangerous as other shrews in the mouse territories and is generally left to its own devices provided its stays away from mouse habitations. Still, they are better swimmers than mice and care must be taken whenever in waters that might have water shrews within them. There fur traps air pockets against them, creating a sort of natural scuba system that allows them to dive deep beneath the water and maneuver with great ease in it.
Water Shrew Weapons:
Snipping Jaws: +1d to feint
Waterwalking Fur: +2d to maneuver when in the water
Poor Eyesight: -2d to resist ranged attacks
Southern Bog Lemming: Natural order 3: Nature 3: Eating, nesting, hiding, breeding
Lemmings are principally grass eaters and eat almost exclusively fresh vegetation. They are active in the winter, and store only hay – not seeds. They get along well with cultured mice, and live in small communities of their own generally numbering 40 or 50 individuals on the fringes of mouse society – often in wetlands the mice find undesirable habitat. They however have very short lives and have not developed a sophisticated culture of their own. Though socialable, friendly and enjoy the company of mice and can be traded with, they are unreliable as allies, timid outside of their territory, and generally not very bright. Communities often appear and disappear in just a few years time.
Elk: Natural order 10: Nature 11 (Elk): Herding, Running, Foraging, Acting Imperious
Elk are an antlered ungulate intermediate in size between the white-tailed deer and moose. They are the favored prey of wolf packs at all times of year, but particularly in winter and early spring months when the snow hampers the ability of Elk to run. During most of the year, they travel in small single-sex herds of between 5 and 30 individuals. Elk require open grasslands since they get most of their food from grazing. Elk pay basically no attention to creatures of the scale of mice, but a herd of elk can inadvertently devastate a mouse community, either by destroying its food crops or by accidentally trampling mouse homes. Further, wherever Elk go, wolves are sure to eventually follow. Elk are most active in the morning and evening, and retreat to dense woodlands during other hours to avoid contact with predators. As Elk are bold and irritable creatures that fear little but large predators and are more likely to charge and trample nuisances than to flee from them, mice have few options but to endure whatever depredations Elk cause.
Star Nosed Mole: Natural order 3: Nature 4 (Star Nosed Mole): devouring, tunneling, feeling in the dark
Star nosed moles are worm feeding specialists, and are capable of sucking down worms with frightening speed. They are relatively small, being only about four times the size of a typical mouse. They will also happily devour any insects and grubs in their way, but they have small teeth and no interest in prey as large as a mouse and are too slow to give chase to anything faster than a worm. They generally live their entire lives underground, burrowing through soft deep preferably moist soil. They are basically blind, but have keen hearing and scent, and their nose is equipped with twenty-two incredibly sensitive feelers. They are frequently found in and near wetlands, and are surprisingly strong swimmers capable of eating tadpoles, small frogs, and minnows. They remain active year round, foraging beneath snow and even ice covered ponds. Star nosed moles are stubborn single minded creatures, concerned with little more than their bellies, but have wise noses and long memories. If warned away from a mouse habitation, they will generally not return, and will often pass the information along to their fellows. As such, they are considered mouse allies and generally good neighbors, albeit useless ones.
Star Nosed Mole weapons:
Spade-Like Claws: +1d to defend
Basically Blind: -2d to resist ranged attacks
Hairy-tailed mole: Natural order 3: Nature 4 (Hairy-tailed Mole): tunneling, gobbling insects, living underground
An obligate insectivore, the hairy-tailed mole must feed on insects to live. It takes little interest in mice themselves, but will cheerfully tunnel into their homes and devour their live stocks. They are almost blind, normally solitary, and have a reputation for being quiet slow on the uptake even if a mouse can communicate with one. Their hearing and scent is quite keen, and their whiskers give them a delicate sense for anything nearby. Their front claws are broad and spade-shaped, and though quite powerful are not intended as weapons.
Hairy-tailed mole weapons:
Spade-Like Claws: +1d to defend
Basically Blind: -2d to resist ranged attacks
Vole/Field Mouse: Natural order 2, Nature 4
A cousin of the civilized mouse, the vole or field mouse lives in monogamous pairs in dry tall grass meadows. They occasionally form large communities, which are matriarchal in nature. They are sapient creatures and capable of speaking a dialect of the mouse tongue, but they are short lived, short tempered, and are unable to resist their mouse natures. In particular, they will flee when faced with any creature larger than themselves. Although skilled pathfinders and tunnellers, and sometimes using the tools and implements of civilized mice, they do not readily manufacture their own tools, nor do they employ weapons other than those they are endowed with by nature. They are not as social as civilized mice, and can be territorial and aggressive toward other mice which intrude upon their territory. Only skilled lore mice can expect to form any sort of amicable relationship with a field mice, and only with patience and lengthy building of trust. This situation is complicated by the fact that voles are prodigious breeders, especially compared to civilized mice, and benefiting equally from the scent border occasionally blossom into large populations which threaten the ability of civilized mice to glean forage. While voles are grass eaters, they also will eat many of the foods civilized mice depend on and innocently harvest mouse food crops. During periods of overpopulation, voles will also even adopt cannibalistic behavior, a practice abhorrent to the civilized mice of the mouse territories. Conflicts between civilized mice and voles are thus not infrequent, and some more militant mice have suggested driving all voles across the scent border to preserve the mouse territories for mice.
Voles have the same skills found with other tribes of wild mice.
Meadow Jumping Mouse: Natural Order 2, Nature 3: jumping, escaping, hiding
A distant kin of the civilized mouse, the meadow jumping mouse is commonly found living as solitary wanderers in open grasslands of the territories. They are nocturnal by nature. They are admired by more civilized mice as capable survivalists, able to burrow, swim, and find shelter in any habitat. They are also peaceable creatures, shy, reluctant to quarrel and remarkably good natured. However, for all their wisdom and wit, they prefer solitude at all times, and are nervous when encountering groups and cannot be induced to provide aid beyond occasional bits of good advice. They accept gifts, but do not understand why they are made and will not return hospitality or keep any long term company with even their own kind. Parables and children’s stories of the civilized mice often feature jumping mice as stock characters, using the contrast as a teaching tool to either shame mice for being quarrelsome or else to demonstrate the value of cooperation depending on the story.
Meadow jumping mice have skills similar to White Footed Mice.
Green Heron: Natural Order 4, Nature 6 (Green Heron):
A smaller relative of the blue heron, they are rarely seen in the territories and then only on the southern border, but generally conform to the habits of their larger cousins. They are cleverer and less regal than the blue heron, and are known to set traps and bait prey into the open. Fortunately, they prefer fish and frogs to mice, and eat mice only opportunistically.
American Bittern: Natural Order 5, Nature 7 (Bittern): stalking, stabbing, hiding in grass, migrating
Invades the territories in the spring, lurking in wetlands. Presence can be inferred from distinctive barking cry
Bobcat: Natural Order 6, Nature 8 (Bobcat) – hunting, pouncing, stealthily stalking prey
Bobcats are a medium sized cat with a powerfully built body. They are pound for pound some of the most dangerous animals of the wild, fully capable of hunting and killing animals many times their own weight. The preferred prey of bobcats are rabbits and hares, but they also hunt ducks, geese and even swans, and can kill even small deer. However, bobcats are opportunistic hunters and will not pass up a mouse or other small creature that wanders unwarily into their path.
Killing Teeth – +1s to successful attack
Retractable Claws – As sword
Chipmunk: Natural Order 3, Nature 4 (Chipmunk): foraging, burrowing, stuffing food in its cheeks.
Among the smallest of ground squirrels, is about twice the size of a mouse. Solitary and defensive, the chipmunk is a most difficult creature to communicate with. Chipmunks eats bulbs, seeds, fruits, nuts, green plants, mushrooms, insects, worms, and bird eggs. Compared to its larger kin the ground squirrels, it’s rarely dangerous to mice but they are notoriously bad tempered and dislike tresspassers.
Ringneck Snake: Natural Order 3, Nature 4 (Ringneck Snake) – Insect Hunting, Hiding, Slithering
Slender and about twice the length of a mouse, the ringneck snake is one of the smallest and most common predators in the territories. Too small to regularly hunt mice, the ringneck snake prefers worms, insects, slugs, salamanders and small frogs. They are in turn preyed upon by bullfrogs, shrews, other snakes, and when young even large centipedes and spiders. Up to a dozen of these creatures can be found in the same lair beneath leaf litter, rocks, or in rotten wood, and in the spring their eggs can be found in communal clutches of up to 50 eggs. Needless to say, this can lead to some stressful moments for a mouse looking for a hiding spot.
Ring Neck Snake Weapons
Fangs: +1d to Attack
Brown Snake: Natural Order 3, Nature 4 (Brown Snake) – Slug Hunting, Hiding, Slithering
A small snake similar in size and behavior to the ring neck snake. It specializes in feeding on slugs, snails, worms and other soft bodied creatures and as such is rarely a danger to mice.
Brown Snake Weapons:
Fangs: +1d to Attack
Redbelly Snake: Natural Order 3, Nature 4 (Red Belly Snake) – Slug Hunting, Hiding, Slithering
A small snake which other than being more colorful, is quite similar to its drab cousin the brown snake. It does not lay eggs, but like the garter snake, keeps the eggs within its body and gives live birth to a half-dozen young, each about half the length of an adult mouse.
Red Belly Snake Weapons:
Fangs: +1d to Attack
Blue Racer: Natural Order 5, Nature 7 (Blue Racer) – Hunting, Striking, Quickly Slithering, Constricting
The blue racer is one of the largest and most feared snakes of the mouse territories. Its hide is covered with gemlike blue scales, and its face is masked something like a raccoon. It is a very fast and active snake that patrols the edges of shores lines and meadows looking for unwary prey. While the guard finds it almost impossible to kill adult blue racers, they have for several years been waging a somewhat successful campaign to destroy blue racer nests and young, leading to this species becoming fortunately somewhat rare within the territories.
Blue Racer Weapons:
Lightning Fast Strike - +1d to Feint or Maneuver
Sapphire Coils - +1s to successful Attack
Black Rat Snake: Natural Order 5, Nature 7 (Black Rat Snake) – Coiling, Climbing, Hunting, Constricting
The black rat snake is the largest snake found in the mouse territories. These massive leviathans are nearly unstoppable and the presence of one near a community is likely to provoke a mass panic. An area where a black rat snake is known to lair is treated by the guard as the domain of a living dragon, and avoided as much as possible. The only partial relief a mice town can take is that rat snakes are so large that mice are hardly their preferred food, and these monsters will readily eat birds, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits and even young opossums and other snakes. They are excellent climbers and will raid nests high in trees. Like toads, they excrete a foul smelling musk when threatened. Excellent and determined fighters, black snakes have been known to battle hawks and owls to death, leaving both creatures dead – an event which is by no means considered tragic within the mouse communities. Mouse chemists hope to study the rat snake’s musk to improve the scent border, but samples of this evil material are unsurprisingly hard to come by.
Black Rat Snake Weapons:
Bite: +1d to Maneuver
Musk: +1s to Defend
Tenacious Coils: +1s to Attack
Massasauga: Natural Order 4, Nature 6 (Massagauga) – Ambushing, Hiding, Striking
The Massasauga is a true rattlesnake and the only venomous snake of the mouse territories. Although smaller than some snakes of the territories, its venomous jaws and terrifying rattle more than compensate. It also considers mice its preferred prey. The venom destroys tissue and causes bleeding, and it prefers to strike and then fall back to allow its venom time for action. The guard is able to kill Massauga, but owing to the deadly venom of the creature, only with great numbers of mice, and never without loss. Lone mice stand no chance against the creature.
Poisonous Bite: +1d to Attack, and +2s on a Successful attack. Additionally, if the attack is successful, the Massagaura is treated as having Disarmed or having Impeded and Gained Position on the opposing guard mouse, just as if it had 3 margins of success on a successful Maneuver. On a successful attack, any mouse that suffers the injured condition as a result of the fangs of a Massasauga is also sickened as part of any compromise.
Rattle: +1s to successful Feint
Coils: +1s to successful Defend