The Monsters in the Mist

Heres a mission in two parts i ran as a one-off for some friends (6) it went ok - we were rushed at the end so the climax was anti-climactic. however the first session went off without a hitch, and i hope to use it again in future to get others excited in mouse guard. the background is a book called Eaters of the Dead, which is in turn inspired by Beowulf.

work still to do:
names names names - im happy with windselm, but i want a better name for the mist monsters and key characters.
fine tuning twists
fine tuning for length and clarity.


Act 1: Windselm

Earmark one Mouse as ‘The Hero’ most likely to be the leader of the group, and the strongest fighter, but it could be anyone. tenderpaws are NOT recommended for this!

Assign Mission
While you are feasting in Lockhaven and preparing for a busy summer, a young mouse is brought into the hall he is haggard and looks on the verge of collapse. He staggers up to GMist Monstersyn’s table and you overhear him “I am Thurstan, son of Aengushave come from Windselm, and beg the Mouseguard for help - our settlement is beset by marauders who come in the night, murdering and pillaging! Please, spare us some Guard and save us!” he falls to the floor, exhausted and is quickly taken away by some nursemaids. After a few minutes of deliberation, GMist Monstersyn, chief amongst Guardmice stands and speaks to the hall.
"The mice of Windselm must be saved, by strength of arms or otherwise. We can spare precious few mice for this mission, and the Guardmice who go will risk their very lives. For this reason I will let volunteers step forward. Who will take up this mission?”

The players should volunteer with appropriate short speeches, possibly setting out their goals. Role playing earns fate for setting out a goal in the speech, or persona for including an instinct or belief. If you need to give the players time to think, add non-player mice to the party, describing them and giving a similar short speech, such as “I am Herger of Elmoss, I will take up this quest and bring glory to the Mouseguard!”, or “I am Helfdane, and no mouse shall come to harm while I still draw breath!”

The Volunteers will be cheered and given extra food. Later on, they will be summoned by messenger mice to GMist Monstersyn’s office.
“As some of you will know, Windselm was founded only a few years ago in the north-west wilderness. They have recently come under attack from raiders – the boy could, or would not tell me what. I want you all to go out there, determine the source of the raiders and save the mice of Windselm by whatever means necessary. Unfortunately the young lad has taken ill, and cannot help you find your way there. Do you have any other questions?”

Write session goals
All session goals are written down. Suggestions for possible goals:

  • protect the Tenderpaw
  • determine the source of the raids
  • defeat the unknown menace
  • save the townspeople
  • recruit new mouseguard from the settlement
  • gain great glory in the eyes of your peers
  • map a path to windselm

At this point the party may make any acquisitions they think they will need via resources or circles checks. These might be things such as rope, torches, weapons, or transport.

GMs Turn

It is important to keep track of how many delays occur as the party makes their way there, as it will come into play later on.

1. The Journey
The land route to Windselm is unclear, the paths have not yet been fully forged and it is easy to get lost travelling across such an uncharted expanse of wilderness, you will need an Ob 6 Pathfinder test. Count one delay.
The party may otherwise decide to travel by sea if they have the skills, or make a circles test to get a captain. It will be quicker, but fraught with peril this time of year. It will need an Ob 5 Boatcrafter test to be successful.

Twists could include:

  • CONDITIONS: Tired or Hungry, possibly both.
  • ANIMALS: encounter with wolves, foxes, weasels or even sea monsters! This will require a mix of health/hunter/boatcrafter/nature tests to flee, or pass unnoticed. You may help each other, but the dice given will come from your own test.
  • WEATHER: unseasonably cold, storms etc. health/pathfinder/survivalist tests to make it through.
  • MICE: challenge beliefs by meeting mice in peril (costing the party time), or mice offering counterfeit maps. Also trouble passing through Barkstone, or even flesh out Whitepine or Elmwood
  • WILDERNESS: any appropriate obstacle for the season. Failure should result in lost time!
  • OTHER: finding the sword ‘Runding’ amongst the ruins of a town, which should be the Hero’s hometown if possible. It is Useful (+1D to any action), Deadly (+1s on attack) and cumbersome (-1D defend and feint), and resembles a massive Broadsword. Players entering the town must make Ob2 Will tests or become angered at the destruction they encounter. The location of the Hero’s friends or parents should be left ambiguous. The Gm may wish to introduce the sword while the town is still intact, giving the party more reason to halt the spread of the Monsters, and meet with the hero’s parents.
  • DELAYS: the GM may also decide to add delays to the party’s journey as part of any twist or condition.
  1. Windselm
    The party will eventually find the grand settlement of Windselm. It is small, stone-made, and built on the edge of a plain, with cliffs plummeting into the sea on one side (nearest the settlement) and mountains on the landward side. The old lord of Windselm (Aengus) is glad to see someone to rescue them from their plight, but others aren’t as trusting of the Guard, and the players will need to gain favor amongst the denizens of WIndselm if they wish to prosper. The lord’s son, Seyth, is known by some to be plotting his downfall now that his other son has left the town (Wolfgar, the lad in Lockhaven), and fears that he may be usurped by The Hero. Whatever the group are up to, Windselm’s weather watchers determine the approach of the mist – a black fog which is an omen of misfortune. Night falls soon, so the players should make a plan after questioning some of the NPC’s. Any rolls to interact with the denizens of Windselm will suffer from the NPC’s having +1D per delay endured during the journey. Seyth’s followers will be very distrusting, as he see’s the leader as a threat to his plan to take over the settlement.

The raiders are called ‘Mist Monsters’ by the residents of Windselm, and some believe they are evil spirits of legend who come in the night and kidnap unsuspecting sleepers. Others believe they are weasels sent into the Territories to terrorize the mice. Aengus has set sentries, but his town is poorly defended and he is no militarist. The Monsters make no sounds on their approach to the town, but their stench will be obvious when they are close. You can also up the suspense by having their heavy breathing heard through the walls. If the players are stuck for what to do, an NPC could suggest feigning sleep and attacking them when they enter the hall, triggering a conflict. Spotting the Mist Monsters on their approach will be next to impossible as the town is without proper defence, and the townspeople are unwilling to stay outside in the darkness and the mist.

The Mist Monsters
Nature 4
Devouring, Nocturnal, Aggressive, Sneaking
Will 3
Health 5
Skills: fighter 5, Deciever 4, Hunter 3
Weapons: stone axes, +1s attack, -1D defend and feint
The Mist Monsters are at first indistinct shapes, large with matted thick fur. They will extinguish all lights, so that the darkness and the mist will make identifying them almost impossible. If players persist, they are dark indistinct shapes, and appear to have the massive jaws and claws of a mole, with matted fur. In reality, they are a barbaric species of nocturnal rat.

The Mist Monsters will have a number of teams equal to the players, with 2-3 help dice for each team at the GM’s discretion. GM should give the impression of the Mist Monsters sneaking in to kidnap victims for an unknown purpose (about 5). The players’ goal should be along the lines of killing the rats, fending them off, or surviving until dawn – or even following them back to their lair.
Compromises should include tired/injured conditions, and death/disappearance of NPCs which may result in loss of rapport with the townspeople.
In the aftermath, the rats will not leave any of their kin to the mice, and will go to great lengths to rescue their dead. They will save the tails or skulls of murdered mice for grisly trophies. The GM may allow one highly successful player to find a furry arm/tail like that of a very large mouse, and do with it as he sees fit, possibly to help get the mice of Windselm on his side.

Player’s Turn:

Checks could be used to: Recover from injury; set the towns’ defenses using militarist, carpenter and laborer; resolve the disputes within the settlement with arguments, duels, or anything else the player’s come up with.

The players may also decide (possibly on prompting from town elders) to seek out the home of the Mist Monsters, and kill them as they sleep. This involves a difficult pathfinder test to find the way there, and on a twist, Will tests to avoid anger when they find the camp ridden with grisly trophies. Either way they will find it empty.
On return to the village, they will be told of a wild old hermit mouse who lives in the forest, as she may impart some knowledge. Once found, a resources test is required to sate her lust for wealth with a gift of high value (players should invent a valuable heirloom) In return, she will tell them the way to the Thunder Caves, an ancient burrow set into the Cliffside, and that they are led by a mighty Matriarch of their own, who’s hand guides them in all things. Killing her may be a quick solution to their problem. A Scout test will determine two entrances – the landward side which is heavily guarded, and a cave at the base of the cliff which may allow for a dangerous, but secret entrance.

Lastly, the Mist Monsters may attack again in full force if the players set up defenses. Either run as conflict, or as a series of tests, describing the battle as you go. Optionally this event may happen after the Thunder Caves. After this initial assault, it should be made clear that they will not survive another night.

NOTE: this should get you to the end of the session. Anything left undone should be completed as part of the next GM turn.

Hand out rewards as per the rules in the main rulebook.

Act 2: The Thunder Caves



Goals: Players may keep as before if not completed, or add new goals, such as ‘find the source of the Mist Monsters’, 'kill the Queen of the Mist Monsters’, whichever is appropriate.

It will be an ob4 Pathfinder check to find the Thunder Caves, and a scout test to determine means of entry.
An approach via the seaward entrance is the best approach. A full on confrontation on the landward side will result in the whole party being overwhelmed, but it may be their plan to be captured. To get in will require some boatcrafting check to deal with the surging tides, or a complicated check to climb down the cliff. The climb is Ob3 health or nature. With a rope, you can get the +1D gear bonus, and help dice from all those at the top of the cliff. There is nothing to tie the rope down to, so the mice at the top will have to lower them down. Obviously, this will become more difficult as there are fewer mice at the top to support them, and the last mouse will not have help or the benefit of the rope at all!
When inside, nature rolls vs. the monsters’ nature to avoid being spotted, twists could include getting lost and a pathfinder check, conditions such as angry, tired or hungry, or even coming across a rat guard who will need dealing with quietly! If you like, the players can find broken sections of the Scent Border hidden in the caves, providing clues as to their origin.

All players must make a group test to stay hidden. Roll nature vs the Mist monster’s nature. With any failures, introduce wandering sentries, angry/hungry conditions, or more tests. As they gravitate towards the centre of the cave system, they find the Queen of the Mist Monsters’ cavern, it is at the other end of a narrow rope bridge. If they all retreat over it, they run the risk of the Mist Monsters cutting the bonds and dooming them all, but they will only do this when their queen is dead. The players will be spotted and set upon by many rats at this time, and it will be up to the majority of the party to form one or two teams to defend, and another for their leader and possible ally to kill the Queen of the Mist Monsters for good!

The Queen of the Dead

split the party into two or three teams. one to take on the queen, the other to hold off the tide of rats at the bridge. it should be made clear that they cannot send one or two mice to the lair of the Queen without the others being overwhelmed. to this end, the bridge should be of sufficient width that most of the party will need to stay behind.

Queen of the Mist Monsters
Nature (Rat) 5
Will 5
Health 6
Skills:fighter 5, orator 4, militarist 4, poison-wise 3, Ritual Wise 3
Traits: Leader (1)
Weapons: Poison tipped Daggers! successful maneuver vs spear, thrown or missile adds disarm effect. Poison +1s to attack. Home Ground: +1D maneuver (she knows this place well. and uses it to her advantage)

One Endless Horde of Rats: as Mist Monsters, with a number of help dice equal to the number of mice in the party- number of teams. Successful attacks reduce this number as if it was disposition, and defense boosts it as they consolidate their lines. Expect the party at the bridge to take heavy casualties unless they send most of their mice there. The Queen should provide a challenge for one or two mice, and if the party send more than this then they will risk the death or injury of all of the mice at the bridge.

Hero vs. Queen
Hero Victory: the queen has been slain! compromises should include the sick condition (the poison). the encounter ends immediately with the Mist Monsters retreating.
Queen Victory: the Hero escapes with his life! he is injured, and the queen will return for the final battle, possibly injured.
Defenders vs. Horde of Rats
Rat Victory: they have broken through, and the hero will have one more round to defeat the queen, or he must flee as above.
Defenders victory: defenders must stay alive long enough for the Hero to fulfill his task. They ‘succeed’ when the other conflict is concluded. Compromises should include tiredness, hunger, and injury.

When the Queen of the Mist Monsters is killed, she will let out a mighty wail of grief, which echoes through the Thunder Caves. The horde of rats will retreat and no hinder the players further – for the time being.
Scout or Pathfinder tests to escape, with tiredness or hunger a result of failure. It should be made clear time is of the essence, especially if anyone is poisoned.


the players have a chance to rest up, but there is no cure here for the Hero’s Poison. They may spend this time (if they did not earlier) to organise the towns defenses with moats, fences, and other such things.
the locals will insist on dousing important buildings with water, as ‘the glow wyrn breathes fire’. If they want to abandon the town to save their hero, they will have to argue with the king, or play out the next scene.
If they wish to investigate, they will find a length of the scent border destroyed, but the nature of this is up to the GM and may lead to future adventures.


after nightfall, the army of Mist Monsters will arrive, and a War conflict will conclude the adventure as the town is laid siege to. The enemy will form into as many teams as the players have, to represent different areas of the town that need defending. (sections of wall, inner defenses, the Hall of Rothgar)

This encounter uses a special form of War conflict.
Disposition = Will + (Militarist)D6 (-1 penalty for anger, -1D for injury or sickness)
If the Queen was Killed, They are led by a Captain with Militarist of 4, Orator of 2.

Militarist may be used for all. Orator for defend, Fighter for Attack or Feint, and Healer for Defend.

If the Queen of the Mist Monsters Lives, the Mist Monsters gain +1s and +1D to attack.

Weapons of War the players may have:

  • Combined arms (mix of CC and missile): +1D maneuver
  • Properly equipped (if they armed the villagers): +1D disposition
  • Command Structure (if they resolved petty power struggles): +1D attack
  • Hero in the Fore (if they make a show of their hero): +1s attack
  • Strategy: +1D feint
  • Fortifications: +1D defend
  • Dirty Tricks: +1s to Feint

Other preparations should apply other bonuses to this conflict.

At the conclusion, the Mist Monsters will retreat into the forest at dawn if the players succeeded, and attempts to track them down will result in them finding the monsters devoured by larger predators. If they did not, they will return to the forest as bandits, and may return later on! Either way, compromises will result in the injury of the players and possibly death of many townsmice. funerals will be held over the coming days. There will be a hero’s funeral for all the dead, with persona awarded for speeches including beliefs, and fate for particularly moving ones.

Aengus: Use the Politician Profile
Seyth: Use the Bandit Profile
Seyth’s bodyguard: use the Muscle profile
Other denizens: Use stonemason as default, or appropriate professions.

i have deliberately left a lot of things open to GM interpretation to suit the needs of the game, and there should be enough plot hooks to inspire further sessions (the scent border pieces, the unification of windselm, settling the thundercaves)

Any advice, criticism or commentary welcomed!