What's up in Mirsham Down? (The Beast of the Bog)


Players go to Mirsham Down, having been told that there is a powerful shaman who practices magic in a hut near there. When they get to the hut, it has been done over, with no sign of the old priest. What happens next is up to the players....

Note : this is a very freeform scenario and relies on the players making a lot of their own decisions. As such, what follows is open to interpretation.<\p>


A small trading post on the route between X and Y, Mirsham Down is rather a depressing place. Flanked on one side by a tangled and twisted wood (plagued by wolves/orcs/Jehovah’s witnesses - delete as applicable) and on the other by a steaming mire known to locals as 'The Bog'. The inhabitants mostly work either in the woods, hunting or using the wood for carpentry etc., or by entertaining the travelers on the road between X and Y for whom the town is a convenient stopping place in the bleak surroundings.

The Muted Crow.

At the center of the town is the Tavern, the Muted Crow. It is a large and well stocked inn, with a small stage within the main bar room. There are a few local performers who regularly put on shows for those passing through. The most talented is a Young woman named Elsie who sings and plays the Lute. She has dark braided hair, an ample bust and a beautiful singing voice. Always popular with the guests. The other entertainers are a juggler and trixter named Dave Becket and a rather unfunny jester who goes by the name of Rum Ben.

The Inn keeper is a brawny fellow named Farnham Stratton. He is assisted in his work by his wife, Madeleine and his adolescent sons Peter and Philip. Madeleine has also been known to perform, though her voice is not quite as good as Elsie's.

Ales and wines are a little more expensive here than average, by virtue of this being the only Inn in 30 mile or more, as Farnham will gladly tell anyone who complains about the prices. The food is more reasonably priced, but is pretty basic. There are a few rooms in the inn, and again these are a little expensive. More reasonable accommodation is available across the road in the hostel.

The Guard House

The Sergeant of the Guard in Mirsham is Edwin Bradshaw. Serg. Bradshaw is known as a firm man, who will not tolerate miscreants in his town. (For more info on Bradshaw, see THE PLOT below.)

He has under his command 4 permanent guards, plus up to 10 deputies who he can call into service within 3 hours if needs must. He and his guards are equipped with chainmail jerkins, Plate Helms (no face), broad swords and shields, though Bradshaw himself prefers to use a morning star two handed.

Behind the Guard House, surrounded by a two meter high wall topped with nasty iron spikes, is the town jail. The jail itself is a squat stone structure, with sturdy walls 20cms thick and a stone roof. There are 4 sets of iron manacles set into the wall, though these are only used on severe offenders.

Other Buildings

The Hostel opposite the Tavern offers room and simple food at a reasonable price. It is kept by a grumpy old man named Jebediah Pike, who sits in the lobby of the large wooded building in his rocking chair smoking a rank pipe. His grandchildren spend their days cleaning out the rooms and preparing food for the guests.

The sawmill at the North east end of the town provides the basis for most of the towns trade. The houses around it are occupied by the mill workers and other woodsmen. Many other woodsmen that frequent the village have homesteads outside the bounds of the town.

Common Knowledge

The townsfolk are currently living in dread of ‘the Beast in the Bog’. Rumor has it that farm animals and even a few people have gone missing, and that a beast has been seen on misty nights roaming the mire. Any unexplained incidents will be put down to ‘the dreaded beast’. The authorities have been unable to find any trace of the beast, but have not discounted it’s existence. Serg. Bradshaw is known to believe in the beast. The Mayor of the Mirsham, Jurgen Stoffeld is offering a substantial reward for the head of the beast (this should be drawn to the parties attention).


Half a mile from Mirsham Down, in the thick of the swamp is the residence of Cedric Coburn, a shaman and priest of the Nature Gods. The hut stand on four thick stilts which protrude from the dank soil, holding the huts floor a clear six feet above. Entrance is via a basket which hangs from a spar. The basket has a rope and pulley attachment which allows the occupants to pull themselves up. Though peculiar, this has the benefit of preventing the intrusion of wild animals.

Inside the hut is a single room, at the center of which is a stone fireplace, which feeds smoke up through the chimney in the middle of the roof. There is an iron cauldron by the fireplace, a simple bed, a chair by a table with several candles upon it and writing materials strewn around. Near the fire is a perch for a bird.

When the characters first arrive here it will be in total disarray. The drape which covers the doorway is torn, as if by some large clawed creature. The chair is turned over, the bed is torn, there is broken glass on the floor. If the characters inspect it, they will notice that the fire place contains the smoldering remains of papers and books. No sign of the priest. Nor any sign of blood being spilt.

If they look carefully (spot hiddens required) they may find:
1 A small leather pouch lying on the floor containing 20 gold pieces.
2 Claw marks scored into the wooden floor of the hut (from the beasts feet.)
3 A long brown feather stuck in the chimney near the top. A creaturewise will reveal this to be an eagle’s feather. (for Mocka)

The Plot

The town of Mirsham Down has been infiltrated by an evil cult (pick your own evil religion/cause). They have been practicing their faith in a secret hideout below the Sawmill at nights. The beast is a victim of theirs, within whom they have bound an evil spirit/demon. This has given the victim superhuman strength but twisted his body into a composite of a Human and the image of the figure of the spirit/demon. The creature moves around on all fours, in a manner similar to a gorilla and is capable of great bounds. (Kinda like a mutant in Quake 2.) The beast is under the control of the cult.

The cult are lead by three men, and have a few other followers. The leaders are Serg. Bradshaw, the clerk of the sawmill, Steven House, and the town’s Butcher Hadrian Piska. Steven is a magician, practicing Sorcery to third level. The others are accomplished warriors. The beast was created by an ally of the cult, who no longer resides in Mirsham. Amongst the other followers are the 4 guards.

Hadrian and Steven went out to find Cedric in the swamp because they had reason to believe that he might be aware of their presence in the town. They took the ‘beast’ with them. When they got there, they sent the beast in to kill Cedric, expecting the old man to be asleep. However, though old, Cedric is much more powerful than they had imagined. He was forewarned of their approach by his familiar, a black crow called Mocka. Preferring not to fight, he turned into a eagle and flew off. He has currently gone to stay with a friend some miles away to recover from his fright, though he plans to return in a few days. Hadrian and Steven hope that they have scared off the old wizard, but will be on the look out if he returns.

The cults wider objective is to take control of the town. They plan to do this by having the beast kill the Mayor. Serg. Bradshaw will then ‘miraculously’ kill the beast. Their hope is that this will sway the towns folk into electing him as the new mayor.


When the players arrive it will be up to them how they choose to pursue the scenario. There are many ways they could approach the situation, so rather than set down a rigid set of events, here are a few things that may or may not happen.


There is a small group of brigands who operate on the road outside Mirsham Down. They pay Serg. Bradshaw a small kickback to leave them be. They also do a little thievery within the town itself - the odd mugging, pick pocketing in the inn. Bradshaw insists that such crimes be directed against the travelers who pass through and not the local residents. As such, it is likely that the characters will attract the attention of these thieves at some point. The thieves no nothing about the cult nor the beast. All they know about Cedric is to keep well away from his hut.

Cult attack!

If the characters are poking their noses into the circumstances of the missing shaman, they will probably try to dissuade any further activity with an attack. This would ideally take place in a quiet place and would most likely be just a group of thugs with clubs and staves. They would make best efforts to attack with surprise, but not be aiming to kill the party, just warn them off. If the party look particularly strong, they will try to pick off one character when on his/her own.

Out in the Bog.

If the party decide to explore the marsh there are a number of things that might happen.
  1. They may come across the village of Goblins that live in swamp, or one of their hunting parties. The Goblins are not hostile, but will defend themselves if attacked. A few, including the shaman speak the human tongue. They can be parleyed with and can be encouraged (with food/weapons) to impart some useful information. They have seen the Beast of the Bog, and can describe it (slightly exaggerated). They also knew Cedric who was their friend (they call him HutWiz)
  2. They may also come across one of the trolls who live in the Mire. They are more hungry than friendly.
  3. If they have caused trouble in Mirsham, they may be followed by some cultists.
  4. They may find the carcass of a wild beast, mauled by the beast of the bog. Inspection might give away that the bite of the beast is like an exaggerated human bite.


As the cult already controls the law in the town, any minor infringements of the law could result in one or more of the party being imprisoned. The Serg. Bradshaw is not so bold as to blatantly arrest innocent strangers, not wanting to give himself away, but he is happy to appear firm. If some or all of the characters are imprisoned it is likely that they will receive a good few bruises from the guards while enjoying their stay.


As the scenario progresses, if the characters are getting too close to the truth, the cult may choose to employ the beast on the party. One of the cult members who they have not met will approach a character and offer to meet them later with some information. They will try to hide their identity as best they can by being in shadow, wearing a hood etc.. The meeting will probably be outside the town or within the sawmill. The beast will only be accompanied by other cult members if they have shown themselves to be particularly strong.

Cedric’s Return

After a couple of days, Cedric will return to the town on the way back to his hut. This will prompt the cult to make another, more concentrated attempt on his life. If the party are staying with Cedric, they will muster all their strength for an attack, including the beast. Alternatively, they may attempt to go ahead with their plot to kill the mayor. NB Cedric does not know who the cult members are, though he thought that he recognised the Butcher when he was flying away.

One of the last two options might turn out to be the finale, or perhaps things will turn out completely different.


Here are a few possible leads.
  1. One of the woodsmen who lives near the town, Harry Bowden is said to have seen the beast. Though initially reluctant to talk about it, he can be persuaded to describe the beast. (the journey to and from his hut could be unsafe, or perhaps the cult will try to kill Harry and frame the party)
  2. Some of the Sawmill workers claim to have heard moaning coming from the well and believe that the beast is hiding within it. This is not true, but the cave beneath the sawmill is connected with the well shaft for ventilation purposes and this where the noise is coming from. Should the characters go down the well they may see the crack leading to the cave, though it would be very hard to get through to the cave from the well, as the crack is very narrow and three meters long. A few (3 minimum) Part Stone spells would do it, but the passageway created would be very unstable.

Cedric CoburnWizardMockaCrow familiar
Farnham StrattonInn keepMadeleine Stratton Inn keep's wife
Philip & PeterInn HandsEvan PetersonStable boy
Elsie BrownSingerDave BecketJuggler
Rum Ben ForestJesterJebediah PikeHostel keeper
Edwin BradshawGuard SergeantHarlow ThomasGuard #1
Thomas ShortGuard #2Sam WestGuard #3
Frank LongGuard #4Jurgen StoffeldMayor
Grant SteelSawmill foremanDenzil HughesSawmill owner
Steven HouseSawmill clerkHadrian PiskaButcher
Richard PatsBakerRoger TellingShop keeper
Red TongueGoblin leaderBroke FaceGoblin warrior
KrakowGoblin Shaman

NPC Statistics

The Beast of the Bog
 30  15  20  20  16  14  15  -3  18
 63   68   -4   -4    0  3   11  -2   5   6   8  25  20   6
GEN   13    13    16    16    32    32    21    21    21
SHK   14    14    17    17    34    34    23    23    23

Cedric Race: Human Sex: Male
 10  13  11  13  19  20  20  11  10
 25   33    0    0   0   6   8  -5   3   3   2  11   0   0
GEN    5     5     6     6    13    13     8     8     8
SHK    7     7     8     8    17    17    11    11    11
SPP 98