To do this, we needed the advice of an expert. So we tracked down Bith. His reputation as a ratcatcher in the city is infamous, and his cart in the North Market is completely unmistakable. A fantastically creepy taxidermy-stuffed giant rat sits atop the thing.
Bith was a very animated fellow, and loved to talk about Ratmen. He explained that there are different types – ratlings are the common, small ratfolk. Their leaders are the 5-to-6 foot tall ratlords, the brains of the outfit. But there are also 8-foot-tall ratbrutes with strength rivaling that of an ogre!
Ratfolk love to get their paws on firearms and bombs, but aren’t particularly good with them. They’re also quite filthy and disease-ridden.
The most important piece of advice Bith gave, however, was that Ratmen hate and fear bright light.
Armed with this knowledge, our delver crew headed to the Undercity Market to buy some lights. Six Everburning Torches, to be precise, bought from an enterprising Undercity Market vendor named Derrence Springdart. He was even nice enough to knock off 10 gp per torch for the bulk order.
Also, Chesh was able to get two scrolls of daylight from the Temple of Teun. Aendir had finally scrimped and saved enough coins from his share of the loot and bought himself a shining new set of plate mail.
Fully rested, loaded up with equipment and supplies, and newly leveled-up, they were ready to take on the Rat Folk.
…After a short detour dealing with the now-returned troglodytes.
Yona’s sharp eyes spotted movement in that same dark place where they’d seen a troglodyte guard a few days back. But when they charged the hill (again), the door into the trog’s lair was slammed shut and barred from within. Undaunted, they decided to go around the back way. Specifically, they sent the LOUD TANKS around the back way, hoping the trogs would then make a break for it through the front door where the rest were waiting. It could have worked, but the trogs had another way out. Thorzin and Aendir were only just able to spot the last few far-off stragglers as the troglodytes beat feet east, away from them.
Shrugging off the troglodytes’ unwillingness to fight, they continued on to test their mettle against the foul Ratmen… And then they got mired down into a lengthy debate about how to best sneak in for the attack. Aendir and Thorzin were all for simply rushing them, but sneakier heads prevailed.
The entire group waded up the river to get past the well-lit Ratmen guard post. During their watery trip, they found the troglodytes’ hiding place: a secret campsite, only accessible by traveling on or in the river, was sheltering about a dozen troglodytes and probably twice that many troglings. As the delvers approached, the trogs cowered in fear, trying to shelter their young. The goodly adventurers couldn’t bring themselves to attack, and passed them by with no altercation.
Yona and Nethwen continued upstream, quietly swimming between the known guard post and the high cliff that (according to their maps) hid more archers. Once in place, they used their Mage Coins as the signal and unleashed hell upon the unsuspecting Ratmen.
At the signal, Aendir charged forward. While the archers took their shots at the heavily-armored human, the rest of the party began shooting at the Ratmen guard post. By the time Aendir reached them, two of the three guards were already dead. It took but one swing of his mighty blade to finish the job.
With the guard post eliminated (but still taking arrow fire from the unseen archers up on that cliff), they chose to charge the bridge. Aendir led the way, quickly jumping down to the lower area and opening the secret door to access the hidden warrens of the Rat Folk.
Everyone piled through the secret door, and they hurried on. They knew there were at least 200 feet of winding tunnel ahead, and the odds were good that the Ratmen in the areas ahead wouldn’t have heard the commotion out in the Lost River Caves.
Pausing only a few moments to catch their breath, the delvers charged in and hit the Ratmen hard. Ratlings initially charged to attack, but were repulsed when well-timed light spells went off in their faces. Aendir spotted a closed door to one side and moved to attack anything that came through; this turned out to be a great idea as a massive Ratbrute came roaring through!
The battle was fierce but brief. Ratlings fell quickly to the blades, bows and blasts of the party. Even the expected Ratlord was no match, and quickly fell. The delvers were barely even in need of any healing!
They did a quick search of the Ratbrute’s room (turning up a large 300 gp tourmaline) when they began to hear the Drums. A series of deep, echoing drumbeats could be heard from deeper within the rat tunnels, and they decided to go a-hunting.
As they moved toward the Bone Pile, Chesh noticed that the secret door was now standing open, revealing a wide hallway beyond. There was a brief argument – Aendir really wanted to just fight their way to the Bone Pile and continue past these Ratmen, but was outvoted.
They investigated the wide hall. Off to the east they could see a pair of monumentally huge doors standing open, and the sounds of the drumbeats were coming from just beyond them.
Beyond the doors, the large cavern was roughly circular, about 150 feet across. The ceiling high above was barely visible in the light of several burning braziers. The center of the room was filled by a gigantic stone mound, crudely carved into the shape of a leering demonic head, easily 50 feet across and 50 feet high. Circling around this head was a roughly-made wooden platform about 20 feet above the floor, with a narrow catwalk leading to a ledge and tunnels high above the floor. A massive kettle drum, nearly ten feet across, sits on the floor in the northwestern part of the room, with a Ratbrute beating on it with his greatclub.
And there are many, many Ratmen here.
The battle was joined.
End of Session.
We had to call it a night, right as we were getting wound up for a big fight. We took lots of pictures, and we’ll pick up where we left off next time.