As the weary heroes finished off the last of the Ratmen, they heard the sound of approaching foes.
Appearing on the upper ledge was a large new group of ratmen, led by a white-furred ratlord with heavy scars criss-crossing his body. He held in his hands a fearsome spear with a rotating, drill-shaped head. At his side was a tall, lanky human in brown-and-black robes. Chesh remembered (from one of her mistress’ old lessons) that priests of the Plagueborn cult sometimes associate with Ratmen.
In addition to these new foes, there were at least a dozen ratlings and another pair of ratbrutes. The delvers all knew this new group was too powerful for them to take on at that moment. Though it grated on his nerves to do so – especially upon seeing that piece of obvious Chaositech – Aendir called for the retreat. The Ratmen took a few parting shots as the heroes ran back the way they’d come, then started the chase.
As the heroes reached the secret door, a rumble of noise from the unexplored northern passage turned out to be a second large group of Ratmen charging their direction at high speed! They quickly piled through the secret door and slammed it shut; Thorzin and Mos hastily hammered spikes into the door to slow down their pursuit.
Just as they finished, heavy blows began to rain upon the jammed door and they took off again. They made it the rest of the way back to the Lost River Caves East without further incident; once there, they did have to kill one remaining ratling sniper as they left rat territory.
After a return to the Delver Waystation in the Lost River Caves South, the heroes were rested up and ready for another go at it. For some reason, Aendir was particularly fired up (which was a total 180 degrees from his previous objections) and excited to go face off against the Rat Folk once more.
And they did.
There were no (living) Ratmen in the guard post this time, and the sniper’s corpse was no longer lying where they’d left it. They wounded but didn’t slay another sniper up on that inaccessible ledge, and they could hear him retreating into the Rat Folk lair. They hurried back through the secret tunnel to the low-ceilinged room, but detoured into a side room to search for loot.
They found a half dozen ratlings trying to break open a stoutly locked chest. The filthy bastards didn’t last long, and it turned out that the brass key we’d discovered on the nearby ratlord opened the chest easily. Inside it they found a couple thousand coins (mostly copper, but a goodly amount of silver and gold mixed in), three healing potions, and two small casks of rotgut whiskey (immediately claimed by Thorzin. They started scooping everything into their packs, and they heard the Drum start beating just about the time they were finishing. The Drum beat was a bit different this time though – last time it was four beats, but this time it was only three per repetition.
They hurried back to Rat Central to pick another fight. When they arrived they found a few straggler ratlings and a Ratbrute drummer that was apparently crippled and unable to use its legs. Those fell quickly but more soon appeared, including the albino chief with that dreadly spear.
Aendir and Mos took care of the ratbrute, Nethwen and Yona took on the ratlings and the chief, while Thorzin and Chesh defended the rear against a swarm of incoming ratlings and brutes (coming from the north once again). The delvers fared well against the Ratmen, killing the chief before he could inflict much damage with his awful weapon of Chaos. (Aendir did discover that the spear cut through armor like a hot knife through butter!)
No sign of the Plagueborn cultist, though.
End of Session.