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December 9, 2014, 9:26 pm


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Rats in the Basement

By:

Poison's variation on Tucker's Kobolds.

A lighthearted Pathfinder adventure intended for a group of four retired adventurers level 17-20 who have come into possession of The Verbing Noun.

Author's Note to the Citadel: This module assumes a Pathfinder ruleset as a Pathfinder mechanic was the inspiration for the encounter, and much of the challenge hinges on d20 rules. The relevant materials are contained within the text and Appendix to illustrate the complex mechanical interactions which define this encounter. For other systems the ratfolk can be treated as monsters with special abilities, and the mechanical representation of advantages/disadvantages such as squeezing or flanking can be taken in aggregate and left to GM discretion.

The Tomb of Horrors is not infamous for its elaborate plot. There is a place at the Citadel for mechanics.

Background

The northern edge of the town of Annawan was separated from the wilds by a high brick wall, and those who lived on the edge of society made their home just beyond it. The Redwall was once home to a variety of anthropomorphic humanoids though no one lives there now. It was a psychological divide as much as any physical one, something to separate the humans of Annawan from the ‘others’ no matter how cordial the relationship. However, when a person is blind to the trouble of their neighbors they should not be surprised when it appears on their own doorstep.

The disappearances of the young pups Bee and Kay should have sparked the small ratfolk community in the Redwall to action, yet their mother Theta was hushed by her peers. She was told that with fourteen other pups she should count her blessings and not risk bringing the human’s ire upon Redwall. The oppressive silence began to lift when the fifth, sixth, and seventh pups were taken from the other families and those caught between losing children and losing their homes chose to leave without so much as remark. As a lone mother Theta had no such luxury. When tragedy strikes it is often the meek who suffer most.

Donning her best linen dress and finest earrings she approached the gate, nearly ten times her size, with a dozen pups clutching at her skirt. She stood before the unmanned gate until dusk, waiting for an invitation that would never come. As darkness seeped over her Theta was startled by an inky black figure at her side. It was one of the tengu who too had recently lost a child. He ushered the pups to his mate before gathering his comrades, and with the last of the light the escort crossed the threshold into Annawan.

The details of what happened that night are unclear to the survivors of Redwall, and the people of Annawan refuse to speak of it or acknowledge the "late unpleasantness". It may have been a matter of honor after being snubbed, it may have been an unrelated personal matter, most likely it was a trivial misunderstanding that led to blows, but when the bloody haze of bigoted anger settled and the mob dispersed two shivering and hungry children of Redwall were all that was left alive. Without recourse the serial killer who had preyed on the outcasts began to take the lives of human children. Now, beyond the sorrow of lost loved ones, is the even more all-consuming feeling of guilt. Guilt for undeserved mistrust, guilt for disbelief, guilt for murder. It was not a village that raised the children of the red brick wall, but guilt.

Orin and Fiddlestix are the surviving ratfolk brothers of the Redwall Genocide. They may have been raised by the people of Annawan, but the deep wound of mistrust has never healed. They quickly came of age and left to pursue their own lives as adventurers in other lands. After their careers drew to a close the Keypers offered shelter to the brothers and their ratfolk brethren in exchange for managing the tavern rat population (it is a well known fact that a robust basement rat population is crucial to any tavern). While the brothers accepted the offer they have never let their guard down; they have prepared for this day. The day that history would repeat itself.

Staging the Conflict

Cosimo passes with a bucket and mop on his way to clean the basement as you requested. From the next room you hear the basement door squeak open, and promptly close. "Hey, Etoile!" he calls out. There is the sound of footsteps. The door squeaks open. There is the sound of a slight scuffle, and the door is slammed shut. There is the pop of a fist against flesh. "Bunny!" Etoile's voice summons the pitter patter of the halfling's footfall. "Cosimo! You've got a bloody -" The door squeaks open. The door slams shut. Fed up with the noise you march over to the basement door and scowl at your three employees and wave Cosimo and his bloody nose away from the handle.

The door squeaks open.

You are faced with an unfathomable number of rats - rats the size of infants - writhing in an orgy of chewing, biting, gnawing, bleeding, dying, and rotting flesh piled up to the top of the stairs; but now, now the glinting jet of their soulless eyes is focused on you, surging toward you, like a tidal wave in an ocean of indescribable, inescapable, misery and horror-

You slam the door shut.

Just as the taverns are projected into every plane in the multiverse The Basement is a separate entity which is shared by all of the taverns. On the bright side this means it was completely untouched by Bunny's fire-cleanse of the establishment. On the dark side Orin and Fiddlestix did not receive any notices from Management to stop providing rats for the Verbing Noun (Jeffery Hart had been kidnapped by a band of indigenous people that week). With no nascent adventurers tasked with slaying the rats their population has grown far beyond anything even a seasoned adventurer could handle.

This situation can be easily solved in a variety of methods. Opening the door and throwing in a few castings of Flame Strike, or even a single casting of Cloudkill will destroy the swarm in a matter of minutes. For a low-magic option the basement could be flooded which would drown the rats, though then the water would have to be removed in addition to the innumerable bloated corpses. Unfortunately for druids these highly aggressive, fast-breeding pests are not a good addition to any ecosystem so relocation is not an option.

This is intended to be a minor problem that is easily solved with the thoughtless, blanket application of force; something PC love doing and at high levels are exceedingly good at. The remainder of the encounter is the consequence for this action. This encounter, like most of the challenges in the Verbing Noun, is grounded in the idea that being a hero and being powerful are not one and the same.

You crack the door open and peek into the stilled darkness. Satisfied that the unholy swarm has at the very least been dispersed you turn to find your employees have not-so-mysteriously vanished. With a sigh and mutter you grab light and a mop and wade into the quicksand of dead flesh. Casting your light over the darkness to reveals a spartan stone room ornamented only by empty shelves (discounting the dead rats). The quiet squeals of a pained creature echo from the back, but as you approach the flicker of a shadow runs up a shelf and into a child-size hole in the wall.

The bodies of the primary Basement caretaker for the Verbing Noun and her two assistants lie on one of the lower shelves, killed trying to save their rodent charges from the PC's onslaught. Being ratfolk in a pile of rats and hidden under the lee of a shelf the bodies are difficult to spot and are likely to go unnoticed. In the unlikely even the PCs take an interest in the area they will be met with a flurry of shurikens as a Swarmer (one of the warren's defenders, see below) instinctively attempts to keep them away from his fallen friends (roll several attacks or saves but do not bother with formal combat).

When the PCs attempt to examine or attack the hole in the top of the wall the Swarmer will panic, throwing more shurikens to ward them away from the warren before fleeing and calling to his comrades. The series of squeals and chattering which results is the language of the ratfolk (as can be determined by a linguistics check), and cannot be understood unless the PCs also speaks ratfolk or casts and appropriate spell (though spells do not function retroactively). While most of the warren can speak common, they know their language is largely unknown to "the naked ones" which gives them a tactical edge they intend to use.

Warning: The key to using any premade content is a thorough reading and understanding, and in a scenario like this which relies on intelligent enemies this is even more important.

The Defenders

Noncombatants (50)

The vast majority of the warren's inhabitants are noncombatants, those either too old, sick, or young to fight. Naturally there are those in this group who wish to prove themselves capable (or still capable) of fighting and can be put on the front lines as Swarmers or Snipers if necessary. This is to say, the GM is not limited to the listed number of fighters if the PCs manage to kill too many too quickly.

Swarmers (25)

Swarmers comprise the bulk of the warren's fighters and while they have no personal grudge against humans this attack validates all that Fiddlestix and Orin have told them. These fighters are trained to battle against opponents that are much stronger than they are by outflanking them in tight quarters.

Before combat: Swarmers begin their pre-combat ritual by coating their weapons in Woundweal to stymie enemy healing efforts and make their Pressure Point damage more difficult to heal. They then drink their potions of Cat's Grace (included in the stat block) to bolster their abilities. In the round before the assault activate their Shadow Clone ability to reduce the chances of themselves getting hit while attacking and use their Vanishing Trick to get close to their targets and ambush them while squeezing thorough a tight corridor under a murder hole.

During combat: Swarmers fight in pairs to maximize their Swarming ability and quartets when possible; so if one of a pair dies it can still flank with allies on the opposite side. Flanking is of the utmost importance as it not only gives them a bonus to attack (which is increased by Outflank), but extra Sneak Attack damage and ability damage from Pressure Points. Even with the odds stacked in their favor the ratfolk may still have problems hitting a high level PC, which is why their two-weapon full attack is important - because everyone hits on a natural twenty.

Morale: The Swarmers have been ordered to strike and quickly retreat if seriously injured by using their Escape Route ability to help their allies run to safety. In most instances the remaining ratfolk will use their Vanishing trick ability to then escape, but in others they may use their Light Steps ability to lure too-hasty PCs over caltrops, tacky alchemical glue, or other traps.

Swarmer CR 6

This small, unobtrusive humanoid rodent is lightly armored in blackened mithral. She flicks her wakazashi to catch the light and as you blink, she vanishes.

  • Ratfolk Ninja 7
  • N Small humanoid (ratfolk)
  • Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +8

Defense

  • AC 21, touch 17, flat-footed 15 (+4 armor, +6 Dex, +1 size)
  • HP 53 (7d8+21)
  • Fort +4, Ref +9, Will +2

Offense

  • Speed: 20 ft.
  • Melee: Wakazashi +12 or +10/+10 (1d4/18-20) + Woundweal Poison (for the first two successful attacks)
  • Special Attacks: Sneak Attack (+4d6), Pressure Points

Statistics

  • STR: 10 DEX: 22 CON: 14 INT: 12 WIS: 10 CHA: 10
  • Base Atk +5; CMB +4; CMD 20
  • Feats (4): Weapon Finesse, Two-Weapon Fighting, Escape Route, Outflank
  • Ninja Tricks (3): Pressure Points, Vanishing Trick, Shadow Clone
  • Skills (63): Acrobatics +16, Escape Artist +16, Perception +8, Stealth +16
  • Gear: Small Mithral Chain Shirt, 2x Masterwork Small Wakazashi, Empty Potion of Cat's Grace, 2 Empty Vials of Woundweal, Troll Styptic

Special Abilities

  • Scent: Scent allow a creature to detect opponents within 30 feet by taking a move action to note the direction of the scent. When the creature is within 5 feet of the source, it pinpoints the source’s location.
  • Swarming: Up to two ratfolk can share the same square at the same time. If two ratfolk in the same square attack the same foe, they are considered to be flanking that foe.
  • Outflank: Whenever you and an ally who also has this feat are flanking the same creature, your flanking bonus on attack rolls increases to +4. In addition, whenever you score a critical hit against the flanked creature, it provokes an attack of opportunity from your ally.
  • Escape Route: An ally who also has this feat provokes no attacks of opportunity for moving through threatened squares adjacent to you or within your space.
  • Pressure Points*: Whenever the ninja deals sneak attack damage, she also deals 1 point of Strength or Dexterity damage, decided by the ninja. Unlike normal ability damage, this damage can be healed by a DC 15 Heal check. Each successful check heals 1 point of damage caused by this trick.
  • Vanishing Trick**: As a swift action, the ninja can disappear for 7 rounds. This ability functions as invisibility, and dissipates after attacking.
  • Shadow Clone**: For 7 minutes 1d4+2 illusory doubles of the ninja are created. When successfully attacked roll randomly to see whether the selected target is real or a figment. If it is a figment, the figment is destroyed. If an attack misses by 5 or less, a figment is destroyed by the near miss. An attacker must be able to see the figments to be fooled. If you are invisible or the attacker is blind, the ability has no effect (although the normal miss chances still apply).
  • Light Steps: As a full-round action, a ninja can move up to twice her speed, ignoring difficult terrain. While moving in this way, any surface will support her, no matter how much she weighs. She must end her move on a surface that can support her normally.When moving in this way, she does not take damage from surfaces or hazards that react to being touched, such as lava or caltrops, nor does she need to make Acrobatics checks to avoid falling on slippery or rough surfaces. Finally, when using light steps, the ninja ignores any mechanical traps that use a location-based trigger.

*The ninjas will target Strength on PCs who look like rogues or wizards, and Dexterity on those who look like Fighters or Clerics.

**There are rules that govern how often Vanishing Trick and Shadow Clone can be used, but the combatants are expected to die before they become relevant.

***Not all abilities possessed by the creature are listed for the sake of brevity, only those which play a major part in the encounter are detailed for easy reference.

Bombers (6)

A select few members of the Warren are tasked with both the medical care and the magical aspect of the warren's warfare. Because they must live to tend to the wounded they stay behind the front lines, but that does not stop them from performing their duties as grednadiers.

Before combat: Bombers have very little to do in preparation for combat, they simply drink their potions of Cunning and Grace and position themselves over the murder hole above the targets. They signal to the Swarmers to begin the ambush by dropping a Grease bomb upon their foes, hopefully dropping some prone.

During combat: After a Grease bomb the Bombers continue to try and hamper their foes with a Tanglefoot bomb followed by Ballerina Fireworks into the square of any spellcasters to deafen them. While it is unlikely the combat will continue long after that point they will continue to pepper the field with debuffs; Ghast Retch Flasks to sicken and Fungal Stun Vials to confuse while renewing their Grease and Tanglefoot bombs periodically.

Morale: Bombers retreat by covering their murder holes shortly after the Swarmers flee, making sure that their escape is covered and keeping an eye on the retreat. In the unlikely event the Bomber is caught alone in melee he will continue to sling Tanglefoot bombs until he can outrun his enemies. If cornered he will not stop his detonations in a vain attempt to take his enemies out in addition to himself with splash damage.

Bomber CR 6

This rodent humanoid is garbed in robes and a bandolier. With a flourish he draws a vial from one of his numerous pockets and is enveloped in a cloud of smoke.

  • Ratfolk Alchemist 7
  • N Small humanoid (ratfolk)
  • Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +12

Defense

  • AC 17, touch 13, flat-footed 15 (+4 armor, +2 Dex, +1 size)
  • HP 46 (7d8+14)
  • Fort +6, Ref +7, Will +2

Offense

  • Speed 20 ft.
  • Ranged (20 ft): Bomb* +10 (4d6+6 plus Tanglefoot or Grease) vs Touch AC plus Splash (10 dmg, DC 19 Ref for Half) or Other Splash Weapon +10
  • Special Attacks: Tanglefoot or Grease

Statistics

  • STR: 10 DEX: 18 CON: 12 INT: 22 WIS: 10 CHA: 10
  • Base Atk +5; CMB +4; CMD 16
  • Feats (4): Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Splash Weapon Mastery, Ricochet Splash Weapon
  • Discoveries (3): Infusion, Tanglefoot Bomb, Grease Bomb
  • Skills (56): Acrobatics +7, Heal +10, Perception +12, Spellcraft +16
  • Gear: Small Mithral Chain Shirt, Small Bandolier, 4x Ghast Retch Flask,4x Ballerina Firework, 4x Fungal Stun Vial, Empty Potion of Fox’s Cunning, Empty Potion of Cat’s Grace, Alchemical Glue, Alchemical Glue Accelerant, Universal Solvent.

Special Abilities

  • Tanglefoot: In addition to the damage from a bomb a creature that takes a direct hit from a tanglefoot bomb must make a DC 19 reflex save or be entangled and glued to the floor for 2d4 rounds. Creatures in the splash area that fail their saves are entangled but not glued to the floor; those who make this save are not entangled at all. A creature that is glued to the floor can break free by making a DC 17 Strength check or by dealing 15 points of damage to the goo with a slashing weapon. Movement in the sticky area is reduced by half. An application of universal solvent dissolves the academical goo immediately.
  • Grease: In addition to the damage from a bomb an area equal to the bomb's splash radius is coated in grease for 6 rounds. Any creature in the area must make a DC 19 reflex save or fall prone. A creature can walk within or through the area of grease at half normal speed with a DC 10 Acrobatics check. Failure means it can't move that round (and must then make a DC 19 Reflex save or fall), while failure by 5 or more means it falls (see the Acrobatics skill for details). Creatures that do not move on their turn do not need to make this check and are not considered flat-footed. This grease cannot cover objects (such as armor), and so has no effect on entangling.
  • Splash Weapon Mastery: The bomber only suffers a –1 penalty per full range increment between you and your target when using a splash weapon. Additionally the bomber also selects one extra adjacent square to be affected by splash damage. If his attack misses he may adjust the resulting misdirection by 1 square.
  • Ricochet Splash Weapon: Whenever a splash weapon misses and the misdirection lands in a square occupied by a creature, the Bomber may make an attack roll (at a -5 penalty) as if he had thrown the splash weapon at that creature. If this attack roll succeeds, the splash weapon hits and the creature takes full damage instead of splash damage. Squares adjacent to this creature still take splash damage as normal.

*Bombers have 12 catalyst vials for ammunition, though for the purposes of their combat this is not worth keeping track of.

Engineers (2)

The sisters Click and Clack are the wisecracking trapsmiths who have fortified the warren. While they are curious to see how their work fares against such powerful opponents and are modest fighters in their own right they have been shuffled off with one of the Bombers as part of the escort for the Noncombatants. Since all that remains are their creations (detailed later) below is an abbreviated Statblock.

Engineers (Click and Clack) CR 6

These two ratfolk have fur slicked with grease, and similar stains across their jumpers. Goggles enlarge their beady eyes to comical proportions as they contemplate you.

  • Ratfolk Trapper Ranger 7 (CS: Natural Weapon FE: Humans)
  • N Small humanoid (ratfolk)
  • STR: 14 DEX: 10 CON: 12 INT: 10 WIS: 18 CHA: 10
  • Feats (4): Sharpclaw, Tunnel Rat, Improved Natural Weapon (B)*, Learn Ranger Trap, Weapon Focus (Natural Weapons) (B), Learn Ranger Trap,
  • Click's Traps (4): Snare (B), Wounding Trap, Selective Trigger, Poison Trap, Over-sized Barbs
  • Clack's Traps (4): Snare (B), Decoy, Tar Trap, Tripwire, Pit Trap

*Denotes a bonus feat.

Orin and Fiddlestix

Fiddlestix and Orin are in the main chamber of the upper warren coordinating the defense and attempting to calmly and quietly organize the escape. Their main objective is to ferry their people to safety, preferably with as much of value as they can carry. All of the combat, tactics, and traps are an effort to distract and delay at the very least and neutralize the threat at best.

Before combat: As the 'Heroes' draw close Orin will cast Cat's Grace, Shield, Blur, Stoneskin, and Fox's Cunning on himself, as well as Cat's Grace, Stoneskin, and Eagle's Splendor on his brother. Fiddlestix will make no obvious preparations for combat as he intends to negotiate in an effort to stall the PCs and to spare the lives of the remaining fighters, as detailed later.

During combat: Orin begins combat by casting Haste (not included in the statblock) and Color Spray, before wading into melee with his brother. Fiddlestix spends a standard action to use his Shadow Clone ability before he too moves in. Fiddlestix's tactics are very similar to those of a Swarmer, and while he prefers to fight with his brother on the front line he will pair with one of the Swarmers should his brother need to fall back. When Orin falls back he will use his ranged spells (Burning Hands, Color Spray, Lightning Bolt) while the others retreat..

Morale: Odds are Fiddlestix and Orin will be the last men standing, and they will attempt to cover the retreat of their comrades when things turn against them. Since Fiddlestix's Catskin allows him to cheat death he will attempt to cover his brother while Orin uses Passwall to lead the others to safety. Orin will dismiss the Passwall once everyone (save himself, he will not leave his brother) is on the other side.

Fiddlestix CR 10

This ratfolk is deformed by a condition known as Hamustro, with soft fur and an appealing rounded face. A pair of wakazashi and dark armor undercut his adorable looks and happy charm.

  • Ratfolk Trapper Ranger 2 (CS: Two-weapon Fighting FE: Humans) / Ninja 8
  • N Small humanoid (ratfolk)
  • Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +13

Defense

  • AC 20, touch 17, flat-footed 14 (+3 armor, +6 Dex, +1 size)
  • HP 70 (2d10+8d8+18)
  • Fort +6, Ref +15, Will +2
  • DR: 10/Adamantine

Offense

  • Speed 20 ft.
  • Melee: Wakazashi +15/+10 or +13/+13/+8/+8 (1d4+1 plus Wounding / 15-20)
  • Special Attacks: Sneak Attack (+5d6), Pressure Points, Favored Enemy (Human), Wounding

Statistics

  • STR: 10 DEX: 22 CON: 12 INT: 10 WIS: 10 CHA: 18
  • Base Atk +8; CMB +7; CMD 26
  • Feats (5): Weapon Finesse, Two-Weapon Fighting (B), Escape Route, Outflank, Combat Reflexes, Improved Two-weapon Fighting, Improved Critical (Wakazashi) (B)
  • Ninja Tricks (4): Pressure Points, Vanishing Trick, Shadow Clone, Combat Trick
  • Skills (76): Acrobatics +19, Diplomacy +17, Escape Artist +19, Bluff +17, Escape Artist +19, Perception +13, Stealth +19
  • Gear: Catskin Leather, 2x +1 Wounding Wakazashi*

Special Abilities

  • Scent: Scent allow a creature to detect opponents within 30 feet by taking a move action to note the direction of the scent. When the creature is within 5 feet of the source, it pinpoints the source’s location.
  • Swarming: Up to two ratfolk can share the same square at the same time. If two ratfolk in the same square attack the same foe, they are considered to be flanking that foe.
  • Favored Enemy (Humans)**: +2 bonus on weapon to attack and damage rolls against humans.
  • Outflank: Whenever you and an ally who also has this feat are flanking the same creature, your flanking bonus on attack rolls increases to +4. In addition, whenever you score a critical hit against the flanked creature, it provokes an attack of opportunity from your ally.
  • Escape Route: An ally who also has this feat provokes no attacks of opportunity for moving through threatened squares adjacent to you or within your space.
  • Combat Reflexes: You may make additional attacks of opportunity per round up to your dexterity bonus, and may take attacks of opportunity while flat-footed.
  • Pressure Points: Whenever the ninja deals sneak attack damage, she also deals 1 point of Strength or Dexterity damage, decided by the ninja. Unlike normal ability damage, this damage can be healed by a DC 15 Heal check. Each successful check heals 1 point of damage caused by this trick.
  • Vanishing Trick: As a swift action, the ninja can disappear for 8 rounds. This ability functions as invisibility, and dissipates after attacking.
  • Shadow Clone: For 8 minutes 1d4+2 illusory doubles of the ninja are created. When successfully attacked roll randomly to see whether the selected target is real or a figment. If it is a figment, the figment is destroyed. If an attack misses by 5 or less, a figment is destroyed by the near miss. An attacker must be able to see the figments to be fooled. If you are invisible or the attacker is blind, the ability has no effect (although the normal miss chances still apply).
  • Light Steps: As a full-round action, a ninja can move up to twice her speed, ignoring difficult terrain. While moving in this way, any surface will support her, no matter how much she weighs. She must end her move on a surface that can support her normally.When moving in this way, she does not take damage from surfaces or hazards that react to being touched, such as lava or caltrops, nor does she need to make Acrobatics checks to avoid falling on slippery or rough surfaces. Finally, when using light steps, the ninja ignores any mechanical traps that use a location-based trigger.
  • Catskin Leather: When the wearer's hit points would be reduced to a negative amount equal to her Constitution score from an attack or spell, the armor falls to pieces and is destroyed, and the wearer takes only half damage from the attack or spell.
  • Wounding: A wounding weapon deals 1 point of bleed damage when it hits a creature. Multiple hits from a wounding weapon increase the bleed damage. Bleeding creatures take the bleed damage at the start of their turns. Bleeding can be stopped by a successful DC 15 Heal check or through the application of any spell that cures hit point damage. A critical hit does not multiply the bleed damage. Creatures immune to critical hits are immune to the bleed damage dealt by this weapon.

*Weapon magical and masterwork bonuses included in statblock.

**Favored enemy is not accounted for in the statblock, players may be Dwarves, Elves, or other nonhumans.

Orin CR 10

This bespectacled ratfolk wears wizard robes under his armor. While he seems nervous and awkward the blade in his hand move with confident grace.

  • Ratfolk Transmuter Wizard 8 / Eldrich Knight 2
  • N Small humanoid (ratfolk)
  • Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +13

Defense

  • AC 28, touch 14, flat-footed 24 (+9 armor, +4 Dex, +1 size, +4 Shield)
  • HP 62 (8d6+2d10+18)
  • Fort +4, Ref +7, Will +7
  • DR: 10/Adamantine

Offense

  • Speed 20 ft.
  • Melee: Scimitar +10/+5 (1d4+4/18-20)
  • Special Attacks: Spellcasting

Statistics

  • STR: 10 DEX: 18 CON: 13 INT: 22 WIS: 10 CHA: 10
  • Base Atk +6; CMB +5; CMD 21
  • Feats (5): Escape Route, Scribe Scroll (B), Weapon Finesse, Dervish Dance, Craft Magical Arms and Armor (B), Arcane Armor Training, Combat Casting (B), Outflank
  • Skills (60): Perception +13, Spellcraft +19
  • Gear: Celestial Armor, +1 Scimitar

Special Abilities

  • Spellcasting: Caster Level: 9, Concentration Check: +4, 5% Arcane Spell Failure Chance
    • 1st (5): 2x Shield (C)*, 2x Color Spray, Burning Hands
    • 2nd (5): Blur (C), 2x Cat's Grace (C), Fox's Cunning (C), Eagle's Splendor (C)
    • 3rd (4): 2x Haste, 2x Lightning Bolt, Fly (B)
    • 4th (2): 2x Stoneskin (C)
    • 5th (1): Passwall
  • Outflank: Whenever you and an ally who also has this feat are flanking the same creature, your flanking bonus on attack rolls increases to +4. In addition, whenever you score a critical hit against the flanked creature, it provokes an attack of opportunity from your ally.
  • Escape Route: An ally who also has this feat provokes no attacks of opportunity for moving through threatened squares adjacent to you or within your space.

*Denotes a pre-cast spell.

The Tunnels

Lower Level

GM Version | Player Version

  • Blue: Murder Holes, covered with flagstone when not in use. (Perception DC 20)
  • Light Grey: Denotes areas of Squeezing for Medium sized creatures.
  • Dark Grey: Denotes areas of Squeezing for small sized creatures.

1.1 Entering the Tunnel (CR 2)

This long tunnel is the entrance to the warren. Here is the place to introduce the tight quarters (and squeezing rules), the absence of light (ratfolk have darkvision) and the first line of defense. Orin is well aware how cloud spells are limited by gravity and has created a u-bend to trap them before they can enter the warren. Whatever area-of-effect was used in the basement (be it water or cloudkill) may linger here in the 80' long 3' diameter tube. The tube is mostly straight, which allows the small ratfolk to run through it (20 ft x 4 = 80 ft move) with their Light Steps though those who are unfamiliar with the slick sloped terrain and those who are squeezing (and move at half speed) cannot. As the tunnel slopes down allow the players minor reflex saves (DC 10-15) to control their decent, narrating how they bump face-first into each other's behinds. The upward slope is equally slick and requires the same check, though failure from someone in front costs the entire group 5' of movement as they slide back down into the trap of their own making.

When the players finally emerge and are able to stand and step forward the first two will be greeted by Accelerated Alchemical Glue and must pull themselves free (DC 20 strength check), dissolve it with alchemical solvent, or leave their shoes behind. The game is afoot.

1.2 Water and Azure Fungus (CR 2)

Peering through the narrow entrance to this room looks like it may be worthwhile to investigate, dozens of glittering coins (~500 gp worth in mostly copper and silver) lie at the bottom of a 10 ft deep pool. Those who are more observant and look to the right before entering may take note of the faint wispy hairs on the wall, and possibly the crackle they leave in the air. This area is a sort of naturally occurring trap the ratfolk use for amusement and a sort of superstitious touchstone. The mold on the walls is Azure Fungus, which will discharge once someone has squeezed through the entrance and waded (or in the case of squeezing, fallen) into the pool to retrieve the coins. As this is an out of the way niche coins are thrown in by the ratfolk who make a wish and enjoy the ensuing fireworks. Coins are collected in winter when the pool has frozen to help fund the warren's holiday celebration. Of course such a feature poses a danger to the children which is why a bottle of Quickfreeze Oil sits inside the entrance; caregivers break the bottle to freeze the water's surface and the fungus touching it for an hour, rendering the pool harmless to pups with magpie tenancies. Should the bottle be broken by a clumsy human tumbling in or frantically attempting to crawl out they may be trapped in, or under, the thick ice. The bottle has 1 hit point, hardness 1, and a break DC of 12.

If the PCs cause a commotion for more than two rounds a pair Swarmers will arrive from the eastern dead-ends in 1d4 rounds to take advantage of the situation, before quickly retreating towards the Basement.

1.3 Ambush at the Blind Turn (CR 10)

  • Combatants: Swarmers (4)

Here is where that long snake of tight squeezing at the beginning starts to pay off. Right now the PCs have received no injuries beyond those incurred by their own actions. They have been conditioned to see this tight 10' corridor as a minor inconvenience and it is time to show them the error of their thinking. As they begin to emerge from the tight space a pair of Swarmers are waiting to the right and begin to rain papercuts upon them. Whomever is still in the tunnel will not be able to see what is going on ahead, nor will they be able to turn around to see what is behind. Hidden in one of the two narrow eastern dead-ends is another pair of swarmers who will join the assault in 1d4 rounds as soon as they hear commotion if they have not already seen combat.

1.4 Tarred Pit Trap (CR 8)

  • Murder Hole
  • Trap: Tripwire
    • Perception/Disable Device DC 18. DC 18 Reflex avoids.
    • Tripwire, knocks the target prone into the pit trap. A running or charging creature takes a –6 penalty on its save.
  • Trap: Tarred Pit
    • Perception/Disable Device DC 18. DC 22 Reflex avoids.
    • 20-ft.-deep pit (2d6 falling damage)
    • Targets who fall into the pit are coated in tar for 7 rounds. They are entangled, and become susceptible to catching fire from any source of flame. If lit on fire, the tar burns intensely for 1 round; it deals 2d6 points of fire damage and is destroyed in the process.
    • GM Note: The DC for this pit has been increased by 4 to reflect the complication of squeezing for Medium characters.

As the Swarmers from the ambush flee westward anyone who follows beyond the bend can see them run across this section of floor without ill effect - that is because they know where the tripwire is and can time their strides, walking across the pit's fragile cover with their Light Steps. When the Pit claims one or more victims the two Bombers above will quickly open the Murder Hole and throw down a Tanglefoot bomb each. This will ignite the tar, and keep those in the pit still glued to the floor allowing Swarmers more time to prepare. The murder hole having served its purpose the Bombers will seal it.

1.5 Ambush at the Murder Hole (CR 13)

  • Murder Hole
  • Combatants: Swarmers (8), Bombers (2)

Swarmers wait in the wings and behind the stalagmites. They attempt to keep their enemies in the center of the room by the Murder Hole, but failing that they draw them into the low-ceiling areas where movement becomes more difficult for their enemies. This skirmish should be very brief as the ratfolk are very exposed here; this is a game of rocket-tag. The swarmers will attempt to flee to the narrow eastern tunnel to regroup and hide though they will attack squeezers if given the opportunity. They intend to continue the assault at area 1.6 by maneuvering behind. After the Swarmers disperse the Bombers seal the murder hole and move to join Fiddlestix and Orin in the Main Hall

1.6 Ambush at the other Murder Hole (CR 11)

  • Murder Hole
  • Combatants: Swarmers (4), Bombers (1)

Four Swarmers hide in the alcoves, two to the north and two to the south, stepping into those precious full five-foot squares as soon as they hear the clank of armor close in the tunnel. They try to keep up the assault long enough to be joined by their remaining allies from area 1.5 before fleeing up the stairs (the latecomers flee towards the Basement). As the PCs are close the Bomber here wastes no time sealing the Murder Hole, Click and Clack have made other arrangements for it. He retreats to the south until the trap 2.1 is triggered.

Upper Level

GM Version | Player Version

  • Aqua: 'Arrow' slits which allow the Bombers to throw through. (Perception DC 15)
  • Light Grey: Denotes areas of Squeezing for Medium sized creatures.
  • Dark Grey: Denotes areas of Squeezing for small sized creatures.

2.1 Improvised Pit Trap (CR 6)

  • Trap: Collapsing Pit
    • Perception/Disable Device DC 18. DC 22 Reflex avoids. (15 ft of tunnel)
    • 10-ft.-deep pit (1d6 falling damage)
    • Plus falling debris (1d6 Bludgeoning)
  • Combatants: Bombers (1)

Click and Clack have weakened this Murder Hole in this area to create a weight-triggered pit trap. Not only is this pit trap dangerous in and of itself, but it collapses any direct access to the second level. To add insult to Injury this is the moment this Murder Hole's Bomber has been waiting for, and he will take pot-shots at the group before fleeing to the south (area 2.2) again.

2.2 Collapsing Ceiling (CR 8)

As you round this corner you see the ratfolk that has been harrying you. He has a dark look in his eyes which for some reason makes you think of Cal. He makes a rude gesture before slipping into a crack in the wall to the south.
  • Trap: Collapsing Ceiling
    • DC 20 Knowledge (engineering) or DC 20 Craft (stonemasonry)
    • Characters in the bury zone of a cave-in take 8d6 points of damage, or half that amount if they make a DC 15 Reflex save. They are subsequently buried.
    • Characters in the slide zone take 3d6 points of damage, or no damage at all if they make a DC 15 Reflex save. Characters in the slide zone who fail their saves are buried.
    • Characters take 1d6 points of nonlethal damage per minute while buried. If such a character falls unconscious, he must make a DC 15 Constitution check each minute. If it fails, he takes 1d6 points of lethal damage each minute until freed or dead. A buried character can attempt to free himself with a DC 25 Strength check.
    • Characters who aren't buried can dig out their friends. In 1 minute, using only her hands, a character can clear rocks and debris equal to five times her heavy load limit. The amount of loose stone that fills a 5-foot-by-5-foot area weighs 1 ton (2,000 pounds). Armed with an appropriate tool, such as a pick, crowbar, or shovel, a digger can clear loose stone twice as quickly as by hand.
  • Combatant: Bomber (1)

This is the reason the Bomber fled southward instead of westward; to draw the PCs here. He will throw bombs at them if they do not pursue until he either exhausts his supply of catalyst or is pursued. He fully intends to die here, and will collapse the ceiling in on everyone who enters this area with a single bomb. If by some miracle he manages to survive along with any PCs he will continue his detonations before sitting down in the dark and quietly accepting death. If taken hostage he will refuse to speak.

2.3 Poison Barbs Trap (CR 1)

  • Trap: Poisoned Barb Trap
    • Perception/Disable Device DC 18. DC 22 Reflex avoids.
    • +11 darts (1d6+4 piercing plus Woundweal Poison)
    • The trap implants 1d4+1 barbs, each dealing 1 point of damage. A successful Reflex save halves the number of barbs. The target takes a penalty on Climb checks and Swim checks equal to the number of barbs attached, and is considered one size category larger for the purposes of determining what size of opening or passageway it must squeeze through as long as at least 1 barb remains attached. Each barb can be removed with a full minute of work and a Heal check that equals or exceeds the trap's DC. If this check fails, the barb is still removed but the target takes 1d4 points of damage. The barbs shake loose harmlessly in 70 minutes.
  • Combatants: Swarmers (4)

The purpose of this trap is to defend the two Bombers in the narrow chamber to the South in preparation for the Gauntlet. At the very least they are alerted and capable of defending themselves. A contingent of Swarmers hides to the North to pounce if the PCs start sniffing around the area and will flee to the Basement after luring them away.

2.4 The Gauntlet (CR 9)

  • Arrow Slits
  • Trap: Caltrops and Marbles
    • Each time a creature moves into or spends a round fighting an area covered by caltrops it runs the risk of stepping on one. Make an attack roll for the caltrops (+0 vs touch AC) against the creature. If the creature is wearing shoes or other footwear, it gets a +2 armor bonus to AC. If struck the caltrop deals 1 point of damage, and the creature's speed is reduced by half. This movement penalty lasts for 24 hours, the creature is successfully treated with a DC 15 Heal check, or it receives at least 1 point of magical healing. A charging or running creature must immediately stop if it steps on a caltrop.
    • Like caltrops, marbles can be used to slow down opponents. One 2-pound bag of marbles covers an area 5 feet square. A creature entering a square with marbles scattered on it must make a DC 10 Reflex save or fall prone (the creature’s stability bonus to trip applies to this save).
    • Any creature moving at half speed or slower can pick its way through the area with no trouble.
  • Combatants: Bombers (2)

This is the reason of the Alchemist's glue all the way at the beginning of the warren; the Gauntlet. From here until 15 ft past the last arrow slit the floor is littered with caltrops and marbles. It would be a trivial matter to pick through the area and avoid the hazard, but two Bombers are here to literally light fires under the asses of the PCs. One stands in each of the first two arrow slits, and the first will run to the third slit when the PCs are beyond the range of his bombs.

2.5 Last Stand The Main Hall (CR 14)

As you enter this large (relatively speaking) cavern the gleam of weapons peek from behind upturned tables. A pair of ratfolk stand in the center, one of whom steps forward. "If possible I would like to discuss terms before any more injuries are sustained by either party."
  • Combatants: Orin, Fiddlestix, Bombers (2), Swarmers (6)

This is the culmination of the encounter, and can either end in conversation or combat as dictated by the actions of the PCs. Fiddlestix is charming to a fault and will congratulate the victors on their superior strength and determination before outlining his terms of surrender. Any hostile movement or breakdown in negotiations will result in the remaining ratfolk making a heroic last stand, and any further investigation of the warren will reveal the remainder of the warren has fled through a tunnel to the surface (Passwall, cast and dismissed by Orin).

During negotiations there are two things Fiddlestix (Diplomacy and Bluff +17) will not compromise on: His people (combatants included) go free without further harassment, and survivors are able to collect their fallen loved ones. He also requests that they be allowed to gather their remaining possessions, but will not press the matter. He has no interest in other discussion and answers curtly, but politely, to questions while refocusing the conversation.

  • Who are you? "Apologies, I did not anticipate such a degree of formality. I am Fiddlestix of the Redwall, and this is my brother Orin."
  • Why were we attacked? "While I cannot account for the actions of any individual at any given moment it is our prerogative defend livelihood and home."
  • Why are you down here? "It is convenient to live close to one's work."
  • What is your livelihood? "Personally my brother and I are retired, though the majority of our number are - were - dedicated to tending the rats."
  • Does Management know you are here/Are you a Keyper? "Yes, though the terms of our arrangement have just been voided."
  • Will you accept an apology? "I have never found it beneficial to dwell or resent, though I cannot speak for those who lost loved ones today."

At this point it has hopefully occurred to the Players they have just caused the collapse of an important part of the Tavern system. A return to the status-quo is not an option as it would be a community decision and most are still reeling from the attack. Losing the ratfolk will damage the Player's relationships with other tavern owners, and they may incur fines (or worse, additional requests) from Management.

Appendix

Staging the Conflict Differently

For GMs who would like to make the initial portion of the encounter more involved below is a stat block for a massive swarm. Alternatively a Rat-That-Walks style opponent coupled with several swarms for a more challenging encounter. These options go against the premise of thoughtlessness, but may be necessary for some groups who would otherwise be simply too powerful for The Basement without some degree of resource depletion.

Unfathomable Rat Swarm CR 17

These rats are a special breed developed to remain in basements, prodigiously procreate, and aggressively attack non-rats who infringe upon their territory. Unfortunately their population has not been kept in check.

  • N Gargantuan animal (swarm)
  • Init +4; Senses low-light vision, scent; Perception +10

Defense

  • AC 35, touch 6, flat-footed 35 (+0 Dex, -4 size, +29 natural)
  • hp 517 (23d8+414)
  • Fort +13, Ref +3, Will +4;
  • Defensive Abilities swarm traits;

Offense

  • Speed 15 ft., climb 15 ft., swim 15 ft.
  • Melee swarm (1d6 plus disease)
  • Space 27 ft. Reach 20 ft.
  • Special Attacks disease, distraction (DC 14)

Statistics

  • Str 43, Dex 11, Con 31, Int 2, Wis 17, Cha 6;
  • Base Atk 22; CMB 22; CMD 24
  • Feats Improved Initiative, Skill Focus (Perception)
  • Skills Balance +6, Climb +14, Perception +10, Stealth +16, Swim +14;

Special Abilities

  • Filth fever: Swarm- injury; save Fort DC 14; onset 1d3 days; frequency 1/day; effect 1d3 Dex damage and 1d3 Con damage; cure 2 consecutive saves. The save DC 2 Constitution-based.

Relevant Rules

Squeezing (-4 Atk, -4 AC): You can squeeze through or into a space that is at least half as wide as your normal space. Each move into or through a narrow space counts as if it were 2 squares, and while squeezed in a narrow space, you take a –4 penalty on attack rolls and a –4 penalty to AC. A creature can squeeze past a creature while moving but it can't end its movement in an occupied square. To squeeze through or into a space less than half your space's width, you must use the Escape Artist skill (DC 30, 1 minute action per 5 ft). You can't attack while using Escape Artist to squeeze through or into a narrow space, you take a –4 penalty to AC, and you lose any Dexterity bonus to AC.

Flanking (+2 Atk): When making a melee attack, you get a +2 flanking bonus if your opponent is threatened by another enemy character or creature on its opposite border or opposite corner.

Critical Hits: When you make an attack roll and get a natural 20 you hit regardless of your target's AC, and you have scored a "threat". You immediately make an attempt to "confirm" the critical hit—another attack with all the same modifiers as the attack roll you just made. If the confirmation roll also results in a hit against the target's AC, your original hit is a critical hit. If the confirmation roll is a miss, then your hit is just a regular hit. A critical hit means that you roll your damage more than once, with all your usual bonuses, and add the rolls together. Unless otherwise specified, the threat range for a critical hit on an attack roll is 20, and the multiplier is ×2. Precision damage (such as Sneak Attack) is not multiplied when you score a critical hit. Sometimes a threat range is greater than 20, meaning you can score a threat on a lower number. In such cases a roll of lower than 20 is not an automatic hit. Any attack roll that doesn't result in a hit is not a threat.

Invisibility (+2 Atk): An invisible creature gains a +2 bonus on attack rolls against sighted opponents, and ignores its opponents' Dexterity bonuses to AC (if any).

Prone (-4 Atk, -4 AC): A prone attacker has a –4 penalty on melee attack rolls and cannot use a ranged weapon (except for a crossbow). A prone defender gains a +4 bonus to AC against ranged attacks, but takes a –4 penalty to AC against melee attacks. Standing up is a move-equivalent action that provokes an attack of opportunity.

Entangled (-2 Atk, -2 AC): A creature who is entangled can move, unless they are glued to an immobile surface. An entangled creature moves at half speed, cannot run or charge, and takes a –2 penalty on all attack rolls and a –4 penalty to Dexterity. An entangled character who attempts to cast a spell must make a concentration check or lose the spell.

Sickened (-2 Atk): The character takes a –2 penalty on all attack rolls, weapon damage rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks.

Deafened: The character automatically fails Perception checks based on sound, takes a –4 penalty on opposed Perception checks, and has a 20% chance of spell failure when casting spells with verbal components.



Additional Ideas (1)

Alright, so I started running this as a one-shot. The group did not get very far, only up into area 1.5, before we had to go do other things. Here are my findings.

1. Area 1.1 proved simultaneously more and less of a challenge than expected.

The party went the Flamestrike/Fireball route to getting rid of the initial swarm. The shadow description led some to think that the fleeing ratfolk was an undead creature, but when a party member ran up and jumped at the hole with a blade to widen it the ratfolk nature of the defenders was discovered (the Swarmer fled as described). There was some dithering as to what to do with the hole. The cleric filled it with water, but when it was decided that there were probably more, which could dig more tunnels and still pose a threat, they cast a sphere of air on the halfling rogue and sent him through.

He initially lost his shoes to the glue but was able to eventually retrieve them "I'd really like to keep my shoes, because caltrops." Smart player. I did not allow a save or perception check for the glue, he was detailing how he was focused on sneaking, had no reason to anticipate any traps, and in the strict sense glue on the floor is not really a trap. This did not seem to bother the player, especially considering the 'trap' caused no lasting effect other than a temporary inconvenience. If your players fail to say they are looking for traps from this point forth (and do not have the appropriate rogue ability for auto-detecting traps) any misfortune that befalls them is of their own doing.

2. As expected the long, sinewy tunnel just after area 1.1 is very important. It acquaints players with the rules for squeezing in a low-pressure environment, and more than that if the players are going to waste resources on bypassing it they either waste them now our establish how to circumvent them.

One player had an adamantine weapon and wanted to use it to carve out the tunnels to make them wider. I said he could, but it would dull the blade (reducing the 1d6 of his 1d6+28 damage by 1 every time he did so). He disagreed because of it being adamantine. I disagreed because otherwise the adamantine pickaxe would not be so coveted. In retrospect I should have let him. If your player insists the same, let them. Encourage them. Let them spend 20 minutes making the tunnel wide enough, then remind them that they're not a stonemason right before you duplicate the collapsing ceiling trap from area 2.2 on top of them. Explain to them that ratfolk don't like squeezing any more than humans do, they've left these areas tight for creatures of even their size because they are structurally unstable to make larger. Depending where they are in the dungeon anyone who was above them might survive the fall (1d6 falling damage and 2d6 bludgeoning) and have a few bombs to add to the mess the PCs have created for themselves.

I did not anticipate the sorcerer turning into an earth elemental (elemental body spell). This had surprisingly little effect other than speeding up the squeezing through aspect for him; the spell transforms him into a large creature, but squeezing states no penalty for spellcasting in tight quarters anyways. Spells cannot be cast from within the stone (no verbal components or line of sight), so the sorcerer still had to exit to participate in combat or discuss with his allies. Obviously he would not want to wander too far into the rock away from the party either. Doing so nearly got him killed (more on this later).

3. My initial intended hiding place for the first pair of ratfolk in the far southeast tunnel may or may not be acceptable.

The halfling rogue went poking his nose around rather early and ran into them while separate from the party (which were on either side of a dark grey area). He immediately fled and the cleric sealed them off with a casting of Stoneshape. On the one hand I did not want them to be so easily found out so they could attack from the rear, on the other hand it seemed to successfully thwart any desire from the rogue to go off on his own or explore crevices too thoroughly.

4. To my great sadness, the aforementioned aversion to exploring led to the avoiding of area 1.2. I should have made it more appealing when they were nearby by saying the sorcerer's light caught the glint of gold, anything to catch their interest.

5. It was at the first ambush at area 1.3 I discovered the great weakness of the ratfolk: High-level rogues and barbarians have improved uncanny dodge (or alternatively, the fortification armor enhancement). This information should be passed through the warren fairly quickly (who has it and who does not) and Swarmers will focus on those who lack imperiousness to their flanking abilities while Bombers on those who do. There is no way to circumvent improved uncanny dodge, it is part of the right and privilege of being a high level member of those classes.

Fortification can be suppressed with Dispel, and Dispelling bomb was an alternative I considered for some of the bombers though I did not use it for sake of simplicity. I also don't know mechanically if the numbers would work out, but it is my first thought. The ratfolk here fled as intended, spreading the word to their allies.

6. The pit trap, wire trap, and "anomaly in the ceiling" in area 1.4 was easily discovered. I explained the modest increase in difficulty circumventing the pit trap due to the tight corridors. The sorcerer, being a large earth elemental, could glide and cover the pit while still surrounded and suspended on each side by rock. This did cover the sorcerer in tar, however, and the tar was set on fire without further hitch. It made me appreciate how low the DCs on these traps are, but they are not really supposed to be difficult to spot. A 7th level trapper ranger cannot, and should not, compete with a level 17 rogue.

7. Area 1.5. Oh man.

This was the kind of fustercluck that makes me eternally grateful for Fantasy Grounds. If you do not have Fantasy Grounds and are using some other product like roll20 you will need an excel spreadsheet to keep track of all the bonuses, penalties, status effects, durations... everything. Make sure you are fully organized and prepared for this room and the final confrontation.

Part of what compounded the problem is that the rogue easily spotted the murder hole, but no one managed to 'see' the invisible ratfolk. This would have been a totally normal course of events if the earth-gliding-elemental-sorcerer had not decided to go up and take on the bombers atop the murder hole himself. I had to set up a separate map only visible to him, unmask the section where he was with the bombers, and run two simultaneous combats. He was glued to the floor after the first attack (his feet dangling out the cavern ceiling, the floor is about 5' thick). The bombers backed off in a wider-than-cone-range angle from each other, so what should have been a one-shot-kill turned into a two-shot-kill. Since the cleric had already used all her damage spells on the large basement rat swarm the sorcerer was trying to only use 5-6th level slots. First attack on a rat, 10d6. 14 damage. I kid you not. We were all in awe at how badly he must have angered the dice gods. The bombers get two more bombs off on him (in retrospect after realizing he was a caster who was glued to the floor one of them should have used a banshee firework on him instead of bombing), and the injured one began to retreat. He cast a spell on the remaining one. 37 damage. The rat had 38 HP (Fantasy Grounds can automatically roll HP, otherwise it would have been 46). The bomber gets one more shot before he's taken down and now the 138 HP sorcerer is 10 HP from KO, and glued to the floor for the rest of the combat while the party takes on the swarmers below, unaware of how scorched his upper half is aside from his frantically flailing legs. The Swarmers reveal themselves, moving along the edges of the room down to encircle the party and attack the squishy cleric at the back. Then we had to break for IRL events.

In the moment it that combat was a pain. Narrating it now though... it was awesome.

2xp

2014-12-01 03:17 AM » Link: [7969#92774|text]
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Comments ( 10 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Ted
November 24, 2014, 22:24
5xp
I'll bite.

Great attention to detail. Professional quality writing and presentation within established Pathfinder/D&D 3.x supplements/adventures. Maps. Intelligent, crafty foes who are well prepared to strike at those who would invade their basements.

Reminds me of an encounter I ran in 2ed AD&D that involved a Kobold wearing Dwarven plate mail, drinking potions of great haste, super-heroism and storm giant strength (all looted from a dead adventurer)- it was a nasty shock for the players.

This is more or less ready to run, out of the box, given any familiarity with pathfinder.

Great work.
Voted Murometz
November 26, 2014, 16:13
5xp

Well, this is rather flawless and I've read it twice. Tucker Kobolds the were-rat version! The level of detail with every contingency accounted for, brings to mind published adventure material, naturally. Having no interest in Pathfinder stats, didn't take away anything from this, for me. I simply read those bits as..."Rat, trapper/ranger lvl2, fights with wakazashi, sneaking and wounding"..."Rat, 2nd lvl transmuter...Rat...ninja...etc..." ok, got it! Can adapt that to my game without issue.

Kudos to you. The commitment and effort involved in writing this shines through admirably!

MoonHunter
November 27, 2014, 23:54
1xp

This good for the quest. The disclaimer on top makes it work, because it made me know going in what I was dealing with. It does reduce its utility for me and a lot of gamers, as we don't Pathfinder (Now, if you could of included Runequest stats....)

Is Pathfinder old school or just old school inspired?

PoisonAlchemist
November 28, 2014, 14:44
0xp


Pathfinder is now the second-youngest D&D game out there, the youngest being 5E. Much like how Pathfinder is updated 3.5 (which is updated 3E) this is a relatively modern example of old-school.



I used the motif of rats in the basement because that is one of the first tropes of D&D gaming, and it subverts that to some extent. What should be the wholesale slaughter of the Ratfolk is not nearly as easy as it would first seem.



Tucker's Kobolds is one of those D&D legends that is up there with a Gazebo; everyone aspires to run a "Tucker's Kobolds" at least once. You can get more information in the description link if you are unfamiliar, but the premise is a bunch of monsters which the party considers insignificant use smart tactics to take them down a few pegs. There really is no way to express a comprehensive dungeon version of that which does not rely on mechanics, and d20 is steeped in piling on advantages and disadvantages as you can see from the Relevant Rules appendix, a Swarmer whose ability to hit is only +10 effectively becomes something like +24.



Runequest is percentile based, so from what I understand of Eclipse Phase (also percentile based) modifying this is fairly easy.



  • For interpreting the statblocks assume most numbers are x/20 (for example, the Swarmer's +10 to hit/20 becomes 50/100 blades skill, with two attacks each round) and that should give you a good base percentile you can finesse as you like to the appropriate power curve. If some number turns out really wierd... well that's why you're the GM.

  • For determining Fray look at the AC stat. It is 10+(Dex, Size, Armor, Shield). Apply the Armor and Shield as Damage Reduction (if that's a thing) and make the rest out of 20 like above. Don't forget Orin cast a spell on himself so his DR is very high against everything but adamantine.

  • Treat every status they manage to apply (most of which can be avoided with an appropriate-core-stat-x2-or-3 save) as a -10 or -20 to the PC's appropriate skill level. -20 to Fray and attacks for squeezing, -10 to all skills when sickened, -10 to Fray and attacks when entangled, -10 to Heal when poisoned with Woundwheal, +20 to the Ratfolk's attacks when they're flanking, etc.

  • To give you a rough idea of how damage goes a Swarmer is (1d10/2)+1, but when they are flanking with each other (activating their Sneak Attack) they get an extra 2d10 AP (armor-piercing) 5.



Rats in the Basement, now with support for percentile based systems.



Edits: WYSIWYG y u lie to me and put spaces everywhere?

valadaar
November 28, 2014, 10:52
7xp
I think we need more of this. Perhaps less useful for those of non D&D derived systems, it still presents an excellently detailed scenerio that can be adapted. Details of the tactics should be translatable to other systems,and the function of some of the items deduced. That Pathfinder's rule's are available online is a great help:

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/
Voted valadaar
November 28, 2014, 10:52
Only voted
Voted Aramax
December 1, 2014, 7:56
Only voted
Voted axlerowes
December 9, 2014, 10:28
5xp
I think the citadel could use more of this, you detract from nothing by including stats and rules makes it less accessible. If anything the stats make this more useful because the details of this story are very specific to your satirical game world. The Redwall Abbey mice are motivated, perhaps irrationally by a fear of genocide and the rat swarm is I believe the result of the Redwall survivors keeping up a supply of rats to taverns so Balder's Gate will have a first level. The stats and maps means you could lift this with or without story if you wanted. Excellent stuff.



Your prose is dense. It overly passive in its descriptions. It is largely non communicative. Example
"As darkness seeped over her Theta was startled by an inky black figure at her side. It was one of the tengu who too had recently lost a child. He ushered the pups to his mate before gathering his comrades, and with the last of the light the escort crossed the threshold into Annawan. "
What happens here? Theta wants help from the humans to find the serial killer or dose she want shelter in the city? Why did she get dressed up and wait at the gate? What was she hoping for? The tengu (that is a dog right?) shows up and he and pack of other dogs take Theta into the city...to help her petition the city rulers for help. This is parcipitates the slaughter of Redwall by the humans.

But did the rat swarm turn on rat folk caretakers in the first scene?

PoisonAlchemist
December 9, 2014, 20:55
1xp


You got the jist of what happened, and the particulars don't matter much. Tengus are raven-folk (they could be large black dogs for all that it matters though); the term for a baby rat is "pup" which might be why you thought they were dogs. As for Theta's actions; imagine yourself standing in front of the capitol building of an unfriendly foreign nation with a request for the president. You're going to dress respectably for the occasion, and you'd like to be invited past the guards even if they won't necessarily stop you from going in.



It's just a colorful (and less boring) depiction of how Orin and Fiddlestix came to be suspicious of humans and develop the elaborate tactics they employ. They are retired adventurers just like the PCs and miles (and worlds) away from Annawan - but they will always be ready.



It's not stated, but the rat-swarm did not turn on the caretakers in the first scene. I've changed a sentence to make it more clear: "The bodies of the primary Basement caretaker for the Verbing Noun and her two assistants lie on one of the lower shelves, killed trying to save their rodent charges from the PC's onslaught." The idea is that the PCs kill the swarm with a common AOE like cloudkill, flamestrike, fireball, or even flooding the basement, and the ratfolk caretakers become collateral damage. The ratfolk think the humans have turned on them again, the PCs don't realize they've just killed civilians, and the whole situation escalates into storming/defending the warren.

Voted Moonlake
December 20, 2014, 18:50
5xp
Regardless of the theme of the current quest, this is just a very complete, structured but also very read-friendly sub. I cannot help but give this a 5.

Quest



Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

Rings and Things

       By: Spark

Pirates' many bejeweled rings and piercings actually had a practical purpose - when the pirate or sailor died, the rings could be taken off as payment for a proper burial, saving him from a watery grave. This could be tied into regional culture, or made into a quest (The Pirate's Lost Rings, etc.). Also gives treasure-seeking divers another thing to look for besides crusty old chests.

Ideas  ( Society/ Organization ) | March 9, 2006 | View | UpVote 2xp


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