Monday, April 24, 2017

Slaughtering a Ratman Gang in the Weird Basement of a Black Metal Club

Campaign: Scarabae (Open Table G+, 5e D&D)


  • Mortimer, street fightin' human monk
  • Zunx, moleman warlock who receives power from his deceased ancestors
  • Dr. Wiffle, human fighter with a penchant for medical experimentation

Objective: Infiltrate the hideout of the 47 Rodents gang.


  • The Redgutter Ward recently became plagued by a strange infestation of black vines that seemed to break through the city streets and climb up the walls of the district's buildings. Occasionally these vines would form thick nodules that birthed bipedal creatures made of writhing kudzu; these creatures were wreaking havoc and casually murdering Scarabae's citizens. One building seemed particularly afflicted with these vines: Helveta, a tavern venue frequented by the corpse-painted fans of black metal bardery. Since a number of members of the 47 Rodents had been seen entering Helveta, the venue was possibly the secret hideout of the gang the characters had tangled with before.
  • Mortimer, Zunx, and Dr. Wiffle decided to investigate, and possibly take-on the 47 Rodents directly. Donning a disguise and performing blistering harmonica riffs at his "audition," Mortimer dubbed himself Death Piper & His Wailing Rats and got himself added to the bill as an opening act as a way of gaining entrance to the venue for the group. After his set opening for bardic black metal favorite Portrait of Ruin, during which he used his magical staff to command a group of rats to dance to his necro, trve, cvlt harmonica work, the group was free to explore the building.
  • Having spotted no members of the 47 Rodents in attendance at the gig, Dr. Wiffle explored the back rooms of the venue under the guise of looking for the privy. Dr. Wiffle discovered a large, bucket-like conveyance situated above a long shaft that disappeared into the earth. The crew clambered into the bucket, threw the nearby level, and began to descend ever downward.
  • The group expected the conveyance to take them to the basement beneath the building, but it kept going down and down into the dark. At the bottom of the surprisingly long shaft, the group found themselves in a cavern dimly lit by luminescent fungus. The cavern opened up at one end, revealing what appeared to be an ancient fortress that had sunk deep into the earth. The windows were dark, no movement was visible within. The walls of the fortress appeared to be made of a strange material that resembled petrified wood.
  • Crossing the crumbling courtyard of the fortress, the characters entered a ruined tower, in which they found the dead bodies of four ratmen wearing the insignia of the 47 Rodents. The ratmen had clearly died in a violent manner; one was pinned to the wall by a spear they recognized as belonging to Brunhilde, the warrior-cultist of the Children of Fimbul they had a run-in with back in Kojiyuma Temple.
  • Another room they explored featured a dragon-shaped door that was magically locked. Sifting through the petrified rubble in this room uncovered a giant rat that had been trapped by a small cave-in; the hungry rat attacked the party, but was swiftly dealt with.
  • A further room showed evidence of habitation: a recently-lit campfire sat in the middle of the room, and nearby was a bedroll from which could be heard the sound of whimpering. Also in the room was a large metal cage. Pulling open the bedroll revealed a cowering ratman named Skritch. Skritch was very upset; he explained that he had been put in charge of the dragon that the 47 Rodents had captured, but that the Children of Fimbul--who were inhabiting the lower level of this fortress--had turned on the Rodents, which explained the ratmen corpses the party found earlier. Skritch told the characters that the Children of Fimbul had stolen the dragon from his care, which had put him on the outs with Zot, the leader of the 47 Rodents. In exchange for a map to Zot's lair, the party agreed to let Skritch go.
  • On the way to Zot's lair the party passed through a chamber inscribed with runes and sigils belonging to the Children of Fimbul. Touching the symbols with a pole summoned three of the cultists to the chamber, where they immediately attacked the party. They were wiped out quickly, and the symbols were diligently scrubbed away before the party continued.
  • Following the map that Skritch penned for them, the crew found themselves in Zot's "throne room." No one knelt before Zot. The room featured a throne made of scrap petrified wood upon which Zot sat. a wooden chest Zot was using as a footstool, and a shaft leading deeper into the fortress with another bucket-like conveyance. Black vines snaked out of the shaft and crawled along the walls.
  • Zot wore a crown of scavenged wood with bits of jewelry bound into it. He was flanked by three large 47 Rodents gang members, and also accompanied by a sullen elf woman wearing the furs and rough robes of a Fimbul cultist. Zot parleyed with the group, playing up a threadbare kingly aspiration. He had the druid conjure forth a feast of mediocre cheese and disappointing wine. Things were going well until Zunx took offense at something Zot said and Mortimer mocked the gang leader by forcing nearby rats to dance for his amusement.
  • The ensuing battle was both hilarious and a close call. Zunx and the druid traded blasts of poisonous spray--neither of which able to accomplish much with the spell. The veteran members of the 47 Rodents stood their ground and acquitted themselves well in combat; at one point Zunx was injured, so he and Dr. Wiffle withdrew from the battle so that the Doctor could patch up the moleman. All the while, Mortimer held off the Ratmen but he was taking a beating as well. Ultimately, Mortimer kicked Zot so hard in the groin that he shattered the ratman's pelvis, killing him. 
  • When the dust settled, only the druidess, Shanna'del, was left standing. She surrendered, explaining that Zot had kept her enslaved with a magical band on her ankle that was linked to Zot's crown. She poses something of a problem; the party doesn't want to kill her or keep her enslaved, but she has also pledged to destroy the world. 
  • Since the party was running low on resources, they decided to loot Zot's war chest (an act which nearly killed Dr. Wiffle due to the chest being trapped by a poison needle), and return to the surface with Shanna'del in tow.

  • XP - 308 each.
  • GP - 147 each from coins looted from bodies and Zot's treasure chest, silver moonstone earrings, silver moonstone necklace, two onyx gemstones.
  • Misc. - Zot also had a key on him.
  • ...and you have a mentally-enslaved apocalyptic druid cultist, what are you guys going to do with Shanna'del?