Session date: Monday, March 14, 2016
Game date: Saturday, October 19, 208
Gulleck Stonefoot, Dwarf 3, hp 15, xp 7991/8800
Caryatid, Magic-user 3, hp 15, xp 9624/10000
Simon Sackwell, Halfling 1, hp 4, xp 403/2000
Manley "Meat" Smythe, Fighter 2, hp 13, xp 2426/4000
Brother Guntur Valto, Cleric 1, hp 5, xp 1265/1500
Fully expecting a further attack from the Brothers of St. Rathmus, now revealed to be shapechanging ratmen, the adventurers moved to defend their position. Tod and Brother Jibber (even in the absence of their player) moved their pallets onto the trapdoor under the stairs and slept there, holding the trapdoor closed with their weight. They resumed their schedule of watches, with one person awake on the ground floor in the central courtyard, and another patrolling the second floor and peering out the windows to watch for any oncoming attackers.
In the middle of the night (around 2 AM) Tod and Jibber were awakened by someone testing the trapdoor beneath them. Their weight held it closed, and the movement ceased and did not recur. All was quiet for another hour or so, but then, while Gulleck was patrolling the second floor, his keen dwarven eyes picked out movement in the darkness outside. Four ratmen in monks' robes were scurrying over the roof of the stables that lay directly north of the guesthouse. Gulleck could see dimly crossbows hanging from their necks on lanyards. They moved quickly to the guesthouse and he could hear their feet up on the rooftop.
Simon was awake on the first floor, and ran into the courtyard to see what was happening. He could see two figures silhouetted against the starry star, peering over the edge of the open atrium above the second floor. One raised a crossbow, there was a twang, and a bolt torn through Simon's sleeve, grazing his arm. Simon ran for the stairs, hoping to get a better view and shot from the second floor.
Gulleck called out a warning to wake the others, and then came up with a plan to intimidate the ratmen. He rummaged in his belt pouch for a potion they had obtained from the Night Walkers, which he suspected of being a potion of growth. He climbed out a window onto the tiled roof of the stables, and drank the potion, quickly ballooning into an eight-foot tall dwarf! The giant dwarf clambered up the side of the guesthouse, using the window for footholds, and pulled himself onto the roof. The clay tiles of the roof crunched worryingly under his feet. There were two wererats aiming crossbows down into the courtyard, and their jaws dropped when they looked up and saw him. Panicked, they fired at him while staggering backwards.
Gulleck lunged for the wererats, but unfortunately rolled a natural 1, a fumble. Well, what else could I do except the roof collapse beneath him? And so, Gulleck plunged through the roof into Caryatid's bedroom (luckily she had awoken and moved into the hallway to see what was going on). The dwarf cursed and clambered clumsily up the collapsed rafters back up to the roof, only to find that the wererats had fled. Unfortunately, it turned out that the ratmen on the roof had been a diversion, and that two other rats had dropped lightly down into the courtyard, entered the room where Grimbo (the group's hobbit guide) was sleeping, and abducted him through a secret door that led out of the guesthouse. (The party had discovered and barricaded this door, but the ratmen opened it from the inside without difficulty.)
Angry at the loss of their companion, the group wasted no time in leaving the guesthouse and marching to the inner sanctum temple, the one place in the monastery that they had been forbidden access to. Gulleck was still double-sized and so was his magical axe, and he set to work hacking at the wooden gate until the bar that held the door could be knocked aside and the gate opened. The group entered the courtyard of the temple. Across the courtyard, they could see a sort of lattice-sided porch that served as an entrance to the temple building itself. Gulleck was in no mood to waste time, and literally smashed through one of the walls ("Hey, Kool-Aid!"), surprising a small monkey that was perched on top of (and chained to) a post upon which hung a large wheel covered with small bells. The monkey frantically spun the wheel, bringing forth a tinkling of bells. Gulleck charged in and smashed the wheel to the ground, the post snapping as it fell. The monkey scampered away, dragging a three foot long piece of wood behind it on its chain.
Now that they were in the temple itself, they decided to be a bit more stealthy. Caryatid had an invisibility ring they had recently found in the hearth of the blacksmith's shed. Putting this on, she crept down a hall and into the main temple shrine, to behold a grisly sight in the flickering light of a number of braziers. Two wererats stood by an altar, one wielding an evil-looking dagger. Grimbo's wrists and ankles were tied to the altar with ropes. A dozen or so giant rats lurked in the shadows of the room. Caryatid returned to the group and they concocted a plan. Simon would sip from the invisibility potion that they had, and the two of them would creep into the room and attempt to spirit Grimbo away before the wererats could sacrifice him.
That was the plan, anyway. What happened was Simon got distracted by a door on the other side of the shrine, and wandered off while Caryatid was trying to deal with Grimbo. He found a robing chamber with four large chests against the wall. He started exploring the chests, finding only clothes, before remembering he was supposed to be helping Caryatid.
Caryatid decided to mock the wererats and whispered strange things in their ears, trying to convince them she was the voice of the original gods of the temple, or the spirits of the monks they had killed, or something. The wererats were confused and alarmed and this voice coming from nowhere. Simon returned around now and fed the remaining invisibility potion to Grimbo. The wererats were freaking out at this turn of events, and they decided to carry out the sacrifice immediately regardless of the disappearance of their captive, but Caryatid had cut the ropes restraining Grimbo, and pulled him down off the altar, just as the wererat plunged his dagger towards the altar. Gulleck and Meat ran into the room, and the battle was on.
The adventurers were beset by the filthy giant rats that had been lurking in the corners. Gulleck was bit by multiple rats, but his axe killed one after another. One of the wererat monks grabbed Meat by the arm and bit his arm fiercely. As Meat struggled with it, trying to dislodge its teeth from his arm, Gulleck's axe came down and severed the head from the rest of the wererat's body. The other wererat observed this in horror, and attempted to flee, but Grimbo, invisible and hiding on the ground, managed to trip the fleeing wererat, and he was quickly restrained with some of the rope.
The adventurers marched their wererat captive into the room with the chests, where they found that unlike the first three chests that contained merely clothes, the fourth chest seemed to open into a deep shaft into hell itself, with flames and leaping demonic creatures at the bottom. There was some argument over what to do with this, and eventually someone forced the wererat to enter the chest, upon which they were all surprised to find his standing in the chest as if there was nothing out of the ordinary. They yanked him out again, and Gulleck carefully reached into the illusion, feeling around to see if anything was hidden. His hand came back holding a miniature spear, only six inches long. But when he lunged with this tiny spear at the floor, it suddenly snapped out to ten feet in length, striking the floor with an echoing crack, and then snapping back to its former diminuative size.
There was another door leading out of this robing chamber, and they asked the ratman where it led. To the abbot's chambers, was the reluctant reply. "Well, let's go see him," grunted Gulleck and pulled the door open.
"Hey, Abbot!!" the ratman screamed in a panic, the punchline of a joke that had been running for several sessions. We had to stop here, on more of a cliffhanger than we usually do, but it had grown late, and the rest of the adventure would have to wait for the next session.