Dave's Sandbox

August 21st 2011

Rodents of Unusual Size

Players: Kristen (Barney Blackspell), Jesse (Galen Ravenspire), Max (Pieter Quinn)


Barney returns from some time off “with the ladies.” Arriving at TGIF, he meets Galen and Pieter, flush off the cash rewards of their adventures in the Tombwood. The trio meet up, and Galen introduces Pieter to Barney, who promptly decides “these are my kinds of bros.”

The trio decide to adventure out to the abandoned Abbey, which rumor has it was once the home to a caste of arm and armor-smithing monastic types. The monks used to trade their arms in town. About seven years ago, the monks stopped coming back to trade goods, and those who searched them out in the dangerous wilderness west of town did not return.

Now, the place is abandoned and home to ROUSs – Rodents of Unusual Size – specifically of the rat variety, according to Barney, who reconnoitered the area once before.

We journey westward for an hour or two, and Pieter and Barney get to know one another a bit more. Both privately decide that one is mentoring the other in the ways of life.

As we get closer to where Barney remembers the Abbey to be, the wagon track begins to be less and less maintained. After an hour and a half or so of walking, the path begins to disappear in the overgrowth from time to time.

We arrive eventually at a shack, which Barney once fought an ROUS within. 5’ by 10’ store-house. We open the rusty door, and it swings open easily. Inside are about 10 rodents of a traditional size (ROTS) inside, which swarm around and then run out between our legs. Inside are a set of empty crates and barrels, perhaps a food store once, that has since been depleted. The Shack is not in good shape. Worn down and the roof is beginning to sag inward.

Pieter decides to search the floor, and finds that one of the floorboards is loose. As we tear up the boar, we find a trap door beneath with decorative carvings of the good-aligned god Bahamut. While the floors and the walls are all scratched and rotted, the piece of wood that this carving lies on is as fresh as if it were carved yesterday. Something special about this wood…

When we open the door, we find a small store room. Inside are cans and rations and jars of food, untouched. It’s a simple unfinished cellar with masoned walls. A simple wooden ladder descends into it. An unlit torch adorns either wall. Barney casts Light to illuminate the room, and Pieter drops down into it to search the room. There is nothing particularly special about the stores, except that they have been well maintained/preserved, despite the decay of the shack above. Barney detects some kind of divine magic aura on the area (but no magic of more notable importance), which must relate to the preserved nature of this area.

We take a few snacks for the road, then close back up the secret store room, and depart.

As we exit the shack, we see the Abbey ahead. A big series of connected buildings, with a large chapel with big double doors facing us. A big grey building made of wood. (photos:)


Abbey 2
As we approach the doors to the Abbey, Barney’s keen eyes spot something grey and human-sized dart away from one of the second floor windows. Ominous…


We open the doors and enter a large chapel room, with a raised altar at the far end and pews and aisles in between. It looks like it was once stately, but like the shack, has come into considerable disrepair.

But what hits us most is the smell! The place is overrun with rats, climbing the walls and skittering across the floors, 20 or so in all, and it smells as such.

Room is large, 60’ long by 40’ wide, with vaulted ceiling topped with large cross-beams. The beams are in bad shape, degraded by the gnawing of the rats. As we open the doors and the rates skitter, a deep groaning sound shakes the room and the building seems to shift somewhat, settling into a new position…Barney Prestidigates some breeze and light floral scent to try and help air it out, but this only serves to briefly overwhelm the party with a wave of poopy flower smell. Galen briefly regrets his recent snacking, Pieter chastises him for not eating earlier at TGIF.

There are four large stained glass windows on the sides of the chapel room, and a huge 20’ wide stained glass window dominating the wall behind the altar. A large iron-banded door opens off to the right of the main doors (leading north), likely leading off into the rest of the Abbey complex. The chapel was clearly dedicated to good-aligned deities, who are featured in the stained glass scenes. The large stained glass window behind the altar is dedicated to a scene of Bahamut in his dragon form defending the lands from the wilds.

The room is cast in a soft glow from the windows. We also notice the constant sound of the building creaking and groaning as it adjusts to the second time the doors have been opened in years most likely.

As we enter the middle of the abbey, a man with dark hair and simple peasant clothes and a short sword on his belt appears behind us, as if out of no where!!

The man introduces himself as Andy Anderson, although that clearly is not his name (he pauses as we ask him as he fabricates an answer) and inquires about our armaments. He stalls us for a while, before informing us that his main job is basically to stall intruders until “the others” can get into position to attack…

“Well hell” says Barney.

Bloody ’ell. Wererats!

“Andy” then transforms in front of us from his human form into his wererat form! “Bloody ’ell” says Galen. Four other wererats in rat form appear about us as well and attack.

The wererats set upon us with rusted short blades (yuck, tetanus and lycanthrope!) and battle ensues…

As the heroes battle the wererats, tons of ROTS fill into the rafters and beams above the room, as their extra weight begins to make the roof and beams sag dangerously inwards in the SW corner of the room. Barney attempts to keep the small hoards of ROTS at bay and help weaken the wererats while his bros Pieter and Galen take on the larger vermin head-on.

After bearing the brunt of a double attack from Pieter and Galen, one of the wererats stumbles back into a brittle column supporting the SW corner of the ceiling. The column buckles slightly, and two swarms of rats fall down from the rafters into the room in a hissing mess. Then, the SE corner of the chapel roof collapses, as a gigantic beam crashes down along with a ton of debris. Barney nimbly dodges away from the explosion of splinters and debris, narrowly avoiding damage. More packs of rats emerge from the debris with a hungry rabid look in their lives…

Barney unleashes a particularly well-placed flaming column into the new pack of rats, scorching most of them and filling the room with the lovely smell of scorched rat flesh. (Mmm… dinner).

As the roof begins to fall in, the heroes disengage from combat and “tactically withdraw” towards the door leading deeper into the abbey, which is, quite inconveniently locked. As the ceiling continues to collapse inward, debris block the door leading back out of the Abbey, barring our easy escape.

As the rats close in, Barney casts Fire Shroud and all but one of the remaining wererats burst into flame, along with the horde of ROTSs. Connecticut fried rat. (Not as good as chicken admittedly, but still good).

After Galen and Pieter combine a flurry of unsparing attacks to rapidly dispatch one of the remaining wererats, Pieter expects an extended effort (Action Point!) to bust open the locked door with a well-placed kick.

The heroes battle their way back into the adjoining room (a small 15’ by 10’ room), who’s roof appears thankfully safe. As the two remaining wererats try to fight their way into the room, Pieter stands firmly in the doorway and battles them back into the chapel, just as the roof above begins to collapse and the wererats dive backwards. Their fate remains unknown.


We seek temporary shelter inside the small antechamber room, blocking out the swarming rats with a cloak stuffed beneath the door, while we tend to our wounds in shifts and catch our breath.

After a few minutes, a large crash emanates from the chapel, and later a grating metal sound is heard from the back part of the abbey to the north. We then hear a loud crashing sound, like a weapon, from the NW.

We travel deeper into the Abbey, opening a door to the north of the room to reveal an interior cloister (courtyard with covered walkway around the outside).

As we step into the cloister, we are ambushed by four wererat archers, one of whom hits Barney in the shoulder with a surprise arrow.

Just after the assault, a large crash breaks through the double doors at the north end of the courtyard, sending the door flying backwards off its hinges into a tree. As Galen shifts into the courtyard to tactically reposition, he spots an 8 1/2 foot tall wererat, massively strong, bearing a huge and heavy halberd. The rat also sports a bloody bandage around its head that seems to completely obstruct its vision.

Pieter rushes forward and spears one of the archers through the leg with a javelin as Galen splashes acid across the cloister at the giant rat and Barney summons a flaming sphere to block his route into the room, singing the giant rat with flame.

The battle is on!

The giant wererat rushes to attack Galen, despite his lack of site. As Galen strikes him with a disruptive strike, the now-bloodied wererat berserker flies into a rage, bashing Galen with his giant halberd inflicting a heavy wound.

Pieter leads the attack in response, landing an even more extensive blow (27 damage!). Galen lands two more blows in quick succession, sending the wererat to the brink of death, but not yet into the grave. That takes the work of Barney’s flaming sphere, which rolls over the giant rat, sending it screaming to its death. Synergy!

Pieter and Galen move in on the wounded archer, dispatching him with teamwork (and steel).

After dispatching two more archers, a swarm of rats and six more archers appear on the roof of the cloister above Barney.

The trio of heroes quickly rush into the doorway the giant wererat burst forth from a few moments earlier to seek shelter from the archers, leaving the flaming sphere to clean up the last archer (The room is a 30’ by 15’ dormitory room, with beds recently occupied by someone…)

Rats start swarming down from the ceiling of the cloister as the heroes regroup in the dormitory and ponder their next move…

They soon head through a doorway to the north and into a large, 15’ by 50’ store room, full of empty and destroyed barrels and crates and some rotting food that avoided the rats. The sound of hordes of rats scratching at the doors can be heard outside either of the two doors leading out of the room.

We retreat into the storeroom and barricade the door to the cloister. Pieter quickly searches the floors to find a set of loose floorboards, which conceal a large trapdoor (about 8’ tall). Just as in the shed, this piece of carved wood adorned with Bahamut is untouched, despite visible scratching and gnawing marks around the outside of the trap door. Pieter (unaligned) is unable to open the door, but when Galen (good aligned) tries it, it opens easily, (Peiter and Barney glance at each other to share a small roll of their eyes) revealing stairs leading down to an illuminated basement with a magical, divine aura illuminating the place.

The heroes descend into the basement, and close the door behind us to (hopefully) keep out the rats — of both unusual and traditional size…

The small basement (10’ by 15’) is an armory! It appears to be where the monks of the Abbey kept their arms and armor before selling them. The walls are lined with heavy shields (12 of them), blue with a silver dragon (Bahamut) emblem. There is an arch filled with priestly scrolls. One barrel of ale! Two suits of chain armor. A wooden box containing four potions of a clear liquid. And another corner contains a bundle of strange looking torches. All of is at least faintly divinely magical. The shields appear to be tempered of some kind of metal that is extremely strong and extremely light.

Pieter and Galen bundle the chainmail into their packs. Each of the three heroes strap a shield to their backs and Pieter swaps out his current shield for one of the Bahamut shields. We split up the 15 torches amongst our packs as well. Barney packs up the scrolls into his scroll case and takes the box of potions. Barney lashes four more shields together and uses mage hand to levitate them along with us.

Galen lights one of the magical torches, which burns an intensely bright flame (too bright to look at the center, like a magnesium torch). Barney lights a torch as well, and we prepare to fight our way back out of the Abbey.

We enter a new room outside the store room, using the torches to keep at bay the horde of rats that occupy pretty much the entire room, moving slowly through the room, all Indiana Jones style…

We open the door back into the cloister’s antechamber into the face of a small-ish wererat. Pieter bashes the surprised wererat in the face with his new shield, easily killing the minion, who drops a scroll as he falls (Pieter snags the scroll as he moves past).

The heroes press through another mass of rats, keeping them at bay with the torches. We scramble over the rubble back into the main chapel room. Galen and Barney hold the rats at bay as Pieter works furiously to clear the debris from in front of the main doorway. After a tense couple of minutes, we exit the Abbey.

As we move away from the abbey, a couple of archers begin to shoot at the heroes, but we quickly dash out of range (as quickly as we can given the encumbering loot we have boosted from the ruined Abbey).

The heroes eventually make their way back to Greenwitch, thankful to be free of the rats and excited to determine the value of their new loot…


  • 590 XP each
  • Two suits of chainmail +1, equivalent to Dwarven Armor (in PHP: allows one daily free action: regain hit points as if you had spent a healing surge), but LVL 3 so worth 680 gp.
  • Eight shields which function as a heavy shield +1 that also function as a Symbol of Hope +1 (priest power daily, immediate reaction, use when you or an ally is hit by an effect that has save to end, you or ally get +5 on save to end). Plus, anyone wearing the shield on their person, even if not equipped, gains the +1 bonus to their AC. (Can’t use in conjunction with another shield). Also feels to the wearer as if it is extremely light, just 5 pounds rather than 15.
  • Several level one divine scrolls.
  • 13 torches that burn twice as long and twice as brightly as regular torches. Works like a sunrod, but brighter. Sheds bright light out to a radius of 20 squares for four hours before burning out. Burns extremely brightly, like a magnesium torch, shedding mild aligned divine aura as well.
  • Two Potions of Resistance LVL 4 (AV p188) – drink as minor action to gain resist 5 to damage of a specific type until end of encounter.
  • Two Potions of Healing (PHP p255)

With the exception of the two Potions of Healing, which Galen and Barney keep for their own kits, and two of the shields, which Galen and Pieter put to use, the rest of the gear is stored in a new room the heroes purchase as the storehouse for their growing armory.

Ruined abbey



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