INTRODUCTION


These are the Adventure Pages to the THACO DRAGON Second Edition rules webpage - the Unofficial Version 2.6.

Adventures will focus on simple and easy to use plots - often without a map - in the Book of Lairs style. Some header pics may be incorporated at the top of these Adventure posts. Each story assumes the PC party to have at least 5-6 Player Characters with 2 or more NPCs/Henchmen at higher levels. Suggestions for altering these stories may feature at the end!  Click here for THACO DRAGON ADVENTURES - if not already on the home page.

DMs may need to tweak the map scales (hopefully not) since I have been unable to play test these creations. Please leave a comment if you've run any of these adventures!

The Ghost Thieves..


A reward is offered for information that can solve the murder of a local shopkeeper, a murder that is thought connected to the recent disappearance of a Gnomish investigator and the identity of the mysterious 'Ghost Thieves'. An urban adventure for a strong party of 3rd to 4th level Player Characters. If the party consists of four or less characters the DM should consider adding Ellis the Half-Elf to the group as an NPC.

Prologue

One night, while in the common room of a local inn (Locke's Tavern) the characters are approached by a sandy haired, well dressed individual, wearing a faded red jacket and trousers. He introduces himself as Ellis the Half Elf. Having noticed earlier the worn look of the PC's equipment, he asks the party whether they would be interested in assisting a local wizard who is looking for warriors. "The job will only last one half of an hour or so, and it pays 10 silver pieces, and fifty if anything goes wrong." The wizard, named Adius, is looking for guards while he opens a sealed flask. 

Ellis (5th level Half Elven Fighter/Mage)
AC: 6 (Dex16, Amulet of Protection +2) HD: 5 hp: 32 (Con 15) THACO: 15 (defacto wpn specialisation) Attacks: 3/2 or 1 (Spell) Damage: 1d8+3/1d12+3 (Longsword) or 1d6 (Arrow) or by spell Mv: 12 Size: M Alignment: NG
Equipment: Crimson clothing, Longsword, Composite Short Bow (ROF 3/2), Dagger +2, Amulet of Protection +2, Arrows (20), 20cp/22sp/15gp/12pp.
*Spells (3/2/1): Cantrips (19), Magic Missile (3), Levitate, ESP, Fly (or Lightning Bolt, memorised the next day)
Str 14 Int 14 Wis 11 Dex 16 Con 15 Cha 12

Ellis can't tell the party too much in the way of the dangers faced, except that he suspects that some kind of creature is magically trapped within the flask. He can tell the party that the flask is silver with a metal stopper sealed with wax. He will also divulge that he campaigned with Adius years ago, which was when the item was discovered (in a locked chest within a dungeon complex).

If the PCs agree then Ellis says he will meet the party outside the inn at midday and will take them to Adius' town house, a two storey stone building in the Noble's Quarter. He says they should bring missile weapons, like crossbows or longbows, along with their melee weapons. They should prepare for combat.


Adius and the Flask

Ellis meets the party at midday outside the inn. He is dressed as before except this time he has a longsword strapped to his belt, a short bow over his shoulder and a quiver of arrows on his back. The PCs are led through the streets of the city until they reach an area featuring well kept stone and wood buildings. Some of the buildings are very large freestanding structures, with walled courtyards, while others are terrace houses that feature walled off gardens. The walls of these building are tall, up to 15 feet high.

The player characters are led to a side entrance in one of terrace house walls. The iron bound wooden door opens easily and the party enters a grassy backyard area that is 20'x30' long. The stone wall they passed through is thick, up to four feet wide, while the walls are 15 high.

Inside the backyard, standing before the door to the rear entrance of the town house, is a middle aged man with thick grey hair, bright blue eyes, wearing a grey wizard robe. He is holding a silver flask. "I am Adius the Wizard. Many thanks for your attendance". As he finishes three chainmail clad warriors enter though the side doorway behind the party. One speaks, "Okay wizard, let's get on with this." Adius replies, "Very well then."

The wizard walks to the far side of the courtyard, away from the building, and places the flask on the ground against the stone wall. He then beckons the party to move away to a position near the doorway to his house.

Adius 7th level Human Wizard
AC: 8 (Ring of Protection +2) HD: 7 hp: 19 THACO 18 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d4+1 (Dagger) or Spell Mv: 12 Alignment: CG
Equipment: Grey Robes, Dagger +1, Wand of Magic Missiles (11)
*Spells (4/3/2/1): Cantrips (21) Reduce (2), Magic Missile, Charm Person, Darkness 15' Radius, Levitate (2), Lightning Bolt, Protection from Evil 10' Radius, Polymorph Other
(+Stoneskin cast the previous day, and active versus 5 attacks)
Str 11 Int 15 Wis 16 Dex 13 Con 12 Cha 16

"I've finally determined that this flask we recovered some years ago is safe to open. Or rather, it's relatively safe to open. There are no extra planar entities within." Everyone looks confused. "errrr ... the flask does not contain any demons or creatures of a magical nature." He continues, "However, there is something or someone in here, and I'm determined to discover what or who it is."

Adius then tells the characters and NPCs, except for Ellis, to stand together while he traces a 10' radius circle of powdered silver. He tells the group that when he casts his first spell it will protect them from any summoned monster. They must stay inside the circle which will act like an invisible barrier. He says that,

"We will be able to fire arrows and cast spells and these attacks will not disrupt this protective spell. However, any swordplay will break the enchantment. Wait for my signal before taking any action. We may have an opportunity to talk to whoever gets released. If I suspect we are in danger then I'll speak up. Ellis will remain outside this circle of protection because he will be opening the flask."

"If something does go drastically wrong, the back door to my house is unlocked. I will darken the area around the doorway if we need to escape. Just feel for the entrance, and once inside I'll lock the door!" He smiles. "It should not come to that I expect."

One of the soldiers, talking under his breath, murmurs, "I hope something goes wrong. I need as much silver as I can get!"

Mercenary Soldiers, 1st level Fighters (3) Draga, Merv, Listermere
AC: 4 (Chainmail and Round Shield) HD: 1 hp: 9, 9, 10 Attacks: 3/2 (Weapon Expertise/Long Bow) Damage: 2d4/1d6+1 (Broadsword) or 1d8 (Sheaf Arrow) Mv: 9 Alignment: N(G)
Equipment: Chainmail, Round Shield, Broadsword, Longbow, 12 arrows each, 40cp, 39sp, 11gp total.

Adius tells the characters to flank him, forming a line, and to notch arrows, or prepare to cast spells. Ellis then moves to the far end of the courtyard and pries open the flask stopper using his dagger to chip away the wax. As soon as the stopper comes out, Adius starts casting his protection spell. As he casts smoke rushes forth from the open flask and billows into a huge 16' tall mass that takes the form of a rough looking giant who wields a large wooden club. During this time Ellis moves to the side doorway halfway along the courtyard wall. The creature looks around, his anger rising. Adius speaks up, "It's a trap, here we go."

Gorkash  Hill Giant Warrior
AC: 3 (thick hide Armour) HD: 12 hp: 106 THACO: 9 Attacks: 1 Damage: 2d6+7 (Great Club/Str) or 2d8 (rock, 3-200' range) Mv: 12 Size: H (16' tall) Alignment: CE xp: 3000
*Rolls 13 or above to save vs Spells
Equipment: Great Club, Multilayered Animal Hides as Armour, leather belt, large Ivory Horn (worth 500gp), huge canvas sack with 3 rocks.

Tactics: Characters who have bows drawn or crossbows levelled can fire immediately before initiative is rolled. In the first round, quick acting spells will go first. The giant is slow and has a -1 penalty to his initiative roll. The giant attempts to rush the group first but is repelled by the circle of protection. Adius casts a 40' long Lightning Bolt (7d6) that hits the stone wall and reflects back onto the giant a second time (7d6). Ellis also casts Lightning Bolt (5d6) but it reflects away at an angle and causes no more damage. The Half Elf then casts Magic Missile and retreats thought the courtyard doorway if attacked. Adius follows his first spell with Polymorph Other (attempting to turn the giant into a chicken), and if that fails he follows up with Reduce (causing a 70% reduction in height to make the giant 5' tall), and then uses the same spell a second time, and then casts levitate on the reduced monster sending it 70' skyward before cancelling the spell after the PCs have fired their bows multiple times.

At the end of the encounter Adius speaks, "I was hoping I would be releasing a trapped noble or fellow traveller. Fortunately I prepared for the worst. We did well didn't we? Anyway I suppose you will be wanting payment." He goes inside his house and, after a while, returns with numerous coin-filled sacks that make 50sp total for each person. "Danger money." He then signals to Ellis who ushers everyone outside.

In the street the half elf turns to the group, or an intelligent seeming PC, and asks, "Are any of you good at solving mysteries?" If the characters respond positively, or ask for further information, he says there's been some local trouble, near the tavern, and if they're willing to help, they should meet back there and talk with the bartender. He says that what needs to be said should not be openly discussed in the street.


Thefts, Murder, and a Disappearance

Returning to Locke's Tavern in the middle of the day, the characters find the common room empty except for the bartender. The barkeep is an overweight man with solid arms, short dark hair and black stubble on his face. His nose is out of alignment, as if it had been broken at some time in the past.

Ellis introduces him. "If you don't already know, this is Holgar. He's privy to a lot of what goes on around here."  Holgar interrupts, "That's right Ellis, and where are you going with this?" Ellis continues, "These here brave souls, and myself, just felled a huge giant over at the Adius residence. They're the heroes you are looking for."

Holgar replies sceptically, "Oh really? Is that so?" Ellis resumes, "They have skills and courage, enough courage to deal with your invisible street gang. And if they swear confidentiality I'm sure you can trust them."

Ellis looks to the PCs, "Are you ready to swear to keep this between ourselves? It's for a good cause. I can tell you straight up that everyone in this neighbourhood knows that a local shop keeper was recently murdered and the City Watch have no clues. There's also a number of robberies going on, and we suspect magic is involved. There's a semi secret reward of 100 gold pieces for anyone that can solve the murder. I can explain further, but you need to swear that what is said here will go no further. Do you swear?"

If the PCs swear to keep what they are told a secret Holgar speaks up, "Yes, there was a murder, but there is more going on than meets the eye. The reward offered comes from the Thieves Guild. They also offer friendship in the event of your success. The shopkeeper [Diego Moratanni] was one of their appraisers, their best one. And they're not very happy. The problem is that none of their informers or guild members have seen anything, or found any clue that points to the murderer. What is more confusing is that one of their lot, who was on the street every night since the murder, the gnome Traybor Dabblelleg, a friend of this appraiser, has now gone missing. He disappeared off the street, while all of his wealth still remains at his town house. The guild is pretty sure the two incidents are connected and are sure none of their guild members could have pulled off these crimes. The guild thinks that there might be a connection to unauthorised thefts happening in area, which they suspect are due to a rogue group. The mystery is that the Guild, for all their efforts, cannot find any clue, or evidence of this gang. It's as if they were ghosts. We can't explain this."

Ellis chimes in, "The thieves are almost certainly using magic. They travel invisibly and on rare occasions they Sleep spell those at the places they rob. A hallmark of the crimes is that they almost always strike when no one is around but sometimes they strike when only a single servant remains, who conveniently falls unconscious during the time of the robbery. If I could cast a spell of invisibility, I could go out on the street and perhaps discover who these thieves are, but alas, neither myself nor Adius are familiar with the spell. There is only one other wizard in the city that could help in this respect, but we can't get him involved. It's Luscan Claymore of the Lord's court. We think the only solution is to include outsiders who can announce themselves as investigators to the City Watch and have no connection to the guild. The City Watch actually suspects the guild, even though they have no proof." Holgar then says that if the characters decide to patrol the city streets they can get free board in his Tavern during this time. The PCs' rooms are 15x10 foot and two people per room.

Holgar  2nd level Fighter
AC: 10 HD: 2 hp: 18 THACO: 19 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d6+3 (Club/Partial Weapon Specialisation/Str) Mv: 9 Size: M (6'2") Alignment: N(G)
Equipment: White shirt, black trousers, wooden club (under counter), plus Leather Armour (stored), Longbow (stored), Sheaf Arrows (18, stored).

If the characters ask for additional details regarding the murder, they can tell the PCs that it was a stabbing, with many small wounds to the lower body, on the legs, and some to the chest. If they ask about the thefts, they can be told they take gold and silver cutlery, goblets, plates, coins, wall hangings, furniture, cushions, a tapestry, and many other luxuries, and some time ago, the contents of an entire wine cellar disappeared. If asked about Guild attempts to trap the ghost thieves they can tell the party a trap was set using a rented room where gold and silver ornaments had been laid out in sight of a window. The room was watched but no theft occurred. Other robberies occurred nearby during the two weeks this was tried, and nothing was seen by anyone in the area. If they ask about potential Wizard accomplices to these crimes, they say there are few Wizards in the city. The only ones are Adius, Lord Luscan, who has no apprentices, and Ellis. They don't know about any alchemists in the city who may be able to concoct some kind of invisibility potion. The only other potential Wizards are members of the PC party.

Background: Both Ellis and Holgar are associated with the thieves guild and work as informers and special helpers. They do have a moral standard, one that is focused on robbing the rich. They do not condone murder or senseless acts of violence.


Night Patrol

If the characters decide to patrol the streets at night they encounter many people in the early evening going about their business before things drop off a few hours after sundown. Like all centres of civilisation people wake early, at first light where they can see better to work, and then go to sleep in the early evening. Later in the night only an odd few people are seen returning to their homes from taverns that stay open until two hours before midnight. Characters walking the streets late at night run into the following encounters:

Street Encounters (roll 1d20 per 2 hours):

1. Fif  0-level Human (Street Beggar)
AC: 10 HD: 1 hp: 5
Mv: 4 Size: M Alignment: N
Equipment: Ragged Clothes, Wooden bowl, Wooden water jug, Thick blanket, 5cp.

Fif is an old cripple, whose back is deformed, making movement difficult. He acts as an informer for the thieves guild and stays out on the street all night, living on his blanket. He asks the PCs what they are doing at this late hour. If they say they are looking for the Ghost Thieves or the killers of Diego Moratanni, the murdered shopkeeper, or are looking into the disappearance of Traybor Dabblelegg, Fif replies that "A lot of different people are interested in the answer to those questions." He thinks the answer to all three might be one and the same.

He then says "I see everything that goes on out here. The only things I see late at night are drunks, city watch and rats. Sometimes you will see other city folk, but none I would mark as a master thief or magician. The only things I don't see is what goes on in the sewers or in the darkest of shadows. Only the gutter vermin could tell you about that, if they could talk. So, how do you plan on catching an invisible thief or murderer?"

If the PCs don't have a good answer, or think they might get lucky by patrolling the streets and finding clues, he responds, "I would be setting a trap if I were you! Those that don't want to be found won't easily be found. The big problem is that the traps that have been set have not worked. Nothing has stopped the robberies. Folk might be right in guessing that some kind of Wizardry is afoot." The PCs can be told that "Whoever these ghost thieves are they seem to know when a trap has been set. They knew enough to avoid the supposed treasure room set up by the Thieves Guild, and avoided the street search by the City Watch. The Watch didn't catch anyone of interest, although they didn't catch any of the regular street thieves either. The ghost thieves always strike away from prying eyes. It's as if they have a cloak of invisibility, or that they have watching eyes throughout the city."  If the PCs ask how Fif knows all these things, he replies that he lives on street, that he sees much, and is not without acquaintances. He wants to solve this mystery as much as anyone.

Note: Fif can be encountered on more than one occasion.


2. Drunks  0-level Human labourers (3) Praegar, Manni, Goba
AC: 10 HD: 1 hp: 11, 9, 10 THACO: 19 (they are all Punching Specialists) Attacks: 2 Damage: 1+2 (Str, Punching Specialisation) Mv: 12 Size: M Alignment: N(E) xp: 10
Equipment: Shirts, trousers, strongly made leather shoes, 29cp/6sp total.

These three middle aged men, of haggard appearance, are professional ditch diggers and sewer workers who do many odd jobs for the city. They also have a habit of getting drunk and causing trouble after they have saved up enough money. If the PCs encounter them in the street their leader, Praeger, starts antagonising them. If the PCs are well dressed they are mocked, "Your Lordships shouldn't be out at this hour, with all the vagrants lurking in the shadows". If the PCs are of average appearance they are accused of being "no good mercenaries", that they are "glory seekers" who "wouldn't be so tough without your fancy weapons", and that they'll have the City Watch throw them in jail. In any event Praeger challenges the male PCs to a fist fight, whether he thinks of them as Lords or mercenaries, claiming they are not real men. He says they need a good beating to show them they are no better than the common person who works hard just to survive. If the PCs walk away they yell insults but don't follow.

Note: This encounter occurs only once. If this roll comes up a second time read encounter 15 (Dead Cat). This group of Drunks will be not be targeted by the pick pockets.


3. City Watch  0-level Humans (7) plus (1) Patrol Leader Randar, 1st level Fighter
AC: 8 (Padded Armour HD: 1 hp: 6, 8 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d6 (Club/Short Sword/Short Bow) Mv: 12 Size: M Alignment: NG/LG xp: 15, 20
Equipment: Short Swords (8), Clubs (8), Short Bow (1), Arrows (10), Padded Armour, Leather cords.

The Patrol Leader's name is Randar, a young round faced man, who is the only one carrying a Short Bow. Randar speaks: "So what are you doing out here at this hour? You don't look like a local gang. You look like mercenaries up to mischief ."  If the PCs are honest and tell Randar that they are looking for clues to the murder of Diego Moratanni, or the local thefts, Randar replies with a thoughtfully expressed "I see." He doesn't actually know what to make of this situation, and assumes they are working for one of the ruling noble houses. He takes them at their word, and then says. "Well then. Good luck. I'm not sure what you will find. We think the murder was due to a dispute with a local gang. We know Diego had an interest in gambling. Maybe the murderer is one or more of these local thieves, the ones who have been on the recent crime spree?" [occurring over the last six months] "We have taken action to try to catch the thieves but so far without luck. We think a magician is aiding them, but the few Wizards that we know of in the city have no connections to any thieves. In fact the Wizards living here help protect the city." When it came to the City Watch trap, they took concealed positions in the Nobles Quarter, watched the streets and stopped and searched anyone they suspected over the course of a week without result. The thieves guild was secretly informed about what was going on and kept away. Randar finishes by saying, "If you find anything come and tell me."

Note: This encounter may occur more than once. If so, Randar asks the PCs if they discovered anything of note. Randar should be replaced by another patrol leader if the party repeatedly encounters the City Watch. The alternative leaders are Elka, a blonde 2nd level Warrior woman from the north who uses a Bastard Sword, and Borris, a part time watchman and veteran stable hand, a big man, but not a warrior (0-level Human, 12hp).


4. Thieves hiding in shadows (4)

Jarka  4th level Thief
AC: 7 (Dex16, single weapon style) HD: 4 hp: 15 THACO: 19 or 18 Attacks: 1 or 2 (thrown) Damage: 1d4 (Dagger) Mv: 12 Alignment: N xp: 75
Special Abilities: Backstab (x2/x3 with daggers), thief skills (unlisted)
Equipment: Daggers (9), thieves tools, black shirt, dark brown trousers, soft shoes, 10cp/11sp/8gp
*(Special Note: If the guild raids the Ratling lair Jarka uses a Shortbow with 20 arrows, ROF 3/2)

Thieves (3)
AC: 9 (Dex14/15) HD: 1 hp: 5 THACO: 20 or 19 Attacks: 1 or 2 (thrown) Damage: 1d4 Mv: 12 Alignment: N xp: 15
Special Abilities: Backstab (x2), thief skills (unlisted)
Equipment: Daggers (5), thieves tools, dark brown shirt, trousers, soft shoes, 40cp/18sp/3gp total.

The thieves here are guild members and part of 'Jarka's Crew'. They lurk in the shadows and whenever a City Watch patrol comes by they slide through a secret door in the wooden fence line. They've been out for days taking note of anyone and everyone that comes by. These thieves know the PCs have joined the search for the ghost thieves. Jarka approaches them from his shadowed position near the fence.

A rough looking thin man, unshaven, with messy brown hair comes out from around the edge of a building in a darkly shadowed area, three other figures can be barely seen, but stay back. A wooden fence extends along the laneway. The figure speaks: "Apparently you are looking for the ghost thieves. So are we. If you find them, let us know."

If the PCs ask who they are, the leader says "We're after the same thing." He smiles slightly as he says "We're good intentioned townfolk like yourselves." If the PCs ask them if they have seen anything unusual they say, no. If asked specifically about the rats Jarka replies that "The only thing I have noticed is there are more of the big ones. The city really needs to hire ratcatchers. They bring disease and it doesn't help us any when we're out here on a fine night like tonight, looking for ghosts."

Note: This encounter may happen more than once.


5-10. Rats (1d4)
AC: 7 HD: 1/4 hp: 2 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1 (bite) + Disease Size: T (1' long) Mv: 15 xp: 7
* 5% chance of contracting a serious disease per bite, Save vs Poison to negate.

These foot long creatures will be spotted at 30 feet distance, 60 feet with infravision, and scurry out of the way if the characters come to within 20 feet. They are not too scared of people, but will take off when approached. The DM should describe these as fairly large rats. It is difficult to tell exactly how large they are unless the party moves in close or can make a direct comparison to the Ratlings. If Charm Person or Mammal and Speak with Animals spells are cast on these rats they can tell the party they have indeed seen something strange. They've seen rats acting like humans, and carrying shiny pointed objects. They don't know where they go, but they don't live in the sewers, they only travel though them. If the PCs ask the rats to find the lair they will do so. It takes two days. These rats can tell Ratling scouts from other rats, and they follow them to a rundown house in the Merchant's Quarter, adjacent the Nobles Quarter.


11. Mouse (1)
AC: 7 HD: 1hp THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: 0 Size: T Mv: 12 xp: 0

If Charm Person or Mammal and Speak with Animals spells are cast on this mouse she can tell the party the same story as the rats. The creature is too afraid to go searching for their lair. It acts in the same way as the Rats but is encountered only once.


12-14. Ratling Watchers (2-3 'Large Sized Rats')
AC: 7  HD: 1/2 hp: 3 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d2 (bite) Mv: 12 Size: T (1&1/2' long) Alignment: NE xp: 7
*Climb Walls 90%

The DM should only describe to the PCs that these are a couple of large sized rats. The characters should be given an indistinct impression of their actual size and shape compared to normal rats (a Druid has a 50% +5% chance per level of recognising the difference). These unarmed Ratling scouts lurk in or about shadows situated near escape holes in walls or near sewer drain holes. They will be spotted at 30 feet distance, 60 feet with infravision, and flee if the PCs come any closer than 30 feet. The Ratlings hear the party approach. They can be surprised if the PCs are moving silently and they can be killed via thrown weapons, rocks, or missile fire if the PCs do so from a distance of more than thirty feet. These creatures do not stand and fight but flee. If Charmed a Ratling will think the spellcaster is someone to be trusted, ready to provide treasure or some benefit and will allow the character to move close. The creature will not speak the common tongue if other humanoids are nearby and will play dumb. If a Speak with Animals spell is cast it does not work. However, instructions in common are understood and the charmed creature will react to whatever is said (making it fairly obvious the creature can understand the characters). If killed and examined the party can see the Ratlings have unusually developed, and large, forelimbs. They don't look like a typical rat on close inspection. If the PCs decide they want to kill all the large rats they can find, after two nights they are ambushed by the Ratlings in a deserted part of the city (see below).

Note: Any Ratlings that are killed in the street should be subtracted from the total number of Ratlings listed at their lair. There are a total of 193 Ratlings at the start of this adventure.


15. Dead Cat.

The party sees a small shape, not more than a foot long, in the side of a laneway. If approached the party can see it is a dead cat with black and white fur. A very close examination reveals it has numerous small puncture wounds along its chest and has been dead for only a day or so. This cat was killed by a small group of Ratlings, eight of them, that sortied forth from the cover of the sewers. This encounter can happen more than once with different looking cats. The first cat has white and black fur, the next one has brown and white fur, the next is grey. There are no purely black cats. They are all killed by the townsfolk because they see them as a sign of bad luck. Finding dead cats is a clue to the party about what is going on.


16. Sir Acklan (Drunk, Noble)
AC: 7 (normally 5 with Padded Armour/Dex 16/Amulet) HD: 5 hp: 46 THACO: 18 (normally 13 wpn mastery) Attacks: 1 while drunk or 2/1 Damage: 1d8+1 (normally 1d8+4 with Longsword, Str, wpn mastery) Mv: 4 (normally 12) Alignment: N(G) xp: 200 (normally 625)
Str 16 Int 14 Wis 10 Dex 15 Con 14 Cha 15
Equipment: Jewelled Longsword, Dark Purple Padded Armour, soft leather boots, Amulet of Protection +1, 12sp/24gp/8pp.

Sir Acklan, a sandy haired noble, is highly trained and experienced in combat. He has a weakness of indulging in too much city night life and tonight he has had too much to drink. He's so drunk that he gains no combat bonus for his dexterity and cannot employ his weapon mastery skills. Presently he is staggering very slowly towards his home in the Noble's Quarter. He ignores the PCs and anything they say until they get right in front of him, at which point he says "You're in my way". If the PCs ask if he's seen anything unusual while they are standing in front of him he responds by saying, "Yes, you, and you're still in my way." If the characters continue with any questioning he just rolls his eyes and says he doesn't know what they are talking about. He is not interested but he does know about the robberies, and vaguely remembers the story of the murder.

Sir Acklan is a target for the pick pockets who the PCs are likely to encounter on their patrol. When this happens the pick pockets go to 'aid' Sir Acklan who brushes them off and says he doesn't need any help, while his entire coin purse, that was strapped to the front of his belt, is picked . The next day Acklan has trouble remembering what happened and doesn't know how he lost his money.

Note: This encounter only happens once. Reroll if it comes up again


17. LissaBriff (Young Couple, 2nd level Thieves - pick pockets)
AC: 9/8 (Dex 15/16) HD: 2 hp: 8 each THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d3 (knife) Mv: 12 Alignment: N xp: 15
Equipment: Pale Shirt, trousers, dark green dress, soft shoes, knives, 3cp/12sp/9gp total.
Thief skills: pp 45% MS 50%, Backstab x2 with knife.

This fair haired young couple, they look to be less than 20, walk with their arms linked, and act as if they are out for an evening stroll. If the PCs ask why they are out so late, they tell them they find the night exciting and romantic. During the day they both work at a hemp weaving establishment (Hasard's located in the merchant's quarter). If the PCs ask them if they have seen anything unusual Briff looks to Lissa who speaks and says, "Just a lot of rats, Sir/Lady." She asks "Are you out to slay some rats?" They don't attempt to pick pocket the party unless they end up in very close proximity and the PCs make themselves easy (irresistible) targets. They are unaware that the party is looking for the ghost thieves. If accused of being rogue thieves they say that people can vouch for their integrity (which include Holgar, who has heard of them, Fif, and Jarka). They are on the lookout for ghost thieves, but are primarily looking for easy drunks that can be separated from their coin. If they get in trouble they run.


18. Badrick 0-level Human (Drunk, Farm hand and Fruiterer).
AC: 10 HD: 1 hp: 6 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1 Size: M  Mv: 12 Alignment: N xp: 5
Equipment: Dirty white shirt, brown vest, brown trousers, sandals, 8cp/1sp.

Badrick is a happy drunk. He has short light brown hair and calls out to the party. "Hello over there! 
Hello! Out at this late hour? Good to see some happy faces! hahaha." His face is bright red and he keeps smiling the whole time. He's drunk but good enough to make his way home by himself. If the PCs ask if he's seen anything unusual he says, "Only a troop of warrior types out and about well past their bedtimes eh?" and he smiles. If the characters push him he says, "All I've seen is what I always see at this time of night. Rats ... and The Watch doing their rounds. Two types of rats! Are you out catching rats? hahaha!" (He had a bad experience with the City Watch when very drunk some time ago.) He can't say much more about anything unusual. He's heading home to a shared room he stays in near the orchards where he works, located on the far side of the city. He's a long way from home and came here because a fellow worker, Langdon Dar, a former soldier, told him the Sullen Fox Inn serves the best ale in the City.

Note: This encounter only happens once. Reroll if it comes up again


19. Helios 0-level Human (Drunk, Scribe).
AC: 10 HD: 1 hp: 5 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1 Size: M  Mv: 12 Alignment: N xp: 5
Equipment: While shirt and pants, thin belt, shoes 4cp/6sp/2gp.

The characters see a thin old man with grey hair walking their way. He's dressed in dirty white clothes. He sees them and speaks up. "Out at this late hour? You look ready for fighting, armed and armoured up like that." If the characters ask him if he's seen anything unusual he answers with a question. "You mean like some sort of trouble? Like that murder or the thievery?" If the PCs say yes. Helios says, "If you ask me, which you have, I say it's the local thieves behind all this. They are no good ruffians. They're dangerous. They have no sense of right or wrong. They take that which is not theirs. I would hang them all if it were up to me." If the characters ask him for proof that he's right or if he has seen anything that would help them. He says, "No. Not really." Helios is not too drunk this night and still pretty sharp. He doesn't know anything useful. He ignores the rats and hasn't noticed anything about their size. He's heading back to his town house.

Note: This encounter only happens once. Reroll if it comes up again.


20. Lidara 0-level Human (Commoner, Maid).
AC: 10 HD: 1 hp: 6 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1 Size: M  Mv: 12 Alignment: N xp: 5
Equipment: Black Cloak, light brown dress, shoes, 6cp/4sp.

The characters see a short dark cloaked figure, with head bowed so the face cannot be seen, heading towards them down the middle of the street. Easy passive perception checks, with a +4 bonus, indicate the figure is a woman. If not challenged she heads straight past them without saying a word. If the party speaks up and asks what she is doing out at this late hour she stops and says, with head still bowed, that she was visiting a friend with a fever and is heading back to her residence - the cloth merchant Oben Bragga's house (where she and two other maids tend to the family (of five). If the PCs ask about the friend with the fever she gives out few details. She says it's her friend Mari. This is not true. She's been visiting the one of the baker's sons, Joren, whom she plans to marry. During this whole time she keeps her face bowed, so that all that can be seen is a few locks of straight dark hair. If she is told to reveal her face she appears quite pretty with a pointed nose, olive skin and dark eyes. If the PCs ask her if she's seen anything unusual she replies, "Yes, lots of big rats. I hate them. Are you out to kill them then?" If the PCs ask her about the rats she says, "I've always hated them from when I was a child. More than anyone. They are unclean creatures. And there are many more big ones, particularly in the last half year. I noticed. You should help the city and kill as many as you can."

Note: The PCs can encounter Lidara on more than one occasion visiting her 'sick friend'. On subsequent encounters, she nods to the PCs as she passes but does not speak. If a character talks to her again she responds politely and then asks, "How is the rat killing coming along?"

*********
If the PCs spend their nights on patrol killing rats they eventually provoke an ambush attack from the Ratlings after two (2) nights of this killing spree (see below). When approaching Rats or Ratlings the DM should not make clear distinctions between the two since they are hard to tell apart in the darked laneways of the city. Because both scurry away at range, the party's best strategy is to use missile fire, or throw weapons/rocks, from about 30 feet away.


Setting a Trap with Magic

If the characters can cast invisibility or illusion spells and decide on setting up an ambush for the ghost thieves, they may employ two strategies, only one of which will be successful. If they stake out a portion of the street they find nothing unusual. However, if they decide to set up a room with desirable items, just as the Thieves Guild did, then they will attract the attention of the Ratlings after two days.

If Ellis or Holgar were not asked about the Thieves Guild's failed trap previously, and if they are asked now, one or both will outline the following story - that the Guild rented a large street-side room, 15x20 feet, for 3 coppers per day and watched it each night for two weeks. Even with well hidden watchers, nothing happened. They had placed silver goblets lined up right in the window where almost anyone could have taken them. Meanwhile, not too far from this trap were robberies of similar items, even a tapestry was taken. "It was like the ghost thieves had inside knowledge or knew the place was being watched."

For the DM: The reason why these traps failed is that once the Ratlings find a place to rob, through their teams of Watchers, they observe the place for at least five days before acting. Usually they target a rich Merchant's or Noble's house or apartment. When the family, or individual owner, is out at some time during the night they act. If the residence has too many night time guards or servants they abandon their plans. If only one servant remains the Wizard Ratling will cast Sleep before the robbery occurs. This has only happen on a few occasions.

The PCs can set the same sort of trap as the Guild (using three silver goblets supplied by Holgar) but to be successful the characters must be seen to regularly vacate the area, or leave it abandoned, with no one observing from the shadows. If one PC remains they must appear as a non-threatening servant for there to be any chance of a robbery. In this situation there is a 50% chance the Ratlings will look elsewhere.

There are three magical options the party can try. (1) Either someone invisible comes into the room from outside each time it is left abandoned, or someone invisible watches from nearby, (2) an illusion of the occupants leaving is used to make the Ratlings think the room is vacated and then the remaining characters conceals themselves so they cannot be seen from a quick search inside the room, or (3) the characters can smuggle someone inside without being seen and leave that person inside, hidden in a cupboard or other place of concealment. A potential method of success using this smuggling ploy would be to cast the reverse of Enlarge and sneak in one or more characters inside a small box, and place them into a camouflaged or hidden location within the room, like a cupboard. Characters just standing around inside will be seen by the Ratlings and give the game away.

The Ratlings are VERY careful and cautious. Before each robbery they have Ratling Watchers climb up and look into windows multiple times, they observe the building from the shadows (where they discovered the Thieves Guild watchers), and they make their way inside and then scurry out to get a sense of what they will do a number of days before the robbery goes ahead. This internal search happens twice. Once during the period of observation and then on the night of the robbery to ascertain the condition of the room. If windows or doors are locked and prevent entry the Ratling Lock Pickers attempt to unlatch windows or unlock a door. If they cannot gain entry the robbery is cancelled. They try to eliminate any chance they will be surprised.

On the night of the robbery one (1) of the Portable Hole team runs through the room and signals all clear to the rest of his team. If a door or window is locked two (2) Ratling Lock Pickers go first and open the portal (they can try to open a lock three times before giving up - each subsequent attempt taking three times the amount of time taken to pick the lock required on the previous attempt, 1round, 3rds, 9rds).

If things go bad, and fighting erupts, one or more of the Ratling thieves screeches and many of their kin come swarming out of the sewers, rushing through entranceways to attack the characters (see Ambush Street Attack for details). The Ratlings with hand crossbows fire first followed by charging stiletto wielding fighters. The unarmed Ratlings all make their escape when this occurs. If the Portable Hole group cannot escape the Ratling Ambush group attackers will be relentless in order to prevent the loss of their prized magical item.

If the PCs drive off these attackers and come into possession of their equipment, the Stiletto daggers and hand crossbows, they will be able to trace their place of construction. Any local warrior type or thief guild members will recognise the workmanship. Ellis or Holger will recognise the fine craftsmanship. They tell the PCs that one armourer in the city makes such weapons. It is Marcio Del Toro (see Marcio the Armourer).

If the party fails to stop the Ratlings here it will mean they have been driven off, killed or paralysed, whereafter any immobile survivors are rolled into the Portable Hole and taken back to their lair. Any dead Ratlings are taken back to the lair in a similar fashion and their bodies given the Mimic in Room 8.

Ratling Thieves (8) with Portable Hole carrier
AC: 7  HD: 1/2 hp: 3 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d2 (bite) Mv: 12 Size: T (1&1/2' long) Alignment: NE xp: 5
*Climb Walls 90%
*Equipment: one carries a Portable Hole folded and attached to a small belt. Four other Rats in this group help fold and unfold it while the remaining lot push or throw loot into the hole. For large items more Ratlings join this crew.

Archameneon (1) Ratling Wizard (only present if a servant remains in the room)
AC: 7  HD: 1/2 hp: 3 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d2 (bite) Mv: 12 Size: T (1&1/2' long) Alignment: NE xp: 5
*Climb Walls 90%
Spells (1): Sleep, Cantrips (4)
Int 17 Wis 15

Ratlings (2) Lock Pickers
AC: 7  HD: 1/2 hp: 3 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d2 (bite) Mv: 12 Size: T (1&1/2' long) Alignment: NE xp: 5
*Climb Walls 90%, Pick Locks 35%
*Equipment: Belt with lock pics.


Ambush Street Attack

Thirty Ratlings comprise this Ambush group. They attack the party if the player characters either 1. Engage in a rat killing spree, whereafter this attack is sprung in a deserted part of the city on the third night (after two nights of rat killing), or 2. if the characters set a trap in a rented room (see above), and 3. when the PCs enter the ground floor of the deserted Merchant's house where the Ratlings have their lair (in the basement). This last attack in the Merchant's house only occurs if the party has previously fought the Ratlings, otherwise they lay low and the Ratlings from this group are encountered in the Dungeon Lair. If the party fights the Ratlings in the first two scenarios and inflicts casualties upon them, the encounter at the Merchant's house, has any lost Ratlings replaced from the revellers inhabiting Room 10 so there are always thirty fighters in this group.

Ratlings (30)
AC: 7  HD: 1/2 hp: 3 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 or 1/2 Damage: 1d3 (Stiletto or Hand Crossbow) or 1d2 (bite)  Mv: 12 Size: T (1&1/2' long) Alignment: NE xp: 7
*Climb Walls 90%
*Equipment: Stiletto Daggers (20), Hand Crossbows (10), Crossbow Bolts (36 total), Poisoned Crossbow Bolts (4) causing paralysis for 2d6 hours (but the poison is weak allowing a +4 to Saving Throws).
**The Ratlings and their equipment here should be deducted from the total number of Ratlings found in Room 10 of their lair.

Tactics: The opening attacks are from ten crossbow bolts that target all PCs. Not more than four of these crossbow bolts are poisoned since they have limited supplies of the Giant Centipede venom. It takes the Ratling archers one round to reload before they can fire their next shot - they do not carry stiletto daggers. All the Ratlings making up this group come from Room 10. Any casualties should be taken from the numbers found there. If more than half their number are killed they flee, unless only a single PC remains standing.

Special Note: If the PCs are not at the Ratling lair when this Ambush attack occurs, and the party succeeds in killing some of their number, thereby driving them off, they should come into possession of their weapons. Ellis, Holgar, and any of the guild members in the street, or any of the City Watch Patrol leaders, can tell the PCs where the Stiletto daggers and Hand Crossbows were constructed. (see Marcio the Armourer who can reveal the location where this equipment was delivered).


Marcio the Armourer

If the characters have not discovered the location of the Ratling lair, but are in possession of their weapons, knowledgeable City Folk can tell the PCs where these were made. There is a Weaponsmith working in the Artisan's Quarter that specialises in making finely crafted thin bladed weapons, such as rapiers, and stiletto daggers. He also makes crossbows with polished metal fittings in all sizes. The Armour's workshop is called the Dancing Bull Weaponsmith. Inside the PCs will find a short but very solid man, with black hair and thick eyebrows, named Marcio Del Torro.

When Marcio first sees the characters he assumes they are customers. However, if he is shown the stiletto daggers or hand crossbows he interrupts the PCs with a question (he recognises the equipment he made for an anonymous buyer). "That is my work. Where did you get this from? What is going on here?"  If the PCs explain what happened he tells the characters that he sold such weapons to an anonymous buyer about 6 months ago who had ordered them 6 months earlier (the weapons took time to build along with getting the right materials to make the expensive hand crossbows). All were delivered to a house in the Merchant's Quarter. Gold was paid, and the weapons left at the door at midnight. It was a highly unusual transaction for such an expensive order. They took delivery of 200 stilettos, 25 hand crossbows, and 270 quarrels. It cost 100gp for the daggers, 270gp for the quarrels and 5000gp for the crossbows, which took a long time to put together.

The house is a freestanding structure on Hobb's lane. There are no street signs so PCs will have to ask the location from various NPCs. The place always looks abandoned (but it is rented from a merchant - Rolkus Rokka - who doesn't know why someone would pay rent but not occupy the building. The rent agreement was does via letter, and he's never seen the occupier. Money, 20gp, is left each month on his doorstep).


Lair of the Ratlings

The PCs arrive at a large freestanding town house in the Merchant's Quarter that appears abandoned. While the roof seems intact the windows are missing glass panels. Anyone looking through the windows notices that the rooms appear empty. The characters can see cobwebs and notice dust on the floors. The weathered front door is locked. If the PCs walk around the outside and observe carefully (making a passive perception check -2) they find two holes in the exterior wall partly obscured by broken wooden planks and a vine. The exterior of the building is 30x50 feet. DMs will have to add in the appropriately sized rooms for the ground floor based on the following description ...

If the PCs enter, by breaking down the door (hp 20, swords do 1/4 damage, axes do full damage) or via picking the lock (with a +20% chance), they find themselves inside a short 10 foot corridor with two side doors and a door at the end (note every door has a hole chewed out of one corner). There are a total of six rooms, all of which have windows. One room was formerly a kitchen area with a small fireplace that is connected to an underfloor network of channels that distribute heat throughout the house. The main room of the house has a large fireplace where the floor is clear of dust - unlike the other rooms. In the fireplace is a pile of wooden debris that consists of broken wooden planks, and bits of furniture. PCs will notice that every room in the building also has a small hole in the base of one wall, large enough to fit a rat.

If the party has already fought the Ratlings in the streets, four Ratling watchers are positioned in the roof to stand guard against intruders. As soon as the party approaches one of their number climbs down to alert the Ambush team. When characters advance halfway from the front door they are subject to the  Ambush Street Attack encounter inside the building.

Ratlings (30)
(see 'Ambush Street Attack' for details)

If the characters get to the main room and clear the fireplace they can see there is a secret doorway partially open in the hearth. PCs checking the floor to the side of the fireplace immediately notice a trigger plate that is partly pressed into the ground, with a small rock wedging it in place. If the PCs pull out the rock the trigger plate rises up to floor level and the secret doorway in the fireplace closes. To open the door one must push downwards using a pole placed on the small stone trigger plate that sits flush with the floor.

Spiralling stone stairs lead downwards ...


Underground

Characters descending the stairway find themselves in the dungeon area of the building. All rooms and corridors have stone paving, stone clad walls, and are lit with candles set in varying types of iron candelabra, unless otherwise noted. The dungeon itself was constructed by an evil wizard ('Master' Vekrizen) who was driven from the City many years ago by Luscan Claymore of the Lord's Court. The house was then gifted to a merchant, Rolkus Rokka, but it was left abandoned for a number of years because of its bad reputation. The Ratlings recently acquired the property, through an anonymous exchange of letters, and now pay rent set at 20gp per month.

Ratlings (193 - minus those eliminated in previous encounters) 30 Ratlings, who act as night Watchers are subtracted from this total where 10 each are taken from Rooms 3, 5 and 11 (see descriptions).
AC: 7  HD: 1/2 hp: 3 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 or 1/2 Damage: 1d3 (Stiletto Dagger or Hand Crossbow) or 1d2 (bite)  Mv: 12 Size: T (1&1/2' long) Alignment: NE xp: 7
*Climb Walls 90%

DM notes: The Ratlings in the lair drink nothing but wine or blood wine (actual blood, currently taken from their prisoner). They distain drinking water. As a result a number of Ratlings are always drunk, where the incapacitated ones will be found among the cushions and blankets in the Den (Room 11).

Note: If the PCs have been captured they eventually end up in the same condition as Traybor Dabblelegg the gnome. PCs that are trapped in the Portable Hole are released in Room 1. They are thrown ropes to allow them to climb out and are surrounded and ordered to strip. The PCs are then chained to the walls in the prison area that is used as a Gambling Den (Room 9). Dead PCs are dragged to Room 8 as dinner for the Mimic. If Thieves Guild members have knowledge about the Ratlings and the Stiletto Daggers, and the PCs don't return because they have been captured, a raiding party is organised on the following night. The City Watch is distracted by a fire and the Thieves Guild mobilises.

The raiding party consists of all previously mentioned guild-connected characters encountered in the street but armed with Shortswords and Daggers (except Jarka who uses a Shortbow and targets spellcasters and other archers), plus Ellis the Half-Elf, Adius the Wizard, plus 2d4+8 other thieves of 1st to 2nd level, and 1d4+2 thieves of 3-5th level (one 5th level thief carries a silver dagger), and one 9th level Guildmaster thief ('Jazarak') who disguises his face the entire time. At the end of combat the Guildmaster directs the other thieves to take all the coins but leave all the goblets and house hold goods. These are to be left for the City Watch who will be informed of the lair's location (exonerating the Thieves Guild). Jazarak does not stick around to collect any treasure and leaves this to his underlings.

'Jazarak'
AC: 5 HD: 9 hp: 34 THACO: 15 or 14 Attacks: 5/2 (two wpn style and 3/2 base) or 3 (thrown daggers using both hands) Damage: 1d6+1 (Shortsword) or 1d4 (Dagger)
Thief Skills: PP 60 OL 80 FRT 75 MS 85 HS 80 DN 40 CW 70 RL 30
Special Abilities: Backstab (x4/x5 with dagger)
Equipment: Shortsword +1, Daggers (12), Silver Daggers (2), Leather Armour underneath dark clothes with hooded top, Amulet of Proof against Detection and Location, Potion of Levitation, Potions of Healing (4), cloth wrapped around face, smoke powder pots (2).
Str 9 Int 15 Wis 15 Dex 17 Con 9 Cha 16

LAIR MAP

[This map was modified from this original source: http://canisterandgrape.blogspot.com.au/2014/02/mucking-about-with-d-maps.html ]

Ideally the DM should print this out and write in the numbers of Ratlings present in each room. As Ratlings are killed in the streets the DM should deduct the casualties from the locations in the lair.


Room 1

This room is lit with candles set in iron candelabra (4 sets here) that are positioned along the walls. There is a door to the south and iron bars to the east (bars that can stop medium sized creatures but not Ratlings). The room is 20x20 (DMs are to use these dimensions as a frame of reference to gage the size of all other rooms). The faint noise of a large chattering group echoes from the barred entryway to the east. PCs in the stairway making a difficult perception check (-4 penalty) notice a rope cord (AC 3, hp 5) running out from the top of the bars across the ceiling to an end that is attached to the door handle in the south. Any characters that move toward the southern door or travel half way across the room automatically see the rope but cause the Ratlings (that hide along the walls in Room 3) to trigger the trap. Firing on the cord also causes the Ratlings to trigger the trap. Once the Scorpions attack ten Ratlings fire their crossbows through the iron bars at the party. The iron bars can be swung open by pressing a secret trigger hidden in the wall (that can be found by searching for secret doors).

Room 2

This room is not lit. It is occupied by Large Scorpions that move out of the room when the door is swung open via a cord triggered by the Ratlings in Room 3. The door here is not locked, merely latched closed from the outside.

Large Scorpions (3)
AC: 5 HD: 2+2 hp: 15 THACO: 19 Attacks: 3 Damage: 1d4/1d4 + 1 (Poison) Mv: 9 Size: S (2' long) Alignment: Non xp: 175
*tail sting does 1hp damage and the character must save, with a +2 bonus, for 15/0 damage.

Room 3

During the day there are 22 Ratlings stationed here that act as guards. When the PCs enter Room 1 they stay out of sight, lining themselves up along the walls, with some moving into Room 4. A rope cord runs out to the ceiling from between the iron bars to a latch on the door to Room 2. When the door opens the three Large Scorpions rush out and attack the party. Once this attack commences the Ratlings armed with crossbows breakaway from their positions along the walls and fire at the party. At night there are only 12 Ratlings here, with ten using crossbows, while 10 of their number are out on the street acting as unarmed Watchers (scouts). The Watchers leave their stiletto weapons behind. There are numerous small torches lined up in the eastern end of the room that are used to control the Large Scorpions after they get released, to usher them back into their room.

Ratlings (22)
AC: 7  HD: 1/2 hp: 3 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 or 1/2 Damage: 1d3 (Stiletto or Hand Crossbow) or 1d2 (bite)  Mv: 12 Size: T (1&1/2' long) Alignment: NE xp: 7
*Climb Walls 90%
Equipment: Hand Crossbows (10), Quarrels (30), Stilettlo Daggers (12), small torches (14), flint and steel (2), oil flasks (2), iron candelabra (2), candles (6).

Room 4

This part of the corridor has a dark green curtain covering the Northern wall and a large Tapestry of a castle on the southern wall. Behind the curtain is a corridor leading North. The party will have to search behind the curtain to automatically discover this corridor. Any group entering here, or fighting in Room 3 draws the attention of the Ratlings in Room 5. Lit candelabra are situated in the corners of the room (8 candles in total).

Room 5

During the day there are 20 Ratlings stationed here that act as guards. At night there are only 10 Ratlings as 10 of their number are out on the street acting as unarmed Watchers (scouts). All the Ratlings here are armed with stiletto daggers. If fighting breaks out in Room 1 they move to support their kin. One Ratling heads down the stairs into Room 10 to inform the Ratling Lords.

Ratlings (20)
AC: 7  HD: 1/2 hp: 3 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d3 (Stiletto) or 1d2 (bite)  Mv: 12 Size: T (1&1/2' long) Alignment: NE xp: 7
*Climb Walls 90%
Equipment: Stiletto Daggers (20), candelabra (2), candles (6).

Room/Corridor 6

Along this West to East corridor are lined a number of small torches (10), flint and steel, and two ceramic jars with cork lids. At either end are two doors. The door to the East has a small rat-sized hole chewed into one corner and is unlocked. The door to the West is solid and locked, with no chewed hole. Inside the jars is a viscous substance. It is venom taken from the Giant Scorpions in Room 7. The venom only works when injected into the blood stream. There is enough poison to coat 10 crossbow bolts. The corridor is lit by one iron candelabra (with 3 candles).

Room 7

This room is dark. Inside are four Giant Centipedes. The door is locked and solid with no damage or chewed hole. It takes 30hp damage, swords do 1/4 damage, axes do full damage, to break it down if lock picking fails. If the door is opened the Centipedes move forward to attack. The creatures can be kept at bay with fire, hence the torches lined up in corridor outside. The Ratlings come here and isolate one of these creatures in an overbearing attack in order to milk the paralysing poison that is then stored inside the ceramic jars.

Giant Centipedes (4)
AC: 9 HD: 1/2 hp: 2 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1 + Poison Size T (1' long) Mv: 15 Alignment: N xp: 35
*Save vs (weak) poison with a + 4 bonus or become paralysed for 2d6 hours.

Room 8 Store Room

The door to this room has a chewed corner that allows Ratlings to pass through. It is unlocked. Inside it is very dimly lit by one thick candle. If the PCs bring more light they see this is a store room. To the south are many (41) flasks of lamp oil (used to help light torches), numerous small torches (30), more than a hundred candles (123), five tangled coils of rope, two buckets, a hooded lantern, a grappling hook, 12 sheets of parchment, and two small chests filled with copper pieces (508 total). In the North Eastern corner is a well. Lying on the ground in front of it is a broken bucket that cannot hold water. (The Ratlings use the well as a latrine since they have no use for the water - they only drink wine and blood).

Covering a large portion of the Northern wall are tree roots coming down out of the ceiling that stick into the brickwork. Among the bundle of roots are (what look like) three uncut gems.

For the DM: These tree roots are actually a Mimic. The Ratlings feed the monster the occasional dead rat or cat and get it to break up stolen furniture to use as firewood. The creature is longing for a big feed and has been told it will get the gnome's body after the Ratlings are finished with it. If the PCs try to pluck one of the 'uncut gems' from the 'tree roots' the mimic attacks. If reduced to less than 15hp the creature speaks in common and pleads for its life. "Spare me, spare me. I stop. I stop. I can tell you anything you wish to know." The creature actually knows very little useful information about the lair but can report there are at least a hundred of the rat creatures living here. One rat, that came here a few years ago, is very intelligent and asks questions about magic, of which the mimic knows very little. The mimic has no name but is called 'monster' or the 'wall monster'. The wizard Vekrizen used to simply call it 'mimic' and used the monster to dispose of dead bodies, although sometimes live victims were thrown within its reach.

Mimic
AC: 7 HD: 8 hp: 62 THACO: 13 Attacks: 1 Damage: 3d4 (Pseudopod, range 10') Size: L (10') Alignment: N Mv: 3 xp: 1,400
Special Defence: Any creature or item that touches the mimic is held fast by its glue-like surface. An open doors roll is required to break free. Alcohol dissolves the glue in 3 rounds. The mimic can dissipate this glue at will.
*Imposes -4 penalty to the surprise roll.

Room 9 Gambling Den

This former prison has been turned into a Gambling Den. The iron bound door here is locked with a chewed hole in one corner. The reinforced door requires hp 50 damage to break down (swords and axes used on the door do 1/4 damage and become wrecked after 4 rounds). Only iron or steel hammers, that do 1/2 damage, are not damaged if used - if and when lock picking fails.

In the centre of the room is a table filled with wine bottles and silver goblets, with ten chairs arranged around it. There are two Ratlings seated on each chair perched upon cushions (20 total). Other Ratlings (8) lounge on cushions strewn about the floor under the table. The Ratlings here are playing a table top dice game for silver and gold coins, using two six sided dice. Their daggers are scattered about the table and on the floor. Attached to the walls are many sets of rusted manacles. To the North are two prison cells with locked doors. On the floor of one cell can be seen a rumpled grey robe with bones scattered about nearby. For the DM: These are the remains of an apprentice wizard, Rali, that was punished for accidentally betraying Master Vekrizen to Lord Luscan Claymore. The apprentice wizard, and his books, were thrown in here and left behind when Vekrizen left the city. The Ratling, Archameneon, discovered his remains a number of years previously and has been studying the Spellbooks and notebooks ever since. Lady Saska (see Room 10) has keys to open the cells and an iron pin to open the manacles.

Ratlings (28)
AC: 7  HD: 1/2 hp: 3 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d3 (Stiletto) or 1d2 (bite)  Mv: 12 Size: T (1&1/2' long) Alignment: NE xp: 7
*Climb Walls 90%
Equipment: Stiletto Daggers (28).

Treasure: Silver goblets (30), wine bottles full/empty (4/8), two wooden six sided dice, wine stained fine cushions (21), wine stained small floor rugs (6), iron candelabra (4), candles (12), 255sp/44gp.

Room 11  Sleeping Den

The floor of this room is covered with decorative rugs, silk sheets, and cushions and acts as a sleeping area for the Ratlings. Scattered about are gold and silver coins along with many unconscious Ratlings. During the day there are 28 Ratlings here with an 80% chance they are all unconscious because of having drunk too much wine. At night there are only 18 Ratlings here as 10 of their number are forced out onto the street to act as unarmed Watchers (scouts).

Ratlings (28)
AC: 7  HD: 1/2 hp: 3 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d3 (Stiletto) or 1d2 (bite)  Mv: 12 Size: T (1&1/2' long) Alignment: NE xp: 7
*Climb Walls 90%
Equipment: Stiletto Daggers (28),

Treasure: Gold goblets (1), Silver goblets (5), wine stained fine cushions (26), wine stained floor rug, large (1), wine stained floor rug, small (3), half rolled up silk sheets, five of which are wine stained (8), empty wine bottles (2), candelabra (2), candles (6), 104sp/60gp.

Room 12   Kitchen

The door to this room swings open easily (there is no lock or bolt). Directly in front of the party is a large round wooden table upon which are bottles of wine (4), silver plates, bread and goblets. Some stools (3) are positioned around the table. In the West wall is a long open fireplace, featuring three large iron pots, with a chimney that connects upwards into the house above. The Ratlings cook meals here by stewing them in wine. There are a number of stools (5) lined up in front of the fireplace. Along the East wall are more than a hundred bottles of wine. The Southern end of the room is packed with foodstuff and firewood (broken furniture). It is filled with chickens (hanging from the wall), eggs, stale loaves of bread, and dried fruit.

Ratling Cooks (12)
AC: 7  HD: 1/2 hp: 3 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d2 (Small knife) or 1d2 (bite)  Mv: 12 Size: T (1&1/2' long) Alignment: NE xp: 7
*Climb Walls 90%
Equipment: Small knives (6).

Treasure: Gold goblets (3), Silver goblets (15), silver plates (28), (unused) silver jugs (4), large iron pots (3), wine bottles full/empty (82/42), silver forks (22), silver knives (12), silver spoons (14), iron ladles (5), silver bowls (12), ceramic bowls (17), ceramic cups (31), iron candelabra (3), candles (9), 45gp, 21sp.


Room 10 Throne Room

A long wooden table, filled with wine bottles, silver goblets, and food filled plates dominates this room. In the centre of the table is a hogtied Gnome (bloodletted and stripped of valuables and ring), wearing ragged underclothes, with bloodied (cut) legs. Arrayed along one side are a set of chairs upon which is are seated two Ratlings per chair. Upon the floor is a sea of cushions and rugs, upon which longue more Ratlings clutching stiletto daggers or goblets. Behind the table is a raised platform upon which are three chairs which seat one Ratling each. The walls are covered with pinkish coloured silk curtains that have black embroidered eagles. Eight iron candelabra light the room.

The Ratling Lords

If the party has fought its way through to this area the Ratlings will be waiting for them as they advance down the stairs. PCs coming through the entry way are struck by (non-poisoned)crossbow bolts and swarmed by every Ratling in the room. If the party has made it this far without causing too much calamity they will see the Ratlings laughing and chattering away. The Ratling Lords, seated on the raised area overlooking the long table, are likely see the party and hysterically screech "Kill them! Kill them!", while pointing toward the doorway.

None of the Ratling Lords, Lady Saska, Lord Fazachal, or Archameneon can be reasoned with. In combat they fire crossbows and Archameneon casts his Sleep spell. These leaders are fanatics when it comes to intruders in their lair. All the Ratlings here will fight until there is less than 20 of their number remaining before they attempt escape.

Lady Saska
AC: 7  HD: 1/2 hp: 3 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d3 (Stiletto or Hand Crossbow) or 1d2 (bite) Mv: 12 Size: T (1&1/2' long) Alignment: NE xp: 5
*Climb Walls 90%
Equipment (under her chair): Stiletto Dagger, Hand Crossbow, Crossbow Bolts (3), a key ring with an Iron key that opens (or locks) all rooms, a large Iron key that opens the iron bound jail cell door, another large iron key that opens the iron cage cells in the prison/gambling den, and a square sided Iron pin that opens the manacles on the walls in the same room.

Lord Fazachal
AC: 7  HD: 1/2 hp: 3 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d3 (Stiletto or Hand Crossbow) 1d2 (bite) Mv: 12 Size: T (1&1/2' long) Alignment: NE xp: 5
*Climb Walls 90%
Equipment (under his chair): Stiletto Dagger, Hand Crossbow, Crossbow Bolts (3), parchment, ink and quill, scroll case with letters of agreement on rent set at 20gp per month signed by the Merchant Rolkus Rokka, and a Ring of Invisibility (also inside the scroll case).

Archameneon  Ratling Wizard 
AC: 7  HD: 1/2 hp: 2 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d2 (bite) Mv: 12 Size: T (1&1/2' long) Alignment: N xp: 15
*Climb Walls 90%
Spells similar to a first level wizard (1): Sleep, Cantrips (4)
Int 17 Wis 15
Equipment: Under and around his chair is a pile of eight large books relating to magic, plus a human sized dagger, too big for Ratlings to use (Rali's dagger). The books represent key material needed to learn magic. The top two books are Spellbooks. One is thin with cantrip listings, Read Magic, Fire Dart (1d2 dam), Detect Magic, (and other cantrips) and a second thicker book has 1st, 2nd and 3rd level spells: Chill Touch, Comprehend Languages, Detect Undead, Identify, Gaze Reflection, Protection from Evil, Sleep, Melf's Acid Arrow, Glitterdust, Flame Arrow, and Fireball. The other six thick books are finely written notes on studying magic, transcribed from other sources.

Note: The only reason Archameneon has managed to learn to cast spells is because he is a genius, and the notebooks have provided enough material for him to progress from essentially nothing. Nevertheless it has taken solid years of research to achieve this feat along with the help of the Mimic in Room 8, which has no name. Archameneon simply addresses the Mimic as 'monster'.

Ratlings (80)*this number includes all members of the Ambush team.
AC: 7  HD: 1/2 hp: 3 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 or 1/2 Damage: 1d3 (Stiletto or Hand Crossbow) or 1d2 (bite)  Mv: 12 Size: T (1&1/2' long) Alignment: NE xp: 7
*Climb Walls 90%
*Equipment: Stiletto Daggers (80), Hand Crossbows (13), Crossbow Bolts (170 total) - deduct equipment from this total from the Ambush team. If the Ambush team is out then only 5 crossbows remain here.

Treasure: Gold goblets (13), Silver goblets (89), silver bowls (36), silver plates (29), silver forks (6), silver knives (41), silk curtains with eagle embroidery (3), wine stained fine cushions (46), wine stained floor rugs, large (3), wine stained floor rugs, small (4), wine bottles full/empty (7/24) iron candelabra (8), candles (24), 430sp/590sp.   

Traybor, who is immobile in the middle of the table, is in bad condition. Although the Ratlings have given him food and drink, being bound, and the constant bloodletting, has taken its toll. When released Traybor has trouble standing upright. His body is numb and he needs assistance to walk (or else he stumbles and falls). Any magical healing doing more than 10hp alleviates the numbness. Eventually he speaks (see below).

Traybor Dabblelegg 5th level Gnomish thief
AC: 10 (5 Padded, single wpn style, Dex)  HD: 5 hp: 3 (28) THACO: 17 or 17 Attacks: 1 Damage: (by weapon +1 str) Mv: 9 Size: S Alignment: NG
Special Abilities: Backstab (x3/x4 dagger), Thief Skills (unlisted).
Equipment (stacked under the long table): Shortsword, Daggers (3), Silver Dagger (1), Padded Armour, Ring of Invisibility (inside Fazachal's scroll case).
Str 3 (16) Int 15 Wis 11 Dex (10) 16 Con (8) 12 Cha 14

Backstory: "I was hoping to catch the thieves operating in the area, as they would likely lead me to Diego's murderer. I rented a room, not my regular room, near Diego's shop, and made sure to stay up late every night drinking from a fine gold goblet near the window. Through good fortune I also own a device that can cloak me from sight. A ring that makes one invisible. I used it to sneak back into the neighbourhood after going out after finishing my regular drinking session - with watered wine. I then watched my goblet sitting in sight of the street and waited for something to happen. And low and behold, after less than a week, five days actually, I witnessed two of these rats appear, climb through the open window and proceed to make off with the goblet. Little did I know there would be more than just two. Unwisely I thought it best to kill the rats there and then, planning to inform (the guild) afterward. I thought we would end up fixing a simple, but unusual, rat problem, but I underestimated. I moved to attack the rodents, becoming visible in the process. As I slew one of the creatures I was hit by a number of their crossbow bolts and collapsed from what I know was poison. When I awoke I found myself tied up in this dreadful place ... to be used as a wine dispensary. You saved me. I cannot thank you enough. "

Room 13 Secret Treasure Room

Unknown to the Ratlings is a secret treasure room, left here from ages past. If the PCs open the door they see darkness. If the characters bring a light they can see coins glistening on the floor before them. If they move inside the lead character (only) hears a (telepathic) voice that says, "Stop now and state your business". If character responds with an intent to take the treasure the monster plants a Suggestion spell that says "this area is best left alone", that "the coins are not their property anyway. It's better to leave well enough alone."

The Spectator, whose name is Holobolous, is hiding along the wall to the south of the entryway. Characters looking southwards will see the monster. Anyone that wants to fight for the treasure by stepping out from the doorway into the room is attacked simultaneously with the wounding eye and paralysation eye.

Holobolous   Spectator Beholder
AC: 4/7/7 (Body/Central eye/eye stalk) HD: 4+4 hp: 38(body)/1(eye)/1(x4 eye stalks) THACO: 15 Attacks: 1 or more Damage: 1d4+1 (Bite) + Magic (see below) Mv: Fl 9 (B) Size: M (4' diameter) Alignment: LN xp: 4000
*MR 5%
*Description taken from the Monstrous Manual: A spectator, if blinded in all of its eyes, cannot defend its treasure and will teleport to the outer plane of Nirvana. This is the only condition under which it will leave its post. Its eyes regenerate in one day and then it returns. If the treasure is gone, the creature again leaves for Nirvana, never to return.
Spectator has a general magic resistance of 5%. As long as the central eye is undamaged, it can also reflect one spell cast at it, per round, sending it back against the caster. This does not apply to spells whose range is touch. Reflection occurs only if the spectator rolls a successful saving throw vs. spell. If the saving throw fails, magic resistance (and a further saving throw) must be rolled. Reflection is possible only if the caster is standing within the 60 degree arc of the central eye. Only the spellcaster is affected by a reflected spell.
All of the smaller eyes may be used at the same time against the same target. Their powers are:
  1. Create food and water (creates the amount of food and water for a large meal for up to six people; this takes one full round)
  2. Cause serious wounds (inflicts 2d8+3 points of damage to a single being at a range of 60 yards; a saving throw vs. spell is allowed for half damage)
  3. Paralyzation ray (range 90 feet, one target only, for 8d4 rounds).
  4. Telepathy (range 120 feet, only one target; communication is possible in this way, and the beast can also plant a suggestion if the target fails a saving throw vs. spell; the suggestion is always to leave in peace).
If properly met, the spectator can be quite friendly. It will tell a party exactly what it is guarding early in any conversation. If its charge is not threatened, it can be very amiable and talkative, using its telepathy.

Treasure: Five fake diamonds made out of clear crystal (20gp each), four Diamonds (1000gp each), two Rubies (500gp each), 3000sp/1800gp/240pp/120ep.


Resolution

If the characters battle the lair on their own they reap all the rewards. The guild pays the 100gp reward offered for solving the mystery of the Ghost Thieves, the murder of Diego Moratanni, and the disappearance of the gnome Traybor Dabblelegg.

If the Thieves Guild raiding party saves the PC party then they reap the rewards but gift the characters a fair cut of the treasure - for uncovering the mystery - which is more than the initial 100gp reward promised. The amount should be up to 500gp. The spellbooks will be examined by Adius and Ellis who will allow a PC wizard to take them if really desire it. The Portable Hole will go to either Adius or Ellis (50% chance).

Characters who successfully complete the adventure receive 500xp in addition to experienced gained for their individual actions.


Note the original title for this adventure was Ratty Ratty Rat Rats..  

Vision of Danger


The party is asked to scout out an abandoned farmhouse after they arrive at a town under attack by supernatural forces. A short adventure for 1st level Player Characters.

Background: The characters arrive at the frontier town of Willowdale, after being hired to act as wagon guards for 1sp per day. They also earn an extra 5gp for each combat encounter the party successfully negotiates. Their employer is the rotund merchant Jarvis Fogglecoop. Jarvis wears elaborate dark red leather armour with black trimmings, a long sword at his side. He has a thick red moustache and a mass of thick red hair hidden under a pointed leather hat. He is delivering 160 iron ingots (that weigh 8lbs each) to the local blacksmith.


Attack from the Sky

After an uneventful journey the characters and Jarvis, who acts as the driver of the ox-drawn wagon, arrive at the walled frontier town of Willowdale. The settlement is situated on a prairie that is hemmed in by distant hills to the East and a narrow river to the West. The PCs cross this river via a sturdy wooden bridge that is wide enough to take wagons.

Militia Gate Guards (5), with spears, shields, steel helms, and wearing leather armour, tell the characters and merchant that the town is at war with Orcs who are known to inhabit the nearby hills. Almost all of the warriors from the surrounding areas have gone forth after a series of unnatural events blighted the town. They name the events as being a killer fog, a whirlwind that flattened a number of town buildings, a midnight attack by a large zombified bear, and the poisoning of all the town's horses.

After the guards finish their tale the party enters the town. Inside the PCs see that some of the townhouses in the small settlement have been flattened. Arriving near the blacksmith's shop Jarvis (the rotund merchant) pays the characters their share for the 5 day journey, a whole 5 silvers each.

He smiles and says they can earn the same amount on the return journey and reminds the characters that "the pay is greater on the more dangerous routes." No sooner has he said this than a large hawk with an oversized beak and claws drops upon him from the sky. Dozens more hawks drop down and viciously attack people throughout the town.

Blood Hawks (48)
AC: 7 HD: 1+1 hp: 7 THACO: 19 Attacks: 3 Damage: 1d4/1d4/1d6 (Claws, Bite) Size: 4' Mv: 1, Fl 24 Alignment: N xp: 120

Tactics: To determine if a PC is attacked roll 1d8. A roll of 1-5 means no attack, a roll of 6-8 results in a Blood Hawk attack upon a Player Character. This attack lasts 4 rounds at which point any undamaged Blood Hawks fly off. Characters can go to the assistance of others being attacked but risk wounding their comrades (20% chance) unless a credible non-damage causing strategy is employed. Town militia can be seen fighting off the killer birds on high points of the wall and inside the town. Any Blood Hawk that receives four or more points of damage flies off.

Jarvis Fogglecoop 0-level Human
AC: 8 HD: 1+4 (fat) hp: 11 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d8 (Longsword) Mv: 9 Size: M (6') Alignment: N(G) xp: 25
*Equipment: Longsword in hard lacquered sheath, Red Leather Armour with black trimming, small brass key, money pouch with 15sp/20gp/6pp remaining.
*Oxen (2) and Wagon (cart). Hidden underneath the driver's bench is a locked box with 200sp/50gp/45pp and 6 gems worth 100gp each.

Jarvis is surprised in the first attack where the Blood Hawk gets a full round of actions with a +2 hit bonus. If he is still alive after this surprise attack, initiative can be rolled, for himself and the party.

Note: If Jarvis the Merchant survives the Blood Hawk attack due to the intervention of the PCs he promises to pay them double the rate on the return journey (2sp) and tips them one platinum piece each.

After the battle the PCs see fallen townsfolk and avian attackers lying among the buildings. A bald headed dark skinned warrior in silver Plate Mail rushes to the wounded and heals those that have not yet succumbed to their wounds. Eventually a large grey bearded man dressed in bronze Plate Mail, flanked by two body guards wearing grey Full Plate armour, appears. He approaches the characters.

"I am Lord Sumpter, you seem able bodied, and as you can see, we have need of warriors ... will you serve the garrison until our expeditionary forces return?" He adds, "We are critically short of defenders. My knights are away. They battle against orcs occupying the nearby hills. My hope is that the orcs will be defeated along with the wizard or shaman responsible for these unnatural events."


A Vision of Danger

If the PCs agree to join the garrison Lord Sumpter says he will pay them at the rate of two silver pieces per day. Whether the party joins or not, Sumpter then requests they perform a dangerous task in defence of the town. It is something too dangerous for militia to carry out, but a task that would be foolish for himself to engage in. It is simply to scout out an abandoned farmhouse. If necessary he can offer to pay the characters if they have not joined his garrison, but not more than a few gold pieces each, so that he can learn more about a potential threat.

The dark skinned healer, seen earlier, then approaches and Lord Sumpter introduces him. "This is Patriarch Moochacha" who responds by saying, "I am". Moochacha continues, "I've seen danger. A vision of danger. A sense that there is something amiss at an abandoned farmhouse to the North East of here. It is near a grove of three very tall poplar trees. The journey is not far, only a half day, but none of us can abandon our positions in the town. Will you go forth and spy upon this building and discover what troubles me? Return as soon as you find out. Avoid trouble. Be exceedingly cautious."

If the PCs agree, Lord Sumpter explains that they will have to go on foot since the all the town's horses have been killed (poisoned). He says that when they near the abandoned farm house, they should take cover in the undergrowth, in the long grass that has taken over the fields there. 

If the characters ask why Lord Sumpter is not battling the orcs himself he explains that someone of strength is needed to defend the town and that he has extreme confidence in those doing battle out in the wilderness. His forces include some powerful allies - a Ranger and Wizard - that accompany his knights, various men-at-arms and a number of (lower level) clerics.


Journey to the Farm House

After being billeted overnight with the town's soldiers and militia, the characters wake the next day and set off on their half day journey.

Close to the town are many agricultural fields worked by farming families growing all manner of vegetable and grain crops. The party passes numerous farm houses bounded by wooden and brush fences that keep in livestock. Animals such as goats, pigs, chickens and a few dogs can be seen.

As the characters travel further they find themselves walking through unattended fields filled with tall dry thigh-high grass interspaced with various groves of trees. They pass a few abandoned buildings that had been given up as the area became more dangerous due to the presence of Orcs.

After a half day's journey along a narrow overgrown pathway the PCs come to the location of the abandoned farm. A short distance away they see three tall poplar trees that make up a small grove and sight a small stone building, with a collapsed roof, about 300 yards beyond. Although there is a doorway, no door can be seen. There is one small window hole in the wall (and another on the other side). The tall grass extends right up the building and a wooden fence surrounds the dwelling at a 50 foot distance. There's a gap where a pathway presumably intersects the fence. There is no sign of occupation.

For the DM: Sitting in the grass on either side of the gap in the fence are five Goblins. Three have square wooden shields and short swords while two are armed with short bows. If the Goblins stand up their shoulders, and part of their upper chests can be seen along with their helmeted heads. The Goblins have purple coloured skin and wear leather armour. They listen for the approach of intruders rather than watch. They can vaguely see people coming along the path when they come within 20 feet. Noisy PCs walking into this range are immediately hit by missile fire from the archers. The sound of combat alerts the other monsters hiding in the farm house. The building dimensions are 15x35 feet, that form a single room. There is a doorway and two windowless windows along its length.

Goblins (5)
AC: 6 HD: 1-1 hp: 5 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d6 Size: S (4') Mv: 6 Alignment: LE xp: 15
*Infravision 60 feet.
*Penalty of -1 to hit in daylight.
Equipment: Short Swords (5), knives (5), Leather Armour, metal Round Helms, Short Bows 2, Arrows (24 total), waterskins (5), 29cp total.

Tactics: The goblins here swap shifts with those inside the building every 4 or 5 hours. One goblin will appear in the doorway and clap his hands three times whereupon the goblins on guard all stand up while the other shift takes its place. This event occurs one hour after the PCs arrive at the nearby grove of trees. If players wait another 3 hours after the changing of guards two orc scouts arrive at their location (see The Return Journey for details) and either initiate combat with missile fire or circle around the PC's location to warn their comrades.

The DM should notify players that if they wish to sneak up to the farmhouse, or the goblins (that are seen after one hour), they can crawl in the long grass. It takes 30 minutes to crawl 300 yards. PCs wearing metal armour and carrying shields and weapons have an intermittent noise radius of more than 20 yards that alerts the goblins hiding near the fence line gap. PCs wearing leather may sneak successfully in these outdoor conditions without alerting the goblins. If attempting a backstab one move silently check with a +40% bonus should be made or the goblin turns (a surprise check should still be rolled for the monster).

Inside the farmhouse is a second watch of goblins and their orcish leader. If the fighting goes poorly the orc uses the Flying Potion to escape. There are eleven satchels with iron rations placed along one wall.

Goblins (5)
AC: 6 HD: 1-1 hp: 5 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d6 Size: S (4') Mv: 6 Alignment: LE xp: 15
*Infravision 60 feet.
*Penalty of -1 to hit in daylight.
Equipment: Short Swords (5), knives (5), Leather Armour, metal Round Helms, Short Bows 2, Arrows (24 total), waterskins (5), 34cp/2sp total.

Orc Sergeant
AC: 8 HD 2 hp: 15 THACO: 18 (Str17) Attacks: 1 (Sword) Damage: 1d6+2 (Str17) Size: M (5'11)  MV: 9 xp: 65
*Infravision 60 feet.
*Penalty of -1 to hit in daylight.
Equipment: Falchion Sword (1d6+1), Leather Armour, knife, waterskin, 12cp/2sp.
Treasure: (Witches') Flying Potion with 4 doses.

If captured the monsters here can reveal that they've been sent by their chieftain, to spy on the town (for a period of one week). Charmed characters can reveal there are two orcs acting as forward scouts near Willowdale. Their tribe is known as the Blood Red Hand and their leader is known as Chief Corkus. The tribe knows that their chief is in league with a witch but none have seen her.


The Return Journey

Early in the return journey along the overgrown pathway the PCs (unexpectedly) encounter two grass covered figures walking their way. When in range the orcs fire their bows.

Orc Scouts (2)
AC: 8 HD 1 hp: 6 THACO: 19 Attacks: 1 (Sword) Damage: 1d6+1 Size: M  MV: 9 xp: 35
*Infravision 60 feet.
*Penalty of -1 to hit in daylight.
Equipment: Falchion Sword (1d6+1), Short Bow, Arrows (8), Leather Armour, satchel with iron rations, waterskins, 19cp/1sp total.

They are covered with grasses and are returning from closely observing the town and its reaction to the latest (Blood Hawk) attack. In battle they fire their arrows first before closing in.


Resolution

When the characters return they should report their findings to Lord Sumpter. The Lord thanks them for their deed. He has one of his retainers pay the party for their day's work - which comes to 2sp as promised (or more). If Jarvis the Merchant still lives he offers to match the Lord's pay for the return journey to Knight's Bridge Keep, from whence they came.

Success in this short adventure grants each character 150xp on top of that earned in combat.


Epilogue

A witch named Zirella is the cause of the supernatural events. She is 9th level and can cast 1st-5th level Wizard spells 4/3/3/2/1 (+cantrips) and Druid Spells 3/2/-/1 (Animal Summoning I). Her motive here is revenge upon the townsfolk for shunning her as a (demon worshipping) heretic. This occurred at a time before Lord Sumpter took control of the settlement. After she was banished, Zirella engaged in all manner of destructive adventures and has only recently returned to the region.

The eventual outcome of this fight is that the Blood Red Hand orcs are routed in a battle near their settlement. Their leader Corkus is slain and the survivors flee, moving the entire tribe hundreds of miles eastward into more mountainous terrain - into cave systems they can exploit. Zirella abandons her attacks when confronted by the wizard, who almost kills her. She flees southwards and does not return.