Rodents of an unusually large and ferocious kind have overrun a watermill just as the harvested grain had been delivered. The mill owner, Marcel Babou, is very afraid of these creatures and has asked the PCs to brave the danger. This is an adventure designed for 1st Level Player Characters.


Mr Babou offers the PCs 10 gold pieces to rid his mill of the rats. He warns the heroes to be very careful because these creatures are truly ferocious, and that himself, and his workers, only barely managed to escape without any harm coming to them. He tells the PCs that he saw 4 or 5 of them, that they were about 3 feet long and had red eyes. "These were no ordinary rats," he explains, "they growled and spat - acting more like angry dogs if you ask me. One more thing," he continues, "you can't use any flame in the mill. The flour dust can catch fire and will burn the place to the ground."

Marcel Babou (mill owner and operator) 0-level Human
AC: 10 HD: 1 hp: 7 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: 2d3 (pitchfork)
Equipment: Pitchfork (two prongs).

The Mill

Travelling past hewn wheat fields and the round house dwellings of many local farmers, with their children, their chickens, a few pigs and a couple of cows, the PCs eventually come to an expanse of green meadow whereupon a large circular stone building can be sighted. Running through the meadow is a substantial stream and the mill, with its waterwheel, sits directly upon it. The mill itself is quite imposing having been built out of the ruins of a large stone watchtower. The upper levels are long since gone but the lower two stories have been restored.


The circular watermill building is 30 feet in diameter, measured from the inside, with walls 5 feet thick (total diameter is 35 feet). The walls are two storeys tall or 20 feet high. The roof is thatched and there are 8 narrow 4 inch slit windows on the second storey spaced evenly around the circumference. The pathway through the meadow leads to a large heavy door that fills the entrance and is 5 feet wide. On the opposite side to the door is the waterwheel that drives the millstone. It sits part way in the stream. Presently the wheel is locked and is not turning.


Centred inside the mill is a large 5 foot diameter millstone with 2 rolling grinders that are connected to a vertical pole reaching up towards the ceiling. The vertical pole is spun by a horizontal shaft that runs through the stone wall and is attached to the waterwheel outside. On the left of the door are piled large 40 lb bags of grain (32) and on the right are (empty) clay pots topped with lids. Many of the bags are split open and torn. Loose grain is scattered upon the ground.

>If PC look up the ceiling is open with 6 oak beams running across the length under the thatched roof. PCs can see a narrow wooden walkway running all the way around the mill's curved stone wall at the second storey level. A heavy knotted rope extends from an oak roof beam to the ground passing close to the walkway's edge, just to the right of the door.

>A search among the empty clay jars to the right side of the interior uncovers a small 2 foot wide hole that reveals a larger 4' wide stone stairway underneath the wooden floor of the mill.

Rat Battle!

A Kobold Rat Master hides behind the millstone, on the opposite side of the doorway, waiting for the PCs to enter. Using the Giant Rats (that attack PCs within 10' of the door) he hopes to drive out intruders until his party, that includes four (4) other Kobolds, removes a respectable number of grain bags. Previously the Rat Master had been on the lookout from the second level wooden walkway while the Kobold helpers struggled with heavy bags of grain. These Kobolds now wait on the escape tunnel stairway. They have been taking as many bags as they think they can manage but because they are so heavy they will only take 7 before giving up. It takes four (4) Kobolds to move one bag. So far there are 5 bags in the escape tunnel although one is split open. During this time the Giant Rats have torn into various bags of grain in the pile -- hence the mess.


The mill initially appears empty. However there are (10) Giant Rats hiding on the second storey walkway. These creatures are under the control of the Kobold Rat Master. They run out along the oak beams dropping on the PCs (with an initial THACO of 19) when any character walks more than 10 feet into the mill. Rats that miss the PCs receive 1d2 hp damage from their falls. The PCs will hear the movement of clawed feet and must roll vs surprise unless specifically looking upwards. The other (4) Kobolds are hiding in the escape tunnel. If the battle goes badly, the Rat Master makes a run for the escape tunnel entrance. He will likely be running perpendicular to the PCs (bonus -4 to AC) and is only exposed to missile fire for 3 to 4 seconds (bonus -6 to AC) as he slides on the floor and down into the 2 foot hole (for an effective AC -3). The remaining Giant Rats follow in 1d2 rounds.

Giant Rats (10)
MV: 12 AC: 7 HD 1/2 hp: 3 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d3 (bite) Size: S 2-3' long. Xp: 15
*5% change per wound of disease, save vs poison to avoid.
*Afraid of fire. Only attack strong opponents under the control of wererats or vampires.

Kobold Rat Master (1)
MV: 6 AC: 7 HD: 1/2 hp: 5 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 or 2 Damage: 1d6 (Short Sword) or 1d3(Barbed Dart) Size: S (3' tall) XP: 35
Equipment: Short Sword strapped to back, 4 Barbed Darts: ROF 2 range 10/20/40, 12cp/4sp.
*Control rats spell-like power. The effects last 1d2 rounds after the Rat Master stops concentrating. Rats not directly under control behave as per Animal Friendship.

The Escape Tunnel

Upon investigation the PCs will see that the there is a cavity under the floor right where the 2 foot hole is situated. Human, Elven or Dwarven PCs will not be able to fit through. However, the floor boards are obviously weakened and can be ripped up so that access can be gained. This action takes 3 rounds and reveals a narrow 4' wide dirt covered stairway leading down. The stairs descend under the millstone going off in a seemingly straight direction. Small amounts of wheat grain can be seen scattered here and there.

Stairway Fight!

The stone stairs go 30' feet down while extending 40' feet horizontally. At the end is a long 2000 foot tunnel carved into the bedrock that has a collapsed area 1000 feet from the mill. Unlike the mill, the stairway and tunnel has no window lighting and is pitch black. There is a -1 penalty to attacks from PCs that cannot see in the dark who are fighting in the first 10 feet, a -2 penalty for the next 10 feet, a -3 penalty and then a -4 penalty thereafter. PCs can descend the stairs only in single file. At the bottom of the stairs, and along the tunnel for 200 feet, are piles of cleared earth and rock. There are also 5 bags of grain, one being split open, 4 picks and 2 small shovels.

Tactics: As soon as the lead individual's head moves below the floor line the surviving Giant Rats are commanded to attack. Two rats can attack at once. Meanwhile one of the Kobolds stands at a 20 foot distance, in near pitch darkness, and throws Barbed Darts (-2 penalty for range: effective THACO 22), two per round, until the next Kobold swaps in after the last one's darts are all used up. Each Kobold has 4 darts. If the PCs slay the rats the (4) Kobolds stand together, two wide on the stairs, and use their Stabbing Spears (two handed). The Kobold Rat Master stays at the bottom of the stairs and barks orders to stand firm.

Note: *If two of the Kobolds are killed via missile fire during the Rat melee fight they all flee down the tunnel. Plus, as soon as the first Kobold is killed during their own melee a morale check must be made (d20 roll under 8) or else they all run. *If at any point two (2) Kobolds in total are killed the two (2) survivors and the (1) Rat Master flee.

Giant Rats (surviving)
MV: 12 AC: 7 HD 1/2 hp: 3 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d3 (bite) Size: S 2-3' long. Xp: 15
*5% change per wound of disease, save vs poison to avoid.
*Afraid of fire. Only attack strong opponents under the control of wererats or vampires.

Kobolds (4)
MV: 6 AC: 7 HD: 1/2 hp: 3 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 or 2 Damage: 1d6 (Stabbing Spear) or (Barbed Dart) 1d3 Size: S (3' tall) XP: 7
Equipment: Stabbing Spear, 4 Barbed Darts each, 20cp/4sp/2gp total.

The Tunnel and Cave in

The rock carved escape tunnel is narrow being 4 feet wide. PCs have space enough to change positions if needed. In combat only one individual can fight effectively at a time (unless a shorter character is in front and a spear or polearm wielding character is directly behind). 1000 feet down this tunnel is a caved in area. There is a wide 2' to 3' foot gap in the collapsed area close to the roof of the tunnel. PCs can try to squeeze through the gap but they are attacked by Giant Rats and then Kobolds.

Tactics: The Rat Master commands the Giant Rodents forward as a PC crawls over the top of the mound. No dexterity or shield bonuses are allowed for the PC, and there is a -1 penalty to the hit roll, plus only short stabbing weapons can be used. Two (2) rats attack every round. After the Giant Rats are no more, two Kobolds attack until one is slain (the rest flee). The PC in this situation is fighting lying prone and cannot advance until all opponents have been dispatched or driven off. Player characters may have to swap positions in order to "bludgeon" their way past this blockade.

>DMs should encourage indirect missile fire through the hole using items such as oil or even rocks if some can be located in the spoil heap that is strewn along the tunnel area under the watermill.

Giant Rats (6 + surviving Rats)
MV: 12 AC: 7 HD 1/2 hp: 3 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d3 (bite) Size: S 2-3' long. Xp: 15
*5% change per wound of disease, save vs poison to avoid.
*Afraid of fire. Only attack strong opponents under the control of wererats or vampires.

Kobolds (surviving)
(see above for details)



After travelling another 1000 feet underground the tunnel seems slightly lighter. The lead PC must make a difficult (-4) passive perception check (average of wis/int) to avoid falling down a hard-to-pick-out flight of stairs (1d2 damage, dex check to avoid). The stairs go down only 10 feet and run into a wall of partially cleared plant growth comprising of grass and vines. The tunnel opens out into a small tree-lined gully.

Waiting outside is an armoured Gnoll warrior who has either been alerted by the escaping Kobolds or is genuinely surprised to see the PCs emerge.

The Gnoll, who also speaks the Kobold language, has agreed to carry any loot recovered for one third share. Since he could not get past the cave in he has waited outside beside an A-frame sled, that is hidden in the long grass.

Tactics: If the Kobolds have alerted their ally then he stands off to the side of the hole ready with his axe (PCs must roll versus surprise). The surviving Kobolds stand off to the other side and use Darts or their Spears to attack from an alternate flank.

If the Gnoll is not alerted then the PCs can see the Scalemail Armoured Gnoll lazing on the bank of the gully with a large axe on his lap. If the PCs don't take precautions, or fall down the stairs, he simply looks at the hole waiting for the Rat Master and his band to emerge. When the PCs appear unexpectedly the Gnoll is surprised and then jumps to his feet. If overmatched (by 3 or more PCs) the Gnoll backs off slowly. In the event of combat, whereupon he is reduced to 6 or less hit points, this creature flees.

Gnoll (Grak) (1)
MV: 9 AC: 5 (Scalemail + Shield) HD: 2 hp: 16 THACO: 18 (Str 17) Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d8+1 (Str 17) Size: L (7 1/2' tall) XP: 35
Equipment: Battle Axe, Long Dagger, 2 flasks of oil, torch, wooden A-frame sled, 6cp/18sp/3gp.



If the PCs capture any of this grain robbing band, and can communicate in Kobold or Gnoll, they may discover that they all come from the nearby woodlands. Via negotiation, charm or threats, the PCs can further discover that this group learnt about the mill tunnel from one of the giant rats inhabiting the woods. The Kobolds are actually part of a larger band (30 Kobolds) and have only recently entered the area. Grak the Gnoll accompanied this Kobold band after his warband was wiped out by hostile giants some months earlier. He agreed to help the Kobolds thanks to the impressive powers of the Rat Master. His intention is to eventually leave and rejoin his tribe.

Ideas for an expanded campaign.

Naturally the DM can continue the adventure and have the PCs discover the Kobold encampment in the forest if they manage to capture one of the monsters. If they kill or drive them all away the adventure can be concluded. No matter the eventual outcome the DM should award 200xp to all characters for succeeding in removing the Rat menace from the mill.

Note: If the PC party is exceptionally large or contains a number of spellcasters the DM can rule that additional Kobolds have arrived from the forested area to take part in the looting from their hidden stockade-like structure in the woods. The number of the newly arrived Kobolds can vary, but no more than 8 additional warriors will take part. The additional helpers are in the tunnel, waiting for the Rat Master's team of four, initially located on the mill's stairway, to bring down more bags.

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