The Cleansing Of The Castle

The goal of this quest is to introduce the players to their new castle in a fun way. Additionally, this will be their first experience with the reality shifting mechanics.

Encounter size guide: http://donjon.bin.sh/5e/calc/enc_size.html

Description

The Castle given to the players is located in a remote region of the empire. The castle is in disrepair and is in desperate need of TLC. The commoners in the surrounding towns have not seen a tax collector, War Lord or anyone of influence politically for many generations. The PCs are just the folk to provide the TLC. In fact, the Iron Lord might have given the players this castle as an attempt to bring it back into the fold of the kingdom without having to do the work himself, but no one will ever be able to determine if that is the case.

Details

The PCs need to clear out the castle and make it a source of power, security and Rashemi power again. This will not be an easy feat as a the castle has not been maintained in quite some time. Additionally, vermin have taken up residence (quite literally) in the castle.

Make sure the Iron Lord marks the location of the Castle on the PCs map.

1. Ambush In PC Fiefdom

The players are traveling to an area that is unruly. There hasn't been much law and order in this area for generations. Naturally, this means that there will be bandits and other sorts of dangerous beings travelling around. Lets give them an encounter to enforce this lawlessness.

Shortly after crossing into your new fiefdom, you crest a small hill. From the top you spy a small group of carts stopped upon the road.
 

[When closer]:
As you draw closer, you can make out more detail. There are four carts in total. Three large carts that have backs that are entirely enclosed and one open backed cart. You notice that these carts are severely damaged. Several of them have broken wheels and there doesn't appear to be anyone nearby. You do, however, notice blood located in front of all of these carts.

A DC 15 check will reveal blood and disturbed terrain leading off into tall trees (maybe tall grass?) on both sides of the road. If the players attempt to open up the backs of the covered carts, they discover that they are already open.

As you attempt to open the cart, you notice that the door has already been opened and is currently sitting just barely ajar.

Inside the cart you see a pile of straw, a bowl of water and miscellaneous pieces of meat piled in the corner. Above the pile of meat a grate that looks like it can be opened from the outside.

The grate is where the bandits drop meat in to the creatures that were stored within these 3 carts. Inside these carts were stored 3 trolls. Due to the size of the carts and hay bails inside, the players can surmise that something very large was stored in here. These trolls are now hiding in the trees and bushes surrounding the road. These are trolls using the "Loathsome Limbs" variant: https://roll20.net/compendium/dnd5e/Troll#content. They will attack when the players seem distracted or if the players hop into the carts.

2. Castle Exterior

As you approach the location the Iron Lord marked on your map, you see what was obviously a magnificent castle. However, it appears it has fallen into disrepair over the last few generations. The castle wall seems to be standing solid, but the roofing of buildings that pokes above the ramparts have seen better days. The main gate to the castle is up and seems very solid to the naked eye. The wicket gate beside the main gate is slightly ajar. As you get closer, you can see telltale signs that rodents and other wildlife have taken up residence within.

The castle exterior is intended to give the PCs a sense that the gift they received wasn't as generous as they might have thought. It is still a large parcel of land with vassals, but the castle needs work. The walls and defensive structures seem to be intact, albeit unused, but all other buildings visible from the outside have seen better days.

The bridge in front of the castle is falling apart but the moat is dry. Every time a player crosses the bridge, roll 1d6. On a roll of 1 the bridge collapses and the player must make a DC 15 dex check to avoid falling to the moat below.

3. Main Hall

As you approach the grand hall you hear quite a ruckus within. You detect the telltale sounds of a party complete the aroma of mead and the sounds of a deep raspy voice singing.

Upon entering the grand hall, you are greeted by quite an odd sight. Standing atop a table is a normal sized human that has the large tail, snout and paws of a rat. This being has his eyes closed, head tilted back and is singing at the top of his lungs while gesturing note changes with his right paw. Playing various instruments in the corner are other similarly strange beings. Sitting at table all around, obviously enjoying the song, are rats of different shapes and sizes. Shortly after you enter, one of the rats at the table to your left sniffs the air, turns towards you and lets out a shrill squeak as it flees for a nearby hole in the wall. Soon all of the rats notice you and scurry for cover. The rat that was singing stops with the music and gives a start when he sees you.

These obviously scared rats/wererats are the current habitants of the PC's castle. The leader rat is the one that was singing. He is on edge and any sort of aggressive action will cause him to run further into the castle to regroup with his minions in the dungeons.

The rat leader's name is Ronald (Donald in Nathan's world) and he is primarily interested in the safety and survival of his people. However, he is willing to fight for this castle as it is the safest place his kind has found in years. He will attempt to bargain with the players by offering nearly all the mischief (group of rats) treasure. He will not bargain with at all, no matter what as it is necessary to keep his kind alive. This consists of 100 buttons, 150 worn rags, 5 large barrels of mead (which is enough to last his mischief the entire winter of serious partying) and 7 piles of sticks/small pieces of wood. Feel free to add other minor rat-like things in as "treasures".

Obviously, the players won't be giving up their castle easily. If they try to bargain for the living space, the rat will reject them.  They'll then begin booing the players, throw rotten food at them and eventually scatter throughout the castle. The rat figures that he can make their lives unpleasant enough that they will leave him alone and he can regain control of the entire castle.

Right Hallway

Dust covered suits of armor line the walls and motes of dust are illuminated by light shining through the thin windows.  Standing in the hall you see a wererat and several other rats.  The wererat sticks out his tongue at you then they all book it across the hallway.

Upon entering the players will see only a few feet away a wererat and a few other rats.  Upon seeing them the wererat will stick out his tongue and run to the other side.  (works for both directions)  If the players give chase upon turning the corner they will come across saran wrap that is face level with adhesive on both sides.  It's a DC 16 to notice it if they're moving slowly (and they simply can't notice it soon enough if they're running)  It's then a DC 18 reflex save to avoid hitting the saran wrap and having it cover their face.  The Saran wrap then requires a strength check of DC 14 to rip off, and when it comes off it deals 1 point of damage.  If they don't remove it then start to follow rules for suffocation.  Small characters simply don't notice it because it's medium height.  When the players turn the corner they will hear a door slam.

Left Most Room (Wrestling arena)

As you enter the room you see a most peculiar sight.  The entire room is encircled with colored rope, and in the center of it is a broken table that's obviously been misused.  

If the players decide to enter this room the rats will engage the players in a wrestling match.  One rat will challenge the players to a wrestling match, and the players will only be allowed to pass if they win the match.  If they walk in the room read the following text.

As you enter the room you hear the sound of a crude bell ringing.  You look up and see a rat man sitting in a window, banging on an old pot with a metal ladle.  As he finishes ringing his bell, another rat wearing a very colorful mask and outfit bursts out of the door to the south, ducks under the colored rope, runs to the other side and bounces off the other rope.  He then walks around a bit with his arms in the air, before then stopping and pointing at the party.  

"YOU THOUGHT YOU COULD WALK IN HERE AND DO WHAT YOU WANT!  YOU THOUGHT YOU COULD RUN THIS PLACE!  BUT LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING BROTHER!  YOU THINK YOU KNOW STRENGTH AND POWER!  BUT YOU'LL ONLY UNDERSTAND IT WHEN YOU GET A DOSE OF THE RAT'S ELBOW!"

As he finishes his speech you hear a couple other rats who were watching from the window cheer as the masked wererat raises his fist again.  The rat with the makeshift bell then rings it twice, and suddenly the masked rat looks serious.

Treat the wrestling rat as a wererat with a +2 bonus to any wrestling techniques such as grappling or coming up with ridiculous moves.  When the rat inevitably starts to lose a second wrestler rat will either run into the ring and try to knock the player off (then walk around posing a bit for the cheering audience) or will tag in for the losing rat.)  

If the players play along the rats will cheer and treat them well.  If the players break characters and pull out weapons, or act out of character etc. the rats will shriek about how the players are bad sports and will scatter.  

Storage Room

In the bottom left hand corner of the map is a storage room.  If the players enter in here all they will find will be crates and barrels of bad ale and moldy bread/cheese.  Investigations will find stashed wrestling costumes and broken chairs; a lot of them.

Staircase room

This once grand room has seen better days.  The stairs are splintered, the floor has rubble lining it and most obviously, there is a huge hole to the right, an express exit to the basement.  The left staircase leads downstairs.  Another staircase leads upstairs, but it looks like it's seen far better days.

This room is trapped.  If the leading player fails a DC 14 perception (passive or active) they will trip a wire upon entering which will trigger a log fallling from the ceiling from the left hand side.  This log is an attack roll (+6 2d6 damage) and if it hits, it will knock the player into the hole to the right, dealing 1d6 falling damage.  the player will fall into a room containing a swarm of spiders which will immediately begin swarming the player when they enter the room.  

https://roll20.net/compendium/dnd5e/Swarm%20of%20Spiders#content

Carpet Room

this room, laid out with several dirty and moth eaten rugs, is surprisingly empty, with nothing but carpets in the middle, a fireplace and some wood at the end and on the left two chests on top of a pile of trash.  A makeshift bed has also been set up in the top left corner of the room.  

As the players enter, check their passive perception (or if they make an active perception) vs DC 14.  If they beat it, they notice that hiding in the rafters of the room is a rat man and several rats, watching over the players though he doesn't seem too eager to tango with them.  If at any time the players indicate any action that would move them over the carpets, first of all check their perception vs DC 16.  If they fail it, they then need to make a DC 16 reflex save.  If they fail they fall through into the basement into the far left side of the basement. The carpets in the meantime act like a bag which has been tied up, forcing anything caught inside it to have to cut their way out or get help to get out.  Anyone not caught by the trap will hear the ratman snicker to himself.

If the players go for the treasure chests, the rats hiding in the rafters will then screech out, "Those are our treasures!  Keep your hands off of them!"  And jump down to fight the players.  (1 wererat and 3 giant rats.  If the players haven't triggered the carpet trap, he will try to get them to run over it.  Begin an encounter with having him throw a bag of smelly stuff at the players; if it hits it will summon 1d3 rat swarms.  (Know what?  Even if it doesn't hit it still summons the rat swarm, though they may be more interested in the gunk.)  https://roll20.net/compendium/dnd5e/Monsters:Swarm%20of%20Rats#h-Swarm%20of%20Rats

Hallway behind the Stairs

No matter which side the player enter from, there will be a wererat on the other side.  Upon entering the wererat will point at the players and yell about how they should go away, and perhaps call the players a bunch of nasty names.  The goal of the rat is to get the players to come after him, for upon reaching half way will trigger a reaction from the rat to throw marbles down onto the ground, forcing the player to make a DC 14 reflex save or go flying across the room and smash into the other side.  (1d6 damage)  After throwing the marbles the rat will duck into the bedroom they're closest to.  

Left Bedroom

This bedroom is surprisingly well kept.  The bed is in good shape, the chair isn't too chewed on and the dresser appears to be useable and the rubbish levels have been kept to a minimum.  

If the rat ducked into this room read this as well:

On the dresser there appears to be a piece of paper. 

If the rat ducked into the room he'll be hiding in the rafters.  A DC 15 perception check will spot him.  If the players pick up the paper, it will read "I hope you enjoy having his paper stuck to your hands forever, Nomie!"  The player will then realize that the paper has been coated with a clear glue of some sort that will set when the player touches it.  A Reflex 20 will allow them to avoid having both hands stuck to the paper, but one will always be stuck.  This adhesive will wear off in an hour or so; it's more of an annoyance than anything.  Upon having this happen the rat will burst out laughing.  He'll then turn to the players and ask "Had enough?  Or are you hungry for more?"  The players will probably try to do something to get him.  The first atempt or second fail to either kill him or knock him down, he'll disappear through a rat size hole in the rafters.  

Center Bedroom

This bedroom is smaller than the others but is lined with brightly colored fabrics.  A bed lies against the wall to the left and a pile of garbage lies against the wall to the right.

I can't think of stuff for this room other than flavor, or having rats try to climb onto players and steal a gold coin or two.  If they search the pile of refuse (DC 14) They will find a tanglefoot bag.

Right Bedroom

This bedroom isn't in bad shape.  With a decent bed, an unrotten wooden chair and desk and a carpet, the room could almost be considered cozy, if you could ignore the hole in the wall.

If the rat ducked into this room read this as well:

On the desk you spot a piece of paper.

If the rat ducked into the room he'll be hiding in the rafters.  A DC 15 perception check will spot him.  If they make a DC 16 perception check they realize there's some kind of liquid on the paper.  If the players pick up the paper, it will read "I hope you enjoy having his paper stuck to your hands forever, Nomie!"  The player will then realize that the paper has been coated with a clear glue of some sort that will set when the player touches it.  A Reflex 20 will allow them to avoid having both hands stuck to the paper, but one will always be stuck if they picked it up.  This adhesive will wear off in an hour or so; it's more of an annoyance than anything.  Upon having this happen the rat will burst out laughing.  He'll then turn to the players and ask "Had enough?  Or are you hungry for more?"  The players will probably try to do something to get him.  The first atempt or second fail to either kill him or knock him down, he'll disappear through a rat size hole in the rafters.  

If this did not happen, then instead standing by either the entrance or broken wall (whichever the players didn't enter) will be a wererat.  As soon as the players enter he will level a pea shooter and shoot a pea at them.  If it hits it deals 1 point of damage.  The rat will then giggle and then book it for the hidden trap door in the next room.  He'll then go down it and lock it behind them.  

Storage room

As you enter the room, the putrid stench of decay reaches your nose. Littered across the floor are rotting pieces of meat. Against the walls are piles of raw grains.

The players can also find the storehouse of the rat's food in here. The food will vary from decaying meat only fit for a rat to grains and other produce obviously pillaged from surrounding villages. If the players take the time, they can scavenge approximately 5 days of usable rations each. They figure if they could carry it, they could feed themselves for approximately 10 additional days each off of the food that has not yet rotted.

Meanwhile there is a wererat in this room.  As soon as the player enters the wererat will be standing in the opposite doorway.  He will shoot a pellet from a pea shooter at the player (or poison dart?)  he'll then giggle and escape down the trap door, which he will then immediately shut and lock.  

the players will try to open it and find it locked.  If they force it open (DC 16) the wererats down at the bottom will chuck 4 badgers at the players.  If they hit the badgers will immediately start biting and scratching.  1 round after this happens the door outside will burst open and a giant badger will enter, enraged at whomever took her babies.  (Obviously the players!)  

Basement

If we want we can make sort of a miniquest from the rats.  From both groups Ronald or Donald can say that he's heard disturbing news; rats have gone missing in the basement and they woud like the plaers help in finding them.  Asking him further the players will find that there is a forbidden cave full of spiders which is why they don't go down there.   Except for Nathan it will be true and for Marshall it will be a trap.

Main Area

As you lower yourselves into the basement you feel a chill as stale air seems to cling to you.   The basement seems to be in even worse condition than the main floor, with broken walls, rubble are everywhere.  Stepping in you see any pairs of beady eyes staring back at you.  You hear one of them cry out, "scatter!" And they all run in different directions, most of them heading up from where you are.

After the rats are gone:

The basement has truly seen better days.  Parts of the ceiling have collapsed, walls have crumbled and you're pretty sure for some reason one of the walls leads into a cave.  One area seems like it used to be a prison cell, but has been renovated to be a makeshift bedroom.

Upon entering the basement the players don't get much of a chance to fight the rats; they can take pot shots to take down a rat or two.  A lot will go through the middle room.  If the players try to follow, there will be a ceiling collapse as tons of rock fall behind the door, preventing anyone from getting in.  This is also the room our mystery player will get teleported to.  The players can see him from the barred window and can communicate with him.  

There isn't too much in the basement area.  The broken floor upstairs leads to the room to the bottom left, and if you want you can have the trap door lead to above the table.  

Inside the room to the bottom left are spider swarms; if the players either fell down there or walk into the room the spider swarm will attempt to crawl on the player. 

If the players either enter the basement or when they inspect the room to the top right or if they instead ignore it and enter the room to the top left, a lot of the ceiling will come down on the players.  Have the players roll dex save; 16 and they take half damage from 4d6 rock damage.  As the dust clears they will notice that someone is missing.  (Warren from Nathan's campaign or James from Marshall's.)  

As the rocks and dust settle and you regain your bearings, you realize something disturbing. <person who is gone> is missing!

At that point usher the other person to the other group.  

Left Room

Once a large prison cell, he numerous broken walls insure no one can be kept against their will.  It appears that someone has attempted to make this room cozy.  In the back is a large straw mat with two beds on it; covering the beds are numerous dandelion heads, and a seemingly very annoyed wererat in an otherwise relaxed pose.  

I got nothing more for this room… let's flesh this room out later.

Bottom Right Room

This is a mostly empty room with one exception; there's a spider swarm here.

Middle Top Room

This room is massively damaged.  You can see inside through a barred window, but the entranceway is clearly blocked by meters of rocks and debris.  

The Swap

At this point the players will probably call out for their other player, or even hunt for him.  If the players decide just to move on, mention that they hear sound from the locked room.  

As you're about to move on you hear moaning of sorts, followed by shuffling inside the barred off room to the right.

Give them a few minutes to talk and figure stuff out.  In the end they'll need to work together; the group needs the player to help in order to advance, and the player needs the group to get out alive.  The players will probably try to bash down the door or the walls.  Don't make it impossible, but point out that it'd take a lot of time, possibly hours and will cause damage to their equipment in order to bash the walls, and it may be better to advance forward.  Also if they have other ways of getting through, subtly hint that they can do that, but it may work in their best interest to stay separated or something.  

The goal is to make the players in this realm wonder how to treat this new PC. Are they an ally? Are they an enemy? Should they help them?

The Cave

Inside the cave are several sections.  The first part is a large pit (50 ft deep) with a wooden wall ahead of it. The wall looks like it prevents anyone from flying ahead, although if someone can turn into say, mist or something they could probably get through.  If someone inspects the wall they will notice that there are several things: 1. thin vertical slits, and 2. the wall appears to have a long door, possibly a bridge door, although the switch does not appear to be on this side.  There are also several spiders on either side; two around the corner and one in hole which will try to ambush anyone who gets too close to it.  In order to open the gate the switch lays on the other side, conveniently accessible via ranged attack through more stalagmites.  (or throwing rocks or 11 foot poles)

To their right are stalagmites that go up to the ceiling, and while allow the players to communicate, are too close together to squeeze through, but still allow passing items or ranged attacks.  (If someone can say, shrink down to a tiny size or whatever then let them you can let them pass; let's not adminium this)  

Meanwhile on the right hand side, 3 other spiders will come down to fight.  The player can fight them on his own, or get help via rnaged attacks or buffs or whatever.  

In th eleft passage is another spider, and a ton of rubble.  the rubble completely blocks off the passage further, though I guess if someone was tiny they could get through.  It won't help the rest of the party though.  Continuing onward from the bridge is another wooden locked door that has long settled.  If the players try to open it they will find it is locked with a key.  There is also a note on the door that says, "Do not force open this door, there is only bad stuff beyond this point!  We put in a door then threw the key into a pit far to the right." (Just so the players don't waste too much time hunting for it.)  Any attempts to force open the door will cause dust and pebbles to fall from the ceiling, hinting that the door frame is weight bearing, and attempting to force open the door could cause a rock slide.  That being said, if they force it…

Rock Slide

DC 20 dex save

12d6 points of damage

anyone caught in it is now in the rubble and must be dug out.  The rubble now blocks the way.  

The key for this is actually in the other side; James/warren needs to go into the bottom left passage, down a 30 foot drop into a room where a key lies in rubble at the end. (DC 14 investigation to find it)  As the player gets the key, a spider will drop down and attack the player.  (in Marshall's campaign it will be a spider with a wererat riding it whom will yell, "SURPRISE BITCHES!"  the player can then pass the key to the other players. the other players will try to open the door but will find that the door is jammed in the frame due to the shifting.  At this point out to the player on the other side that they can see further on that the door frame is poking out a little but through the wall.  Hopefully they put two and two together and realize that if the person on the other side pushes on the door frame, they can move it enough that the door will open.  

Further In the Cave

You finally open the stuck door to find that it opens out into  a large cave.  Beams of sunlight shine down through cracks in the ceiling, and on the right you hear a bit of water running down the wall and along the floor.

This room depends on who's world we're in.  If we're in Nathan's:

In the middle of this cave is Ronald facing off against a large spider. The rat-man and spider are fighting very intently and do not seem to notice your arrival. Along the walls you see humanoids wrapped in spider silk… screaming.

As you approach several spiders fall from the ceiling, ready for a fight.

The spiders have captured wererats and are going to eat them.  The players have 3 things to contend with:

1. killing the spiders (and the giant spider who drops down soon after)

2. saving the wererats (if the players ignore them than some spiders will attempt to go to the wererats to eat them)

3. saving the other party member.  

If it's Marshall's:

As you enter the room you hear a laugh.  Straight on you see Ronald surrounded by spiders.  "Foolish fools!  You fell right into my trap!  The spiders are tame and listen to my every word!  We don't need you to save or protect us!  We will kill you and then the castle will be ALL FOR US!!!  Now Spiders… attack!!!"  As he says this, the giant spider drops from the ceiling and eats Ronald who's last words are "Oh my god i'm being eaten!  Save me!"

 At this point the players have to fight the giant spider, smaller spiders, have to deal with wererats running around screaming and save the party member who is in the mud.

Meanwhile, the party member who is along will continue along and in the passage leading to the big cave, and hit a slippery part.  They get a dex save of 16, and if they fail they fall down the slide into the pit of mud water. There is a 30 foot limb to the top, and a very difficult climb back to get to where they were.  If they want to go back they need to make dc 15 acrobatics checks to climb through mud and dificult terrain, if they try to climb they have to make dc 16 acrobatics checks to climb straight up in difficult terrain (it's slippery and very steep) and if they are in base level they have to constantly make dc 14 athletics checks or they sink 1 foot.

18. Troll Quest

As you leave the dungeons you see a very average looking human man standing beside the door. He is dressed in the clothes of a well off commoner but otherwise unremarkable. "Hail, and well met" he says turning on spot to look at you. "I have a quest for you, should you choose to prove your metal."

[Player talking likely leading to:]

"Beneath this castle are dungeons infested with rats. I will pay you 1sp per rat tail you bring to me. If you bring me enough rat tails, I will give you a larger reward!"

This is a quest to troll the players. This man will ask for "N" rat tails and he will give the players a reward. However, the players will only acquire "N-1" rat tails from their delve through the dungeon. If the players ever try to give this man tails not from the castle, he will try to detect the lie. If the players succeed at fooling him, he will provide them with a reward of 200gp. If they do not fool him, he will ask them politely to get more tails for him. Rat tails from the opposite world will be acceptable without attempts to fool the man. This man will not take the tails from the players until they have all N required tail.

This man, Llort (second L is silent), will not leave the castle even if ordered to by the new owners. He will always say something along the lines of "I'll do that right away. In the meantime, please collect me more rat tails" then turn away but never leave the spot he is standing on. Players can kill him, but that is certainly an evil act as he poses not threat to the players in any way.

If asked, Llort is from a neighbouring village (Urtol) and was sent to investigate the rodent problem that has been affecting the farms.

 

NOTE: Eventually the players will likely start killing the rat minions. The rat king will run into them again and he will offer a more suitable agreement then.

Other Castle Areas

 

4. Courtyard

The courtyard of the castle still retains some of it's former grandeur. You imagine that this castle, despite it's size, was once bustling with people and a center of commerce and entertainment in the region. To east you see the remains of stables and a blacksmith's workshop, to the west is what appears to be a small arena. Straight ahead is the castle's keep.

5. Stables

These stables have obviously not been used by horses in several years. As you enter, you notice several badgers clustered in former horse stalls.

The stables are broken down and are obviously incapable of holding horses. The players notice that badgers have made this there home. There is one giant badger. These badgers will not pose a challenge to the players but gives them an opportunity to be good/evil/do something non combat. The badgers won't leave easily but they won't engage the players unless absolutely necessary.

Placed in these stables are 4 regular badgers and 2 giant badger.

6. Blacksmith

The blacksmith's forge is in surprisingly good shape compared to everything else you have seen thus far. Scattered about the forge, on tables, in weapon racks and lying on the ground are various weapons and pieces of armor.

Blacksmiths place has a variety of non-magical weapons and armor sitting around. All of which are rusted to the point that they are not usable. 10xmaces, 3xhalberds, 20xarrows, 30xbolts, 2xlong swords, 1xbattle axes, others for flavour as you see fit. Ultimately this stuff is worthless and selling really isn't feasible. It may give the players an idea to hire a blacksmith or something which could be fun.

7. Castle Bedrooms (4)

In this hallway you see four bedrooms. Each bedroom contains chewed rags and dirty mattresses but you figure with a bit of TLC they could look good again. In the corner of each bedroom is a wooden chest with a surprisingly good lock on it.

4 bedroom rooms total in the castle. Each room used to be full of fancy fabrics and furniture but now is filled with a bunch of chewed rags. Each room is more or less identical but may vary in size or holes in the floor. This is to allow the players to grab a room as their own for whatever reason. It may also lure them into leaving some of their equipment in these rooms.

The chest has a lock on it. 5e requires players to have thieves tools and succeed at a DC 15 dex check to open.

Nathan's

Inside each is a different colored set (tangerine, tangelo, tawny, persimmon) complete with gauntlets(3g), boots (3sp), watch (1gp) and hat (4sp).

Marshall's

Inside each is a different colored set (cyclamen, magenta, amaranth, fuscha) complete with ring (3g), hair ribbon (3sp), broach (1gp) and stylish hat(4sp).

8. Dungeons

The dungeons are exactly what you would expect… Dark, dank, dingy, dirty and disgusting. Covering the floor are rat droppings and the remains of meals long since decayed and rotten away. The meal remnants include the usual pieces of meat and vegetable matter but, surprisingly, also include bones from larger animals such as badgers, and even what look to be those of a dog or wolf.

From deeper in the gloom of the dungeon, you can hear the skittering of claws on stone. It sounds like an army of rodents may be awaiting you in the bowels of your own castle.

The rats have been living in this location for several years (perhaps even generations) and obviously are intimately familiar with the bowels of the castle. As it has been established that these are no ordinary rats and they did know that some day people would be along to remove them from their home they have been preparing. Traps are placed frequently and range from simple to complex. They are all, however, mundane with the only magic present (at least initially) being those placed by the previous Rashimite ruler. 

The first time the players exit the dungeons for any reason, trigger the "Troll Quest".

9. Rat Treasury

Contained in this room are various piles of goods. Apparent from immediate searching are a large pile of worn rags, 5 large barrels and 7 piles of sticks/small pieces of wood. Additionally there is a small box at the back of the room.

DC 15 perception – You see rats skittering about out of the corner of your eye.

This is the rat's storehouse of "treasures" as offered earlier. If they get to the box, it contains 100 buttons. These are the treasures, the swarms of rats hidden about this room will not let the players leave without a fight. However, if the players do not take anything, the rats will remain hidden.

10. Rat Storehouse

As you enter the room, the putrid stench of decay reaches your nose. Littered across the floor are rotting pieces of meat. Against the walls are piles of raw grains.

The players can also find the storehouse of the rat's food in here. The food will vary from decaying meat only fit for a rat to grains and other produce obviously pillaged from surrounding villages. If the players take the time, they can scavenge approximately 5 days of usable rations each. They figure if they could carry it, they could feed themselves for approximately 10 additional days each off of the food that has not yet rotted.

11. Rat Loot Room

This room is rather empty except for several chests located behind bars. There is a doorway leading into this barred area which sit ajar.

Room of rat loot that was not offered before. There will be money and equipment here but not much of it will be magical (any magical items in here are heirlooms pillaged from unsuspecting nearby villages). This room was once the actual vault of the castle. Seems the rats got something right.

 

 

12. Rat Encounter 1

Flavor

13. Rat Encounter 2

Flavor

Ideas:

  • Hidden room that isn't hidden in other reality. Get punted to hidden version in other reality. In this room is a lever that needs pulling?
  • Something that is only visible to a player that starts in the other realm
  • The dungeons are where the players will eventually show down against the rat king.

15. Boss Ratman

In this room you see Ronald (M) / Donald (N), the same rat you ran into upstairs. He turns around as you approach and moves towards the back of the room squeaking in fear.

It's boss battle time! The Boss Ratman is a juiced up Wererat. As this rat is relatively clever, he will have traps of some sort ready for the players. He will feign fright until they step onto the trap then he will fight to the death with some companion rats/swarms. Spiders will be released from cages on either side, recessed into the wall beside/behind the door. In Marshall's world, these spiders can be controlled/directed by select rats, in Nathan's the spiders attack the nearest creature no matter who it is.

16. Spider Cave Entrance

As you pass through the gaping hole in the wall, you hear shrill screeching and skittering sounds. These sounds seem different than the rat sounds you have encountered thus far. However, you see the telltale signs of rats that have obviously been entering and exiting this area relatively frequently.

NATHAN ONLY: Standing on either side of this cave entrance are two wererats. Between them, lies a freshly slaughtered pig.

There is a large hole in the wall that leads into tunnels. It is readily apparent (DC 10 check) that this opening was from a collapse of the wall after something burrowed close to it. A slightly harder check (DC 15) reveals that it isn't the most stable of opening and it could collapse at some point.

When the player appears:

You hear a loud roaring sound which appears to be coming from [insert direction here] of you. The roaring ends with as loud popping sound followed by what sounds like something relatively heavy falling and an indistinct yelp of pain.

The original PCs will be on one side of a set of stalagmite and stalactites new PC on the other. Let them RP this as they like, but prevent they cannot just walk over. Similarly, there is limited line of sight which should prevent teleportation of some sort. Obviously don't plotwood them here, but it would be good to make them RP this a bit.

Potential Punts: Marshall (James) <-> Nathan (Warren)

Deep in the subterranean layer of the castle lives a giant (See CR10 and CR14 huge/gargantuan spiders) spider. This spider is treated as a god to the spiders in this cave system. The spiders go through great lengths to get food for this spider god. Thus, the spider god has grown large and is rarely seen above ground.

Differences

Marshall's

Rat Boss is named Ronald

The rats have domesticated the majority of the spiders. It is safe to say that the rats are also feeding the spider god. The wererats will occasionally raid nearby villages and farms to bring back livestock for the spider god. Thus, you will see a hybrid of rat and spider armies from here on out.
Losing James, gaining Warren

Nathan's

Rat Boss is named Donald

The rats are not in cahoots with the spiders. Occasionally the spiders will raid the rats to get food. After many of their members were dragged away into the caves, the rats discovered that the spiders are more than willing to accept sacrifices in order to avoid head on confrontations. Thus, the rats raid nearby villages and farms for livestock and leave it in front of the cave entrance to appease the spiders. Encounters you see will be 3-way fights between spiders, rats and PCs.
Standing guard in front of the cave entrance are 2 wererats.
Losing Warren, gaining James

 

18. Spider Encounter 1

Note: There are different flavor texts for the different worlds.

Nathan's

Strewn on the floor of this cavern are shriveled and desiccated rat remains. Limbs and other body parts lie about on the floor.

The limbs if examined do not seem to show violent tearing, they seem to have crumbled off of the body they belonged to. To keep these fights relatively balanced, this world has more spiders in the fight than Marshall's.

Marshall's

In front of you, you see a small group of were rats. They are standing in a tight formation and making squeaking sounds in various directions. They are not heavily armed.

After entering the cavern, the hidden spiders will start moving into position and spinning down to ambush the intruders. The spiders require a DC XX perception to spot (keep in mind passive perceptions of the party). The rats in Marshall's word will not engage until after the spiders above ambush the party. If the ambush goes off without a hitch, the rats will get a surprise round.

 

OTHER ROOMS:

- Dungeons where majority of the rat fighting will occur

    – After every fight if the players loot, they will find rats tails for the number of rats they killed

    – One corner of the dungeon has dead rats in the area and start of large spider webs?

- Punt James to Nathan's world. He will appear in an area of the castle linked by some impassable thing but they can either see or hear him.

   - Have to fight simultaneously and solve puzzles on both sides to get to him

   - Dungeon of castle makes way into caves with spiders, M world, spiders have been tamed by the rats, N world spiders are not tamed

Quest giving Details

  • Make sure the Iron Lord gives the location of the castle to the players (probably via map)

    • Nathan's world has established a large rollout map that the Iron Lord uses comically
  • The Iron Lord will tell the players that they are now the Lords of the land belonging to the castle and highlights the villages that they are responsible for

    • 5 villages in total

      • North: Darom, pop: 522
      • North West: Thandor, pop: 112
      • South: Quin-La, pop: 681
      • East: Charn, pop: 299
      • South East: Tulduroc, pop: 140
      • Other Farms Scattered: 65 large, 33 small
  • The Iron Lord will mention that the castle has not been used for quite some time but will not mention it is run down (mainly because he doesn't know. He hasn't sent officials that way in many years)
  • Trap Ideas:

    • Trap generator: https://donjon.bin.sh/5e/random/#type=trap;level=5;danger=Dangerous
    • Uniting Party

      • Marshall's suggestion: large pit that has boards of proper length on other side, new PC can put the boards across for the old PCs to use
      • Rope that can be pulled to raise a bridge on the other side

        • Reason this existed was for rats to control access to a particular room
      •  
    • Otherwise

      • Falling net (spider web) in battle. Tripwire spot DC 15, disable DC 15 (if not using thieves tools at disadvantage) fail triggers

        • https://roll20.net/compendium/dnd5e/Traps#content
        • spider web falls and restrains the player until make a DC 15 strength check to get out
        • Flavor this web as having really thick strands
        • 5 slacking to AC 10 net will destroy 5 foot section of it
      • Pit traps scattered about
      • Poison needle in treasure chest log

        • https://roll20.net/compendium/dnd5e/Traps#content
        • flavored to spider's stinger
      • Poison darts

        • https://roll20.net/compendium/dnd5e/Traps#content
        • flavoured to spider stingers
      • Concealed webs

        • Webs that are concealed by dirt but very sticky so they may entangle feet
      • Magic writings on the wall

        • Exploding ruins, ruins that afflict status effects
        • They have never been triggered before because spiders and rats can't read
      •  

Differences in the World

Marshall's

Subtitle1:

Nathan's

Subtitle 1:

Reward

A rodent and wildlife free castle. The telltale signs of the infestation will still be there. The players will likely want to clean it up somehow so allow them to hire/order people from the neighbouring villages, etc to do that.

Impact on the World

  • Reveal of reality shifting mechanics
  • Players are now lords of a small area of the Rasheman empire

    • Can collect taxes
    • Can enlist villagers
    • Can give quests to local adventurers
    • Must deal with attacks upon villages in their territory
  •  

Enemies

Rats and Spiders need to be relatively the same CR. Any high CR monsters in the dungeon have to be balanced or limited so they could not have been expected to run out to get more of the enemy.
Interesting resource for encounter difficulties: https://donjon.bin.sh/5e/calc/enc_size.html

Rats

  • CR 0 Rat: http://www.orcpub.com/dungeons-and-dragons/5th-edition/monsters/rat
  • CR 1/8 Giant Rat: http://www.orcpub.com/dungeons-and-dragons/5th-edition/monsters/giant-rat
  • CR 1/4 Rat Swarm: https://roll20.net/compendium/dnd5e/Swarm%20of%20Rats#content
  • CR 2 Wererat: http://www.orcpub.com/dungeons-and-dragons/5th-edition/monsters/wererat

Spiders

  • CR 0 Spider: http://www.orcpub.com/dungeons-and-dragons/5th-edition/monsters/spider
  • CR 1/4 Giant Wolf Spider: http://www.aidedd.org/dnd/monstres.php?vo=giant-wolf-spider
  • CR 1/2 Spider Swarm: https://roll20.net/compendium/dnd5e/Swarm%20of%20Spiders#content
  • CR 1 Giant Spider: http://www.aidedd.org/dnd/monstres.php?vo=giant-spider
  • CR 3 Phase Spider: http://www.aidedd.org/dnd/monstres.php?vo=phase-spider
  • CR 10 Monstrous Spider, Huge: Google Drive (Arachnids_Wraiths_&Zombies_-_World_Builder_Blog_Presents(10569682).pdf
  • CR 14 Monstrous Spider, Gargantuan: Google Drive (Arachnids_Wraiths_&Zombies_-_World_Builder_Blog_Presents(10569682).pdf

Badgers

  • CR 0 Badger: http://www.orcpub.com/dungeons-and-dragons/5th-edition/monsters/badger
  • CR 1/4 Giant Badger: https://roll20.net/compendium/dnd5e/Giant%20Badger#content

The Cleansing Of The Castle

Between Two Worlds marshallw DDragon