The Golden Rat of Nabushezzar

By Steve Asselin

Play The Golden Rat of Nabushezzar like any other game of Warhammer Quest, using the Tomb Chamber as the Objective Room. Before starting however, each of the four Warriors should be assigned a Mercenary. If you cannot agree on who gets to control which of the four types, draw Warrior counters. See the rules on using Mercenaries to direct and control these additions to your group.

THE OBJECTIVE ROOM

The Tomb Chamber is the actual resting place of the great Trojan hero Hellmarg (the one set up outside Troj is a fake, but a profitable one). The monsters in the room correspond to entry 3 on the Objective Room Monster Chart, but the Minotaur is replaced with the Golden Rat of Nabushezzar.

THE GOLDEN RAT OF NABUSHEZZAR

The Golden Rat of Nabushezzar is an awful creation of Clan Moulder and Clan Skyre. It was forged out of warpstone, then the image of the rat was brought out of it from vile magics. Given unnatural life, the rat now had the power to possess living creatures and instill in them a deep-hatred for their common man (or Elf, or Dwarf, or whatever). It was then painted with gold (which has no value for Skaven) and released on the road to Nabushazzar. A passerby, thinking it was a valuable statue that had fallen off some convoy, picked it up and brought it with him into town. Once there the rat dropped it's statue premise and began enslaving the population

The Golden Rat of Nabushezzar has the same stats. as a Giant Rat, but instead of attacking the Warriors it will hang in the back of the Tomb Chamber and attempt to possess them. Every Monsters' phase in which the Rat is alive (well, sort of), draw a Warrior counter. That warrior has locked eyes with the rat and must roll on the following table:

1-2 The Warrior becomes insane with hatred and loathing, and will attack the closest Warrior or Mercenary in the next Warriors' phase (after that he returns to normal).
3-4 The Warrior is so perturbed by the evil gaze that he cannot move or attack during the next Warriors' phase (after that he returns to normal).
5-6 The Warrior manages to shake off the effects of the red-eyed stare.

Once defeated, the Warriors may leave the Tomb Chamber, climbing up into Troj. The body of the Golden Rat is worth 1D6X100 gold. The Warriors get a piece of Treasure for bringing their warning to Troj, and the Parliament assures them that the Possessed of Nabushezzar will be dealt with (whether this is true or not... well, one can never predict the Trojan Parliament)

NOTE

This quest is designed as a playtesting engine for the Mercenaries. It is a one-off game with the four basic level-one warriors, and little in terms of special rules. Basically, it's a testing ground for the mercenary types: How do they do, what's their value, should a certain caracteristic go up or down, etc...

POSSESSIONS IN NABUSHEZZAR...

Hamu'Raba ran his oily, filthy rag along the side of the glass. When the blood stain on it did not come off, he spat onto the glass then wiped again. Content that the glass looked clean, he filled it up and plonked it on the bar in front of him.

"Here's your... milk." Hamu'Raba sneered with comtempt at the outlandish man in front him. He did not do anything more to the flatfoot, because he could see the carved, wooden staff hanging at the man's side. He remembered such an object from his days of adventuring: it was a Wizard's staff. The man knew magic, and Hamu'raba had worked with enough Wizards to know that one did not trifle with sorcerers.

The Wizard was probably an adventurer, as himself had once been, Hamu'Raba mused. The red-garbed man had come in with three companions. Two of them sat in one of the middle tables arguing back and forth. One was tall, somewhat lanky, whose pointy ears betrayed an Elven heritage. The other was the psysical opposite of his companion, short, stocky and bearded. Hamu'Raba leaned over slightly so that his keen hearing could capt the conversation. He then drew back in disgust. They were discussing the virtues of Waybread versus Stonebread. How revoltingly typical.

The fourth member of the party sat sullenly at one of the corner tables. He bore the shaven head, pulled back ponytail and heavy mustache of a Kislevite. Black feathers adorning his dress and a bird's skull mounted on a staff indicated that he was a Raven Shaman. Hamu'raba snorted and laughed inwardsly and he thought of how out of his element the ice-man must be in the arid plateau surrounding small Nabushezzar.

Nor was he the only one in the Alhouse who seemed reserved. All around the place, people sat in small groups of three to five, attempting to drown their misery in ale. The Undeath had raided the lands, and, allthought they were turned back, destroyed much of the arable soil. Suddenly, half the village was starving and unemployed. Crime had gone up sharply, and Hamu'Raba kept his blade under the counter, ready to draw.

It seemed that even the Ogres who were armwrestling in the center of the Alehouse couldn't stir the drinkers from their slum, when, from out of one of the second-floor rooms, a man (Brutio, Hamu'Raba remembered) came running out screaming "Da rattas! Da rattas!" in a thick Miragliano accent. Then the man hit the railing, and pitched forwards into the tables below, Weeping Blade sticking out of his back like a pustulent sore.

All around the Alehouse, sounds of swords being drawn and crossbows being latched filled the air. The Ogres in the middle stopped their contest and picked up their heavy maces, eager for a fight. As Hamu'Raba leapt over the bar, sword in hand, the muscled Arabian Barbarian noted with wry humor that the members of the adventuring party that he had noticed before had moved towards each other, seeking strength in numbers.

Hamu'Raba moved towards the ladder at the back of the Alehouse, intent on getting rid of some vermin. But the threat came not from the second story; it came from the front door. In an instant, a half-dozen men burst into the Alehouse, with more outside, waiting to enter. Hamu'Raba reconized them as townsfolk who had turned mercenary after the Undeath raid, just like those inside the Alehouse. These were different however. their eyes glowed with an unnatural red light, and they were frothing like horses. The Possessed (for indeed that's what they were) brought down their weapons on the men inside, slaying several who had yet to overcome their surprise.

The Ogres began fraying a way towards the fighters, eager for a piece of the fight. Then Hamu'Raba noticed something strange. Those who at first had been fighting the Possessed stopped, turned around with that insane look in their eyes, and attacked their comrades. Then, like a wave it happened again. It was a deadly ripple that was heading straight for him. In one fell arc, Hamu'Raba brought his sword down on the shelving unit which had contained his tankard collection. Behind lay a passegeway that descended into the darkness.

"Quickly!" he cried out, and the defenders, seeing their odds getting worse with every passing moment, began to retreat. He waved in four of the Alehouse's patrons before dunking under the arch and into the passageway himself. Turning his head, he could see the Elf leaping steathly through the opening, followed by the Wizard and the Dwarf. The Kislevite Shaman was about to follow suit when someone called out: "Hey tundra-scum!". Enraged, the Raven-worshipper turned around to face his antagonist. Hamu'Raba saw his head explode as a well-placed quarrel blew his skull open.

By now, one of the Ogres was running back towards the opening, followed by his Possessed mate. He barged aside other patrons, crying "Bad, bad". Only the passegeway was never meant to accomodate the bulk of a running Ogre, and he got stuck. In any other circumstance, it would have been funny, but now, as no other defender could go through, and the Ogre was being stabbed like roast pig in the doorway, it wasn't even dark humour. Hamu'Raba grabbed his sword with boths hands on the hilt and drove it into the Ogre's forehead, ending his cries of pain.

Hamu'Raba lit the lantern hanging on the side wall. Looking around, he could see that the Wizard, Elf and Dwarf looked a little shaken up by the grizzly death of their comrade, but none worse the wear. The four bar patrons, however, looked scared out of their wits, staring wide eye at the Ogre's bleeding corpse, listening to the sounds of the slaughter on the other side. One, tall and agile-looking, kept raising his sword, then lowering it again. Hyperventilating, a man armed with a halbred and another with a longsword kept their weapons trained on the body, fearful that ennemies might detect their hiding space and come barging throught. Finally, a youth with a crossbow, whose mouth was so low it could pratically touch the floor. These boys had never seen combat before. They were at a lost as to what to do now. "Allright, listen up!" Hamu'Raba whispered over the din of the fighting. "These tunnels lead to Hellmarg's Tomb, just on the outskirts of Troj. If we can get there, we'll probably be safe and we can get help from the Trojans for clearing out whatever has taken hold of Nabushezzar." He then assigned each one of the beleaguered Mercenaries to the more experiance Warriors, including himself. "Just do as we do," the Barbarian said, "And you should survive".

With that, the eight men went into the darkness...