A map update might clear up some of Khita's confusion. I know it helps me a lot.
Without AoE spells we're looking at a long slog of a fight. I did hand off my pack, which has oil in it. Khita, if you're out of spells, that might be a good option for you. A flask of oil can light up 4 of them at a time.
Realizing he's not going to be able to keep the rats from swarming past him and into his companions, Hadrian curls his lips in a frustrated snarl. "I'm going after the big ones. Hope they're the originals."
Move forward 10' to attack the big rat closest to me.
Attack: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (17) + 5 = 22
Hadrian grits his teeth. That's a lot of rats.
Taking off his satchel, he hands it backwards to be passed to Ariso and Kelvanthus.
"I have oil in here."
6 flasks left. I used my only alch-fire earlier though.
Standard Action: Ready Action to whack the first rat that closes distance. Then I'll take AoOs for Reach.
"Just engaging in some amateur pest control. It was a lot harder than it should have been." Hadrian says with a scowl. "When the bards tell the tales of our exploits, this part is getting left out."
Taking a few moments to clean his weapon and check himself over, he took care to wash his wounds. "Filthy things. Hope I don't catch sick."
"I think we should look over the whole house. We barely got inside before we were interrupted."
What does the statue look like? How sturdy is it?
"Resilient little bastards." Hadrian curses as they continue to swarm. Quick-stepping nearer to the statue in the center of the room, he sweeps his polearm through the mass.
Move to 4X, attacking the ones who were just swarming me.
Attack: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25
4 AoOs ready to go...
I'm treating the situation from the perspective of someone who is a competent and prepared combatant who's just found himself paired with someone who's obviously smart, but who's capabilities are as yet unknown.
Hence all the directions Hadrian is barking.
Ariso can choose to ignore them if he wants. So far the majority of the tactics discussed have been "do you have fire? I have some fire." and "Think they can eat us if we move away from them?" I don't think that's getting too meta.
Why would they? Reach of 0 is pretty clear. They don't threaten. They can attack creatures they share a square with on their turn, but I don't think they get AoOs.
Think about standing in a pile of rats? How hard is it to raise a foot higher than they can reach, and hop a few feet away? It's not like they dogpile you any more when you move. That's why swarms auto hit, but don't get to take AoOs.
If I'm wrong then I'll just take the attacks. It's better than standing there out in the open and getting chewed on.
"Move toward the steps! Throw this!"
They should have a reach of 0, which means no movement-provoked AoOs for them. I'm moving to X6 while changing weapons with one hand and drawing a flask from my belt with the other.
"See those other two flasks on my hip? Throw them!"
Alchemist Fire, aiming for square Y3 (after Ariso leaves it): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (9) + 3 = 12
I have two flasks of oil on my belt also, for Ariso to add to the fun with.
I am now armed with the Ransuer instead of the Greatsword and ready to play Whack-A-Mole.
"You boys do look a little overworked Less pay means longer hours just to make ends meet." Hadrian says with a nod. "How about you go get a few drinks on us after your shift?"
Tossing a small coin pouch to the sergeant, Hadrian thumbs over his shoulder toward the pub they just came from. "That place has a pretty potent stout you might want to try."
"Don't worry about us. We haven't officially decided who's going to be our champion, but we aren't going anywhere anyway."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (16) + 7 = 23
He keeps walking as he talks, not being hostile and not seeming particularly concerned about their presence.
The whole system seems very bureaucratic. It may be that even after a champion is named, it might be quite a while before the fight even happens. The longer we extend that the more time for adventuring (and leveling up) we have.
GM, can you give us any details about how these fights tend to work and how we might go about stacking the deck in our favor?
"I'll do it." The quiet man in the armor said after listening for a while. "I was Knighted by Sir Cassius Grey. I'm not a noble, but I do have a recognized title. I think I even have a small piece of Sir Grey's family estate somewhere, though I've never seen the place. As long as a signet ring and a sword is all that it takes to be named as a Champion, I should be allowed."