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Saturday, December 17, 2011

T&T 7.5 Creature Feature # 18

Rodentia of the Ork Pits
As reported by Yorrdamma Vrash via ‘Mad’ Roy Cram

Yorrdamma is most pleased to have been able to descend into the Ork Pits and investigate the Rodentia that dwell there. In addition to rats, Brats, H'rats, and Grats, he has reported on the Ratlings and the Rat People.


Every underground complex large enough to support its own ecosystem will be inhabited by rats. On a kremm-rich world like Trollworld, there will be many different kinds of rats. These hardy little creatures thrive in such environments, despite predation, because they are clever at hiding, they reproduce at amazing rates, and they will eat almost anything.

Rats, generally speaking, are not very aggressive, but they are opportunists if something edible shows any sign of weakness. They will seldom bother a party of well armed, healthy delvers unless they are present in huge numbers, or they are very hungry. But if the party is weakened and many of its members are wounded and bleeding, and especially if there are only a few battered survivors left trying to escape to safety, the rats can become quite dangerous. It is an unnerving sight for someone to hear the sounds of lots of tiny animals behind them, and turning, behold the light of their torch reflected in hundreds of tiny red eyes.

The rats will follow such a wounded group quite closely waiting for one to fall or to stop to rest. They will then swarm in to check the prey out. Persons still able to put up a fight will probably suffer only a few bites before the rodents retreat. Those unable to resist will be overwhelmed and suffer a gruesome demise.

There are tales of parties that left an unconscious or badly hurt member behind, knowing that the rats seldom follow the others in such cases.

Some parties can get experience point bonuses by leaving all their rations and food behind. This will greatly reduce the number of rats that continue to pursue.

In higher levels of a complex, and for low level parties, I use 2-7 (d6+1) rats per party member when an encounter is called for. For stronger parties and deeper levels 8-18 (6+2d6) rats per party member can be used. If the larger species of rats are used, I reduce the numbers and always try to give the players a fighting chance.

Rat Stats

Ordinary Rats: MR 1, one die per rat, armor does protect, they do get spite damage

Brats (Big Rats): MR 6, one die + 3 adds, these are about the size of a cat

H’rats (Huge Rats): MR 12, 2 dice + 6 adds, these are about the size of a dog

Grats (Giant Rats): MR 24, 3 dice + 12 adds, size of large dog and very aggressive

If more than half the rats are killed in an encounter, the rest will run away (d6: 1-5 chance). They will return after the party leaves to eat their dead.

The screeching of Grats can cause fear in party members who fail a level one SR on Intelligence. This makes the affected person lose half his combat adds.

Game masters may wish to add the risk of bubonic plague to persons bitten by rats. If the victim misses a level one SR on Luck, within 24 hours he will become desperately ill, and will die if he misses a level two SR on his Con. If he makes the roll he will survive, but will take 7-10 days to fully recover. He will be immune to the plague after this harrowing experience. A Cure Disease type spell will cure or prevent the disease.

Ratlings and Rat People

Ratlings are small Hobbit-sized creatures that appear to be a hybrid creation of Goblin and Rat. They are quicker and more cunning than some other observers have indicated. They have the power to communicate with and to command all other types of non-sapient rat kind. They are immune to the plague, and can spread this bad disease by their bite, or from licking their weapons before battle. They can see in the dark, and compete fiercely with the Orks and Gobs here for territory. I saw several of them use magic skillfully during my sojourn in the Pits. They are dangerous with a sling or thrown weapons. They are also able to construct cunning traps and infernal devices. I observed some of them riding Grats as mounts. It took all my skill to avoid being detected or caught. These are not creatures to take lightly here in the labyrinth! Their stats are laid out in the studies by the great scholar Khenn Arrth in the 7.5 edition of his great work. (But I believe he underestimated the Speed and Intelligence of the Ratlings).

The 'Rat People' are a very interesting species. They are shape changers, but are not true Weres. They can appear completely human (though they often look a little ratty) and their tail is always present and gives them away if they do not take pains to hide that appendage. In their human form they are like any other person. But, in their rat form, which they can assume at will, they have claws, fur, and a Rat's head which is, of course, human sized. In the rat form they are very quick and very strong. Ordinary weapons do them only half normal damage from which they recover at the rate of one point per hour. However, silver or magical weapons cause them normal damage and the recovery rate is twice as slow i.e. 1 point every 2 days. Rat People can communicate with rats and command them. They retain their intelligence even in the rat form, and can fight with weapons and wear armor. Their quickness makes them dangerous adversaries.

Those found outside the Ork Pits are usually thieves or burglars, and they are very good at these trades. Like Ratlings, they are hated and persecuted by nearly all other species, and they tend to stay with their own kind in groups. They often form the leadership of a group of Ratlings and other rodents. Rare individuals might learn to use magic, though I did not see any examples of this in my limited journey through the Pits.

The Rat People, in their human form, have the same stats as NPC humans. In their Rat form, they should get Str 1.5 x normal and Spd 2x normal, plus their Rat senses, regenerative ability, and resistance to normal weapons damage. They also keep their hands in Rat form, and can fight with weapons, unlike true weres.

Copyright 2011 'Mad' Roy Cram


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1 comment:

  1. Terrific writeup on the ever popular Rats and their variants. Now, if only Yordamma Vrash knew about the special relationship that rats (especially the colored ones) have with elves . . .