Monday, January 3, 2011

General Rules: Monsters - Ratroo

Ratroo (adapted from the Creature Collection)
Tiny Animal

Hit Dice: 1d8-1 (3 hit points)
Initiative: +3
Speed: 40 feet
Armor Class: 16 (+2 size, +1 Dexterity, +3 natural); touch 15, flat-footed 13
BAB/Grapple: +0/-11
Attack: Bite -1 melee (1d4-3, bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing, 20 x2)
Full Attack: Bite -1 melee (1d4-3, bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing, 20 x2)
Space/Reach: 2½ feet by 2½ feet/0 feet
Special Attacks: Swarm
Special Qualities: Immunities, low-light vision, scatter
Saves: Fortitude +1, Reflex +2, Will -1
Abilities: Str 4, Int 2, Wis 8, Dex 15, Con 8, Cha 6
Skills: Balance +3, Climb +1, Hide +3, Listen +2, Jump +8, Move Silently +4, Spot +4, Survival +2
Feats: Skill Augmentation (Listen and Spot), Track
Environment: Desert
Organization: Brood (1 - 12), pack (13 - 60) or swarm (100+)
Challenge Rating: ¼
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 1 - 2 Hit Dice (Tiny)

Ratroos are the size of large rats, golden-brown in color, with long hind legs that allow them to leap long distances and travel very quickly. The creatures already have a pair of needlelike front teeth. Ratroos survive primarily on small lizards and the poisonous water inside spherical desert cacti but they also eat spiny toads and bird or lizard eggs - really whatever they can scavenge.

Ratroos are pack-oriented and skittish animals, but they are intensely curious. Shiny objects and those with odors distinct from what they are accustomed to encountering in the desert fascinate them. Indeed, although they are cautious as individual animals, ratroos become daring as their accumulated numbers increase. Once a swarm gains sufficient momentum - hundreds of the animals - it surges after shiny objects and intruders, each animal hoping to grab (that us, bite) whatever interests it.

Ratroo warrens are often scattered with the items and remains of swarm victims.

Individual ratroos avoid attackers at all times, but follow those that interest them from a safe distance. As their numbers swell (over days or sometimes hours), they lose their individual fear and swarm over strangers or attractive items in hopes of grabbing them, even though there's little a rodent could do with an unsheathed sword or a warrior's helmet.

Immunities (Ex): Ratroos are immune to poison.

Scatter (Ex): Extremely bright lights and sounds such as from an explosive spell break up a forming ratroo swarm. Such displays might even avert a swarm attack in the making, as the creatures scatter. A scattered swarm disperses with amazing speed and leaves virtually no tracks, even in the fine sands of the Tozlu Desert.

Swarm (Ex): A ratroo swarm is more a force of nature than a specific attack; opposing it is like parrying a thunderstom. Unless a target is deaf, he hears the thunder of its approach for two rounds before the animals are upon him. A swarm cannot be dodged, but it might be outpaced by a fast runner or mount. Every living thing along a 40-foot front is subjected to attack for one round. Shiny objects are grabbed at and torn from owners. A victim of a swarm may make a Reflex save (DC 12) for each attractive item that the animals might steal, but that means she is struggling with the swarm and will sustain 1d4 damage or every item she preserves. After such an attack, the swarm quickly scatters unless a victim is dead or prone in which case it swarms again. Tracking rolls may be allowed at the DM's discretion to attempt to recover especially large or bulky items a member of the swarm snatched.

Ratroos as Familiars
Ratroos can serve as familiars for characters eligible to obtain familiars including arcane engineers, hexblades, mind weavers, shadowsworn, sorcerers, and wizards. Arcane casters with ratroo familiars gain a +3 bonus to Jump checks.

Notes: As presented in the Creature Collection, the ratroo had no Intelligence or Charisma scores. I gave the ratroo animal level Intelligence and a standard level of Charisma.

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