The Flu Bug

I write this as someone who lost about 36 hour this week to what the doctors claim was the flu, but what I know was actually an invisibile monster.

The Flu Bug
Frequency: Uncommon
No. Appearing: 1 (see below)
Armor Class: 8
Move: 15″/30″
Hit Dice: 1
% in Lair: Nil
Treasure Type: Nil
No. of Attacks: 4
Damage/Attack: 0
Special Attacks: Disease
Special Defenses: See below
Magic Resistance: See below
Intelligence: Low
Alignment: Neutral
Size: S (about 1′ diameter)
Psionic Ability: Nil
Attack/Defense Modes: Nil
Level/X.P. Value: III/61 + 1/hp

The flu bug is a dreaded monster that appears seasonly in many parts of the world. It skulks about, usually airborne, relying on its natural invisibility and amorphous form to squeeze through small spaces in order to infiltrate buildings where people live and work. The worst part about the flu bug is that killing it might make it all the more dangerous.

Since flu bugs are normally invisibile, they gain the advantage of subtracting 4 from “to hit” dice rolls of all opponents unable to detect them. Flu bugs can attack while invisible. They do so striking with their frail-looking arms. These attacks inflict no damage, but the creature struck must make a saving throw versus poison with a -1 penalty per successful attack by the flu bug that round. Failure means the creature contracts a disease. Once a flu bug has infected a victim, the flu bug dies, having fulfilled its purpose. Flu bugs that die this way do not spawn (see below).

Flu bugs can be harmed by normal weapons, but they are immune to most magic. Spells that cure wounds or disease affect flu bugs. A cure wounds spell causes damage to a flu bug equal to the amount the spell would normally cure. A cure disease slays the flu bug immediately (no save), and prevents the flu bug from spawning. Otherwise, when a flu bug is killed, it spawns a number of new flu bugs equal to the original monster’s hit points unless the area in which the flu bug died, including everyone and everything it came into contact with, is thoroughly sanitized. These new flu bugs spawn in 1d4 hours, and gain 1 hit point per hour thereafter until they reach whatever their maximum hit points might be.

The disease caused by the flu bug is debilitating and potentially fatal. Each day for the 3-8 days, the victim suffers these effects:

* A cumulative 10% loss of hit points due to weakness and fatigue.
* The loss of 2 points from both Strength and Constitution due to joint pain, vomiting, and difficulty breathing.
* The loss of 1 point of Dexterity due to dizziness.
* Difficulty concentrating due to high fever, imposing a 10% cumulative chance of miscasting spells.

Total bed rest helps mitigate these effects, making it only 50% likely that each will occur each day of the illness. Victims are also highly contagious. Double the normal modifier for “exposure to carrier of communicable disease” (from +10% to +20%, as explained on page 13, Dungeon Masters Guide). A cure disease spell removes the disease from the victim, but does not remove the effects of the disease. Those fade at the same rate by which they accrued.

March 17th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

Masters of Vermin

Skaven never go into battle without a squirming horde of giant rats surging about their legs, swarming over enemy defenses, devouring and befouling enemy grain supplies. The packmaster herds the swarm, cares for the beasts, breeds the strongest with the strongest to create more ferocious rats, performing all of these tasks under the cruel supervision of the tribe’s verminlord, a monstrous skaven so terrifying that it rivals the power of the grey seers.

Most of the vermin that accompany a skaven tribe are giant rats. The packmaster’s bizarre husbandry practices, often combined with wicked magic, produce other, more dangerous forms of the giant rat. These ferocious rodents are used not only as troops and guards, but the larger may serve as mounts for packmasters and other exceptional skaven. To determine the stats of these rats, simply take the stas of another monster and change the name and appearance. A few examples could include blink rats, ghoul rats, horse-sized war-rats, and packs of howling worg rats.

Packmaster
Armor Class: 6 [13]
Hit Dice: 2+1
Attacks: Weapon
Special: Crack the whip
Move: 9
Save: 17
HDE/XP: 2/30

Packmasters herd the skaven horde of rats and rat-like monsters, often while mounted on a worg rat. When a packmaster cracks its whip, vermin within 60 feet know to attack with greater ferocity, and so gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls for the next 1d4 rounds. A packmaster may not crack its whip and attack in the same round.

Rat Ogre
Armor Class: 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 4+1
Attacks: Claws or weapon (1d6+1)
Special: +2 bonus on attack rolls, immune to fear
Move: 12
Save: 15
HDE/XP: 5/240

Rat ogres are giant, mutated skaven that combine minimal intelligence with great strength and bloodlust. They are fearless, and they attack with berserk fury with either weapons or their deadly claws.

Verminlord
Armor Class: 3 [16]
Hit Dice: 6+1
Attacks: Weapon (1d6+1)
Special: Disease (75%), spells
Move: 12
Save: 13
HDE/XP: 8/800

Horrific examples of pure pestilence given form, Verminlords live only to despoil and corrupt. Each clan has a verminlord, chosen from among the ranks of the packmasters by the tribe’s grey seer, who then subjects the chosen one to horrible rituals. In the unlikely event the packmaster survives, it emerges transformed as a verminlord, a creature with great skill in combat as well as magical powers. All vermin within 60 feet of a verminlord burn with rabid hatred, causing +1 damage on attacks. The verminlord’s own attacks are very likely to leave any who survive infected with some ghastly disease. It casts spells as a 3rd-level Cleric and a 3rd-level Magic-User, but its spells may never heal or cure.

March 11th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

Envenomed Blades

The warrior and priestly castes draw their recruits from the clanrats of the tribe. These castes embody the Horned Rat’s aspects of conquest and disease. The caste that embodies poison, however, draws its recruits from the slave rats, the dregs of skaven society. The best of those dregs, who still occupy a rung on the skaven social ladder lower than the clanrats, become night runners, skirmishers and infiltrators.

While murder and treachery are common ways of social advancement among skaven, these tactics represent the only way of advancement among the skaven assassin caste. Consequently, the assassin caste is the smallest in skaven society, but these stealthy murderers are also among the most feared and hated of the Horned Rat’s followers.

Night Runner
Armor Class: 8 [11]
Hit Dice: 1d6 hit points
Attacks: Weapon
Special: Back stab (see below), thievery (1-2)
Move: 9
Save: 19
HDE/XP: 1/15

While skaven warlords lead formations of clanrats and plague monks rally the faithful, the night runners slink through tunnels, sneak along ditches, seeking to flank their enemies, picking off stragglers before retreating into hiding. A night runner that attacks by surprise or from an unseen vantage gains a +2 bonus on its attack roll, but otherwise inflicts no additional damage. The night runner’s thievery ability may be used for any number of clandestine or stealth-based actions, subject to the Referee’s discretion. Night runners comprise the bulk of the assassin caste. Few live long enough to see advancement to gutter runner.

Gutter Runner
Armor Class: 6 [13]
Hit Dice: 1
Attacks: Weapon
Special: Back stab (x2), poison, thievery (1-3)
Move: 12
Save: 18
HDE/XP: 2/30

Faster, stealthier, and more deadly when attacking by surprise, gutter runners are also trained in the use of poison. They coat their weapons with venoms that can be deadly (+4 on saving throws to resist). Gutter runners prefer to attack from a distance, usually with shuriken-like weapons.

Poisoned Wind Globadier
Armor Class: 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 2+1
Attacks: Weapon
Special: Back stab (x2), poisoned wind globes, thievery (1-3)
Move: 12
Save: 18
HDE/XP: 3/60

Gutter runners chosen for special training may end up serving as poisoned wind globadiers. Equipped with protective masks (+2 on saving throws versus inhaled substances) and poisoned wind globes, crystal spheres filled with an exotic toxic that expands into a gaseous cloud when exposed to air, the poisoned wind globadiers skirt the edges of battle, seeking an ideal place to shatter one of their deadly globes. A poisoned wind globadier carries 1d4+1 globes, each of which can be thrown up to 30 feet to shatter, releasing a toxic cloud is a 10-foot radius. Those caught in the cloud are permitted a saving throw (+2 bonus) to avoid a painful death by asphyxiation.

Poisoned Wind Mortar Team
Armor Class: 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 2+1
Attacks: Weapon
Special: Back stab (x2), poisoned wind mortar, thievery (1-3)
Move: 12
Save: 18
HDE/XP: 3/60

Gutter runners chosen to operate as a mortar team always go about in pairs. One carries the mortar while the other loads and fires the weapon, which propels of poisoned wind globe up to 90 feet. The equipment is bulky. Gutter runners weighed down by the poisoned wind mortar gear have thievery (1-2) and move 9. The stats above are for an individual that has abandoned his gear. A team usually carries 1d6+3 poisoned wind globes.

Skaven Assassin
Armor Class: 4 [15]
Hit Dice: 4+1
Attacks: Weapon
Special: Back stab (x2), poison, thievery (1-4)
Move: 15
Save: 15
HDE/XP: 5/240

The most skilled and most treacherous gutter runners may eventually rise to the rank of assassin. Armed with the most potent venoms and quite skilled in the arts of infiltration and stealth, a skaven assassin seldom operates in groups larger than two. Most prefer to work alone. When striking by surprise doesn’t get the job done, a skaven assassin is still a formidable combatant, trained to fight with a blade in each paw (and both blades invariably envenomed). A skaven assassin fighting with two weapon at once may choose each round a +1 bonus on attack rolls, a +1 bonus to AC, or a +1 bonus to damage.

March 10th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

The Conquering Plague

The Children of the Horned Rat worship disease, poison, death, and conquest. Nowhere is this more evident than among skaven monks and priests. These skaven deliberately expose themselves to disease, and view spreading disease as an act of praise to the Horned Rat. At the lowest level, the plague monks spread the Horned Rat’s doctrines, encouraging clanrats’ faithfulness and identifying those whose fervor lacks sufficient passion. At the top, a grey seer oversees the several clans in the horde. Gifted with potent magical powers, a grey seer receives visions from the Horned Rat itself, and then interprets those visions in order to direct the horde’s unceasing activities aimed at conquest.

Throughout the hierarchies of skaven society, betrayal and murder are frequent methods of advancement. For example, few plague monks advance to the rank of censer-bearer by hard work and devotion to the cause alone, and more than one skaven warlord attained that rank by orchestrating the death of the previous warlord. All of this is encouraged by the doctrines of the Horned Rat, and even a grey seer lives both fearlessly and fearfully, motivated by burning zeal for the Horned Rat while always alert for that ambitious underling who plots the current grey seer’s demise.

Plague Monks
Armor Class: 7 [12]
Hit Dice: 1+1
Attacks: Weapon
Special: Disease (15%), zeal (+1)
Move: 9
Save: 18
HDE/XP: 1/15

Clanrats who exhibit special zeal for the Horned Rat are tested for suitability to serve as plague monks. Those that fail this test die, which itself is considered an act of devotion. Plague monks are given special training that instills in them supernatural zeal for the Horned Rat. This zeal grants a +1 bonus to saving throws against poison and disease. It also infects many plague monks with horrible diseases, the marks of which are viewed as badges of honor. Plague monks rub their weapons in filth and against their oozing sores. Those damaged by a plague monk’s weapon may contract some ghastly sickness.

Plague Censer-Bearers
Armor Class: 6 [13]
Hit Dice: 2+1
Attacks: Weapon (1d6+1)
Special: Disease (20%), plague-censer, zeal (+1)
Move: 9
Save: 17
HDE/XP: 3/60

The best, most zealous, most murderous plague monks become plague censer-bearers, and they undergo rigorous training with one of the skaven’s most feared weapons. Most trainees die before graduation, killed by the very weapon they seek to master. The hardiest monks survive, and they become more infectious, driven by fanatical love of the Horned Rat. A plague censer is both a flail-like weapon and a religious tool. Before battle, the plague censer is filled with noxious substances such as rags soaked with the effluvia of disease. The censer-bearer lights these substances, which smoulder and smoke. Wielded in combat, the plague censer fills a 10-foot radius around the bearer with disease-causing smoke. All caught in the radius (including the bearer) must make a saving throw. Failure causes 1d6-1 points of damage from blisters and buboes as blood and pus fills the victim’s lungs. This damage continues each round until death occurs or appropriate magic is used to counteract the effects.

Plague Priests
Armor Class: 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 4+1
Attacks: Weapon
Special: Breath weapon, disease (25%), spells, zeal (+2)
Move: 9
Save: 15
HDE/XP: 6/400

Plague censer-bearers who survive long enough may rise further in the ranks of the Horned Rat’s clergy and become plague priests. All plague priests cast spells as 4th-level Clerics, but they can never cast spells that heal or cure. Once per day, a plague priest may belch forth a foul cloud of sickness that fills a 20-foot radius around the priest. All caught in the area, including skaven, must make saving throws are else suffer the same effects caused by a plague censer. Ferocious ecstasy fills any skaven who succumbs to this horrible power. These skaven fight with a +2 bonus on attack rolls until they die from the disease.

Grey Seer
Armor Class: 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 8+1
Attacks: Weapon
Special: Breath weapon, disease (30%), spells, zeal (+3)
Move: 9
Save: 11
HDE/XP: 10/1,400

The grey seer is the mightiest skaven in any tribe. Its mere presence on the field of battle inspires maniacal bloodlust in all skaven within 60 feet who can see and/or hear it. Affected skaven cause +1 damage with their attacks, and they are immune to fear and sleep. A grey seer casts spells as a 4th-level Cleric and a 4th-level Magic-User, but its spells can never heal or cure. Once per day, a grey seer may cause the ground to crack open for pour forth 20-80 giant rats. These giant rats are always diseased, and they attack the grey seer’s enemies until destroyed or driven away.

March 9th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

The Children of the Horned Rat

Though physically weaker than most adult humans, the Children of the Horned Rat, or skaven as they are more commonly called, are naturally faster, more agile, and they are natural miners as well. Mystery shrouds the origins of the skaven. These creatures do not have a history. Their past as a race holds no interest for the skaven. They concern themselves only with two periods of time: the present, during which time they do not rule all, and the future, during which time they shall rule all.

Various other races have compiled histories of the skaven, but except for those related to military conflicts, there seems to be little agreement. Some histories claim the skaven are degenerate humans (or elves or dwarves or halflings). Others claim the skaven originated on another plane of existence, or that they were specifically created by the Horned Rat from common rodents. Whatever the truth, this much is certain: The skaven are a blight upon the world. They worship disease, poison, death, and conquest. All other races are their enemies, including those with which the skaven may enter in alliance with.

The most commonly encountered skaven are slave rats and clanrats and their military superiors, the stormvermin and warlords. Each clan typically includes several dozen clanrats, a few dozen stormvermin, and, at most, two or three warlords. The slave rat population flucuates due to pogroms, desertions, murders, et cetera, but most clans have many dozen slave rats scurrying about, many of which live lives similar to feral dogs.

Slave Rats
Armor Class: 8 [11]
Hit Dice: 1/2
Attacks: Weapon (1d6-1)
Special: None
Move: 6
Save: 19
HDE/XP: < 1/10

Slave rats are the lowest members of skaven society. They are treated little better than stray dogs at best. Slave rats are the weakest, smallest skaven, usually set aside at birth as being the runts of their litters. Slave rats seem to be invariably stupid, cowardly, treacherous, and greedy. Skaven of other classes may kill slave rats with impunity, although those slave rats owned by a master may object to the loss of property.

Clanrats
Armor Class: 6 [13]
Hit Dice: 1-1
Attacks: Weapon
Special: None
Move: 9
Save: 19
HDE/XP: < 1/10

Clanrats are the most numerous type of skaven, superior in rank only the slave rats. As their name implies, clanrats belong to specific clans, and they serve those clans in all but the most menial capacities. In times of war, clanrats make up the bulk of common troops sent into battle in order to soften up the enemy for more elite soldiers such as the stormvermin.

Stormvermin
Armor Class: 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 1+1
Attacks: Weapon
Special: None
Move: 9
Save: 19
HDE/XP: 1/18

Stormvermin are the elite warriors of skaven society. They make up the rank-and-file of the military caste. Stormvermin are nearly as tall as humans, and they can be fearsome opponents on the field of battle as compared to many common soldiers.

Skaven Warlord
Armor Class: 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 3+1
Attacks: Weapon
Special: +2 to attack rolls, inspire skaven
Move: 9
Save: 19
HDE/XP: 4/120

Skaven warlords are the largest, strongest, and most vicious of the military castes. Their presence on the field of battle inspires lesser skaven to frenzied acts of violence (+1 to attack and damage rolls to skaven within 60 feet who can see and/or hear the warlord). A skaven warlord typically commands a couple dozen stormvermin, several dozen clanrats, and however many slave rats can be rounded up and driven toward the enemy.

March 8th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »