What is Rat Week about? Well its about redeeming what is, to me, the worst fantasy monster ever conceived. I am of course talking about the Dire Rat.
The Dire Rat is just terrible. Its terrible because its an insult. I can think of nothing which can kill the enthusiasm of a group of fresh faced first level adventurers than reducing them to being glorified pest control.
I mean think about it, you're playing Pathfinder, you expect you will be fighting goblins or zombies or lesser demons for your first adventure. Heck even wolves and bandits would be good, or even giant vermin like a giant spider or centipede. But what do you get? A giant rat the size of one of those little toy dogs. Yeah, that really captures the magic and majesty of the worlds oldest role playing game doesn't it? Paizo actually released a book called Misfit Monsters Redeemed, Where they try and make some of the dumbest DnD monsters ever cool. But there isn't any redeeming the Dire Rat.
BUT HECK IF I'M NOT GONNA TRY!
So here we go to Rat Week. Every day I'm going to put up another Rat based monster. Each one with strange abilities and powers which will be certain to make your PC's think twice about dismissing those little sewer spawn. Because if you're gonna be a glorified rat catcher in a fantasy game, you're gonna hunt some fantastic rats.
So without further ado...
The large, multicolored rat that sits before you takes one look at you, then immediately turns and begins gnawing at the air, a second later it fanishes.
Vortex Rat CR 3
CN Small Magical Beast (Extraplanar)
Init +8; Senses Darkvision 60 ft. Low light vision
AC 15, Flatfooted 11, Touch 15 (+1 size, +4 Dex)
hp 19 (3d10+3)
Fort +4; Ref +7; Will +2
Resists: Fire 5, Cold 5, Acid 5, Electricity 5
Speed 40 feet, Climb 20 feet, swim 20 feet
Melee Bite +4 (1d4)
Spell like abilities (CL 3rd)
At will-Dimension Door
Str 10 , Dex 18 , Con 12, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8
Base Atk +3; CMB +2; CMD 6
Feats Improved Initative, Run
Skills Climb +9, Stealth +9, Swim +9 Racial Bonus: Uses Dexterity for climb and swim checks
SQ Vortex generation
Environment Any (Extraplanar)
Organization Solitary, Pair, or swarm (2-8)
Vortex Generation (Su): Whenever a Vortex rat uses its dimension door ability, it is actually gnawing a small hole in the fabric of the universe, running into another dimension, and then gnawing another hole back to our universe. Usually these vortexes close themselves off relatively quickly, but there is always a chance that they will remain open, at least long enough for something to come through. The portal resembles a glowing, shimmering vortex of energy with a portal inside. A DC 15 perception check will allow one to peer into the portal, and a Knowledge (Planes) check DC 20 can allow someone to determine where the portal leads.
Whenever a Vortex Rat uses dimension door, roll a 1d10. On a natural one, a vortex is left behind either at the starting point or the end point of the Vortex Rat's last use of dimension door (Determine rapidly). This vortex quickly expands to cover a five by five space within a single round. 1D4 rounds after the vortex opens, roll on the following chart to determine what exactly happens. (All saves for these effects are charisma based using the Vortex Rat's Charisma).
1: There is a massive explosion of energy emanating out 20 feet from the vortex, dealing 3d6 damage to everyone in range (Reflex save DC 12 for half damage). The actual nature of the energy is determined randomly. The portal closes immediately afterwards.
2: The vortex disgorges a large amount of random (Usually broken) items, there is a 10% chance that a masterwork item among the debris, and a 5% of a magical item being present (roll randomly for appropriate level). Note any items may belong to someone who may want them back. The portal closes immediately afterwards.The portal disgorges
3: something truly disgusting and vile (Pools of blood, rotting meat, foul smelling sludge), anyone within 20 feet of the portal must make a fortitude save DC 12 or be sickened until they move out of range of the vile substance.
4: The Vortex begins to suck matter in. Anyone within 20 feet must make a reflex save DC 12 every round or be dragged 5 feet towards the portal. Anyone who fails their save while adjacent to the vortex is sucked in and ends up on a random alternate plane of existence. This effect lasts 1d6 rounds.
5: Outsiders emerge from the portal. 2D4 Outsiders of an appropriate encounter level to the PC's come out (The exact nature is determined randomly). The portal lasts 1d6 hours.
6: Nothing seems to come out, but the portal becomes permanent, creating a permanent two way portal between the prime material plane and wherever the portal may connect to
The vortexes can be shut prematurely with applications of a dispel magic spell (Cast against a 3rd level caster), a Dispel alignment spell of the appropriate descriptor (using Dispel Evil to remove a portal to Hell for example), or using the spells Dimensional Anchor, Antimagic Field, Wish or Miracle.
The Vortex Rat is a magical cousin to the Dire Rat which is found in parallel realities and places of high magic. Easily frightened and skittish, Vortex Rats have the ability to literally gnaw through the fabric of time and space, literally leaping to other dimensions in order to escape predators and perceived threats. This is all well and good, except that the Vortex Rats sometimes leave portals behind when they use this ability, which can cause all sorts of unexpected chaos.
Because of the unpredictable nature of the Vortex Rat's portals, they are often hunted in more civilized lands. This is a tricky enterprise however, since the rats will immediately flee any confrontation with their dimension door ability, which in turn has a chance to create vortexes. Many Rat catchers find it more economical to charm the creatures or bribe them to leave with food. Vortex Rats are fairly intelligent, and can quite easily be bought off by someone using a speak with animals spell to communicate with them. In addition, many wizards or cultists keep Vortex Rats as pets in hopes of creating a stable portal to a desired other plane.
Vortex Rats are 2 feet long and weigh about 20 pounds.
Author's notes: Well here it is. This is really the very first Rat variant I came up with for Rat week: A Dire Rat that can gnaw through to other dimensions. I worry it may be overpowered, but really it sort of exists as a plot device monster: An excuse to get your players tied up in outsider shenanigans or to just make them go "WTF just happened?" Anyways I'm kind of proud of this one, plus I feel like I'm getting into a groove when it comes to making Pathfinder monsters. Like with each one I make I get a little bit better.
Anyways, that's all for now. Tune in tomorrow for another Rat monster.