August 9, 2018

Thwirrel

Monster
Comments from the Finger: This is, perhaps, the best monster the Thumb and I have ever written. And it's one more reason you should pledge to get your copy of Dark Matter!

Thwirrel

Thwirrels are innately psionic, rodent-like creatures that infest ships, cities, and colonies around the galaxy, feeding on a mixture of magical energy and any food they can scavenge. Most spacers describe them as foot-long, furry creatures with ferret-like bodies, four rabbit-like ears, and long bushy tails. Not all spacers, however, notice them.

     Hidden Pests. Although thwirrels are common pests in nearly every spaceport in the galaxy, a surprisingly small number of people have ever seen one directly, owing to the thwirrels’ primary method of defense. Thwirrels can use their native psionic abilities to effectively erase themselves from an observer’s senses. This is not a form of invisibility, but rather a clever manipulation of the mind to hamper a predator’s ability to notice them. Because of this, a major thwirrel infestation can go unchecked for a very long time.
     The most common sign of an infestation aboard a ship is a combination of missing food and sporadic power outages. Thwirrels are scavengers, stealing food wherever they can find it. These highly intelligent creatures will use teamwork to infiltrate cargo holds and unlock doors, all while avoiding detection using their psychic camouflage. Additionally, they feed on magical energy, chewing on the wires and conduits in a ship’s engine room or draining the arcane batteries of unattended blasters. It is thought that this diet of magical energy assists their telepathic powers.
     Prolific Breeders. When a small family of thwirrels comes across an abundant supply of food, they rapidly multiply, producing litters daily and exponentially growing in number. In this way, even two thwirrels hidden aboard a ship can migrate to a new colony and completely infest it. Therefore, the discovery of a thwirrel population is a time-sensitive crisis: if they are not exterminated quickly, they’ll soon be impossible to stamp out.

Thwirrel
Tiny beast, unaligned

Armor Class 12
Hit Points 2 (1d4)
Speed 35 ft.

STR 3 (-4) DEX 16 (+3) CON 10 (+0)
INT 4 (-3) WIS 14 (+2) CHA 12 (+1)

Skills Perception +4, Sleight of Hand +5, Stealth +5
Senses passive Perception 14
Languages
Challenge 0 (10 XP)

Energy Siphon. When the thwirrel hits a magically powered device with a bite attack, it can use its bonus action to drain some energy from the device. When it does so, the save DC for its Psychic Camouflage feature increases by 1, to a maximum of 16, for the next 24 hours. Smaller devices―such as blasters and datapads―that are affected by this feature cease to function for 1 hour. Larger devices such as automatons or Dark Matter engines only cease to function for 1 round.

Keen Hearing and Smell. The thwirrel has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or smell.

Psychic Camouflage. The thwirrel can take the Hide action even when it is not in a heavily obscured area. Additionally, when a creature would normally see, hear, touch, or smell a thwirrel, it must make a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw. On a successful save, the creature can perceive all thwirrels as normal for the next 10 minutes. On a failed save, the creature cannot see, hear, feel, or smell any thwirrels for the same duration. In either case, the saving throw must be repeated every 10 minutes, or until the creature is no longer within visual range of any thwirrels. Creatures with truesight are immune to this trait.

WEAPONS
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 1 piercing damage.




Changelog: 8/9/18: Alignment: Unaligned

20 comments:

  1. Non-verbal beasts are conventionally unaligned

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    1. That's actually a good point. I suppose they /feel/ more chaotic neutral, since they're pests, but they should probably be unaligned.

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    2. My rule is always Int 4 or lower must be unaligned unless it's undead. Int 5 can be either aligned or unaligned, and Int 6 or higher must have an alignment.

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    3. The alignment thing is actually a goof on my part. In their original draft, these guys were going to be more intelligent and malevolent.

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    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    5. Nails: I'd say int 4 or lower could also be aligned in other cases (say, fiends and celestials, and other creatures directly linked to an alignment), but that's generally a good... Rule of Nails? No offense meant, Thumb ;)

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    6. Know it's already been changed but chaotic neutral seems fine since they're psychic space ferrets. As a ferret parent, I can attest to the fact that normal ferrets are crazy creatures that fit the stereotype of chaotic neutral.

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    7. That's a projection though. A creature that lacks the capacity to understand the concept of morality doesn't have the capacity to choose whether to act morally or immorally. Therefore it can't have an alignment, even if its behaviour is superficially similar to that of a person who does have an alignment.

      That's my take, anyway.

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  2. How would a thwirrel interact with blindsense?

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    1. Blindsense uses unusually acute secondery senses like hearing or smell (I think) so I imagine the thwirrel ould impair it the same way.

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    2. Yeah, their camouflage is not making them invisible, it's making them fully imperceptible by any means short of truesight unless you save against it. So not only can you not see them, you can't, hear, smell, or feel them either.

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  3. These are cewwwwwwwl.

    One question though: What is the dc 14 based on? They have a prof bonus of +0 and no modifier higher than +3.

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    1. I artificially buffed that number to make them seem more plausible, and to make a Thwirrel variation of "The Trouble with Tribbles" a more legitimate possibility for an adventure.

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    2. Alright, I guess that makes sense. And even so, about 30% of people would notice them, which actually still seems a bit high.

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  4. would they possibly be familiars? as i know the wizard in my camp would love one

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    1. For sure! I don't /exactly/ know if we'll have space for the sidebar, or if I'll have to add a description elsewhere, but it'll definitely be a familiar option.

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  5. What if you wanted it as a pet....

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  6. Hmmmm .. a Thwirrel Swarm would be interesting too! Thwirrel Summoners are used to sabatoge disable starships engines ! This is awesome !

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