Monsters:
Tinker Battle Rodent
 
 
By: Arjan Wardekker
Type: Animal
Difficulty: CR 2
Game: Dungeons & Dragons (D&D)

Version:Hamster or Guinea PigRabbit
Type:Large AnimalLarge animal
Hit Dice:3d8+9 (22 hp)2d8+6 (15 hp)
Initiative:+2 (Dex)+4 (Dex)
Speed:40 ft.60 ft.
Armor Class:14 (-1 size, +2 Dex, +3 natural)16 (-1 size, +4 Dex, +3 natural)
Attacks:2 claws +4 melee; bite +4 melee2 claws +3 melee; bite +3 melee
Damage:claw 1d6+2; bite 1d4+2claw 1d6+2; bite 1d4+2
Face/Reach:5 ft. by 10 ft./5 ft.5 ft. by 10 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks:Crush, weapon platformLeap, weapon platform
Special Qualities:ScentScent
Saves:Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +1Fort +6, Ref +7, Will +0
Abilities:Str 14, Con 16, Dex 14,
Int 6, Wis 10, Cha 10
Str 14, Con 16, Dex 18,
Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10
Skills:Listen +5, Spot +5,
Craft(burrow/holemaking) +4
Listen +8, Spot +8, Jump +10,
Craft(burrow/holemaking) +4
Feats:--
Climate/Terrain:Any landAny land
Organisation:solitary, pair or herd (3-12)solitary, pair or herd (3-12)
Challenge Rating:22
Treasure:NoneNone
Alignment:Always neutralAlways neutral
Advancement:4-6 HD (large)3-5 HD(large)


The Tinker Gnomes' Animal Breeders Guild originally designed this creature in close cooperation with the Weapons Guild. They tried to find a solution to the heavy losses that were taken during a war with a Gnomish kingdom an a large invading army of Orcs.

The Weapons Guild had just build a gigantic cannon to be used against the Orcs, but they wanted to get it to the battlefield so it could be used. Carts, pulled by ponies, where tried first but the carts collapsed under the weight of the cannon. So, why not make a very big pony and put the cannon on top of it?
And so the order moved to the Animal Breeders Guild. They took a normal pony and began experimenting with it in a size-up-the-creature-apparatus. Unfortunately the pony escaped and by unknown causes, one of the experimenters' hamsters ended up in the machine. A huge, well muscled hamster got out. After the creature had eaten his former owner and had leveled the laboratory, the Tinker Gnomes realized that it would be a good creature for battle.
So they equipped the hamster with the cannon and kept another hamster present just to replace the other one, might he die. Fortunately, the hamster managed to carry the enormous weight of the cannon. Unfortunately, the cannon exploded, killing the hamster, when it was fired. A shard of the cannon landend in the back of the second hamster, but it managed to survive. A clever gnome took a crossbow and went to sit on the second hamster's back, taking cover behind the shard of the cannon and suddenly one of the scientists got the idea to create an automatic crossbow in a well-armored compartment on top of a huge hamster.

And so, the Tinker Battle Rodent was born. Today, 3 different versions exist: the hamster, guinea pig and rabbit versions. The hamster and guinea pig are just about the same. The rabbit has greater speed and a better armor class, but has less HD. The rabbit also has a special ability "leap": it can jump considerable distances in stead of the "crush" attack of the hamsters and guinea pigs. Different types of armors and weapons also exist: see below for the equipment list.

Combat:
A Tinker Battle Rodent is trained for battle. It can deliver a bite with it's sharp teeth for 1d4+2 points of damage and two attacks with it's claws for 1d6+2 points of damage each. Each version has an additional attack option and can be equipped with a weapon platform:
Crush: The hamster and guinea pig versions can perform a crush attack at the end of a charge, instead of a claw or bite. Doing so, the rodent gains a +4 bonus to the attack roll (instead of the normal +2 for a charge) and does 2d6+2 points of crushing damage. The rodent gets the normal penalty of 2 to AC. If the rodent has barding, it gains an additional damage bonus equal to half the armor class bonus of the barding (magical bonuses do not count; only the standard bonus). Fractions are rounded down. For example: a chain mail barding would grant a +5 to it's armor class and cause an additional 2 points of damage. The victim of such an attack must make an opposed Strength check (2nd edition: regular Strength check) or be knocked off his feet. If the victim is standing next to a large hard object (like a granite wall or a rock face), the rodent will smash into the wall, crushing the victim in between and so causing double damage. In this case the rodent also suffers the normal amount of damage from smashing into the wall. The victim is allowed a Strength Check if he is further than 5 feet away from the wall (or other object) to prevent being smashed against it. The victim must be within 10 feet of the object or the charge will end in a normal crush attack (without the chance of being smashed into the wall).
Leap:: A rabbit version can make a leap. Doing so, the rabbit can make a single move and still make a full attack. If a leap is done at the end of a charge, the rabbit can jump over creatures size M or smaller. Although this causes no damage (it doesn't even hit the opponent), riders can throw spears, oil, paint or heavy objects off the rabbit on the opponent.
Weapon Platform: The true combat potential of the Battle Rodent lies in it's ability to be equipped with weapons. These weapons are mounted in a gun turret on the rodent's back. The weapons must be operated by the rider. There are two types of weapons: a fully automated crossbow (a total of 30 bolts can be put in the ammunition-compartment) and a fully automated single or double sling (a total of 50 bullets can be put in the ammo-compartment). The crossbow bolts cause 1d8 points of damage and the sling bullets 1d4. Sling bullets need to be bullets and cannot be just another round stone or other object. Using those kinds of objects creates a 10% cumulative chance of system error. Such an error can prevent firing, propel ammo to the rider or cause an overall crash resulting in an explosion causing 3d6 points of damage to the rider, rodent and the gun turret. What exactly happens is determined by the DM or rolled randomly. Any damage to the gun turret system can only be repaired by a Tinker Gnome and costs lots of money.
Double slings fire 2 stones per attack, but there is a -2 penalty to the attack roll (only 1 roll is required for both stones). All weapons fire according to the normal number of attacks.

Equipment:
Gun turrets come in 2 versions: a front cover version and a full cover version. The front cover is essentially a weapon with a metal plate in front of the rider that protects him. It gives three-quarter cover to the rider: +7 bonus to AC and +3 to Reflex saves, versus area effect spells, but only from attacks from the direction which the weapon is facing (usually the direction that was last fired in or the front). The full cover version is a closed compartment accessible by a small door on the back. The compartment has a slit all around it, so you can look outside. It provides nine-tenths cover to the rider: +10 to AC and +4 to Reflex saves, versus area effects, and effective Evasion for spells that originate from outside of the cover, but it is more expensive and can get quite hot after a while.
The turrets are made of iron and are 0.5 inch thick: hardness 10, 15 hit points.
The turrets can turn all around, because of a complex system of clockworks, wheels, bars and so on. The turning mechanism is operated through 2 big red buttons. One on the left, that makes the system turn to the right (clockwise) and one on the right, that makes the system turn to the left (counter-clockwise). For as yet, the logic of this placement of the buttons has not been discovered.
There are also two big buttons right in front of the rider. The top one, a green button changes the arc of the weapon (for adjusting ranges). The one below it, a yellow button with a skull on it, fires the weapon.
Other features of the interior of the gun turret include many meters, flashing lights in all kinds of colors, warning signs and clocks. These things have no function at all.
The system runs on oil (Greek Fire), poured in a oil-tank in the floor of the turret (right under the rider's seat). One bottle of oil can operate the system for 5 hours. That are 5 hours of turning, firing, adjusting ranges or other use of the system. Most of the time, the system will not be operational, so it works for quite a time on one bottle. Because there are no meters that keep track of the amount of oil that is left in the tank (although several meters do claim to do so), the rider will usually only notice that the oil is up when the system stops functioning. Any attempt to refill and restart the system will have a 5% chance of resulting in explosion, causing 3d6 points of damage to the rider, rodent, system and any people in the turret or on the rodent at that time.
Steering the rodent can be done by 2 pedals, that are in contact with a bit and bridle, in front of the rider's seat or through short verbal commands (like "go left", "stop", "faster" or "kill" (upon which it attacks any creature right in front of it)). The rodent is smart enough not to crash into things, so it is possible to make it run on "auto-pilot" (the rodent itself is in control).

item:cost:
tinker battle rodent1000gp
turret, front cover, repeating crossbow1000gp
turret, front cover, single sling600gp
turret, front cover, double sling200gp
turret, full cover, repeating crossbow1500gp
turret, full cover, single sling1100gp
turret, full cover, double sling1700gp
repeating crossbow boltsas normal
sling bulletsas normal
oil25 gp per vial
bit and bridle15 gp
saddle (if not wearing turret)20gp
barding4x cost for human
food/lodging, hamster/guinea pig3x cost for horse
food/lodging, rabbit2x cost for horse

Habitat/Society:
Tinker Battle Rodents can be encountered in any terrain that would support them. They prefer temperate lands though. The rodents are rarely encountered in the wild, because they love their Gnomish masters and prefer to stay with them. Occasionally when a rodent's master is killed in combat or just died, a Battle Rodent will move into the wild in search of other rodents. Usually these other rodents flee in terror upon seeing a very large version of themselves trying to get into their holes. Others might accept a Battle Rodent into their midst.
Among Gnomes, the Tinker Battle Rodent is most commonly found among Tinker Gnomes and Forest Gnomes. They are kept in sheds or on small pastures. They never share a piece of land with goats, sheep or other small cattle, because Battle Rodents sometimes like a fresh piece of meat.

Ecology:
The Tinker Battle Rodent has a diet of grass, grains, berries, fresh vegetables, goats, sheep, kobolds, goblins and just about any small edible thing it can get. Female Rodents can be milked. The fur of the creature is very useful, but a Battle Rodent is to expensive to keep for it's fur alone. Battle Rodent fur is usually obtained from rodents that died because of other causes. They have a lifespan of about 25 to 35 years. Reproduction is something very important to them. Using combined groups of both male and female varieties therefore may cause certain problems in inappropriate situations, like mayor battles.

Licensing:
This material is distributed under the Open Game License Version 1.0a (view a copy of the license). All of this material is designated as Open Game Content, in accordance with Section 1(d) of the Open Game License, Version 1.0a.

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