Monsters:
Fever Rat Master
 
 
By: Jan Willem v.d. Brink
Type: Monstrous Humanoid
Difficulty: CR 7
Game: Dungeons & Dragons (D&D)

Large Monstrous Humanoid
Hit Dice: 6d8+4 (31 hp)
Initiative: +5 (+1 Dex, +4 Improved Initiative)
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares)
AC: 16 (-1 size, +1 Dex, +6 natural), touch 10, flat-footed 16
Base Attack/Grapple: +6/+14
Attack Claw +9 melee (1d6+4 and poison)
Full Attack 2 claws +9 melee (1d6+4 and poison), bite +4 melee (1d8+2)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: Cloud of disease, poison
Special Qualities: Create spawn, darkvision 60 ft., immunities
Saves: Fort +5, Ref +6, Will +6
Abilities: Str 18, Dex 13, Con 13, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 13
Skills: Climb +5, Handle Animal +8, Hide +4, Listen +6, Move Silently +8, Search +6, Spot +6
Feats: Dodge, Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative
Climate/Terrain: Any
Organisation: Solitary, with 10-100 fever rats
Challenge Rating: 7
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral evil
Advancement: 7-12 HD (Large)
Level Adjustment -

A fever rat masters appears as a tall, thin human with the head of a rat. It is completely bald. Its skin has a sickly pink-white color, with yellow lumps in places. The eyes of a fever rat master are very large and pale green. It stands between 11 and 15 feet tall.
These creatures never use any weapons besides their teeth and claws, and they don't wear any clothing. Fever rat masters speak common.

Combat
These cowardly creatures prefer to stay out of combat. When a fever rat master encounters a creature that may form a threat, it will send its rats to fight, while running and hiding itself.
A fever rat master will attack only when it has nowhere to turn. When cornered by multiple enemies, a master prefers to attack the weakest foe first.
Poison (Ex): Injury, Fortitude DC 15, initial damage 1d4 Con, secondary damage 2d4 Con. The save DC is Constitution-based and includes a +1 racial bonus.
Cloud of Disease (Ex): An invisible cloud of the rat fever virus surrounds a fever rat master at all time. The cloud has a radius of 30 feet, centered on the fever rat master.
Rat fever - inhaled, Fortitude DC 15, incubation period 1 day, damage 2d4 Con. Each day after the first, on a failed save, an afflicted creature must immediately succeed on another DC 15 Fortitude save or take 1 point of Constitution drain. As a side effect, all hair of a person suffering from rat fever will fall in a couple of days. The skin color of the infected person changes to a sickly pink-white, and soon yellow lumps start to sprout everywhere.
Anyone who succeeds at the first saving throw, or recovers from it later (either with the aid of healing, or with successful saving throws), becomes immune to rat fever for 1d4+1 days.
The save DC is Constitution-based and includes a +1 racial bonus.
Create Spawn (Su): Any rat slain by a fever rat master becomes a fever rat (see below) in 1d4 rounds. Fever rats are under the command of the fever rat master that created them until its death, or until it sends them away.
Immunities (Ex): A fever rat master is immune to poison and all diseases, including supernatural and magical diseases.

Habitat/Ecology
Most fever rat masters are nomadic creatures that use their fever rats to hunt for food. They are carnivorous and prefer the flesh of sentient beings to that of animals. Favorite hunting grounds of these cowardly beings are remote villages and small cities, preferably with a sewer, so they can easily hide and find more rats. When a fever rat master cannot find such a place, it will hide near a village, in a forest or a mountain range, where it kills all animals and then preys on the village.
Fever rat masters unleash their rats to spread the deadly disease they carry, while they hide in a safe place themselves, always keeping at least ten rats nearby for protection. When most people or animals in the area are dead, the master calls its rats back. The pack then searches the area, killing all living creatures encountered. All kills are dragged to a well hidden place nearby. There the rats and their master feed on them for quite a long time, since they can all eat flesh that has started to decay, due to their immunities. When everything is gone, they travel further.
A few fever rat masters hide in the sewers of large cities. They feed on thieves sneaking around in the sewers and on people their rats kill at night in the slum area's of the city. Clever masters sometimes live in a city for years, without being discovered.
When a fever rat master commands more rats than it can feed, it dismisses a number of them. These rats quickly travel to a nearby settlement, where they attack a male human. If they manage to infect him with rat fever, he turns into a fever rat master in 1d4 rounds. See fever rats below for more details. This is the only way for fever rat masters to propagate.
These creatures first came into being when a wizard tried to cure his brother, a wererat, from his affliction. This went horribly wrong and spawned the first fever rat master.

Fever Rat
Small Undead
Hit Dice: 1d12 (6 hp)
Initiative: +3 (+3 Dex)
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares), climb 15 ft.
AC: 14 (+1 size, +3 Dex), touch 14, flat-footed 11
Base Attack/Grapple: +0/-6
Attack Bite +3 melee (1d4-2 and poison)
Full Attack Bite +3 melee (1d4-2 and poison)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Cloud of disease, poison
Special Qualities: Create spawn, regain master, undead traits
Saves: Fort +0, Ref +3, Will +3
Abilities: Str 6, Dex 16, Con -, Int 2, Wis 13, Cha 1
Skills: Climb +4, Hide +8, Move Silently +5
Feats: Weapon Finesse
Climate/Terrain: Any
Organisation: Plague (10-100)
Challenge Rating: 2
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral evil
Advancement: 2-3 HD (Small); 4-6 HD (Medium)
Level Adjustment -

These creatures look like 3 foot long, bald rats. They have large, pale green eyes. Their skin has a sickly pinkwhite color, with yellow spots.

Combat
Unlike their cowardly masters, fever rats are ferocious fighters. They attack everything they encounter, spreading the disease as they go.
Poison (Ex): Injury, Fortitude DC 12, initial and secondary damage 1d4 Con. The save DC is Constitutionbased and includes a +2 racial bonus.
Cloud of Disease (Ex): An invisible cloud of the rat fever virus surrounds fever rats at all time. The cloud has a radius of 10 feet, centered on the fever rat.
Rat fever - inhaled, Fortitude DC 15, incubation period 1 day, damage 2d4 Con. Each day after the first, on a failed save, an afflicted creature must immediately succeed on another DC 15 Fortitude save or take 1 point of Constitution drain. As a side effect, all hair of a person suffering from rat fever will fall in a couple of days. The skin color of the infected person changes to a sickly pink-white, and soon yellow lumps start to sprout everywhere.
Anyone who succeeds at the first saving throw, or recovers from it later (either with the aid of healing, or with successful saving throws), becomes immune to rat fever for 1d4+1 days.
The save DC is Constitution-based and includes a +5 racial bonus.
Create Spawn (Su): Any rat slain by a fever rat becomes a fever rat in 1d4 rounds. These fever rats are under the command of the same fever rat master as the rats that spawned them, until its master's death, or until its master sends them away.
Regain Master (Su): Only fever rats that are dismissed by their master (see above) have this ability. The fever they carry becomes much more potent, with an incubation period of one round. If a male human enters the cloud of disease of one of these rats, and fails the save, he becomes a fever rat master in 1d4 rounds. The transformation is irreversible. A new master loses all memory of its previous life, and all its abilities. It throws away its clothes and gear.
Skills: A fever rat uses its Dexterity modifier instead of its Strength modifier for Climb checks.

Adventure Seeds
Good/Neutral Party: A scholar approaches the PCs and tells them all people in the hamlet he grew up in have been killed. He rightly suspects that a fever rat master is responsible for this. He happens to know quite a lot about these creatures, and informs the PCs of their habits, strengths, and weaknesses. Based on their reputation, or things they have achieved in the past, the scholar thinks the PCs could defeat the fever rat master and his pack without suffering casualties themselves. He wants the head of the master and offers the PCs a handsome reward for it.
The PCs would indeed be able to kill a normal fever rat master without too much trouble, but this is an unusually strong individual (12 HD), commanding not only normal, but also dire fever rats (6 HD) ...

Good/Neutral Party: The PCs are on board of a ship with some unusual stowaways: a dozen or so fever rats that have recently been dismissed by their master. They crawl out of the cargo space at night, spreading rat fever, and try to get a new master. The PCs now have to fight the rats and the disease. Even if they succeed, the rest of the journey is going to be tough. They're still on a ship with a lot of ill, and probably some dead, sailors.

Evil Party: A wererat approaches the PCs with what he calls a terrific offer. He has joined forces with a fever rat master, who is searching for powerful people. The master needs them for protection as it attacks a city with his rats. It wants to have all the bodies, and the PCs and the wererat can take everything else they can find in the city. Of course they do need to bring plenty of potions of cure disease. It's a dangerous job, but if successful, the PCs can pillage an entire city.
What they don't know, is that a group of paladins is tracking the fever rat master. These holy warriors are immune to diseases and they will attack the master as soon as they find it. Whether it got some extra protection or not.

Licensing:
This material is distributed under the Open Game License Version 1.0a (view a copy of the license). The following is designated as Product Identity, in accordance with Section 1(e) of the Open Game License, Version 1.0a: all names. All text in this document is designated as Open Game Content, except the previously claimed Product Identity.

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