Wednesday, 17 November 2010

There's a rat in me kitchen what am I gonna do?

Well, over here in Blighty the nights are drawing in and the temperature has dropped, consequently I am now sharing my home with at least one field mouse.

I have to admit that, when we came face to nose, I did go a bit girly and shriek like Mammy Two Shoes when she sees Jerry the mouse.

It got me thinking about the classic movie scene when the heroes are going through a tunnel or sewer and a horde of rats comes writhing towards them and how whenever I've set the same scene in my game my players never react like I did when I saw the mouse?  The D20 SRD says that a rat swarm will cause

"Distraction (Ex): Any living creature that begins its turn with a swarm in its square must succeed on a DC 12 Fortitude save or be nauseated for 1 round. The save DC is Constitution-based."

The problem with this is that I want the players to suffer the effects before they are in the swarm and I want a fear condition not nausea.  Fear also escalates with exposure so a character who fails a fear check (Will save) is Shaken, fail twice and they're Frightened, fail three times and they're Panicked.  I just want 1 roll so I'm going to try:
  • Fail by 1-3: Shaken
  • Fail by 4-6: Frightened
  • Fail by 7 or more: Panicked
This should prove entertaining...


  1. If you start applying real world fears to the PCs they should be making checks for most anything they run into.... i mean frik, giant insects (much less giant spiders)? I practically have a panic attack with the normal ones... then you get into things like actual, animated corpses and fire breathing flying lizards...

    Really, the reason they don't quiver in fear is that being afraid doesn't usually rank real high on the list of things to do when a bad ass. I'm not saying to never use this, but I'd be really careful about using it to much. It'll end up being more annoying than anything else.

  2. I agree, I was aiming to reserve it for swarms as having heroes running away from everything would be self defeating they'd never be heroic.

  3. I'd also be very careful on the setting which its played in - if it is in a fantasy-style setting, rats and the like are much more commmon than in modern day. That's always been my impression, so whereas someonew ho isn't used to rodents could potentially scream like a little girl, someone who sees them every day would most likely be less frightened? Though I suppose it would be somewhat different in a swarm... Still, something to take into account.