Mixing Up Giant Rats
They scurry within cellars, dungeons, and sewers, gnawing on the bones of whatever they can catch and spreading diseases to anything they can't. We're talking about giant rats, of course! To keep these disgusting vermin fresh no matter how many times you use them, the following 3 stat blocks offer new, unique, and exciting types of giant rats to throw at your players!
Giant Fey Rats
When a forest’s veils between it and the Feywild are stretched thin, wild magic can seep through and change the natural beasts of the Material Plane as is the case with the giant fey rat. With an elongated neck and ghoulish teeth curled up over its lips, this fey-touched vermin magically moves through forest hunting smaller prey and, when it feels especially brave, adventurers. The rat’s chances do not stop at its neck, however. Though every rat takes on unique physical properties from the realm of Fey, many also sprout feathered wings, small antlers, and long legs and fingers to help it creep through bushes, climb trees, and snag small birds and mammals to eat.
Feybies. Many giant fey rats carry a magical form of rabies carried over from the Feywild known as “Feybies.” When bit by a rat with this disease, an infected creature begins to experience fits of madness, strong urges to flee into the wilderness, and a primal urge to kill and devour other creatures. Though any creature can be infected with Feybies, races with strong ties to the Feywild such as elves and even half-elves seem to be especially susceptible to it.
Giant Hell Rats
With high-pitched squeals which sound as if they came from the very pits of Hell itself, giant hell rats are unsettling terrifying vermin. Covered in patches of mangy fur which clings to boiled and scarred skin, giant hell rats appear as if they had been tossed into a raging fire only to scurry out a few moments later. Barbed spikes run down their backs and form a small grouping at the tip of their tail which they use to snatch up smaller prey or fling at larger predators, and deadly poison hisses and steams as it drips from their two jagged front teeth.
Cult Creation. Giant hell rats are not natives to the planes of Hell. Rather, they are the result of giant rats who have dwelt within the dungeons and abodes of devil-worshiping cults for far too long. Exposed to the fiendish magic conjured forth by the cultists, these rats undergo a series of painful physical transformations which twist and contort their bodies so that it more closely resembles that of a devil. In the process, their tiny, fragile minds are broken and replaced with the desire to consume the flesh and souls of humanoid creatures. Often these vermin can be mistaken for imps, though this error becomes painfully clear as the rats swarm their victim’s body and strip every ounce of flesh from its bones.
Giant Tundra Rats
Covered in thick white fur that protects them from the frigid winds and snow around them, giant tundra rats are the scavengers of the Arctic. Often found prowling the lairs of larger creatures such as yetis, winter wolves, or polar bears, these vermin rely on the scraps left behind to stay alive. When such scraps are scarce, a giant tundra rat can breathe clouds of icy air to freeze smaller creatures such as cats, birds, or other vermin for it to eat. As its prey lays motionless but very much alive, the rat uses its frost-covered teeth to gnaw into its frozen flesh, shattering limbs and bits of flesh off to eat or store away for later.
Easily Trained. A giant tundra rat’s dependency on other creatures to provide it with food means that they can easily be domesticated and trained. Tundra-dwelling goblin tribes often train these rats to pull their sleds across vast distances by dangling pieces of meat out in front of them, and frost giants tend to keep them around to clean up their dining halls after a grand feast. However, if one isn’t careful, the giant tundra rats can reproduce at an alarming rate and infest large food storages, freezing them over with their breath and causing small communities or villages to starve to death.
What did you think of these new giant rat monsters? Let us know in the comments below!