Sunday, October 17, 2021


To celebrate Halloween, I am doing some monster and adventure entries for Strange Tales of Songling. This one is inspired by the Pu Songling Story The Rat. In that tale the rat is a little less ferocious than the one I came up with for the game (but the core idea of needing to exhaust it to defeat it is present). The story is pretty short and can be found in the Library of Chinese Classics edition of Strange Tales form the Liaozhai Studio volume III

Strange Tales of Songling is a rules light Chinese Horror RPG. It is available in print and pdf.    
Art by Jackie Musto

These enormous, ugly rats, have oversized skulls and terrifying teeth. Their fur glistens from sifting through trash and waste, producing a gut-churning stench. Strange Rats are bold creatures, and will feed on human flesh when it is available (especially when their victims are asleep). Nearly the size of a lion or tiger, but still flexible enough to fit through small cracks and holes, they have been known to terrify households by sneaking otherwise secure homes. They spread a horrible disease through their bite and claw. Though large and vicious they quickly become weak if they expend too much energy. 

Defenses: Hardiness 5, Evade 7, Wits 3
Key Skills: Bite: 6d10* (Damage 4d10 plus disease), Claw: 3d10* (Damage 2d10 plus disease), Speed: 3d10, Muscle: 4d10, Detect: 5d10, Athletics: 4d10

Max Wounds: 4

Low Endurance: Strange Rats are powerful but lose energy quickly. With every attack they make, they suffer a cumulative -1d10 penalty to their roll the next round (their Bite becomes 5d10 the second round, 4d10 the third round, etc). When their attacks reach 0d10, they are too exhausted to move or Defend themselves (their Defenses all drop to 1). They must rest ten full minutes to recover.  

Stench: The stench of a Strange Rat is overpowering. Roll 2d10 against anyone near such a creature. On a Success the person becomes sickened, taking -1d10 to their Attacks, Physical and Mental Skills until they get away from the odor. 

Disease: Anyone bitten or scratched by Strange Rat is exposed to its disease. Roll 2d10 Against Hardiness. On a Success the victim is afflicted with the disease and may make one Medicine roll TN 8 a week to cure it. On a Total Success the victim is afflicted with the disease and may make one Medicine roll TN 10 a month to cure it (note that another person may make this roll if they have the Medicine skill, but there is still only one Medicine skill roll total, allowed). The first week of illness the victim suffers aches, fever, muscle weakness, and difficulty breathing. This imposes a -1d10 to all Physical and Combat Skills. This penalty remains until the illness is cured. Then person begins to lose 1 Hardiness every week after, dying when they reach 0. 

Squeeze: Despite their large size, Strange Rats can fit through openings 1/5th the size of their body by moving their flexible muscles and repositioning their bones. 

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