In Multiple Breeds
“If making up post-apocalyptic monsters based on horrible puns is wrong, I don’t want to be right.”(Me)
Well, I didn’t plan for a month between updates — again — but I also didn’t plan to not be a world-conquering madman with a legion of lethal robots by this time in my life, either. The best laid plans rarely get you laid, as they say. Anyway, the horrible name came to me a bit ago, inspired by the “ratweilers” from the Hacklopedia of Beasts (for Hackmaster Fourth Edition, and yeah, that was an actual thing, and underneath the jokes that were mandated by the terms of the contract with WOTC (yes, really), there was a very substantial old-school RPG in there, and the breadth of creativity in the Hacklopedia (Eight Volumes!) never fails to impress me, almost two decades (gah, I’m old) later).
Given the name “rot-weiler”, what to do with it? The obvious answer is “undead dog”, but I chose a marginally less obvious route. As with all my writing, I still go for the low-hanging fruit, but at least this time, for once, I didn’t pick the lowest hanging.
Pathfinder 2 Rot-Weiler
UNCOMMON | N | SMALL | ANIMAL | FUNGUS
Perception +15; scent (imprecise) 30′
Skills Acrobatics +12 , Athletics +16 , Intimidation +15 , Stealth +15
Str +7, Dex +2, Con +5, Int -4, Wis +3, Cha +4
AC 23; Fort +17, Ref +14, Will +11
HP 120 (fast healing 2 (deactivated by fire)); Immunities Disease; Weaknesses Fire 5
Speed 25 feet
Spore Eruption [Free] (disease, fungus);
Trigger The rot-weiler is subject to a critical hit from a melee attack. Frequency 1/day Effect A cloud of spores erupts in a 5′ burst. All non-rot-weilers in the cloud must make a DC 21 Fortitude save or be flat-footed until the end of their next round. On a critical failure, they are also subject to fungal infection.
Melee [1-Action] powerful jaws +15, Damage 2d8+9 piercing plus improved grab, fungal infection . The rot-weiler must release a grabbed target (as a free action)to bite again.
Rending Chomp [Reaction]
Trigger An allied rot-weiler has grabbed an enemy. Requirements Must be flanking grabbed enemy. Effect The rot-weiler makes a powerful jaws attack. If the grab is successful, both this creature and the triggering attacker do an additional 2d6+6 damage and the target is no longer grabbed.
Fungal Infection (disease, fungus);
Saving Throw DC 21 Fortitude Stage 1 Coughing Fit Flat-Footed (1 Round) Stage 2 Weakened and Clumsy (1 day) Stage 3 As for 2, but also 3d10 necrotic damage(1 day).
Ye Olde Fantasy Version
Rot-weilers are large canine creatures, covered with patches of fungus growing into their fur. The fur itself is black and tan in hue, matted and mangy. Their ghastly appearance causes them to often be mistaken for some form of undead, which can lead to fatal errors if enemies deploy holy water, positive energy, or similar tactics against them. They are living creatures, which are either infected by, or symbiotic with (depending on which sage you ask) a unique fungus.
While not sapient, they are skilled and cunning pack hunters, often lurking in ambush when they sense approaching prey. They are particularly deadly if they can gang up on an enemy, as their rending chomp can take down even a strong enemy. (Note to GMs: To make it even nastier, add bleed 1-6. or require only that both rot-weilers be adjacent to the same foe, not flanking.)
The fungal infection grants them the ability to rapidly heal from all wounds save those inflicted by flame. They are smart enough to recognize fire and will avoid an enemy who holds a flaming sword or similar weapon if possible.
The precise origin of the rot-weiler is unknown. It may be a naturally (for fantasy games) evolved creature, the creation of a mad wizard (honestly, “created by a mad wizard” is “naturally evolved” in RPG worlds), or the result of exposure to leaked energies from another plane — the fey realms, the Abyss, and Elysium all have extensive fungal regions. If this is true, no extraplanar energies or influences remain; the rot-weiler is governed by animal needs to eat, drink, and mate, and shows no inclination to consciously malicious or benign behavior.
It is, however, very difficult to train, as the symbiotic fungus secretes chemicals heightening the creature’s aggression so that it will attack and infect targets. When the fungal infection kills someone, a cloud of spores (not harmful to those in the area, oddly) is released, which would seem to be a method of reproduction. However, no one has ever observed a normal dog being infected and transformed into a rot-weiler, and rot-weiler pups are born with the symbiote already in place. It is speculated this is a vestigial behavior from before the symbiosis fully took hold. In any event, training a rot-weiler is at +3 difficulty, and no matter how well trained it is, in combat, it must roll a flat DC 4 check or ignore any orders, instead attacking the most convenient target or possibly just fleeing into the wild. In civilized lands, ownership is banned or highly regulated. They are sometimes favored by crime lords and the like, who use them to tear apart prisoners. Rumors exist of ratfolk and hobgoblin alchemists who have found ways to make them as pliable and loyal as normal dogs, without diminishing their combat capabilities.
Earth Delta Version
The manifold horrors of the chaotic post-apocalypse world make pondering the origins of any species (usually by unnatural selection) a luxury few can afford. Symbiotes of all kinds are common, some originating in pre-Cataclysm laboratories, some arising from the desperate struggle to adapt and survive in the madhouse that is the changed Earth. Rot-weilers are more common in areas near former military or law enforcement installations, as their ancestral species was often used in such contexts.
Bloodgers are the only species which regularly uses and trains rot-weilers; they greatly enjoy (as much as any bloodger can enjoy anything) the pain their pets can inflict. Bloodger-trained rot-weilers never “go rogue”. Rot-weilers are also often found with the Annihilation Army, where they are not “trained”, but simply follow along and join in the “fun”, compelled or guided by whatever force “organizes” or “directs” the Army itself. (Scare “quotes” are “mandatory” in this case.)
(For those who want to learn more about bloodgers and the Annihilation Army, check out the last versions of Earth Delta posted, circa 2011. After a lot of fits and starts, I’m hitting a groove on getting the PF2 version moving. It’s still a long way from ready for even a pre-alpha look, but it’s starting to congeal, design wise.)
NO. APPEARING: 4-6
ARMOR CLASS: 4
HIT DICE: 5
% IN LAIR: 15%
TREASURE TYPE: nil
NO. OF ATTACKS: 1
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 2-8 + special, see below
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Rending Bite, Fungal Infection
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Spore Cloud, Regeneration
MAGIC RESISTANCE: Standard
PSlONlC ABILITY: Nil
Attack/Defense Modes: Nil
Rot-weilers are often mistaken for some sort of undead hound, which can lead to ill-advised attempts to turn or rebuke them, cast invisibility to undead, etc. Druids and Rangers will identify them correctly 75% of the time. They (the rot-weilers, not druids and rangers) are large canines, whose black and tan fur is partially covered with great splotches of pulsing fungi. They invariably travel in hunting packs, with nursing females (1d3) and pups (2d3 per adult) left behind in well-hidden lairs. (The new mothers will attack as 7 HD monsters; the pups are non combatants).
In combat, they will attempt to gang up on opponents. As soon as one hits with a bite, another rot-weiler adjacent to the same character may also bite; if it hits, it an additional 1d6 damage is done as both beasts tear out huge chunks of flesh.
Any creature bit by a rot-weiler must save vs. poison or suffer from fungal infection. Immediately after failing the save, the victim is at -2 to AC and “to hit” rolls for 1 round. Each day, until treated with cure disease or similar, they will suffer the same penalty, as well as losing 1-8 hit points per day for 2d10 days or until they die. This damage will not heal naturally and magical healing is quartered. If they die, they release a cloud of spores which are, thankfully, not infectious at this stage.
If a natural 20 is rolled against a rot-weiler, the impact causes the release of a 1″ diameter cloud of choking spores. This can happen but once per individual per day. All those in the area (except rot-weilers) must save vs. poison or be at -2 to AC and to-hit rolls until the end of their next turn. If they roll a “1” on the saving throw, they will automatically be subject to fungal infection.
Rot-weilers will regenerate 2 hit points per round, except for fire damage. They cannot regenerate from death and severed limbs will not rejoin, attack independently, or grow a new body.
Gamma World 1E
(See my comments on Painguin for my Gamma World history and design philosophy.)
No Appearing: 2-6
Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 5
Rott W’lers are strange dogs, a bit smaller than wolves, covered in a symbiotic fungus. Their bite does 1d6 damage, and if two or more bite the same character in the same turn, an additional 1d6 is done. It will regenerate 1d4 hit points/round unless it has been damaged by fire (including lasers), then it loses this ability for that and the following round. Their bite also carries a fungal infection. Treat this as Intensity 12 poison, except a “D” result indicates the character takes 3D damage each day for 1d4 days unless treated.