Skaven in Exalted – Rat SwarmsMay 10, 2012
The tunnels of the Skaven teem with rats beyond counting. Some are drawn to the carrion left in the Skaven’s wake, while others are lured in by Clan Moulder, but yet more seem drawn to the Skaven themselves. Perhaps there is some connection, deep in the Skaven psyche, that gives them an affinity for rats. Perhaps the rats recognize the Skaven as larger, more dominant members of the same species. Perhaps it is some sorcery performed by the Great Horned Rat. Whatever the cause, the only thing more numerous than the Skaven are the rats that accompany them. Individually, a rat is not a threat to a human, save perhaps for the virulent plagues it might carry, but in numbers, rivers of rats can strip a man’s flesh from his bones in seconds. When the Skaven march to war, hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of rats often march with them, teeming in masses that advance before the Skaven horde and savage their foes. Statistics for an individual rat can be found in The Compass of Celestial Directions, Vol. VI – Autochthonia, p. 132, along with a number of variant rats that would not automatically be out of place in a Skaven horde. However, when they mass together, they often become more of a hazard than individual antagonists.
A swarm of rats functions as a mobile environmental hazard, with Damage 1L/Action for every ten rats in the swarm and Trauma 3. The swarm can move as though it had a Dexterity of 2 and unless controlled, tends to move toward the largest concentration of food (people count). The swarm has one Health Level per rat, and attacks against it automatically deal levels of damage instead of dice. However, no attack can deal more than minimum damage unless it is an area of effect attack. Finally, anyone who suffers even a single level of damage from a rat swarm is exposed to Plague (see Exalted, p. 353). In mass combat, they function identically, save that attacks against them deal damage normally (as they are assumed to be multiple soldiers attacking).