Random Encounters: Osquip

Jun 6, 2011
Mark

Introduction

Infestations of giant rats are a common encounter for low level adventurers. Rats thrive any place food is available including alleys, sewers. dungeons and crypts. Rats are vile but the larger, more aggressive cousin, the osquip are ferocious.

Osquips are multi-legged rodents. Most osquips have six legs although rare specimens have been seen with eight and ten legs. The teeth and head of the osquip are oversized enabling them to dig burrows faster than their rat cousins. Osquips possess hairless hides ranging from light yellow to a yellowish brown. The hides are supple when tanned and provide excellent water resistance.

Generally, osquips are encountered in subterranean settings but will establish burrows anywhere adequate prey is available. The creatures are carnivores and active only in darkness. Osquips are very territorial. Any creature entering the territory will be attacked by the rodents. Emerging from well concealed tunnels, osquip will surprise 50% of the time. The creatures are unafraid of fire but loathe deep water. If forced to swim, half will drown and the other half will be reduced to very slow paddling (1″).

An Encounter

Hummock

A large, bramble covered hummock sits along the eastern edge of the road. Obvious game trails wind around the mound toward the bank of the nearby river. Fresh earth is scattered across the northern face of the slope and a three foot entrance to a burrow is roughly hidden by the shrubs and long grass.

The osquip have taken over the burrow of a giant weasel along a river bank. Situated along a game trail, the creatures have thrived off easy prey of wildlife and occasional small parties of travellers A smaller, rear tunnel leads under the roadway into the brush roughly 150 away. Due to the bountiful prey, the osquip have not expanded the tunnel system significantly. The tunnels are roughly 3 foot in diameter. Demi-humans can enter and move reasonably well. Human sized creatures will be cramped and hard pressed to attack or defend.

If any party member discovers and moves within 10′ of the main entrance, the osquips will begin an attack. Due to the limited number of exits from the burrow and the small entrance, only a single osquip will engage initially. The first attacker will try to force the intruder back from the entrance allowing the remaining pack members to swarm out.

Stats

Number Appearing: 2-24
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 3+1
THAC0: 16
# Attacks: 1
Damage: 2-12
Size: 2′, at shoulder
XP Value: 120
Treasure Type: D (in lair)

Stats are based on the AD&D 2nd Edition Monstrous Manual. Tweak and tun as you see fit.

Last Thoughts

I enjoy putting oddball creatures in feasible, albeit unlikely locations. This osquip encounter is an eccentric variant of a subterranean monster set in a wilderness location. Why are they in the wilderness? Maybe the few members are from a nearby cavern taking advantage of the natural resources. More simply, they may well be predators utilizing abundant natural resources.