Infest: Sheldomar Region Xvarts
Date: Sun, September 22, 2002
Topic: Monsters of Greyhawk
Like humans, most humanoids have a regional flavor that sets them apart from their relatives elsewhere in the Flanaess. Unlike humans though, these sub-cultures are overlooked in the D&D game. Let's have a look at a regional variant of the Xvart race, the one found in the southwestern Sheldomar valley.
Xvarts of the Southwest Sheldomar Valley
By chatdemon email@example.com
(Used with permission, do not repost or redistribute without the express permission of the author.)
Xvart, Sheldomar (Hool Marsh variant)
Hit Dice: 1d8+3 (7 hp)
Initiative: +1 (Dex)
Speed: 20 ft.
AC: 13 (+1 size, +1 Dex, +1 natural)
Attacks: Dagger +0 melee, Dagger +2 ranged
Damage: Short sword 1d3-1
Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft, Speak with Rats (Once per day), Plaguebearer
Saves: Fort +0, Ref +3, Will +0
Abilities: Str 8, Dex 13, Con 11, Int 10, Wis 11, Cha 8
Skills: Hide +6, Listen +4, Move Silently +4, Spot +2
Organization: Gang (4-9), band (10-100 plus 100% noncombatants plus 1 3rd-level sergeant (armed with net) and 1 leader of 4th—6th level per 20 adults), warband (10-24), or tribe (40-400 plus 1 2nd-level sergeant per 20 adults, 1 or 2 lieutenants of 4th or 5th level, 1 chief of 6th-8th level, 3-30 giant rats and a 30% chance of 1-12 Ratmen (slitheren))
Challenge Rating: 1/4
Alignment: Usually chaotic evil
Advancement: By character class
Xvarts are a cruel and cowardly yet crafty race of humanoids that live in desolate areas void of human or demi-human settlement. They appear as ugly, blue skinned humanoids with bright orange eyes and are mostly hairless except for a small crop of wiry black hair on the back of their heads. Although weak individually, they are extremely prolific, and are almost always encountered in large groups, utilizing the standard tactic of small humanoids of attacking in overwhelming swarms. In the Hool area, Xvarts do not mingle with Goblins, preferring to keep to themselves or ally with the scattered Ratmen tribes. They are careful to avoid human settlements and Lizardfolk territory. Hunting parties leave the warrens of their tribe nightly to prey on the smaller animals of the swamp, or the occasional small band of travellers lost in the area. The Hool Xvarts are almost exclusively nocturnal, venturing out in the daylight only to defend their warrens or investigate intrusions.
Xvarts speak their own lnguage, as well as the language of the Ratmen; individuals with Intelligence scores of 12 or higher may also speak Lizardfolk or Common.
Xvarts are individually weak combatants, and will attack a party only if they have a sizeable tactical or numerical advantage. Xvarts fear the larger races, except indivuals (or communities) infected with Lycanthropy (were-rats only), whom they respect as manifestations of their god. Hool region Xvarts do not share their races usual hatred of Halflings, having little to no contact with that race in the marshlands.
Xvarts will almost always try to overwhelm their opponents, always preferring a quick ambush to a fair fight. A common tactic employed is sneaking into the party campsite and savagely inflicting as much destruction as possible before a response is possible.
Xvarts gain a +2 racial bonus to Move Silently checks and a +4 racial bonus to Hide checks.
Darkvision As described in the PHB, with a range of 60 feet.
Speak with Rats Once per day, Xvarts may speak with animals, as a 1st level druid, with rats only, though all varities (dire, monstrous, fiendish, etc.) are included in this ability.
Plaguebearer Though they may carry, and transmit, all the diseases known to humanoids, Xvarts are able to resist the effects of all mundane diseases. Magical and supernatural afflictions, such as lycanthropy and mummy rot, still affect them as normal.
Xvart society is primitive and crude by human standards, but succeeds in sustaining their large numbers with a minimum of food and water. They make their warrens in the rocky caverns that dot the marshlands, enjoying the damp warmth.. Xvarts are highly tolerant of the weather conditions of the area, with both sexes dressing in little more than hide loincloths.
Xvarts have a lifespan of roughly 40 to 50 years, though very few survive that long in the harsh conditions of the marshlands. They are a prolific race however, generally mating twice a year, with each mating producing 2 to 5 offspring. There is no concept of a family unit in Xvart society, and the young are raised communally until their 5th year, whereupon they are expected to begin to fend for themselves and contribute to the tribe. Males tend to be the hunters and warriors of the tribes, with females filling domestic roles, as well as performing the shamanic, druidic or clerical roles, depending on the tribe. Xvarts of this area worship the Rat Lord Raxivort, though sometimes by proxy through the beastlord Sneer, a rat spirit of immense power who is seen as a servant and trusted companion of Raxivort. Religious and political alliances among the tribes are growing increasingly centered around the druid Loxynth, a lycanthropic Xvart female living in the Rat's Claw warren in Cryllor's undercity. The Xvarts and Ratmen of the marsh will generally aid any traveller showing affiliation with the Rat's Claw who can speak their language, providing food and shelter for a few days and information on the area.
Xvarts as Player Characters
A Xvart's favored class is fighter. Clerics, shamans, druids and rangers are also somewhat common, with rogues turning up now and then as well. The Xvart race is incapable, for reasons known only to their creator, the Rat Lord Raxivort, of performing arcane magic, so those classes are barred. Xvart clerics usually worship Raxivort (see the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer or Living Greyhawk Journal magazine issue 3 for more information on Raxivort), and shamans are commonly in service of the beastlord Sneer (see Green Ronin Publishing's The Shaman's Handbook for more information on Sneer and his shamans).
Inspiration and information for this article were gleaned from the AD&D 1st edition Fiend Folio (1981, TSR) and the 'Enchiridion of the Fiend-Sage' article in Living Greyhawk Journal issue 1 (2000, Wizards of the Coast).
Xvart, were-rat, raxivort