Churjiir


Round 2: Create a monster concept

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Congratulations! Though you did not get my final vote, this was a strong entry and a strong candidate for me.

Visual: 15 Charisma
Creativity: 18 Intelligence
Would I use it: 10 Dex
Overall: 15 Strength
I admit the osquip came to mind for me. That being said a hairless rat is a hard image to forget. I think the real strength for me was in the reverse pied piper--rat swarms and wererats are their minions? Nice. Not likely to see much use for me though as a druid could do the same thing.

Still a strong candidate and I wish you well for the future rounds!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Given that there are four versions of the churjiir in round 3, I will have to wait until voting closes before commenting. Thanks for waiting.

Dark Archive

Matt Goodall wrote:
Given that there are four versions of the churjiir in round 3, I will have to wait until voting closes before commenting. Thanks for waiting.

I can't recall, but did you get to comment on my churjiir art? That's prolly safe. :D

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

I can't recall, but did you get to comment on my churjiir art? That's prolly safe. :D

Thank you! I've sent you an email about it.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Finally finished my entry so here are:

The Secrets of the Churjiir

Origins
The concept came from a mind rat, a rat mastermind. Something that scavenges and scuttles around your mind, feeding off your thoughts and bringing diseases and death to your body through planting evil diseased thoughts in your mind.
Once I had the kernel of an idea. I expanded on it. I thought of a Rat King, which is (historically) a number of rats tied together by their tails. They are associated with plagues.
Rat Kings

Several books including Terry Pratchett’s The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents mention Rat Kings. In Mr. Pratchett’s book, the Rat King can to control other rats, and also manipulate, but not really dominate, creatures other than rats.
The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents

There are lots of giant rats, in lots of books and movies. There are ‘Rodents of Unusual Size’ in the Princess Bride. I think this made me realize I wanted a medium size rat, not just a small sized rat.
There is also a B grade Movie called ‘The Food of the Gods’ which has creatures grow to giant size when they eat the “food of the gods”, really big rats are involved here too.
The Food of the Gods

I also thought of an old horror novel called ‘The Rats’ by James Herbert. It is set in modern times and has giant rats eating dogs and homeless vagrants and so on. At the end, the hero discovers that the boss rat is a two headed hairless rat. The rats are all exterminated, except for one, which is pregnant and has a brood of babies, including a new leader.

Why two heads?
Apart from the old adage, “two heads are better than one”, it is the visual. PCs coming across a churjiir are going to know that this is no ordinary rat. With one head, it could be just a big rat, but with two heads, it is obviously not a normal rat or a normal wererat. Even without a knowledge check, PCs will suspect that this is the thing that is causing all the rats in town to behave so aggressively. From cinematic point of view, it means that you can’t look it square in the face. The two heads hint at it being smarter than other rats and are a physical manifestation of its mental powers. Also, the fact that the churjiir might do a little more damage in melee doesn’t hurt.

Why six legs?
The problem with dire rats is that they are still only small size, and it often feels like they are chewing at your ankles. With a rat this big, it can rear up and try to bite you anywhere, but it is going to look a bit funny dancing around on its back legs. With six legs, it can rear up use its claws and bites and still be fairly stable. It also reinforces that it is not a normal rat. Yes, it does make it look like an Osquip, not something I was intentionally trying for, but I do find most of the monsters in the Fiend Folio are cool.

Why bald?
It does make it look gross, but it was also to play on two things; that it doesn’t need fur because it has minions to go into the wet and cold to scavenge for it, and that the fleas that are seething over it, are not behaving as fleas normally do. They aren’t infesting the churjiir; they must be there for some other reason.

Why mental powers?
People commented in the Round 2 thread that they felt that the mental powers were a bit much. While designing, I thought of a Rat King, which is (historically) a number of rats tied together by their tails. Several books including Terry Pratchett’s The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents mention Rat Kings. In the book, the Rat King can dominate other rats, and can also influence creatures other than rats. I have to thank Demiurge 1138 for pointing this out when I couldn’t. Also from a gamist point of view, the churjiir is a boss monster that sends its rat minions to attack the PCs while it sits back. Giving it some spell-like powers, gives it something to do at range while the PCs are wading through its rodent servants. Also, from a PC point of view, until the PCs feel the mental powers of a churjiir, they can’t really be sure that what the churjiir is capable of. They might suspect that it has the power to control other rats, but the only real way to give them solid evidence is for the churjiir to be able use some of its mental powers on them.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka Benchak the Nightstalker

Matt Goodall wrote:

Why six legs?

The problem with dire rats is that they are still only small size, and it often feels like they are chewing at your ankles. With a rat this big, it can rear up and try to bite you anywhere, but it is going to look a bit funny dancing around on its back legs. With six legs, it can rear up use its claws and bites and still be fairly stable. It also reinforces that it is not a normal rat. Yes, it does make it look like an Osquip, not something I was intentionally trying for, but I do find most of the monsters in the Fiend Folio are cool.

This is actually something rats do! Check out the entry for Boxing on ratbehavior.org for more info.

I actually picked your monster to stat up last round because I own a pair of rats, and I got some of my ideas from watching them chew the crap out of a cardboard tube. :D


Re: "Why bald? "

I must say that I am impressed with the level of detail and thought that went into some of your design decisions.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Benjamin Bruck wrote:

This is actually something rats do! Check out the entry for Boxing on ratbehavior.org for more info.

I actually picked your monster to stat up last round because I own a pair of rats, and I got some of my ideas from watching them chew the crap out of a cardboard tube. :D

Hey Ben, interesting to know that you own rats. Rats can definitely stand up on their back legs, I'm just not sure how fast they can move around while on their back legs, not fast I'm guessing. With 6 legs, I'd theorise that they could move a lot faster and dodge sword swings better and so on. I'm glad you gave your Churjiir claw attacks (with multiattack) as well, to get that 'boxing' thing happening with their front claws. I imagined them doing that.

Also the whole mouse/rat on its hind legs thing, makes me think of every movie with an animated rat in it (Narnia, Stuart Little etc). That was something I was trying to avoid.

I'd also like to say that rats get a lot of bad press (which I haven't helped with). :-) There lots of people have rats as pets, and are rats trained and used to detect landmines. I've seen video of them and they were well fed and actually cute looking rats. Rats are no better or worse than most animals.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Matt Goodall wrote:

Finally finished my entry so here are:

The Secrets of the Churjiir

Origins
The concept came from a mind rat, a rat mastermind. Something that scavenges and scuttles around your mind, feeding off your thoughts and bringing diseases and death to your body through planting evil diseased thoughts in your mind.
Once I had the kernel of an idea. I expanded on it. I thought of a Rat King, which is (historically) a number of rats tied together by their tails. They are associated with plagues.
Rat Kings

I really enjoyed your notes on the Rat King stuff. I think those things are so cool. In fact, the RPG Superstar item I submitted in 2008 was Crown of the Rat King, a crown of rats with their tails all twined together that let you control rats and basically summon a swarm of rats.

I really like your Churjiir. I like the fleas, the two heads, the six legs, the psychic abilities. It's very cool to see your behind-the-scenes thoughts.

I'll post the 4e version I did of the churjiir when I get home, but I gave it an aura of fleas, some cool psychic abilities, and an ability to go twice (like the ettin). I made it a lv 6 elite controller bc the PCs are level 4 right now. I'll have to let you know how the game goes next week when they come across it and its rat swarms. Right now they're still fighting skaven rip-offs.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Seth White wrote:


I'll post the 4e version I did of the churjiir when I get home, but I gave it an aura of fleas, some cool psychic abilities, and an ability to go twice (like the ettin). I made it a lv 6 elite controller bc the PCs are level 4 right now. I'll have to let you know how the game goes next week when they come across it and its rat swarms. Right now they're still fighting skaven rip-offs.

Cool, very interested to hear how it goes. Hopefully your players will enjoy finally being able to put an end to the insidious churjiir behind the lurking rat menace.

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