Time for another deity write-up; this time it is Squerrik, the Wererat god. Upon reading through what had been written on wererats and Squerrik himself, I was surprised no one had drawn upon some obvious folk mythology. So I decided to add it in. :) I also modeled some elements of the priesthood and culture after aspects of rats themselves, since it seemed fitting.
Squerrik (PDF Version)
(Lord of Rats, Ratlord, Lord of the Sewers, the Scavenger)
Lesser Power of Gehenna, LE
Portfolio: Thievery, disguise, concealment, scavenging, cowardice, rats, wererats
Domain Name: Khalas/Cheisin
Foes: Malar, Milil, Raxivort, Selûne, Ye’Cind
Symbol: Rat’s head with bared yellow teeth
Wor. Align.: LN, N, CN, LE, NE, CE
Squerrik (SQUARE-ick), the Lord of the Rats, is the weak and cowardly god of rats, wererats, and other lycanthropes who prefer to live hidden within human and demihuman communities. As the Lord of the Sewers, he teaches his followers to live within spaces men create but do not live in. He is known as the Scavenger for living parasitically off the discarded leavings of others, as well as taking what he wants through thievery and murder. He is a paranoid god who constantly seeks new methods of protecting himself from enemies both real and perceived (most other deities consider him too insignificant to bother with).
The lycanthropic pantheon is not an organized group like the Seldarine or Morndinsamman are; in reality they are simply an assorted group of related and similar deities who share little in common beyond their shapechanging followers. Amongst them all, Squerrik is something of the odd one out, as he is not considered part of a sibling pair like the others in most mythologies. As such, he does not get along with any of his fellow lycanthropic gods. The Ratlord finds Daragor, the Lord of Werewolves, too brutish and vile; the Ratlord prefers subtlety in his acts of violence. Squerrik sees Balador as too kindly and willing to let others take advantage of him; with the werebear god’s power he should be able to crush those who oppose him easily. While he lusts after both Eshebala and Ferrix, neither has any interest in the Lord of the Sewers, finding him disgusting and shifty. Amongst other gods with lycanthropic followers, Squerrik dislikes Malar (whom he sees in much the same terms as Daragor) and Raxivort for suborning his followers, as well as Selûne and other good moon deities for their support for good lycanthropes and their opposition to evil lycanthropes. He rarely takes action against any of these other deities, however, preferring to scheme in the safety of his endless and heavily trapped tunnels and burrows beneath the plains of Gehenna. Beyond the deities of lycanthropes and shapeshifters, the Ratlord holds special enmity for gods of music and song, such as Milil and Ye’Cind, especially where magic is involved; far too often have his followers been swayed or charmed by their abilities. Most of these gods do not even realize they are the target of his hatred however.
Squerrik does not involve himself in the affairs of his followers very often through his avatars. He prefers to send them on missions seeking magical devices of protection and disguise, although if the presented with danger, they tend to quickly flee back to his realm of Cheisin. On very rare occasions he will send an avatar to lead a large pack of wererats to loot and pillage a human or demihuman community that has been weakened by war, disease, or other adversity.
Squerrik’s Avatar (Thief 26, Illusionist 14, Priest 12)
Squerrik appears in his ratman lycanthropic form with black or brown fur. He is usually dressed in filthy leathers and dirty cotton pants. While he can change to giant rat or human form, he virtually never does so. He only rarely casts spells, and when he does, he only uses wizard spells from the schools of abjuration, conjuration/summoning, and illusion/phantasm, and priest spells from the spheres of all, animal, charm, combat, guardian, necromantic, protection, summoning, sun, and wards (reversed forms only where appropriate).
AC 2; MV 18, Sw 9; HP 112; THAC0 8; #AT 1
Dmg 1d6+3 (short sword +3)
MR 5%; SZ M (5 feet 6 inches)
Str 14, Dex 19, Con 13, Int 19, Wis 13, Cha 12
Spells P: 6/5/5/3/2/2, W: 6/6/6/5/5/3/2*
Saves PPDM 8; RSW 4; PP 7; BW 11; Sp 5
* Numbers assume one extra illusion spell per spell level.
Special Att/Def: Squerrik wields Piper’s Bane, a short sword of quickness +3 that has a +6 bonus against bards, song wizards, and any creature with musical attacks. He will attack such creatures first whenever possible, unless there is a more obvious danger.
The Lord of Rats can only be hit by magical weapons, and is immune to poison, disease, and paralyzation. He suffers a −2 penalty to his saves versus musical attacks and abilities, such as song magic and bard abilities. He can spider climb at will and can change self three times per day. Once per day, Squerrik can cause disease, dimension door, cause contagion, cast rope trick, and summon 10d10 giant rats if they are within one mile of him. As with normal wererats, the Lord of the Sewers can inflict lycanthropy upon those damaged by his attacks, at a rate of 2% per point of damage.
The Ratlord wears a cloak of displacement, and there is a 30% chance that he has another minor magical item of protection or disguise as well.
Squerrik cares little for his priests and shamans, never sending omens or warnings, and only manifests to them if they fail to uphold their duties of finding items of protection and disguise for him.
The Ratlord is served by lawful evil lycanthropes of any sort, but particularly wererats, wererat lords, and werebats, all forms of rats, goblin rats, imps, and rat hengeyokai.
Clergy: Clerics, specialty priests, shamans, thieves
Clergy’s Align.: LE, NE, CE
Turn Undead: C: No, SP: No, Sha: No, T: No
Cmnd. Undead: C: No, SP: No, Sha: No, T: No
All clerics (including cleric/thieves), specialty priests, and shamans of Squerrik receive religion (lycanthrope) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency. Shamans can only cast priest spells while in ratman form, while clerics and specialty priests can cast spells in human or ratman form. Shamans gain 5% per level in the skills hide in shadows and move silently
Squerrik is virtually unknown outside of organized lycanthrope communities on most worlds in the known spheres. Wererats themselves are secretive and hide in abandoned structures, cave systems, and sewers, catacombs, and similar structures beneath cities. Those few outsiders who know anything of the Ratlord tend to be scholars of divinities, lycanthrope hunters, or priesthoods who directly oppose his followers.
Since wererats are not the type to defend their homes, preferring to move to another location when threatened, they do not build temples. They tend to adapt a single room or structure of their current abode into a makeshift place of worship, decorating it with stolen or discarded finery. They keep no holy relics that they would want to save or rescue, to more easily move on if their lair is threatened. They create altars out of simple wood or stone tables draped with dull yellow or ivory cloth when possible. If they are unable to get those colors, they will utilize whatever is in fashion in the nearest human settlement. As with other rooms in their lairs, they will always make sure the temple chamber has some sort of secretive back way out, often of a size that requires the ratmen to use their giant rat form to escape. The priests generally do not keep any sort of valuables within the temple itself.
Priests of Squerrik form themselves into a distinct pecking order based on strength, intelligence, and experience. This is partly based on instinct, and partly based on mock-challenges and mock-combat in ratman form; only rarely does injury occur, however. They do not maintain individual titles for any rankings beyond titles for novices (Scavengers) and full priests and shamans (Mischiefs). The highest priest in any community is called the Mischiefleader. Priests use the simple appellate “brother” or “sister” when referring respectfully to another priest, either above or below them in rank. Placating of higher ranked priests is expected through the giving of gifts; there is no set value, and they do not always have to be valuable or magic items, but such items are typical of the gifts. Specialty priests are called murinars. The vast majority of the Lord of Rats’ clergy is comprised of wererats and wererat lords (92%) with a small number of werebats (4%), rat hengeyokai (2%), and a smattering of other lycanthropes (2%) who prefer to live hidden within or near human settlements. There is no social stigma against female clergy members, but males (65%) still edge out females (35%). There is a roughly even split between clerics (32%), shamans (30%), and murinars (24%), with the remainder being cleric/thieves (7%), murinar/thieves (4%), and thieves (3%).
Dogma: Stay hidden, and take what is unwanted or left untended by others, and only slay those who will not be missed. Hide in plain sight. Fight only when guaranteed victory or when cornered. Utilize those spaces humans make but do not want to live in. Always have a way out. Material possessions can be stolen again; do not defend them with your lives. If your lair is discovered, flee; fighting will only result in unnecessary pack deaths. Gather items that will help defend, protect, or stay hidden, but do not hesitate to discard them when in danger.
Day-to-Day Activities: Typical activities of Squerrik’s priests are much the same as any other wererat. They spend their time expanding their lairs, scavenging through the refuse of the nearest human settlement, and general thieving. They actively try to acquire any magical items that can be used for disguise or protection, and are more than willing to steal or murder to acquire them. Other wererats, as well as junior priests, are often “encouraged” to donate such items to the priesthood and senior priests. Worship is generally considered an individualistic affair, so priests and lay followers do not gather at regular intervals to hold services.
Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: Once per year, on the first new moon after the autumnal equinox, the priests in any given pack gather to make their yearly sacrifice to the Ratlord. They sacrifice the most valuable magical item of protection or disguise they have or a large sum of treasure if they have no worthy magical items. They have no name for this ceremony, but not performing it results in a loss of spell power for the priests until they sacrifice, as well as making the lycanthrope pack’s lair 25% likely to be discovered per week (or portion thereof).
Major Centers of Worship: Due to the intransigence of Squerrik’s followers, there is little opportunity to create lasting centers of worship. The only such temple known is under the city of Calimport, and is associated with a number of very large wererat packs which operate as thieves’ guilds. The temple has no name, but is led by Mischiefleader Riitak el Muaddhin (LE wereratm P9), who, while not a ruling power within any of the guilds, does exert some influence. It is his teachings, and those of his predecessors, that have guided the wererats and helped keep them hidden for so long.
Affiliated Orders: Wererats are not martially-minded creatures, and form no combative orders. They may form thieves’ guilds or bandit groups with an association with Squerrik, but these are all local and not widespread.
Priestly Vestments: Priests of Squerrik have no standard ceremonial garb, as they always wear stolen finery from the nearest human or demihuman community. They prefer dull yellow or ivory colored robes, but will use whatever they can scavenge or steal. They avoid bright colors unless there is little else available. They’ll also use other fine garments such as sashes if robes cannot be stolen or scavenged. Their holy symbol is a polished rat skull.
Adventuring Garb: Squerrik’s clergy do not advertise their position when not performing services. They will wear whatever allows them to fit in with the human communities they prey upon, frequently creating different disguises to better blend in and allow them to commit thievery. When setting up ambushes or entering a situation in which they could find themselves in combat, they wear the best protective armor they can find, preferring magical leather armor.
Specialty Priests (Murinars)
Requirements: Dexterity 13, Wisdom 9
Prime Req.: Dexterity, Wisdom
Weapons: club, dagger, dart, hand crossbow, knife, lasso, short bow, sling, broad sword, long sword, short sword, staff
Armor: Leather, padded leather (padded armor), studded leather, or elven chain mail; no shield
Major Spheres: All, animal, charm, combat, guardian, necromantic (reversed), protection, sun (reversed)
Minor Spheres: Elemental air, elemental water, healing (reversed), summoning, wards
Magical Items: Same as clerics, plus devices that can only be used by thieves
Req. Profs: Disguise
Bonus Profs: Observation
- Murinars must be wererats, wererat lords, or rat hengeyokai.
- Murinars are allowed to multiclass as murinar/thieves.
- Murinars may select nonweapon proficiencies from the rogue group with no penalty.
- Murinars understand and use thieves’ cant.
- Single-class murinars have limited thieving skills as defined in the Limited Thieving Skills section of “Appendix 1: Demihuman Priests” of Demihuman Deities. [They have the thieving skill base scores as set out in the Player’s Handbook (including Dexterity, race, and armor adjustments), but gain no initial discretionary points. Each time a murinar gains a level, 20 points may be applied to thieving skills. No more than 15 points may be assigned to a single skill. Murinars cannot backstab as a thief, nor do they ever gain the ability to use magical scrolls that a thief does.] Multiclassed murinar/thieves receive no extra thieving skill points or bonuses for their murinar class; their thieving skills are based solely off their thief class.
- Murinars gain a +1 to their saves vs. poison, disease, and paralyzation. They gain an additional +1 bonus for every five levels they have (+2 at 5th, +3 at 10th, etc.).
- Murinars suffer a −2 penalty to their saving throws versus musical attacks or abilities of any sort, including song magic and bard abilities.
- Murinars can cast summon swarm (as the 2nd-level wizard spell) once per day, but only rats will be summoned.
- At 3rd level, murinars can cast darkness, 15′ radius or knock (as the 2nd-level wizard spell) once per day.
- At 5th level, murinars can cast giant rat (as the 4th-level priest spell) once per week.
- At 7th level, murinars can cast contagion (as the 4th-level wizard spell) once per week.
- At 10th level, murinars can cast illusionary wall (as the 4th-level wizard spell) once per day.
- At 12th level, murinars can cast protection from silver (as the 1st-level priest spell, as found in the Priest’s Spell Compendium Vol.2) once per week.
- At 15th level, murinars can break through any magical protection or warding that specifically protects against lycanthropes or the lycanthropic curse (protection from lycanthropes, 10′ radius, etc.) by making a saving throw vs. spell with a −2 penalty. They do not have to know the magic is in effect to break through the protection.
In addition to the spells listed below, priests of the Ratlord may cast the 2nd-level wizard spells darkness, 15′ radius (which they know as a 2nd-level priest spell) and Drawmij’s scent mask, detailed in the Wizard’s Spell Compendium Vol. I (which they know as a 2nd-level priest spell called Squerrik’s Scent Mask), and the 2nd-level priest spell burrow, detailed in Demihuman Deities in the entry for Segojan Earthcaller.
Silence Instrument (Pr 1; Alteration)
Range: 120 yds.
Components: V, S, M
Duration: 2 rds./level
Casting Time: 4
Area of Effect: 1 musical instrument
Saving Throw: Special
By means of this spell, the priest can mute one musical instrument. This effect prevents bards from utilizing many of their special abilities and many song mages from casting their spells. If the instrument is not currently held or carried by a creature, the spell affects the item automatically. If the instrument is held or carried, the instrument is entitled to a saving throw vs. spell, using the owner’s saving throw value. If the instrument is magical, it makes its save as a wizard of 6th level, or the level of its spell effects, whichever is higher. The effect lasts for two rounds per level of the caster.
The material component for the spell is the priest’s holy symbol.
Giant Rat (Pr 4; Alteration)
Range: 20 yds.
Components: V, S, M
Duration: 2 rds./level
Casting Time: 7
Area of Effect: 1 to 6 rats
Saving Throw: None
By means of this variation upon the giant insect spell, the priest can turn one or more normal-sized rats into larger forms resembling the giant rats described in the Monstrous Manual tome. Only normal rats can be altered, and all rats affected must be grown to the same size. The number of rats and the size to which they can be grown depend upon the priest’s level (see table).
Priest’s Rat Maximum
Level Hit Dice Total HD
7–9 3 9
10–12 4 12
13+ 6 15
For example, an 8th-level priest can grow three rats to 3 Hit Dice, four rats to 2 Hit Dice, or nine rats to 1 Hit Die. Rats of 3 Hit Dice or more can carry a rider of human size (assume that such can carry 80 pounds per Hit Die).
If the casting is interrupted for any reason, or if the rats are currently subject to any other magical effect (including this one), the rats die and the spell is ruined. The giant form has an Armor Class of 7, one attack, and inflicts 1d3 points of damage per hit die.
The spell works only on ordinary rats (including giant rats) that have less than one hit die. Vapor rats, cranium rats, osquips, and other rat-like creatures are not affected. Any giant rats created by this spell do not attempt to harm the priest, but the priest’s control of such creatures is limited to simple commands (“attack, “defend,” “guard,” and so forth). Orders to attack a certain creature when it appears or to guard against a particular occurrence are too complex. Unless commanded to do otherwise, the giant rats attempt to attack whoever or whatever is near them.
The material component for the spell is the priest’s holy symbol.