Creature Feature: The Swamp Womp Rat!
By Steve Kenson and Brian Campbell
Womp rats are quadrupeds with short fur, whiplike tails, sharp teeth, and claws. The best known variety is the desert womp rat, native to the desert planet Tatooine, but other varieties have been found throughout many worlds. The desert variety sports light tan or yellow fur to blend into its surroundings. By contrast, the swamp variety, found in the marshes and bogs of Cularin, has dark, muddy brown fur, along with a set of whiskers for sensing movement in water.
In any environment, womp rats are dangerous enough on their own, but most prefer to hunt in packs of as many as a dozen. A group of them can bring down a large animal quickly and tear it apart. They're adept at chasing their prey, although most prefer to strike from an ambush. Subspecies that survive in dense wilderness, such as Cularin's jungles or marshes, rely on their ability to ambush unwary opponents more than their skill at tracking them down. Most womp rats are cowardly when faced with more dangerous adversaries. Bright lights and loud noises (including blaster fire) tend to frighten them off.
Swamp womp rats are exceedingly patient, waiting just below the surface of a marsh or bog for their prey to approach. Although they typically have poor eyesight, their long whiskers can pick up minute vibrations up to twenty meters away. (Thus, Spot checks usually depend on the creature's whiskers more than its eyesight.) "Swamp wompers" also rely on their highly developed sense of smell; the members of the pack will poke the tips of their noses above water while waiting for food. When a potential victim comes within about 10 meters, the pack swarms, overwhelming its prey with wave after wave of attacks. The pack will crawl up onto land only if desperate for food or when chasing a wounded victim.
When submerged, the creature's long whiskers can detect repulsorlift vibrations, but only when a vehicle comes within about 50 meters. Because these creatures aren't particularly bright, they've been known to hurl themselves at water transports, becoming a nuisance on many fringe worlds. In the Cularin system, where varieties of womp rats are present, locals often organize "womp runs" to cut down the population. In swamps, young Tarasin sometimes troll across a lake or marsh with repulsorlift vehicles, looking for easy sport and hoping to pick off as many swamp wompers as they can before the craft is swarming with them. Skillful pilots then pride themselves on waiting until the last possible moment to leave, hopefully killing one or two of the creatures in their rush to escape.
Tactics: Swamp womp rats often employ pack tactics when bringing down their prey. The fastest creature lunges at its victim with a quick bite. If a few other womp rats are lurking within a few meters, they'll surround the quarry, lashing out with bites and claw attacks. Against groups, the pack usually focuses on one or two targets, usually in an attempt to a drag a victim underwater before too many pack members are killed.
Swamp Womp Rat: Swamp predator 1; Init +4 (+4 Improved Init); Defense 13 (+3 natural); Spd 10 m, swim 10 m; VP/WP 4/11; Atk +1 melee (1d6, bite), -4 melee (1d4, 2 claws); SQ Scent; SV Fort +2, Ref +0, Will +0; SZ Medium; Str 11, Dex 10, Con 11, Int 3, Wis 11, Cha 6. Challenge Code: B.
Skills: Hide +4, Swim +8, Survival +6
Feats: Improved Initiative
Use this new critter with the Living Force Campaign Guide.
About the AuthorsSteve Kenson has been a freelance writer in the RPG industry for five years and a gamer for far longer than he'd care to admit. He's written for a number of games including Shadowrun, Marvel Super Heroes and Dragonlance: Fifth Age. His work appears regularly in Dragon magazine and on the official D&D website. Steve maintains a website with gaming articles he has written and information about his current projects. He can be reached by email at email@example.com.
Brian Campbell has been involved in the RPG industry for seven years as an editor and freelance writer. You may have seen his work for the Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, and Changeling product lines. Now a Seattle resident, Brian currently serves as an editor with the Star Wars Roleplaying R&D group at Wizards of the Coast.