Gamers logo

A Dirty Dozen of Vile Vermin

Creepy-crawlies for your Shadowdark RPG campaign...

By Samuel WrightPublished 6 months ago 9 min read

Swarms of insects and rodents, giant bugs, ravenous schools of fish, and other nasty, creepy-crawly critters that spread chaos and death in the Shadowdark RPG are here for your campaign. This dirty dozen is downright filthy, wash your hands after touching them. You are welcome…

Blood Tide Fish, Swarm

A school of vicious, blood-drinking fish, the blood tide school of fish creeps along coastlines in search of warm bodies to swarm over and latch onto, draining swimmers and creatures like seals and otters of blood. AC 14, HP 25, ATK 4 bite +4 (1d6 + blood drain), MV near (swim), S -2, D +4, C +3, I -3, W +0, Ch -3, AL N, LV 5

Savage. ADV on attacks against creatures below half their HP.

Blood Drain. Attach to a bitten target; auto-hit the next round. DC12 STR on turn to remove. Drains 1d4 CON per round until the target is dead.

Heat Seeking. Blood tide fish can sense warm, mammalian creatures in the water around them up to a far distance away and know the distance and direction to those creatures.

Brain Rat, Swarm

A conspiracy of telepathic vermin with overgrown, exposed brains that can be seen pulsing with energy. These vermin dwell in sewers, caves, and dark corners where they can hide from the sun, ready to stun and then swarm over a hapless victim. AC 10, HP 37, ATK 4 bite +0 (1 + memory drain or mind blast), MV near, S -3, D +2, C +1, I +4, W +3, Ch +3, AL C, LV 8

Hear Thoughts. Can hear the surface thoughts of all intelligent creatures within near.

Mind Blast. Fills a near-sized cube extending from the swarm. DC 15 INT or 3d4 damage and paralyzed 1d4 rounds.

Mind Control. One target in near DC 15 CHA or swarm controls the subject for 1d4 rounds.

Memory Drain. A single target in near range must make a DC 15 INT check or lose one 1d6 experience points. If the swarm takes enough XP loss to lower it a level, the swarm gains 1 level in the class of the target. Older brain rat swarms may have multiple levels in one or more classes.

Telekinesis. The swarm can cast Telekinesis 3/day.

Telepathic Veil. Any spell used to locate, detect, or read the thoughts of the swarm is cast at disadvantage.

Invisibility. The swarm can cast invisibility on all of its members 3/day.

Sunblind. Blinded in bright light.

Creeping Darkness, Swarm

A mass of large, venomous spiders that radiate an aura of darkness, the creeping darkness is often followed by other monsters that hide in its aura. Multiple swarms sometimes carpet an area of up to near size in a blanket of pitch black darkness. AC 13, HP 13, ATK 2 bite +4 (1d4 + poison), MV near (climb), S -1, D +4, C +0, I -1, W +2, Ch -3, AL N, LV 3

Aura of Darkness. The creeping darkness radiates an aura of inky black darkness out to close range that normal sight cannot penetrate.

Poison. DC 12 CON or paralyzed 1d6 rounds.

Death Hornet

A giant flying insect the size of a pony with a shiny, black body that hunts at night. AC 13, HP 20, ATK 1 sting +4 (1d8 + venom), MV double near (fly), S +3, D +4, C +2, I -3, W +0, Ch -3, AL N, LV 4

Sting. The death hornet can stab an opponent with its venomous stinger or fire it at a target in near range. If it fires its stinger it can hit an opponent in near range and regrows a new stinger after two more rounds. Those struck must make DC 12 CON check or go to 0 HP.

Death Scarab, Swarm

A monster inspired by the movie “The Mummy”, this is a cloud of large, bloated beetles that can penetrate the flesh of a target, moving under the target’s skin to chew into the target’s organs. AC 13, HP 14, ATK 2 bite +5 (1d6+infestation), MV near (fly), S -1, D +5, C +3, I -3, W +0, Ch -3, AL N, LV 6

Infest. Any creature damaged by a death scarab swarm becomes infested unless it succeeds at a DC 15 DEX check. The infested creature takes 1d6 points of CON damage per round as the scarabs burrow the skin of the victim and eat their way to the target’s heart. Infested characters cannot move or attack due to the pain they are in. Allies can intervene by attempting to attack the swarm with weapons or spells, but the victim takes half of all the damage. Powers that can cure disease, such as the touch of a unicorn’s horn, force the scarabs to make a CON check to resist or be driven from the body of the target.

Light Phobia. Death scarabs will not enter an area that is not dark, keeping carefully out of the light of even a candle or torch. Should an area turn dark, they will immediately attack a potential target without fear.

Lightning Bug, Swarm

A swarm of flying, faintly glowing, blue and purple insects that have an electrical sting. They swarm around a target releasing electrical sparks to paralyse their prey.

AC 14, HP 21, ATK 2 sting +3 (1d4 + shocking touch), MV near (fly), S -1, D +4, C +3, I -3, W +0, Ch -3, AL N, LV 4

Blind. The shock bug swarm can release an electrical flash, so creatures within close range must make DC 12 CON check or go blind for 1d6 rounds.

Shocking Touch. On a hit the shock bug electrocutes its target, which must make a DC 12 CON check or take 1d8 damage and be paralyzed for 1 round.

Nightmare Spider

Creeping psychic spiders that attack people in their dreams, driving victims mad. These glistening black spiders the size of a kitten with pulsing, exposed brains hide in dark corners of homes, under beds, and in abandoned buildings, waiting for sleeping victims to terrorise. AC 12, HP 13, ATK 2 bite +1 (1d4), MV near (climb), S -4, D +2, C +0, I +3, W +4, Ch +2, AL C, LV 3

Telepathic. Read the thoughts of all creatures within near range.

Haunt Dreams. The spider can enter the dreams of a sleeping target within close range to create horrific visions that damage the sanity of the victim, who must make a DC 12 WIS check or lose 1d4 WIS. Targets that lose WIS gain no benefit from that rest session. Targets reduced to less than half their original WIS in a single week develop a random phobia or compulsion. At 0 WIS the target becomes catatonic and cannot take any actions, even to avoid attacks. Unattended bodies eventually die of hunger and exposure.

Enslave The Mindless. A nightmare spider that reduces a target to 0 WIS can control the victim’s body for 1d4 rounds at a time up to 3 times per day, effectively turning it into a living form of zombie that cannot be turned, by attaching to the body’s spine. A DC 9 STR check can pull the spider off a body, ending the control.

Plague Roach, Swarm

A skittering mass of diseased, brown roaches that spreads plagues. Even those trying to heal their victims are put at risk by these vile creatures as they spread their contagion.

AC 14, HP 22, ATK 3 bite +3 (1d4), MV near (climb), S -1, D +4, C +4, I -3, W +0, Ch -3, AL N, LV 4

Contagious Disease. DC 9 CON or 1d4 CON damage (can't heal while ill). Repeat check once per day; ends on a successful roll. Die at 0 CON. If the plague roaches swarm over an item of food, it will infect anyone that later eats it as if the person had been bitten by the roaches. Anyone touching an infected person must also make a check to avoid catching the disease.

Rabid Bat, Swarm

A swarm of screeching, diseased bats that attack anything on sight, maddened to fearlessness by the pain of their disease. AC 13, HP 16, ATK 3 bite +2 (1d6), MV near (fly), S -1, D +3, C -2, I -3, W +1, Ch -3, AL N, LV 4

Rabies. A disease that makes victims ferocious and paranoid. DC 12 CON or 1d4 CON damage (can't heal while ill). Repeat check once per day; ends on a success. Die at 0 CON. Victims are always hostile and attack anyone who approaches them, and they are immune to morale checks.

Fearless. Immune to morale checks.

Shock Snail.

A sapphire blue snail large as a cat. AC 11, HP 21, ATK 1 bite +1 (1d4 + attach + static shock), MV near (swim and climb), S +3, D -3, C +3, I -3, W -1, Ch -3, AL N, LV4

Attach. Attach to target; bite auto-hits next round. DC 12 STR on turn to tear off.

Static Shock. The shock snail can release an electric charge from its body once every 3 rounds. Anything touching the shock snail makes a DC 13 CON check or takes 1d8 damage from an electrical shock, and gets knocked back a close distance and falls. If the shock snail is underwater, anything in the water and in close range can be hit with this shock as well.

Shell Retreat. The shock snail can hide in its shell when in danger. It cannot move or use its bite when hidden in its shell. It gains an AC of 15 when hidden in its shell and can use its static shock to defend itself.

Stench Bug

A skittering, bloated, green beetle that is worse dead then alive, releasing a horrible reek when it dies. They frequent forests, where they hide in underbrush. AC 13, HP 11, ATK 1 bite +1 (1d4 + poison), MV near, S -4, D +3, C +2, I -4, W -2, Ch -4, AL N, LV 2

Poison. The target must make a DC 9 CON check or be paralysed for 1d4 rounds.

Death Stench. When killed, the stench beetle swarm releases a noxious cloud of nauseating gas that reeks up to a near distance away. Living creatures within this area must make a DC 12 CON check or suffer DISADV on attacks and spellcasting for 2d4 rounds and lose 1 CON.

Sun Bat, Swarm

Flaming bright mutant bats, the sun bat is blindingly bright and enjoys setting fires. Swarms of these flying vermin like to nest near volcanoes or inside fireplaces and forges. AC 12, HP 27, ATK 4 bite +4 (1d6), MV double near (fly), S -3, D +4, C +0, I +0, W +2, Ch +3, AL N, LV 6

Blinding Radiance. Anyone entering to within near range of the sun bat swarm must make a DC 12 CON check or be blinded for 1d8 minutes. Up to twice this range is illuminated as bright as normal daylight.

Impervious. Fire immune.

Rain of Sparks. Once per 3 rounds the swarm of sun bats can release a shower of hot sparks that do 2d6 damage to all targets within close range who fail a DC 12 DEX check, and may ignite flammable items like dry underbrush.

table toprpghorrorcombatadventure gamesaction adventure

About the Creator

Samuel Wright

I am a writer & tarot reader in Oregon. I'm a TTRPG fan, love all types of sci-fi & fantasy books, movies, & games, & read voraciously. I write a variety of content, mostly RPG blogs. Tell me where you found me.

Art by Google/Unsplash

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.