New Mutant Monday #6 - Vole Swarm

Chris Van Deelen

No. Enc: 10d100
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement: 120’ (40’)
AC: 8
HD: 1 hit point per individual
Attacks: see below
Damage: see below
Save: L4
Morale: 11
Hoard Class: None

Voles and mice were so prevalent before the end of the final wars, it should come as no surprise to anyone they not only survived, but thrived. This particular mutant rodent is greatly feared by everyone. 

Physically, the creature is nearly identical to its ancestors, with two major differences. The first is they are significantly larger, about the size of a kitten. Secondly, they have dual rows of razor-sharp teeth. Unlike their ancestors, these creatures are pure carnivores. They need meat and blood to survive.

Individually, they are not much of a threat. They can be easily dispatched, and the bite, although painful, is not that deadly. What makes these creatures so incredibly dangerous is they live and travel in swarms. The typical swarm will cover between ten to one hundred feet, although there have been reports of swarms so massive they cover nearly a mile in diameter. There are ten voles per foot, and in a single ten foot swarm, there will be a total of one hundred.

The swarm moves in to surround and then cover a target. The creatures then attack, and due to their size, are often able to get underneath armor to the soft, juicy bits. An entire swarm can strip a humanoid size creature to the bare, blood-flecked bones in less than a minute.

The only really effective way to deal with a swarm is the use of area-effect weapons, otherwise killing individuals will not save the target. The only other option one has when it comes to these creatures is to run for their lives.

A swarm will break up into smaller groups, covering ten foot sections. They will then split up and attempt to come at prey from all sides. So if a swarm has 500 individuals, they will split up into five ten-foot swarms and will attempt to surround and then converge. Anyone engulfed by the swarm will suffer 5d6 points of damage per round, with no saving throw and no attack roll.  Only those who are completely enclosed in metallic armor (such as Powered Armor) are immune to the effects. Even plate and other armor does not protect, as the creatures can easily burrow through leather, cloth and other synthetic materials. Plate does not help, as there are plenty of gaps and openings for the creatures to climb through.

If someone has the speed, they can try and run through a swarm to escape. This requires a successful Dexterity check, as with each step they will crush and kill the creatures, but it makes it slippery and hard to maintain one’s footing. If the check fails, the victim falls and is automatically attacked for full damage.

Even if the check is successful, 2d12 of these creatures will still manage to latch on as the victim moves, and will inflict 1 hit point of damage each, each round. The victim can still swat and smash the creatures as she runs, and this does not require an attack roll, but they must use their hands or small, one handed weapons. They will be able to kill 1d3 plus their dexterity bonus to hit (if any) per round.

Anyone who is killed by these creatures will be consumed right down to the bones. All items, clothing and weapons will remain untouched. These creatures will only eat organic material.

Mutations: None