Signs, Omens, and Encounters: Bats and Giant Bats


  • Sticky sticky guano, covers every surface.
  • A crescendo of flutters and chirping, then quiet as a cave.
  • Crevices ascend deep into a dark cavernous ceiling.
  • Discarded husks of large insects crunch underfoot.
  • Eviscerated bodies of small mammals (rodents and moles) heaped below a tall dark cavern.


  • The ceiling seems alive, or perhaps it's a trick of the torchlight. At any rate, an uneasy feeling.
  • A flurry of wings erupt around the PCs, investigate, then disappear.
  • A thousand eyes, suspended from above, suddenly stare at the PCs.
  • Large wing-beats in this or a nearby room move the air subtly, its source unknown.

La Fleur des histoires, de Jean Mansel. Tome II; Date d'├ędition. 1454  via Jesse Hurlbut


  1. The raging 'Bat King' (bat, giant) and his devoted thrall of 3d6 bats attack in multiple flurried rounds to ML 9 (giant) and ML 11 (standard) if king is present and ML 7 if not. The bats are treated as a swarm or single organism and may attack one target per two HP (see also The Cellars of Castle Keep). The standard bats have a 1 in 6 chance of transmitting disease on a successful bite. See below.
  2. The "Bat King" without the benefit of his entourage, attacks furiously (ML10) to protect his kingdom.
  3. Attacking in waves, a swarm of 2d6 bats drops rapidly into combat. Intent as they are in annihilating or at least instilling fear into their opponents, they surprise on a 1-4/6 (1-3/6 if elves or dogs are in the party). They will continue their onslaught to ML 9. The bats are treated as a swarm or single organism and may attack one target per two HP (see also The Cellars of Castle Keep). The standard bats have a 1 in 6 chance of transmitting disease on a successful bite. See below.
  4. Two distinct flocks (flocks? anyway, 2d6 each) of bats erupt from separate caverns and attack either the PCs (1-3/6) or each other (4-6/6).
  5. The "Bat King" descends slowly to a perch within bowshot of the PCs. Flanked by 1d6 of his 'bests', they regard the PCs menancingly.
  6. The guano is thick and sticky underfoot, amidst plumes of aromatic fungus. Wing beats and flutterings above. If PCs spend any time gathering the fungus, they must save at -1 per round or become covered in the guano (which otherwise does no damage). 
    • Each fungus will either (1-4/6) heal 1d3 HP or (5-6/6) cause the the pores to effuse a horrible irritant into clothes and under armor resulting in an uncontrollable need to strip naked for 1d6 days. 
    • The PC will have to settle on only a loincloth and weapon in hand until symptoms abate. Players are discouraged from acting out this particular condition.


  1. Roll 1d6 to determine the specific disease transmitted
    • 1-2: Lockjaw Toadie 
    • 3-4: Phlegmatic Doom
    • 5-6: Agony Dance
  2. Roll 2d6. This number is the activation number of the disease. Any roll (yes, any) that results in this number will activate the symptoms for the duration as described.

Lockjaw Toadie: An unfortunate neurological condition, this disease effects the agreeable centers and related mechanical functions. The PC will, for 1d6 TURNS, be overcome with the desire to faun and please. However, unable to express themselves, the character (and player) is forced to do so by hum and mime.

Phlegmatic Doom (aka Eeyore's Disease): More annoyance than truly problematic, the Phlegmatic Doom requires that the player narrate in depth the many potential pitfalls and negative outcomes of any and all actions both taken and considered for 1d6 TURNS.

Agony Dance: When the activation number is rolled, the character (and player) erupt in an unfortunate and persistent twisted dance (common manifestations include Approximate Ballroom, Shameless Moonwalk, or Mr. Roboto) for 1d6 TURNS. Not always an impediment, the Agony Dance has been known to stir charms and fancies (or at least a little pity) and so the player may gain a +1 to all charisma rolls for the duration of the dance.  


The Dragon, Apocalypse ('The Trinity Apocalypse'), England ca. 1250
(Cambridge, Trinity College Library, R.16.2, fol. 14r)

via Discarding Images

Adjective Abilities

It took me some time to come around to the idea of descriptive abilities and away from a solid grid of characteristics and their iconic 3-18 spread. Pits and Perils' notion of a singular (or couple of) strong stat(s) is interesting and clean.

I think that what I liked right from the get-go was PnP's own description of "Wise Fighter" in the core rules. I know exactly who that is. It's image is visceral and I know how to play him or her.

So here's a little pointless mind-dump. There's no real mechanical differentiation to these but simply serve as an aid to playing the character. I would write them as (STAT) Adjective Class.

Consider the differences between these: (INT) Brainy Fighter, (CON) Resilient Thief, (CHA) Captivating Cleric, etc.

11-12Any 2 (choose)