Last night's heavily-improved Iron Coast session called for vermen (see previous Monster Monday posts) to be mounted. In the scenario I was running, goblins were supposed to ride giant wolves, but this is Ore and there ain't no damn goblins, and why the hell would a ratman ride a wolf? That just don't make sense. Nope, I reasoned, the vermen deserved a vermount just as creepy as themselves. Also, I'm terrified by opossums.
Dungeon Enc: Pack (1d4); Den (1d6+2)
Wilderness Enc: Den (1d6+2); Warren (2d6+2 dens)
Movement: 150' (climb 120)
Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 3
Damage: bite 1d6
Treasure Type: F (warren only)
Long ago, the vermen of the Iron Coast domesticated a strain of bestial mutants distantly related to the verman possumbrutes. These bestial mutants, called "posskum" in both the Black Speech and the common tongue, were first raised as beasts of burden, then guard beasts and were ultimately domesticated to become the favored mounts of certain tribes of vermen. Notably, the Orphan Baronies have been plagued for generations by the posskum cavalry of the Isaskrisit ("skull-headed") tribe.
Giant Opossums, as they are properly known, are excellent climbers and remarkably stealthy for their large size; in fact, they have a +1 bonus to surprise and a climb rate of 120. Due to their relatively loose but thick hide, vermen may ride posskum bareback with little chance of being unseated (+1 to saving throws to avoid being dismounted). Finally, since most posskum share the filthy conditions of their vermen masters, every 4th posskum is infected with disease, though often of a weak variety (+2 to saves against it).
Last night's Iron Coast game featuring the posskum was a strange form of catharsis for me. When the PCs first faced them, they were shocked and repulsed by their... fucking creepiness. They're goddamn opossums! The posskum really leveled the playing field against the assembled might of the PCs who otherwise would have completely outclassed the vermen they were fighting. The hits the posskum were getting in proved they were a threat, justifying (if only imaginarily) my own irrational fear of these disgusting marsupials. Plus, I got to be there when the players killed a ton of these things, often in remarkably dramatic and messy ways. Either way, I won.