Plague Rat Thaumaphoroi
"By gnawing through a dike, even a rat may drown a nation." - Edmund Burke
Entrance Interview Transcript
Subject: Desmond Amadeus Raith
Um. Hi. Yeah. My name is Des, although nobody calls me that anymore. Online I go by the handle of the WebRat. I'm 19 and working on getting my programming degree via an online college course. I'm a blogger and work as a journalist for a handful of gamer and gaming industry websites, such as Kotaku, IGN and Gamespot. I live in a small house that I own and rely on delivery services for pretty much everything from food to computers to collectible action figures. I only go out at night to get some exercise and tend to stick to roof tops and alleys. If your freak academy has four mutant turtles in attendance I'll be good to go.
The change? Well...I really don't like to talk about it. A lot was going on. I had gotten really sick following a....rat bite. Yeah. I know. Super cliche and high on the lame chart. Not even a radioactive rat, that would be cooler. No, the little fucker was diseased instead. Bubonic plague it turns out. I didn't even think that was still around, or that we were all immune now or something. Well, it's still around and I was certainly not immune. I got very sick. Like, hospitalized ICU for weeks. My parents were like the walking dead, one of them there every moment, day and night. My younger brother Toby and baby sister, Penny spent a lot of time with babysitters. As my condition continued to get worse, weird things started happening to me. I could barely see, everything had become blurry and the colors were all wrong. But my hearing and sense of smell had gone into overdrive. The doctors didn't think I was going to make it, I could hear them talking to my parents, though I shouldn't have been able to. They said something about an unknown condition causing my cellular structure to break down and that it was getting worse. They had to put bandages over my skin because it was apparently coming off in strips. Gross. Two days following the "your son is going to die anytime now" conversation - yeah that was great for my morale - worse got much worse as a terrible earthquake and sinkhole caused the hospital to collapse. It was worse than any nightmare my subconscious could ever have conceived. I struggled to move about, to get to safety. The world had within seconds transformed into a realm of cramped spaces, dust and debris, pain, darkness, fire, streams of water, the dead and screams from elsewhere in the wreckage. I couldn't find a way out. I was trapped, I was weak, I was going to die - if not from my disease then from the hell all around me or both. That's when the pain began. Before, I was - well I had enough morphine to numb my future grandchildren - but I was in "normal" pain, normal like, "oh gods I'm going to die" pain. This was worse. It was indescribable. I wasn't suffering from pain, I WAS pain, so was the world around me. My head was pounding, my skin was on fire, and the sounds coming from inside me...cracking...as things moved. I think I screamed, but trying to remember it - I don't think I was able to.
Lets just summarize: it was very unpleasant.
When it was over. I was as you see me now. I was in shock of course and covered in all sorts of varieties of gore. But I was alive. I was VERY alive. And I knew on an instinctive level that I could get away, and I did so with barely another thought. The walls and ground parted for me as if it were rice paper and I fled, burrowing through the ground until I found my way into a storm drain and went unconscious. I woke later. Collected myself as best as a 13 year old kid could. I could barely see anything, and what I could see was strange. But I could smell EVERYTHING and my hearing was not too shabby either. My bandages had fallen away to reveal the new me. For a brief time I considered that I might perhaps be a wererat, like my brother and I used to fight in my Dad's D&D game. No such luck. I didn't turn back into a boy to only endure this 1-3 days a month. I was thoroughly fucked. I couldn't go home like this. I couldn't go anywhere like this. I decided to remain in the storm drain until I figured something out.
So I lived in said storm drain, though I had added a warren of rooms and tunnels to it, for about two years. Yup - never came up with that better plan. While not an ideal living situation, it gave me time to develop and hone my new skills and abilities. And I made a number of new friends amongst the local rats as well, having found that I could...not communicate, but - we have an understanding on some level. I was a 4' tall rat living in a sewer. I really should consider using the code name Splinter. I would sneak out at night to explore the area and to visit my past. I often checked in on my family. My father had died when the hospital collapsed. I watched from the dark outside their windows as my Mother and siblings mourned for both of us. And I watched as they packed up and moved to North Carolina, where my mom has family. I wanted to be with them. But...I don't think it could have worked. My sister spotted me lurking outside a window once. She waved at me. I waved back and she grinned that wonderful little grin and ran away giggling. She just turned nine last week.
To sum up some rather tedious details, I stumbled onto a deserted home, moved in as a squatter. Procured some cash and a few items that didn't exactly belong to me from a store in order to jump start my life. Eventually I got a job online, then a few more. With income, my life improved - I could actually afford to buy things and REAL food. Don't ask me what I'd been eating. It's fortunate that I can pretty much eat anything, I probably wouldn't have survived otherwise, but that doesn't make it taste good. I ended up buying the house I was squatting in and by age 19, I would have to say I was doing quite well for a freakish introverted rat boy. I got my GED online and started college courses a year ago.
Other than the thugs and muggers I've thumped at night in my neighborhood, I've never had any direct interaction with another human being in...well since the hospital. No. There was a homeless woman once. I swear she was part banshee. I have numerous online relationships and I interact with delivery people via a door slot and intercom.
The muggers? Oh. Yeah. I'm not exactly Batman or anything. "I'm Ratman!", just doesn't have the same ring and my hoodie makes me look more like a Sith lord with a furry muzzle sticking out of it than a super hero. But I do have some pretty impressive qualities. Those parkour videos you see online? I can do that. I decided to take care of my street. Make it safe for people. I keep it small scale, so as not to draw too much attention.
That it? My favorite film is the original animated Transformers movie and my favorite color is ultraviolet. Also, I live on caffeine.
Oh. I'll be moving my buddies in with me. Seventeen of them. Yes. Rats and one cat. I'll shoot you and e-mail with their names. I was thinking about getting four turtles as well. The irony amuses me to no end.
Follow-up Notes: Initial facts presented by Mr. Raith were confirmed, but upon further investigation, a number of discrepancies have been uncovered. A followup interview may be necessary.
Des is an anthropomorphic rat, stands at a maximum height of 4' 2", but is considerably shorter due to his hunched posture and bent legs, and weighs about 100 pounds. He has brown fur with a darker spot around one eye and lighter fur around his hands and a long bald tail that he often keeps wrapped around him like a belt if he's not using it. His eyes are solid black. Des prefers loose clothes, as tighter fabric on top of his fur causes discomfort. He typically wears cargo shorts and hoodies, both of which he has an impressive collection. He is always bare foot. He wears a watch, has multiple hoop piercings in his ears, some alternating rubber bracelets with game industry logos or slogans on them and a class ring that was his fathers. He generally wears a small black messenger bag at all times and only rarely isn't chatting with someone on his phone (when he's not, it's usually because he can't hold the phone and his food at the same time).
Hero: Plague Rat; Identity: "WebRat" (online), Desmond "Des" Amadeus Raith (offline); Power Level: 8,
Ethnicity: Caucasian; Age: 19; Sex: male; Height: 4' 2"; Weight: 100 lbs.; Eyes: black; Hair: brown;
- Abilities: Strength 1, Stamina 7, Agility 4, Dexterity 3, Fighting 3, Intellect 0, Awareness 2, Presence -2
- Dodge: (AGL)+3 = 7 (+5 vs. AE)
- Parry: (FGT)+2 = 5
- Fortitude: (STA)+1 = 8
- Toughness: (STA) = 7 (+2 active defense)
- Will: (AWE)+1 = 3
- Offense: Unarmed (claw/bite/tail): +11 (+Multiattack, +Penetration) + Fast Grab w/ Finesse & Improved
- Initiative: 4
- Acrobatics: (AGL)+8 = +12
- Athletics: (STR)+10 = +11
- Close Combat: (FGT)+8 = +11
- Deception: (PRE)+0 = -2
- Expertise (Journalism): (INT)+4 = +4
- Expertise (Computers): (INT)+6 = +6
- Insight: (AWE)+0 = +2
- Intimidation: (PRE)+0 = -2
- Investigation: (INT)+6 = +6
- Perception: (AWE)+10 = +12
- Persuasion: (PRE)+0 = -2
- Ranged Combat: (DEX)+0 = +3
- Sleight of Hand: (DEX)+4 = +7
- Stealth: (AGL)+12 = +16
- Technology: (INT)+2 = +2
- Treatment: (INT)+1 = +1
- Vehicles: (DEX)+1 = +4
- Languages: English (native)
- Move Speed: 0 (30')
- Burrow Speed: 1 (60', hard clay/packed earth 30', solid rock 15')
- Lift Mass: 100 lbs.
- Carried Possessions: messenger bag, iPad, iPhone, pen, notepad, flash drive, wallet, keys, pocket knife, manicure kit, mouthwash, snacks, pPhone, pPad, prana-comm earrings
- Animal Empathy: waives the usual penalty for interaction with animals
- Rats are my buddies. I have a way with other animals too, but rats just "get me".
- Contacts: Investigation roll to gather information in one minute
- I know lots of people who have nothing better to do than surf the web and stalk others. They probably build bombs and flesh suits as well. But hey, everybody needs a hobby.
- Well Informed: free Investigation check when meeting an individual, group or organization for the first time
- I live on the web. There is a good chance I've already read about you on your cousin's facebook, eharmony or CNN.com.
- Hide in Plain Sight: can hid without Deception/Intimidation or diversion, no penalty to Stealth check
- If you look like me you learn to be invisible when you go out amongst humanity.
- Uncanny Dodge: not vulnerable when surprised or caught off guard
- Agile Feint: use Acrobatics or move speed rank in place of Deception to feint and trick
- Defensive Roll (2): +2 Toughness (active defense)
- Evasion (2): +5 Dodge resistance to avoid AE
- Fast Grab: hit allows automatic grab as a free action
- Favored Environment (underground): +2 to attacks or defenses when underground
- Grabbing Finesse: use Dexterity instead of Strength for grab checks, not vulnerable while grabbing
- Improved Grab: can perform/maintain grab checks with one limb & use others to perform actions
- Affliction: 8 (Activate/move, Noticeable); 1) Impaired, 2) Disabled, 3) Incapacitated
- With an audible crack of my jaw, I can activate a gland in my mouth that releases a steaming green viscous and toxic fluid that I use to coat my teeth, claws and even the tip of my tail with (it tickles). This fluid evaporates quickly, but leaves a terrible taste in the mouth, which is why I always carry mouthwash everywhere I go. Between the ooze and the mouthwash, my teeth are perfectly white.
- Burrowing: 6
- Digging is normally faster than walking and I can remain hidden, so it's my primary means of getting around. The downside is that the foundation of my house has settled about a foot lower than that of my neighbors.
- Extra Limbs: 1 (tail)
- Wanna touch my tail? Go on. Touch it.
- Feature: 1 (iron stomach)
- Were you going to eat the fuzzy green pizza in the fridge? Can I have it?
- Immunity: 1 (disease)
- I survived the bubonic plague!
- Senses: 1 Ultra Hearing, 1 Ultravision, 1 Acute Smell, 2 Accurate Smell, 1 Extended Smell, 1 Tracking
- I may be partially color blind and unable to see more than two feet from my face, but I can smell who and where you are. Ooh! I can hear my neighbors are watching Xena!
- Multiattack STR: 1
- Look Ma! No hands!
- Penetrating STR: 1
- ...for her pleasure?
- Motivation: I want to be accepted as a person and seen for who I am, not what I look like or my freakish genetics. Simple things, like being able to go grocery shopping or even just go outside to pick up the paper during the day is a dream I don't see as ever coming true.
- Disability: I have blurry vision up to a few feet in front of me. Anything beyond that I may as well be blind. Also, I can only tell the difference between blue and green. I vaguely remember what the color red looked like from before the change. Seeing ultraviolet is really pretty, though.
- Inhuman Appearance: I'm a four foot tall bipedal rat. Makes you kinda stand out and only furries want to make out with you.
- Responsibility: I have a job that I love and I need to keep my GPA at a passing level.
- Secret: Des Raith vs. the WebRat vs. Plague Rat! Not to mention all of my WoW characters. So many identities to juggle and keep separate.
Power & Hero Points
Starting: 0p (120) Total Earned: 4p
Spent: 4p; Unspent: 0p