There are many reasons to beware the tangled depths of the Nivenesh Jungle in Valtyr. Be it the forest drakes that prowl the ground floor, the giant bloodthorn serpents that cling to the upper branches of the vine-choked trees, or the swarms of blighter wasps that nest in the shallows of the Whitetail River, Nivenesh is surely full of its fair share of dangers. Dozens of dangerous fauna (and flora) exist in the jungle’s green canopy. One such danger is the screeching sloth-rat.
Somewhat of a curious creature, the screeching sloth-rat is tree dwelling mammal that appears as a cross between a three-toed sloth and a giant wharf rat. Its matted brown fur can have tinges of red or black mixed within it. Its head resembles a rodent and it even has a vestigial tail. It travels on all fours and has four, three-toed paws, the fore of which possess incredible strength, enough to crush a man’s skull. They measure up to 2.5 feet in length and can weigh as much as 15 pounds. Screeching sloth-rats tend to live in communities of several dozen, thereby increasing their chances of a successful catch when they decide it is time to eat.
Where the creature gets its name is from its peculiar form of attack. The screeching sloth-rat is a notoriously lazy beast that prefers to sit about in treetops and sleep most of the day. However, at night they become active and possess excellent night vision. Screeching sloth-rats will lie in wait for hours watching for prey to pass below their branches. When a target does, the screeching sloth-rat will literally drop from the air, emitting a high pitched screeching sound as it does. Such a sudden burst of noise (coming from multiple beasts) usually renders the target helpless momentarily, buying them the second or two they need to land squarely upon their prey. Once on a target, they latch on and literally crush the creature to death with their vice like grips.
Screeching sloth-rats are thankfully indigenous only to the Nivenesh in Mierg and fairly easy to avoid if one knows the secret: a liberal coating of anoxa oil harvested from the self-named plant. The oil produces a smell that screeching sloth-rats abhor. Also, once they have dropped, they become quite vulnerable to other predators, as the screeching sloth-rat is clumsy in its ground movements. All in all, they are a bizarre creature you could go your entire adventuring life never encountering and be none the worse for wear.
Screeching Sloth-Rat……(level 1)
Screech: when a screeching sloth-rat drops on a target to attack, the target must make a Cunning skill check (SR 2) to avoid being helpless for the next round.