by Jan Knoell

      The Ratler is a bizarre alien predator, some would even go so far as to say it is a demon from the RIFTS. This creature is sadistic, hate filled, and stops at nothing to kill a victim. It enjoys cat and mouse games, and very much enjoys killing.

      Appearance wise, the Ratler stands 10' at the shoulder, is 60' long, and generally looks like a rattle snake, with a body that is very nearly 5' around, and walks on six legs that end in razor sharp, lizard like, claws. It's body is typically a dark shade of gold, bordering on brown. Unlike a rattle snake however, it's fangs do not fold back, and instead they hang from this things mouth like it were a sabre tooth cat. At the end of it's long tail, a large rattle may be found. They use this rattle to terrify opponents, to scare them into making mistakes, and at times ... to actually kill by sheer terror alone.

      When hunting, the Ratler stays close to the ground, and despite it's size, can blend in quite well. Once it finds prey, preferably humanoids, it will simply attack outright, and then devour them. If its prey are in a group, it will start with a preliminary attack, killing one or two, and biting as many as possible, before running away, it's slain prey either still in it's jaws, or leaving them behind - depending on the danger the prey presented during the battle. Once it retreats, it will either devour it's prey, or wait for it's prey to leave the dead body(s), buried or not - and then devour them. At this point, the Ratler will begin stalking the group, slinking through the shadows, interrupting their sleep with the shaking of the rattle in the middle of the night, attacking and slaying pack animals, or damaging vehicles, and occasionally picking off another victim. It will also create obstacles to corral the group of prey into an area where it may deal with them more easily.

Alignment: Diabolic Only.
Attributes: I.Q.: 2D4 (Low Human Intelligence), M.E.: 3D6, M.A.: 1D6, P.S.: 3D6+22, P.P.: 4D6+2, P.E.: 4D6, P.B.: 1D6, Spd: 6D6+20. P.S. & P.E. are considered Supernatural.
M.D.C.: 1D6x100+100.
P.P.E.: 6D6.
Size: 10' at the shoulder, 60' long, 5' wide body.
Weight: 5 tons.
Average Life Span: About 50 years.
Natural Abilities: Regenerates 2D6 M.D.C. per melee, See the Invisible, Track by Scent 70%, Swimming 80%, Prowl 90%, Can leap 100' long and 30' high.
    Ratler Venom: One of the most notable traits about the Ratler is their poisonous venom, of which it injects no less than 2 fluid oz of into it's victims blood stream on a successful bite attack. Ratler Venom is one of the most dangerous substances the world has ever known. Not only is it a powerful Neuro-Toxin which will render ANYTHING infected paralyzed (Save vs Non-Lethal Poison 19 or better!), but it is also a deadly acid that will inflict 4D6 M.D. per melee round for 3D6 melees when injected into the blood stream, as it eats away the victims blood vessels, and heart tissue. One of the most bizarre features of this acidic substance however, is that even if it does not penetrate the skin/armor of a victim, it will begin burning through whatever material it is ejected upon! It will inflict 2D6 M.D. for 3D6 melee rounds, and can only be stopped by burning it off!!

Horror Factor: 14; 18 when using the rattle to terrify their prey.
Psionics: None.
N.P.C./Villain Bonuses: +5 save vs. horror factor, +2 to strike, +4 to parry & dodge, +2 roll, +2 save vs. magic, and is impervious to poisons and toxins.
N.P.C. Combat Attacks: 5 attacks per melee. Damage is done according to it's Supernatural P.S. Bite inflicts 1D6x10 M.D.
Average Level of Experience: 2D4.
Magic: None.
Vulnerabilities: None per se.
Skills: None.
Allies: They are not aggressive towards their fellow Ratlers, and thus will not attack them if encountered in passing. They will never remain near one another unless for the purpose of mating, and even then they will not remain together for more than a day or two.
Enemies: The world?
Value: Some Western Wilderness Scouts have found that their poison sacks, when removed from the creature can be used as grenades! They will splatter upon impact inflicting 5D6 M.D., and will burn for 1D4 minutes!! Despite this, the sacks can rupture relatively easily, (only 1D4 S.D.C.) and so they are never carried for very long - for fear that they would rupture upon the owner.
Habitat: Their natural habitat is typically plains or sparse forests. They stalk much of Missouri, Nebraska, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois, and can be found periodically most anywhere in North America, but never further north than the US Canada border.

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