Pint-Sized Pests (Part 1): Snyad

Ooh boy, do I love the off-beat wackiness of the Fiend Folio (1981).  From the heights of the death knight, drow, and githyanki … we fall to the depths of the flumph and crabmen that look nothing like crabs. The book immediately had two things going for it.  The monsters were a compilation of widely varied sources – TSR modules and issues of White Dwarf. Let’s just say that the editorial standards of the various publications were vastly different.  Say for instance I want to pit my players against a pacifistic blanket that eats rocks and smells like old farts?  Enter the Denzelian!

Secondly, it was originally supposed to be published by Games Workshop with TSR’s blessing, but disputes led to TSR releasing it directly to kick off its UK division.  Regardless of which publisher’s name is on the spine, one thing is for certain.  This is what the English mind, motherland of Tolkien and Moorcock, think is epic fantasy – such as the Spirit Troll, a monster created when invisible stalkers and trolls make nasty.

Well, in my D&D senility (25+ years of playing) I have taken a grumpy, old man fondness to the strangest and least attractive monsters in that oft-derided tome.  So why not take the unrepentant shoplifters of the Underdark and convert them to 4E.

I am of course talking about Snyads, Mites, and Jermlaine.

Size Comparison: a Snyad, two Jermlaines with Rat, & a Mite

Part 1: The Snyads

1E Original

The later iterations of these beasties are basically just a regurgitation and regrouping (2E, etc), so I’ll focus on the original source.  The creator credited with inventing the Snyad, also known as the Pestie, (pg. 83) is a person named Matt Barnes.  Here are the essential details (note the British spelling, lovely):

Small bipeds, light brown in colour and with particularly high dexterity, pesties live in small passages adjoining dungeon corridors. The entrances to these tunnels are small and usually concealed behind piles of loose stone, making them difficult to detect.  They are totally silent and move with great speed.

The snyad is a cousin of the mite and these two types of creatures will often act in co-operation, the mite’s skill with traps complementing the high speed of the pestie.

They have no language, so far as can be ascertained, yet a group will work co-operatively together, and they and the mites appear to be able to gain speedy mutual understanding in their common task.

And a few other quick details:

  • 2 1/2 feet tall (30 inches)
  • Extremely high movement (21″ or 10 squares)
  • Appear in groups of 1 to 8
  • No form of attack

Surprisingly enough, the Snyad is the largest of the family line (jermlaine & mite), but they are the only ones without an actual attack. So I think its safe to say that their sole purpose … is to annoy the crap out of the party much to the delight of the DM (… just wait til we get to Jermlaine …)

4E Conversion

Snyad

The Snyad are tiny humanoids that dwell in self-made warrens above and below the underground lairs of larger folk, often sharing these spaces with their cousin races and droves of rats.  They are considered a menace and a plague for their relentless pilfering and stealing.  The Snyad are not normally dangerous, though when coupled with their cousins, the trap-making Mites and the hordes of Jermlaines, they can very quickly overrun even the most well guarded dungeons.

Snyad Level 1 Lurker
Tiny natural humanoid 100 XP
HP 22; Bloodied 11 Initiative +8
AC 15, Fortitude 13, Reflex 17, Will 12 Perception +5
Speed 10 Low-light vision
TRAITS
Underfoot
When the snyad is within the same square as a Medium or larger-sized creature, it receives a +2 AC bonus against all attacks.
Arcane Dodger
A snyad takes no damage from a missed arcane attack.
STANDARD ACTIONS
 Stealthy Scamper  At-Will
Attack:  Melee 0 (one creature); +6 vs. Will
Hit:  The snyad may roll a Stealth skill check even if he has no cover or concealment.
MINOR ACTIONS
Quick Fingers  At-Will
The snyad may attempt a Thievery skill check to pick pockets against any target occupying the same square.
Skills Stealth +9, Thievery +9
Str 8 (-1) Dex 18 (+4) Wis 9 (-1)
Con 10 (-) Int 8 (-1) Cha 8 (-1)
Alignment Unaligned Languages Jermlaine
Equipment None

Snyad Tactics:  The snyad’s only goal is loot, the smaller the better.  They will attempt to sneak onto their prey undetected to steal their pouches or other unattended valuables.  If discovered, the snyad will make a fast grab at anything close at hand and then use Stealthy Scamper to hide and move away.  They are relentless though and even after being detected, a snyad will surely return within minutes to try again.  And again.  And again.

Snyad Sharper Level 2 Skirmisher
Tiny natural humanoid 200 XP
HP 35; Bloodied 17 Initiative +7
AC 16, Fortitude 14, Reflex 18, Will 14 Perception +6
Speed 10 Low-light vision
TRAITS
Underfoot
When the snyad sharper is within the same square as a Medium or larger-sized creature, it receives a +2 AC bonus against all attacks.
Arcane Dodger
A snyad sharper takes no damage from a missed arcane attack.
Sharper’s Advantage
Any time the snyad sharper has combat advantage, its melee attack deals an additional 1d6 damage.
STANDARD ACTIONS
 Knife  At-Will
Attack:  Melee 1 (one creature); +7 vs. AC
Hit:  1d4 + 1 damage and the snyad sharper can shift 1 square and roll a Stealth skill check even if it has no cover or concealment.
MINOR ACTIONS
Quick Fingers  At-Will
The snyad sharper may attempt a Thievery skill check to pick pockets against any target occupying the same square.
Skills Stealth +10, Thievery +10
Str 9 (-1) Dex 18 (+4) Wis 10 (-)
Con 11 (-) Int 10 (-) Cha 8 (-1)
Alignment Unaligned Languages Jermlaine
Equipment Knife

Snyad Sharper Tactics: The snyad sharper is an older, wiser snyad.  They carry a wicked knife for added fierceness on their escapes.  In groups of other snyads, the sharpers will cover the retreat of their younger brethen before fleeing, as well.  Snyad sharpers are the most intelligent variety and if cautiously approached with gold, gems, or other valuables, might be convinced to lead a party of adventurers through portions of the dungeon surrounding their homes.  It is always advisable to withhold any payment until after services are rendered.

Creative Inspiration

Snyad

Artwork by Caroline Delen

Snyad Sharper

From the movie Cat's Eye (1985)



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