Pint-Sized Pests (Part 3): Jermlaine

In part 1 and 2, we covered the Snyad and Mite respectively, two closely related cousins that complement each other quite well.  One is the pick pocket while the other is a trap master.  I even presented some monster variants.  Today, we’ll complete the exploration of the tiny threats hiding amongst the monsters.

This time though we’ll look a creature that despite being smaller is the most aggressive of the three pesties.  One that relies on sheer numbers to overcome much larger prey.  I am, of coures, talking about the Jermlaine.

Part 3: The Jermlaine

1E Original

The Jermlaine, also known as the Jinxkin or Bane-Midge, were originally created by the Muad’Dib of D&D, Gary Gygax in 1978 in D1 – Descent into the Depths of the Earth.  It makes perfect sense that PC Killer #1 would invent these little guys just as a way to harass and annoy an already beleaguered party fighting off drow and koa-toas.  As is custom with all things Gygax, the monster description was daresay Homeric in ambition … stretching into 13 paragraphs.

When the Jermlaine reappeared in the Fiend Folio three years later, they were retconned as cousins to the Snyad and Mite.  Here is an abridged creature description from the FF (pg. 53-4):

Jermlaine, or jinxkins, sometimes known as bane-midges, dwell in elaborate tunnel and den warrens beneath the ground – often-very deep beneath the surface. They mix freely with rats of all sorts, even the giant variety.  These evil runts are cowardly and will attack only when it seems probable that they can overwhelm victims without serious opposition.

Jermlaine are very fast, moving with a scuttling gait, very quiet, and are masters of remaining unseen. On occasion, however, if a party or individual suddenly becomes still and listens carefully, their movement or twittering, squeaking speech can be detected.  The grey-brown warty hide of jermlaine blends with earth and stone, and they always dress in scraps and rags of the same colouration so that they can remain: concealed from view.

Jinxkins look as if they are diminutive humans wearing baggy clothing and ill-fitting leather helmets. Closer inspection will show that the baggy ‘garments’ are actually the creatures’ lumpy and many-folded skins, while the ‘helmets’ are in reality the pointed and evilly-visaged heads – all leathery and smooth. The limbs of these creatures are knotty and bowed, with hands and feet tipped with thick nails which are always filthy but nimble.

There is more, much more, but that is enough flavor text.  Here are other details:

  • The use needle-like darts and pikes
  • Fast (15″ or 7 squares)
  • They use flaming oil and traps to waylay opponents
  • The Jinxkin leader can drain magical items of their properties
  • Highly resistant to magical effects
  • Keen smell and hearing able to detect invisible creatures 50%
  • Can communicate with rats

These guys are downright fearless compared to the other gremlins and they attack in packs.  Thankfully, 4E has the perfect mechanic to breathe new life into the Jinxkin.

4E Conversion

Jermlaine

Hiding in rat warrens above and below dungeon corridors, Jermlaine can often be detected long before they attack by the distinct squeaking sound of their language.  Most adventurers mistake their sounds as mere rats, so when they attack with nets and hordes of rats most parties are caught unprepared.  In their attacks, they are looking for loot, much like their cousins.  Their primary difference is their tactic.  There are so many Jinxkin whats a few dozen casualties out of a thousand in exchange for some gold?

Jermlaine Mischief Level 2 Lurker
Medium natural humanoid (swarm) 200 XP
HP 29; Bloodied 15 Initiative +8
AC 16, Fortitude 14, Reflex 17, Will 14 Perception +6
Speed 7 Darkvision
TRAITS
 Needle Swarm  Aura 1
The Jermlaine Mischief gets a free basic attack against any creature starting its turn inside the aura.
STANDARD ACTIONS
 Row of Pikes  At-Will
Attack:  Melee 1 (one creature); +6 vs. AC
Hit:  1d4 + 3 damage.
 Needle Dart  At-Will
Attack:  Ranged 2/4 (one creature); +7 vs. AC
Hit:  1d6 + 3 damage.
TRIGGERED ACTIONS
Jinx  Encounter
Trigger: When the Jermlaine Mischief is hit by an attack.
Effect:  The attacker rerolls the attack and takes the second result.
Skills Stealth +9; Thievery +9
Str 10 (-) Dex 17 (+3) Wis 10 (-)
Con 11 (-) Int 14 (+2) Cha 8 (-1)
Alignment Evil Languages Jermlaine, Goblin, Common
Equipment Pike, Needle Darts (3)

Jermlaine Mischief Tactics: The Jermlaine Mischief’s tactics are quite simply – rush.  The swarm is composed of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of one foot tall creatures.  Their numbers give them a fearlessness unseen in larger creatures.  When supported with other unit types, the Jermlaine Mischief is quite effective.

Jermlaine Sapper Level 1 Minion (Brute)
Tiny natural humanoid 25 XP
HP 1 Initiative +3
AC 16, Fortitude 13, Reflex 17, Will 14 Perception +6
Speed 8 Darkvision
STANDARD ACTIONS
 Club  At-Will
Attack:  Melee 1 (one creature); +7 vs. AC
Hit:  2 damage.
Effect:  If the target is restrained, then a successful hit also dazes the target.
 Net  At-Will
Attack:  Ranged 2 (one creature); +6 vs. Reflex
Hit:  The target is restrained until the start of the Jermlaine Sapper’s next round.
TRIGGERED ACTIONS
Jinx  Encounter
Trigger: When the Jermlaine Sapper is hit by an attack.
Effect:  The attacker rerolls the attack and takes the second result.
Skills Stealth +9; Thievery +9
Str 7 (-) Dex 17 (+3) Wis 10 (-)
Con 11 (-) Int 14 (+2) Cha 8 (-1)
Alignment Evil Languages Jermlaine, Goblin, Common
Equipment Club, Net

Jermlaine Sapper Tactics:  While the Jermlaine Mischief pushes forward to absorb melee attacks, the Sappers attempt to ensnare their opponents with nets.  As soon as a target is restrained, half of the Sappers will attempt to keep the foe dazed and the other half will attempt to recast the net for next round.

Jermlaine Pack Master Level 1 Minion
Tiny natural humanoid 25 XP
HP 1 Initiative +3
AC 16, Fortitude 13, Reflex 17, Will 14 Perception +6
Speed 7 Darkvision
STANDARD ACTIONS
 Pike  At-Will
Attack:  Melee 1 (one creature); +5 vs. AC
Hit:  2 damage.
 Needle Dart  At-Will
Attack:  Ranged 3 (one creature); +6 vs. AC
Hit:  2 damage.  At the end of the encounter, the target makes a saving throw.  On a failure, the target contracts filth fever (stage 1).
TRIGGERED ACTIONS
Rat Jinx  Encounter
Trigger: When the Jermlaine Pack Master is hit by an attack.
Effect:  The rat swarm takes damage instead.
Skills Stealth +8, Thievery +8
Str 6 (-2) Dex 17 (+3) Wis 10 (-)
Con 11 (-) Int 14 (+2) Cha 10 (-)
Alignment Evil Languages Jermlaine, Goblin, Common
Equipment Pike, Needle Darts (3)

Jermlaine Pack Master Tactics:  The Jermlaine Pack Master is always found in the midst of a Rat Swarm.  The pair will always attack and move on the same initiative.  Any attack on the Jermlaine Pack Master will be diverted onto the Rat Swarm until they are slain.  The Jermlaine Pack Master always fights on the front lines of battle with his fearless rodent minions alongside.

Jermlaine Mage Midge Level 1 Controller (Leader)
Tiny natural humanoid 100 XP
HP 29, Bloodied 15 Initiative +3
AC 16, Fortitude 14, Reflex 17, Will 14 Perception +6
Speed 7 Darkvision
STANDARD ACTIONS
 Cutter  At-Will
Attack:  Melee 1 (one creature); +6 vs. AC
Hit:  1d4+1 damage.
 Needle Dart  At-Will
Attack:  Ranged 3 (one creature); +7 vs. AC
Hit:  1d4+3 damage.
MINOR ACTIONS
Midge Curse  Encounter
Attack:  Ranged 5 (one creature); +7 vs. Will
Hit:  A daily power on one magical item on the targeted enemy is considered expended and cannot be activated until after an Extended Rest.  This does not count towards the target’s total number of daily uses. If the target does not have any daily magical items, the power is not used.
TRIGGERED ACTIONS
Coward’s Command  Encounter
Trigger: When the Jermlaine Mage Midge is hit by an attack.
Effect:  An adjacent ally swaps places with the Mage Midge and takes the effects of the attack instead.
Skills Arcana +7, Stealth +8
Str 8 (-1) Dex 17 (+3) Wis 12 (+1)
Con 13 (+1) Int 16 (+3) Cha 11 (-)
Alignment Evil Languages Jermlaine, Goblin, Common
Equipment Cutter, Needle Darts (3)

Jermlaine Mage Midge:  Standing at the back of the horde and direction his minions, the Jermlaine Mage Midge is the leader of the warrens.  His Jinx powers are quite adept at disarming magical gear and equipment.  Unlike the others, the Mage Midge’s survival is crucial to the success of  the jinxkin warren.  He will flee as soon as he is bloodied with all remaining Jermlaine covering his retreat.

Creative Inspiration

Jermlaine Mischief or Sapper

Jermlaine Pack Master

Jermlaine Mage Midge

And finally …

Family Portrait



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