Plague Rat/Comics

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Plague Rat Original Standard Front.png

From the Sentinels of the Multiverse Official Site

"These crazy stories about some monstrous, rat-like creature living in the Rook City sewers are obviously just urban legends. I've heard people say this 'Plague Rat' drags easy prey, like anyone who goes out at night alone, deep into the sewers! They say the Rat eats some of them; others he infects with some terrible Rat Plague, leaving them to go mad before their terrible death. Do you buy this? I tell you, I knew that some people will believe anything, but this is too much! Sure, the occasional disappearance goes unsolved, and the homeless all swear that entering the sewers is a death sentence, but unexplained disappearances and crazy homeless people are just a fact of life in a such a big city. All the smart people know there’s nothing down there. I mean, come on! How likely is it that a 7-foot-tall creature, half-rat, half-man, lives in the sewers? You and I both know these tales are nothing more than stories to scare kids! People these days. They’ll believe anything they hear!"

From the Rook City Official Rulebook

Many decades ago, a foul drug-dealer controlled large swaths of the Rook City drug market. He made his hideout deep in the Rook City sewers, keeping his stash safe from competitor and law enforcement alike. However, his criminal enterprise was worn down by a long battle with a new criminal organization taking control of the city. Over time, he was entirely ousted from the streets of Rook City, and lived in the sewers to survive. Years of handling the vile drugs he sold, mixed with the toxic waste from the industrial plants, slowly twisted and mutated the dealer into a giant, hideous, rat-like monster. Now, his last shreds of humanity all but eliminated, he takes the Rook City sewers in search of his next meal, infecting all he touches.

    • Plague Rat first appeared in Tome of the Bizarre in the '60s (one of a number of monsters who appeared in that title, but one of the few recurring monsters) in a story titled "Don't Play in the Sewers". A big rat creature who lived in the sewers and would drag people down into them and whose bite was a nasty source of infections. It was around for a while before the writers bothered giving it a backstory in the late '60s or early '70s.
    • The story they landed on was that Plague Rat used to be a guy, Randy "Rot Mouth" Burke (the nickname came from his terrible dental hygiene) - a successful drug dealer in Rook City. He kept a cache of drugs in the sewers, and he knew the layout very well, allowing him a safe fallback position/stash of goods during any turf conflicts with other dealers.
    • Once the Organization started moving into the drug trade, however, and had a lot more resources/manpower to facilitate their takeover. As part of this push, ol' Rot Mouth was targeted for elimination as competition. He managed to escape into the sewers, but since he's a marked man he has to live down there, only occasionally making it topside for supplies, or risk being killed by the Organization's goons.
    • In the meantime, Pike Industries starts just dumping all sorts of toxic/pharmaceutical waste into the sewers too since they're not big on environmentalism (Mega-heroin and Übermeth get mentions here, which are always funny - well not funny funny... You know what I mean). So now he has to deal with not just the drugs he personally is dealing with and all of the rats and alligators down there, but now all of this extra nastiness. He's not getting enough to eat or drink and is taking his own drugs by this point (and probably eating the rats). These conditions slowly mutate Randy into a creature more well-adapted to such a toxic environment. On the plus side, Rook City's sewers no longer have an alligator problem, but now they've got a much larger rat problem, one that's still hungry and both willing and able to come to the surface to grab prey to drag back down with it (y'know, like people).
    • Early Plague Rat stories were typically not really "superhero stories" in that they were more just "scary" stories/cautionary tales about people being snatched and eaten (or almost eaten) by this giant sewer rat thing. Somewhat later he would show up as an incidental threat for heroes who happened to wind up in the sewers for other reasons.
    • So, now he's been around for a couple of decades and is well-established as just a general threat in Rook City's sewers. In the mid-'80s, Pike Industries' continued chemical dumping (and a new component of that) has resulted in a further evolution - Plague Rat's bite itself now carries a mutagenic element to it and victims will transform into rat creatures themselves. The initial stages effects the person's mind more quickly and they begin to act more savagely, but the transformation itself is by no means as slow as Plague Rat's own transformation was (a couple of days instead of the years it took for Randy to fully transform).
    • This added threat level ups his status to "main villain" of a story, which is the one mentioned in the Chrono-Ranger episode when he encounters the Dark Watch heroes while they're on the hunt (in an issue of Rook City Renegades). After the heroes (called out by name as the 4 non-Harpy members of Dark Watch although later it's specifically mentioned that the "Dark Watch" team hasn't officially formed yet) win the fight, the CDC (and totally not really Revo-Corp employees posing as CDC agents) shows up to contain the contamination threat/devise a treatment for the already-afflicted and cart Plague Rat off. He's out of the picture for quite a while after that.
Plague Rat Revocorp Banner.jpg

Decades ago, a foul drug-dealer had a hideout deep in the Rook City sewers, keeping his stash safe from law enforcement and competitors. His criminal enterprise was worn down over time by the growing criminal empire known as The Organization, and he was eventually forced to call the sewers his home. Years of handling drugs and living in hazardous toxic chemicals from the industrial plants mutated the dealer into a hideous, rat-like monster who prowled the Rook City sewers, seeking to infect all he encountered.

The creature known as Plague Rat was recently captured by a RevoCorp Recon & Execute team, and has been a subject of much experimentation at the RevoCorp labs. After considerable chemical reprogramming of the monstrous creature, Plague Rat is now a part of the R&E teams on their missions, used as an amped up bloodhound to seek out and destroy key targets. In fact, Plague Rat is currently hot on the trail of a recent RevoCorp lab escapee...

    • Revo-Corp does a bunch of experiments on Plague Rat in the meantime, in the process changing "the way he works". They devise a cure for the plague, but don't disseminate it immediately because it's hard for them to monetize at the time. Eventually, through a series of dummy corporations on top of other dummy corporations, they sell him off to other dummy corporations which turn out to be run by Miss Information (after becoming a villain, before she gets any powers or is even actually outed as the villain Miss Information) who then releases him in Megalopolis as a distraction for her own activities back in FFHQ.
    • This is the primary "event" fight with him - he's still highly infectious (and it's communicable between infected people and others through blood contact) and there is panic in the streets because of him running around. This is when Revo-Corp shows up to save the day with their miraculous cure for the plague (offered free as a humanitarian act - garnering lots of positive press, obviously) and taking the rat creature into custody (obviously a better option than the CDC, whose bureaucratic bumbling can't even find a record of the last time they had custody of this thing).
    • PR's out of sight for a while again this time (side note: it's interesting that he was a frequent monster who showed up a lot in his early years, but now that he's a larger threat he's only around for big "event"-style stories before being carted out of sight for long periods). More experiments ensue - they cure his infectious plague as it was decided to not be a useful "feature", but modify him to be useful as a kind of "bloodhound" for one of their R&E (Recon & Execution) teams. This doesn't change his savage monster nature, but at least he's not turning other people into monsters anymore.
    • These R&E teams are sent to recover lost "assets". Specifically, they're out to recover Setback and are now using Plague Rat as a bloodhound to track him. Plague Rat never winds up as a primary antagonist for Setback, but more of just one more thing that he constantly has to deal with. He's working with the Dark Watch guys, has some adventures with Ra, and a bunch of Freedom Five stuff and specific run-ins with people like Biomancer, Ermine & Fright Train (post-Vengeance), and the Slaughter-House Six when Plague Rat (with his handlers) will just show up out of nowhere while Setback is already in the middle of a fight.
    • This is intentional. The handlers know that their situation isn't ideal. They're trying to wrangle an uncooperative monster who's more interested in biting them than the heroes and so know that they don't have a chance to take on the heroes themselves. Instead, they wait for chances when the heroes are already busy with a fight, hoping that the general confusion will give them the opportunity to jump in, grab the target, and get out. As such, "Plague Rat hunting Setback" becomes a fixture in the latter's stories for a while.
    • Eventually, though, Plague Rat is sent after a different hero - Akash'Thriya. Superheroes/villains are generally aware of Akash'Bhuta as a powerful earth spirit and Baron Blade has recently become aware of this smaller, seemingly related being and has decided that it would be useful. Since he owns Revo-Corp, he directs them to get Akash'Thriya for him.
    • Plague Rat shows up while Bugbear is fighting Akash'Thriya and the Naturalist, tearing Akash'Thriya limb from limb (complete with discussion about whether Christopher promised to not make that joke). During this, he takes an important piece of her (not an internal organ as she doesn't have them, but a metaphysical equivalent). She's able to pull herself together again, but she needs that back and so she and the Naturalist chase PR and his handlers back into some sewers. The heroes win, Akash'Thriya gets what she needs back, and she sees Plague Rat's situation (in the control harness) as bad and so frees him. The heroes leave, but now Plague Rat is free again (and promptly mauls his former handlers). He disappears into the sewers and that's the last we see of him in the Multiverse.

Legacy Wants to Remind You!

This information is from the Miststorm Universe, one of two branching timelines. Products in this timeline are: Sentinel Tactics (and expansions). Prime War (and expansions)

Delayed: Part of the indefinitely delayed Battle for Broken City Core Set for Sentinel Tactics.

Not-so-deep beneath the ruins of Rook City lurks a creature who has weathered the changes to the surface world. Plague Rat had finally gotten back to his nest just before the fall of Rook City. The sewers were flooded with chemicals from the destroyed Pike Industrial Complex, as well as other bizarre mixtures of unknown origin. These new chemicals interfered even more with Plague Rat's already corrupted system.

As an even more frenzied creature, Plague Rat is rarely willing to leave the broken sewers. When he does, it's to find anything vaguely edible and drag it back down to his nest. The monstrous Plague Rat is even a greater threat than ever before!

  • Given the level of destruction, a lot more chemicals get dumped into the sewers - worse than ever before - further changing him. He becomes even more monstrous and is prowling Broken City for prey. His infectious bite is worse than ever, not in the "turning people into rat beasts" way, but in the "you'll die pretty much instantly" way.
Tachyon Speeds By to Remind You!

This information is from the Sentinel Comics Universe, one of two branching universes. Products in this timeline are: Sentinel Comics RPG.

  • He's been hiding in the sewers, hasn't been coming topside much and doesn't attack people much. The therapies he had while at Revo-Corp that was responsible for eliminating the infection has actually started to dial back his mutations in general. Spoilery stuff for the future, but going back to the last Question, there's hope for some semblance of normality in the future. "The pages of Sentinel Comics have not seen the last of Randy Burke."