Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd EditionCampaign Setting Logo

Activity Cycle:Varies (usually night)
Intelligence:Animal (1)
No. Appearing:1d20
Armor Class:7
Hit Dice:½ (1d4 hp)
No. of Attacks:1
Special Attacks:Nil
Special Defenses:Nil
Magic Resistance:Nil
Size:T (2' tall)
Morale:Unreliable (2-4)
XP Value:7

The jarbo is a hardy rodent that resembles the kangaroo rat, but it's larger, reaching a mature height of 2 feet at the shoulder. Its coat is typically sand colored or tawny, but pelt markings vary, the better to blend with their home terrain.

Jarbo species differ in appearance in other ways, mainly in ear size or number of toes. All share the round, furry body, stubby forelegs, very long hind legs, and a long tail. In some species the tail is furred, in others not, but all use it for balance as they skitter on their hind legs at enormous speed across the desert sand.

The jarbo has a psionic ability to sense water across great distances, independent of wind currents. This works as a variant of heightened senses (see The Complete Psionics Handbook), a psychometabolic devotion that applies to the jarbo's sense of smell, and for sensing water only. A teaspoonful of water can lure a flock of jarbos from 100 yards, a sealed barrel can draw them from a mile away, and an oasis brings them in from anywhere throughout an entire region.

Combat: Jarbos fear larger creatures and flee from any conflict. They run with blinding speed, their chief defense. The only aggressive jarbos are those who see their masters (if they have one) threatened. Rough loyal companions, they are ineffective as protectors; their sharp teeth inflict only 1d3 points of damage.

Jarbos are not prone to diseas, but in rare cases a “foaming sickness” like rabies strikes one and drives it mad. The insane jarbo attacks any creature in sight, fighting to the death. Victims must make a successful Constitution check to avoid being infected with a serious disease (as per the common rat).

Habitat/Society: Jarbos live in migratory colonies (flocks) that travel by night from one source of water to the next, running ahead of their many predators. On arrival at a new site, the colony locates a dry stream bed or the foot of a cliff and digs two dozen or more nests, each a long tunnel, a foot wide, and leading to a burrow 3 feet in diameter. The flexible jarbos easily squeeze through the winding tunnels.

After a few nights or a week, predators usually locate this rich source of food, so the jarbos move on with the next moonrise, keeping, as a always, a few steps ahead of those who would eat them.

Ecology: Virtually all predators dine on jarbos. The rodents are an important link in many desert food chains.

Jarbos, themselves, feed on seeds, grass, and insects. They often attract travelers' interest and envy because they can survive on very little water. An adult jarbo can thrive on a few tablespoons of water per day, or go up to a week between major waterings. For the most part, their diet provides them with enough fluid. Their ability to sense water serves to help them locate the concentrations of edible vegetation and insects that cluster around what little water there is to be found.

Jarbo pelts are too thin for the fur trade, but the small skins are sometimes used as decorations on ceremonial garb or furniture. A good jarbo pelt is worth up to one gp in some regions.