Encounters by Locale: Cormanthor - The Midwood
Opossum (CR 1/2)
Alignment: Always neutral
Initiative: +3 (Dex); Senses: scent and Listen +6
AC: 18 (+5 Dex, +2 natural, +1 size) touch 16, flat-footed 14
Hit Dice: 1d8+2 (6 hp)
Fort +4, Ref +7, Will +4
Speed: 20 ft., climb 15 ft.
Space: 2.5 ft./2.5 ft.
Base Attack +0; Grapple -8
Attack: Bite +3 melee
Full Attack: Bite +3 melee
Damage: Bite 1d3+1
Abilities: Str 5, Dex 21, Con 12, Int 1, Wis 12, Cha 8
Special Qualities: immune to pit viper venom
Skills: Hide +6 and Listen +6
Advancement: 2-3 HD (Tiny)
Climate/Terrain: Temperate land
Organization: Solitary or family (adult with 1d4 young)
Opossums are medium-sized marsupials, with the largest just exceeding the size of a large house cat. They tend to be semi-arboreal omnivores, although there are many exceptions. They generally have long snouts, a narrow braincase, and a prominent sagittal crest.
Opossums walk with their feet flat on the ground and the hind feet have an opposable digit with no claw. Opossums have prehensile tails.
Opossums have a remarkably robust immune system, and show partial or total immunity to the venom of pit vipers.
Opossums are opportunistic omnivores with a very broad diet. Their diet mainly consists of carrion and many individual opossums are killed on the highway when scavenging for roadkill. They are also known to eat insects, frogs, birds, snakes, small mammals, and earthworms. Some of their favorite foods are fruits, and they are known to eat apples and persimmons. Their broad diet allows them to take advantage of many sources of food provided by human habitation such as unsecured food waste (garbage).
Opossums are usually solitary and nomadic, staying in one area as long as food and water are easily available. Some families will group together in ready-made burrows or even under houses. Though they will temporarily occupy abandoned burrows, they do not dig or put much effort into building their own. As nocturnal animals, they favor dark, secure areas. These areas may be below ground or above.
Threatened opossums (especially males) will growl deeply, raising their pitch as the threat becomes more urgent. Males make a clicking "smack" noise out of the side of their mouths as they wander in search of a mate, and females will sometimes repeat the sound in return. When separated or distressed, baby opossums will make a sneezing noise to signal their mother. If threatened, the baby will open its mouth and quietly hiss until the threat is gone.
Hissing or squawking is a defensive process that helps the opossum keep unwanted guests from bothering them.
When threatened or harmed, they will "play possum", mimicking the appearance and smell of a sick or dead animal. When playing possum, the lips are drawn back, teeth are bared, saliva foams around the mouth, and a foul-smelling fluid is secreted from the anal glands. The physiological response is involuntary, rather than a conscious act. Their stiff, curled form can be prodded, turned over, and even carried away. The animal will regain consciousness after a period of minutes or hours and escape.