The kha-nyou is an odd looking rodent that has dense grey fur and is about the size of a squirrel or a rabbit. It is noted for its hind legs which are splayed out to the sides giving it a decided waddle as it walks. This is an adaptation that allows the rodent remarkable mobility when in its natural habitat, rocky badlands and boulder fields. It can move among the rocks, climbing them as easily as a squirrel climbs trees.
The mountainous terrain that the kha-nyou is most often found in is noted for its lack of fodder. There isn’t much aside from scrub trees, and hearty heath grasses high in the mountains. The mountain goblins, and tribes like the Wudewas and Yeren often make meals of the robust rodent, roasting it on a spit. They often call the rodent the Mountain’s Gift.
In truth, the kha-nyou came about long ago, an accidental pairing between a very weak earth elemental, and a large rat. This was being done as an experiment to create a magic eating monster that could burrow through walls and such. As a weapon, the kha-nyou was a failure as the rodents were difficult to control, and the mating seemed to have no effect.
What happened was that the new hybrid was able to sustain itself by feeding on ambient elemental energy in the manner of an elemental. So long as the rodent stayed in rocky areas, especially those strong with elemental magic, it required only water to survive, and feeding was reflexive, rather than sustained. Naturally, those who survived migrated to areas of natural magic to feed off of it. The mountains being one of the strongest sources of natural earth aspected magic in creation.
Dinner Time - traveling in a sparse mountain area, the PCs are shown local hospitality, in the form of a roasted rat on a stick.
Thieves in the Night - A Pc looses a potent magic item, specifically something earth related. During the night, a swarm of kha-nyou were drawn to the earth aspected item and they stole it and took it back to their nest, located at a confluence of geomantic energy.
Contagion - An envoy from the elemental courts approaches the PCs and asks them to come and get rid of the rats that have infested their mountain realm as their numbers have gotten out of control and are draining the local magic supplies.