Beastfolk, Ratlings (3.5e Race)
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Note: The ratlings are based on the Nezumi from Wizards of the Coast’s Oriental Adventures.
For as long as there have been inquisitive minds, there have been subjects to test the results of experiments. And some of the most commonly used test subjects are mice and rats. When magic is thrown into the mix, almost anything can happen. In the case of the ratlings and mouselings, what happened was their creation. The ratlings speak of their creators as foul and evil creatures, not even related to humanity, who dwelt in the depths of the sewers beneath a major city of humankind. When they first achieved sentience, the ratlings and mouselings could do little against their creators, and were left in their roles as magical test subjects. But in time the ratlings broke free, freed their rodent cousins and fellow-sufferers, the mouselings, and killed the ones that had made them and tormented them for so long. The smaller, gentler mouselings ascended from the sewers and took a place in the world above. The ratlings, however, stayed below, choosing to remain mostly apart from others, devoting themselves to the twofold mission of survival and the destruction of evil magic and its effects, the two missions melding into one in their manner of thinking, for they know better than most just what magic, wrongly used, can do.
Ratlings are antisocial by nature, being far too concerned with bare survival to be concerned with anything else. When forced into social situations, many ratlings show themselves to be awkward and even quite shallow, never having developed much depth beyond what they do. They are very professional, though, and seldom let emotion get in the way of what needs to be done, though they can also be rather ruthless at times, and even quite savage when under duress.
The ratfolk look just like their names suggest - humanoid rats, with long naked tails, snouts, pink ears, and pronounced incisors, just like their nonhumanoid kin. They are covered in fur of traditional rat colorations, ranging from white all the way to black, and most of the shades and different fur patterns in between. They range between 5' and 5'6" tall, with heights about equal for males and females.
In almost all situations where they might have needed help, the ratlings have been on their own, and they know better than to expect assistance from other races who have not seen what they have seen or know what they know. They work well with dwarves when the two races meet, both races quickly developing a business understanding and having a similar dislike for what they consider needless chatter. Most other races find the ratlings disconcerting and even a bit frightening, especially with their tendency to live in regions with very bad reputations, and so by and large they do not have a good reputation. Mouselings understand the ratlings, but are frightened by the grim determination and savage ways of their cousins, and so while they might help the ratlings when asked, they try to keep their distance. Felines and wolfen both dislike the ratlings as a matter of principle, disdaining the penchant that ratlings have for lurking in sewers and underground and spending far too much time poking around places known for housing forbidden magic, but these races have worked together in the past against dark forces, usually uncovered by the ratlings, and so the three races, while nowhere near friends, are not usually enemies.
Note: Mouselings and ratlings can interbreed, with the offspring taking on the racial traits of the mother.
Ratlings are a chaotic breed, lacking and not feeling the need for a society or a culture beyond the most basic interactions. Because of how they were created, most take a strong stance against evil, and especially evil magic, having felt of its taint and wanting nothing further to do with it. However, most are not strongly inclined towards good either, doing what they do for the sake of survival and the improvement of their conditions. Most ratlings, therefore, are Chaotic Neutral, with a few being Chaotic Good. A relatively rare few feel the touch of evil as they dwell in dangerous places, far from others, and find it pleasing, turning to the paths of evil. It is a wonder that more ratlings are not swayed in this manner, and yet most seem immune to the seductive lure of evil in the same way that they are resistant to all forms of disease and toxin.
As a rule, ratlings seem most drawn to places where few other races could possibly survive, especially places that have been polluted by waste from the castoffs of civilization, or tainted with the effects of magic, especially dark magic. What is more, they seem to thrive best in such harsh environments, being able to shrug off the effects of all but the worst diseases and toxins, and being able to stomach and even derive nourishment from substances that other races would find utterly inedible. Almost every city that has a working sewer system has at least one community of ratlings living in it, and many abandoned wizard’s towers or magic-infused dungeons will usually have a few ratlings making a living in the less dangerous areas, eking out a living and doing what they can to gradually destroy the twisted magic that is left in these places, gaining experience in recognizing and combating such magic later on in their lives.
Ratlings are less religious and more superstitious by nature, following after a wide variety of different customs and beliefs that may or may not work to ward off evil and dark magic, depending on circumstances and the whims of the Dungeon Master. Many do follow deities that teach the proper control of magic, like Wee Jas, in the hopes that they will gain protection from the secrets that she can share, or gods of fortune, like Olidamara, recognizing that their own creation was a product largely of random chance, and their survival often determined by luck, be it good or bad, after all their skill and preparation has finally given out
Squeak Speak is the tongue of mouselings and ratlings, while Common is essential for their transactions with other species. Ratlings begin play with Common and Squeak Speak, and can select Elven, Feline, Gnoll, Gnome, Halfling, Sylvan and Wolfen as bonus languages.
Ratling names have three or more syllables, every two syllables – except for the first, which is a single syllable – separated from the others by an apostrophe, and a great number of clicks and chitters. The first syllable is the sound that stands for the ratling in question, while each pair of syllables afterwards stands for the ratling’s parents, the mother’s name usually put first, followed by their parents, and their parents after that, extending as far back as can be remembered. Usually, though, a ratling will only use the first three syllables of their name, or a ‘use nickname’ among other races, such as Longsnout, Quickpaws, Skitter or Wormtail. Common names among the ratlings (using just the first three syllables) include Chet’roptik, Mat’krottch, Rik’tiktav, and Zorr’chiktek.
The life of a ratling is an adventure in itself, most doing their best to stay on the edge of bare survival, watching and waiting and ever standing ready for opportunities that might come. To take that life a step further is an easy step for most ratlings, and so it is not at all uncommon to find ratlings adventuring as the mood takes them. Most are rogues, and many have some wizardly training as well, or follow the paths of the gods that they feel can serve them best in their efforts against the evil magic that they know they will encounter.
- +2 Constitution, -2 Charisma
- Monstrous Humanoid
- Ratling base land speed is 40 feet
- Low-light vision
- +2 bonus on Hide and Move Silently checks
- +2 on saves versus poison and disease
- Keen Scent: can take Scent as a racial Feat if Wisdom is 11 or higher
- Automatic Languages: Common, Squeak Speak. Bonus Languages: Elven, Feline, Gnoll, Gnome, Halfling, Sylvan, Wolfen.
- Favored Class: Rogue or Spelltheif.
- Level Adjustment: 0
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