Skaven (4e Race)
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Filthy and scheming people with rat-like faces and tails
|Average Height: 5’2”-5’10”|
|Average Weight: 120lb.-200lb.|
|Ability Scores: +2 Constitution, +2 Dexterity or Wisdom|
|Speed: 6 squares|
|Languages: Common, Skaven|
|Skill Bonuses: +2 Stealth, +2 Dungeoneering|
|Filthy Living: As a result of adapting to living in unhygienic conditions, you have a +1 racial bonus to Fortitude defense, and a +5 bonus to endurance checks made to recover from disease.|
|Rancid Spittle: You can use rancid spittle as an encounter power.|
|Gruesome Diet: You can eat spoiled food and water with no ill effect as though it was unspoiled.|
Little is known about the origins of the Skaven race. However, it is probable that they were created in the ancient city of Kavzar by a mysterious stranger who completed the unfinished temple of the gods and hung a great horned bell from the top of the tower. As the bell rang for the thirteenth time lightning lit up the sky and dark storm clouds gathered. As the weeks went on the rain never stopped and the vermin of the city grew bigger and bolder until they overwhelmed the inhabitants of the city.1 p16-17
Over the next two hundred and eighty years or so the newly born Skaven race grew rapidly. There was pressure to expand the tunnels under the city, as the surface world was too dangerous for the Skaven. Eventually they began work on a huge device that they thought would open up large rifts beneath the ground for the Skaven to inhabit. Unfortunately for them the great warpstone-powered machine failed catastrophically - releasing huge waves of magical energy across the globe. The Worlds Edge Mountains - still recovering after the Great Realignment of the Slann - were hit hardest. Tunnels opened up beneath the Dwarf holds through which lava from deep beneath the earth spilled up.1 p18
Back in Skavenblight, as Kavzar had been renamed, only a single building remained undamaged. The doors of the Temple of the Great Horned Rat opened and twelve grey-clad ratmen emerged. They called themselves the Lords of Decay and said that they were to lead the Skaven out of Skavenblight. The Skaven were divided into twelve groups, each of which set out to expand the Under-Empire. This is called the Great Migration1 p18
Play a skaven if you want...
- to play a character who is at home in muck and grime.
- to be sneaky, conniving and cowardly.
- to look like a rodent.
- To be a member of a race that favors the Druid, Fighter, Rogue, and Warlock classes.
Skaven are also known as ratfolk, as they are covered in matted grey, brown or black fur, have elongated faces with large front teeth and a hairless tail. Their hands and feet are both hairless, but have rough dry skin, and their fingers and toes are long and bony, tipped with short claws. They are of average height, but they often stand hunched over and appear shorter than they are. A skaven’s saliva is powerfully corrosive and laced with disease from their rancid diets. Skaven frequently use their spit to enhance their weapons, potentially making even the slightest injury dangerously septic.
Playing a Skaven
Skaven have a high breeding rate, but their tribes are frequently small, living in the sewers of major cities. Their primitive culture and proneness to infighting means that a given tribe’s population and leadership is always changing, and political schisms and breakaways are common when a tribe gets too large. A given warband of skaven typically numbers between 6 and 12 members, and their leaders are chosen by strength and guile, with males and females both equally commonly in the role. When a skaven becomes too old or weak to help the tribe (or perhaps too powerful for the leader’s comfort), her bretheren will normally kill her, and the tribe will either throw the body away or eat it.
Skaven culture is centred on theft, scavenging, and killing. They are generally slow-witted and cowardly, preferring to strike from the shadows or ambush in numbers. Most skaven become rogues or fighters, preferring the simple methods of blade and sling to the unseen forces of divine or arcane classes, but some more ambitious individuals make pacts with dark creatures or infernal beings to enhance their own power ahead of their bretheren. Some skaven also take their power from the feral side of nature, becoming swarm druids.
Skaven adventurers are usually those individuals who expressed opinions contrary to their warband leader’s or took an interest in a path not favoured by the group such as a divine class, or simply wish for more for themselves rather than the tribe. These skaven flee their tribe’s retribution to avoid becoming food, and follow their own path to riches and power.
Skaven Characteristics: Cowardly, scheming, sceptical, adaptable, resourceful.
Male Names: Brich, Cris, Queel, Skeech, Trakkat, Teeq, Williq
Female Names: Hintch, Iggreeq, Nillich, Screet, Urque, Veent, Ziedd
Three sample Skaven adventurers are described below.
Queel left his warband of skaven rogues in the fallout of an unsuccessful coup after a political split within his tribe. He travels from city to city by sneaking on board trade caravans and stealing food and valuables. He relies on the fact that he can live off garbage to go to ground for long periods and hide when he is confronted, and his katar and sling cannot defend him.
Iggreeq is a skaven dark pact warlock. Highly ambitious, her scouting for her tribe as a youth led her to the prison of an ancient shadow creature in the depths of the ruins beneath the city, and she agreed to supply it with treasure and food in exchange for arcane power. She tries to hide her abilities from her bretheren until such time as she can overthrow her elder brother from his position as leader.
Urque, unlike many skaven, lives in the wilderness where she leads her warband using her dominion over vermin as a druid to support their raids on neighbouring goblin tribes over territory. She summons swarms of rats and locusts to engulf her enemies while her underlings hurl bullets or knives.