Skaven (3.5e Race)

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Skaven are usually fairly cunning and always malicious. The Skaven are constantly scheming and plotting against one another. They believe themselves to be the rightful rulers of the world and concoct sinister plots in their underground cities. Skaven society is a strict hierarchy where betrayal is considered a virtue, as every skaven seeks a position of power over his peers.

Physical Description[edit]

Skaven are about the size of a human, but due to their hunched posture, often appear shorter. They are slight of build, and have fur covering their bodies except for their hands, feet, muzzle, their rat-like tails. Skaven metabolism is very high, granting the Skaven quick reflexes and dexterity, but it forces them to need to gorge themselves after exertion. Their metabolism also causes them to constantly move, which mostly manifests in tail twitching. Seemingly due to this fast metabolism, the average Skaven has a lifespan of about 20 years, however, it is believed that their short lifespans are simply caused by their violent, backstabbing culture, due to their tougher bodies and keener minds, higher members of the Skaven society can live much longer, even hundreds of years.


The Skaven are ruled by the Council of Thirteen who make decisions for the Skaven race as a whole and keep relative peace among the masses. The council is formed of eleven warlords of major Skaven clans, a high-ranking Grey Seer, and a symbolic seat for the Horned Rat. Skaven society is ruthless and Skaven young who display physical or mental defects are usually quickly culled. There is very little mercy for the weak or foolish. The fate of a young Skaven is largely determined by his clan, and each clan has its own culture. A Skaven's fur color is also very important as black fur leads to a probable recruitment to become a part of the elite soldier class, called Stormvermin. White or grey fur indicates a likely selection for the Order of the Grey Seers, the Skaven society's religious leaders.

Skaven clans are constantly competing for dominance within their underground empire. Only a few clans have climbed to power enough to hold seats in the Council of Thirteen. Four of these clans sell unique services to other clans, thus strengthening their power within the Council. They include Clan Eshin, with their highly skilled and stealthy rat-ninjas and assassins; Clan Moulder, with their fleshcrafted monstrosities and mutated beasts; Clan Skryre, with their strange machines and dangerous inventions; and Clan Pestilens, with their fanatical and disease-carrying warrior-monks.


The Skaven feel that they are superior to all other races, and are often hostile toward other characters. Dwarves greatly despise them, as well as elves, gnomes, halflings, and many more. The Skaven tolerate assistance from drow and other evil-aligned races. They also often try to covertly manipulate other races against each other such as humans, goblins, orcs, and kobolds. Despite their numbers and the expanse of their Under-Empire, their existence is known to only a few races including the dwarves and elves.


Most Skaven are chaotic evil. They hatch numerous schemes, but due to their subordinates propensity for back-stabbing, these plans often fail or end disasterously. They seek only dominance and control over others. They could accomplish this goal if they could stop their in-fighting and civil wars.


Skaven live in their twisting warrens underground. They often build directly below large cities, using the sewers as access points to send their spies into the city to execute their plans for domination. Their numerous tunnels reach across to distant lands, and their underground highways connect their cities. They have been known to construct their cities under any environment, including tundras and jungles. If a Skaven city is built beneath an above-ground city, it's name is often the same as the above city, but with the prefix "under" attached at the front of the name (such as "Under-Miami").


The Skaven only worship the Horned Rat, father of the Skaven. The Grey Seers are his priests and prophets. It is exceedingly rare that a Skaven would ever worship other gods. The Horned Rat is worshipped exclusively by the Skaven, as they are his chosen children.


Skaven speak their native, chittering language called Queekish, though many skaven also learn Common in an effort to unnerve other races. They can also learn Orc, Goblin, Giant, and Undercommon. When speaking other languages, Skaven will often add two synonymous verbs together in a sentence in place of one active verbs or nouns (i.e. traitor-meat, stink-bog), or they may repeat words (i.e. die-die, fool-fool).


Skaven names are often squeaking and chittering sounding when pronounced, or may have something to do with rats and vermin. Common syllables used in names include "sk" and "qu." Sample names include Queek, Tretch, Kratch, Snikch, Skrolk, Skweel, Scritch, Thanquol, Quetch or Verminkin.

Racial Traits[edit]

  • +2 Dexterity, -2 Strength: Skaven are quick, yet for the most part physically weaker than other races.
  • Monstrous Humanoid (Skaven)
  • Medium: As Medium,creatures, skaven have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Skaven base land speed is 30 feet.
  • +2 racial bonus on Listen and Climb checks. Skaven have keen hearing and are able to scramble up surfaces and often each other with great ease.
  • Darkvision: Skaven can see in the dark up to 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight, and skaven can function just fine with no light at all.
  • Scent (Ex): Sense of smell plays a key role in skaven social interactions and dominance. Skaven have scent glands that release different musks, which can be released both at will and on impulse. Thus, all skaven have the scent ability.
  • Automatic Languages: Queekish and Common. Bonus Languages: Orc, Goblin, Giant, Undercommon.
  • Favored Class: Rogue.

Vital Statistics[edit]

Table: Skaven Random Starting Ages
Adulthood Simple Moderate Complex
5 years +1d4 +1d6 +2d6
Table: Skaven Aging Effects
Middle Age1 Old2 Venerable3 Maximum Age
25 years 50 years 70 years +2d20 years
  1. At middle age, −1 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
  2. At old age, −2 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
  3. At venerable age, −3 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
Table: Skaven Random Height and Weight
Gender Base Height Height Modifier Base Weight Weight Modifier
Male 4' 6" +2d8 75 lb. × (1d4) lb.
Female 4' 0" +2d8 70 lb. × (1d4) lb.

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