View Full Version : Ratlings 4e race

Zellic Solis
2010-05-15, 12:09 PM
My players are getting a little tired of the standard 1-3rd level antagonist races so I'm making a few new ones and I'm interested in ideas and feedback. And yes, I know 3.5 is more popular, but they want 4e. ::shrug::

If you see one, anticipate a dozen.

Racial traits
Ave Height: 4'-4'6"
Average weight: 80-100 lbs
Ability Scores: +2 Dex, +2 Con
Size: Small
Vision: Low Light
Languages: Human regional, Skittersqueek
Skills: +2 Stealth, +2 Dungeoneering

Robust: Ratlings have disease and poison resist 5+1/2 your level.
Keen Senses: Due to their senses of smell and whiskers, ratlings reduce the penalty for attacking a concealed target by 2.
Scamper: Ratlings gain a +4 circumstance bonus to athletic checks involving climbing.
Squirm: You can use Squirm as an encounter power

Squirm (racial power)
Encounter, Immediate interrupt, personal
Effect: When under the effect of immobilization or Restrained, that effect immediately ends and the Ratling shifts a number of squares equal to their dexterity modifier.

Ratlings are an intelligent mammalian race that resembles a hybridization of humans and rats. They are a widespread and gregarious race that institute themselves into most urban centers with a variety of success. Ratlings organize themselves into extended families called Clans or Warrens. Ratlings frequently inhabit sewers, aqueducts, and abandoned cellars or basements and are often regarded as little more than vermin.

Play a Ratling if you want to play...
...a character that specializes in underhanded tactics to achieve victory.
...a character who is driven to succeed.
...A character who excels at the rogue, ranger, or warlock classes.

Physical Qualities
Ratlings are bipedial mammals the size of teenage humans with lithe and agile builds. Similarities end there. Ratlings have rodent shaped heads with pointed muzzles, pink noses, wide whiskers, and large bowl shaped ears atop their heads with prominent chisel shaped teeth. Their bodies are covered with a layer of inch long fur save on their hands, feet, and tails that can range from black and white to tans and browns and reds and any mix between. Many Ratlings decorate their fur with dyes, creating bright red, green, blue, and purple markings to identify themselves and their clan. Ratling hands are hairless, with long agile fingers and small claws. Their feet are partial prehensile and of great assistance in climbing. Their tails are long and hairless, covered with translucent scales and while flexible are not truly prehensile. Ratling males and females look very similar to outsiders, as females lack prominent breasts save when nursing.

Ratlings are born into large extended families, with most around a dozen. While not as fecund as their beastial cousins, ratlings tend to quickly populate any region they inhabit. Once a population is reached, Ratling younglings disperse to find new homes for warrens. Ratlings are extremely social creatures, and enjoy conversations with their kin. Clans are connected by blood, and interclan feuding is common though such fights rarely spill over into all out warfare. Ratlings are born into a life of struggle where exceptional individuals push themselves to excel and overcome the many adversities they face.

Because ratling warrens can compromise urban sewer systems and waterways ratlings are frequently singled out as scapegoats for local problems. Some communities suspect ratlings of being disease spreaders or in league with infernal powers. Many communities pass laws to marginalize, persecute, or even exterminate ratlings within their communities. Ratling adventurers learn to either stand up against these wrongs, make good and powerful friends to speak on their behalf, or keep an eye on the nearest bolthole. Often all three.

Ratlings often "borrow" from each other and from their neighbors. Their gear is frequently second or third hand, and often modified to show original or current ownership. It's not uncommon for ratlings to carve their names into their weapons to denote property, and even more common to see those names scratched out and replaced. Ratling clothing and armor is frequently patched and modifed to fit their non-human bodies. Chainmail predominates, and leather and hide armors are common as well. Ratlings lack armorsmiths to design custom armor for their own kind. Ratlings frequently employ improvised or unconventional weapons and tactics. They have a skill for employing alchemical weapons in combat, and most see poisons and glazes as acceptable tools of combat. Ratlings also frequently keep normal and dire rats as pets and guards. Some ratling warrens specially train rat swarms to act on command and breed especially strong horrid rats.

Ratlings are pragmatic spiritually. They worship whatever gods grant them a survival advantage. Contrary to the stereotype, most ratlings do not venerate evil or infernal powers. They clearly recognize that such entities are more interested in their own goals than the well being of their followers. Ratlings also tend to avoid clearly good aligned deities, though they are more common than evil gods, simply because the expectations don't meet the reward. As a result most Ratlings venerate neutral gods, spirits, and other beings with clear benefits and rewards. Ratlings attitudes towards magic is far more utilitarian, with more respect given on what a magic user does than a raw fear of their 'power'. Despite the myth, most ratlings know that even the mightiest wizard has to eventually eat and sleep.

Playing a Ratling
Most ratlings are interested in survival. They tend towards menial work, scavenging, and keeping out of the attention of others. Ratlings are good at avoiding attention and living where others would never dream of inhabiting. Of the thousands who pursue a subsistence lifestyle, one or two will develop the will and drive to overcome and achieve a life of an adventurer. These individuals may do so out of a desire for respect from outsiders, to ensure the survival of their clan, or for simple self enrichment. Regardless, all Ratling adventurers are paragons of their species, even if outsiders fail to acknowledge it.

A ratling's greatest antagonist is the outside world. Humans, at best, treat ratlings with extreme distrust and fear. Numerous myths and urban legends abound about ratlings as being inherently evil and enemies of all. While there certainly are evil ratlings, and even some Clans dedicated to infernal goals, ratlings are actually more heavily invested in a community's survival than its destruction. After all, if all the humans are killed then who will make the goods that ratlings prefer to borrow? Some communities even have laws posted making it legal to kill them outright or pay bounties on ratling tails.

Ratlings are at home underground. They frequently modify whatever subterranian home to allow quick travel and security. Hidden doors are common, as are traps. Warrens are generally kept hidden from humans, and security is taken very seriously. They have little difficulty in other underground environments. In contrast, many ratlings suffer from agoraphobia; feeling nervous and exposed in the open. Most ratling adventurers overcome such sensations, but they are still far more comfortable with walls around them.

Ratlings possess a unique language called chittersqueek. It is a oral language with no written equivalent or alphabet that involves using words frequently too high pitched for outsiders to make out. Outsiders can learn to understand Chittersqueek, but they can never speak it themselves without magical assistance. Outsiders who do are looked on with respect and occasionally suspicion.

The origin of ratlings is something of a mystery. Some speculate that they were the result of magical tinkering. Others hypothesize that ratlings are a more primitive version of wererats who have become trapped in the hybrid form. Given that ratlings have no creator god claiming credit, it leaves their orgins open to widespread guesses. The ratlings themselves couldn't care less. They are far more interested in living today and tomorrow to worry about centuries ago.

Another alien concept to ratlings is that of marriage. Ratlings are polyamourous, and breed when and with whom the fancy takes them. There are no set social rules for who or when or if a rat breeds with others. While most relationships are intraclanar, interbreeding between clans occurs regularly and prevents inbreeding. Ratlings raise children socially, and some ratling children might identify with half a dozen different parents while ignoring their biological origins. It is far more rare and exceptional for a ratling to identify their mother and sire as their exclusive caregivers. Occasionally Ratlings find themselves raised by non-ratling parents. Humans may raise a ratling as a pet or a source of cheap labor or simply as a child. However, such occurances are very rare and dependant on the community.

Ratlings have their closest relationship with humans, favoring metropolises and large population centers with expansive buried infrastructure. There are similar relationships between ratlings and dwarves, who either establish a 'rat ward' to have access to a cheap labor pool, or else persecute them brutally. Elves and halflings are far more amiable to ratlings, and Eladrin typically view them as animals.

Ratling Characterists: Driven, exotic, oppressed, pragmatic, underhanded, ruthless, curious, shy, fearful, gregarious, and friendly.

Names: Ratlings have two names, one in Chittersqueek and one that outsiders can recognize. Their outsider names are frequently descriptive and something that is easily paired with that individual rat. Clans likewise have two names.

Name Examples: Argent, Blaze, Cinnamon, Dasher, Fray, Quickpaw, Longtail, Scurry, Tallmouse.

Clan names: Longteeth, Tunnelrunners, Redclaws, Canalers, Deepwalkers, Bargers, Broken Knives, Wall Watchers, Roofers, Shimmerpaws.

Ratling Adventurers.

Fray of the Broken Knives never had much patience with surfacers, but he did have a great deal of respect for their coin. Turns out that the surfacers had their own vermin and paid handsomely to get them back alive. The Ratling ranger knows every dive, bolt hole, hideout, and skeezy tavern in the city and with the help of Savage, his dire rat companion, tracks down the surfacers' trash to earn the coin above. Some are actually noticing the scarred rat as something other than a thief and vermin, but there's few yet that will buy him a drink.

Argent is one of the few rats to earn a place in the largely human and dwarf dominated thieves guild. While skill certainly played a part, Argent maintained her place through guile and personality, maintaining herself in a feminine and friendly manner. A master of infiltration, she knows that where there is a basement there's a way inside. She's currently getting more and more pressure to take up assassination missions though, and now finds herself trapped between the comfortable life she lives and the freedom she craves.

Blaze has lived her entire life in the warren of the infamous Fireeyes clan, a clan that venerates daemonic patrons. Blaze quickly came to the realization that such a life would mean losing either way; on the end of an adventurer's sword or in a demon's maw. However, she also recognized that it was also a means to power. She studied, tested, and finally underwent a pact to become an infernal warlock. Shortly afterward she fled her warren and found herself in an alien and hostile world. While her powers keep aggressors at bay for now, she seeks allies to help facilitate her transition into this strange and frightening existence... not that she'd ever admit her fear.

2010-05-15, 01:37 PM
For keen senses, just say it ignores concealment. If you want to say it takes less of a penalty from total concealment, say it seperately.