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Ah, the giant rat
: that most humble of beginner's level monsters
, the traditional beastie you face when you're a 1st level jobber and worried that kobolds
are out of your league. As their name implies, these are humble household rats bloated to unusual sizes - typically around the size of a dog - without any special powers beyond an increase in biting and clawing power. Arguably popularized by Dungeons & Dragons
, they are favorites of beginner DMs because they offer simple, easy-to-use enemies that won't require a greatly complex battle plan to oppose, are weak enough to face off against level 1 PCs, and come with an incredibly usable basic plot hook. After all, if you're a humble tavern-keep whose basement has been overrun by rats the size of Great Danes, would you rather face them yourself or offer the rookie adventurers
in your common room a couple of gold pieces to stick them for you?
That said, giant rats aren't always so humble. Nastier versions do abound, and can catch you off-guard if you're unprepared - even the addition of disease to their attacks can wreck a careless PC at low levels.
In the Warhammer Fantasy universe, Skaven often fight alongside giant rats specially grown to massive stature by the treatments of Clan Moulder, and they are considered the oldest and most reliable of that clan's fleshcrafted monstrosities