Horned Rat

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Yes yes my ratlings! Kill elf-things! Kill lizard-things! I come-scurry soon soon!

DIE DIE MANTHING! LOOT LOOT RATKIN! RAPE RAPE DAEMONMEN!
- The Chant of The Horned One being still illiterate

"By gnawing through a dike, even a rat may drown a nation."

– Edmund Burke

Introduction[edit]

The Horned Rat is the festering disgusting god of the equally disgusting Skaven race in the Warhammer Fantasy setting, as well as the god of one incredibly batshit insane cult of humans but more on them later. The Horned Rat is everything terrible about each God of Chaos distilled of even the most fleeting slivers of good that come with the whole package. He is what happens when you combine the Machiavellian backstabbing genius of Tzeentch, the ratty repulsiveness of Nurgle, the will for indiscriminate slaughter of Khorne toward the meek and helpless (especially women and children), and the intense hubris of Slaanesh.

Where Khorne is the god of war and bloodshed but also the god of strength and honor, Tzeench is the god of assholes and backstabbing but also the god of hope and ingenuity, Nurgle is the god of decay and death but also the god of contentment and rebirth, and Slaanesh is the god of excess of all kinds but also the god of love and fun; the Great Horned Rat is the god of murder, betrayal, decay, and all negative excesses such as pain and rape. Unlike Chaos, he has no good aspects. At all.

Spreader of AIDS and STDs, rolling around in his own muck & delighting in plucking of limbs from squirming insects the Horned Rat only exists to troll his own worshipers and the rest of the world and to tear down civilization, the arts, anything remotely good and replace it with his own favourite pastimes (namely disease, ruination, backstabbing, and cruelly toying with others).

He hangs out in an area of the warp known as the realm of ruin, a decaying hellhole that resembles a world completely taken over by skaven. The realm is inhabited by as many verminlords as there are living skaven, as well as demon rats and the souls of dead skaven. This is no heaven for the skaven, since most of them are turned into suffering demon-rats or fat blind mice that are forced to wallow in their failure for all eternity. The only good fate that awaits a skaven is if he becomes a verminlord.

As you can expect, none of the other gods like him and he is the archenemy of several of them, particularly Sigmar and Sotek. The only reason he hasn't been curbstomped and fumigated is because he has perhaps more worshippers alive than any other god in the setting and this gives him a bloated amount of power (and a needless sense of self-importance). Granted the prayers of skaven carry about as much power as the value given for skaven lives as but put enough together and it gives him enough power to be a major god of the underworld. And that’s not taking into account the the power boost that comes from his…other followers.

See incredibly enough, despite, or rather perhaps because of all the horribleness mentioned before there is in fact one group of humans who actually worship the Skaven’s god as their own. According to the Warhammer RPG books in the wake of Archaon arriving on the scene and making a mess of the Empire’s day some humans fell to nihilism and began to believe that the fall of the Empire was inevitable. As a result these depressed humans started to look for ways to survive what they saw as the inevitable collapse of civilization, hopefully without having to endure all the nasty ass mutations that usually come from siding with a chaos god. Eventually they came to believe that following the Horned rat was their best bet and founded the Cult of the Yellow Fang in the Carroburg area of the Empire to further his dark ends. Members of this cult typically carry around fang shaped daggers and can be identified by things like: a yellow fang tattoo hidden on their body, wearing symbols that vaguely look Skaven, or even by the fact they will sometimes knock out of one of their own teeth and wear it in a necklace around their neck (something which is easily overlooked since most people in the Empire have crap dental hygiene so a person missing a tooth isn’t that uncommon).

At first glance the idea of such a cult existing among humans sounds utterly inconceivable, but to play the devil’s advocate, given that the Skaven have managed to survive all these years despite the anarchic and backstabbing mess that is their civilization something must be working in the rat folks favor and the cult believes that something be the Skaven’s god…hence why the cult wants to co-opt him for their own ends. As the cult sees it, the Skaven may be great survivors thanks to their god’s assistance but considering the Skaven got their asses handed to them by Emperor Mandred Skaven Slayer the last time they tried to conquer the world they obviously aren’t meant to rule over things. Instead the cult believes the Skaven are merely tools for their god to undermine the existing world order. Once the dust settles the cult believes the Skaven will inevitably turn in on themselves and at that point the human underlings on the winning side of things will have a chance to rise up to supplant the Skaven as the Horned Rat’s true chosen ones. Therefore in the meantime while they wait for the day the Horned Rat stands triumphant over the world the cult does everything in their power to try and curry the favor of the Rat god both to gain power from him and with the hope of one day convincing the god to move his favor away from the Skaven and towards his human worshippers. To that end the cult tries to be as useful as possible to the Horned Rat, assassinating their god’s enemies, feigning subservience to Skaven who they’ve “allied” with, assisting said Skaven with their plots, poisoning water supplies, undermining human societies from within, covering up Skaven operations so the common folk will continue to think the Skaven are a myth, selling the Skaven info on human city defenses and persons of interest, and occasionally sacrificing sapient beings to their demonic god.

The Horned rat and his Skaven underlings for their part find the whole thing utterly hilarious and are more than happy to accept the assistance and worship of these desperate fools as in their minds it’s only natural that their inferiors should strive to try and be useful for their betters. Heck they don’t even care about the cult’s schemes for gaining more power since that’s exactly what they would do if the roles were switched! To be fair to the cult though, their efforts to impress the rat do seem to have somewhat worked as the Horned Rat did eventually instruct his followers to work with the other chaos god’s human followers during the End Times…but more on that later.

Anyway, beyond the petty schemes mentioned before the Horned Rat didn’t really do much of anything throughout Warhammer Fantasy’s history, as he was too busy trying to avoid getting eaten by Sotek or his head smashed in by Sigmar's hammer.

VERMINTIDE!

One of the few times his divine majesty deigned to make an appearance was to end one of the civil wars that was tearing his people apart. Summoned by the Grey Seers, he ate a few skaven, gave them a telling off, ate a few more and then left some pillars of warpstone behind with instructions on how to backstab and bitch better in his name. Beyond that there’s been no word of him since then.

The Horned Rat keeps going on about a great plan to take over the world and passes it onto his Grey Seers for them to tell the masses but this is really just a tool to keep the Skaven in line and generally striving towards the Rabid Rat's goals. Needless to say, once (if) the Skaven do take over the world, then the Horned Rat will swoop in, thank them for their hard work and then eat them all, satisfied he has finally won (just as planned).

He has his own greater daemons, the Verminlords, who are renowned trollers who give any skaven and others quite rightly the creeps. It is one of the toughest units a Skaven force can wield, combining powerful magic, strong combat skills and general unpleasantness into one hideously glorious model.

Considering his penchant for scheming he is probs Tzeentch's pet rat that got too much of an ego boost and decide to go it alone. Although equally possible with his connection to disease he is Nurgle's test subject and is taking out his pain through others. Khorne regularly tries to stomp on him since he despises cowards and well...does Khorne need a good reason to get angry? Slaanesh meanwhile constantly has strange ideas about what to do with the Horned Rat that for reasons of mental hygiene cannot be repeated here.

Whatever the case is, other chaotic beings look down on the Skaven and the Horned Rat as mere vermin, perhaps useful to a degree but not worthy of respect and they are usually killed on sight. And this is what other chaos races think of the Skaven. So being a ratman is not a good sell.

Should you see a Horned Rat in your area, call your local fumigators to get rid of the problem. Nothing ruins a day like a nasty ratmen infestation.

One interpretation is that the Horned Rat is actually a guise cooked up by Tzeentch to create his own exclusive race of mortal worshipers. Let's see; a race driven entirely by ambition (Tzeentch's fueling emotion), that prizes constant innovation (Tzeentchian doctrine), noted for its embrace of both constantly changing technology AND rampant mutation/biomanipulation (more Tzeentchian doctrine/methodology), with a creedo of being the ultimate survivors and manifest destiny (you see where I'm going here, right?).

However the existence of Clan Pestilens, which reveres the Horned Rat as a spirit of disease, decay and ruination, challenges this, and Age of Sigmar refutes it completely by confirming that Tzeentch, Nurgle and the Horned Rat are three separate gods, the former two are far more powerful than the latter and they all despise each other, with the Horned Rat being the most hated.

Daemons & Rewards[edit]

Whilst the Horned Rat is very much on the more Chaotic side of the godly playing field, he's never really acted in the same manner as the other Chaos Gods, at least not in the hands of Games Workshop. He does have a unique daemonic minion, the Verminlord, which is regarded as comparable to the Greater Daemons of the other dark gods, but he's never had the full array of daemonic minions, nor has he been prone to rewarding his loyal followers with dark gifts like the other Chaos Gods... at least, not officially...

See, way, way back in the hoary days of old, when Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay was in its 1st edition, gnomes and Half-Orcs were to be found in the Warhammer world, and Skaven had only just gained their own dedicated army splatbook for WFB 4th edition, an absolute madlad named Garret Lepper compiled [The Book of the Rat], a chunky 221-page PDF filled with Skaven lore and mechanics for Warhammer Roleplay, including careers, unique Clan Moulder monsters, and more. This book leaned heavily into the Horned Rat being a lesser Chaos God, similar to how a Skaven Daemon Prince was a sample Lesser Chaos God in the Realms of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned splatbook, and gave the Horned Rat both its own random roll of rewards for Skaven players, ala Chaos Champions, as well as its own army of daemons.

In the Book of the Rat, the Horned Rat's daemons re given as:

  • Verminlord: The Greater Daemon (with some elements of Daemon Prince).
  • Ratfiend: The Lesser Daemon; appears as a tall, muscular human with the head of a red-eyed rat. Freaks out Skaven for looking too much like a human, and humans for looking too much like a Skaven.
  • Daemonrat: The Daemonic Beast; large, jet-black rats with glowing red eyes normally found in vast swarms, but they may also be given as individuals to serve as Daemonic Familiars, where they are known as Verminwyrds.
  • Daemonrunt: The Daemonic Steed; resembles a diseased furless baby rat that is 10ft long, covered in boils and tumors and with jaws caked in noxious foam. So disturbing to Skaven that they prefer to just use them as attack beasts rather than mounts.

The Rewards of the Horned Rat are quite varied. Aside from the impressive cosmetic rewards of being a Albino or having Jet Black Fur, or having the mark of the Horned Rat fashioned upon their body, these are the possible rewards:

  • Belligerence, causing the Skaven to Hate all creatures.
  • Black Musk: Once per day, the Skaven can emit one of four types of magical musk. Darkening musk snuffs out the light, as per a Cloak of Darkness spell. Terrifying musk causes Fear in all within 5 yards. Choking musk inflicts an automatic Wound on all within 5 yards. Ratlord musk summons a rat swarm within 3 rounds. Darkening, Terrifying and Choking Musk all last for three rounds. A rat swarm summoned by Ratlord musk fights until destroyed or no enemies remain.
  • Corpulence, boosting Toughness and Wounds at a cost to Movement, Intitiative and Dexterity.
  • Dread Gaze, induces Fear in all creatures under 10 feet.
  • Growth, boosting Movement, Strength, Toughness and Wounds at a cost to Initiative and Dexterity.
  • Horns, that can be used to make a Gore attack.
  • Permanent Black Hunger, causing the skaven to be Frenzied in combat.
  • Immunity to Drugs.
  • Immunity to Pestilence and Plague.
  • Luck of the Horned Rat.
  • Mesmerizing Eyes, boosting the skaven's Leadership and Fellowship as well as letting them use the Hypnotize skill.
  • Plague Carrier (random disease).
  • Prehensile Tail.
  • Verminwyrd Familiar.
  • Rat-Like Agility, granting the skaven the talents Acrobatics, Contortionist, Escapology and Scale Sheer Surface.
  • Unholy Screeching, which lets the skaven emit a scream that causes agonizing pain in all within 10 yards.
  • Venomous, which causes the skaven's attacks to inflict Infected Wounds.

End Times[edit]

In the End Times, the Horned Rat plays a major role in Thanquol. He speaks directly to the Council of Thirteen and politely tells them to cut all the shit and stop fighting each other; after all the Warhammer World is ripe for the taking and the Horned Rat wants the Skaven to conquer it, as a unified race. To emphasize this, he incinerates the current Grey Seer and replaces him with... Thanquol. Yes, that Thanquol. The drugged up failure of a rat, so incomprehensibly incompetent that he could only function as "that one guy who tries to be evil and cool but fucks up all the time because of how fucking stupid he is." Although, of course, he makes an easy pawn for the Vermin King.

Anyway, for the first time in history, the Skaven are truly united and rise to the surface in the millions at the command of the Horned Rat. They then take the role of the Tyranids by infesting/invading Estalia (olé-olé!), Tilea (Rome burns, yes-yes), the Border Princes, Araby (Horned Rat akbar-akbar!), the Kingdom of Ind (dravani, dravani!), the Southlands, Lustria (meteor-induced dinosaur extinction!), Bretonnia (c'est terrible!), Naggaroth (though all they did was helped destroy one city), Nuln, Nippon (Horned Senpai notice me!), Karaz Eight Peaks, Cathay (though Cathay was triple-teamed by them, the followers of Chaos and the Orcs, though the Cathayans managed to wipe out the Skaven in their lands and fled on boats on their own terms)... Actually, let's just say the only nations they didn't wipe out, heavily damage, or at least do harm to were:

  • Ulthuan (because the Elves already fucked it up pretty badly as-is, in addition to being unable to reach a seaborne island by tunneling underground)
  • Nehekhara (because Nagash and co. got there first and worked it over. Also Skaven are gluttinous cowards and a desert full of undead armies that will kill them on sight is too desolate and scary for them. To be fair, they did send an assassin to Prince Apophas to point out the Destroyer of Eternities as a means to kill Nagash. Apophas even managed to stab him with it but at that point Nagash had reached godhood so it was as dangerous to him as a back scratcher)
  • Athel Loren (because magic shenanigans).

And then they blow up Morrslieb, which is both fucking Awesome and incredibly stupid, since the Warhammer World would have been destroyed by the resultant meteors (which it would have been if not for the Slann managing to stop most of the meteors from colliding)(wrong wrong manthings, plan was to destroy surface empires all along, with skavendom safe-secure underground).

The Horned Rat, however, had to admit that, even with such successes, the Skaven still wouldn't be able to defeat the forces of the Chaos Gods, and so he makes a deal, through Thanquol, with Archaon. Their contribution to the forces of Chaos is a force under the command of Ikit Claw tunneling into Nagash's Black Pyramid (airlifted from Nehekhara's ruins to Sylvania) while the undead are fighting the forces of Nurgle and traitor undead and blowing it up with Warpstone nukes.

The Horned Rat moved Skavenblight into his Realm of Ruin, as the physical world was destroyed by Archaon & Co, later becoming part of the Realm of Chaos when Slaanesh disappeared.

Age of Sigmar[edit]

As of Age of Sigmar, the Horned Rat has added the term "Great" to his title and has been promoted into a major Chaos God, seemingly replacing Slaanesh as the fourth Great God of Chaos, so things are looking up for rats in the world. The rest of the Chaos Gods hate his guts even more than they hate each other, and when he tried to grant his blessing to Archaon, the new Incarnate of Chaos literally just spat in his face. Even when Slaanesh finally got their shackles loose enough to birth new avatars, thus proving that the original four were still a thing, the Horned Rat didn't see any loss in stature, he just got more enemies to scheme against.

His followers remain just as crazed as ever, having somehow crashed the city of Skavenblight into the Realm of Chaos. This has allowed the Skaven to discover 'gnaw-holes' with which they can use to uncover secret routes throughout the realms - even Azyr, which had shut off all access towards it during the Age of Chaos.

40k[edit]

Ratskins worship a rat god named "the caller". This obviously is not the same god given that it's not assholish enough.

Total War: Warhammer II[edit]

Do not click unless you have beaten the game as any faction or are unafraid of spoilers.

Spoiler.gifThis article contains spoilers! You have been warned.


To summon their favorite god, the Skaven have come up with the most balls-to-the-wall insane plan of all time.

First, the Skaven designed a space ship that makes it looks like a twin-tailed comet in the sky (yes, skaven can go into space now, but the space ship crashed as soon as it ran out of fuel anyway, but is still pretty impressive compared to other factions that don't have the power to build the thing) thus fooling every major faction in the new world into shitting their pants, and resulting in a race to control the vortex.

Then, after one of the other races reaches their final stage, they will have to fight a final, massive battle against the other three major factions. Of course, even if the Skaven faction involved in the battle didn't win it doesn’t matter, as there will be ANOTHER Skaven army, ready to ambush the winner who would be already exhausted from fighting off the three armies from each faction.

The final step would then require a bell device that could soak in all the magic from the vortex, further strengthened by the magic poured in from every major faction that participated in the ritual.

If the Skaven are victorious, they will begin to see their horned god in the vortex, with the horned rat eventually manifesting into the material realm after the bell device tolls 13 times...and after one final sacrifice.

It seems like the Council of Thirteen had already planned this though, with whichever clan winning the war being completely sacrificed to the horned one to finalize its resurrection. Yeah, pretty typical of a Skaven scheme to fuck over their own people. Though in the end, the chosen clan does end up fucking over the council in return when the Skaven scribe spilled the blood of a grey seer on the bell's clapper, resulting in the Grey Seer clan being marked for sacrifice instead.

Also, this is the second time in the history of Warhammer that the Horned Rat has made its official appearance, he made a brief cameo in the bad end for the video game Warhammer: Shadow of The Horned Rat. You can see him in the background of the final battle where he tried to break into the material realm, as well as in the grand reveal cinematic.

Gallery[edit]

Rat Facts[edit]

The Chaos Gods of Warhammer 40,000 and Warhammer Fantasy
Four Main Chaos Gods: Khorne - Nurgle - Slaanesh - Tzeentch
Other Gods of Chaos: Archaon - Hashut - Horned Rat - Nuffle
Malal - Morghur - Necoho - Zuvassin
Chaos Gods of Law: Alluminas - Arianka - Solkan the Avenger