Despite how much /tg/ doesn't like to admit it, when it comes to designing non-human races to fill a setting, if an author doesn't go for the "rubber forehead" angle - "human, but X", ala the elf, the dwarf, the halfling, the orc, etc - then usually their go-to for race design is the "humanoid animal" angle. Catfolk and dog-people, such as D&D's Lupins and Gnolls, are the most common races of this variety to show up, but other races do occasional rear their heads. One of the most common of these uncommon variants are the Ratfolk; humanoid rats (or, more rarely, mice).
Ratfolk are, like most tabletop beastfolk races, colored by their bestial basis and perception of that race in common culture. So, at the least, ratfolk tend to be shorter-lived than humans, but produce large families. Because of the rat's general negative symbolism in Western culture as a filthy, swarming, disease-spreading pest, ratfolk are usually a "bad guy" race; they tend to be dirty scavengers if not outright evil, often of dubious intelligence, prone to diseases, naturally scheming and/or treacherous, and generally unpleasant. Needless to say, this slots them heavily into the "obvious bad guy" niche.
Ironically, those who have actually studied rats usually report that most of these traits are pretty much wrong. For example, rats are fastidious groomers, very social, and quite empathetic.
Prominent Ratfolk in /tg/ Media
Ratfolk appear as a benevolent race of traders and merchants in the Pathfinder setting. They're highly communal, but they won't tolerate shit from anybody, least of all humans who think they can be pushed around due to being smaller. These are perhaps the second-most well-known ratfolk race of /tg/.
Midgard also has a race of ratfolk, which are pretty much based on those from Pathfinder.
Their Wicked Fantasy counterparts, the Rodduns, have more of a noble gangster vibe. They're literally "Friendly Neighborhood Gangsters" in the form of giant talking rats, complete with running around in gangs called mischiefs. For more information on rodduns, check out this handy pastebin copy of all their lore from the WF corebook: https://pastebin.com/i7qJ1mSJ
Starfinder also has a ratfolk race of its own, called the Ysoki. They're still the master techno-geeks of the setting. It's deliberately made ambiguous if the ratfolk of the original Pathfinder were Ysoki or if they're a case of convergent evolution and cultural appropriation.
Dark Sun is home to the Tari, which have basically replaced the role of goblins as the "small, thieving humanoid scavengers whom it's perfectly okay to kill" - in fact, urban environments will often pay a bounty for tari heads, despite the fact the tari aren't actually an always evil race. In fact, the Tari once had a great civilization of their own before it fell to some unknown disaster, and the ruins can still be found in the lands south of Tyr.
The Chronicles of Aeres features ratfolk, called Rattevir, as one of the most important beastfolk races, to the point that not only do they get their own distinct racial statblock, they even got their own splatbook!
Nezumi are one of the only two non-hostile non-human races in the Legend of the Five Rings universe, the other being the Naga. They are characterised for being heavily resistant to Taint and for having a more practical outlook than the honorable-to-the-point-of-stupidity not!Japanese humans. The Crab clan, which shares their practical outlook, has a standing alliance with them that's survived several editions, and severe punishments await any dumbass that shows up with one of their heads instead of a goblin's, as they've just demonstrated a stupid inability to distinguish between friend and foe.
'Coincidentally' ("Nezumi" means "rat" in Japanese) , the plane of Kamigawa in Magic: The Gathering also has a race of ratfolk called Nezumi. They inhabit the region of swampland called Takenuma and are considered Rat-type Creature cards. The most famous of these cards is Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni, an oni-sworn female nezumi ninja who appeared in the Betrayers of Kamigawa expansion.
The Jawa of Star Wars have hoods that mask their faces but the novelization of the original film and The New Essential Guide to Alien Species both state they are rodents under the hoods. They are scavenging desert dwellers that supposedly have a horrible smell, but this is rarely brought up.
Whilst technically /co/, Master Splinter the humanoid rat ninja master from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a thing, especially due to the Palladium RPG based on that license, which does include mechanics to play as mutant rats.
One memetically infamous thread came up with the idea that elves are actually a species of shapeshifting rats who adopt the "sleek, beautiful, glamorous, all-too-human" elven form out of shame at their own rodent-like features and to better mingle with the other races. But they can't hold their elf-forms forever, forcing them to revert to their ratfolk forms every so often to recharge, usually by gorging themselves into a stupor on fresh garbage. This still occasionally surfaces on /tg/ to this day.
/tg/ also came up with a race ratfolk called the Faestir in the days when the Unified Setting was a thing, basing them upon the Burmecians of Final Fantasy. In fact, they were originally a straight-up translation of burmecians until /tg/ decided to steal the look and write their own backstory & culture for them.
In fact, ratfolk are older than many newcomers suspect; they actually appeared in the Fritz Leiber story "Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser: The Swords of Lankhmar", where the titular city is revealed to house a magical "Undercity" one can reach through size-shifting magical portals, which is inhabited by sapient rats, humans allied to said rats, and the halfbreed progeny of the two races. In fact, the Gray Mouser actually has sex with one of said hybrid ratwomen, who mostly looks human, save for her eight breasts.
Since 1d4chan is awesome and shares stuff like this, we provide the details for the ratfolk of Golarion and Midgard. For details on the other RPG-playable breeds of Ratfolk PCs, check out the Ferek, Nezumi, Roddun, Slitherin and Ysoki, pages.
- +2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, -2 Strength
- Humanoid (Ratfolk)
- Base speed 20 feet
- Darkvision 60 feet
- Roden Empathy: +4 racial bonus on Handle Animal checks against roduents.
- Swarming: Two ratfolk can share the same square at the same time. If they then attack the same foe, they are both considered to be flanking that foe.
- Tinker: +2 racial bonus on Craft (Alchemy), Perception and Use Magic Device.
Alternate Racial Traits:
- Cornered Fury: Replaces Swarming. When at 50% or less of max hit points and with no conscious ally within 30 feet, gain +2 to melee attack rolls and +2 to AC.
- Scent: Replaces Tinker. Gain the Scent trait, suffer a -2 penalty to Perception checks based on sight and hearing.
- Skulk: Replaces Tinker. +2 racial bonus on Stealth checks, suffer only a -5 penalty on Stealth checks against creatures they have distracted with a Bluff check.
- Unnatural: Replaces Rodent Empathy. Suffer a -4 penalty to all Charisma-based skill checks against Animal-type creatures, and their starting attitude towards the ratfolk is one step worse. Gain a +2 dodge bonus to AC against Animal-type creatures.
|The Races of Pathfinder|
|Player's Handbook:||Dwarf - Elf - Gnome - Half-Elf - Half-Orc - Halfling - Human|
|Aasimar - Catfolk - Changeling - Dhampir - Duergar |
Drow - Fetchling - Gillman - Goblin - Grippli - Hobgoblin
Ifrit - Kitsune - Kobold - Merfolk - Nagaji - Orc - Oread
Ratfolk - Samsaran - Strix - Suli - Svirfneblin - Sylph
Tengu - Tiefling - Undine - Vanara - Vishkanya - Wayang
|Bestiaries:||Android - Astomoi - Caligni - Deep One Hybrid - Gathlain |
Gnoll - Kasatha - Munavri - Naiad - Orang-Pendak
Reptoid - Rougarou - Shabti - Trox - Yaddithian
|Adventure Paths:||Being of Ib - Kuru|
|Inner Sea Races:||Ghoran - Monkey Goblin - Lashunta - Skinwalker |
Syrinx - Triaxian - Wyrwood - Wyvaran
|Ultimate Wilderness:||Vine Leshy|
|Blood of the Sea:||Adaro - Cecaelia - Grindylow - Locathah - Sahuagin - Triton|
|Planar Adventures:||Aphorite - Duskwalker - Ganzi|
Midgard Ratfolk (5e):
- Ability Score Modifiers: +2 Dexterity, +1 Intelligence, -2 Strength
- Size: Small
- Speed: 25 feet, Swim 10 feet
- Darkvision: 60 feet
- Nimbleness: You can move through a hostile creature's space in combat, so long as the creature is at least one size larger than you.
- Pack Tactics: When attacking a creature that has at least one non-incapacitated ally of yours within 5 feet of it, your attack rolls have Advantage.
- Rodent Empathy: You have Advantage on Handle Animal checks made to influence the behavior of rodents.
Ratfolk vs. Kobolds
Since ratfolk tend to be given the role of "small, stupid, swarming, low-threat monstrous humanoid", the same role classically given to Kobolds, it's not unheard of for ratfolk to either replace kobolds or to be given their name.
For example, in the Warcraft setting, kobolds are dim-witted ratfolk miners with an obsession with candles and characterized by their broken "English". Hence the infamous meme, "You no take candle!"
It isn't impossible to feature both in the same setting, but it would require a fair bit more effort on the DM's part to explain where they come from. For example, ratfolk may favor tinkering and tech, scavenging goods from humanity's garbage dumps and reassembling them - sort of like a less batshit crazy-stupid and more skilled version of Pathfinder Goblins - whilst kobolds may prefer to tap into the spark of arcane magic within them, in better emulation of their beloved dragon kinsfolk. So thus you have a new way to play out the Magic vs. Tech paradigm.
|This article or section is about Monstergirls (or a monster that is frequently depicted as a Monstergirl), something that /tg/ widely considers to be the purest form of awesome. Expect PROMOTIONS! and /d/elight in equal measure, often with drawfaggotry or writefaggotry to match.|
Like with most beastfolk on /tg/, the depiction of ratfolk in an attractive light is a contentious issue. Whilst sexy fan-art of female Skaven and Nezumi - mostly the female Kamigawan nezumi ninja known as Ink-Eyes - occasionally pops up on threads where people see an excuse for it, it naturally brings the anti-furry brigade out of the woodwork when it happens. And portraying them in typical monstergirl fashion often earns the same kind of mockery that, say, putting up a "how do I use catgirls/cowgirls in my setting?" thread would do.
But... not always. There are a surprising amount of fans of real-life rats on /tg/, and whilst portraying them in a sensual light is often a little uncomfortable, these fans still leap on the idea of portraying ratfolk in a role outside of the negative stereotype that skaven so wholeheartedly embrace.
Ratfolk monstergirls, when they occur, are usually... pretty close to goblins, actually. They often fall into the same fetish fuel depictions as goblins, specifically in the Breederphile and Pervy Tinker format. Very physically affectionate, prone to polygamy (if not outright slutty), and usually very enthusiastic about expanding their family. Such beastgirls being adept artificers is a less common depiction, but has weight given the /tg/-canon of the skaven and the ysoki.
In the Monster Girl Encyclopedia, there are three rat-girl mamono so far.
- The basic "Large Mouse", a shout-out to that staple of fantasy low-level monsters, the Giant Rat, is a pack-hunting, mischievous, cocky loli mousegirl who uses strength-in-numbers to capture men and fuck them into submission, piling on in lusty squeaking hordes. They are prone to being overwhelmed by their own built-up demonic energy, making them surprisingly aggressive and prone to biting people - a tactic to more easily swell their ranks by turning a man into an incubus and any women into new Large Mice.
- The Wonderland variant "Dormouse" is a sleepy mousegirl loli who spends most of her time lost in lustful dreams, relying on the abundance of demonic energy that she exudes whilst horny to turn a wandering man into an incubus to catch herself a physical mate. Steeping a dormouse in tea permeates the drink with her demonic energy; such contaminated tea induces wonderful erotic dreams, but transforms women into more dormice.
- The Hinezumi is a mousegirl from the not!China "Mist Continent". This is a passionate, dedicated, butt-kicking busty martial-artist mousegirl with the ability to envelop herself in an aura of burning flames as she fights. Naturally, given what kind of setting this is, splashing her with water will make her into a meek and stuttering little thing, easy prey for a dominating mate.
A Ranatagi is a ratfolk psychic who can create dimensional rifts with psychokinesis.
|This article contains PROMOTIONS! Don't say we didn't warn you.|
- Generic Ratfolk
As a canonical female Kamigawa Nezumi character (practically the only one, in fact), to say nothing of being a badass ninja-witch, Ink-Eyes attracts her share of cheesecake fanart. Or even official art.
- MGE Ratfolk
A kung-fu fire-rat with the only decent curves in the family, so far.
- Female Skaven
Because you were warned that fem-skaven are a thing in the steamy underbelly of /tg/, where /d/ and /trash/ have their influence. If it really sets off your heresy meter so much, then think of them as generic ratfolk with the skaven's scavenger aesthetic.
- Clan Sniek
One mad skaven-fan's attempt to create an entire rogue skaven clan of free female skaven.
A ninja ratfolk does not become less deadly for the presence of a few extra curves.
Clan Moulder does love tinkering on itself.
Almost alluring enough to forget she's a daemon. Almost.
Master Assassins need no armor to kill their targets.
A nubile dominatrix ratgirl is either your worst nightmare or your darkest fantasy. Or both.