(Excerpt from ‘Humanoid races of the Western Tortugan Frontier’)
The Gente Ratta were first discovered during the time of Count Vilpiano, the third Count of Rosaroca. Initially they were found in an exploration of ancient ruins from the Cataclysm Era. While not initially thought of as a threat, it was only after further exploration in the region, particularly in a number of the ancient ruin complexes that exist in the middle elevations of the DragonWall mountains, that their true nature and size of the race was determined.
The first Rats that were found were just simple soldiers. While large in number it was determined that they were not that much of a threat. Attacking in packs, equipped with piece meal armor, and using mostly pole arms, they were ferocious and willing to take large losses. But their lack of strength and skill limited their actual real effectiveness. Thus it was first thought that they were no more of a threat than some Goblin tribes, or Kobold tribes.
As their numbers grew they became a bigger problem. Often creeping in and taking over areas that had already been explored and deemed safe. But it was not until the first of their larger kin appeared that the race began to be considered a viable threat to the settlements in the region. The Rat Ogres frightened the settlers when they first appeared among a pack of the rat soldiers, large, tough, with strange markings and occasionally odd mechanical devices connected to them. These terrible creatures often broke the lines of the first human warriors to face them in battle.
But the tipping point for the threat of the Rats was the appearance of their dread Sorcerers. These beings, blessed with infernal blood, and wielding spells gifted them from their Abyssal lords, brought an intelligence and fanaticism to the Rat ranks. Where a pack of rats might initially be broken by a strong defense or a Rat Ogre might be brought down by massed arrow fire these creatures magic was a great equalizer.
It was only the Chaotic nature of the Rats that kep them from becoming a larger threat to the region. Keeping different groups from banding together. And in some cases even fighting between different groups over a set of ruins. This was what led the forces of the County to develop a plan of battle that was eventually successful against them.
A couple of years ago Jimmy wanted to learn how to play Warhammer. So one Xmas we got him the Isle of Blood boxed set, containing Elves and Skaven. After some initial forays into painting by Jimmy this box has laid on the shelf dormant for some time. But with my renewed interest in painting I decided to take on the challenge of painting the Skaven. I am already enjoying just the painting (even if the assembly is not great.)
More importantly I think that a race of Rats would be a great addition to the campaign as the other ‘big bad’ race that the boys will have to cope with. Not so much an epic war or invasion. But just as a recurring group of bad guys that they will have to learn about and cope with.
As there is not even a basic Ratfolk race for D&D 5E I will have to come up with their stats from scratch for the most part. Fortunately I have been able to pick up some great tips from a series by @TheAngryGM on building monsters. I think I can grok what I need from that and other races to build a reasonable threat for the boys.
This is all great fun, making things up as I go along. Don’t have the figures for a reasonable bad guy group? Fine, what do I have? Lizards, well I can use those as the Lagarto. Skaven, well those become Gente Ratta. And voila, I have two bad guy races, to go along with my unique setting. Necessity has truly become the mother of invention for this campaign.