Ratfolk are small, rodentlike humanoids with twitching snouts, bony feet, and long, pink tails. They are about the same size as halflings but of a slimmer build. They often wear hooded cloaks or long robes to conceal their true nature from the gaze of casual onlookers.
Ratfolk can be found throughout Midgard, from Zobeck and other cities of the Crossroads region to the dusty streets of Per-Bastet in distant Nuria Natal and the valley of Golden Ulthar. The little creatures often inhabit the fringes of human society, scraping a living as petty thieves and tricksters. Many make their homes in decrepit slum tenements, in disused dockside warehouses, or even in sewers and other warrens beneath the city streets. Some, particularly in the Southlands, live a nomadic existence, wandering from place to place and trading in whatever odds and ends they acquire along the way, through honest means or otherwise. Other groups can be found on small tropical islands in the Tethys Ocean.
Family is important to ratfolk, and their strong communal ties mean they often form or join tight-knit criminal societies. Although some ratfolk have been known to ally themselves with goblins, kobolds, or the darakhul, they prefer to serve a mysterious “rat king” who is usually, but not always, a powerful rodent or ratlike creature of some sort. Many of Zobeck’s ratfolk are loyal servants of the Free City’s infamous Mouse King—picking pockets, burgling mansions, and smuggling goods up and down the Argent River on behalf of their monarch. Others serve any powerful figure as scouts, saboteurs, and infiltrators on their master’s behalf. Whoever their master may be, ratfolk are loyal to their kin.
Ratfolk enjoy collecting interesting trinkets and baubles, and hoard these items in their homes, often in preference to more valuable (but dull) gold and silver coins.
Civilization and Culture
Among themselves, ratfolk use names that identify their family and their place within the family, in the same mold as human names like Ivan Ivorson. They seldom use these names among non-ratfolk, however. Instead, they seem to derive perverse pleasure and great humor from giving themselves nicknames that make humans and elves uncomfortable, such as Plaguesores and Stinqface. Ratfolk are infamously hard to offend, so the more offensive the nickname, the more it amuses them. These nicknames are no different between males and females.