The Skiss-har Ratmen are considered blight upon the Realm. Known by other races as simply “The Ratmen” they have opposed nearly every other sentient race at one time or another over the course of history, and were almost extinguished by the Elves. Despite the best efforts of the Houses of Eldar, they could not eliminate the Skiss-har, who now exist in stronger numbers than ever before. The Skiss-har also consider the other races (humans especially) as no better than Elves, and treat them with contempt at best and outright hatred at worst.
As a race they are aggressive and territorial, and take up residence in warrens that allow them to strike at the cities and seize precious land and resources from other races. Luckily, the Skiss-har do not have a species wide agenda, and some of the most brutal conflicts the Ratmen engage in are against rival Warrens. Those Skiss-har who leave Ratmen society are considered traitors, and will most likely spend the rest of their days looking over their shoulder.
Skiss-har look like 5 foot tall, 120 lbs, bipedal rats. Their heads end in tapered snouts with beady eyes and twitching noses, their bodies are covered in fur (most commonly black, brown, tan, and occasionally white, or some combination thereof), and they have long, hairless tails (usually 4ft long). Their hands are clawed, and they have sharp teeth capable of delivering wicked bites. Skiss-har prefer clothing that is loose and easily shed and anything they wear tend to become battered and soiled in short order.
The Skiss-har are naturally nocturnal, and most prefer to lair in dark, enclosed spaces (such as caves,catacombs, dense forests, ruins, and sewers. They are supremely omnivorous, capable of eating nearly any type of meat or vegetation; including fibers too tough or flesh too spoiled to be consumed by other races. This expanded digestion is paired with a high metabolism, making sure that the majority of ratmen spend much of their lives hungry.
Ratmen breed freely and promiscuously, and most have next to no traditional concept of “mothers” or “fathers”, as offspring are raised communally by “Warren Fathers” or “Warren Mothers”, who are typically Skiss-har of some renown who are too old or infirm to raid. Familial loyalties are extended to the entire warren, and most ratmen refer to each other as “brother” or “sister”. Skiss-Har reproduce rapidly, with females giving birth after only a 4 month gestation, with multiple births of up to three infants being common. A Skiss-Har reach’s full maturity after only 12 years.
The Skiss-har are nervous, paranoid, and aggressive. They tend to obey the strongest of their number in any given warren (usually out of loyalty and fear), and naturally fall into hierarchies. While they can co-operate with other races, it is usually for the most mercenary of reasons.
Skiss-Har society greatly value faith and loyalty, and even Ratmen who do not worship Skajis tend to be extremely devoted to their chosen faith or cause.
The Skiss-Har are believers in the power of names, believing that anyone who knows their true names can control their souls. Every Skiss-Har has a true name, which is determined by augury and bestowed at the end a Ratman child’s first year. This name is known only to the youngling and their Warren Father or Mother. Among all others, the Ratman is known by a descriptive nickname (such as Patch-Fur, Stab-Whisker, or Grey-Tail).
Ratmen do not make good neighbors, but they aren’t stupid either. Ratmen will spy on potential targets for weeks before making their move. When Ratmen attack, they seek to take resources. Money, Food, Supplies; all are targets of Ratmen raids. Only when a warren has grown too large do they take territory, often slaughtering the current residents to the last man, woman, and child. They harbor a special hatred for Elves, who generations ago conducted a purge that almost eliminated the Ratmen entirely. Ratmen tend to have good relations with Gnolls, and the two races often work together on raids.
Alignment & Religion
The Skiss-har are overwhelmingly Evil. They venerate the god Skajis; an eternally hungry god rat who teaches his followers to consume and destroy. Those who break away from Skiss-har society usually do so because their morals conflict with those of the brutal warrens. Those Skiss-har who live away from the warrens can live productive lives, if they overcome the dark reputation of their people. Some become adventurers if only to prove that not every Ratman is a violent menace.
Ratmen seem to take naturally to classes that require an amount of stealth and cunning, such as Ranger and Rogue. Some take rather naturally to worship, and Clerics are the most common of the magic using classes, with wizards being uncommon and sorcerers even rarer.
+ 2 Dexterity, + 2 Wisdom, –2 Charisma; The Ratmen are agile and have keen senses, but tend to be mean spirited and short tempered.
Medium Size Humanoid (Ratmen)
Normal Speed: Ratmen have a base speed of 30 feet, Climb speed of 20ft.
Dark vision: Ratmen can see 60ft in darkness.
Bite: Ratmen can bite an opponent for 1d3 points of damage. This is considered a primary natural attack.
Contortionist: Ratmen gain a + 4 racial bonus on Escape Artist checks and can squeeze through tight spaces as if they were one size smaller.
Eat Anything: The ravenous appetites of the Ratmen have given them the ability to consume things far too unpalatable for other races. Ratmen gain a + 2 racial bonus on saving throws against disease, ingested poisons, and becoming nauseated or sickened.
Rodent Empathy: Ratmen gain a + 4 bonus on Handle Animal checks made to influence rodents.
Stalker: Perception and Stealth are always class skills for Ratmen.
Aging Effects: Adult 12 Middle Age 20 Old 30 Venerable 40 Maximum 40+1d20 years
Languages: Ratmen begin play speaking the Skis and at least one common language from their native region. Ratmen with high intelligence scores can choose from the following; Dwarven, Elvish, Goblin, or Orc,
Alternative Racial Traits
•Cornered Fury: Ratmen can fight viciously when cut off from friends and allies. Whenever a Ratman with this racial trait is reduced to half or fewer of his hit points, and has no conscious ally within 30 feet, he gains a +2 racial bonus on melee attack rolls and to Armor Class. This racial trait replaces Rodent Empathy.
•Civilized: Some Ratmen are raised outside the brutal environment of the Warrens. These Ratmen are typically adopted by other races or reared by Warren Father/Mother with uncommon (for a Ratman) values. These Ratmen are frequently socially adept, and gain a +1 bonus on Bluff, Disguise, and Knowledge (local) checks. This replaces Rodent Empathy.
•Explorer: Some Ratmen have an insatiable wanderlust, and travel far and wide to see what is beyond the next horizon. Knowledge: Geography and Survival are always class skills for Ratmen with this ability. This replaces Stalker.
•Grey Whisker: Ratmen with this trait are hardy and live for an usually long time. They receive a +1 racial bonus on all saving throws. In addition, their lifespans are increased, reaching Middle Age at 35, Old Age at 50 and Venerable at 70, to a maximum of 70 + 2d20 years. This replaces Eat Anything.
•Nameless: By some abhorrent fate a few rare Ratmen don’t have a true name. The have gone through the same rituals as their brothers and sisters, but for them the universe remained silent. Those of this horrible birth that survive into adulthood are best described as touched. They gain a +4 intimidate checks against other Ratmen who know of the character’s affliction. In addition, the character always have a +2 bonus against fear. This replaces Rodent Empathy and Stalker.
•Natural Armor: Ratmen have a thick furry hide and gives them a +1 natural armor bonus. This racial trait replaces Eat Anything and Rodent Empathy.
•Prehensile Tail: Ratmen have a long, flexible tail that can be used to carry objects. They cannot wield weapons with their tail, but can retrieve small stowed objects carried on their persons as a swift action. This replaces the Bite Racial Trait.
•Ravenous: The Ratman’s metabolism is extraordinary even by Skiss-Har standards. Ratmen with this ability gain a +2 racial bonus to initiative and recover an additional 3 hit points each night of rest. However, the Ratman must eat twice the normal amount of food to remain healthy. This replaces Rodent Empathy and Stalker.
•Small: Some Ratmen are actually Small creatures, and therefore they gain a +1 size bonus to their AC, a + 1 size bonus on attack rolls, a -1 penalty on combat maneuver checks and to CMD, and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks. Small Ratmen suffer a -2 penalty to Strength and have a base speed of 20 feet. This racial trait replaces Contortionist, Medium size, and normal speed.
•Wharf Rat: Ratmen with this trait are raised on the waterfront, and are natural swimmers. The Ratman gains a +2 racial bonus on Swim checks, can always take 10 while swimming. This replaces Rodent Empathy and Stalker.
Skiss-har Warrens of the Realm
The Chis-Chis Warren Ratmen reside in the depths of the Kaygan City Sewers and represents a constant threat to the city.
The seafaring Grishmel Warren are pirates and raiders who roam the waters of the Isilme Sea. The admiral of the massive Grishmel fleet is a ratman named Brother Salt.
Located in a series of caves in the mountains North of Vall, the Reshser Warren hosts the largest single colony of Ratmen in the Realm. This vast force supports itself with moderate farming and trade, but gathers most of its resources from raids against outlying Vallan settlements. They are led by the warlord known as Coppertooth .
In the mountains west of Throne is the second largest colony of Ratmen. Led by the cleric known only as Half-Dark, the Shris-Sha Ratmen are an army of fanatics dedicated to the worship of Skajis. They are ambitious and expansionist, and clash frequently with the Davanari.
Skiss-har Warrens of the Eastern Reach
Skiss-har Warrens of the Horizon Lands
Skiss-har Warrens of the Northern Reach