Ratlings for D&D Next

The good folks over at Greyhawkery say that Greyhawk Needs Skaven, and I agree. A week or so ago, conincidentally, I created a Ratling playable Race for our D&D Next campaign.

Ratlings (so called because Games Workshop Have Laywers Too) are small, adept climbers frequently found as crew on the less reputable flying ships that ply the skylanes between nations. They are a new race, said to have been created when a Rakshasa Warlock sky pirate found himself without a crew but with no shortage of rats in his food store. One swift negotiation with his Pact Lord, and the rest, as they say, is history.

On the ground, Ratlings have no land to call their own, but are growing to infest the cracks between nations. Every city that has a sky dock will doubtless find Ratlings underneath the tavern or fighting Kobolds (or worse – uniting with them) in the sewers. Dwarves usually consider them to be nothing more than vermin from whence they were spawned, while elves are often more compassionate for this race which didn’t even ask to be created. Some mean spirited Halflings are glad to finally have a race they can look down on and push around.


Size: Small
Speed: 25 feet
Languages: You speak and write Common, and Speak Ratling (there is no written form)

Ability Score Adjustment: Your starting Dexterity score increases by one

Mob Tactics: Choose one target. Until the start of your next turn, your allies gain +1 to attack and damage while this target is within your reach. This ability does not stack.

Wall Scurry: You have a Climb speed equal to your movement speed and have Advantage on climb checks due to your tail; if you lose your tail for any reason, you lose this Advantage.

Bite: You have a Bite attack that does 1d4 piercing damage. It is considered a Finesse Weapon.

Disease Immunity: You are immune to the effects of disease but you may still be a carrier. Roll to save against any Diseases as normal; if you fail the save you are unaffected by the disease but may pass it on to others until cured.

Scurvy Reputation: You have Disadvantage on Charisma checks when interacting with non-Ratlings.

I have reworded Mob Tactics (from the Rat stats) and clarified that it doesn’t stack. The Bite is basically a Dagger which can’t be disarmed, and Wall Scurry is a unique feature to them.

9 Comments on “Ratlings for D&D Next”

  1. Love this Robin, especially the fluff which fits excellently with the world as we are getting to know it in our DnDNext campaign. Very evocative and I like the more balanced mechanic at the end. Nice one. If anything happens to Kalavan I know who I might be playing next ;-)

    1. Thanks Dave. You were right to point out they needed something which affects their Charisma and reputation as rats. I think the Scurvy Reputation trait sums it up perfectly. Many thanks for your input!

  2. Great article Robin. Finally someone for “Arutha” to bully ha ha.
    When you mentioned GW’s Inquisition (oops I meant legal team), you may want to check the term Ratling, as they used it for the halfings in previous editions of 40k (excellent sneaky snipers of the imperial guard). How about rat-kin?

    1. Ah, the insanity of legalese.

      Ratlings are really halflings, but you can’t call them that, and halflings are really hobbits but we can’t call them that either. Ratlings are skaven but we can’t call them that, and ratlings were probably called ratlings to stop anyone using that term too, even though they’re really halflings by another name.

      They’ll be saving that dwarves can’t have round corners next.

  3. Yes Ratlings are essential, and useful for when kobolds would be too burly and easy to hit. I made sure Beacon had Ratlings in it and that they had pointy sticks.

    Ratling: HD 1 d4 (3-4 hp), AC 17, pointy stick, knife or bite.

  4. Interestingly ratlings are halflings in the grim future of 40k whereas Skaven must’ve been wiped out because I don’t see any fluff on space-rats. Sadly.

  5. By the way, thanks for the plug. Others may have looked to this before, but I never considered having a ratman as a PC race. Can’t let GW have all the fun.

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