Rat King
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In any city-state, rats outnumber humans. Living on the scraps that modern society produces every day, they lurk in the corners, in the walls, in the sewers. While the grand mansions of the patricians try to keep them at bay with traps and poison, in the slums where the lumpen congregate they scuttle around in broad daylight. And even there there are some pools of filth greater than all others. That's where the rat kings will appear.

Physically, rat kings appear as a group of rats, a dozen or more, whose tails have become knotted and entangled into one big mass encrusted with filth. And somehow, this tangle of rats gives rise to a psychic hive mind, a sapient being that can reach out telepathically and talk to other rats - and people. Its personally is usually haughty, as the hive mind views itself as superior to any other creature and demands worship from all it survives - which it sometimes even gets, usually from street people and goblins. Nevertheless, it is a coward at hearts, and if faced by a threat it will usually flee, sending hordes of ordinary rats to attack those that threatened it to occupy them.

A rare rat kings have learned the value of cooperating with a few select it has learned to respect, such as powerful undead or figures of the criminal underworld. For such beings, rat kings make very useful allies, as they can telepathically command lesser rats at will, sending them out as spies and seeing through their eyes. This also makes them a dangerous enemy, for the rats are everywhere.

There are apocryphal accounts of so-called "rat emperors", rat emperors consisting of hundreds of smaller rats. If their psychic power increased with the number of rats they contain, these would be frightening creatures indeed.

Adventure Ideas

Designer's Notes & Resources

Rat kings are from real world German folklore, although I added the psychic hive mind to them. Makes for more fun gaming, in my opinion.


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