Original Author: Nathan “N0-1_H3r3” Dowdell
“Little Thieves! Thieves and vagabonds, the lot of them. They’re petty-minded, larcenous little subhuman scum to the last. Everyone overlooks it because they can shoot straight and can cook a decent meal. You can’t trust them... any of them. They’ll steal your chrono if you shake hands with them, and as likely to pick your pocket as praise the Emperor’s name...”
Humankind colonized a vast range of worlds during the original expansions, and as can be expected, many of those worlds left their mark on the generations of people raised upon them. Verdant, peaceful, pastoral worlds led to easy lives, and the people on them became smaller in stature as the rigors of survival became a distant memory. While physically frail and weak-willed, they have excellent hand-eye coordination and keen senses, making them skilled craftsmen and excellent shots. It also, however, makes them able thieves and pranksters, something often noted when Ratlings – properly known as Homo sapiens minimus - are forced to coexist with humans.
Where Ogryns are built for survival, Ratlings evolved due in part to the easy conditions of their worlds. Height, body mass and sheer resilience all ceased to be relevant factors for the colonists whose descendants would become Ratlings, and nimbleness, manual dexterity and good hand-eye coordination became amongst the most valuable skills for dealing with the few predators and competitors on those worlds.
Ratlings, then, don‟t seem particularly dangerous – indeed, when put into a dangerous situation, a Ratling is likely to try and hide rather than confront the danger, and those who do attempt to confront peril often prefer to do so from afar. Their keen eyesight and naturally dextrous bodies make them skilled shots, and their small stature and innate agility allows them to hide more effectively than a human twice their size.
Ratlings appear as essentially miniature humans. Standing about a meter tall, with only their disproportionately large and hirsute feet to mark them as being anything other than a human child, Ratlings are easily overlooked.
Many Ratlings play this to their advantage. Being naturally personable and outgoing, and superficially resembling children (few Ratlings grow their facial hair in order to maintain this image – a Ratling with a beard looks much less like a child), a Ratling can ingratiate themselves into a wide range of situations, at least when dealing with those who aren‟t aware of the reputation of the Ratling people...
Ratlings as PCs
Ratling Characters are quick-witted, sociable, nimble creatures, taking easily to larceny and subtlety. This can be a considerable boon to an Inquisitor‟s staff, as a stealthy, unobtrusive and agile operative is of great use in many situations. Additionally, their reputation as marksmen is well-deserved, and a Ratling with a long-las or needle rifle is a potent tool.
However, Ratlings also tend to be raucous, hungry, lecherous creatures, well-used to simple pleasures and entirely willing to beg or steal for whatever they need, rather than work honestly for it. Certainly, many Imperial Guard officers have found Ratlings to be at the center of illegal gambling and smuggling rings within combined-arms forces.
Ratlings may take the following Career Paths:
Some Ratlings – unusually aggressive or amoral Ratlings in particular – seek the life of the hired gun. Such characters are stealthy marksmen who can eliminate a target while remaining entirely unseen, and leave without drawing suspicion.
Ratlings are often drafted into military service, as cooks and quartermasters, and as scouts and snipers. They rarely demonstrate much ambition in such careers, preferring to remain low-key so as to continue their clandestine hobbies.
Thieves, con-artists, professional gamblers and all manner of other unwholesome professions provide a draw for Ratlings, and many of their ilk not found in the military can be found as wandering jacks-of-all-trades, drifting between settlements, and even between worlds, stealing, tricking or scrounging a living.
Ratlings are noted for their almost universal ability to cook a decent meal from simple, often foraged, ingredients, something which partially accounts for their use amongst the Imperial Guard. Ratlings gain the Trade (Cook) skill.
Ratlings gain the following traits. Record all of these on your character sheet.
Ratlings are inclined towards less-than-legal activities, including gambling, theft, con games, and more besides – often as much for the thrill of success as for the material rewards (though those are nice too...) There are few Ratlings not familiar with at least the basic games, grifts and tricks of their 'trade', and most are imaginative enough to come up with a few of their own as well.
Benefit: Blather (Fel) and Sleight of Hand (Ag) count as basic skills for you. In addition, you gain a +10 bonus on Gamble (Per) tests.
Ratlings are only about half the size of human beings, making them harder to hit and easier to hide.
Benefit: You gain the Scrawny trait, meaning that your movement is based on your Agility Bonus -1, you gain a +10 bonus to Concealment tests, and enemies attacking you suffer a -10 penalty. This also means that it can be difficult to use some items and weapons built for human use, at the GMs discretion.
Resist the Taint
Ornsworld, the homeworld of all Ratlings, has been the subject of numerous attacks by Chaotic forces. While it has endured, the taint of Chaos is still present and Chaotic beasts must regularly be hunted down and killed. This has given the Ratlings a minor resistance to the taint of Chaos.
Benefit: When you would have to check for Corruption, you reduce the result by your Fellowship Bonus or can spend a Fate Point to not gain a Corruption Point.
Ratlings have no known psykers and have a natural resistance to psychic phenomena.
Benefit: Anyone attempting to use a psychic power on you does so with a -20 penalty. Any power that would be used to influence your mind suffer a -30 penalty.