Rat Catcher and Ratiquette

I have a new mini-campaign where one player took the Ratiquette skill and so another player riffed off that and took Rat Catcher as a lifepath. Clearly, rats are thing in this game. I’d love to hear any ideas or stories about using Ratiquette!

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You need an Rat King npc monster.
Maybe some roden to take offense at being called rats?

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Sure, makes sense.

The larger setting is inspired by celtic mythology, so I’m probably going to tie the rats to fomorians or tuatha da dannan somehow.

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In case it’s not obvious to the TV audience at home, Ratiquette (and Rat-Speak) is a joke (that emerged from one of our players talking to rats during a game, “Squeak! Squeak, I say!”).

The best uses have come in unexpected moments. A character talking to rats when they have no one else to talk to. Bowing politely and asking a rat’s permission to share a meal. Asking directions from a rat, etc.

If you’re willing to bend credulity a bit, it’s quite a useful ability to be able to understand the intricacies of rat society. And if a game master is willing to insert a few rats here and there, the opportunities for good play can emerge naturally.

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I’m always inspired by Leiber’s novella, The Swords of Lankhmar, in which our favorite rascally heroes, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, are charged by the Overlord to protect the city’s grain fleet. In the course of doing so, they learn a great deal about the society of the rats of Lankhmar, who pull many strings in the city.

Fun fact: The Swords of Lankhmar was a big inspiration on my Torchbearer adventure, The Secret Vault of the Queen of Thieves.

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Thanks for the tips, guys.

I really enjoyed the Lankhmar novels but I didn’t read The Swords of Lankhmar. So I just grabbed it for Kindle so I can change that!

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Another, considerably grittier, view of rat society is China Mieville’s King Rat, which riffs off the Pied Piper myth.

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I could never get into Mieville, though I know a lot of people love his work. That does remind me, though, that a lot of scholars believe the Pied Piper story to be a medieval modernization of a myth about Odin/Wotan, with Odin summoning the dead souls (as represented by the rats) to follow him. It jibes with Odin’s role as the leader of the Wild Hunt.

In Welsh mythology, the Wild Hunt is led by Gwyn ap Nudd, lord of Annwn. Gwyn ap Nudd is the king of the Tylwyth Teg (fair folk). Peter, that might be your in if you’re looking to tie it to Welsh/Celtic mythology.

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Mieville is overtly political in his fiction, so one does have to be in the mood for obvious themes of capitalist oppression vs. heroic socialism.

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I never got far enough into one of his books to discover the themes, tbh. Maybe I’ll give them another go.

I love the idea of dead souls as rats following Gwyn ap Nudd.

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