The Ratling
Climate/Terrain: Any Ratling in Giant Rat form
Frequency: Uncommon
Organization: Pack
Activity Cycle: Nocturnal
Diet: Scavenger
Intelligence: Average to Very (8-12)
Treasure: M,Q (usually no silver)
Alignment: Lawful Evil

No. Appearing: 2-12 (see below)
Armor Class: 6
Movement: 15
Hit Dice: 1+3
THAC0: 18
No. of Attacks: 1
Damage/Attack: 1, or by weapon
Special Attacks: Spring (see below)
Special Defenses: See Below
Magic Resistance: Nil
Size: S
Morale: Unsteady (5-7)
XP Value: 200

Ratlings, the offspring of a female wererat, appear to be giant rats with humanoid-like hands (opposable thumbs). Like rodents, they are hairless and blind at birth. A "litter" of ratlings usually numbers between one and four, but five or six is not unheard of. A true wererat mother may leave the runt of the litter to starve, rather than waste time nursing it.

Ratlings normally stay in giant rat form for the first two years after birth. At this point, a ratling can transform itself into a humanoid child. The humanoid form is usually a human of five or six years of age, though there may be characteristics of other races. The race will be the same every time this creature transforms. All ratlings retain their original gender when they transform.

When in giant rat form, they tend to look sleek and almost underfed. A young ratling's fur is usually a shade lighter than it will be as an adult wererat (perhaps due to its newness) but will darken to its true color by the age of one year. Albino ratlings are rarely seen; upon discovery that her offspring is an albino, the wererat mother usually kills it, feeling it will not survive easily without dark coloration.

Like adults, ratlings are frequently followed by 1-6 mice or rats that are not under control of the ratling.

Combat: A ratling must depend on a weapon to defend itself, usually using a dagger, darts, or sling. Their bite only inflicts one point of damage, with no chance of the victim contracting lycanthropy. They can transmit lycanthropy when using a blade, but only at 1% for every two points of damage it inflicts.

A favorite tactic of the ratling is to ambush its prey by leaping down from above, attacking once, and speeding away before the victim can react. They are very quick, and can only be harmed by plus one or better weapons, or by a metal to which they are vulnerable (often silver). They usually do not stay to loot the victim's purse, often just attacking to sharpen their skills.

Habitat/Society: Due to the speed at which they mature, ratlings are allowed to stay with the pack, rather than being left for humanoids to adopt.

When not stalking a victim, ratlings always stay with each other, preferring littermates to offspring of another wererat.

Ratlings can see much better than wererats, with infravision of 60' and normal vision of 30'. As they get older and more myopic, ratlings depend upon their keen hearing and sense of smell. In their rat forms, the array of whiskers helps them to judge distance.

Ratlings are always found in areas where wererats and giant rats dwell (sewers and underground catacombs). Unfortunately, when going amongst humanoids above ground, the smell of the sewers stays with them, causing passersby to unconsciously move away.

A ratling that is no longer being provided for by its mother must go to the surface world to find the humanoid flesh that it craves. They usually target a human child as a victim, preferably a street waif that will not be missed. It is difficult for them to procure larger prey.

Like wererats, ratlings search for shiny objects and other "valuables," often having a stash hidden from its own pack. Ratlings never have the impulse to collect metals to which they are vulnerable. They often lose track of these hidden treasures, and will often settle for the hoard of another ratling that was discovered by mistake.

Ecology: A ratling's maturation into a wererat is often difficult; approximately 50%-70% do not survive to adulthood (about four to five "normal" years). A ratling's goal is to acquire as much treasure and food as possible, without ever being suspected by the cities above them.

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Notes from the Author:
The Ratling is a supplement to the article "Ecology of the Wererat" from DRAGON Magazine #251 (it was a leftover from the original article), for use with the AD&D game.

AD&D®, is a trademark of TSR, Inc. This monster does not represent a challenge to any TSR-held trademarks. TSR is not affiliated with this site in any way. This work is © 1998 by Kristin J. Johnson. This monster may be reproduced for personal use, but may not be used to generate revenue, nor may it be used on any other web sites.

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