RODENT ROGUES AND RATLIKE RANGERS – The Ratfolk race for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons


I have been reading through the Iron Gods adventure path and I’ve noticed that the Ratfolk, a race introduced in the Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 3, seem to have a fairly significant presence. As such, I decided to work up some rules for using Ratfolk as characters.

The following are my draft rules for playing Ratfolk in the 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons game.


Ratfolk Traits                                                                                                                             

Your ratfolk character has traits related to your rodentlike heritage.
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2, and your Intelligence score increases by 1.
Age. Ratfolk reach adulthood at the age of 14 and generally live for a half century.
Alignment. Many ratfolk are neutral, with their only strong ties being to their own communities.
Size. Ratfolk stand roughly 4 feet tall and weigh around 80 pounds. Your size is Small.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet.
Darkvision. Accustomed to life underground, your eyes grant you superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Naturally Stealthy. You can attempt to hide even when you are obscured only by a creature that is at least one size larger than you.
Rodent Empathy. You have advantage on all Animal Handling rolls involving rodents.
Swarming. You gain advantage on a melee attack roll against a creature if at least one of your allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn’t incapacitated.
Tool Proficiency. You gain proficiency with your choice of one of the following: alchemist’s supplies, disguise kit, jeweler’s tools, tinker’s tools, poisoner’s kit.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common.

Since the PF Ratfolk race is close to the PF Halfing race, I decided to start with the 5E Halfing for my Ratfolk conversion.

Given the Intelligence bonus that Ratfolk get in PF, and the race’s strong thematic connection to Alchemy and crude inventions, I gave the race an Intelligence bonus in 5E too.

For racial abilities, I was able to duplicate most of the abilities the race had in PF.

The race’s “Swarming” ability is the Kobold’s “Pack Tactics” ability restricted to melee attacks. I was a little concerned about this ability being too powerful for a PC race, but I don’t think it is any moreso than Dragonborn’s breath weapon, particularly given that Swarming is restricted to melee attacks.

To replace the skill bonuses that Ratfolk gain in PF, I went with tool proficiencies thematically linked to the race’s backstory.

I actually play a ratfolk character in a friend’s PF campaign, though I’m trying to convince him to switch to 5E and I’m hopeful that I’ll get to playtest these rules soon.

For DMs who are not keen on including animal hybrid races in their campaigns, these stats could easily be repurposed to serve as a variant of gnomes or dwarves (maybe as Gutter Dwarves or Gutter Gnomes), though you may want to grant such characters proficiency with those races’ languages.

Alternatively, for DMs on the more permissive side, you could swap the Rodent Empathy to Vermin Empathy (which applies to insects and arachnids) to make a diminutive, bug-like race (making, perhaps, Maggotmen).

While I hadn’t planned to convert the Ratfolk over to 5E at this point, I’m pleased to have this done and should make some of the monster conversions in Iron Gods a bit easier (such as the Ratfolk Scrappers from Fires of Creation).

Until next time, I remain;

RODENT ROGUES AND RATLIKE RANGERS – The Ratfolk race for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons

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