Ratling Scoundrel – A Lycanthropic Roguish Archetype for D&D 5th Edition


“Releeeaasssssse meee… I’m nottt pppppeetttt, I-I I m-m-mmmaaann-… Ssssmell pea-nutttt bu-tterr! *happy squeaking and munching.*”

– Scoldorn “Squeaky” Amberguard, Ex-Ratling Scoundrel; captured by an evil nobleman wizard and turned into a prisoner/”family pet.”

The rumors of “warrior beasts” have fascinated your guild greatly.  And just like with the warrior beasts, sins of envy and pride motivated the development of a new monstrous friend or foe.  In your expeditions, you’ve discovered a thieves guild like no other.  Their abilities to steal and plunder are greatly enhanced by capabilities not displayed by other rogues; the dread curse of the wererat!  However, their strain is special and heavily controlled.  With it, they can infiltrate and quickly annihilate, all without causing too much alarm… lest the subject be particularly terrified of rodents.

Unlike the warrior best, The Ratling Scoundrels hide to the shadows and remain as anonymous as possible.  Were they to be discovered, their fates would be similar to the countless warriors who have either lost their humanity, their sanity, or both.  As such, their cells are often subterranean or within hidden establishments like the rats they emulate.  However, not all members are lowly street urchins and pick pockets!  Some are well respected nobility who wish to get an extra edge against their competition or spy with the help of some friends.  Either way, they face the same fears as the warrior beast, with the same amount of control.  In fact, the scoundrels are to blame for countless disappearances… and growing numbers of rodent-like monsters.

But, we’re here to talk about exceptionally lucky you!  Your induction into the Guild of the Ratlings has begun.   Steady now, your genetic code is being rewritten!  Just hold on, and everything will be fine.


Level 3 – Foul Spawn Blood

Your foul blood makes you a quick and crafty survivor, much like the rat itself. You gain proficiency training in the Nature & Survival skills if you didn’t have them already. Also, you gain an ability to speak with rats and related rodent-based creatures.

Level 3 – Minor Shapeshifting

Furthermore, you gain the ability to perform minor shapeshifting. As you progress in level, you gain more abilities (as detailed below).  These abilities last while you are shapeshifted and cannot be used once your alternate form has ended.

Starting at level 3, this ability takes your action to activate. Upon reaching level 8, it requires a movement action. Upon reaching level 13, it requires a bonus action.

This ability lasts 1 minute and requires a short rest or long rest before using again. When you reach level 8, this changes to 1 hour  before you must take short rest or long rest to use it again. Upon reaching level 13, you can retain your form for up to a day before short rest or long rest. Upon reaching level 17, you can use your abilities at-will and don’t require rest.

However, having the curse flow through your veins provides a drawback.  While in your shapeshifted monstrous form, you gain disadvantage on all charisma checks except Intimidate. Furthermore, any being not already friendly toward you will look at you with great distrust and suspicion. You cannot use spells while in your monstrous form. Whenever you use your shapeshifting, you make a Wisdom save (DC 15) when your ability ends. If you fail, you stay in your current form and enter a berserking frenzy.  You must attack the nearest creature to you for that round.  At the end of that round, you may attempt the save again.

Lv. 3 – Rodent Visage

While using your shapeshifting ability, your head becomes more rat-like and you gain gain sharp teeth. As an action, you may unleash a painful bite attack. This does 1d4 piercing damage, utilizing strength or dexterity for all intents and purposes, in addition to being a natural attack. As you go up in level, your bite’s damage increases. Upon reaching level 8, your bite attack does 1d6 damage. Upon reaching level 13, your bite attack does 1d8 damage. In addition, while you sneak attack with your bite, the sneak attack dice count as d8s instead of d6s.

Beyond a bite, your eyes and nose are also augmented while shapeshifted. You gain advantage on perception checks used to smell. In addition, you gain darkvision out 60 feet. If you already possess darkvision, extend it an extra 30 feet while transformed.

Lv. 9 – Scurrying Stance

You can twist your joints to make yourself look like a regular (albeit huge) rat, from the point of your snout to the tip of your hairless tail. In your transformed state, you may take a bonus action to drop to all fours in a scurrying stance. While in this stance, you gain a bonus 5 feet and gain advantage on your bite attack. You cannot perform any other attacks than bite while in this stance. You may take a bonus action to end the stance and stand on your “hind legs”.

In addition, you may take the form of a big rat (your size can become small or tiny) as well, as part of this stance. Your stats are not changed, except for your size.  However, changing in this manner requires an action instead of bonus action.  You are still granted bonuses from scurrying stance.

Lv. 13 – Plague Rat

Your experience in places where rodents dwell fortifies you against dreadful things in the outside world. While transformed, you gain resistance to bludgeoning/piercing/slashing damage from non-magical/non-silvered weapons as well as poison damage. You have advantage against poison and disease saving throws.

Lv. 17 – Embrace the Underworld

You merge with your inner beast. You gain advantage on dexterity (Acrobatics)/(Stealth) checks. You can move your full speed and make a stealth check without penalty. Furthermore, you gain immunity to disease and poisons, even if you’re not transformed.

You can use your shapeshifting ability at-will and without limit and can use spells if you have access to them. You are no longer required to roll a save as per Minor Shapeshifting drawback and can cast spells in any of your alternate forms.

However, your reliance on lycanthropic blood has caused your natural form to degenerate. You are always in “Nosfer-Rat-u” form, but you can casts spells in this form now and no longer suffer charisma disadvantage penalty while in your new “natural form”, as you know how to easily hide or disguise it.  You cannot return to your original form without the aid of magic. When you fail your wisdom save as noted in the Minor Shapeshifting drawback, you are instead locked in your wererat forms and all of your minor shapeshifting abilities remain active. Creatures that initially start with a distrust of you now become hostile.  Furthermore, your natural attacks have a chance of spreading lycanthropy to a target they dropped to 0 HP, but not killed outright.

Upon reaching level 20, your resistance to non-silver/magical weapons becomes immunity. Furthermore, increase your dexterity and wisdom scores by 2, to a maximum of 20 in each.

Created by Doctor Necrotic for Doctor Necrotic Media.


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