The exact origin of the ratfolk is generally unknown. Most scholars believe them to be one of the younger races. Some commoners paint an association to wererats, which most ratfolk find offensive. They may be rumored to have travelled out of the great chasm, or escaped from Heth imprisonment.
Ratfolk tend nomadically live in large extended families. Usually the most able-bodied and cunning patriarch or matriarch rule the family, but usually the oldest and most wisest control the power behind the scenes. What is good for one rat is good for the whole pack. Most ratfolk are group oriented and loyal by nature. They come from large families, have poor life expectancies, and think in terms of the group as much as themselves. However, they don’t view put their whole race on a pedestal, but more so place loyalty to their own pack above all.
Ratfolk have little definition of 'personal space', although most living around other races pick up on the fact everyone else does. Ratfolk are often apt to forget the concept of personal property. They don’t often knowingly steal things that belong to others, and are often quite happy to return what’s not their’s. Due to their nature, ratfolk are not terribly liked by other races. Often, they live in separation from other races, even in major cities, with their own neighborhoods. In Venza, they don't even live inside the city formal, but a little to the southwest, where they land and unload their trade boats. They are perceived as dirty and unclean.
In the baronies, Ratfolk do a considerable amount of trade. Their riverboats compete with halflings for river and coastal trade, but they do not generally sail out of sight of land. For overland trade, they use tamed dire rats as pack animals. They have a number of skilled craftsmen in trades such as leatherworking, tailoring, etc.
Ratfolk are born hairless. Their first coat is very fluffy and soft, and for a short time, they are considered almost cute. Then they get their adult coat and the mystique wears off quickly. As a result, they view terms like 'hairless' as an insult when applied to a mature individual. They sometimes refer to their own children as 'puffs.'
Ratfolk hate wererats, and view halflings as competition. Although never quite vicious, many arguments and underhanded dealings populate the relationships with halflings. Other small races, such as gnomes and the like, are perceived as nuisances. Most others are just generic ‘big’ people to them. Due to their nomadic nature, varying packs usually develop their own traits that compliment the bigger communities they live with.
Ratfolk tend to follow the local popular religions and gods, although some of the more pessimistic ones think that the gods forsake them by being born a ratfolk. However, while few would consider ratfolk and mystics in the same sentence, there is a connection stronger than many suspect. Desperate people will often turn to the most unexpected avenues to survive, and ratfolk are almost always on the verge of or in the middle of desperation. In Harrow decks and soothesaying, many ratfolk have found a fruitful avenue. As many already have an affinity for gambling and the darker side of society, reaching for a deck of cards for answers and help is something that comes naturally enough, and the answers can come in many forms and variations, both mystical (hope and magic) and mundane (gambling winnings). Soothesaying is also one of the few occupations where their being completely different from the rest of the world not only doesn't get in the way, but helps set the proper aura of the trade. While it is hard to say exactly how many ratfolk turn to this trade, it is certainly larger than many suspect.
Everything included in the Advanced Race Guide