Intelligent Species
City/ Ruin
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February 6, 2009, 1:37 am

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Ben crouched down as he moved along the sewer. The flashlight cold in his hand was barely illuminating the gloom. Ben would find his answer. A junction was coming up. The falling happened just then. Then the experiencing the putrid trickle of water that slid along the storm drain with his face, rather than his shoes. There was a wire, right there across the tunnel. He felt it first with his ankle, then with his hand. His other hand, that was supporting his weight, pulled away without his doing it. "Where was the flashlight?" Ben thought. He looked up. Six pairs of small red eyes looked right back at him. He could see them. A stab to his shoulder. He could see their… spears?!? It seems his answers had found him.

Full Description
Ratloids seem things of fantasy, or things of nightmares depending on your point of view. Simply put, they are 11" tall (28-30cm), generally humanoid rats. They have the soft grey to brown fur with a rat like head with a subdued snout. Their eyes are hard to describe, but they have a human quality. It could be the shape, but no. Perhaps it is the additional white that shows around their dark, dark irises. Perhaps it is their… emotions or intelligence showing through. They are proportioned somewhere between a rat and a human, but more towards the human side for length of limb and torso. Their front paws are honestly hands, with four fingers and a thumb. Their feet have five digits.  They still have a rat’s tail, though it is shorter and thinner than most rats.

They can speak, which seems to be the most startling to most people. Sure they wear clothing (tunics usually). Sure they have "tools" and "weapons" made of cast away bits of human technology. But what freaks most people out is when they speak in a soft, human sounding voice.

They are as intelligent as a human beings. Their average intelligence is about the same as upper average for a human (130-140). This has allowed them to adapt human artifacts and technology to their needs. Given their lifespan of 30 years, (6 to reach physical maturity), they can learn quite a bit.

Rats live in colonies of one to six members. Ratolids live in colonies of one hundred to six hundred.  They would not mind living in larger groups, but dispersing their population improves their security and safety. Someday they will have their own metropolis to call their own, like the humans do above.

In a variation of the Rat’s commensalism (living in a human-dependent relationship - in the same spaces), Ratlings live in tucked away spots in human space.  Underground in pipes and tubes of all sorts, tunnels, and abandoned junction spaces, all abandoned by their makers, are the most common location for a Ratling colony. They provide a familiar feel, ready made spaces, and easy access to humanity’s "gifts" to the Ratlings. "Gifts" such as scavanged resources, water, extra food, and electrical taps. Using their intelligence and a willingness to use Huumanity’s gifts, they have forged quite a society under the ground. They have many of the creature comforts via adapted tech. They have duplicated piece of Human-tech, adapted various mechanisms to provide services for them to live quite comfortably. iThere is a conflict in their society about the linking of the internet and other telecom links, to a colony. It provides a security risk. /i

iIn one way, they actually have their metropolis. Under The City, several colonies have grown and expanded towards other colonies, developing into a under-urban sprawl where several colonies have merged together. These bouroughs have become a mega-colony, and soon a metraoplois./i

Ratlings semem to be urban creatures. Undercities are full of places they can live and be safe.  Yet, they can live anyhwere. There is a colony of in The Large Central Park in the "wilder areas". There is a small colony on the freighter The Amsterdam. This moving colony is an experiment and working well. A couple of splinter colonies have "caught a truck" and have spread out into other cities and a few rural spots. That way, even if their species is found out or is erradicated for some reason, it will continue on. 

While each colony has its own organizational structure, the oldest Ratling normally is the one in charge. Occasionally a younger, but fully mature male, will impacts challange him. If he can gather enough support. The lead Ratling sets up any structure he wants underneith him. Some colonies are aristocratic, others are democratic, while others are militeristic dictatorships.

When the population of a colony gets too large or enough of them don’t like the colony, some members will split off and found their own colony.

Colonies are not always friendly with each other. Colonies complete for resources and space, so they are often "at odds" with each other. While Total War is a human occupation, Ratling groups will skirmish against each other.

The Rumors
The Ratlings are an urban legend. Sewer and line works tell tales of the creatures. Mostly they are there to scare the noobs, but there are tales of them helping trapped guys (or even helping run lines).

Urban spelunkers know they are down there, but they are not going to rile the creatures of the under side. Ratlings are also part of their personal legends. Some people swear they have seen them (and a few say they have talked with him).

There is a rumor about some children and a daycare center having contact with Ratlings.

Certain Ratlings are playing a dangerous game. They are using texting and pesonal messenging devices. They are living an odd double life in an attempt to learn more about humans A few are interacting on the internet.  The Skyfollower is a big poster on the Urban Legends and Cryptozoology boards. He is a Ratling named Raack’k trying to learn more about humans and correct some of the Human misconceptions about "rarer creatures".  (Ratlings share "out of the way places" with other creatures that are avoiding Humans as well.)

If you are playing a super heroic game, Ratlings will have mutants and mutates as well.  Rat’t has the power of super growth, strength, and regeneration.  His ability to grow to 5’4" is not impressive to the Humans Super Community, but he has been helpful when dealing with under-urban peoples.

Additional Information
The Ratloids started as lab rats in one of those questionable scientific centers. The materials the rats were exposed too has been linked to covert science ops funded by rogue elements of the US government. The rats were underestimated and were able to escape. Within a few generations,  they finally "evolved" to their current form. See Agent Green for details. This strain of Agent Green seems not to generate mass minds.

Ratlings are fairly smart, but they are not the masters of their ecology. Other creatures in their environment have gotten smarter and more dextrous, as a few Ratloids have died and moved into the food chain. This will cause other complications over time. Those creatures will breed somewhat true. Smarter cats with special abilities will eventually come to human notices.

Fantasy Option
The Ratlings are still an escaped alchemical/ magical experiment.  They will be leaving under cities and in abandoned areas there off.  They will be more willing to "go wild" and become forest peoples.  In a world with multiple races they will be easily accepted. In a world without them, they will still be secretive about their existance.

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Comments ( 3 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

January 23, 2007, 23:49
Needs some flavor text.

Rats a nutter
Rats a-flutter
For fucks sake, the Magus muttered!

Men turned rats
And rats turned men
Never apart, ever again

Running to
And running fro
Who's to say if they can grow
Who's to say if they eat crow

Never should have seen the day
Never should have been let loose
Scorn is all they own today
Someone fetch the great mongoose!

Ware the tunnel little boy!
Eat you, spit you, make you their toy
Cause your death, in wretched shame
killed by Ratloids, all the same

Old rats shake and young rats quiver
When the Ratloids eat your liver!

--Children's street limerick
February 6, 2009, 1:37
Updated: Big Update. Nearly ready to go.
February 6, 2009, 10:28
I like it. I'm on a Fritz Lieber kick lately, so Ratloids with opposable thumbs work for me! I love them in a modern setting as well. Really, you can't go wrong with sinister, and in this case, "human-studying" (shudder), rat-folk. Nice details on their "modernism". And of course, the fact that they came from experiment-abused lab rats makes perfect sense.

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