The ratel, also known as honey badger humanoid race is more a myth than anything in the Realms. It evolved into sentience about the same time as humans and the two affected each other during this period. Ratels are usually curious but easily bored, often a bit selfish and self-interested but can build strong emotional bonds with friends, items or activities. Their prowess in battle are hard to match and the only thing that has stopped them from taking over the world is their disinterest in doing so; also they don't like too cold weather.
Ratels have developed into a symbiosis with humans, both destabilised and enhanced the human culture over the past several tens of thousands of years. Modern ratels dress in specially made clothes and use man-made or ratel-made weapons and they enjoy modern versions of their ancient self. Many have massive cravings for things like honey or bee larvas that occupy their lives and other thoroughly enjoy crafting or trading as professions, excelling at what they specialise in.
Even with their enhanced cognitive functions compared to other mustelidae, the race never needed to evolve the skill of aiming and need extended practice to aim even weapons that are fairly easy to learn such as a crossbow.
The ratels only mate occasionally, when the chemistry between male and female is right. They are generally not monogamous, though exceptions do exist when strong emotional bonds are made between two individuals. Normally the mother has one or two cubs, which she rears alone. Though the mother obviously loves her cubs, she also has a strong intention for them to also become independent and put a lot of expectation on the cubs.
A difference between ratels and humans is that the cubs are born with a lot of instincts and capabilities from birth. Rather than basically being born still a foetus that needs several years of development outside the woumb, ratel cubs are born as honey badger cubs with the limited cognitive abilities of such a cub. Over the course of the next year or so they develop animal instincts and their brain grows fairly rapidly until it starts to deveop advanced cognitive functions and bipedal movement around the age of two. In essence, the honey badger infants are more capable as infants but take a little longer to develop into "proper childhood" than humans.
About the same time period as hominid races in the southern continent developed the prefrontal cortex, so also did it develop for an already very smart race of badger-like creatures that would later become the ratel. In these cases it happened partly through a retro-virus that affected each race's higher functions. The ratel race's step towards having a consciousness happened a few hundred thousand years after human development but from that point on, the development of these races became intertwined.
Ratels are fiercly independent and never grouped up in communities like ancestral humans. There were loosely based communities and exchanges, especially in terms of families, but not large defined tribes like in humans. At the same time the ratels "discovered" humans and the fact that they tend to collect things; things that can be stolen much more easily than collecting for one self.
As "raids" by single or small groups of ratels in human camps increased, so did the preparation of humans to defend against them in terms of defensive structures and fighting capabilities. Humans still had their rivalry between tribes, but ability to avert ratel attacks also became a selective factor. With lower population levels for a longer period of time, humans developed faster in Hökaland than they did in our own world, meaning the development from Paleolithic to Neolithic ages took perhaps 75% of the time compared to our world.
The main difference between ratel brains and human brains is that it evolved from an entirely different species so many things wimply work differently than for other humanoids. For example, they lack development in parts of the prefrontal cortext involved with aiming, making them pretty poor ranged combatants, even with a fairly "simple" weapon like a crossbow. Their lack of pack instinct helps individuals but also prevents them from building strong communities or to expand the population greatly. Their individual prowess and strong sense of individualism also meant they were not suffering the selective competition as humans, and they have actually evolved less than humans from the Paleolithic times. But why change a winning design?
As the humans started to build better walls, the ratels didn't automatically race on with better attacks - they adapted and started using their very skilled hands and many became crafters: trading with humans instead of stealing from them. Of course, many still tried to steal and succeeded, but among ratels this difference in character became obvious and humans could use this to minimise theft and maximise trade.
Humans adapted to this change as well, seeing them as a source of trade and income from their excellent crafts and well-protected trading caravans but also with weariness as you couldn't be entirely sure if this one was going to pick your pockets, screw you over or make you a rich man.
While smart, ratels are not often inventors themselves, often rather learning the tricks of others and just doing it better. Though they are not generally known for making great weaponry.
Some ratels took jobs as body guards or elite soldier mercenaries, but they found it very hard to take orders on a daily basis. Small mercenary bands of all-ratel individuals are still often hired in the southern continent to this day to take care of smaller issues. As long as the group isn't too large, ratels are quite good at cooperation with one another as long as they have a common goal.
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Type: Small Monstrous Humanoid
Base land speed: 30 feet
Burrow speed: 1 feet
2 Hit Die
STR +0 - Strong for small character
DEX +2 - Very nimble
CON +4 - Extremely durable
INT +2 - Very smart
WIS +2 - Instincts
CHA +0 - Still can be charming if you are on his right side, and fucking terrifying if you are on his wrong side.
- Bite: D4, crit x3 (to symbolise the emasculation they are known for - biting balls off creatures way larger than them so they bleed out)
- Claws: D4
- Ratel Rage (DC save to not rage)
- Defensive spray
- Grapple attack
- DR: 2/-
- Natural armor: +5
- +1 racial save bonus against diseases for per HD
- +2 racial save bonus against fear effects
- Darkvision 60 feet racial trait
- Poison neutralization - (Immunity)
- Four feet flight - Can run on all 4
- Nimble climber - Can use Dex to climb
- Great Fortitude (+4 Fortitude saves)
- Strong or nimble (gain +2 to either Str or Dex at character creation)
- +2 racial bonus to climb and swim
- Unarmored - basically can't wear medium or heavy armour without using 2 feats
- Aimless - -2 to ranged attacks
- +3 (+2 HD)
Ratel Rage (Ex)
A ratel that takes damage in combat flies into a berserk frenzy on its next turn, clawing and biting madly until either it or its opponent is dead or it runs out of energy. A ratel can rage for a number of rounds per day equal to 3 + her Constitution modifier. Temporary increases to Constitution, such as those gained from rage and spells like bear's endurance, do not increase the total number of rounds that a barbarian can rage. When injured, a ratel can attempt to resist flying into rage by making a Will save with the DC being the total damage dealt to her since her last turn. She may voluntarily fail the Will save.
While in rage, a barbarian gains a +2 ratel rage bonus to her Strength and Constitution, as well as a +2 ratel rage bonus on Will saves. In addition, she takes a –2 penalty to Armor Class. While in rage, a barbarian cannot use any Charisma-, Dexterity-, or Intelligence-based skills (except Acrobatics, Fly, Intimidate, and Ride) or any ability that requires patience or concentration.
After leaving rage, a ratel is fatigued for a number of rounds equal to 2 times the number of rounds spent in the rage. A ratel cannot enter a new rage while fatigued or exhausted but can otherwise enter rage multiple times during a single encounter or combat. If a barbarian falls unconscious, her rage immediately ends, placing her in peril of death.
Defensive spray (Ex)
A ratel can use a defensive spray that smells horrible if cornerd or if it is feeling threatened as a standard action. The spray originates from glands in the ratels rear, but can be fired forward with a twist of her hips. The attack hits a primary square and two secondary squares in the direction of the aim. Targets need to make a Fortitude save of DC10 + half its Hit Dice + its Constitution modifier or be Sickened (-2 on most rolls) for 1D4 rounds. If the target fails the DC by more than 5, it is Nauseated (only move action, can't concentrate) for one round before being Sickened for 1D4 rounds. Targets in the secondary squares receive a +2 bonus to the Fortitude save. Any creature in a near vicinity can smell the pungent odor for hours in the affected area and on the targeted creatures. The ratel needs to have the groin area free from clothing or gear to use its defensive spray.
Grapple Attack (Ex)
Due to the ratels lose skin, she can reach freely while grappling and is notoriously hard to pin. This enables her to avoid the penalties associated with grappling like retaining her Dex modifier to AC. She may also make an Escape artist attempt as a move action. The ratel receives a +5 bonus to CMD for attempts at tieing her up or pinning her; the attacker must also suceed at an additional CMB check after maintaining grapple on her turn to pin the ratel. Even while pinned, the ratel may still make an attack againster opponent as a standard action.
Poison neutralization (Ex)
The ratel's body has ways of dealing with poison and is essentially immune to them. She makes a Fortitude save as normal, but on a fail she is simply Sickened instead for as many rounds as the number she failed the save DC instead of being affected by the poison. If the poison is less or equally potent to being Sickened, there is no ill effect. The ratel will still "feel bad" until she has an hour's nap, but it doesn't affect stats.
Four feet flight (Ex)
A ratel can run as the Run feat if they drop down to all four while not carrying anything in her hands. She retains her Dexterity modifier to AC while running. This ability qualifies her for feats that have Run as a prerequisite as long as those feats are performed predominantly on all fours.
Nimble climber (Ex)
A ratel may choose to use her Dexterity modifier for Climb checks instead of Strength.
Wearing medium or heavy armor adds a penalty equal to double the armor check penalty on attack rolls and to all skill checks that involve moving. This penalty stacks with a lack of armor proficiency. A feat can be used to halve this penalty and another feat to remove it, however this does not grant proficiency.
Ratels never evolved to throw or shoot things and suffer a -2 penalty to all ranged attacks
Ratels have one type of food or item they can't refuse if they come across it. It can be maggots, honey, gold coins or something else chosen at the creation of the character, with the DM's approval. If a ratel come in the vicinity of this object she must suceed on a Will save (DC17) or become lured by it and single-mindedly will try to acquire it. If the ratel fails her will save she may still pull herself away from the desired object, but suffers a foul mood that distracts her concentration, giving her a -2 penalty on all rolls not directly made to acquire said object for 1D6 x 10 minutes, but general grumpiness can persist for a long while.
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