Sword of Ruin
Ratling Society and Culture
On Ratling Society
Ratlings are a fact of life under most of the big cites in the world. Though they were first forced underground by human oppressors before the revolt, they took to underground living well and actually began to thrive there, building massive colonies. After the humans were overthrown, ratlings chose in most cases to stay underground, instead building up their own power and wealth in relative symbiosis with humans and other surface dwelling races. Though they are not always looked on by other races as the most savory of species, they are a highly structured, pragmatic, and adaptable people – capable of surviving even the most inhospitable circumstances. Societies are matriarchal and arranged according to function. Because they are born in such large numbers, ratlings are not named until they show a propensity for a specific talent. They are named according to the specific talent they show, and their surname is a title, which reflects both their talent and their class.
- Foodsniffer – (Most highly respected of the fooding class, as they sniff, prepare, and combine food for the colony)
- Beanseeker – (Gathers the raw materials and ingredients that will make the food – no longer just beans)
- Safetaster – (These are the lowest class ratlings in the colonies, who do not show a useful talent in any other capacity. They are viewed with pity by all other ratlings because they must taste all the food ingredients for poisons. Mothers fear that their ratling babies may grow up to be Safetasters. Safetasters have no first name.)
- Nestbuilder – (the architects of the colony, who design living quarters for ratlings)
- Stuffchewer – (they gather, arrange, and work with the raw materials. Stuffchewers build what Nestbuilders design. This is the most common surname among ratlings)
- Holedigger – (dig out tunnels and build foundations for the colony)
- Furtugger – (groomers and personal stylists)
- Smellhider – (ensure proper hygene within the colonies and orchestrate proper removal of waste)
- Muckshover – (they show a knack for the physical removal of refuse)
- Noisesinger – (chief and wisest of clan. Serves as elder and guide – most important of ratling society. They keep and tell all the clan’s stories and give names. There is only one per Colony.)
- Thingfinder – (ratlings are given this title when they show a special talent for finding important, unusual things to bring back to the Colony. This surname is rare because ratling colonies, while they are happy to trade and interact with other races, tend to stay close to their colony. To become a Thingfinder, one has to show a desire to venture outside the safe bounds of the Colony and must have the talent for discerning useful or unusual artifacts.)
- Sneakmaker – (they are spies, investigators, assassins, and collectors of all knowledge – a very important but secretive role in a ratling colony. It’s a well-known fact among those in the know that anyone of any race looking to find something out about someone else need only to travel to a ratling colony and seek out a Sneakmaker to ask)
- Pridehoarder – (ratlings who refuse to serve their colony, choose to put their own interests above those of the colony, or otherwise behave in disgraceful, honorless ways are stripped of their titles and given instead the surname Pridehoarder and become untouchable among ratling society. To be called Pridehoarder is the greatest insult a ratling can receive.)
Upon the time they come of age, a ratling’s mother presents her child and its special talent before the Colony’s Noisesinger, who names the child. Mother ratlings’ greatest wish is that their daughters will grow up to follow in their footsteps and show their own talents. Ratlings who come of age with no special talent, or who cannot contribute to society in other ways are named Safetaster and offer up their lives in service of the colony in the only way they can – by serving as safety testers.
When traveling outside of their colony, ratlings also identify themselves by the Colony they represent.