Nightfall Over Peridus
Who are the Ratmen, the savages who tore up Arthur’s club on New Year’s Night?
The Ratmen appear to be a bizarre mutation based on the power of the Wyrm. They are part of the Ordo Dracul covenant, and as such have developed supernatural levels of calm, resisting the lure of fire, vitae and, in the oldest, rifleshot. Age is an uncanny subject for the ratmen: they pass themselves down through the generations in a foul-smelling, congealing vitae that younger ratmen can ingest to adopt the powers of old, unleashing a power honed through centuries. Before exacting Protean, Ratmen just look like scruffy civilians with whiskery mustaches, an unfortunate side-effect of their dabbling in ancient Wyrm. However, they are by no means a ragtag bunch – a more sophisticated ratman may initially look like this:
Quite a dashing fellow, really! Your problems, however, come when the ratmen ingest their ancestors blood. Through unspeakable arts, tiny essences of kindred souls of old have preserved themselves in this deadly concoction, making the ratmen uncontrollably furious and violent beyond their years. A ratman using only his modern-day protean will sprout silvery-grey fur, jagged claws and buck teeth, a mix of a giant rat and damn-ugly rabbit. The considerably more terrifying form, in which their protean is super-charged by ancient vitae, looks like this:
Thankfully, each generation takes its time to develop the power of their own ratman mix, so the ratmen of New Years Eve were considerably less powerful than their full potential. However, their accumulative power is something of legend; in the past banished covenants have gloated of using their ratmen to weaken victims at the time of the bubonic plague, as ratmen would use their protean to carry the disease express-style to whoever their masters desired. Similarly, shudders rippled through parts of Spain in the late 1910s as rumours arose that the ratmen were behind the spread of Spanish Influenza after the First World War, destroying populations further under the command of an unspoken force….
At this, we reach our last point about the ratmen: they are far removed from the Ordo Dracul of today, despite using their abilities; similarly they never operate with utter autonomy. The crimes involved to achieve their superior forms would involve becoming too far separated from their humanity to be able to retain their calm demeanor, therefore the ratmen depend on the Covenant who command them to commit their acts of mass murder. The Ratmen are sometimes seen as a sub-division of this Covenant, and are given this modified symbol as such:
What will they get up to next…? That’s up to the Procella.