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These homebrew upgrades to DnD rats terrify us to our core

Dungeons and Dragons fans swarmed to a recent Reddit post about changing the humble rat into a tougher enemy - with bone-chilling results.

DnD fans make rats scary - Wizards of the Coast artwork showing rats in a crypt with skulls and bones

How do you make rats into a genuinely challenging Dungeons and Dragons enemy? DnD subreddit user CrotodeTraje casually threw out that request online on Thursday, asking for ideas on how to “make rats a believable threat to a level 5 party”. The result was a horrific dive into the chittering imaginations of DnD fans, and we are shook.

All CrotodeTraje wanted was a bit of help “bumping up the stats of rats to make them a serious threat without making them anything but… just rats.” But the DnD community jumped on this opportunity to plumb the horrifying depths of Musophobia (that’s a fear of rats, of course).

Even entry-level DnD games require players to conjure up entire fantasy worlds, but the game’s community is constantly cooking up extra DnD homebrew content that customizes the regular DnD races and DnD classes – or, in this case, beefing up the regular DnD monsters you fight.

And on this one, the r/DnD subreddit turned out in quite spectacular fashion, applying its imaginative powers to making rats – well known as the unremarkable weakling enemies you clear out of a cellar in the first quest of an RPG – a terrifying force of nature with which Dungeon Masters can give their players nightmares.

Among our favorite ideas comes from vomitHatSteve, who proposes something they like to call “a trebuchet full of rats and fire” – which already sounds like something you never want to have feature in your life. This is a case of just having a lot of rats, rather than having a singular swarm of them – and firing them at the players in huge quantities.

This then progressed to discussing how many rats it takes for them to be considered a liquid and whether the water breathing skill becomes applicable when drowning in rats.

One suggestion that particularly put the fear in us was the idea of rats engaging in guerilla tactics. User MagicC suggests making the rats extremely fast and giving them lots of places for them to hide – leading to the rats basically using hit and run tactics. MagicC’s angle is apparently making the player fear the darkness, knowing that a fast, stinky rat could pop out at them at any moment.

One last one from us – but there are plenty more on the Reddit thread if want to keep going: user a3452 suggests making the rats uncompromisingly relentless. This entails having rats attack while your party tries to rest, constantly interrupting the rest and exhausting the players. If that didn’t sound daunting enough, a3452 goes on to paint a grim picture: “They lurk at a distance, always gnawing, always watching. Keep the players up for days. Let them become wretched, ragged creatures, like the rats themselves.”

If that doesn’t tempt you into elevating DnD’s lowest of the low mob into something more engaging, we don’t know what will. If you want to find out more and keep up to date on all things DnD, bookmark our DnD news page and follow Wargamer on Google News.