Fans of both DnD and Warhammer have found a fresh way to combine their tabletop loves – a 13-part homebrew in honour of the Skaven god, the Horned Rat. 5e homebrewing team Star Sail Games first posted a Skaven-inspired player race on July 9, and it’s since shared eight homebrews introducing Skaven feats, weapons, and monsters to D&D.
The Skaven are humanoid ratfolk from an underground empire known (fittingly) as the Under-Empire. They may look like the ratfolk you’d find in Pathfinder or existing D&D homebrew material, but the Skaven are corrupted by the same dark themes as the rest of the Warhammer world. These rodents are both cruel and conniving.
“Skaven might be our favourite army from the Warhammer franchise”, Star Sail Games tells Wargamer. “They combine rat swarms, plagues, ninjas, mutant monsters, and mad-cap inventions in one faction and still somehow keep it feeling very cohesive.” “They’re simultaneously comical and horrifying, and they’re probably one of the most unique armies in the Warhammer Fantasy setting.”
Star Sail Games has so far created six Skaven NPCs alongside its playable Skaven race. “The base version ratfolk has niche applications” Star Sail Games says, “but it created a mechanical hook to hang other mechanics for the different factions on, such as the Packmaster’s Whip, the Globadier’s Devious Globadier feature, or the different 5e feats available to the ratfolk player race”.
So far, the weapons Star Sail Games has brewed include a censer that deals necrotic damage, throwing stars, a spiky polearm that can grab and grapple foes, and glass globes that release poison gas when smashed. Many of the feats shared give characters perks related to a particular weapon, but Star Sail Games also created feats based on the Skaven’s size, craftiness, and affinity with other rodents.
One of the team’s favourite homebrews so far is the Poisoned-wind Globadier. This is the eighth tribute to the Great Horned Rat, which was shared on Reddit on September 13. “Its poisoned wind globe attacks are unique, and hitting it risks detonating a poisoned-wind globe”, Star Sail Games explains. “Combine this with the fact that you can damage its protective gear to the point where it loses immunity to its own poison, and you have the opportunity for a lot of cool gameplay interactions.”
Star Sail Games adds the Globadier aimed to translate the Warhammer Poisoned-wind Globadier’s misfire table to D&D mechanics. “Most of the ratfolk mechanics were inspired by abilities from tabletop Warhammer”, Star Sail Games tells Wargamer. However, not all of Warhammer’s mechanics made the jump to D&D as easily. “Scurry Away is useful for an army on a battlefield, but it wasn’t clear how to make it different from a D&D goblin’s Nimble Escape”, Star Sail Games says.
While the team has created a variety of homebrew material for the fun of it, Star Sail Games is now setting up a Patreon. “We’re looking to launch before the end of the year”, it says. You can currently find each of the Skaven DnD homebrews on Star Sail Games’ Reddit or GMBinder page.
For more homebrew material, check out our guide to one of the most popular (but unofficial) races – the Blood Hunter. Or, if you’re a Warhammer Fantasy fan, here’s our guide to the Age of Sigmar armies.