Thursday, December 16, 2021



Giant and physically powerful omnivores adapted to cold habitats with extreme variety in size depending on diet and geography; occupy a similar niche as brown bears (but social).  Thick body hair; fully bipedal but occasionally a knuckle-walker.      

𐤇 - HET

Long-limbed sprinters; knuckle-walking gallop.  Originally adapted for low gravity plains; behaviorally similar to homo sapiens; convergent evolution back to the plains ape niche.  Make up a number of moderately sized-unaligned low-orbit polities.  The first to develop the Werewolf chimera in the war against the Monument Builders (and the reason for it's distinctive but effective gait)     

𐤈 - TET

Tiny climbers who have returned to an arboreal niche. Gregarious and clever with large social groups.  In the early years of the ancient Monument Builder empire, they were a major part of several powerful spacefaring polities; nearly a thousand years later, their population hasn't recovered.  

𐤉 - YOD

Almost completely aquatic; favoring open water and capable of deep dives.  Return to land seasonally to raise children and make tools.  Distributed among many habitats by other hominids.  Their societies generally lack advanced technology and was largely unaffected  by the conflicts in the skies above except to the extent of their neighbors were.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021


It's not easy being a 2 kilogram uplifted pouched rat. These are some inventories and also a gear list.  And remember: you just have no effective defense against rats with antimateriel gyrojets. They can go anywhere and kill with impunity.  Really, if they lived past 25, uplifted rats would outcompete hominids in a technological society.  

Rat Uplift: By Swampgirl (Sigmacastell)


The Teamster:
You do honest work (mostly).
  1. Koenig KSD-32 portable computer (backpack sized for you) with solid state memory cartridges and a series of adapters strung on your belt like a cowboy's lasso; this is an expensive machine but you have to bring it with you in very small spaces (even a microtape is too big). The keyboard was handmade. 
  2.  Assistive speaker -- you can yell about as loudly as a person with this (or play some great pranks on bigger coworkers)
  3. High visibility vest; hi-viz yellow.  It's important not to be mistaken for a regular rat.
  4. Extremely concentrated bear spray; you made the aerosol dispenser yourself.  The local stray cats leave you alone now.   
  5. Combination wire stripper and cutter
  6. Very Small union membership card (Telecoms and Electrical Workers Local 0454)
  7. Human-sized boarding pass for an in-system flight to a nearby asteroid mine; rolled up into a scroll and carried sticking out of your backpack.
  8. Backpack-mounted soldering iron and several sticks of solder.
  9. Very Small pencil (a mechanical pencil lead coated in plastic) and a notebook; rat-sized pens are very very expensive and not at all practical.
  10. Patch: "Fat Ludovico's Countercultural Pizza"
  11. Keys to a spaceport storage unit (the rules say you can't live in a locker but you pay the manager 50cr in rent per month to ignore the rules)
  12. Moisturizer for hands and feet.
  13. Sunflower seeds (in the pocket of a web vest).

The Explorer:
You go places others don't dare and return with wealth and knowledge beyond anybody's wildest dreams.  
  1. Rat-sized pressure suit; costs almost as much as human-sized ones because of the delicate thermal pipework and masterful assembly required to make something so complicated so small.  
  2. Contact lenses; you don't have eyesight like an ape's.  These help a little and also automatically dim in bright light.
  3. Plastic dental floss dispenser (100m value pak); you've looked everywhere for good rope but sometimes it's hard to beat the local convenience store.  Dental floss can support 10-15kg and comes in a convenient, tangle-free dispenser small enough to carry at your hip or in a backpack.
  4. Mini protein bar (PB&J); not actually a very efficient way to carry calories (only one day worth of food) but good food is the key to good morale.
  5. Packet of roast cashews (extremely expensive for a spacer but you don't need much).  
  6. Two mysterious black marbles from the Deep (Gradient Descent p. 62).
  7. Handmade LED flashlight connected to a watch battery.
  8. Patch: "Science?" (white rat in a maze).
  9. Utility knife/prybar combination -- it's not much but it's better than not having a lever at all.
  10. Miniature digital camera and compact memory card (incredibly expensive).
  11. Black credit card (stored in backpack)
  12. Several single-use fast-acting tranquilizer mini-syringes. 
  13. A crop-sprayer drone converted for use as a rat-sized passenger aircraft.  Not cheap but you aren't hard-up for cash.   

The Mercenary:
You've made a good career of sneaking into places and killing people for your corporate employer. 
  1. .50 caliber gyrojet launcher and four reloads carried on your back; kills just as effectively as a smart rifle (and is also guided); high performance propellant for a short acceleration distance. 
  2. Replacement tooth wetware; your natural teeth were already harder than iron but that's not always enough; a Horizon implant seeds them with titanium nanostructures.  You need to gnaw very hard objects or file your teeth to keep them at a sensible length.
  3. Binary nerve agent in sealed applicator. 
  4. Patch: Midsummer Night's Dream Free Port Flag
  5. Specially formulated ration pellets and titanium supplements
  6. Collapsible drag device -- you can safely fall about 50 feet without it and from any height with it.
  7. Miniaturized code-money wallet loaded with 100kcr in scrip.
  8. Very Small flask of whisky.
  9. Matchbook (nightclub branding on the cover)
  10. Night vision goggles (cost a fortune at this size) 
  11. Fullerene cable; used as rope or as a particularly cruel trap.
  12. Lockpick set and box of ultra lightweight screwdriver heads
  13. Hotel key (human-sized room with a king bed, 24-hour room service).

Friday, December 3, 2021


This is post on Rat Teamsters is inspired by the Discord chat.  This is a silly thing to do but presents some very interesting adventure opportunities; being 2-4kg creature is not easy but at least the Alpha Gaunt will mostly leave you be (watching as your teammates get eaten will cause its own problems, of course).  Imagine an adventure in the Deep from the perspective of a Rat Teamster (does MONARCH make infiltrator rats? Probably.).

Very Small characters and society 

You are Very Small.  In space, this is an extremely useful trait -- an electrician that weighs 2kg and fits into tiny vents is really useful.  It's also very easy to manage labor disputes when the strikers fit in your palm.   You excel in the knowledge economy, some trades, and can find employment with any unsavory people who need a small and smart pair of hands (spies, thieves, corporate death squads, etc.).  Adjust stress distribution to reflect lack of agency at critical moments.

Depending on your appearance, you run the risk of being mistaken for regular vermin. 

Rules for playing Very Small characters

  • Roll your stats normally.  
  • You always fail strength checks for normally sized characters 
  • You generally make opposed speed checks against normally sized characters at advantage
  • You have "Mini HP" -- 10 MHP equals one regular HP (round down)
  • Your hits do not "blow through" (you're pretty tough to hit)
  • Most normally-sized enemies will ignore you unless they're naturally disposed to searching for small prey or you get their attention (an Alpha Gaunt will leave you be but a Gaunt Hound might not).
  • Very Small characters may play any class except Marine.

1d10 Very Small characters 

  1. Uplifted Rat -- derived from the Gambian pouched rat -- which was trained for EOD work in centuries before the Mistake.  You're a bit bigger than your un-uplifted cousins (2-2.5kg) and have bigger hands.  Once the corps got the hang of working with smaller brains (the baseline Gibbon uplift suffered for later successes).  
  2. Second Generation Gibbon Uplift -- first generation uplifts derived from the Saimang are odd and not very bright -- you're also odd but with fewer mental issues and the same social issues as your bigger cousins.  Derived from the Lar gibbon (about 4-6kg)
  3. Corvid Uplift -- Weird outlook on life and no opposable thumbs.  An unethical corporate science fair project to prove that uplifting corvids was possible.    
  4. Uplifted House Cat -- this was not a smart or ethical thing to do but some bastard corpo did it anyway.  Most felid uplifts are (ostensibly) sub-sapient but you aren't.  Society doesn't recognize your legal personhood because you're a lab experiment or the "pet" of a very terrible rich person. 
  5. Cat Android (due credit to the Hive Mind) -- no doubts about your sapience; often designed by the corps as a spy; maybe your housecat is an android...
  6. Rat Android -- if you can uplift it you can brain scan it...
  7. Dwarf Arthrocanis Uplift -- the common spider dog is a spacer's best friend and the first alien uplifted.  Your non-sapient relatives are about as smart as a dog and are popular microgravity adapted pets.  You're a born spacer (about 5kg).
  8. Horizon Whisper -- Meat Horrors come in Very Small packages.  You're a lovely combination of elephantine skin, polymer tissues, and incredibly venomous teeth; enough to kill an adult human quickly and horribly. 
  9. Deiyi STS --  Chrome also comes in Very Small packages.  You're a lovely collection of branching fractal limbs and membranous "skin."  
  10. Bat Fascist -- You're a small, angry alien disease reservoir.  Mostly biocompatible with humans, unfortunately.  Who let you past the blockade anyway?  You're probably not toeing the party line if you're hanging out with humans but you've got a much less developed sense of self than most.