Please enjoy submission #16 for our latest contest: Your Best Worst Villain! See the rules and prizes here!
Ratgar began life as a tiny, mundane black rat. He was born with an angry disposition and an intense hatred for the pale-fleshy two-legged creatures that constantly sent their feces into the dark, disgusting tunnels he called home. Despite his strong hope for vengeance against the hairless, flesh-creatures he was no more remarkable than your average sewer dwelling vermin. He could not speak, wield a sword, or cast spells, so, despite his pointy teeth and unrivaled cheese eating prowess, he would prove to be only a minor setback for even the weakest adventurers journeying through the sewers below the bustling medieval metropolis called the free city. Although, Ratgar hated such adventurers, his curse became a blessing when a druid came wandering through the waste tunnels. Needing an expendable scout for his travels through the sewers, the druid, ignorant of the vile series of events he would set in motion, cast Awaken Animal on the tiny Ratgar, giving the eternally hateful vermin the minimum intelligence he needed to begin his plan of widespread slaughter and eventual world conquest.
The rat first slew the unsuspecting druid by biting his jugular, and he celebrated his victory by consuming the druid’s whole bag of expensive goat cheese. After about a month long bout of crippling constipation Ratgar took up the druid’s dagger and began to practice diligently in the art of swordsmanship. His prowess with a blade coupled with his bouts of fearsome rage led him to become what most people would call a barbarian. The tiny rat forged a crude full blade fit for a halfling from the bones of the dead druid and began to slay any and every bipedal humanoid who set foot in his ever expanding underground kingdom, however these petty acts of violence did not satisfy Ratgar’s insatiable hunger for power, blood, and, of course, cheese. If he was to survive and conquer the unsuspecting city above him, he would need to harness the power that is magic.
He began to steal pages of books from gutters and bathroom readers from outhouses until he had taught himself to read. With a knowledge greater than that of any rat, he was able to become the first rat cleric, a cleric of tyranny. He then used the bones of his enemies to forge armor, becoming not only a powerful cleric, but a bone knight. Using his sword skill and new-found divine power he began to unite the vermin of the sewers, declaring himself King Rat and giving himself the title the Sewer-Dwelling Soul Slayer. Despite ruling with an iron paw the rats loved him, or perhaps they simply did not feel like a battle with a sword-wielding rat would be a fair fight. His claim for king of the sewers was further cemented when he stole scrolls of raise dead from a necromancer’s underground lair to raise despicable undead versions of many common vermin. Now an extremely powerful boneknight-cleric-barbarian rat, with a massive sword and a legion of small, yet powerful undead, he was ready for his campaign of world conquest.
Ratgar and his vermin legion’s lack of subtlety is made up for by their small size. He first sends out hundreds of ghoulish rats to infect those in the city above his sewer with ghoul fever, allowing him to use his powers of death to control the human population. The overwhelming chaos brought about by a plague of ghouls with no apparent cause prevents the city from mounting an effective defense against the huge army of rat skeletons and vermin morhgs that he leads up from below.
The players at this point must either fight his army in defense of the city or attempt to infiltrate the city after Ratgar’s legion has exterminated and/or enslaved the human populace. Either way, Ratgar’s army is not to be underestimated. Although his undead rats are quite weak, there are scores and scores of them ready to paralyze, infect, or wear away at the players before the vermin meet their quick deaths.
Ratgar also employs Boneyards, large piles of rat bones that attempt to add the player’s skeletons to their ranks. These creatures pose much more of an immediate threat than the tiny undead rats, but they also distract the players from the hordes of rats still attempting to bring them down. Once the player’s meet Ratgar, they will probably laugh at the angry one-foot tall lord of evil, causing the already temperamental rat to fly into a fit of unbridled rage. Because of his brutal sword and powerful spells, Ratgar will become much more than comic relief; he will become a serious threat to the party. Also, the pressure of not being the player to be killed by a little rat will add some stress into this otherwise ridiculous discovery that the greatest villain the players will face (before epic levels) is a rat, a twenty-fifth level darklord rat.