A letter written to Dragon by a player/Dungeon Master sometime in the mid-to-late 1990s described a homebrewed race. There are three details that stuck with me:

  1. the name of their people began with the letter S (but it wasn't “Skaven”),

  2. it combined physical traits of humans and rats,


  3. their behavior was described as very different from the stereotypical backstabbing, diseased-ridden, filthy ‘ratman’; near the end of the letter the writer even mentioned players in his games made up Player Characters of this particular race.

What is this race and in what issue did it appear?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 one funny thing though, is that content viewed in the 1990's might well be published in the 1980's or even earlier. Back when we allowed [ID] questions in anime.se people would post "I watched this anime in the 1990's" but it was actually a 1970's anime that slowly crawled its way into the west.... (but please, don't go read all the dragon magazines from #1 to #156 just because of that.....) \$\endgroup\$ Jul 16, 2017 at 16:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Googling around, i stumbled upon this reddit homebrew for 5e seems awesome. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 16, 2017 at 17:15
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Mindwin I'm not sure I'm following you. Are you saying that perhaps kingofpanes read, in the 90s, a Dragon magazine issue from the 80s, that had this rat-race? \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Jul 16, 2017 at 19:54

1 Answer 1


No rat-like race appears in any "Letters," "Forum," "D-Mail," or "Questions of the Month (Forum)" column appearing in Dragon #153 (January, 1990) through #266 (December, 1999).

During the last seven months I have slowly chipped away and re-read (and read for the first time, in some cases) all Letters and Forum columns--later renamed D-Mail and Questions of the Month, respectively--from the 1990s.

I read much about how great the new AD&D2e core books were. And about how awful the new AD&D2e core books were. And about how Dragon was giving too much coverage to AD&D2e, not enough to AD&D.

I read about how hard it is to get women into gaming, and how it really isn't. And about how hard it is to deal with teenaged players, and how hard it is to be a teenaged player when old folks treat you like garbage.

I read about Sally Jesse Raphael, and about trying to find other players in schools, and about getting your parents to play so they see there's nothing to freak out about.

I read about how poorly fighters are treated relative to paladins and rangers, and how illusionists really shouldn't have any special treatment, and why the monk should get between 7 and 10 unarmed attacks to every one weapon attack a fighter makes.

Should humans be allowed to multiclass? Should XP bonuses and penalties exist?

Why isn't Oerth/Krynn/Athas/Sigil/anythingbutToril getting more coverage?

How should castles be designed in a world with dragons but without cannons?

If (and we're really just saying "if", here, folks) there were a third edition, what rules would you keep and which would you ditch?

I tell you all this so that you can know this testimony is true: this year I have read all ~1000 pp. of reader letters to Dragon during the '90s.

Your rat-race isn't in there. Maybe a full-on feature, maybe an "ecology" article, but it wasn't in a letter.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Wow, just noticed that this answer is not accepted. Makes me wonder. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 13, 2017 at 10:40
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua6o- don't know what to tell you, but I know I've seen this somewhere. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 13, 2017 at 21:20
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I believe you, I just don't believe it was in a letter to Dragon during the 90s. Something in Dungeon, an article or story in Dragon even? And, of course, it's possible that I screwed something up when flipping through 7000 pp. of Dragons to find every letter published. If you do find it there let me know--I"ll petition our Stack Overlords to refund all these bounties double! \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Jul 14, 2017 at 3:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 Oh, please, don't! I will have to find another answer to use as the solution to my little problem then... \$\endgroup\$ Jul 14, 2017 at 10:46
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 By the way, could you please link me to some discussions on the "D&D castles" issue? It's been bothering me for some time why it should even be different at all, given how rare the dragons actually are, so it would be very nice to see some old articles about that (if you can find them easily, which means "without doing a 2650-rep-worth job again") :D \$\endgroup\$ Aug 8, 2018 at 13:10

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .