If you find yourself tramping about the planes, you could do far, far worse than having a Ratatosk guide by your side. Just be quick with the fee, or you might find yourself stranded someplace quite unpleasant. (—Lucano Volpe)
In their obsessive search for new tidbits of gossip and secrets, the ratatosk travel the various routes between the planes, such as the World Tree, the Ever-River, Red Portals, shadow roads, catslide alleys, and similar transit points. Many squirrel-folk offer their services, leading parties of travelers between the planes. Ratatosk guides do not have a formal guild or organization, but the vast majority do adhere to certain unwritten rules.
- Clearly state the destination before departure.
- Get half-pay up front or a magically enforced promissory (usually backed by a geas spell)
- Use the quickest and safest route possible
- No “petting” the guide
- No squirrel jokes
Fees. There is no standard rate for a ratatosk guide, and the payment varies widely from guide to guide. While coin is nice, most ratatosk prefer to be paid for their services with knowledge and secrets. Preferably rare lore or juicy gossip. They also accept magical items, or shiny things if they catch their attention.
Travel Time. Due to their almost instinctive knowledge of planar routes, and the wide information net they share, ratatosk guides greatly reduce the time required to travel from plane to plane. Getting to a planar route may also take time, depending on where the ratatosk guide is encountered. Of course, conditions in the planes are never the same twice, so these travel times are an approximation, at best.
General Travel Times
|World Tree||2–4 days|
|Ever-River/Shadow Roads||3–6 days|
|Portals||Instantaneous (though finding the nearest portal may take up to 5 days)|
There are numerous other routes to and from the planes. Only the gods (and perhaps the ratatosk) know them all.
Notable Ratatosk Guides
Alva Frostpaw. This fierce ratatosk lives in a den carved halfway up Wotan’s Tree in Trollheim. Currently, she engages in a feud with the local ravenfolk population who roost in the World Tree. Alva disagrees with the ravenfolk who believe only those ready should be allowed to pass into the planes. The ratatosk will guide anyone who meets her fee of exotic beverages.
Chitata Sharpeye. A canny and worldly ratatosk warlord (see Creature Codex), Chitata is the leader of Scurry Scouts, a collective of some half-dozen ratatosk guides. This thriving business operates out of a small dwelling at the base of the Golden Bough, a World Tree located in the Uppermarket of Klingedesh, the Marketplace Plane. One of the few guides who accepts hard coins, his standard rate is 5 gp for passage from the Marketplace to Yggdrasil.
Keerthi Cleversong. An older ratatosk, Keerthi lives in an uneasy alliance with Ruomu, an awakened World Tree sapling in the far reaches of the Brilliant East. The living tree isn’t overly keen on travelers scaling him; however Keerthi is adept at bribing the massive mulberry treant with fine poetry and song. Her fee is often musical in nature.
Lutalo Flitwhisker. This ratatosk warlord (see Creature Codex) guards Mamiwata’s Mangrove, a massive tree growing in the middle of the Selwheyha River Delta in Lignas. He will allow access to groups of climbers in return for magic items of uncommon or greater rarity. Secretly, Lutalo acts as a spy for the Lady of Vipers.
Nanja Sandtooth. A ratatosk with pale fur, Nanja can be found most often at the Menatayni Oasis in the Crescent Desert. For a small fee of gaudy clothing, she will guide travelers up the towering Palm of the Sheikh and onto Yggdrasil.
Orrin Bristletail. (See Warlock #9.) This ratatosk operates out of Grenstad, the largest squirrel-folk city and is most often encountered on the branches of Yggdrasil. He is an insatiable talker with a love of dates and sweets who accepts the same for his services.
The naming conventions of the squirrel-folk put the emphasis on a forename given to a child at birth. The ratatosk make no differentiation between male and female names. These names tend to be short, but highly respected families occasionally add infixes like “-ee-” or “-ekke-” to create longer names. Ratatosks who dwell in other planes will sometimes take regional names.
During the course of a lifetime, a ratatosk gains and loses a number of surnames, usually a descriptive title in the form of an adjective or verb followed by a noun, such as “bristletail,” “wisetooth,” or “sharpclaw.” Most often, a ratatosk chooses this changing surname themselves to commemorate an important milestone in their lives.
Forenames: Chiringa, Ekirp, Kerasil, Najuta, Orrin, Skirekkeret, Tiptup, Turorri
Surnames: Brightsong, Flitpaw, Jumptwig, Silentleaf
Ratatosk Name Generator
|d10||Name (Part 1)|
|d10||Name (Part 2)|
Next time we will explore the strange and wild world of Ratatosk magic items.
Until then, my friends, stay squirrely.
3 thoughts on “Ratatosk: Planar Guides and Squirrel-Folk Names”
This is awesome!
I was literally just preparing my game tonight with a couple first time gamers (my sister’s husband and a friend’s wife) and I’m using a Kercpa (2E Squirrel-folk) as a hireling guide!
All these articles really make me wish we could get PC stats for ratatosk. Frankly, they’d be one of my go-to races for a “Nordic D&D” world.