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Standing about four feet tall and weighing eighty pounds, ysoki have whiskered snouts and long, scaly tails just like common rats. When in cities, they wear heavy robes to conceal their rodentlike features, which unnerve other races. Contrary to a common stereotype of being dirty or diseased, ysoki are instinctively clean. Ratfolk are sometimes mistaken for wererats and treated with fear unless they have the chance to correct the misidentification.
Habitat and society
Ratfolk are communal by nature, living in colonies of up to 100 adults and thriving on proximity and contact, even in tight spaces. They make their homes either on the road in traveling caravans, in the sewers and slums of large cities, or in subterranean caves. Their warrens are complex enough to easily hide their hoards or escape from enemies. Ratfolk merchants trawl markets for intriguing items, which they value over money.
Ratfolk have an affinity for all kinds of rodents, including rats and dire rats, and they excel at tinkering and alchemy, and often protect their lairs with creations like traps and bombs. They are also known to tame giant fleas for use as mounts.
Ysoki merchants regularly dispatch large caravans that travel widely for at least a year before returning home. During this time they make an effort to learn new things from other peoples and collect interesting goods to be brought home.
Ysoki excel at fighting in cramped spaces alongside their kin. Though physically weak, they are extremely loyal to their kin and are notorious for avenging fallen family members. Threatening one individual is a surefire way to rally the whole community.
Although not known for their trickery (they take great pride in their professionalism when dealing with other races), ysoki are not above using their size and numbers to outwit or outmaneuver an enemy when threatened.
The largest ysoki population on Golarion is found in the Darklands of Tian Xia, where they rule over the empire of Diguo-Dashu, in the caverns of Sekamina. These ratfolk declared war on Imperial Lung Wa in 4251 AR and seized a dozen cities before the Imperial Army drove them back into the deeps and sealed the entrances to the Darklands behind them. Other large numbers of ratfolk dwell in Deepmarket, a subterranean city located far beneath the city of Goka, and the City of Whistling Swords, a ruined tengu city in Kwanlai. Ular Kel in Casmaron also counts ratfolk among the many non-human inhabitants of its Khoretz district.
Inner Sea region
Ratfolk in the Inner Sea region are commonly found in the more arid and flat parts of human nations, including Druma and Katapesh. Tribes of primitive ratfolk live on the western edge of the Dirt Sea in the Hold of Belkzen. A ratfolk settlement called Chitterhome can also be found in the Sellen Hills region of Numeria, where they eagerly scavenge for technological wonders and weapons.
On distant worlds
Golarion is not the only world on which ratfolk make their homes. Akiton, the savage Red Planet, is home to a ysoki community who are physically almost identical to their relatives on Golarion, despite being worlds apart and having thousands of years of their own distinct history.
Small and timid, the ysoki are equally adapted to the open desert, the strange formian honeycomb caves sometimes found in the deepest trenches of the planet, and in major human cities (where they tend to gravitate towards the slums). Renowned as tinkerers, scavengers, hoarders, traders, and pickpockets, the ysoki are cunning and resourceful. They've shown particular talents for disassembling and re-purposing technology.
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- In Pathfinder First Edition, the term Ysoki is always written in uppercase and exclusively refers to the ratfolk population on Akiton.
- The singular and plural of ratfolk are the same.
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