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Bite Me! Wererats
Publisher: Misfit Studios
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/18/2016 04:49:23

An review

This installment of the Bite Me!-series clocks in at 27 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of SRD, 3 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 19 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This time around, we take a look at wererats, now reimagined as part of the Bite Me!-series. They get +2 Dex and Con, -2 Wis, the two bloods racial feature (making you count as a parent race as well as a shapeshifter for purposes of being affected by effects), low-light vision, +2 to Perception and Survival. Beast Form works is presented in a rather precise wording construct that takes temporary hit points, equipment and the like into account and the odd formatting discrepancies gone - no complaints. In beats or hybrid form, DR 2/silver is gained and increases by +2 every odd level gained to a maximum of DR 10/silver. The wererat gains wolfsbane vulnerability and silver vulnerability. Wererats also gain Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat. That may just be me, but I am not too keen on wolfsbane as a universal vulnerability for lycanthrope-races; to me, it makes less sense for wererats to be affected by it, but that just as an aside. Regarding beast form and advancement, wererats may actually be suitable for the less powerful groups than some of the other Bite Me-iterations, since their diseased bite may be strong, but has less direct combat application.

Wererats get their own age, height and weight table, which is nice. The race does receive an assortment of no less than 11 alternate racial traits that include darkvision, Dodge as a bonus feat, emphasis on the social nature of rats, permanent rat teeth (cool!) or the option to call forth rodents to talk to and command. No complaints here and the section does combine these in handy, preconfigured set-ups for your perusal. The pdf provides favored class options for the APG, classes, UC-classes and the magus. They generally are cool, though the barbarian-entry lacks the note that the movement speed increase does not have mechanical repercussions unless taken in increments of 5 to account for the 5-ft-focus of tactical movement.

The pdf features a total of 3 different archetypes, the first of which would be the Bully Slayer ranger, who specializes in bringing down Large or larger humanoids and replaces wild empathy for +1/2 class level to Intimidate checks, while also losing the size penalty. 1/day bane versus bullies and longer duration of the ability complement this one. The second archetype is the lightning rager barbarian, who modifies rage to instead grant +2 Str and Con, +4 Dex; 3rd level provides a scaling dodge bonus to AC and an insight bonus to Ref-saves. 7th level nets evasion, 13th improved evasion. Huge problem: The better rages do not follow the theme set by the base rage ability, making the archetype feel half-finished. Not something a GM can't fix, but still. The third archetype would be the Sewer druid, who replaces woodland stride with skill bonuses, movement through difficult terrain in sewers instead of trackless step and iron stomach as well as disease immunity. Wild shape is gained later, at 6th level and at -2 druid levels...oh, and they may assume otyugh and ooze-forms.

The pdf offers a total of 12 racial feats for wererats. These feats include 1/day rerolls due to danger sense, skilled disappearing in crowds, improving the summon tricks to include swarms, bleed to bites, a swim speed and some unique tricks via a 3-feat Style-chain: For example, when targeted by a full attack and missed by all attacks, you can retaliate with a combat maneuver to render the foe fatigued. The problem is that this feat does not specify an activation action - I assume it just happens when the foe misses you, but I'm not sure. Gaining the benefits of being Small is possible and the pdf also has a means to use next a 5-foot-step to avoid attacks, which is cool. Somewhat odd - the feat makes clear that the character can't use a 5-foot step in the round following its use, making sure that you basically borrow next round's 5-foot-step, but what about regular movement? I assume that's still possible or does the evasive action count as next round's 5-foot step and thus eliminates other movement? This pdf does not contain Bite Me!'s Hybrid and Primal Shape feats, so if you're looking for these, you'll need supplemental material.

The pdf also covers items - a total of 4 mundane items is included, featuring rat scent, rat-calling pipes, slick that helps staying out of the grasp of foes and air sweetener to avoid diseases. The pdf also features a new special weapon quality, which, at +1, increases hide and miss chances AND maintains invisibility for the attacker...which is insane and totally underpriced, particularly since it can be applied to ranged weapons. A helm that facilitates rodent communication and nets a diseased bite attack (properly codified as primary) and a rat saddle are okay, as are lenses that can store light they then may emit as fiery rays. The one item that really is cool among the magical ones would be oil that slims targets passing through squares treated with it, allowing thieves and scoundrels to escape through impossibly thin cracks - very cool.

The pdf features a rodent subdomain that allows the user to gain increased speed and a bonus to Stealth 3+Wis-mod times per day. The pdf also features a total of 5 new spells: Close Quarters is intriguing: It allows you and another Medium or smaller ally to occupy the same square and count as flanking foes if you attack the same target, which is incredibly useful for sneak attack. That being said, the spell assumes that you move into an adjacent square when it ends - but what if there is no room? Also, at level 1 bard, inqui and ranger, this spell is pretty strong, though the restriction to the "tricky" classes keeps is still in the "potentially VERY problematic" rather than the "broken" field. Using crowd stride to teleport through crowds is pretty cool and gnaw anything lets you ignore significant amounts of hardness with a selected natural weapon. Growing creatures in a swarm to twice their size is cool and there is a spell-option to increase the deadliness of diseases and poisons.

The pdf concludes with two sample characters with extensive backgrounds, motivations and schemes to incorporate them in your game - Suilin Hinatoi, a CR 11 monk/ninja and Merrick, a CR 9 sewer druid - both of the characters come with stats for humanoid and beast shape. As for the flavor of wererats as presented here, I don't have significant complaints this time around - the social nature and predilection to guild structures, warrens and use of rodents as pets make sense and utilize the established material well.


Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level, though on a rules-level, there are some minor hiccups. Layout adheres to Misfit Studios' two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes with a second, more printer-friendly version: Kudos!! The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and with an array of gorgeous full-color original pieces in Jacob Blackmon's signature style. Particularly the rat-toothed humanoid shape getting ready to gnaw through a rope is awesome.

Robert H. Hudson Jr. and Mike Welham's wererats rank among the better offerings in the wererat series. While there is some material to nitpicking the details, as a whole, there are some gems to be found in the squeezing and crowd-maneuvering component. Power-level-wise, the wererat is one of my favorites among the individual lycanthrope-race pdfs in the series. That being said, the hiccup in the barbarian is not too cool and the other archetypes didn't really wow me either - I've frankly seen the concepts done in more complex and detailed ways. Usually, the items are a highlight in these and the same holds true here - there is some magic to be found...though the book oversteps balance-wise its boundaries here and there.

Staying invisible while attacking sans requiring a the improved version is very strong and in the hands of the right build, can be devastating. Similarly, two capable sneakers occupying the same space can make for a true shredder with the right build. This does not make the options broken, mind you - it just is a symptom of an impression of this pdf, namely that it could have used a slightly more delicate touch requiring some of the repercussions of its effects. These do not have to come up, mind you...but they may. In spite of the gems herein and me liking quite a bit of what I can see here, I hence have to rate this 3.5 stars, rounded down - a mixed bag slightly on the positive side.

Endzeitgeist out.

[3 of 5 Stars!]
Bite Me! Wererats
Publisher: Misfit Studios
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/02/2016 13:26:13

This 19 page supplement for players and GMs who are interested in running-&-playing Wererat PCs and NPCs ... is pretty much the cream of the crop reference source for said gameplay ambitions. That includes Paizo as well as PF 3PP sources.

As with the other Bite Me! supplements in the Misfit Studios line, the balance between new crunch and evocative fluff is about ideal for a supplement of its size and price range. The Table of Contents in conjunction with the book's formatting, coloration, design layout and art made for an nice,easy read on the eyes and quickly-navigable referencing.

The initial few pages of the book give a helpful recap of the Pathfinder game mechanics of the Wererat race for PC referencing ... as well as a handy ARG point breakdown for the race. The new ART's & FCO's were numerous and ran the quality spectrum from 'Above Average' to 'Excellent'. Lots of Wererat theme characters can be accentuated with these 2 character options alone. Plus, they all made conceptual sense and none of them looked unbalanced.

Amongst the 3 Racial Archetypes, I found all 3 to be fairly well balanced. The Sewer Druid to be a bit super-specialized ... the Lightning Rager to moderately interesting in its DEX-emphasizing rage mechanic ... and the Bully Slayer to be just outright awesome with its clever thematic bonuses that lend itselfs well to Wererat social behavior.

The new Wererat equipment emphasizes sewer-environment combat - and are all quite cool. The new feats were all themed towards stealth, dexterity, senses and size diminution. I would've liked to have seen a slight uptick in power level for most of the feats, but I liked the overall thematic cohesiveness of the bunch. The Magic Items were probably my favorite component of the book! All 5 of them will find happy homes in my urban campaign that I GM. I agree with N. Jolly in his review though, that the 'Hiding' WSA needs a +X boost ... perhaps to around +3 IMHO.

The Wererat Magic section is terrific! I love the Gnaw Anything, Close Quarters, Swarm Growth and Crowd Stride spell. Which are strong thematically with Wererat casters ... and have rock solid spell balancing mechanics. I might tweak them a little to allow those of the Wererat race to gain a slight-to-small additional benefit from them over those of other-racial spellcasters.

The 2 fleshed-out, multiple-level-perspective NPCs were creatively-written ... and their stat-blocks look clean and accurate. I'm definitely going to nab that Druid for use in my campaign world.

All in all, this book will get serious table-play with my one Pathfinder group that is currently involved in a long-term urban campaign. Besides their proclivity to prosper in urban settings, Wererats are probably the most adaptable of all the lycanthropes in regards to living in all types of environmentally harsh areas. So don't think of this book as being purely urban-centric.

My final rating for this book is a rock-solid 4 stars. It presents a sizeable amount of game mechanic options for Wererats that aren't in Paizo products but are definitely needed ... and options that make a lot of sociocultural-thematic sense too. I would've considered a higher rating if there were a few more knock-my-sock-off creative options.

To note, I now own 8 PDFs in the Misfit Studios 'Bite Me!' line for Pathfinder. This book and one other were comped to me in exchange for a fair and unbiased review. The other 6 I purchased on my own. I was originally drawn to the Bite Me! line because I knew the illustrious Christina Stiles was heading the project. So far, all 8 of these books have impressed me and are now in heavy rotation in both my PF groups as either the primary ruleset for lycanthrope PC's/NPC's ... or in a hybridized system with core-Paizo rules. I also just now looked at the authors of this specific book (Hudson & Welham). And now it all makes sense. Lol. I'm a huge fan of Mike Welham Pathfinder good ... and once again, he doesn't disappoint.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bite Me! Wererats
Publisher: Misfit Studios
by N. J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/28/2016 16:25:49

Disclamer: While I have worked with this publisher before, I received no compensation for this review, and was not involved with this project.

Okay, checking out the lycanthrope wererat, a group I didn't normally consider looking at myself.

What I liked: Amusingly, the art of this book slowly grew on me to the point where I really started to like the style being used, making it feel like a 90's animated film. The lore of the wererats was quite engaging too, and it gave me a strong idea of where I could fit them into a game, although it didn't paint them as overly 'evil' which I appreciated.

The racial archetype that I really took a shine to was the bully slayer, which was both mechanically sound and very fun, although the picture that accompanied it was a large help in visualising it.

The mundane items were fun and flavorful, although the rat pipes could have used a bit more clarification on how long it took for the rat swarm to summon. Aside from that though, they were all things I think would help with running wererats.

I can't say I'd use all the feats as a player, but for an NPC I think there's a place for all of the feats included in this book.

The hiding weapon quality feels just too good to me, to the point where I might consider it unbalanced. It's very interesting, but it could be too good for a +1 bonus, so be aware of that. The rat saddle did make me smile though, and it just feels like a fun item. Red Eyes was okay, it was an interesting take and I liked it in that respect.

The gnaw anything and swarm growth spells both felt thematic and fun, definitely things I could see using in a game.

The sample characters were pretty nice too, and statted out well enough to the point where it wouldn't be too hard to put them into a game, although I do wish they'd have been further apart in level to make them usable at different points in a game.

What I was indifferent towards : The sewer druid was nicely designed, but just a tad boring for me, making it somewhat forgettable. Some of the magic items were pretty forgettable too, as the helm of ratkind felt too specialized to me. Aside from the above mentioned spells, the rest of the magic was passable, but nothing ground breaking.

What I didn't like : The layout of the book, while serviable and printer friendly, still felt quite barren. Some borders or such could have helped this, but it's not a major issue. The lighting rager archetype also did little for me; while thematic, it wasn't the kind of thing I could see using for a game of my own.

Personal preference here, but I'd have preferred the rat style feats be sectioned off to be more easily referenced, and rat trap is a rather weak feat in the chain.

Final Thoughts: Overall, it's a solid book if you're looking to vary the lycanthropes in your game. While you might not use all of the material in it, there's easily enough in here to give you a very solid base for any wererat adventures you're looking to include.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
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