Ratlings (Homo sapiens minimus) are small, loud, hungry and lecherous Abhumans. Ratlings are granted full Imperial citizenship despite their mutant status and in the past have often served in the Regiments of the Imperial Guard. However, they are still distrusted by the more Puritanical members of the Inquisition. Ratlings are the smallest type of Abhuman known to the Imperium, their ancestors having become stunted by thousands of years of inbreeding on worlds with climates and environments even more conducive to human life than ancient Terra and abundant harvests. Ratlings are short and squat, although not strong when compared to normal, baseline humans. They are idle, hedonistic, gregarious, over-friendly and sexually promiscuous. Their lives are spent eating until sick, drinking copious amounts of intoxicating beverages, and procreating uncontrollably, almost like Abhuman rabbits. These small, loud, hungry and lecherous creatures are called Runtlings, Stunties, Halflings and Ratlings by other humans, among other, less printable things.
Ornsworld is a Ratling homeworld which was attacked by Abaddon the Despoiler during the Gothic War.
Ratlings serve in the Imperial Guard as cooks, a skill they no doubt learned in order to feed their own ample stomachs, and also tend towards kleptomania, as Commissars report petty theft and illegal gambling rings increase substantially when Ratlings are attached to an Imperial Guard platoon or regiment. Ratlings have also been known to supply non-standard weaponry to Guardsmen willing to pay a premium.
Though unsuited for many battlefield roles, Ratlings make excellent snipers, even without the telescopic laser-sights of the needle-rifles. With careful, methodical aim, the Ratlings place their crosshairs, targeting the vulnerable eyes of alien beasts or the exposed joints of armoured foes. They snipe enemy commanders and tank crews with contemptuous ease, amused at the panic and confusion they wreak. In battle, Ratlings excel at infiltrating the warzone unseen, secreting themselves wherever there is cover, whether it be amongst the undergrowth of a forest world, the craters of bomb-scarred tundra or within the twisted remnants of a ruined building. Any position that has a commanding field of fire will do, and one which reduces the possibility of any actual combat is even better.
Many Ratlings serve as snipers in Imperial Guard regiments, a role in which they excel due to their superior marksmanship. While they are often the butt of soldier's jokes, more than one Imperial Guard unit has had cause to be grateful for the covering fire of a unit of Ratling Snipers. As well as making excellent marksmen, Ratlings have a well-deserved reputation for being brilliant cooks. In many units they perform both functions. Their love of food is well known, despite their diminutive size, they tend to eat almost twice the ration allowance of a regular trooper. It is not unknown for some more unscrupulous Ratling entrepreneurs to offer their foster regiment obtained goods of every stripe and desire. They do not limit their black-marketing to food stores alone as many veteran troopers obtain much of their non-standard issue weaponry courtesy of 'the chef's special'.
Ratlings on NecromundaEdit
Others who have not been able to find honest work will often stoop to their other less legal skills in burglary and pick pocketing. Some of these individuals may find their way into house gangs along with former Ratling Snipers who have either been de-mobbed or (more likely than not) have deserted from the Imperial guard. They join gangs as not as hired guns but as fully fledged members, though at the probable expense as being the butt of many of the gangs jokes. The Snipers can be sort after in some gangs as they often bring with them their Needle Sniper rifles. Even without their rifles Ratlings also bring a unique set of skills which can assist a gangs progress.
Much like the Abhuman cousins the Squats, the Ratlings have almost disappeared from the Imperium of Man in the late 41st Millennium due to the incursions of the Tyranids into Imperial space. Tyranid invasions of Ratling homeworlds have led to a drastic decrease in Ratling populations. For this reason, many Imperial Guard units are being forced to train their own snipers and infiltrators from among the general soldiery of the Guard to compensate.