Ratling Trailblazer Concept V.1

I’ve had these ideas rattling around in my head for a short while, and I wanted to run them by people here. My vision for this archetype overall is a fast, wiley, hit-and-run gremlin with solid support elements and dynamic weapons (and I have some rough ideas for those, too).

I’d like to know whether y’all think…

  • …it looks like it would be any fun to play…
  • …it looks like it would be nice to have on a team…
  • …it fits Ratlings, thematically…
  • …its parts are fundamentally balanced, or super busted somehow…

…and why, if it pleases you!

Other feedback is appreciated too. (I’m not really here to debate whether or not Ratlings will be added to the game, though. That’s been done plenty in other threads.)

TALENT CHART LEGEND: Since the numbers are pretty tough to balance without playtesting, I’ve left an “X” as a placeholder for most of them. I’ve color coded the abilities to give a ballpark idea of design intent:

  • :purple_circle: General: Useful in most situations/not specialized.
  • :green_circle: Support: Helps teammates in ways that don’t involve stagger, tanking, or direct damage.
  • :red_circle: Crowd Control: Rewards or enhances disrupting enemies with stagger.
  • :yellow_circle: Giant Killer: Rewards or enhances killing large enemies quickly.
  • :large_blue_circle: Ranged Killer: Rewards or enhances killing ranged threats and specials.


EXISTING WEAPONS: These are reasonably small enough to be wielded by a Ratling, but it’s possible that other weapons would do fine as well (las rifles come to mind).

  • Machine Pistol
  • Heavy Laspistol
  • Tactical Axes
  • Combat Blade
  • Revolver

NEW RANGED WEAPONS: Lightweight and/or compact weapons that compliment either a long-ranged sniping support playstyle, or a hit-and-run close range/stagger playstyle.

  • Sawed Shotgun Mk1: For big burst damage that creates distance.

    • Primary: One barrel
    • Secondary: Both barrels (self knockback)
    • Special: Throwing knife (carry 3), high weak spot damage
    • Reload: One or both shells at once (hold to replenish knives)
      NOTE: These knives would work a bit like the special rounds of existing shotguns, drawing from shell reserves to ready them for tossing from a bandolier (or wherever else a Ratling would keep them).
  • Sawed Shotgun Mk2: More defense in close-range engagements.

    • Primary: One barrel
    • Secondary: Block
    • Special: Butt spike bash
    • Reload: One or both shells at once
  • Sawed Shotgun Mk3: As Mk2, but with throwing knives instead of bash.

    • Primary: One barrel
    • Secondary: Block
    • Special: Throwing knife (carry 3)
    • Reload: One or both shells at once (hold to replenish knives)
  • Dart Rifle: Good collateral, damage over time.

    • Primary: Semi-auto (Acid Damage)
    • Secondary: ADS
    • Special: Overpressure (powerful shot with high recoil + longer recovery)
    • Reload: Magazine
  • Crossbow w/special bolts

    • Primary: Single shot (high pierce/weak spot damage)
    • Secondary: ADS
    • Special: Charge thunder bolt (high stagger/damage)
    • Reload: Single bolt

NEW MELEE WEAPONS: Ratlings aren’t known to be at all powerful in melee, meaning they would have to rely on weapons that either don’t take much strength to wield effectively or utilize their low center of gravity (and proximity to knee caps).

  • Dual mono-knives

    • Mk1: Focused on armor piercing/single target
    • Mk2: Balanced
    • Mk3: Focused on good cleave
  • Hatchete (Machete/Hatchet hybrid)

    • Stronger blocks, weaker dodges
    • Light attacks: Vanguard slashes w/machete end
    • Heavy attacks: Strikedown chops w/hatchet end
    • Special: High-damage grab w/claw on hatchet end
  • Survival Spear: Think Kerillian’s spear from VT2.

    • Mk1: Very pointy, focused on single target damage
    • Mk2: Balanced
    • Mk3: More glaive-like, focused on horde management
  • Ratling Walking Stick: Basically a quarterstaff/shillelagh

    • Leg damage bonus?
    • Wide sweeps, high stagger
  • Electro-bolas

    • Think Sienna’s flail from VT2
    • Charged up and thrown with Special to electrocute foes.
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It took me a solid minute to wrap my head around what you were talking about because my mind immediately jumped to Ratling Gunners from fantasy.

Oh whoops hahah. I even thought about adding a disclaimer about that. It’s a really common mix-up.

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Lots of cool ideas, I am a bit worried that the moving through enemies stuff could be super janky, especially if you only get it for 1 dodge. (I never played Kerellian in VT 2 so I’m not sure how her stuff worked, pretty sure Shades ult could run through people?)

Also I feel Cocksure could be pretty strong with a high stamina weapon in melee, just spamming pushes to get toughness back. Would be a cool synergy with the toughness blessing though (forgot the name).

Also considering the lore, and what the characters say about ratlins I feel like it would be criminal to not have a more traditional sniper rifle, or at the very least a long-las (ideally both could be used by Vet as well).

Love the focus on special effects and unique interactions. I think you did a great job of showing Ratlings klepto nature while not effecting the team in a negative way.

Last thing isn’t really a criticism, just I feel like this steps on the toes of what another potential class could be, Death Cult Assassin. Not saying we couldn’t get something like this or both, just something interesting I thought. Feel like if we do get both however, Ratling is more likely to be a ranged, single shot sniper focused class while Death Cult Assassin would be the melee status effect/DoT class that can move through people.

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Last thing I wanted to post quick was that this class idea really reminded me of the Rein and Raus ratling pair from the Blackstone Quest tabletop game, specifically Raus. While Rein is the stereotypical Ratling sniper, Raus provides the close range gremlin approach and pretty much fits perfectly with your idea for the class. Speaking of, as you can see on his back he has a standard imperial demolition charge and then a more “rustic” dynamite grenade which I feel would fit better than the mist grenade. Also I always felt the grappling hook would be really cool but I feel like it would be really hard to implement and be useful.

Additionally they are both armed with stub pistols which I feel could be a fun choice as kind of a middle ground between the auto pistol and stub revolver. Semi automatic, decent damage, range, and mag size.

Also thinking about it a bit more if they do add a Ratling character there would need to be multiple archetypes, so something like this could definitely be perfect, although as I mentioned probably less chemical usage (although I love the idea of a Ratling running between people’s feet to get out of a bad situation).

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Thanks for the feedback! :sparkles:

That’s a really good point. You could pretty easily get stuck in a baddie on accident, or just jam yourself into the middle of a horde while trying to escape. The talent was inspired by one of Handmaiden’s talents from VT2, but that one is just unconditional dodging through enemies. Given that Catachan Tactics already allows passing through enemies for an extended period, I’ll try to think of some other thematic defensive option for that Level 20 slot.

That’s partly why Cocksure is restricted to ranged attacks! It works for blasting into a mixed horde with one of the sawed shotguns, or needling enemies from a distance with the dart rifle or crossbow.

Also a good point! I agree. It’s likely that a separate Sniper archetype for Ratlings would have a kit that synergizes better with sniper weapons, but they would hardly be an absurd option for a Trailblazer, both in the lore and in-game.

Thank you! In the early drafts I had a lot more ideas relating to the generosity and hospitality of Ratlings, too, but I didn’t want to buck the ammo economy of the game too much.

Fair points for sure! I’d like to think that a Death Cult Assassin would have a kit that’s thematically distinct, and far more specialized in killing things super fast (with fewer support options, or support options that specifically reward killing).

And heck, some folks argue that a Ratling Sniper would step on Veteran Sharpshooter’s toes. They might! But I figure a little overlap here and there is okay. It’s good when one class/archetype with the right build can fill in for another in some way.

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Yo!! :eyes: I wasn’t aware of this guy at all! He’s a great reference. He even has what could be a mono-knife on his belt there. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was inspired by the Trailblazers or Fixers pictured in… Rogue Trader, iirc:

I feel you there. I wanted to add something distinct from the Veteran’s frag grenade (and frankly I could not pass up the opportunity for a Halfling weed joke), but there are some fun things you could do with an old timey dynamite bundle for sure! Maybe it would just have super high damage and knockdown, great for damaging bosses.

Stub pistols would make a ton of sense, agreed!

Oh gosh. :crossed_fingers: Here’s hoping. :pray:

My bad, I meant Shake it Off, and it would instead using a weapon with really low stamina, you take a hit and usually lose all your toughness, you would then gain back stamina and just spam block to get most or all of it back based on values. I think it’s a cool concept and synergizes with that blessing well, could just be a bit of a weird loop imo.

Also feel this would be really fun with Cocksure to give incentive to knock big Ogryns down with a Sniper, or if the grenade is switched to dynamite/demo charge to knocking them down that way.

That’s also a good point. I guess for me it’s probably less them taking each others roles and more if they have too similar play styles. While Sharpshooter is kind of a generalist ranged focused class I assume Ratling Sniper would be the same role of ranged special and elite killing, but in a different way. That’s also kind of why I feel Bushwack might not be the best trait for Ratling as it seems more of an Assassin thing. Maybe increased damage if an enemy is staggered and/or on the ground? Would have synergy with Skullbreaker Ogryns, Double Barrel, Cocksure, and the staff.

I think they are great as well, and here is his brother Rein. He coincidently reminded me that Ratlings have a specific sniper rifle pattern they use for themselves, so it should probably be exclusive to them (still want one for SS though! A long las would do but I want a chunky rifle for them). Also as you can see, he has some sort of canister on his back so maybe the mist nade would be better on a sniper. He does also have a knife in a sheath, but it’s not mentioned anywhere that I know of to be mono-molecular (Doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have one or that it isn’t one).

Maybe increased stagger on next attack? Could help create a unique type of stagger build for them.

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Lorewise Ratling mostly use the same patterns of weapons as “normal” humans, so Autoguns, Shotguns, Lasguns…

Boltgun I’d be against it. For the melee weapons about everything that the Veteran can use should be useable for them tbh.

As an archetype I’m not overly in favour of it, both due to the PoV change, which here would mostly be annoying, much more than it did in VT2 as now we have the cover system and we already have 2 PoV, having more mean having to make the maps with it in mind.

And as we are restricted to a very limited number of future archetypes, unlike classes which we know are coming more often and in greater amounts. As of yet, the only information about Archetypes is that they aren’t against them, but it still mean 6 voice actors, whole new line of cosmetic and stuff.

So if we get Ratlings, I’d give it the 3rd choice, after an Admech and a Sister of battle hailing archetypes.

But as a Class, it is well built, and fit them well

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Admech skitarii needs to be the next archetype/class they bring out, or at least the first new one, I imagine we’ll see a couple new free subclasses for the existing characters as a sign of goodwill before they bring out a new paid archetype.
I would definitely pay in an instant to be able to play a skitarii tho.

Ahh I get you! Shake it Off is definitely the talent I’m most unsure about. It would have to be tested, and I could see it creating some goofy plays, like crouching behind cover after taking fire and spamming push into nothing. My other thought was having stamina regeneration trigger toughness replenishment, but that happens so often that it could be pretty jank too.

Agreed about the sniper rifle being fun! With one of those, I imagine you’d be taking a role similar to an Ogryn’s, keeping high-threat enemies on the back foot.

I still like the mist grenade as a limited option for dealing with ranged enemies, though, since if you’re using a double barreled shotgun, you need to be able to advance on shooter groups. And with perks that add acid stacks or buffs to allies, you can place them pretty strategically, like in a choke point defended by allies in melee, or on a pinned teammate who needs room to retreat or return fire. Thematically, I think it fits well with a Trailblazer’s guerilla tactics. Though heck, maybe there could be a perk for the dynamite that creates a dust cloud that does something similar!

Oo, very good idea! Trailblazers aren’t really known for backstabbing in particular, but they are known for setting ambushes – taking out enemies while they’re disoriented and such. So dealing more damage to staggered enemies makes a ton of sense, and it has precedence. I’ll make that change! Thanks.

I like this idea also! :muscle: Stagger is basically a defensive option. Perhaps more stagger on the next ranged attack, though, since a Ratling would probably rely on guns for that kind of punch? It would mean that weapons with spread or good collateral could proc the bonus. You could fire into a horde of chumps, and then aim the next shot at a bigger guy. :thinking:

Good to know! I’d also like a sniper for SS. Some folks say it would be useless in a game with so many close corridors, but picking out the singular pixel of a sniper across the map with a dot sight is… rough. :pensive:

Trailblazers in the Rogue Trader TTRPG have the option to gain mono-knife proficiency, iirc.

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I’d be against Boltgun too, hahah. Way too much weight and kick for a little guy. And that’s good to know about the ranged weapons like Autoguns and such; Ratlings sharing those patterns with other archetypes would make the barrier to entry a bit lower, at least as far as Blessings go.

For a lot of the heavier melee weapons, like the combat axes and chainaxe, I’m not totally convinced a Ratling could wield those as effectively as a full-sized person. But I dunno, they’re pretty universally depicted as jacked in the art, so who knows?

See, this is part of the appeal for me, and why I designed this class around being mobile and good in close quarters (as opposed to being focused on sniping). At Ratling height, getting good sightlines with a long-ranged weapon in any of those long, box-ridden corridors could be an absolute chore. But it’s a perfect hunting ground for someone who can quickly weave their way through cover and turn baddies’ legs to pepper steak.

Oh trust me, I adore the Admech, and I hope folks get a Sister of Battle class/archetype too. I just think Ratlings are sorely underrepresented in 40k media across the board, and I think Darktide’s lore is set up nicely to buck that trend, and explore their characterization more thoroughly.

Thank you! I appreciate the feedback! :sparkles:

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