“Great Hunger, Sharp teeth” (due to 1 in richness)
Additional 2 points for taking “Skulkers at the door”
Additional 1 point for taking “Half-feral”
Military: 5 (+1 Military from low richness)
Weak-weak die, Strong-strong live
“Come-come young rat. I tell truth of old-old clan. Commander-King no like truth, yes-yes.” - Elder Khrenq, last of the Skakch Elders.
Several generations ago stood the mighty Clan Skakch, rich in wealth, luxury, and most of all food. A rat from Clan Skakch found anything and everything in his home. Trade was good, the land ripe, and the rats happy. Little plagued the people, outside of the occasional Skulker, but often its mighty walls protected the rats from any and all threats. Anything that got through, was quickly and mercilessly put down by noble mercenaries and militias. A rat in Clan Skakch had little to fear.
One day, a wandering horde of Skulkers began to encircle clan Skakch. The Clan overconfident in their mighty defense, didn’t worry. That day however, was different. Skulkers quickly destroyed the walls, taking few casualties. It wasn’t long before more and more ravenous Skulkers poured into the clans mighty city. By nightfall thousands of rats laid dead, except for less than a hundred warriors, and some two hundred women and children.
Rumors, backed by the few remaining elders of Clan Skakch, tell of how the first Commander-King Qich, the trapper-killer of Skulkers, the master hunter of weak-weak rats, betrayed the clan. The hundred warriors that survived to protect the current clan, had abandoned the wall. Left the city open to the several Skulkers who poured through the gates. Though, if such words were uttered in the presence of the current Commander-king, such a rat would be swiftly beheaded if lucky.
Clan Skakch refers to much of the death that followed after fleeing from the ashes of their homeland as the “March of death-death”. Without food, wealth, or a home, the clan wandered the waste for what felt like half a generation. Many weak clan members died. The elders of society where the first to go, Skulkers and other beasts quick to pick them off without second thought. The women and children were placed in what was referred to as “communal burrows”, small ramshackle buildings heavily protected by warrior rats. Often times they had little success in defending the rats, as they only offered juicier targets to more ambitious foes.
It had seemed that Clan Skakch, once mighty and grand, was at deaths doorstep. Soon to be forgotten and lost to history. Until Commander-King Qich walked out of the wilderness, half-dead and carrying with him the carcass of a mighty Skulker that was ten times the size of anything seen before. It was at this point that Qich had claimed the title “Commander-King”, claiming to have seen in a vision, a coming greatness. The clan destined to be stronger and mightier than any clan that came before. They were to breed the strongest of warriors, they were to be the mightiest of clans.
Weaker clan members, for obvious reasons, protested to such notions. Claiming that Commander-King Qich had gone mad and become half-feral from wandering the wastes for so long. They however were quickly silenced, either by the Commander-King himself or his supported among the warrior class. Often times, these dissenters were left to die by Skulkers, used as bait to throw them off their tails or at least satiate a wandering beast’s hunger. Other times, they were used food. To feed the now starving populations of the Clan.
“Feed-feed off the weak-weak. For the strong-strong must survive. The strong-strong will-will survive.”- Commander-King Qich.
Even the Commander-King wasn’t immortal. Slowly growing older and weaker, he saw his time coming. He asked that the Clan’s mightiest of warriors to chose the strongest among them to lead in his place, for he now must leave and wander the wastes to die gloriously in combat, rather than sickly in bed.
Since then, Clan Skakch has only had two other mighty Commander-Kings. Commander-King Krilk, the slayer-killer, who established Clan’s Skakch’s mercenary traditions. Selling warriors to wealthy rodents to defend their lands and people for a short time, and slaying several dissidents from weaker clan members attempting to take advantage of the death of Commander-King Qich. He forged much of the traditions and practices seen in the current generation of Clan Skakch. He also, notably, accepted elder clan members a position in society as educators of the warrior class. Though expendable, under his rulership they were considered more than fodder for hungry Skulkers.
Eventually as he aged, he took what was referred to as “The Vow of Qich”, to wander the wastes and die gloriously in combat. Afterwards, the current Commander-King, Thun, born from Qich’s brood, and far larger than the average rat. Strong and fearless, he is believed to be the embodiment of the new clan.
Clan Skakch is ruled by the iron-grip of the “Commander-King”. An established position by the first Commander-King Qich, the trapper-killer of Skulkers, the master hunter of weak-weak rats. Ruled only by the strongest of rats, when a Commander-King takes the vow of Qich, the Clan begins to organize the “night of death”. A huge event, where a single blade sits at the center of the clan and he who takes it and holds onto it and lives by morning is chosen to be the next Commander-King. Killing, murder, and betrayal follow in the coming hours. Locations safe from the violence, packed with women, children, and cowards. The position of Commander-king is just that. Ruler of both the clan and its armies, a commander king has complete control over the clan.
The current Commander-King is Thun. Born of Commander-King Qich’s brood, he is both strong and frightening. Rumors would tell you that he stands twice as tall as the average rat, and though embellished he is incredibly large in size. His position maintained by title and strength, he commands both fear and respect from his ranks. His strongest ally, both in blood and name, is his connection to the first Commander-King. Believed by some to have the blood of a demi-god running through his veins. Blessed by the strongest of rats himself and given the divine authority to rule over the clan.
Clan Skakch’s ancient homeland has all been forgotten over the generations, only Elder Khrenq knows anything of its possible location. Returning however would be impossible for Clan Skakch, not only is the territory burdened by hordes of ravenous Skulkers and beasts, but the Clan has no desire to return either. Believing that the land outside of the walls has made them stronger and that strength will allow them to overcome any clan that stands in their path.
As a result, Clan Skakch continues its nomadic traditions, traveling from region to region, clan to clan. Trading their services as warriors in exchange for food and material and occasionally raiding clans should they become desperate. When there is no clan to provide them goods during their travels through the waste, then they turn to the weakest members, the dead or dying, to supply food. The Clan has even been known to purchase mice slaves as a “food supply” should times get desperate.
Clan Skakch is divided into three primary classes, each with their own unique daily activities, responsibilities, and experiences within the clan.
First is the Warrior Class, consisting of the strongest rats that the Clan has to offer. Trained at a young age and bred to fight and die for the clan, they are often extremely aggressive and disciplined. At the top of the warrior class stands the Commander-King, who is almost universally uncontested by his lessers. The Warrior Class often enjoys many privileges that other members of the clan often either go without entirely or are given second pick, such as both food and wealth. The daily life of a warrior in Clan Skakch is an exhausting one and often with little rest, rarely spent lying about. Whether it be hunting beasts, defending the clan, or fighting as a mercenary. If a warrior of Clan Skakch find himself outside of conflict and is given the chance to rest, it is often spent enjoying luxuries such as the makeshift “arenas” built to entertain the rats of Clan Skakch, filled with numerous nasty beasts, slaves, and gladiators.
Then there is the Working Class, though not technically slaves by definition the working class is only a few steps above being one. Consisting of rats to weak to fight, but strong enough to forge weapons and warriors who have grown to old to wield a weapon, but have refused to take the vow of Quich. They are by all means expendable to the Clan in dire times and are treated as such. Their daily lives often demand they constantly build and repair both weapons and fortifications, though some of the elder rats in the working class are given the special privilege of educating the future generations of warrior rats. When given the chance to rest, a rat from the working class often find themselves either praying to their chosen gods or trading with each other and the occasional merchant that had wandered into the clan. Rarely however, a working class rat may fight in the arena to prove himself as having become strong enough to fight among the warrior class, though often times results in the death of the rat, it is the easiest method of social mobility among the clan.
Lastly there is the Brood, consisting of female rats whom are chosen to raise the next generation of clan Skakch. Often they spend most of their day either mating with members of the warrior class or caring for their children. Desperation to only have the strongest among the clan give birth to children has resulted in strict protection of members of the brood class. If any where to sneak into such chambers, they would find themselves meeting a long and painful death. Note that though rare, it isn’t impossible for females in Clan Skakch to exist outside of the Brood class.
Rarely, Clan Skakch takes upon themselves to purchase mice slaves, though they are treated as “on the road cattle” rather than workers. Butchered when in need of meat. This isn’t a common practice among the clan due to slaves being difficult to care for when acquire.
Clan Skakch is divided in terms of faith, most of the working class, especially the elders, follow the faith of the creators rather strictly and traditionally. The warrior class, specifically the younger generation however has begun to form a cult like following centering around Qich. Believing that his vision was gifted by the divine, whether it be the creators or some other god. This has resulted in many of the rats descended from Qich to be viewed as descendants of a great prophet.
Clan Skakch is a surprisingly well armed and well organized force. The warrior class of Clan Skakch making up close to a third of the population lends itself to making its army comparable to a medium sized clan in terms of raw numbers. The army of Clan Skakch is divided into five defining positions, of which the first and most obvious is the Commander-King. Given full authority of the clans warriors as well as whom they go to war with. Commonly, the Commander-King is informed of all actions taken by the warriors of Clan Skakch, though in rare circumstances, a more dishonest rat may occasionally get away with leaving out minor details. Next are the generals, given special authority and autonomy to position the warriors of Clan Skakch into favorable positions in wartime. During peace, it is these generals who often sell the warriors under them as personal mercenaries to wealthy clans, leading them as if they are their own personal armies. Then there are the captains, given authority of a small group of rats and often expected to lead the charge into combat. It is at this point that duels over authority become common practice in Clan Skakch. Fourth, there is the warriors, a single well trained and disciplined rat. It isn’t entirely uncommon for unofficial hierarchies to spring up among them, determined by the rat that proves himself to be the strongest among them. Lastly, there are the rookies. Rats who haven’t finished their warrior education and training. A rigorous and often deadly period in the life of the average rat. Many don’t make it past this stage.