The Horned Rat is a deity who features in Warhammer Fantasy.
Personality and attributes
The Horned Rat, also known as the Horned One, is the patron deity of the Skaven race, and is worshipped exclusively by them. The Horned Rat represents the characteristics of the Skaven race itself — deceit, spitefulness, backstabbing, disease and corruption. Despite these characteristics, the Horned Rat wishes that the Skaven work together to rule the entire Warhammer Fantasy world, which would then allow him to return, though what this "return" means is not further elaborated. Fortunately for other races of the Warhammer World, the Skaven, much like orcs, number many, but are too divided and bickering, some even at war with each other, and do not have the unity to pose a dire threat to the existence of other races.
The Horned Rat is typically depicted in icons as a large rat's head with four horns — two long goat-like horns, and two curled horns similar to those on a ram. On the rare occasions when the Horned Rat has personally appeared in the Warhammer world, he has held a similar, albeit monstrous, appearance. Other symbols of the Horned Rat involve an assortment of variations on general Chaos icons and those of the Skaven race, often incorporating horns or rat heads.
The number thirteen was noted as being a favoured number of the Horned Rat and influenced Skaven society.
Powers and abilities
The mortal worshippers of the Horned Rat are exclusively of the Skaven race. Various Skaven factions, called clans, have arisen which emphasize an aspect of the Horned Rat. For example, Clan Pestilens focuses on the spreading of pestilence and disease; Clan Eshin emphasizes stealth and assassination; and Clan Skryre emphasizes cunning and evil intellect. When a Skaven army goes to war, the clans will lend their talents to the effort. This affects the appearance of a Skaven army, as each clan uses its own heraldry, weapons, types of units it may utilise and what gear it may bring to battle. The Horned Rat's commands are interpreted by the council of Lords of Decay; this council of the twelve most powerful clan leaders (the council includes the Horned Rat symbolically, making a total of thirteen members) acts as the ruling force of the Skaven race, coordinating efforts to destroy the other factions of the Warhammer world; however, as deception and treachery are traits of the Skaven, the council is often the scene of shifting alliances and intrigue.
The most powerful and probably one of the most unifying features in all skaven is their usage of warpstone. It is used in their weapons, ranging from weeping blades and throwing stars to their mighty cannons and warpfire throwers. It is not uncommon for Skaven to ingest this dangerous substance, and use it to mutate their own kind into the giant 'rat ogres'. Warplightning cannons and Warpfire throwers are incredibly deadly, both to the user and the target. Fortunately for other armies, Warpstone-based weaponry is quite unreliable and is not uncommon for it to explode, annihilating both the user and anyone near him! The powerful Skaven wizards known as Grey Seers act as prophets of the Horned Rat, driving the clans into action against other factions. They command the respect of other Skaven, and those who defy the Grey Seers risk being declared heretics by them, which is considered a terrible crime and can lead to attacks by other clans. Despite their influence, Grey Seers are not immune to the treacherous nature of their race, and must still be wary of potential assassins.
The Horned Rat has very few daemons that serve him. The one known daemon is a Greater Daemon known as the Verminlord. This large daemon resembles the Horned Rat himself wielding a large halberd (known as the Doom Glaive); it is said to be the corrupted form of an ancient Lord of Decay, and is thus similar to a Daemon Prince.
- The Horned Rat was created by Games Workshop and featured in the setting of Warhammer Fantasy.
- Skaven and the idea of the Horned Rat was introduced in the 1986 Citadel Journal along with the miniatures designed by Jes Goodwin. In the Warhammer Third Edition/Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader sourcebook Realm of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned published in 1990, one skaven named Kweethul was used as an example in the rules for creating your own daemon/chaos god. Kweethul and his pantheon has no obvious link to the Horned Rat beyond being a daemonic skaven deity with horns.
In other media
- Warhammer Fantasy: