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A Nezumi

Nezumi were one of the other races that walked Ningen-do after the Naga entered their slumber and before the fall of the Kami.


Ratlings appeared as furry bipeds, roughly mansized, with pink tails and the heads of rodents. [1] They were double-jointed and were capable of dislocating their shoulders and hips, allowing them to crawl through any opening that could pass their head. Nezumi had excellent senses of smell and exuded pheromones
from glands near their tails in order to convey scent messages to their kin. They were extremely resistant to corruption and disease. [2] Their lifetime was between twenty-five to thirty-five years. [3] They were notorious for their short attention spans and lack of long-term memory. [4]



During the First Jinn War, the jinn Kaleel and his legion enslaved humanity and other races. [5] The Nezumi remembered that dark time and avoided the Burning Sands, where they believed evil spirits would destroy them. [6] [7]

Nezumi and the Naga[]

Before the Naga's Great Sleep, the Ratlings were nothing but simple animals to the Naga race. They served as pets, guardians, and even food. [7] The ratlings' exposure to the shaping power of pearl magic during that time accelerated their development, and the nezumi quickly became an intelligent, independent species without the naga to oversee them. [8] Following the rule of the Naga, who were in their slumber, the Nezumi built a vast empire, governed by the Nezumi Shamans. [9] The Transcendent had seen the day when the Naga retreated from Ningen-do into their Great Sleep, leaving room for the Nezumi race to truly be born. The Transcendent found the ancestors of the Nezumi: large ratlike beasts of burden left behind by the Naga. Using powerful Name magic, they gave one of these beasts the first Name. Thus began the Nezumi race. [10]

Under the Ogre rule[]

Muhonarak, leader of the Ogre, were given rule of the nezumi lands by the Alliance of the Five Races when he arrived in Rokugan from the frozen North. Hundred years later Muhonarak was recovering from the wounds he suffered in his victory over the Rakshasa Champion of Jigoku. He was attacked by a nezumi carrying a dagger made of out of the claw of the King of Wyrms. While Muhonarak was able to slay the assassin, he died soon afterwards from the wounds the Nezumi had inflicted. This began the age of the ogre enslavement by the nezumi. [11]

Nezumi Empire[]

They conquered the kingdom of the Ogres, defeated the Trolls, subdued the Goblins and occupied most of the area currently taken by the Shadowlands, while Zokujin and Ningyo races honored them. [12] Most of the Nezumi civilization was destroyed when Fu Leng fell from Tengoku on the Terrible Day. [13] When the Ninth Kami sought to destroy the Nezumi cities, none of the other ancient races would stand beside the Ratlings. [9] Since that day the the history before this day was known as "the Before Time." [14]

Lean Times[]

Many nezumi died of starvation and exposure, but those that survived quickly adapted to the wretched conditions and became hardy warriors. The mental capacity of individual nezumi began to decline, primarily damaging their memory. Within three generations of The Terrible Day, only one nezumi in ten was capable of any significant feats of recall. This age was known as the Lean Times, which ended in the year 50. [15]

Race Against Tomorrow: Age of the Nezumi Tribes[]

The shortage of food in the harsh environment they lived eventually forced several of the Chieftains to sneak into Rokugan in smaller groups. And so the age of the Nezumi tribes was born. Some bands headed north into the lands of the humans. Many stayed within the lands they once called their own. One even marched south toward Heaven's Gate, vowing to reclaim their home. [16]


A Scavenger

The nezumi scattered and formed several tribes, becoming a migratory race. Their members were mostly scavengers and scouts, and the scroungers raided food supplies from human castles and villages. Once the loot was secured they moved far from the old position. They usually travelled during night taking advantage of their nocturnal vision. [17]

First Encounter With Humans[]

In the year 200 the Mara awakened from the Great Sleep, and observed a handful of small human villages in the Shinomen's edges. She aided a lost small human in returning to a village, and then she felt the Sleep returning. [18]

Nezumi and Humans[]

In 314 a twelve year old named Hiruma Kazuma developed a strange rapport with the Ratlings and forged bonds of trust with them. This resulted in the Nezumi - Crab Alliance. [19]


A major disagreement as to how to best serve the interests of the Nezumi race led the Forever-Racing-Tomorrow Tribe, the largest existing at the time, to split in three tribes, the Tattered Ear Tribe, which traveled north past the Kaiu Wall, the Third Whisker Tribe, a nihilistic group of doom-sayers who eventually occupied the tunnels beneath the Kaiu Wall, and the xenophobic Crooked Tail Tribe traveled farther west into the Shadowlands. [20]

Crab Allies with the Shadowlands[]

In 1126 was evident the alliance between the Crab and the Shadowlands, making the most troubling situation in years. These years also the Naga had awakened, pressing the Tattered Ear in the Shinomen, while the long-forgotten Crippled Bone Tribe had reappeared claiming a large territory that up until then had been shared among the tribes. They reported the Shadowlands Horde were amassing into huge hordes south of the Black Finger River, which would overrun the nezumi territory before reach Rokugan. The Nezumi decided they would not fight a battle if they could not win. [21]

War Against Shadow[]

Nezumi were enemies of the Shadows and they fought alongside the Empire in the Battle of Oblivion's Gate. [22]

The One Tribe[]


The Nezumi held a very strong position when the tribes stood united as the One Tribe under the leadership of Kan'ok'ticheck. In 1165 five tribes, Tattered Ear, Third Whisker, Green-Green-White, Chipped Tooth, and Crippled Bone were united under him to destroy the Stained Paw Tribe. [23] After the Tsuno betrayed them in the Meeting Place, the One Tribe was formally made and Kan'ok'ticheck proclaimed Chief of Chiefs. [9]

They defeated the Tsuno and the Tomorrow Chieftain in the Battle of One Tribe. They were being aided by Nintai, an ancient Kitsu spirit who was helping the Nezumi rediscover the ancient magics that gained them their lost empire. [24]

Sometime after a wondrous blade, called Asatte, made its way to the Nezumi in 1167, the nezumi went into Yume-do to confront Tomorrow. [25]


Tchickchuk aided Kan'ok'ticheck against the Shadow Dragon leading an army of Transcendent. After the defeat of the Dragon the link the nezumi had to the waking world was severed and nezumi will be unable to awake and return to their lives. They won the Battle of Tomorrow, but Tomorrow caught all nezumi who had traveled to Yume-do. Very few remained in Ningen-do to this day. [26]

Last Tribe[]

Nezumi Remnants

In 1199 the immortal nezumi Br'nn gathered the remmants of his race and formed the Last Tribe. They would be the memory of their people, living on at the edge of human civilization, remembering forever the valor and the sacrifice of the Nezumi people. [27] Some of these Nezumi remnants were different of those who had lived before. [28]

Nezumi Culture[]

A Nezumi admiring something Shiny

Tribe Organization[]

When the Nezumi was a mighty empire they were only One Tribe, but then came the time when Nezumi fought Nezumi and they scattered into many tribes. [12]

Nezumi culture was divided into several tribes, each with their own distinct power structure. The most important members of a Tribe were the Nezumi Shaman, the Rememberer, and the Chieftain. Second to the Chieftains were the Chuk'tek, their advisors future chieftains of the tribe. [29]

The Rememberer was the tribe's storyteller, and must remember and tell the great tales of the tribe's past. As guardian of powerful name magic, the shaman kept the spiritual well-being of the tribe in hand.

The Chieftain, meanwhile, functioned much like a daimyo in any other clan. He was first in war and politics, just as the shaman was the tribe's chief priest. Much of this structure remained within the newly-unified One Tribe.

Nezumi Cities[]

Before the arrival of Fu Leng the nezumi lived in cities, being Heaven's Fall the greatest of them. Later it was called Heaven's Grave. [12] The nezumi stole the name of a city that was near to be lost, and was forgotten in an instant. All who had dwelled within it forgot it ever existed. Those who served Fu Leng forgot it. Even the earth itself forgot, and swallowed it into nothingness. [30] One of the cities, the City of Dreams returned from the Realm of Dreams in the Shadowlands at Ikm'atch-tek's command, the Tomorrow Chieftain. [13]

Nezumi Burrows[]

Warrens of the Nezumi

Most Nezumi tribes lived underground in burrows. This originates from, or so the tale suggests, an event where a Dragon from the Celestial Heavens came down to rescue what he thought to be a human lost in the Shadowlands. The Nezumi the Dragon picked up hoped to steal some of the Dragon's treasure, and pretended to be one of the Emperor's sons. The Dragon asked the Nezumi if he knew of Otosan Uchi, and the Ratling replied he was one of his closest friends. The Dragon was outraged at this blatant lie, and threw down the Nezumi. The Ratling burrowed deep underground to avoid further punishment, and to this day they believe they must live underground in burrows to avoid the wrath of the Heavens. [31]

It was also worth noting that in such a harsh environment as the Shadowlands there were few other places the Nezumi could survive but underground.

In 1166 the nezumi had dwelled in the tunnels beneath the Otosan Uchi, and made a warren there. [32]

Warrens of the Shinomen

They also dwelled other areas claimed by the Rokugani, as the Shinomen Mori. [33]

Nezumi Conflicts[]

In the Meeting Place the first Chieftains of the Nezumi tribes swore an oath to protect their followers from the Shadowlands until their civilization could be restored. Any conflict between nezumi would be resolved there. It was a place of peace and cooperation between nezumi tribes. Elders from the different tribes met there whenever a external foe appeared. [34]

Burning Sands[]

The nezumi did not enter the in the hot Burning Sands. Many things that walked but should be dead. Shamans whispered that Nezumi angered these things once, and they waited for nezumi there. [7]


Nezumi bore litters of six to eight after a gestation period of six months, and they were totally dependent upon their mother for their first year. Female Nezumi moved at top speed with an entire litter on their backs, and would fight to the death to protect their young. Upon teaching their first year Nezumi chiltdren were productive members of the tribe. [35]

Ratling Thought and Behaviour[]

A Nezumi's rapid metabolism left it in a near-constant state of excitement. Ratlings could not sit still for long and had a notoriously short attention span. Ratling's mind was focused on the moment with little attention paid to past and future. Many Ratlings have a bad memory, and tended to forget events save those of great importance. While most Ratlings were too impatient to invent tools, they had an extraordinary ability to repair, restore, and adapt the discarded tools of others. [36]

Nezumi Speech[]


The native nezumi language was a cluttering combination of barks, squeaks and clicks. Their written language was barely more complicated than pictographs depicting the object or event in question. Writing was mostly used to communicate with other packs. [3]

The Nezumi believed that time was somewhat immaterial. As such, death was known as "Tomorrow," and any time in the past might be referred to as "Yesterday." The repetition of words was also a common characteristic of Nezumi speech. It was rare that a Nezumi would repeat adjectives or adverbs, instead generally repeating nouns and verbs. For example, an old Nezumi who as a child had a brush with death might say "I saw-saw Tomorrow, many Yesterdays ago, and I ran-ran." This showed up in many other incarnations, as Daigotsu or any great Oni might be called Tomorrow due to their deadliness. However, many of these impracticalities disappeared when a skilled speaker utilized the Nezumi's native tongue. Few Rokugani would debase themselves to speaking in squeaks and chitters, though, and so this crude approximation of Nezumi speech was what was most often seen by Rokugani contacts with the Nezumi. [13]

Nezumi Language[]

For further information on this section, please see Category:Nezumi Language

Nezumi Religion and Magic[]

A Ratling Conjuror

The Nezumi did not worship Kami and Fortunes as did the Rokugani. Their religion was mostly based around the idea that life was a great dream, and that death was an awakening from that dream. This led to their relatively strange perceptions of time, as exhibited by their speech. Within the dream, Names had great power. The Nezumi utilized the power of names and dreams to perform most of their magic. Dreams were where the Nezumi shamans found their visions of the future and guidance. Names could be used to identify a person's status or past deeds, or wiped them out completely. A powerful Nezumi, called Nametaker, could remove one's Name, totally severing a person from their former deeds and life. Omen underwent this process. [38]

Nezumi were not born with an immortal soul. After a Nezumi was born was given with a name. When he died, what there was of him returned to the tribe. The Rememberer could bind the names of important nezumi to memory and they would live forever in the Realm of Dream. Other Nezumi after his death lived on only in memory. [39]

Only the Transcendent, called Wikki'thich-hie, ancient spirits of the Nezumi shamans, were awake after death living int the real of dream. [40]

Nezumi and the Taint[]

The Transcendents were the beings responsible for the famed Nezumi immunity to Taint. All Nezumi carried a little yumeji, the control exerted by Yume-do, with them, lending them both the immunity to Taint and drawing them to Yume-do for their afterlife. [10]



Broken Shinbone Pack

During the Lean Times the nezumi were forced to split in smaller groups led by a Chieftain, the tribes. [41] The following were known tribes of the Nezumi and the places they lived after they were formed:

For the known Nezumi through history, see the listing of notable Nezumi. For the known leadership of the race, see the listing of the leaders of the Nezumi.

Niches & Paths[]



See also[]


  1. Roleplaying in the Emerald Empire, p. 195
  2. Enemies of the Empire, p. 96
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Book of the Shadowlands, p. 149
  4. Legend of the Five Rings; Fourth Edition, p. 329
  5. Kingdom in the Sun, by Patrick Kapera
  6. A Container of Sand, by Rusty Priske
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 The Broken Shinbone, by Shawn Carman
  8. Creatures of Rokugan: Third Edition, p. 18
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 The Last Rememberer, Part One, by Rich Wulf
  10. 10.0 10.1 Fortunes & Winds, p. 100
  11. The Dawn of the Ogres, by Lucas Twyman
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Clan Letter to the Nezumi #6 (Imperial Herald v2 #6)
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Report of Miya Shoin to the Righteous Emperor, Toturi III (Imperial Herald v2 #16)
  14. Way of the Ratling, p. 15
  15. Creatures of Rokugan: Third Edition, p. 47
  16. Way of the Ratling, pp. 16-17
  17. The Book of the Shadowlands, p. 144
  18. Creatures of Rokugan: Third Edition, p. 19
  19. Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition, p. 11
  20. Way of the Ratling, pp. 17-18
  21. Way of the Ratling, pp. 18-19
  22. Mat'tck (Soul of the Empire flavor)
  23. Blood Dawn, Part IX: One Tribe, by Rich Wulf
  24. 24.0 24.1 The Last Rememberer, Part Three, by Rich Wulf
  25. Prayers and Treasures, p. 182
  26. Tomorrow, by Rusty Priske
  27. Resolutions: The Last Tribe (Storyline Torunament)
  28. Nezumi Remnants (The New Order flavor)
  29. Creatures of Rokugan, p. 97
  30. No Tomorrow, by Shawn Carman
  31. The Dragon and the Nezumi
  32. Enemy of my Enemy, Part One, by Rich Wulf
  33. Dawn of Lotus, The Nezumi, by Shawn Carman
  34. Way of the Ratling, p. 129
  35. The Book of the Shadowlands, pp. 139-140
  36. Way of the Ratling, pp. 23-24
  37. Way of the Ratling, p. 127
  38. Prelude to Darkness, Part Two: Omen, by Rich Wulf
  39. Legions, Part VIII
  40. Legions of the Dead
  41. Way of the Ratling, p. 17
  • "The Last Rememberer" parts 1, 2, and 3
  • Legend of the Five Rings, Third Edition, p. 280.

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