Homebrew Highlight: Mousefolk
“So far as I know we did not sail to look for things useful but to seek honor and adventures. And here is as great an adventure as ever I heard of…”
-Reepicheep, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
I absolutely love woodland creatures portrayed as fantasy heroes. I grew up on the Redwall series by Brian Jacques, and for characters like Reepicheep and Matthias, the size of their bodies cannot contain their big hearts and unending courage. It takes a brave warrior to charge into battle, but when it’s a mouse — the most unlikely of creatures — who leads the charge, who can help but follow?
That is why I absolutely love the Mousefolk race option created for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition by Reddit user skybug12. This Homebrew option perfectly personifies the unexpected mouse warrior from Redwall and The Chronicles of Narnia and adapts it to the world of D&D. When I got the opportunity to play again after several months as a DM, I created a Mousefolk fighter as my character because I loved the concept so much, and the race makes a regular appearance in many of my campaigns and one-shots. Here is my breakdown of the material, and if you want to see the document for yourself, click here.
Actually, my least favorite part about the Mousefolk race is the lore, which is good because it is the most easily changed and adapted. The lore created by skybug12 has the Mousefolk people placed in the shadow of large civilizations, making a way for themselves as artisans, but relying on others to survive. For me, this imagery brought up the idea of rats, not mice (and if you’ve read Redwall, rats are the bad guys). I do see where they were coming from though. The mice of Redwall Abbey are healers and monks who don’t do much of their own food gathering, but they rely on other woodland creatures for it. I wanted the Mousefolk to be rarer in my world and separate from the lives of humanoids, which meant they had to be independent of the rest of the world, with their own civilizations and culture. Again, I’m nitpicking because lore is something most DMs use at their own discretion and adapt to best fit their world.
I respect someone who can come up with original names for a racial option (It’s really hard!) but I also love the Redwall references here. And yes, I know I’m biased, but Matthias and Mattimeo are great names for Mousefolk. When I created my Mousefolk fighter, I went with the name Maxwell Southpaw, after a good friend from my childhood.
It’s clear that a lot of thought went into creating these traits, and skybug12 mentions on Reddit that they received feedback from playtesters and adapted the race based on those comments, which I admire. To avoid making this longer than necessary, I’ll only point out a few th
ings. First off, the Mousefolk size makes it the smallest playable race yet, smaller than even Gnomes and Halflings, on average. I appreciate that the Mousefolk Weapon Training includes rapiers, which pays homage to Reepicheep from The Chronicles of Narnia and Despereaux from The Tale of Despereaux. The nimble dodge ability is unique to any playable race in D&D, and I like how it tailors to a Mousefolk’s small size while also remaining balanced. This also allows Mousefolk to be good hit-and-run combatants. The addition of the Mousefolk language Squeak Speak is fun and unique. I have yet to figure out how it works in my campaign except for when Mousefolk communicate with each other directly, but this is a rare occurrence.
One of two subraces for Mousefolk players, Softpaw plays into the artistic nature of Mousefolk from skybug12’s lore. With a minor boost to Intelligence and proficiency in one type of artisan’s tools, this subrace is a good pick for Wizard characters. However, the Squirm ability is a great asset for Rogues, particularly for the Thief subclass.
I believe that Meadowgard is the better of the two subraces because it does a fine job of combining the Brave ability of Halflings and the Speak With Small Beasts ability of Forest Gnomes. Even though the abilities are recycled, I think they blend perfectly together, along with a minor boost to Wisdom, to provide a solid subrace for many classes. I chose Meadowgard for my Mousefolk fighter, but the lore and abilities also work well with Rangers, Paladins, and Druids.
The Mousefolk racial option is a well-balanced Homebrew for D&D 5e which provides opportunities for many different classes. It ties many unique abilities together with a well-written lore and a race with a lot of personality and flair. If you’re looking for an honorable, underdog hero, Mousefolk is the race for you. Size matters not.
Did you like this Homebrew Highlight? If you did, you can try the option out for yourself here and let me know what your thoughts are! Is there a Homebrew race, class, or magic item you would like to see reviewed? Let me know in the comments below! Cheers!
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Rayce Patterson is an aspiring voice actor from Indianapolis, Indiana, and he loves to write about anything fun idea that comes to his mind. From Shakespeare to Superheroes and from Disney to Dungeons and Dragons, Rayce lives in the theoretical and fanciful. He loves to learn about new things and his catchphrase is “Oh, that’s so cool!” Follow Rayce’s blog at raycepatterson.wordpress.com and follow Rayce on Twitter @Run_Rayce_Run.