Dire rat

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A dire rat is a fictional animal from the Dungeons & Dragons RPG. It is one of the more common dire creatures, which are all larger, tougher, meaner versions of regular animals. They can be found on any land or underground, and are either encountered individually, or in packs of 11–20 individual creatures. Being of animal intelligence, they carry no equipment or treasure.[1]

Publication history[edit]

The dire rat first appeared in the third edition in Dragon #277 (November 2000). The dire rat appeared in the third edition Monster Manual (2000) under the "dire animal" entry,[2] and then in the 3.5 Monster Manual (2003). The dire rat familiar appeared in Tome and Blood (2001), and in the 3.5 revised Dungeon Master's Guide (2003).


Dire rats look basically the same as a normal rat, but they can grow up to 3 feet long and weigh over 60 pounds (27 kilograms). According to the general description of dire animals, they have a 'feral, prehistoric look'. They are adept swimmers and climbers, relying on their dexterity ability score rather than their strength for these skills. They also have better vision and scent than humans.


Dire rats attack in packs. Their only weapon is their dangerous bite, which, as well as physically injuring the recipient, can pass on the disease carried by dire rats, known as filth fever.[3] This is an ability that dire rats share only with otyughs, although it can also be caught by anyone who is injured in a dirty environment. The disease temporarily lowers the ill creature's constitution and dexterity ability scores, therefore weakening their immune system and physical toughness, as well as slowing their reflexes, lessening their flexibility and lessening their accuracy.[4]

Relation with other monsters and characters[edit]

  • Wererats, a type of lycanthrope, are dire rats in their animal form.
  • Low level druids can choose to have a dire rat as an animal companion, as can mid-level rangers.
  • Dire rats can be summoned in various forms with spells, including Summon Nature's Ally I.[5]

In other publications[edit]

Dire rats have appeared in numerous other publications, including many Dungeons & Dragons novels. They have also appeared in official released adventures and adventure paths, such as The Sunless Citadel. Wizards of the Coast has also released two dire rat models in their new batch of official ranges – the 'Dire Rat' from the Giants of Legend range and the 'Diseased Dire Rat' from the War of the Dragon Queen range.[6]


  1. [1] The D20 System Reference Document
  2. Williams, Skip, Jonathan Tweet, and Monte Cook. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2000)
  3. The 3.5 Edition Monster Manual
  4. The 3.5 Edition Dungeon Master's Guide
  5. The 3.5 Edition Player's Handbook
  6. [2] A list of all models released by Wizards of the Coast in their new ranges.

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