Giant Rats
Giant Rat from Ultima VII manual
First appearance: Ultima I
Last appearance: Ultima IX

These rodents of unusual size are a good indicator that there is a environmental problem in Britannia. Giant rats might be not a big threat in combat, but they carry all kinds of disease; one unlucky bite can be enough to cause a serious infection, which has to be treated at once. Because of this, giant rats are less of a mortal threat than they are a danger to the public health and the food stocks in the cities.

Giant rats usually dwell in caves and dungeons, but can also be found in the wilderness, and often seek out food in human encampments.

Once established, giant rats changed very little in all installments they appear in. They first showed signs of carrying infectious disease around the time of Ultima V. The only other serious change was in Ultima IX, wherein the rodents became MUCH bigger.



A giant rat (Ultima V, caves)

The underground passages of the Realm are prowled by oversized rodents, the result of Mondain's necromancy and an abundance of food in the form of victims of the Evil One's minions. The Sosarian Giant Rat is a vicious predator and should not be taken lightly.

- from The First Age of Darkness (Ultima I)

The common Giant Rat, while not evil by nature, will still enter human camps in search of food. They pose a threat to any dungeon explorers foolish enough to startle them.

- from The History of Britannia (Ultima IV)

Natural agility and sharp teeth are rats' chief advantages. They are not strong and do not hit very hard. The mortal danger rats pose to knights comes from their capacity for passing on noxious germs and substances. Seldom do knights tangle with rats without someone in the group becoming ill with poison. At worst, the result of such an encounter is infection with plague.

- from The Book of Lore (Ultima V)

These voracious, overgrown rodents have evolved over the centuries in the dank, inhospitable sewers that honeycomb the levels below some castles. Having grown immune to most poisons, they are difficult to exterminate. Even a single bite from one of these giants can cause disease or plague.

- from Compendium (Ultima VI)


Over the centuries, the rodents of Britannia have grown ever larger (and hungrier) in the catacombs and tunnels which honeycomb this land. Natural agility and sharp teeth are these creatures' chief advantages. Even a single Giant Rat poses a significant danger for a lightly armed opponent, though an experienced warrior can slay a pack in as many blows as there are enemies. Of the rats which have bred in the Abyss, we have distinguished two varieties.
The Giant Tan Rat, commonly found in the drier upper levels, is an aggressive beast with the disgusting tactic of leaping up in order to slash with its teeth at an enemy's throat.
The Great Gray Rat is found in the lower depths, where it feeds upon the refuse washed down from higher in the chasm. Consequent to their revolting eating habits, these rats are universally infected with noxious germs which they pass on with every bite. Seldom do our Knights tangle with Great Gray Rats without someone in the party becoming ill. Fortunately, these rats can often be avoided, or driven off with a spirited defense.

- from Memoirs of Sir Cabirus (Ultima Underworld)

This filthy, overgrown rodent is a severe hazard to the health of human beings. Immune to poison and too large to be trapped, this creature has a voracious appetite for garbage and carrion. When it roams in packs it loses its natural fear of human beings. The bite of a giant rat can cause a variety of potentially fatal diseases.

- from The Book of Fellowship (Ultima VII)

Away from towns, cities, and domestic settings, rats grow to the size of cats or even small dogs. Such rats usually live underground, eating smaller vermin, scavenging refuse left by other cave-dwellers, even occasionally cooperating to bring down larger prey. The giant tan rat is the most common of these creatures, but in the lower depths a thing called the great grey rat has been increasing its numbers. The knight who reported this to us soon succumbed to an unidentifiable feverish disease, perhaps contracted as an infection from the many bites found on her legs and torso.

- from A Safe Passage Through Britannia (Ultima Underworld II)


Much larger and fiercer than its smaller brother, the giant rat is the king of carrion. When several are found together, what little fear they possess for humans vanishes entirely. Both here and back in Sosaria, we sought to eliminate the local population with poison, but whatever it is in their metabolism that causes them to feast on refuse has also granted them immunity to most toxins.

- from Beyond the Serpent Pillars (Ultima VII Part Two)

A larger cousin to the common rat, the giant rat has fattened itself on corpses found in places wherein only the strong survive. Attacking in numbers, these foul creatures have no fear of man, but respond well to vigorous counter attacks. Most strikes come from the side with a hasty retreat following.

- from Journal (Ultima IX)


If you (L)ook at giants rats in Ultima 5, they are referred to as "a rodent of unusual size," which is a reference from the film The Princess Bride.

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