The schrat is a Wildman of German legend, occupying the same niche as the woodwose or leshy but less mystical and more animalistic and so possibly closer to the sasquatch or bigfoot … or possibly some of the less refined versions of the satyr. Besides being humanlike and loitering in wooded areas, the schrat is also suspected of abducting human women for breeding purposes and sometimes being a favoured quarry for the Germanic version of The Wild Hunt. Unlike other wild men they generally don't have any kind of magical powers, but are likely to have extremely good woodmanship skills (given that they live by foraging and hunting in the woods).
Schrats are typically depicted as exclusively male (as is normal for their niche) but, leaving aside their tendency to abduct human women, are generally thought to reproduce with the female nature spirits known as Holzfrau. These are also sometimes depicted as covered in hair and somewhat bestial and so may be more a case of sexual dimorphism than two "single gender species".
Game and Story Use
- Use the interpretation that suits your campaign - from relict populations of Neanderthals to incarnate spirits.
- Expect them to attempt to abduct female PCs - or NPCs who will then require rapid rescue.
- Might potentially raise a human child lost in the woods - for an interesting character background.