In Caervold there are many tunnels, pipes, and conduits. Slithering inch by inch through them are the Dwarven gang known as The Tunnel Rats. In Caervold Proper parents tell their children not to spend much time on the privy lest a dwarf slither up their bums.
In truth they use the secret and narrow tunnels to move quickly and quietly across the city. Mostly they are harmless until provoked, mainly spending their time as spelunkers of the underbelly of the city. They drop down seemingly bottomless shafts with no fear, hurtle themselves across chasms, and scale slimy walls. They can pop out at almost any time or place with little warning. In one of the oldest bank vaults in Caervold Proper there is a carving at the top of its one hundred foot ceiling, a small, chisled rat. despite years of searching no one has yet been able to figure out how they got in even with magical means.
A Tunnel Rat is dressed in water proofed black leather armor designed to facilitate their climbing activities. With criss- crossing leather straps of varying lengths held down by small, but sturdy, buckles and clasps. These straps hold a wide variety of tools such as, hammers, spikes, rope, pry bars, chalk, and knives.
Their long hair is bound back and covered by a black bandanna, and their beards are kept short. A pair of goggles keeps water and gunk from blurring their vision. They delight in making their mark (usually a stylized rat with a personal symbol) in hard to reach places as a form of bragging rights, or discovering new sections of a seemingly endless network of tunnels and pits.
The typical Rat spends his day living the usual quiet life of desperation that all oppressed people do, but after hours they meet and go explore. While seeming mostly benign they still get into many scraps with other gangs. When this happens they fight with long single edged blades, thick and sturdy blades. They also employ explosives and small crossbows, their best and most effective weapon is enemy baiting. They will taunt an enemy then dart into a tunnel, when the enemy gives chase they will find themselves falling down a concealed shaft, or perhaps emerging in a large opening surrounded by other Tunnel Rats.
They are a gang for hire with no allegiance. The Tunnel Rats will move contraband unseen, perform assassinations, retrieve items, and spy on your enemies all for a fee. Payable upfront…no refunds. If you cross the Tunnel Rats in a deal, woe to you. They will find you, they will get to you, they will destroy you. Dwarves have long memories and deep loyalties.
They are sometimes solitary but realize that when in the deeper tunnels a team is necessary. An exploring team consists of five Rats, usually friends of the one who organized the event. When a Tunnel Rat gets into a fight all Tunnel Rats in the vicinity will come to his aid. If you cause harm to a Rat you become the enemy of all Rats.
Older Tunnel Rats spend more and more time in the tunnels of Caervold and Rat legend tells of “The Mole” a dwarf who lives in the lowest levels of the city. A mysterious figure who occasionally surfaces to perform some actions and then disappears again.
It is rumored that The Tunnel Rats have discovered ancient secrets in those tunnels. Others say they are building a secret Dwarven army to take over the city, or that the number of Dwarves on the cities record books is artificially low owing to a thriving underground city. Ask a Dwarf and you will only get a chuckle, maybe a gentle shake of the head and a smile. The only reply you will get is “Maybe you shouldn’t put so much stock in tunnel tales”.