Base Requirements

  • Races: Any
  • Sub-Classes: Any Rogue
  • Ability Requirements: Stamina 9, Balance 9, Fitness 9
  • Alignments: Any
  • Starting Cash: 1d6 x10gp

Weapon Proficiencies

  • Weapon Slots: By class
  • Bonus Weapon Proficiencies: none
  • Required Weapon Proficiencies: Shortsword
  • Allowed Weapons: By class
  • Allowed Armors: By class

Non-Weapon Proficiencies:

  • Non-weapon Slots: By class
  • Available Categories: By class, plus Detection
  • Bonus Non-weapon Proficiencies: Blind-Fighting, Close-quarters Fighting, Language (burrowing mammals), Mountaineering, Slow Respiration, Tracking
  • Required Proficiencies: none
  • Recommended Proficiencies: Alertness, Animal Lore, Blacksmithing, Danger Sense, Direction Sense, Endurance, Fire-building, Hiding, Hunting, Jumping, Leatherworking, Mining, Modern Languages, Rope Use, Survival, Swimming, Tightrope Walking, Underground Navigation
  • Forbidden Proficiencies: none

Overview: Tunnel rats come from the ranks of all races that work or dwell beneath the earth. They serve as advance scouts and explorers, using whatever skills they can pick up to survive the unknown dangers waiting below the ground. The good ones have learned to be keen observers and decent fighters, for they must be able to spot natural and artificial traps before they stumble into them, and they must be able to defend themselves against other subterranean creatures that dwell below. The bad ones are all dead.

Tunnelrats first appeared among dwarf strongholds millennia ago but now are seen in many human-dominated cities with sewer systems or infestations of tunnel-building osquips, giant weasels, and giant rats. Player character tunnel rats perform the same services for adventuring parties. They take the point, using their skills and abilities to pick a safe path through dungeons and underground tunnels. When they encounter dangers, they warn their companions and take the necessary steps to make the way safe.

Description: The average tunnelrat on patrol wears thick, tough clothing over leather armor. All loose straps, belts, and cords are tucked in so they don’t snag on projections if the tunnelrat must crawl through a narrow opening. Beards are tucked away or covered by a special cloth. Dirt and mud are common features, along with minor injuries sustained by crawling about on hands and knees, or squeezing through thin passages. Gloves, boots, and padded elbow and knee joints in clothing are common. A thick leather helmet with metal plates sewn inside (AC 4 head) is often worn for protection.

Role-Playing: Tunnelrats usually have a standard work assignment if employed by a city, mine, or stronghold, patrolling various tunnels below the city to ensure they are free of monsters, pests, and enemies. Some tunnelrats work freelance or explore caves and tunnels on their own, conducting their own private wars against Underdark denizens.

Many tunnel rats serve as bait for the humanoid tribes which live and work in subterranean areas. At least that’s how their fellows view them. When humanoids find new tunnels to explore and new mines to dig, or when they decide to spy on their underground neighbors, the first thing they do is select a member of the tribe to be “bait.” Ropes are attached to the bait and it is sent into the unexplored tunnel to search for traps, hostile creatures, and other dangers. If the rope reaches the end of its length and nothing bad happens, then the rest of the tribe knows it’s relatively safe to follow the bait into the tunnel. Those that survive this particular job often become quite skilled. Of course, some decide that they do not like being unappreciated. These individuals leave their tribes in order to find fame and fortune. They sell their skills to those who need them, often joining adventuring parties about to embark on an underground quest.

The best tunnel rats have a stubborn will to survive. With a little luck and a lot of determination, these characters train themselves on the job. They learn to spot and disarm traps, for they believe that is a better course than simply stepping into them and setting them off. They learn to move with stealth and to keep hidden so that they may see enemies before they are seen. They learn to climb, to hunt, to fight, to find their way in the most confusing tunnels, for to do less usually means death.

Tunnelrats are very aggressive and harshly practical, which is an adventurer’s way of saying they generally take no prisoners. They cannot afford to do so in the cramped tunnels in which they fight; only a dead enemy does not try to kill you as you squeeze past him. Surrender means a swift death to any side in a tunnel conflict. It’s fight or flight, nothing else.

Special Abilities:

  • A tunnelrat gains a +2 bonus on all Detection Proficiencies.
  • A tunnelrat knows the chittering language of local burrowing mammals normally known only to gnomes. He can use this language to encourage burrowers to flee, aid him, or leave him alone (as per a normal NPC reaction check).
  • A tunnelrat takes no penalties in combat conducted in areas as small as 2 feet across so long as he uses stabbing, piercing hand-held weapons (dagger, knife, and short sword). He even gains a +2 bonus to attack rolls with these weapons, if chosen. He can fling darts for full effect with only 1 foot of throwing space in front of him or to one side. He also gains a +2 bonus to punching or wrestling attack rolls in these confined spaces.
  • A tunnelrat can crawl on hands and knees at the same movement rate as he can normally walk, but he does so only through tunnels he is familiar with; movement is reduced to MV 3 when checking for traps, dangerous fungi, ambushes, or monsters. Belly crawling at a rate of MV 1, with full abilities to check for traps, can be done through tunnels only 18 inches wide (a tunnelrat does not let himself get fat.) Those who aren’t tunnelrats move at half the above rates at best, and take a -2 penalty on attack and damage rolls in the spaces described. Silent movement is possible even when belly crawling at normal speed. A visible light source must be present in order to check for traps, or monsters.
  • The tunnelrat also gains a +4 to his surprise roll against any underground plant or animal having an Intelligence of 4 or less, detecting it ahead of time by sight, sound, or smell. A light is not required for this talent to work.
  • A tunnelrat is immune to normal attacks of claustrophobia, as he is so accustomed to small, tight spaces. The tunnelrat gains a +6 bonus to saving throws against any magical attack or disease attempting to induce claustrophobia. He also gains a +2 bonus vs. other fear-based attacks.

Special Disadvantages:

  • A tunnelrat is prone to develop agoraphobia, the fear of large, open spaces. With every level the tunnelrat gains, there is a cumulative 5% chance that this condition appears; the DM must roll for this chance. Once this condition appears, a special roll must be made each time the character finds himself under an open sky or in an enormous chamber. The character must roll a Willpower check on 1d20, with a penalty equal to the tunnelrat’s level (in other words, the condition worsens as the character gets better at his job). A roll greater than the tunnelrat’s Willpower score means the character is suddenly paralyzed with fear and stops dead or falls down, no matter what else is happening at the time. Remove fear eliminates the immediate symptoms of agoraphobia if the character makes a new Willpower check with a +4 bonus. The condition reappears as soon as the character goes out of doors again, with another Willpower check required. Remove fear and cloak of bravery, if cast on the tunnelrat before he goes outdoors, function normally. A heal spell removes agoraphobia permanently but only if cast on the tunnelrat after the condition has appeared; the condition never appears again.
  • Upper-class individuals regard a tunnelrat with disdain unless the character performs some widely regarded heroic act. Tunnelrats suffer a -1 penalty on NPC reactions against upper-class characters (nobles, wealthy merchants, etc).
  • Tunnelrats, regardless of class, may not use any written magic items (neither spell scrolls, nor protection scrolls, nor magical tomes).
  • Tunnelrats do not gain any followers at higher levels, regardless of class.

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