River Rats

Originally the river rats was a loose affiliation of halflings protecting their interests in ham and the river parish from the less than scrupulous thinking they could pick on the small people. As time passed the group became more organised, as did others, though they were unkindly called the river rats derriding their size and ability anywhere but the corracles they used to ply trade up and down the river. When the fabled and bloody "war of the knives" broke out between what were still really just street gangs in the early days of the city they found themselves well able to defend their own, a great surprise to the big people, and through the leadership of Bramble Hapknees consolidated a position putting them at the table at the formation of the since named shadow council, the meeting between the cleverest or most brutal leaders of the gangs that brought the street war to an end.

Agreement was reached and areas of control apportioned. The river rats took the name for their own and have domain over the black market trade and "assurance" in the river parish, with an alliance with the one of the houses controlling the docks with the demarcation at the great chain. In addition Ham is sewn up with familial connections running like a web through the river rats. Since then the shadow council formed from those groups and in a mirror of the city's political leadership named themselves "houses".

Trade on the river, particularly after dark, owes coin and respect to the river rats should it wish to pass safely or come ashore. Any crossing a bridge will be familiar with the urchins there… Stories tell of the fleet of little black coracles that have marked the demise of a considerable number of operators not taking due care of the rights of the river.

These days though halflings make up the largest group within the rats they are only about 50% of the group. Humans and half elves are common with gnomes and elves also represented and the fey in general are represented well.

The river rats are very cunning and ruthless in defending their own, relying on guile, surprise and stealth to achieve their goals. They are not however evil and resort to bloody resolutions to problems only when necessary.

Think the godfather meets bag end. I have this vision of 3 foot high ninjas in coracles as the enforcement squad lol!

The river rats take defence of the city very seriously and as such they have committed serious resource to that end. Vinnie looked up a relation (family is important) and has since become a very senior member of the rats, effectively deputy guild leader since the running battles in the streets and the forces went south have denuded the leadership. Some control of the docks has also passed to them since the damage done there crippled the dockers assurance company (the house of hooks) with whom they have alliance.

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