- "They come in a swarm, and they come in the dark, and they are upon you before you even know it. I’ve seen towns left empty with not a single bit of shale shaken from the rooftops, not a spear lifted from the wall. And who they don’t kidnap for their mines, they eat, so there’s nothing left but a few splotches of blood and that unholy smell to say anything happened at all. It’s unnatural, and damn disturbing—a whole town of goodly folk, just vanished without a trace."
- —Behram Gundarson, Dwarf Skaven Slayer.[2a]
Clanrats form the vast overall bulk of Skaven military power, a large verminous horde of ratmen that go to war as basic and highly-expendable front-line infantry.
These Skaven belong to any one of thousands of Clans scattered throughout the underground burrows, strongholds and bursting cavern-cities that make up the whole of the Under-Empire. Of all the teeming masses, only the worker dregs, the worthless and even more insignificant Slave Rats, are care considered even more numerous then the Clanrats themselves.[1a]
Clanrats are slightly smaller than man-sized, standing four to five feet high. They range between lithe and scrawny and are possessed of a constant energy, most commonly seen in a nervous twitching of their hairless, worm-like tails. A single Clanrat is not a fearsome opponent. A lone warrior will lack any degree of discipline or determination and is likely to skulk in the shadows, afraid to go forward, too cautious to go backwards and terrified to even stand it's own ground for more then a moment without fleeing. Unless driven by black hunger, a single Clanrat will only attack something that is visibly weakened or crippled, preferring even then to attack unseen from behind.[1a]
When banded together in a large pack, however, each individual Skaven would bolster each other's confidence and fuel their feral ferocity to a highly aggressive level. This allows the individually cowardly ratmen to form massive units that will recklessly hurl themselves into a fray against obviously superior troops. Like all Skaven, Clanrats are hierarchical bullies that will go out of their way to kick, maim and otherwise keep down any beneath their own rank, in their case, the lowly Slave Rats. Similarly, Clanrats will fawn over and prostrate themselves before those of higher status, in their case, everyone but the Slave Rats. In larger Skaven strongholds, many clans co-exist in a constant power struggle.[1a]
- "The chittering hordes and strength of the Skaven are the Clanrats. They fill-fill our domain to bursting. It is their duty to die-die for us. Often is there need, and often do they give."
- —Skreelin Thurntik, Grey Seer.[2a]
Clanrats represent the rank and file troops of the Skaven. Compared to most other Skaven, they are unremarkable. Not surprisingly, they are the Ratmen who are most commonly encountered, either within the Under-Empire or in the world above. Senior Clanrats are known as Clawleaders, and each one is given dominion over his own Clanrat troops. Though they are more experienced and better able to wage war than their subordinates, most Clawleaders compare unfavourably to Stormvermin.[2a]
When a Warlord gathers his Clan for war, the Clanrats are front and centre, occupying a key place in the battleline. Led by a Clawleader, these Skaven warriors form into great blocks of infantry and try to overwhelm a foe with their sheer weight of numbers and the fury of their attack. If the Warlord can afford the price and is in reasonable standing with Clan Skryre, then a Weapons Team might accompany the regiment. These arcane devices of destruction are viewed suspiciously by the Clanrats, who frequently suffer due to their all-too frequent technical failures. After the adrenaline-burst of melee, Clanrats need to feed or suffer the unbearable pangs of the Black Hunger. Immediately following any combat, the ratmen scour the battlefield, devouring the dead and injured of friend and foe alike.[1a]