- "Those Night Runners who somehow manage to survive the suicidal missions that they are sent upon eventually become Nightleaders, and those Nightleaders who show further initiative and fortitude are inducted into the ranks of the Gutter Runners. Thus do these vile creatures that excel at speed, stealth, and duplicity advance amongst their own kind, well on the road to one of the bloodiest and most feared of Skaven tiers."
- —Steffan Paulus Adelhof, Scholar of Wolfenburg[2a]
Night Runners are the most numerous of the assassin-adepts of Clan Eshin, warriors that occupy the lowest social position within their clan yet are no less dangerous in their tactics of warfare. What differentiates these expendable foot soldiers from other Clanrats is that they receive rudimentary training in the fighting styles learned from distant Cathay. Lightly armed and armoured so as to take advantage of their tremendous speed and agility, the Night Runners excel at flanking manoeuvres and lightning-fast attacks.[2a] Small furtive units sneak from the shadows to seize key terrain features, while larger blocks of Night Runners scurry ahead of the Skaven lines to harass and slow down the foe.[1a]
- "Eshin Skaven, little better than Clanrats, they distract the man-things to reveal their weakness. Night Runners also creep-creep into man-thing places to spy-kill."
- —Skreelin Thurntik, Grey Seer[2a]
Night Runners fight with blades in each hand, although many employ slings to rain death on enemy war machines or poorly armoured elites. A typical ruse is to slink off to the army's flanks, hoping to lure pursuit into a hastily prepared ambush. Such task often results in casualties being often high amongst Night Runner packs, for they often work deep within enemy territory. This is not unexpected by their Clan Eshin masters, for only those that survive many actions can hope to advance to the more highly-trained squads of the Gutter Runners. A Night Runner who is exceptional will often become leaders of a Night Runner pack and a mission of his own. These missions provide the final test to ensure that only the most skilled advanced to the next circle of training.[1a]
In battle, Night Runners often work in conjunction with Gutter Runners, drawing out enemy reserves to allow the more experienced Gutter Runners to reach their target without problem. On great occasions, Night Runners can also be given Warp-Grinder tunnelling teams to burrow beneath the foe and emerge upon the enemy flanks or rear. This tactic is almost always a suicide mission, but the deaths of the Night Runners nevertheless provides a worthwhile distraction for the main army.[1a]
- 1: Warhammer Armies: Skaven (7th Edition)
- 1a: pg. 50
- 2: Children of the Horned Rat (Fantasy Roleplay)
- 2a: pg. 70