Unlike the raving bands of Scavvies who share the lower territories of the hive, the ratskins are not characterised by mutation, cannibalism or violence; ratskins live a primitive existence completely isolated from the hustle of Hive life.
Living in tribal communities they do not interact or trade with the hivers in any way, finding their customs and behaviours bizarre and strange. Normal Ratskin tribes do not engage in violent conduct, arguing that the soul of a slain enemy will return to seek vengeance, thus if they ever encounter the normal citizens of the hive they will quietly move the tribe to another location.
Away from the Preachers of the Ecclesiarchy, the ratskins do not share any of the same beliefs common amongst the normal citizens of the Imperium, instead they have formed an animistic form of shamanism in relation to the hive. Coming to worship the spirits of the hive they treat the city as a living ecosystem prone to moods and tempers. Therefore in living "native" they have come to respect and predict environmental conditions in the hive bottom, such as hive-quakes or toxic mists. Unfortunately, this outlook on life would make the ratskins heretics if their tribes could be located. The hive guilds have placed bounties upon the ratskins, and they are not welcome amongst imperial society.
Though they live primitive, self-sufficient lives the Ratskins do consider Archaeotech to be sacred and while they do not use ancient technology, they maintain that sites containing archeotech are favoured by the spirits. Thus locations containing archaotech are often the only static territories held by the nomadic ratskins.
Ratskin Renegades / Badskins
Ratskin tribes are reclusive and insular by nature, and they normally avoid hivers. Even those ratskin tribesmen who come into contact with the hivers are shunned, as they are considered to be "tainted by civilization."
Unfortunately, due to curiosity, desperation or vengeful motivation, some ratskins do find themselves embroiled in the matters of the hivers. For this they are exiled by their former tribesmen and they may never return.
These Badskins often become vagrants, gamblers and troublemakers, though some do find legitimate work as guides or trappers for established hive organisations.
However, these badskins will only ever find companionship amongst their own kind and occasionally drift together to form groups of Ratskin Renegades, becoming violent and looting and stripping hive territories dry before moving onwards.
These ratskin renegade tribes are organised much like normal ratskin tribes, led by a Chief who is elected from amongst the warriors in the tribe, accompanied by the warriors and unexperienced braves armed with whatever they can loot or purchase from black-market dealers.
The Totem Warriors are those amongst the ratskin renegades who seek to purify themselves in the sight of the hive spirits. For this they are revered by the badskins as well as the more peaceful ratskin peoples. They are seen as wandering warrior-pilgrims who spend their time on quests or in prayer-trances to the spirits of the hive.
In their devotion to the spirits, the totem warriors believe that by slaying an opponent in close combat, they can absorb their enemy's soul, thereby avoiding the spiritual vengeance of their opponents as well as adding to their own power.
While Totem Warriors eschew ranged combat in all cases, their purification rituals and superstitions do invest themselves in their melee weaponry. To the ratskins, these Totem Weapons are infused with the power of spirits of the hive, and when in the hands of the totem warriors they can inflict damage far beyond that of their normal type.