The Tunnelers Guild
One of the oldest and most respected of Gnomish institutions, the Tunnelers Guild was established by the Gnomish High Council to assist Gnomes in their most important mode of travel. Underground tunnels have always been the quickest and easiest way for Gnomes to get from point A to point B and yet remain unseen.
Ages ago, Gnomes started building these passages in semi-organized groups for the convenience of all. There was, however, no structure to these routes and the results were a chaotic, tangled and half-built web of tunnels. The High Council of Gnomes conviened and appointed a select group of workers to the task of organizing, building, maintaining and mapping a new network of tunnels. Within three years, the Bureau for Tunnel Reconstruction (or BTR, as it was then called) developed a system of passages that spanned the globe, replacing old, unused tunnels and giving order to chaos. Over the years, the Bureau developed its own way of doing things as well as a system of rights and observances. By the early Middle Ages, it had become known as the Tunnelers Guild and was considered an elite group of technicians.
|Arms of the Royal Guild of Tunnelers|
The Guild is not an "exclusive" organization. Anyone can work for it in many different capacities. Members of the Guild, however, would never discuss the rituals and sacred practices with anyone who isn't a Gnome. Most Gnomes are employed by the Guild at some point in their life, in one way or another.
The Guildsmen who do the actual construction are known as the Tunnelers. These can be broken down into seven (7) groups; the Diggers (or Cavers) who use picks and shovels to remove dirt to build the passages, the Shovelers (or Hefters) who shovel the loosened earth into carts, Porters (Haulers) who cart the earth away, Bracers who follow the Diggers and erect temporary wooden structures to keep the tunnel from colapsing during work, Flickers who carry lanterns on long poles to provide light, Mappers who mark down the new constructions, and lastly, each group has a Forman who controls the construction.
|A Guild Digger (or Caver) with equipment|
Other branches of the Guild include Sweepers (who keep the tunnels clean and clear of debris), Patchers (who do small repairs), Scribes (who mark tunnels with directions and location signs), and Animal Control (who help relocate animals that have taken up residence in the tunnels).
~ From "The Hidden World of Gnomes" by S.W. Underbelly