Five Real World Jobs for Fantasy NPCs

Clickbait on the net is definitely destroying my ability to make a good headline. At least its correct. Although, its not out of the question to give these to the players, if appropriate.

Mostly the idea here is to give some color to your world. After all, its not all adventurers, clients and weaponsmiths out there. A full world is a good way to reach some immersion.

1. Sin-eater

If the strange religious notions of medieval people on religion was in any way correct, this was a very shitty job. Its basically a ritualistic magic. Its not purely a Christian thing, but many cultures have had similar practices.

So, what does a sin-eater do? He eats a meal to take on the sins of the household, dead person or similar. Depending on the culture, the meal could be a feast eaten while being served, or (like in England) simple bread off of a dead person. Of course, these people were also paid for their troubles (and presumably burning in hell forever for all the sins they take upon themselves during their lifetime from different people). In England, the fee was a six-pence.

2. Corpse Finder

In certain areas of Africa, its very important that the bodies of dead are returned to the family. For this purpose, there are (or were, I don’t know if this is still going on today) highly paid professionals, who go out into the savannah to find the bodies of those who have died hunting. This profession does have a real name, but I don’t know what it is, so I’m just calling them corpse finders.

In Uganda, Idi Amin perverted this custom for his own ends. He needed an army to keep the country under his control, but lacked funds to do so. So, instead of paying his soldiers, he gave them a license to to take on this profession. And they did. Killing tens of thousands of people in order to get the money for returning the corpses. Of course, after a while the bottom fell off the market as people couldn’t pay any more. The bodies they couldn’t get money for were simply dumped in the river, fattening the crocodiles and in the end, often obstructing the power plant at Victoria Falls.

3. Checking for Impotence

For a more mature campaign. In England in the medieval times, the only acceptable reason for divorce was the inability to produce children. This is, of course, quite problematic, as its hard to prove that someone is incapable of having children. Unless, they are men, who happen to be impotent. Then its easy.

What you would do is get some women, who try their best to arouse the guy. And their best was like a beginning of a porno scenario. They would bare their breasts and caress the penis with them, their hands and mouth. If that didn’t get a reaction, the wife was free to get a divorce.

4. Urine Collector

Gunpowder is part charcoal, part sulfur and mostly saltpeter (about three quarters of it). Although saltpeter occurs naturally, its not always easily available. Therefore, historically, it has been produced from manure mixed with straw and urine. Where do you get the urine? You pay someone to fetch it from people’s houses.

In Britain, certain people had the legal right to go into houses to get it. Of course, the occupants weren’t always appreciative of this. Also, you never know what you are going to find in people’s homes. Especially the places where PCs live.

5. Torchbearer

When you’re drunk late at night and need to get home and there are no taxis available, you hire a kid, who gets you home. He’s job is to walk in front of you with a torch, as there are no streetlights, to show you the way home.

Its a dangerous job. If there are any criminals about, the torch will let them know where you are. Of course, a kid could also use the opportunity to lead you to be robbed, so hiring these kids is dangerous as well. The kid won’t have much in the way of defense if the employer just doesn’t pay.

In many cities there have been kids who just didn’t have much value to anyone, so they ended up scraping by in jobs like this.

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