Making a Living
This is a collection of careers I developed out of my ramblings over of the Black Industries (RIP) forums for use with the Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play Game. The Olde World of Warhammer has a rich history and gritty atmosphere, with a vast human Empire similar to Renaissance Germany. It is predominantly a low-fantasy low-magic setting with a sci-fi twist in the background.
Part of the WFRP – The Unofficial Tome of Careers V2.0a
Tuberdour – Living on the Edge
Throughout the Empire the intrepid Tuberdours hunt for the tail tail sign of Orc infestation: the straggly acidic ropes of ‘Blood Webbe‘! At the heart of this grotesque knot of blood filled hyphae is a fat, fleshy, ‘womb’ in which an Orc slumbers. The dangers of prowling Orc spawning grounds are great but the rewards are greater!
This Career has strong links to my version of the Orcs
Dressed in bright garish clothes and sporting a massive baggy hat filled with citrus fruits and sweet flowers; known as a pot-pori (potpourri). These gentlemen (and ladies) cut quite a dash among the less savoury elements of society. Among the upper echelons they are regarded with suspicion. There are many rumours that they have dealings with some of the more ‘intense’ professors of the Empire’s most renowned universities. Under the cover of darkness it is said that Tuberdours supply live Orc tubers for study. A dangerous and highly illegal trade, that only the brave, foolhardy, or atrociously greedy, would ever consider. In all cities, carriage of an unspiked Orc tuber is punishable by death by fire, for high treason and reckless endangerment of humanity.
Tuberdours are alerted to the presence Orc infestation by the pungent aroma of rotting flesh and tough little red and green mushrooms which sprout up near rotting corpses. If the dainty mushrooms are lifted they reveal they’re attached to the thick blood red thorny ropes of the Blood Webbe. The Tuberdours then rip up the maze of ropes and trace a meandering coarse back to the source: the deeply buried Earth-Womb throbbing with malicious Orcoid life (The ‘Earth-Wombs’ are simply called ‘Tubers’ by Olde Worlders, and those who hunt them ‘Tuberdours’)
Tuberdours then dig up the hefty purple-red fleshy tubers and transport them back to the big cites to be weighed and collect a handsome bounty. Being a Tuberdour can yield a relatively good standard of living but it is not without it risks…
Some Tuberdours with a gambling streak have been know to try and enhance their find by carefully cultivating it, letting it grow a little more, and even pouring blood onto it to speed up the process. However, the presence of blood can cause the womb to vomit forth the Orcoids prematurely and many a green Tuberdour has had their career cut short; awoken in the middle of a cold moon lit night by a slavering Orc!
Skills: Animal Care, Dodge, Drive Cart, Evaluate (Tuber), Gossip, Perception, Search (Tuber), Strike Mighty Blow
Talents: Sharp sense, Very Strong (all that pulling up of the tendrils)
Trappings: Horse and Cart, Light Armour (Leather Jerkin), Spade*, Thick Gloves (Protects from the thorns)
*Optional rules: Spaxe, Anklet, Pot-Pori, Hawthorn Stakes, Casks of Oil, big bag of Salt
Career Entries: Bounty Hunter, Charcoal Burner, Field Warden, Hunter, Outlaw, Outrider, Vagabond, Woodsman
Career Exits: Bone Picker, Field Warden, Rogue, Scout, Vagabond, Woodsman
Tuberdours carry the Spaxe (like a spork (spoon/ fork) on it’s a spade/ axe), wear a Anklet for protection and are topped of to perfection with a Pot-Pori.
The Spaxe is like a spade with a slight bell shape profile. However unlike a spade the sides are sharpened and used to hack through the Blood Webbee (and any ‘surprises!) by hooking underneath the thorny ropes of the Webbe and using leverage to do the business or just pounding it into submission.
Spaxe are far more effective in combat than an improvised weapon, and can inflict horrific wounds similar to a heavy machete. A Spaxe counts as axe for combat. However they are versatile and the flat of the blade can be used to stun, hits are at SB-4 but count as pummeling
A good Spaxe can be picked up in most cities for around 15gc and are scare on the ground.
Because the cutting edge is on the side it does not get unduly dulled while used for digging. However slipping of the foot edge while digging and sliding down the blade can cause serious injury so a metal protector called an Anklet is worn. Anklet are usually made of wrought iron by a blacksmith rather than an armourer. They cost around 10gc and are pretty rare.
Tuberdours wear what appears to be a baggy hat called a Pot-Pori (Potpourri). A Pot-Pori is a leather lined pot-helm (Pot) with a material, often velvet, bag pouch (Pori) attached to form the compete hat. The Pori is filled with fragrant flowers and citrus fruit, and each and every Tuberdour has their own jealously guarded recipe.
Although all professional Tuberdours are well used to the smell of rotting flesh and the foul aroma of the largest and most of stinky of tubers, it is believed that certain flowers mask the smell of human odour and subdue the writhing tubers, delaying the onset of contractions and the emergence of the Orcoid within.
It is also used to try and mask the smell of the tuber’s slime on the Tuberdour for when they are about town. Tuberdours are noted for having an odd lemony smell, which many consider quite pleasant.
However, aside form all that the real reason is likely because it is a badge off office and the Association of Certified Tuberdours (A.C.T.) insists upon it.
Hammering these into the tuber with the flat of the Spaxe inhibits the development of the Orcoids within. It is considered good practice to spike the tuber before excavating. A spiked tuber is far less likely to vomit forth it’s vile progeny, though sometime if it contains many of the smaller Orcoids some may still survive (for a surprise later).
(Note: Vampire hunters have been known to pretend to be Tuberdours to avoid detection. This allows them to carry stakes and tons of garlic flowers and garlic in their Pot-Pori and not look out of place.)
Casks of Oil
The only way to kill of spores it to burn the Blood Webbe. After removing the tuber all the thorny ropes that remain need to be burnt.
Note of Fire: Farmers as also encouraged to burn field stubble to ensure any spores are destroyed. This, as pointed out in my thread on Orcs can provoke Orcs into action as they know their spores die in extreme heat.
Bags of Salt
Salting the ground inhibits the growth of Blood Webbe, and while nothing else with grow there either at least the infestation is nipped in the bud.
Evaluating a Tuber
When evaluating a tuber, the Tuberdour has to take into account a number of considerations; such of ground conditions (type of Orcoid most likely inside), the amount of mushrooming in and around the immediate area (hence age), and the size of the uncovered crown (age and size).
Note: The first two tables are the same as the Orc profile tables in the usual place; = Orks as Orcs = + Snotlings
Determining the type of Orcoid.
|Area the tuber was found in||Size of Orcoid|
|Desert||0 (even with the body as fuel it fails)|
|Harsh mountains, very cold||1|
|Plains and fields||3|
|Deep Forests, mash, valleys||4|
|Enriched soil (dead) Graves||5|
|1||Snotling, very stupid*|
|3||Hill Goblin, Small Orc, Hobgoblin depending on point of view|
Determining the development of the Orcoid within the tuber.
|4-6||Developing (its got fingers and everything!)|
|10||Surprise! Premature Ejection*.|
- See below under ‘Premature Ejection’.
Weight of the tuber
All tubers are measured in Stone. An official A.C.T (association of certified Tuberdours) certified Stone is roughly equivalent to 14lbs. The A.C.T use their own measurement system as the cost of acquiring Imperium Collage calibrated standard weights is prohibitive, and those who have brought them in the past have been subject to burglaries. Fortunately no one wants a set of stone blocks!
Bounty is paid for each stone weight. The measurement is rounded up, so the minimum payout is for 1 stone.
Tuber discovery cipher: Size of Orcoid x development modifier= weight in stone
|Stage of Development||Development Modifier|
|Embryonic||Counts as 1 (one) stone, if that!|
|Developing||x 1 stone|
*Premature Ejection: On severance of the base root, any Orcoid ready to pop: will pop. The Orcoid is ejected 1D10 yards from the tuber in a random (GM chosen) direction. The Orcoid will be surprised for one round, and after that it is ready to act in a manner appropriate for it’s type. It has no equipment and is unarmed, but will grab an improvised weapon as needs be (lets hope it does not land where the PCs piled up all their stuff while they got on with digging ).
Note: If the development roll was ‘semi-developed’, and the 1D10 roll came up a 10 (see below for more info on working out weights), then the Orcoid will not pop out immediately on severance of the base root, but at a later date determined by the GM (which should always be at a time most inconvenient to the PCs).
Mikhail’s Law: This is when the wrong tuber is growing in a particular type of land, and houses an Orcoid that is smaller than it should be. This means it can be fully grown and ready to pop, yet it appear to be a less developed larger Orcoid. A Tuberdour can avoid this surprise on a successful evaluate test.
To spike or not to spike, that is the question.
Considering all these factors, a Tuberdour has some difficult decisions to make. Tubers ready to pop need to be spiked as they are dangerous, but a ‘semi-developed’ unspiked tuber is of great value on the black market selling to the universities of the Olde World.
To make this decision the Tuberdour has a special skill: Evaluate (Tuber). A successful test not only counters Mikhail’s Law, but also determines with relative certainty the development state of the Orcoids within the tuber.
Example: A Hans the Tuberdour made a perception test as he and the party are strolling though a field just outside Nuln. His keen senses kick in, and he follows his nose and discovers a dead crow with garish green mushrooms growing out of it’s eyes sockets. Upon gently lifting the crow by a wing tip he sees further evidence of Orcoid tomfoolery; thick greasy blood red noodles extend from the back of the crow into the moist soil beneath.
Hans uses his trade knowledge of Orcoids (no roll needed) and the GM confirms it is most likely a Hill Goblin as they are known in these parts, or Hobgoblin in Cathay (He’s been to Cathay). The GM then rolls the development dice in secret [and it comes up ‘8’ = ‘semi-developed’] and asks Hans to roll an evaluation test. He only gets one shot at this test and that it. Hans fails the test and the GM tells Hans that it looks OK (all fails say it looks OK).
Hans has a difficult decision as there are many contradictory aspects of this particular tuber, it looks ready to pop, but other signs indicate it is still immature (he is also aware that he will not be alerted to whether Mikhail’s Law applies)
Even though the GM knows the tuber is semi-developed and hence perfectly safe to dig up without spiking to sell on the Black Market for a premium, Hans does not know this and so has to either take a chance (Hobgoblin popping out mid trip back to the collages in Nuln in the middle of the night to run amok) or play it safe and spike it and head for the outskirts of the Nuln, to the A.C.T. pot oven facility.
Hans decides to start digging to reveal the crow and get a guesstimate of it’s size. The GM rolls up the size of the find. The tuber is about: 3 (size of Orcoid for area type) x 1D10 stones. The GM rolls a 6, so the tuber is a good 18 stone, so the beast within could be around 12-15 stone of pure Hobgoblin malice.
At this point Hans and team bottle it and spike the crap out of it. Smashing all twelve of their spikes into the tuber just to make sure. They then dig is up and transport it to the pot ovens outside Nuln for disposal.
Pot Ovens (Near Nuln! and other places )
Most of the larger cities have a Pot Oven facility run by A.C.T. These are huge clay ovens used to roast tubers, to cook them gently to stop them popping early and releasing any spores. The gentle method makes sure a good amount of juice is produced inside (sweating) which captures any spores and ensures complete destruction of all Orcoid life Each facility usually has hundreds of Pot Ovens and it really is a sight to behold. They need this many as it takes many days to cook and Orc properly, and there is usually a backlog.
Unspiked ‘semi-developed’ tubers can be sold on the Black Market to the collages and universities of most major cities. Only semi-developed tubers can be sold in this way, and they can be the most dangerous to transport if the Tuberdour is green. It is highly illegal as Spiked tubers are official A.C.T. policy, and all tuber should be spiked. If a Tuberdour is caught transporting an unspiked tuber for what ever reason the charge is treason, and the sentence is death (upon verification).
Black Market Pricing (semi-developed tubers only).
As negotiated by contacts usually; Weight x 100 gc.
Spiked tubers can be offloaded at any A.C.T. run pot oven facility. The Tuberdours find is recorded in the ‘Book of Tubers’, their pocket book stamped, and ticket issued; which is redeemable at A.C.T., headquarters within town.
A.C.T. Pricing Table (All tubers).
|D (1)||stone weight x 1gc|
|C (2)||stone weight x 2gc|
|B (3)||stone weight x 4gc|
|A (4)||stone weight x 8gc + 10gc premium|
|AA (5)||stone weight x 16gc + 20gc premium and chance at ‘Top Man’ spot.|
Top Man gets double payout, first payment is ‘there and then’, and second payment (of same value) awarded at the annul pub crawl (PC has to go on the pub crawl).
Record breaker: Largest tuber ever found was found in a mass grave after the Storm of Chaos, a size 5 Orcoid was within (Big’un) ready to pop and the tuber weighed in at a staggering 60 stone (roll was ‘10’ for x10, plus another 10). It was immediately spiked (shot with a cannon first) that was transported to A.C.T. run pot ovens,
Though the creature inside the tuber was most likely a mere 45 stone (630lbs), which is quite light for a Big ‘un, if it had popped it would have been exceptionally vicious and hyper, devouring everything in sight and would have packed on muscle at an alarming rate. Big ‘uns have been know to put on 10 stone (140lbs) of rock hard muscle in the first day, and rapidly get above 80 stone (1,120lbs) within a week to take their place among their peers.
Dream Bounty claimed by the Corvis Troupe lead by renowned Tuberdour Aries Barr: Class AA, weight 60 stone, largest find of the year, claiming the coveted ‘Top Man’ rosette.
60 x 16 + 20 +1000 = 1,980gc
Threads of interest here
Throughout the Olde World justice is brought. Those with money can pay for legal defence in court, but can also pay for protection and remedies outside the court. There are many individuals offering a range of services, covering all eventualities, and among these are middle men between victim and criminal. Within this murky grey area, fought with fear and desperation, the Thief-Takers apply their trade.
A Thief-Taker is similar to a bounty-hunter, except a bounty-hunter is employed by the courts to apprehend fugitives from court, those who break their bond, whereas the Thief-Taker is employed by the victim of crime to recover their stolen property. Be it negotiating for the return, or getting it by force. In addition the Thief-Takers also often gain a bounty for a successful prosecution of a thief from the court in many of the larger cities throughout the Empire. A double pay day. It is a good living if you are tough enough, but the temptation to abuse such power often proves too much…
The term ‘Thief-Taker’ is the respectable name for individuals who are often far from respectable. Many Thief-Takers no more than bullies who delight in framing the innocent, and watching them hang for crimes there did not commit, and extorting money from all involved (often with the threat of ‘hanging’ backing up such a threat). Far from solving the problems of rising crime in the Empire; the Thief-Takers exacerbate the problem, but many have no other recourse when their property is stolen.
The Players can, off-course, chose how corrupt a Thief-Taker really is. The skill sets are pretty much the same; they deal with the underworld of the city, they are part of that underworld, yet they can walk into a court and testify. They often fulfil other ‘go-between’ roles. Thief-Takers are one of many links from the upper class to the underworld, a back door channel, and can source man for almost any ‘delicate matter’.