Sunday, November 14, 2010

Engaging Hands for An Expedition

The guild members that the traveller will have most traffic with are, naturally, those who take part in expeditions to the wilderness, sea, or underworld. Some examples include
  • Porters who carry equipment or treasure, or those who handle pack-animals.
  • Guides and interpreters (two skills most valuable in a land where travel and maps are so rare).
  • Those who hunt food (and usually also serve as cooks).
  • Those with a specialised knowledge of plants. Depending on the prevailing flora they may be able to gather food, prepare poisons, or give some limited medical assistance.
  • Sailors. This single word covers a variety of trades: navigators, helmsmen or -women, dressers (who maintain diving suits and assist in their use), rowers and so on.
  • Caddies. Some creatures are resistant to particular weapons. Thus many travellers will have several weapons, and will engage an assistant to carry them and present the most appropriate one as needed.
One may be tempted to pay less than the going rate. I have heard that, with patience, one may as much as halve one's expense. Of course those who are hired at such rates will be more likely to desert in times of danger. They are also more likely to be incompetent, quarrelsome, or prone to theft. Paying higher than the going rate will not necessarily result in better applicants, but they will at least be more loyal.

Typically contracts involve a promise to pay the assistant's heirs if they die, and to make all efforts to bring their body back. One can of course break these promises. However this will result in difficulties hiring others. Further these contracts, like all others, involve a supplication to the gods to curse anyone who breaks their part, and it cannot be said with certainty that the gods never listen.

Contracts usually specify a minimum amount that must be paid, as well as a percentage of treasure, with the higher amount applying.

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