- "Please, frau, I beg humbly for enough coppers to buy bread tonight. Even a pfennig would do- Gutbäcker is selling day-olds."
- —Elsie, Halfling panhandler.[2a]
Beggars are society's outcasts, desperate people with no visible means of support.
Beggars are drawn to the town and cities of the Old World, for the only way they can keep themselves from starving is to beg in the streets. This is a hazardous business, since most Old World towns allow the Town Watch to beat, brand, and throw vagabonds into the stocks almost as they please. The Beggar accepts these risks as an occupational hazard and often becomes highly skilled in the art of extracting money from passers-by; some play on pity, while others offer blessings or threaten curses in order to fill their begging-bowls. In some of the larger cities, the Beggars have organized themselves into a semi-legitimate Beggars' Guild, which deals with the allocation of pitches, the diverting of official attention, and the suppression of amateur or non-affiliated Beggars. In many cases, the Beggars' Guilds work in conjunction with the local Thieves' Guild, serving as information-gatherers and lookouts.[1a]
While many beggars use simple scrounging and panhandling techniques, cleverer beggars use disguises or other ploys. Some workers in particularly low occupations, such gong farmers, bone pickers, and rag-and-bone men are also counted amongst the beggars. Most beggars plan on moving to a higher station in life. Some do this through taking up adventuring. After all, if an opportunity falls though, they can simply revert to begging.[2a]