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Businesses

So what’s an adventurer to do after he’s lost an arm to a daemon? Get prosthetics and keep fighting, of course! But many heroes lose this kind of resolve after staring down a band of Chaos warriors or watch their friends get mauled by an army of Squigs. Some just put their swords down and go home. So the question becomes, what’s an Old Worlder to do after a life of high adventure? Many go into business for themselves.[1a]

Overview

Businesses fall into four categories like most equipment, Poor through Best. Poor businesses are unprofitable ventures such as opening a bookshop where no one reads or becoming a fish monger in a landlocked community. Certainly, such businesses may be profitable in other areas, such as a city with a high literacy rate or a coastal community respectively, but generally these businesses provide a surplus of goods that no one wants or needs.[1a]

Common businesses fulfil a need that is generally handled by other competitors. A Common business would be a fishmonger in a fishing village. Plenty of people make a living doing these kinds of things, but no one does it better than the rest. Good businesses are those that fill a niche without much in the way of competition. An example would be becoming one of two wainwrights in a town that is a regular stop along a coaching route. The Best category reflects a monopoly, where a business has cornered the market on a particular good that people require.[1a]

Purchasing a business includes the name of the business, the customers, and necessary tools. Obviously, the prices do not include such things as the building, a forge, or carts or wagons—those are sold separately.[1a]

Guilds

Guilds dictate how commerce works in various areas and facilitate the flow of trade. Each trade has a guild, so there is a Teamster Guild, a Smith Guild, and even a Barber-Surgeon Guild. Heading up these organisations are the Guild Masters, master merchants and calculating thieves who are waging a quiet war with the nobility for complete control over the Empire. Anyone who would open a business must first register with the appropriate guild, if there is one. The guilds set the prices for all commodities produced by their labourers. Those have no control over how much or little they sell their merchandise; such decisions always come down from above. In addition, all tradesmen pay dues to their guild, which equals about 10% of the take each week.[1a]

Income

A business generates income. One could track every sale, every customer, every exchange of merchandise, but that wouldn’t be very exciting and certainly not the point of playing in a world of perilous and grim adventure.[1a]

An owner is expected to employ a staff of workers to help in the selling and manufacturing process, allowing the adventurer to leave his business in their hands for short periods of time. However, someone that would run a business must spend three days of every week overseeing the operation. If he shirks his duties, his business will start to crumble.[1a]

Types of Businesses

A wide range of business opportunities exist in the Old World. What follows is a list of possible businesses a character may pursue.[1a]

Craftsman Businesses

  • Accountant/Tax Collector: Accountants serve to manage finances and keep books for other businessmen and nobles. Also included in this category are tax collectors. These businesses thrive in large cities but are rarely, if ever, found in communities with populations of 1,000 or less.[1a]
  • Armoury: An armourer is a metalsmith who specializes in crafting armour. His skill with a variety of materials, such as leather working, tailoring, and forging help explain the high prices for armour in the Old World.[1b]
  • Blacksmith/Metal Smith: Blacksmiths work with iron and sometimes other metals to make useful items like tools, pots, horseshoes, and ploughs. Though talented, if you need delicate work, a tinsmith, silversmith, goldsmith, and so on may be more suited to your needs.[1c]
  • Bowyer: Bowyers are craftsmen that make bows. Fletchers, a closely associated trade, make arrows. Many bowyers are also fletchers.[1c]
  • Butcher: Butchers take animal carcasses and carve them into cuts. Butchers tend towards red meats, while poulterers deal with chicken.[1c]
  • Carpenter/Joiner/Fitter/Sawyer: Carpenters specialize in cutting wood and making basic wooden items. Joiners and fitters are specialists who make better furniture and quality products. A sawyer is one who cuts boards.[1c]
  • Cartwright/Wainright: These businesses specialize in making and repairing wagons, carts, and coaches.[1c]
  • Chandler: Chandlers make candles and soap, usually using animal or human fat for their base materials. Chandlers often compete with glue makers in harvesting the dead on the city streets.[1c]
  • Coach Service: Any business that carries passengers from one location to the next counts as a coach service. An example of a coach service would be the Four Seasons, who not only do a brisk business with their coach service but also with the coaching inns they also own.[1c]
  • Cobbler: A cobbler is a craftsman who specializes in repairing boots and shoes.[1c]
  • Cooper: A cooper is an individual who makes barrels of all sizes.[1c]
  • Cutler: A cutler is a craftsman who makes knives and other cutlery.[1c]
  • Distillery: A distillery is a business that distils spirits.[1c]
  • Draper: Drapers are sellers of cloth and other fabrics.[1c]
  • Dress Maker/Seamstress/Tailor: These small shops specialize in making clothing for women and men. In addition to making fine garb, they also make or sell small accessories. There are a variety of other professions that produce different parts of clothing from button makers to hatters and shoemakers.[1c]
  • Dyer: An unpleasant trade, dyers work with harsh dyes extracted from minerals, chemicals, or creatures. Dyers are usually, along with tanners, relegated to the poorer districts.[1c]
  • Merchant/Trader/Exporter/Importer: The merchants specialize in importing, or exporting high-demand commodities. These individuals rarely produce anything of their own; instead, they serve to distribute goods to those who could otherwise get them.[1c]
  • Ferrier: A ferrier is an individual who operates a small boat to cross rivers or lakes where bridges do not exist.[1c]
  • Foundry: Housing ironmongers and other metalworkers, a foundry smelts raw ore into workable ingots.[1c]
  • Furrier: A furrier specializes in taking animal hides and turning them into apparel.[1d]
  • Glass Blower/Glazier: Glass blowers craft glassware, and glaziers finish the objects, adding minor details such as frosting and etching.[1d]
  • Glue Maker: Another vile profession, glue makers render organic by-products into glue. Many prowl the streets in the early mornings looking for the dead that always turn up in the alleys. Like tanners and dyers, glue makers are relegated to the bad parts of town.[1d]
  • Harness Maker/Saddler: A person who sets up a business to make gear for animals has a good life ahead. While they deal with leather and other hides, nobles pay good prices for an ornate saddle.[1d]
  • Horse trader: Horse traders deal in horseflesh. They breed horses to supply them to all manner of customers from knights to peasants.[1d]
  • Mason: Masons are builders of both walls and homes.[1d]
  • Painter: Painters are different from artists in that these individuals paint walls, buildings, fences, and wagons. Many can also work with plaster and wallpaper.[1d]
  • Perfumery: Cities in the Old World exude all manner of horrific stenches. Hence, perfumeries are quite successful anywhere where there are a lot of people. Ironically, perfumeries produce some of the worst odours of all.[1d]
  • Potter: A potter makes clay vessels.[1d]
  • Slaughterhouse: A grisly place where animals are butchered for meat, slaughterhouses are undesirable and thoroughly unpleasant. Old Worlders have enough death in their lives without being subject to the awful sound, stink, and sights of one of these charnel houses.[1d]
  • Tanner: Another undesirable business, tanners stink. The smell of hide rendering is something most need only experience once.[1d]
  • Slater/Tiler: A slater works with slate, especially shingles. A tiler specializes in making and setting clay or stone tiles.[1d]
  • Weaponsmith: Weaponsmiths manufacture weapons.[1d]
  • Weaver: Weavers take raw textiles like wool and flax and weave fabric from them. The best weavers work with exotic materials like silk, gold thread, and rare cotton. A fuller shrinks or thickens cloth.[1d]
  • Wheelwright: A wheelwright makes and repairs wheels. Many set up shops near lesser roadside taverns or in coaching inns.[1d]

Farmer Businesses

  • Carter/Driver/Teamster/Wagoner: These individuals drive carts, wagons, and coaches from one location to the next. They usually work directly for merchants or are part of a large coach service organization.[2c]
  • Dairy: A dairy collects milk from cows and goats to make butter and a variety of cheeses in addition to selling the milk.[2c]
  • Fishmonger: A fishmonger is one who sells fish in the marketplaces. Their prices tend to fall as the day grows long.[2c]
  • Rat Catcher: Big, juicy, fat rats skitter through the sewers. Pestilent beasts, they can be vicious. When hungry, they might drag a child right off the streets, leaving nothing more than a shoe. Braving these terrors of the night are the rat catchers; grizzled men armed with a sharp stick and a small, vicious dog, they can ferret out hundreds of these filthy varmints. Better still, the crown sometimes places a bounty on rats, a whole quarter-Penny per rat.[2d]
  • Theatre: This is a place where actors perform. Most theatres are poor, being little more than travelling shows, while others are elaborate buildings replete with numerous stages and sets, costumes, and lighting.[2d]
  • Thatcher: A thatcher is a person who fixes roofs. Most thatchers also know how to install wood or slate shingles.[2d]

Innkeeper Businesses

  • Fruitier: A fruitier is one who sells fruits. These are usually small operations and many expand their goods to include any produce.[2c]
  • Hostel/Inn: Innkeepers provide lodging and food to travellers.[2d]
  • Stable: A stable is a place to tend and keep steeds.[2d]
  • Tavern: A tavern is a bar. As all things go, some bars are nice and quiet, while others are vile and dangerous. It’s best to know a bar by reputation before dropping in for a quick pint.[2d]

Shopkeeper Businesses

  • Apothecary/Herbalist: An apothecary or herbalist is one who grows and gathers herbs to mix into remedies, simples, and concoctions. For those who can’t afford a doctor, they may turn to an herbalist for a drug to cure their pains. Particularly shady apothecaries sometimes deal in poisons.[1b]
  • Bakery: Bakeries are shops that specialize in breads, cakes, pastries, or any other bread-like food.[1b]
  • Bookstore: These rare dealers sell old books. As they only need to sell a single book a year to pay their expenses, they tend to keep odd hours. Furthermore, few respectable people read, so irreverent scholars, dark priests, and wizards often haunt these shops.[1c]
  • Coffee House/Tearoom: Among the elite, coffee houses and tearooms are gaining popularity. Here, away from the raucousness of a tavern, merchants can run shoulders with nobles. In addition to selling the obvious beverages, these locations also sell light meals.[1c]
  • General Store/Pawn Broker: These large shops are small marketplaces that exist to collect goods from various manufacturers and sell them. Prices here are slightly higher, but the time it saves for having to track down a rope-maker, a leatherworker, and a chandler is often worth it. A pawn broker is similar to a general store, except that he makes a loan like a bank in exchange for ownership of an item. Should the person not pay back the high interest debt, the pawn broker can resell the merchandise.[1d]
  • Kennel: A kennel breeds dogs of all kinds. Better kennels specialize in a single breed.[1d]
  • Launderer: Launderers are businesses that clean and repair clothing.[1d]
  • Salon: Need a bath, oil treatment, or corns scraped from a big toe? The salon is for you. Certainly, many of these establishments offer more than what they claim, but as long as no one complains, the salons stay open until dawn. Finer establishments cater to wealthy noble women.[1d]
  • Scrivener: Scribes and scriveners fill a particular niche in Old World society. As most people don’t read, the cult of Sigmar prefers the common people to listen and learn rather than read and learn. Scriveners are employed by wizards, scholars, lawyers, and anyone else who needs copies made of texts, scrolls, or books. Illuminators, those scribes with a bit of artistic flair, cloister themselves away, illustrating holy texts with an intricate level of detail.[1d]

Specialist Businesses

  • Artist: Artists specialize in creating beauty from painting, sculpture, or even music. An artist with a sponsor can move through the highest circles in the Old World, especially with the current trends of appreciating art for art’s sake.[1b]
  • Bank/Moneychanger: Banks hold money and make loans. It’s rarely safe to walk the streets with a big bag full of gold. Hence, for a slight fee, a bank will hold gold, silver, or even pennies. With this held money, they can make loans at exorbitant interest rates. Moneychangers are like banks in that, for a price, they exchange coins of one nationality for coins of a different nationality.[1b]
  • Barber: Barbers do much more than cut hair. Barbers are surgeons, doctors, and general physicians. If you have an ingrown toenail, you’d see the barber to cut it out. If you need a stump cauterized, a barber is your man. Skilled barbers become physicians, one of the most esteemed citizens in any city.[1c]
  • Gambling House: Gambling houses are extremely common in the Old World. These are places to lose money and wits, for women and alcohol are free flowing.[1d]
  • Jeweller: A jeweller is a catch-all category for anyone who makes jewellery. A gemner cuts and sets the stone, while a goldsmith or silversmith makes the ring, necklace, or bracelet that act as the mounts for the stones.[1d]
  • Lawyer: Lawyers are a new and expanding class in the Old World. As the bureaucracy grows, so too does the need for lawyers. Even in the infancy of their trade, they are universally reviled.[1d]
  • Physician: For those who can afford it, the physician is a good alternative to a barber.[1d]
  • Surgeon: Almost as bad as a slaughterhouse, surgeons, especially those with a mind for advancing science, are both the most feared and respected scholars in all the lands. The shrieks of the insane at the hands of one of the professed men of learning are enough to drive anyone mad. The worst are the vivisectionists, men who take criminals and cut them apart to study exactly how people are put together.[1d]

Source

  • 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Old World Armoury
    • 1a: pg. 92
    • 1b: pg. 93
    • 1c: pg. 94
    • 1d: pg. 95

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