5. Professions

About NWC Forums Campaign Forums Black Priory Campaign 5. Professions

  • This topic has 3 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated by Carlo the DM.
Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • Author
  • #166
    Carlo the DM

      [Professions are not classes. The suggested professions below are roles within the Black Priory which should provide character archetypes for inspiration. If you don’t find anything you like down below, or have an idea for an alternate profession, that is fine – and encouraged!]

      [Note that Inquisitor is a non-playable profession, but Apprentice Inquisitor is playable].

      • This topic was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by Carlo the DM.
      Carlo the DM


        There are as many variants of Inquisitor as there are methods of uncovering and destroying evil. One inquisitor might be a well-spoken, polite, soft-handed man of culture, at ease amongst noblemen or merchants and possessed of perceptive judgement that will easily uncover hidden evil through conversation. Another might be a hard-eyed butcher, happy to order a dozen deaths to prevent a threat.

        The item that connects these two very different men is their possession of an Inquisitor’s Writ. This piece of paper, bearing the seal or signature of the Grand Inquisitor of the Black Priory, the Master of the College and the Archpriest of the Dragon-Church, grants an Inquisitor certain powers to be used in the execution of their duty. These powers include the right to order arrest and the right to order summary execution. Because the possession of an Inquisitor’s Writ confers such power, it takes years of practical training as an Apprentice Inquisitor before the Black Priory will officially entrust such a document upon an individual.

        Each Inquisitor is assigned a retinue to accompany them when they venture out of the Black Priory. The true power of the Inquisitor is in the collection of skills and experience in his or her retinue.

        An Inquisitor’s retinue is chosen from the ranks of the Journeymen Witch Hunters and the Acolyte Witch Hunters. Journeymen, while more likely to be low-born, uneducated and rough around the edges, are not subservient to Acolytes. As in reality, it is important to bring both specialists and generalists to any job.

        Carlo the DM

          Journeyman Witch Hunters

          The journeymen witch hunters are the rank-and-file of the Black Priory. Journeymen are hired by the Black Priory for a (low-paid) salaried contract of ten years, with a lump sum of gold at the end (provided that they survive, otherwise it is half-paid to their next of kin).

          Often ex-mercenaries or ex-soldiers, journeymen are hired by the Black Priory for their skills and then given further training. When not out in the field as part of an Inquisitor’s retinue, they reside in the barracks of the Black Priory.

          Because they are contracted and paid, unlike acolytes, the motivation of journeymen can sometimes be financial rather than moral. This is not a hard-and-fast rule, however. The core of any Inquisitor’s retinue is generally journeymen.

          [Since journeymen are generally well-rounded individuals, the suggested professions really are only suggestions]


          “I have yet to find a situation which cannot be improved by the presence of a man with a sword.” – unnamed Inquisitor, explaining why he brought a dozen men-at-arms to a chess tournament.

          The most well-rounded of journeymen, the business of the man-at-arms is violence. Even the most cerebral Inquisitor will eventually need to project force, and there are few warriors more casually forceful than a man-at-arms of the Black Priory. Often former mercenaries, it is a curiosity why a man-at-arms would choose to join the Black Priory when they could potentially make more coin for less harrowing work with one of the great mercenary companies.


          “Aye, they call ’em “bailiffs”, but I’ve met few men who know how to break a hand in eight places an’ keep the victim from passing out who weren’t called “torturer” …don’t call ’em that to their faces, mind, less you want to find out.”

          The euphemistically-named ‘bailiffs’ are in charge of taking, holding and breaking prisoners as and when this is needed. Contrary to reputation, many Inquisitors will get their job done without shackling or torturing anyone, so bailiffs are typically some of the most well-rounded journeymen available – using their skills as cooks, locksmiths, engineers and fighters so that whatever the situation, they will be useful.

          Doctor / Alchemist

          “Drink this…wait…not that one! Ah. I should have an antidote somewhere.”

          Hired for their extensive knowledge of potion-brewing, doctors and alchemists use ingredients from the Black Priory’s herb garden or the wilds to brew powerful potions and poisons to aid in the hunt. Trained to deal with all manner of medical problems, including keeping prisoners alive against all odds, they are equally comfortable examining alchemical evidence, brewing potions, diagnosing poisons or causing harm.

          Master of Hounds

          “Here, boy! Kill!”

          It takes a man of wit, will and animal cunning to truly train a dog, and it takes double measures of all three to break and train a hound of the Black Priory. The hounds themselves are bred for tracking, hunting down escaped prisoners, sniffing out illicit potions and even bringing down foes in combat.


          “S’like I’ve always said, there’s few things finer than returnin’ to yer camp wi’ everyone alive an’ well after a hunt. Bit o’ stew, bit o’ pipe-smoke, nip o’ drink an’ the finest rest ye’ve had in weeks.”

          An Inquisitor’s hunt can range from the city to the wilds and back again, so the presence of a witch hunter capable of tracking, trapping, wayfinding and leading in wilderness survival is vital.

          Carlo the DM

            Acolyte Witch Hunters

            Neither paid nor truly free, acolyte witch hunters are appointed to the Black Priory by the organisation that they belong to – whether as a favour, as a punishment or just by chance. Unlike journeymen, acolytes are generally specialists and highly trained in one area.

            Of the acolytes, college researchers and licensed mages are assigned to the Black Priory by the College. Priests of the Priory are assigned to the Black Priory by the Dragon-Church. Apprentice Inquisitors and knights-penitent both belong to the Black Priory for life, either dying on the job or continuing to work inside the Priory into their old age.

            Priest of the Priory

            The Flame of the Day to you, sir! – traditional morning greeting of the Dragon-Church

            Priests of the Dragon-Church range from zealous wandering flagellants to gentle parish preachers. Those that volunteer to work on the frontlines of the endless battle against evil as priests of the Black Priory are often on the more zealous side. As with college researchers, occasionally priests are assigned to the Black Priory as an unofficial punishment for angering the wrong prelate. No matter how they end up in an Inquisitor’s retinue, priests of the Priory are expected to assist in the rooting out of evil and in the maintaining of the souls of the inquisitor and the wider retinue.

            Witch hunters of the Black Priory are not officially charged with hunting heresy – heresy meaning anything which contradicts the dogma of the Dragon-Church – which can occasionally create conflict between priests and witch hunters.

            Priests of the Dragon-Church generally keep a copy of the Book of Flame, the holy book of the Dragon-Church, chained to their waist. Some priests pin passages of the Book of Flame to their clothing or tattoo verses into their flesh. The traditional morning greeting of the Dragon-Church is “Flame of the day to you.” The traditional evening greeting is “Ember of the eve to you.”

            All priests can speak and read Draconic, which is the language of the Dragon-Church.

            College Researcher

            “The…the Black Priory? You cannot…are you serious?” – unnamed College researcher, moments after learning of their assignment to the Black Priory

            To all but the bravest of College researcher, an assignment to the Black Priory is horrendous news. The College itself is a place of beauty, wealth, learning and – some would say – indolence. Assignment to the Black Priory involves the loss of all of the above, in exchange for practical experience of grim hardships. Assignments of College researchers to the Black Priory are therefore often unofficial punishments, or instances of nefarious political string-pulling to get promising academic rivals out of the way. Occasionally, though, somebody important does genuinely need another book on unlicensed mages, vampyr, cults or monsters, and the college researcher is the unlucky person chosen to write it.

            Oft-mocked by journeymen for their practical uselessness – perhaps unfairly, because some college researchers have picked up practical skills from past life experiences, and often they are better able to hold a conversation with a noble or great merchant than any journeyman – college researchers are nonetheless prized by Inquisitors for the breadth and depth of their knowledge.


            “The witch hunters had a proper knight in fine armour wi’ ’em, so they did. Silent as the grave, he was, and to the grave he sent the vampyr when all th’others had fallen or fled. An’ to the grave he sent half the village, for harbourin’ the beast.”
            – unnamed peasant

            Arriving at the Black Priory already trained and armed, with a proven record in combat and with a motivation dark enough to drive a person away from their old life as a free knight, the knights-penitent of the Black Priory are prized by Inquisitors and feared by everyone else – for they bear a reputation as damaged warriors, reckless and death-seeking, and whatever nameless act drove the knight to the Black Priory, few other than the Grand Inquistor know – some knights-penitent go as far as taking an oath of silence.

            Licensed Mage (also known as “slave mages”)

            “The license is a chain, yes. I’d have them truly chained in dungeons if I could spare the expense, but they are valuable to the College” – a professor of the Great College

            After the fall of the Archmagister, it was agreed across the Free Provinces that arcane magic was black magic and a foul, pestilential corruption across the world. Unlicensed users of arcane magic were sentenced to death, and the Black Priory was created to hunt them.

            By receiving a license from the College, a licensed mage saves their life but forefeits their freedom. Enslaved by the Great College, a licensed mage could be rented out to the highest bidder, forced to engage in magical experiments for the rest of their natural life, banished to the depths of a library or assigned to the Black Priory.

            The presence of a licensed mage in an Inquistior’s retinue creates an inherent conflict. A user of arcane magic is a powerful tool, but the first order of the Black Priory is the destruction of magery and the end of arcane magic. Licensed mages will therefore generally be carefully watched by a witch-hunters, given that the first order of the Black Priory. It is not unheard of for licensed mages to go rogue, using magic freely and wantonly and thereby losing their license.

            The existence of licensed mages has become a point of conflict between the College and the Dragon-Church. Many within the Dragon-Church have accused the College of ‘renting’ licensed mages by assigning them to provinces or merchant-houses in exchange for increased tithes to the college.

          Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
          • The topic ‘5. Professions’ is closed to new replies.