I’ve come back to Norvendae’s skill system quite a lot over the last exty years (five, going on six, but who’s counting), from the time that it was thirty-odd skills, then seven, then eighteen, and finally when there were twelve, then a different twelve. The last year’s project of creating nicknames for Craft-State combinations was a test.

…A test to see how versatile the twelve skills Crafts actually were.

One of the things I was left with this last week, was where “muggles” fit into the picture. I’ve been pushing this idea about Crafts representing “transforming resources,” and how they aren’t about gathering, but transmuting. I mean literally in the case of the Smith, but in more abstract ways for the other Crafts.

Persuasion heroes for instance, don’t create the language they use, they merely twist it to their ends in the most delightful of ways (wordsmiths). Anyway, this left a noticeable gap that was perfect for normal people to fit in — you know, commoners, the “classless.” The gatherers, porters, and handlers.

I had this idea for three “classes” of characters without classes: those unskilled laborers, and the abilities that rule them. First, you have the Porters (“haulers” in Dwarf Fortress) who basically move things from one place to another. It could be people, it could be objects, but all day, they move things.

Next, you have the Gatherers. They find things, and they do it all day long. It’s their job to look for things, spot things, alert others to their presence, run between places. Porters generally don’t move “information,” but there’s room for the Gatherers to do that. This actually combined hunting/gathering into one lump skill.

Finally, you have the Handlers. They manage the things as found by the Gatherers, and moved by the Porters. They keep track of things, count them, distribute them. They’re mid-level management, because leaders honestly have better things to do. Each of these “classes” has numerous Crafts that do “the same, but more.”

Porters use Strength and Constitution. Gatherers use Dexterity and Intelligence. Handlers use Wisdom and Charisma. They’re all day, every day, doing the jobs that enable heroes to do what they do. When you need someone to watch the sheep, you know who to choose — the Porter. It’s a long, hard job, and they move the sheep.

When you need someone to shear your sheep, you get a Gatherer. When you need someone to sell your sheep, or your wool, or whatever you’ve made from it, you have a Handler. Porters are there for the long haul. Gatherers for the fine manipulation, and Handlers for the heady stuff. You know, figures and balances.

When you need someone to watch your wagon, you get a Porter. They move … I don’t know, “the time.” Whatever. It isn’t supposed to be that literal. It’s an odd job that requires staying awake and alert. They don’t really specialize. It’s the “unskilled labor” angle. “Perception” is less important because it’s about staying awake.