Guild of thieves
We take a look at the role of thief and the punishment you can expect if caught thieving. I once caught a slave girl stealing in our camp , I asked a sister to notch her ear , then place one copper in the girls mouth, the copper was compensation to her Owner and her tribe. Panther girls being wild women and outlaws will steal from cities. In Lake Ias the Di Jan and Luna Caleeng panther tribes will steal from caravans and lone travelers…..be warned , we will ask a toll when you cross our lands…..Let us look at a thief role play.
The Luna Caleeng return from hunting to find their stores stolen. Some one who was very lucky that day , who didnt get captured in the Luna swamps, thieves will have their ears notched or worse !
The role play:
Phen ran up to the sign that read ‘panther territory KEEP OUT’ and grimaced. She wasn’t keen on them, and they usually hated her on sight. From a distance she couldn’t see any rising smoke from their campfire, so was a good a sign as ever that it was empty. She ran despite this, anxious to get what she needed and scram.
Phen follows the logs gingerly and got the sinking feeling she was running in circles, panicking like the cool person she is – Phen attempted to head back, before getting stuck in some giant plants, “GAH!! FUCK!!” she began slicing everything out of her way and running blindly – if anyone was home, they’d definitely know she was coming. “AAAAAHHHH!!!” she yelled before stumbling back to the sign she’d met on her way in. “What the ?……….. sheeeeeeit”
Phen had known what to expect the second time, so prepared her scimitars and simply sliced and screamed her way through the maze, stumbling often but eventually making it to a high vantage point i the panther camp. She glanced up and read the flag, “Luna Caleeng Panther?…” she scoffed, “Sounds gay.” with that said she began her hunt for any of the items, rushing into each hut and throwing everything around as she searched
Phen came to the hut that looked like it fed everyone, there was bread and jerky and other dry foods, opening the sacks one by one she finally came across one with some yellow grains inside, she lifted a handful to her nose and sniffed. “Nice.” closing up the sack she threw it into her back pack and made like a banana…. split.. aha. But no really, there were plenty of zip lines, so with those at her disposal, she made her way out of there!
Phen ran like a maniac, sweat dripping from her forehead as her hands pumped at her sides, tightly dripping her scimitars. Suddenly she broke out of the forest and actually saw a road! “Yes!!” mentally she ticked of Sa Tarna from her list and kept on going.
So what do goreans do with thieves?
Thievery on Gor is not much approved. Hunters of Gor Book 8 Page 92
His right ear had been notched, doubtless in some accident. Such notching, I knew, is usually done to the ears of thieves; a second offense is normally punished by the loss of the right hand; a third offense by the removal of the left hand and both feet. There are few thieves, incidentally, on Gor. I have heard, though, there is a Caste of Thieves in Port Kar, a strong caste which naturally protects its members from such indignities as ear notching. Nomads of Gor Book 4 Page 85
The man, who wore a simple dark tunic and sandals, dropped out to the ground. His hair was dark and clipped short; his face intelligent, but hard. On his right cheek, over the cheekbone was the Thief brand of the Caste of Thieves of Port Kar, who use the small brand to identify their members. Assassin of Gor Book 5 Page 96
There is even, in Port Kar, a recognized caste of Thieves, the only such I know of on Gor, which, in the lower canals and perimeters of the city, has much power, that of the threat and the knife. They are recognized by the Thiefs Scar, which they wear as caste mark, a tiny three-pronged brand burned into the face in back of and below the eye, over the right cheekbone. Raiders of Gor Book 6 Page 104
“This penalty brand,” said Rask of Treve, lifting another iron from the brazier, again with a tiny letter at its glowing termination, “marks you also as what you are, as a thief.” Please, no, Master!” I wept. I could not move a muscle of my left leg. It might as well have been locked in a vise. It must wait for the iron. I screamed again, uncontrollably. I had been branded as a thief. Captive of Gor Book 7 Page 310
Some free girls, without family, keep themselves, as best they can, in certain port cities. That her ear had been notched indicated that, by a magistrate, she had been found thief. Ear notching is the first penalty for a convicted thief in most Gorean cities, whether male or female. The second offense, by a male, is punished with the removal of the left hand, the third offense by the removal of the right. The penalty for a woman, for her second offense, if she is convicted, is to be reduced to slavery. Hunters of Gor Book 8 Pages 22 – 23
“In Port Kar,” said I, “there is a caste of thieves. It is the only known caste of thieves on Gor.” She looked at me. “You will have little difficulty,” I said, “in earning entrance into that caste.” “I have seen the thief’s brand!” she cried. “It is beautiful!” It was a tiny, three-pronged brand, burned into the face over the right cheekbone. I had seen it several times, once on one who worked for the mysterious Others, a member of a crew of a black ship, once encountered in the mountains of the Voltai, not far from great Ar itself. The caste of thieves was important in Port Kar, and even honored. It represented a skill which in the city was held in high repute. Indeed, so jealous of their prerogatives were the caste of thieves that they often hunted thieves who did not belong to the caste, and slew them, throwing their bodies to the urts in the canals. Indeed, there was less thievery in Port Kar than there might have been were there no caste of thieves in the city. They protected, jealously, their own territories from amateur competition. Ear notching and mutilation, common punishment on Gor for thieves, were not found in Port Kar. The caste was too powerful. On the other hand, it was regarded as permissible to slay a male thief or take a female thief slave if the culprit could be apprehended within an Ahn of the theft. After an Ahn the thief, if apprehended and a caste member, was to be remanded to the police of the arsenal. If found guilty in the court of the arsenal, the male thief would be sentenced, for a week to a year, to hard labor in the arsenal or on the wharves; the female thief would be sentenced to service, for a week to a year, in a straw-strewn cell in one of Port Kar’s penal brothels. They are chained by the left ankle to a ring in the stone. Their food is that of a galley slave, peas, black bread and onions. If they serve well, however, their customers often bring them a bit of meat or fruit. Few thieves of Port Kar have not served time, depending on their sex, either in the arsenal or on the wharves, or in the brothels. Hunters of Gor Book 8 Page 304
How to role play a thief
The system of apprenticeship first developed in the later Middle Ages and came to be supervised by craft guilds and town governments.
A master craftsman was entitled to employ young people as an inexpensive form of labor in exchange for providing food, lodging and formal training in the craft. <– from this I like to infer that a plausible method of recruiting thieves for the caste would be to offer assistance to those who wander into Port Kar, but without explicitly revealing my actual identity as a master-thief of the caste. By subtley and skillfully cultivating a relationship with the person, I attempt to coax from them whatever information may enable me to gauge their relative usefulness to the caste, (( via RP, in other words, I try to get them to explicitly state what preference they may have as to role, or character, if any)) and then allow the RP to develop that person’s role in accordance with their wishes and skills… whether thief, lookout, scout, or a casual source of information and mutual assistance… which draws everyone into the storyline and enriches the RP experience for all of us.
Most apprentices were males, but female apprentices were found in crafts such as seamstress, tailor, cordwainer, baker and stationer. <<—- the most memorable thief in the books was a female, and this provides me with a basis for welcoming females into any role within the caste with open arms.. though the force-based skills, robbery/mugging, assault, etc., may prove problematic for females acting alone.. I see no reason why a dagger equipped female thief could not assist in dispatching a victim, guard, or female companions of a victim, etc.
Apprentices usually began at ten to fifteen years of age, and would live in the master craftsman’s household. <<– I take from this that it is a long and arduous path which involves constant, immersive training to develop the necessary skill to become a successful thief, and that thieves would likely group together. Accordingly, In my mind, I think of groups of thieve coalescing to perform jobs, and then dispersing.. fly-squads of a sort .. but also of familial groups who may choose from their number those possessing the requisite skills for any job at hand. These groups I organize in my head according to number, much like military based units;
so, in accordance with this line of thinking, they would be organized as follows:
3 thieves comprise a ‘knot’, (a knot of thieves, etc.)
6 thieves a ‘crew’,
9 thieves make up a ‘sett’,
12 thieves a ‘clachan’ or ‘clique’,
15 comprise a ‘den’, (a den of thieves, etc.)
18 a ‘clan’ and
21 would be a ‘gang’.
Although the caste is solely based in Port Kar, thieves would ply their trade throughout Gor… and those who settle in another city would form into a guild (of the caste) for that city… (similar to the Black Caste who do not claim homestones, but who may recognize a master assassin of a particular city, for instance… in our case, Fina might have a Master Thief, (Shadow), and if a large enough group existed, a right hand and perhaps a left hand to assist him or her, as would Minus, or Rorus, or Port Cos, or what have you…. though guilds might exist in various cities… they remain guilds of the caste of thieves of Port Kar, which, according to the books is the sole caste of thieves.
In this way, folks wishing to play the role of thief who are invested in a particular sim, may do so, and remain in that location, while formulating new ties to the caste, and to guilds in other cities…. it is my hope that if this should ever come to pass, that a guild in one city might call on the assistance of other thieves from other cities when, say, an auction, caravan, or other event takes place… and, thieves would descend upon that city to ‘take in the harvest’ of loot.
Thieves would ‘tithe’ a certain percentage of thier take to the caste in Port Kar (rp only) and this would open up RP story arc possibilities for enforcers/punishers, and thieves’ caste tribunals (Kris (punative), and Moot (civil/dispute resolution). (( a ‘Moot’ would convene to resolve disagreements between caste members, and a ‘Kris’ would try offenders who have violated caste codes/thieves’ honor, etc.))
Please note that I am not stating that this is how it MUST BE.. these are simply ideas that I am sharing to illustrate the rich possibilities that may exist for the caste as a whole, as well as for our affiliates; beggars, musicians, gypsies/wanderers, outlaws, pirates, smugglers, She-urts, as well as corrupt politicians/leaders, crooked merchants, underhanded physicians, etc., etc.
Most apprentices aspired to becoming master craftsmen themselves on completion of their contract (usually a term of seven years), but some would spend time as a journeyman and a significant proportion would never acquire their own workshop. <<– some thieves may wish to train as thieves, through apprentice, journeyman, and eventually to master thief, and take up residence in a city to begin recruiting apprentices… others may wish to simply remain a journeyman thief and ply his or her trade when and where the opportunity arises.
In Coventry those completing seven-year apprenticeships with stuff merchants were entitled to become freemen of the city. <<– this opens interesting, and potentially dicey/tricky questions regarding kajir folk who may wish to play the part of thieves. It may offer an avenue for a runaway to find a ‘home’ who would embrace them, regardless of their status, and offer some degree of protection.
Naturally, this would have to be a situation that would be taken on a case by case basis, do to the OOC pitfulls that it carries.. but; an abandoned kajira, or kajirus.. or one who has decided that they no longer wish to play a slave, or want a change for a time, will have a legitimate RP based storyline to move thier character into a different realm of RP…
I have embryonic thoughts of a series of tasks to test and challenge slaves who aspire to earn freedom via the caste of thieves, who might, after completing them, be able to have their collar struck off by a caste affiliated blacksmith… though brands would have to remain, or be ‘over branded’ via RP. Some part of me finds this to be an interesting and compelling story arc, and another part of me averts from the threat of OOC drama.. so.. wisdom and common sense would naturally apply here.
Caste of Thieves – A Pickpockets Training Primer
In Port Kar, almost all pickpocket methods are used, and many newer methods were invented here.
Classic Pickpocket – when one covertly takes items from the mark’s pocket, pouch or bag
Common Tools Used – used to conceal the act of picking your pocket:
Loaf of bread, produce, large hat, or other light easily carried item
Coat over the arm
Execution: A guild method which involves creating a *micro-crowd* of thieves forcing you to lose your personal space.
A block or bump method which also involves a group of people but one blocks you or bumps you as you’re passing through a choke-point (gate, doorway, gangway, etc), getting on or off of some type of transport, or just crossing the street.
Common Tools Used:
Light leather shoes, and close fitting clothing (in order to facilitate a fast getaway, and avoid snagging clothing on protrusions)
A horn thumb-thimble, and a small sharp blade for cutting purse thongs or strings. This is known as ‘Nipping’.
Execution: The File (pickpocket) or Nipper (cut-purse) approaches their mark and takes purse or bag, either cutting the strings surreptitiouly or by simply grabbing and forcefully pulling, often accompanied by a stabbing, flicking strike to the eyes or ‘whirligigs’ (testicles), or by throwing a substance (liquid or powder) into the mark’s eyes, which irritates and temporarily blinds them, the thief then makes a quick getaway, and passes the proceeds to a waiting ‘bulk’ or ‘adam tiler’ who plays the proceeds off to another, and deliberately gets in the way of pursuers while the initial thief continues to run like hell and go to ground until one and one quarter ahn from the time of the crime has passed.
The File approaches their mark from behind or the front. They may also walk your direction in front of you and slow down to allow you to get close.
Vulo Poop or blood Ploy
Common Tools Used: Concealed bag of a substance resembling bird poop or the blood of some other creature
Execution: Thief squirts bird poop substance or blood on the mark’s clothes or bag. Then acts as a good samaritan either before or after the mark discovers the substance. While ‘helping’ the cull, or mark, they have their deft and skillful fingers in the cull’s pouch, pocket, or worse, off with the whole bag when you’re not looking.
Gypsy Scroll Routine (or Illiteracy Ploy)
Common Tools Used:
An official looking scroll
Execution: The ‘Amuser’ (accomplice) approaches the mark with a piece of rence paper, vellum, or parchment with writing on it usually begging for money. The File positions themselves next to the cull and while the amuser keeps the cull or culley distracted dips the pocket pouch or bags of the mark. This ploy may be adapted in many ways, spilling fish guts, attempting to determine whether someone owns a ‘lost’ slave, by a musician playing a tune or using any sort of distraction to ‘amuse/confuse’ the target while they are well fleeced.
While a cull is eating at a restaurant, sitting at an outdoor table, they arere approached by the thief fanning out notices or brochures, the mark generally will quickly say “No” and ry to ward the interloper off. The skilled thief walks away with your pouch, or other belongings which they picked up off the table after concealing the item with the fanned out postcards.
The amuser approaches the cull or culley acting as a lost traveller with maps in hand. As they intently inspect the map to help answer the amusers question, the file is skillfully going through their pocket, pouch or bag.
Classic ‘Squeeze’ or ‘Cork the Bota’ ploy
Common Tools Used: Well practiced team of accomplices
Execution: A group of accomplices (amusers or budges) walk in front of the target and suddenly stop while a second group following along continues walking, bumping into the cull; one of which quickly ‘fans’ (searches) and dips the cull’s scrip, pouch, pocket or bag. Or; An accomplice runs into the mark, or, collides with the mark (usually carrying something) and in the ensuing commotion the file ‘bites the cull’ (robs the target). An adaption on this ploy is a feigned fight between thief and an accomplice… when the cull tries to step between, he is jostled and pickpocketed, or, if he does not interfere, the two suddenly lurch toward him, and in the ensuing confusion, he is fleeced.
CANTING GLOSSARY (Terms used in this Article):
Adam Tiler: Accomplice of a pickpocket who receives stolen Goods or Money, and scours off with them to give the proceeds to a running Companion, that the Pick Pocket may have nothing found upon him if he is apprehended. See Bulk
Amusers: who were wont to have their Pockets filled with Dust, which they would throw into the Eyes of People they had a mind to rob, and so run away, while their Comerade, who followed them, under the Notion of pitying the half blinded Person, laid his Hand on whatever came next.
Budge: A BUDGE, one that slips into a house or shop, usually in the dark, and taking what comes next to hand, marches off with it. If he meets with anybody, he asks, if such and such a gentleman or lady be within (a constructed name); and is told, they know no such Person, he begs pardon, and says, he was mistaken in the house or shop, immediately marches off, and will not stay for a reply. To Budge, also signifies to stir or move. If a shop, he may ask the shop keeper for a particular size, color or other such item and when the shop keeper turns to obtain it… he immediately departs. As an accomplice to a pickpocket, or ‘File’ a Budge will jostle, bump, or distract the target, and then, after the crime has been committed, will obstruct pursuers, give conflicting descriptions, etc. From ‘Budjo’ which is a term describing a swindle known as ‘switch the bag’
Bulk: Accomplice of a pickpocket who pins victim to wall or floor for thief to rob.
Cant / Canting (also “Thieves’ Cant”): A secret language or ‘cryptolect’ used by thieves, rouges, swindlers, con-artists and other assorted outlaws to communicate openly to one another without imparting information to non-members of the caste.
Cull: Male target or mark (compare with Cove – a male thief or rogue)
Culley: Female target or mark (compare with Covey, or Covie – a female thief)
Fan/Fanning: Skillfully searching a cull’s clothing (while being worn), by lightly running one’s hands over their body, purse, pockets, etc., while simultaneously making ‘expected’ contact, i.e., jostling, bumping, colliding, embracing., etc.
File: Skilled pickpocket
Nipper: Cut purse (usually equipped with a horn thimble and a small sharp knife for cutting purse strings)
Play it off: To pass the proceeds of a crime to waiting accomplice, thereby ‘clearing’ the thief of any evidence should he be apprehended.