Sunday, 16 November 2014

“Something for the Rag-and-Bone man? Over my dead, body...”

The bone-picker, the rag-gatherer, the collector of all that others would throw away, may be known at once by the greasy bag which he carries on his back. Others are known to use a horse-and-cart for collecting. Usually, he has a stick in his hand, and this is armed with a spike or hook, for the purpose of more easily turning over the heaps of ashes or dirt, or piles of offal that are thrown out of the hovels. Anything worth repairing will be sold at market for little more than a song. Occasionally, you can find some trinket of overlooked value. How much you pay for said trinket is up to you, but if summoning the wrath of the gods down upon your head is your aim, treat the rag-and-bone man unfairly! They are a station above the beggar-man and the thief, but beneath the common leper or alms seeker. They are a guild to themselves, acolytes of the god Detritus, and a common sight amongst village life.”
Lord Duster of Tarn
 The Rag-and-Bone man, an often overlooked part of village, town, and city life, will take anything from anyone. Vegetable scraps can be sold to pig farmers for coppers, diseased carcasses can be dragged to the Knackers for tallow. Old rags for the cloth merchants, and there is even the unspoken trade of corpses for coins. Those that have perished may be sold to Necromancers, the local Apothecary, or in some instances, amateur chirurgeons (who seek to find the god that lives inside us all) who cut open, and examine the deceased.  

The Rag-and-Bone man has a knack for turning scrap into silver. No part of any conurbation is off-limits to this enterprising individual either. That’s why they are a fathomless source of information. When you hit the local village, and you are looking for some juicy rumours, head for the Rag-and-Bone man instead of the local inn-keep. They’ll see you true, just make sure to pay them or they’ll bring the curse of Detritus down on your head.

They take their goods to market every seven-day, and there is a ten percent chance that there will be something of value amongst the chaff. Roll for what it might be on the chart below.

1d10: Items of Interest from the Rag-and-Bone man.

1 Honeycomb of Healing: 1d10 to your HP when you are hurt; must consume the entire honeycomb.
2 Elixir of Escape: Once consumed, it renders the drinker to a gaseous state for 2 turns.
3 Cracked Glasses of Seeing: Will assist the wearer to detect those that would not be seen, either the thief who would Hide-in-Shadows, or the Magician who would be invisible; works but once per day.
4) Chipped Plate of Dining: Will provide a meal once a day for the hungry adventurer.
5) Torch of Burning: Will burn off, and on, upon command. Never needs replenishing.
6) Whetstone of Sharpening: Adds an automatic +1 (damage only) to any edged weapon not already blessed with a + factor. The user must take the whetstone to his weapon before the sun rises the next morning or he will lose the added sharpness. It will take a Rag-and-Bone man's spit on the whetstone to activate it again.
7) Wineskin of the Wasted: When filled with cheap wine that is more like vinegar, it will change it into the finest tasting beverage known to wine connoisseurs. Not only does it taste magnificent, but it is nearly five times as potent as normal wine. The skin may be filled but once per day.
8) Pouch of Picking: Thieves beware! Looks like a normal purse that’s ripe for the plucking, until you touch it. It sets of an alarm of Bells & Whistles, warning its owner what’s transpiring.
9) Carved Wooden Dog of Warning: Just place this carved wooden wonder next your head when next you sleep, and it will awaken you with mighty barks when  someone would creep up on you and do you harm.
10) Pot to Piss in : This receptacle, used by the rich to contain their night-soil, if used as intended by the owner, will ensure that there will always be at least, ten copper pieces in their money pouch no matter how much they spend that day. The pot will keep the most destitute, those who live in absolute penury, from starvation, and will provide the ten pieces once per day.


  1. Rag and bone men still call the streets from a pony and cart around here. I've never noticed any magic items, it's mainly broken down white goods and scrap metal. They have been known to retrieve unwatched BBQ's and garden ornaments from gardens! (We lost a barge painted watering can). According to legend, they used to exchange scrap for goldfish or balloons, so childrun would hunt out anything tradable for them and tell their parents later!

  2. I should have said, around here is Hull, England.

  3. We used to get them North of the border too, up in Scotland. They used to give out 'Donkey Stones', for scrubbing your porch with.