Home > games, Uncategorized, WFRP > The Gong Farmer: A Career for All Editions of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay

The Gong Farmer: A Career for All Editions of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay


Updated Feb. 22nd, 2020.

With thanks to the following commenters: Onno Maat and Peter Tracey (WFRP 4th edition group, Facebook); Simon Landry and Ricky (via WordPress); and @RoderiHamilt (Twitter).

 

Ever since Our Heroes ventured into the sewers of Nuln in “The Oldenhaller Contract” way back in 1986, WFRP has had a certain association with the grimier, less pleasant (and less pleasant-smelling) aspects of life in a medieval fantasy world. Rat Catchers have come to define the anti-heroic ethos of the Old World, but there are greater heroes, as yet unsung: the silent night-time armies of gong farmers and nightsoil men (and women) who nightly move uncounted tons of human waste from those homes which have no sewer access.

A while ago, I posted a version of this career for WFRP 1, 2, and 3. Here is an improved and corrected version, with details for 4th edition added. Enjoy – and leave comments below. I’d love to have your ideas on how this career might be improved.

Gong Farmer1

The gong farmer has the least enviable job in the Old World. In towns and other settlements without a sewer system, the gong farmer gathers up all human waste and deposits it in a communal dump or cesspool outside the walls. Often permitted to work only at night, gong farmers are also known as nightsoil men.

Owing to the nature of their profession, gong farmers are able to remain calm in the face of things that would disgust and even nauseate ordinary folk. They are also well able to resist disease and poison through long exposure to the most noxious of substances.

The job is not without its compensations, but they are few and unreliable. Gong farmers have access – albeit at night and well supervised – to the houses of the great and good and can find themselves privy (pun intended) to household secrets as well as having a unique insight into their state of health. In addition, the by-laws of many communities allow gong farmers to keep any coins, small pieces of jewellery, or other items of value that they may find in the course of their work.

 

FIRST EDITION PROFILE

 

Advance Scheme

M WS BS S T W I A Dex Ld Int Cl WP Fel
+2 +2 +10 +10

Gong Farmer 3

Skills
Immunity to Disease
Immunity to Poison
Very Resilient

Trappings
Ragged clothing
Shovel
Wheelbarrow
Lantern

Career Exits
Agitator
Beggar
Grave Robber
Labourer
Rat Catcher
Rogue

 

 

 

 

 

 

SECOND EDITION PROFILE

 

Main Profile
WS BS S T Ag Int WP Fel
+10% +10%
Secondary Profile
A W SB TB M Mag IP FP
+2

 

Skills: Common Knowledge (local community), Perception

Talents: Night Vision, No Sense of Smell (see above), Resistance to Disease, Resistance to Poison, Strong-Minded

Trappings: Ragged clothing, Shovel, Wheelbarrow, Lantern

Career Entries: Bone Picker, Peasant

Career Exits: Agitator, Bone Picker, Grave Robber, Rat Catcher, Rogue, Sewer Jack (Ashes of Middenheim), Vagabond

 

 

THIRD EDITION PROFILE

 

Basic Career: Human, Halfling

Basic, Menial, Social, Urban

Primary Characteristics: Toughness, Willpower

Career Skills: Athletics, Discipline, Folklore (local area), No Sense of Smell (see box), Observation, Resilience

Talent Slots: Focus, Resilience

Stance Meter: 3 Conservative, 1 Reckless

Advances

Action Talent
2 1
Skill Fortune
2 1
Conservative Reckless
2 1
Wound
1

 

Typical Trappings: Ragged clothing, Shovel, Wheelbarrow, Lantern

Career Ability: Your Resilience checks gain 1 fortune die when resisting disease.

 

 

 

FOURTH EDITION PROFILE

 

This four-level career is based on an account of the “nightmen” of medieval Leiden in the Netherlands (see “Further Reading” below). The “hole-man” climbed into the cess pit and scooped out the waste, passing it up to two “tub-men” who transferred it to their barge under the supervision of their foreman. The city of Ghent employed an official known as “the King of Dirt” to ensure that all sanitation regulations were followed.

The gong farmer is a Burgher class career. If random generation is being used, a player who rolls a beggar may choose a gong farmer instead if the GM agrees.

Gong Farmer Advance Scheme

WS BS S T I Agi Dex Int WP Fel
💀

Career Path

Hole-Dropper — Brass 1

Skills: Athletics, Climb, Consume Alcohol, Cool, Dodge, Endurance, Melee (Basic), Perception

Talents: Beneath Notice, Night Vision, Resistance (Disease), Very Resilient

Trappings: Bucket, 20ft Rope, Shovel

Tubber — Brass 3

Skills: Drive or Sail, Gamble, Gossip, Haggle, Stealth, Swim

Talents: Coolheaded, Hardy, Resistance (Poison), Sturdy

Trappings: Leather apron, Barrow, Lantern and Oil

💀 Foreman — Brass 5

Skills: Bribery, Charm, Evaluate, Intuition

Talents: Acute Sense (Sight), Blather, Coolheaded, Dealmaker

Trappings: Gong Farmer Crew, Boat or Cart, Hand weapon (Boat Hook), Leather Jack

King of Dirt — Silver 2

Skills: Intimidate, Leadership

Talents: Commanding Presence, Etiquette (Guilder), Read/Write, Wealthy

Trappings: Badge and Diploma of Office, Crew of Assistants (Tax Collectors)

 


No Sense of Smell (Optional Rule)

The character literally has no sense of smell. Their olfactory sense has been completely destroyed by long exposure to foul-smelling substances or through some other circumstance. They automatically fail any dice roll that depends upon smell — but they are also unaffected even by the most nauseating smells they encounter, or by alluring scents that might be used to entrap others. Poisonous gases and drugs in vaporous form affect the character normally.


 

FURTHER READING

 

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gong_farmer

2nd edition version by Colin Chapman: http://www.scribd.com/doc/156852704/Warhammer-Fantasy-2nd-Edition-Gong-Farmer

Archaeology Magazine “Of Cesspits and Sewers: Exploring the unlikely history of sanitation management in medieval Holland”: https://www.archaeology.org/issues/327-1901/letter-from/7205-letter-from-leiden

 


 

Images taken from 18th century nightmen’s cards (Wikimedia Commons).

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and WFRP are trademarks owned by Games Workshop Ltd. This article is a fan work and is not intended to be official or to challenge any trademark or copyright of Games Workshop or any of its licensees.

 

  1. Simon Landry
    January 22, 2020 at 5:43 pm

    Here’s some pointer for the 3rd edition.

    The “No sense of smell” should be part of its career ability and not a skill. Also, the career miss one skill to have a total of five and its 2 talents slots, which would probably be Focus and Reputation.

    • January 23, 2020 at 3:01 am

      Great to see all editions getting some content!

      Just to add to to Simon’s comment for the 3rd edition version, there should also be a stance meter.

      Suggestions:
      Additional skill: Athletics
      Stance meter: 3 Conservative, 1 Reckless

  2. Patrick
    January 28, 2020 at 10:10 am

    They may not like randomly rolling starting careers like Gong Farmer but I did notice it tends to give a greater sense of accomplishment to a players when their character rises to a higher station in the Old World. Its also hilariously great for everyone to watch a players dice roll randomly self inflict some thing like Gong Farmer on themselves when you know they were desperately hoping for something closer to Noble or Wizard. It’s the depth of the games character that makes WFRP one of the very best not the game mechanics.

  3. Matthew
    February 1, 2020 at 4:26 pm

    This is great, did you ever complete the Fimir Assassin character that was mentioned a while back?

    • February 1, 2020 at 4:53 pm

      I haven’t managed to find the time yet, but it’s on the list!

  4. February 24, 2020 at 3:18 am

    I wonder for 3rd edition is you could add in something for disease checks, perhaps allow an extra white dicewhen making them, due to resilience built up over years of working in unsanitary conditions

    • February 24, 2020 at 11:20 am

      Good idea! How would it be framed within the 3rd edition rules? I’m not as familiar with them as I am with other editions.
      Would this work as a Focus talent? Can they be linked to a career?

  5. February 25, 2020 at 3:36 am

    That’s a great idea! It would probably work best as a Career Ability. Perhaps instead of the current one, have: “Your Resilience checks gain 1 fortune die when resisting disease.” It’s a bit less generic and gives a real advantage to the career.

  6. February 26, 2020 at 3:28 am

    No problem, happy help! Also, I noticed that the talent slots are Focus and Resilience. The second one should be Reputation.

  7. Luke Ó Scolaidhe
    February 26, 2020 at 6:50 am

    +2T ???? Really?

  8. February 26, 2020 at 10:53 am

    This comment came in from Martin Millington via Facebook. I’m putting it here to keep everything in one place until I get a chance to revisit this again. Meanwhile, what does everyone else think?

    ——-

    Is there a reason Coolheaded is included at both tier 2 and tier 3 in the 4e profile?
    It is a one shot talent of +5 to WP.
    I think I suggested before the potential of putting Criminal in the tier 3 career instead to reflect a potential of the foreman scooping off the cream of items found, or backhand payments from gangs needing information.

  9. February 26, 2020 at 10:54 am

    …and this one from Robert Hornbuckle. Which book was Harry in? I don’t believe it’s one I’ve read.

    ———————–

    That is really great. It puts me in mind of this character from Discworld. Harry King, king of the golden river. https://discworld.fandom.com/wiki/Harry_King

  10. March 11, 2020 at 4:10 pm

    Good to know the bug is going strong. Thanks, Daniel!

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