Government. Occupations. Names. Peopling your
setting is as important as geography, plants and animals,
structures and technology. In order to anchor your tale in
a setting where there are societies you must determine
what those societies and who rules them. Beyond that it is
important to note what secondary characters are to weave
in and out of the setting’s plot. To make them believable it
is necessary to give them substance. Choosing an
occupation is part of that substance.
What follows are catalogs of government types,
occupations, secular and temporal, occupations for the
everyday folk and a sampling of nicknames.
Anarchy: Society without formal government
Aristocracy: Government by a class of people who have
attained power due to birth or wealth. Aristocrats are
people who have social position as well as political power.
Autocracy: Government by one person who possesses
unlimited power. There are two forms of Autocracy:
Autocratic Monarchies and Autocratic Dictatorships.
The former is commonly accepted as the legitimate rule of
a King, whereas the latter is one of seized or assumed
Clan: See Tribal hereafter.
Colonial: Government set up to rule a foreign territory by a
“parent” state. Though these governments may reflect the
parent government, they usually assume some form of
oligarchy or dictatorship.
Confederacy: These refer to the grouping of two or more
states with legitimate governments under a singular leader
or governing concept.
Democracy (pure): Government whereby all eligible
citizens gather on common grounds to vote on matters of
state, finance, etc.
Despotism: A form of Autocracy whereby an individual
has seized power illegitimately.
Dictatorship: A form of Autocracy whereby an individual
has seized power illegitimately.
Feudal: There are no feudal governments but rather a
society or region wherein feudalism is the dominate social,
political, economic and military organization. It implies a
complicated arrangement that governs the personal
relations of lords, vassals and peasants. It entails a
plethora of rights and duties between “superiors” and
“inferiors,” where social rank is determined by one’s land
rights, and military service and duty to the lord’s demesne
replaced monetary payments. In theory it is a simple form
of government whereby the one who owns land farms
sections of his land out to others for payment in services.
However, feudal societies are generally horribly entangled
in hereditary rights, land ownership, war, vassalage to two
or more lords and so forth.
Magocracy: Government my those able to employ magic, a
form of Aristocracy.
Manorialism: An outcropping of feudalism, which
concerns the local feudal arrangements, generally around
a town, village, monastery, manor or any other small form
of settlement which possesses a lord. The economic
arrangement between the lord and vassals is not a military
one but rather one of service only. Peasants are required
to tend the lords crops, bring wood etc for his protection
and for their right to live on the land. As with feudalsim,
manorialism becomes complicated with hereditary rights,
Matriarchy: Generally speaking this is an oligarchy
whereby females rule the state.
Monarchy: A form of government whereby rule is held by
one man or woman, a hereditary or elected king or emperor.
Generally associated with autocracy, however, monarchial
governments often share power with oligarches, aristocrats
and the people.
Oligarchy: The rule by a group of persons, families or
commercial groups. Generally these achieve power
through heredity or wealth.
Patriarchy: Generally speaking this is an oligarchy
whereby males rule the state.
Plutocracy: When a state’s wealth is concentrated in the
hands of a few and these few form an Oligarch, their rule is
generally referred to as a plutocracy.
Republic: A form of democratic rule, whereby the people
lay aside direct rule and empower chosen or elected
representative citizens to rule.
Theocracy: Government by a priesthood, a form of
oligarchy, whereby the church or religious leaders control
Tribal: Government of primitive sort acting under a chief.
These range widely from the autocratic to democratic.
Titles of Royalty and Nobility, Western European
Titles given in order of Rank.
King/Queen (German: Konig)
Archduke (palatine)/Archduchess (palatine)
Duke (palatine)/Duchess (palatine) (German: Herzog)
Prince (palatine)/Princess (palatine) (German: Prinz)
Count (palatine)/Countess (palatine)
Crown Prince/Crown Princess
Prince Royal/Princess Royal
Duke (German: Herzog)/Duchess
Marquis (German: Margrave)/Marquise (German:
Count (English: Earl; German: Graf)/Countess (German:
Viscount/Viscountess ( German: Waldgraf/Waldgraffine)
Jewelry, of State
Typical items used by nobles as heirlooms or regalia.
Accountant: A person trained in inspecting, keeping and
Admiral: A naval officer of the highest rank or a specified
high rank that is the commander of a navy or fleet.
Agistor: An officer of the king’s forest who has the care,
to feed and pature, of agisted cattle and collected the
money for the same.
Auditor: A person appointed and authorized to audit
accounts. Also, a judicial hearer in an audience court.
Auditor General: A person appointed to organize and
oversee the actions of other auditors.
Bailiff: An administrative official of a district, with power
to collect taxes, serve as a magistrate, etc. The duties may
entail collecting fines, summoning juries, attending
assizes, executing writs and processes, directing husbandry
and collecting rents.
Baker: One whose occupation is making bread, biscuits,
Brewer: One whose occupation is to brew malt liquors
such as ale, beer, etc.
Butler: an officer attached to a royal court, usually
entrusted with the wine cellar, tableware and dining-room
arrangements and to supervise the other servants.
Captain: An organizer, overseer, superintendent or
one having authority over persons acting in concert.
Captain of the Guard: The commander of all guards
within an area.
Carver: One who cuts meat at the table.
Castellan: A person appointed to be governor or
constable of a castle.
Chamberlain: A person charged with the direction
and management of the household of a ruler or lord, a
Chancellor: A high official invested with judicial
powers, and particularly with the superintendence of
all letters and other official writings of a monarch.
Chaplin: A clergyman or layman appointed to perform
religious functions in an institution, as a royal court, club,
Chef: A head cook.
Chief clerk: A person appointed to oversee the duties of
Clerk: A clergyman, ecclesiastic, or other who can read
and write, and performs certain duties in church,
government or both.
Cofferer: A person appointed as treasurer. Also, an
important officer of the king’s household.
Constable: The highest ranking official of a royal
household, court, etc. Also, the warden of a fortress or
Counselor: A person appointed to examine facts, opinions
or circumstances, and render advise or counsel on the
Cup-bearer: A person who fills and serves the wine cups.
Dispenser: One who deals out or dispenses provisions,
Forester (chief): A person in charge of a forest, a bailiff.
Gamekeeper: A person who takes care of birds and
animals on public lands or private estates.
General: The senior or highest rank of a military’s army.
Herald: An official whose duty it was to proclaim war, to
challenge to battle, to proclaim peace, bear messages, etc.
Also, the officer would marshal, order, and conduct
cavalcades, coronations, royal marriages, creation of new
noble offices, etc.
Horn-bearer: An honorary position
Hornblower: A person who sounds the fanfare within the
court of a noble, etc.
Huntsman (chief): The man whose office it is to manage
the chase and take charge of the hounds.
Jester: A professional fool employed to amuse with
antics, tricks and jokes.
Judge: An official invested with authority to hear and
decide civil and criminal cases within his appointed
Justiciar (Justiciary): The chief political and judicial
Justicer: See judge above.
Keeper of the: An official that oversees the maintenance
and upkeep of certain items of importance such as: Keeper
of the Keys, Keeper of the Mews, Keeper of the Royal Seal
Keeper of the Stables, Keeper of the Wardrobe.
Knight (royal order): A man, usually of high birth, that has
served as a page and squire, then is raised to the
honorable military rank of knight by a king or other
qualified lord that holds land on promise that he serve his
superior when needed.
Magistrate: A minor official who is empowered to
administer and enforce the law with certain limited judicial
and executive powers.
Majordomo: A man in charge of a great, royal, or noble
household, a chief steward.
Marshal: A high official of a royal household or court in
charge of military affairs, ceremonies, etc. This office is
equivalent to, and sometimes of higher rank, than a
Minister: A person appointed to act for another and carry
out his orders or designs. This type of office sometimes
requires being sent to a foreign land as a representative,
and in this case the officer would be under an ambassador.
Notary: A person employed to take notes of contracts,
trials, and proceeding in the courts.
Pantler: An employee in a great household that has
charge of the bread and pantry.
Parker: A person whose job is the overseeing of an
enclosed area of land held by prescription , stocked and
preserved for hunting.
Porter: One who has charge of a door or gate, a
doorkeeper or gatekeeper.
Reeve: The chief officer of a town or district. Also overseer
of a manor, a bailiff or steward.
Regarder: An officer whose job is to inspect the forest.
Secretary: See clerk above.
Seneschal: A powerful official in the household of a noble
who is in charge of administering justice and managing the
domestic affairs of the estate, and he represents his lord in
Sergeant: A servant who serves his master in battle.
Sheriff: The chief administrative and judicial officer of a
Steward: An officer appointed to oversee lands belonging
to the king.
Treasurer: An officer who has charge of all funds and
Usher: A person whose official duty is to precede
someone of rank, as in a procession, or to make
introductions between those unacquainted with one
Verderer: See forester, bailiff.
Butler: The chief servant, one in charge of the wine cellar,
the kitchens and dining room and assigns duties to other
servants. A butler is in charge of all the household’s
Chef: The individual or individuals who run and operate
Coachman: The one responsible for maintenance and
upkeep of the coach(es) and who drives it. Usually
possesses a good command of the region.
Cook: One who works in the kitchens.
Footman: A servant who waits on tables, opens the doors,
attends guests in the common areas, etc.
Gamekeeper: The individual who protects the hunting
grounds of any demesne. He is generally involved in
any hunt. Usually works with huntsmen or carries
that title as well.
Gardener: The one in charge of the gardens. Works and
plans for all seasonal changes and is therefore very
knowledgeable about plants and so forth.
Groom: Works for the stable master tending the horses.
Groundsman: Works with the gardener.
Guardsman: Any individual who is employed to protect a
person or place.
Housekeeper: Cleans the manor or house.
Huntsman: The one who organizes hunting expeditions.
Usually works with the Gamekeeper, or carries that title as
Kennel keeper: One in charge of the dogs and hounds.
Jester (fool): One of the many entertainers who dwell or
hang on to royal households.
Lackey: A close servant or servant’s apprentice.
Lady in waiting: Those ladies who attend a woman of
noble birth. They are not considered servants, but rather
are looked upon as noble attendants, who could serve
their ladies better than common folk.
Laundress: One who does the lanundry.
Maid: One who works with or in a domicile and is generally
in charge of keeping the whole place orderly and clean.
Maid in waiting: A maid in waiting is attached to an
individual’s person and waits on that person’s needs.
Maid, chamber: The person in charge of keeping a
particular room or set of rooms in working order.
Maid, serving: A maid who is attached directly to one
individual and waits on that person.
Man, serving: See Maid, serving above.
Minstrel: One who sings, recites poetry, recounts tales
and histories. These are usually travelers as few are
wealthy enough to employ minstrels full time.
Page: A boy serving one of high rank, or someone
entering knighthood at a very early age.
Porter: Someone who carries gear, merchandise, produce,
Potboy: See scullion below.
Scullion: One who cleans pots and pans.
Sergeant at arms: The official in charge of the on duty
guard. Serves a captain.
Stable master: The individual in charge of the stables.
Also, keeping the horses groomed and fed.
Usher: An official doorkeeper.
Valet: A manservant who takes care of clothes, grooming
Offices, Religious Institutions
Abbot (Abbess): A superior or governor of a monastery.
Arch-Bishop: A chief bishop who presides over an archbishopric
Bishop: A prelate superior to the priesthood, consecrated
for the spiritual government and direction of a diocese,
bishopric or see.
Cardinal: An ecclesiastical prince in a church who has a
voice in the conclave at the election of a pope, pontiff or
Cellarer: An official in a monastery who has the care of
the cellar, or the charge of procuring and keeping the
Chancellor: See Government Officials.
Chaplin: A clergyman attached to a chapel, or a clergyman
appointed to carry out religious functions.
Curate: A clergyman who gives assistant to another, as in
Dean (schools): A subordinate to the bishop. A presiding
official of a cathedral or collegiate church.
Deacon (deaconess): A layman appointed to help the
minister, particularly in secular matters.
Elder: Any of certain leaders in a church organization..
Friar: A member of any number of religious orders.
High Priest: See priest.
Metropolitan: As an arch-bishop, having authority over
the bishops of a certain region.
Monk: A man who joins a religious order living in
retirement according to a rule and under vows of poverty,
obedience and chastity.
Patriarch: A bishop in a church who holds the highest
rank after a pope or pontiff.
Prelate: A high ranking ecclesiastic having authority over
the lower clergy as an arch-bishop.
Priest: A clergymen ranking beneath a bishop or high
priest and authorized to minster sacraments or religious
Precentor (music): A choir director.
Provost (grounds): One who is the head of a cathedral
chapter or church.
Reliquarian (relics): One who attends, as in storing and
cleaning, to a church’s or temple’s relics.
Reverend: A title of respect for
Sexton: A church official who
is required to attend to the
church’s business as in taking
care of the vestments, the
Treasurer (treasure): See
Royal Offices page 140
Verger: A lower ranking clergyman who is appointed the
task of carrying the verge, the staff of office. Usually
walks in front of the ranking priest or bishop.
Vestry clerk: The clerk appointed to keep the church’s
books and accounts.
Vicar: An office held by a lower clergy, one who assists in
the church services.
Occupations and Persons, Unusual
Armiger: The assistant warrior in charge of armor and
weapons of the knight.
Atilliator: A maker of crossbows.
Badge: A noble’s servant wearing the arms of the master
on the sleeve; servant.
Barber monger: A fop.
Beebe or Beeby: One who is a bee keeper.
Blowse: A ruddy, fat-faced wench.
Boggler: An inconstant woman.
Botcher: A mender of old clothes.
Butler: The servant in charge of the buttery where butts
of ale and wine were kept.
Callet: A woman of bad character.
Catiff: A wretch.
Cellerer: The keeper of the wine cellar.
Chamberer: An effeminate man.
Chapman: A pedlar of merchandise, via backpack, pack
animal, or cart or wagon.
Chuff: A low-born miser.
Cockney: An assistant to a cook; a kitchen servant.
Collier: A man selling and delivering coal.
Conner: The one in charge of testing ale by touch and
Cooper: A maker of barrels.
Cordwainer: A shoe maker.
Costermonger: An apple or fruit seller; a small-time
Coxcomb: A fool’s or jester’s cap.
Cutter: A sculptor.
Cuttle: A cutpurse.
Feodary: One holding land from another in return for
service to that superior.
Fuller: A cleaner of cloth.
Gong Farmer: The privy emptier, a “Gold Finder” or
Groom: Any sort of a servant, not merely one caring for
Harbinger: A royal officer going ahead to secure lodgings
for the night.
Jack: A low-born man.
Keech: A butcher’s boy.
Lackey: A footboy; a mean servant.
Lazar: A leper; one with an incurable disease.
Lynk: Also linkboy, one who is a torchbearer.
Malkin: A kitchen wench.
Milliner: A dealer in fancy articles for adornment of
clothing and person, all perfumed.
Monger: A peddler of goods.
Nuncio: A messenger of important sort.
Nuncle: Term or address used by a fool when speaking to
Ouph: An elf.
Palmer: A pilgrim.
Pantler: The servant in charge of the pantry where bread
Pedant: A schoolmaster.
Poltroon: A coward.
Post: A messenger.
Poulter: A poulterer, a keeper and seller of poultry.
Publican: The keeper of a public house.
Pursuivant: A lesser herald; a royal messenger.
Purveyor: A royal officer going ahead to secure food for
Quean: A contemptible wench; a hussy.
Questant: One on a quest; a seeker.
Runagate: A vagabond; a masterless man.
Scrivener: A professional scribe.
Scutifer: The assistant warrior in charge of the shields of
Sewer: The food taster used to show dishes were not
Sutler: One selling provisions and drink to a military
Swasher: A bully.
Tercel: A male hawk used for hunting.
Whitster: A person who bleaches linen and other cloth.
Yeoman: A freeman not of gentle birth.
Zany: A subordinate buffoon aping the main clown; an
Racing (foot, horse, etc.)
Sports & Sports Events
Badminton (shuttlecock &
Bear and bull fighting
Games, Gaming Objects
Blind man’s bluff
Coin (or washer) pitching/
Hide & seek
Hoop and stick
Naughts & crosses (tictac-
Nine men’s morris
Pots & stones (mancala)
Put & take
Questions (20 questions)
Shovel (shuffle) board
*Types played besides
circular board, courier,
double (four player), great,
“old”, and shogi.