Chasers Profession in Lapis of Nicodem | World Anvil


Chasers are people who are hired by non-aristocrats to carry out justice. They exist, in one form or another, throughout Jilvayna.  
Chasers are so named because they chase stakes, though stake fulfillment is not the only job they take.
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In this document:
Artwork by Shanda Nelson unless otherwise stated


Chaser: the Job

  Jilvaynian guards, while official law enforcement, only perform a select few duties. They, first and foremost, serve in whatever capacity the crown sees fit, which normally means collecting taxes on trade goods brought to the cities by merchants and farmers. Next, they serve aristocrats and will patrol their estates. They serve businesses, and investigate murders, grand larceny, arson, and similar acts. They make tech raids and jail those responsible for selling it.   Nearly all else is left to chasers.  
Commoners who need justice have few options, so they turn to chasers. Local authorities, however, like to keep track of chaser goings-on. Because of this, they document chaser transactions in the form of a stake.   A stake is a form the placee fills out; if they cannot read or write, a guard does so for them. The stake explains what they need done, like the return of stolen merchandise, and lists a monetary reward for its completion. They give this reward to the guard.   Once the guard is certain all the relevant facts are on the form, they decide whether to honor the stake. If so, they collect the money from the placee, copy the stake, and place it in one of the large, bound stake books stored in the guardhouse. Chasers review these books and select stakes to fulfill.   Once they complete a stake, they return to a guardhouse. They fill out a chaser form that explains what they did to fulfill the stake they took, give the guard any relevant items they collected, then receive payment. Each guardhouse has a cash reserve for this purpose, though more expensive stakes might only be paid out by guardhouses in wealthier parts of town.
Official stake form for the Jiy City Guard
Guardhouses around Jilvayna will keep official records of stakes and the outcome of the chases for seven years.
Anyone can hire a chaser, even those who cannot pay. Patch, one of the infamous chasers of Jiy, will take street rat stakes despite their lack of ability to pay. The rat usually gets their stake fulfilled, and a warm meal to go with it.   Patch firmly believes that even the poorest deserve justice and he will complete those stakes with joy.
Guards chose what stakes are placed in the stake books. If they believe a placee is lying, or if they feel the stake's harm is not in society's best interest, they will refuse to accept it.   The placees, if denied, tend to go to the underground stake managers and issue their stake with them. If caught, jail time awaits.
Not all stakes are given through a guardhouse. Organizations like the rebellion's Blue Council will independently hire chasers to complete assignments, where having the guard privy to certain details would endanger either a rebel or the rebellion. The underground crime syndicates and underbosses also hire chasers, sometimes for very dark deeds.


Types of Stakes

Common Stakes
  • Return of stolen property/capture of thief
  • Lost item/pet / child
  • Return of kidnapped victim
  • Personal harm retribution
    eg for poisoning, or fraud. Normally involves bringing the criminal to a guardhouse to be seen by a magister.
  • Errands
    eg safely delivering an important legal document to a guardhouse that the underground doesn't want delivered
  • Bodyguard duties
    for singular events only

Common Stakes cont.
  • Petty revenge
    eg staking a merchant who destroyed one's merchandise and asking that his goods be delivered to a guardhouse for safekeeping until he can pay a fee. Almost all petty revenges involve the perpetrator needing to pay a fine at a guardhouse, as well as the chaser's fee.
  • Investigations
    eg A neighbor is stealing my chickens. Which one?
  • Hunting down petty criminals
  • Fee Collection
    This always involves the chaser escorting the target to the nearest guardhouse, where the target pays their fee to a guard. Chasers are never supposed to handle the bits themselves.
Uncommon Stakes
  • Serious revenge
    This normally entails destroying someone's professional life, though it never means murder. The crimes being revenged are considered heinous (eg rape). Guards are often involved in the same case, so chasers must tread lightly.
  • Bring murderer to justice
  • Bring underground criminal to justice
  • Steal item back
    These items have already been sold, either to a legit merchant or the underground, and a chaser is asked to return them.
Underground Stakes
  Underground stakes are criminal in nature, and a special underground stake manager keeps the books. These stakes pay better, but are usually far more dangerous than guard-approved stakes. If caught fulfilling them, chasers can be arrested, put in jail, fined, and even executed.  
  • Serious revenge
    This means serious harm or even murder.
  • Taking any stake from an underboss, a syndicate, or a rebel
  • Theft
  • Tech-involved anything
  • Underhanded jobs for aristocrats and wealthy commoners


Types of Chasers

  Chasers come in all types; those that take the most dangerous stakes due to the thrill, to those who accept the small-time ones that do not pay much but serve a greater good. Since the general public considers chasers their only viable means for justice they hold them in very high esteem.   Richer folk consider them an annoyance, but depending on what they need done, they, too, will hire a chaser.   Chasers tend to specialize in certain areas, eg investigations. Some chasers are so successful, that instead of using the guardhouses as mediaries, people will directly ask them for help. This is rare, however, since it requires the chaser to set up a shopfront, and most chasers do not want the expense, and taxes, associated with manning a store.  
  • Social good chasers
  • Errand runners
  • Bodyguards
  • Investigative chasers
  • Thief chasers
  • All-around chasers
  • Dark chasers
    known to commit crimes in pursuing a stake
  • Hunters
    these chasers accept death stakes; most are assassins. Hunters tend to have the cruelest chasers among their number.
Chaser is one of the few professions that street rats and reformed guttershanks can aspire to. Chasers are self-employed, and whether they make money or not depends on how many stakes they complete, not on employer whims.   The person who took out the stake does not know who completed it, so complaints about a former rat or a former shank doing the work is almost non-existent.
Women who enter the chaser profession are few. Society does not take them as seriously as they do male chasers, so they have a more difficult time acquiring remittance from guardhouses. Many have male partners that add legitimacy to their work.
While chasers can specialize in a particular kind of work, most accept all kinds of stakes. Because chasing relies on random money amounts, most have to take less dangerous but poorer-paying stakes just to feed themselves.

Cover image: by Shanda Nelson


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Dec 12, 2020 23:50 by Cassandra Sojourn

You have done an incredible job setting the tone of your world. With just this one article I am eager to explore more. Thank you for sharing. I am going to check out your novel this weekend when I have some more time. Beautiful work!

Choose your poison:   Phasmatum: An Afro-Solar-Fantasy world created for my epic novels.
Adazuri: A shonen-inspired magitech fantasy world home-brewed for 5e.
Dec 13, 2020 01:37 by Kwyn Marie

Thank you! It's been an interesting journey. I'm so happy you're interested, so please enjoy!

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