Harvester

"I'm looking for something a bit more...unusual."

"I might have something like that in the back."
  A harvester is someone who collects and sells rare and difficult-to-obtain potion ingredients and other items used in magic rituals, talismans, et cetera, including controlled substances, protected animals, or illegally obtained / stolen items.   Harvesters supply these goods to various underground markets, direct to buyers, or even supply certain alchemical and potions shops. Despite heavy penalties if caught (fines or even loss of business license), shopowners are drawn to harvesters' prices on their untaxed and uninspected items, along with their ability to procure illegal goods.  
I heard you're a collector of dangerous trophies. Are you perhaps also a seller?
— Overheard in the Hideout
The stock is low. It's emptying.
Will you go a-harvesting?
Type
Illicit
Demand
High - rising magic addiction rates push demand of illegal and controlled substances
Legality
Illegal in all countries of Imbria
Illusion Guides and Dabblers are bad, but harvesters, they're the worst. Harvesters supply all the other criminals. Plus, they're a vicious breed.
— Officer of Salaris

A Fierce Reputation

Money isn't the only thing that draws people to being harvesters. For some, it's the thrill: of committing illegal acts, hunting dangerous creatures, meeting nefarious criminals, travel, and large payouts. Others find themselves victims of circumstance.   But however one finds their way into the profession, seasoned harvesters thrive on building a fierce reputation. Afterall, the best harvesters who can procure the most dangerous ingredients are the ones employed the most often.  

Types of Harvesters

Individuals

It is unknown how many individual harvesters operate throughout Imbria.   Often, these individuals are young adults looking for easy money. These lone criminals seldom have the resources to gain great wealth or notoriety.   Furthermore, the number of witches and nomas who have dabbled in harvesting in some capacity is thought to be very high.

Groups

Harvester groups have become more common and more powerful, with some very successful, yet ellusive, groups cornering the underground market.   Typical harvester groups are small, tight-knit units with a variety of skills, contacts, and backgrounds. These groups are often able to hunt more dangerous creatures, like the Alpine Cat or the Magimandus and often form very effective trade networks.
 

Specialties

Harvesters deal in a wide variety of goods. Some may specialize in one type of good or another, or they may work with any combination. For example, some harvesters refuse to deal with animal products of any kinds, while others almost exlusively do so.  

Plants

Various plants are common targets of harvesters, and this trade is largely responsible for the profession's name.   Specifically, harvesters target plants used in the production of drugs and/or potions. They harvest and trade in whole plants, seeds, plant materials, and even distillations and other products.   Legality: some plants and their derivatives are controlled substances, legally available only through certified suppliers and carefully monitored and recorded. Purchasing through a harvester allows shops to bypass sale limits and records while paying lower prices.

Creatures

A wide variety of animals are stolen, bred, traded, and poached for illegal animal trade, potions and alchemy shops, tanneries, and other uses.   While some harvesters deal in live animal trades many more focus on specific parts:
  • Pelts sold to tanneries
  • Claws and teeth for talismans
  • Organs, fluids, etc. for potion-making
  • Venom for poisons, antidotes, potions
  • Bones for various uses
  • Magimandus scales for potions, medicines, talismans, etc.

  • Legality: each country sets its own limits on hunting and trading of various species.

    Potions, artifacts, & other magic items

    Little more than thieves, these harvesters specialize in collecting and selling various magical items, such as rare and/or ancient potions and artifacts.   Some of these harvesters fancy themselves adventurers, searching through ruins in search for ancient items, while others go so far as to execute heists from museums, universities, manors, and other locations.   Legality: this specialty often involves theft, trespassing, breaking and entering, fraud, and other crimes. Harvesters also avoid permits, inspections, and taxation on finds, stealing from archeological digs.
      Sacrificial Ingredients
    Some harvesters also deal in substances required in sacrificial magics like blood magic or necromancy. These dealings are highly secretive and very few harvesters will admit, even amongst themselves, that they deal in these materials. This can include:  
    Living or Recently deceased
  • Human blood (willing or unwilling donors)
  • Human hair, nails, or skin
  • Organs
  • Remains
  • Ashes
  • Exhumed bones
  • Dried materials
  •   Demand for these items is driven by the activity of Dabblers trying out these forbidden magics. Interestingly, Salarians dabbling in necromancy often exceed the commonly observed practices of Necros (while necromancy is celebrated in Necros, there are strict rules as to when and how remains can be used and ceremonies for collecting ingredients, as Necros greatly honors their dead).   Legality: trade in these materials is strictly forbidden throughout most of Imbria and are highly regulated in Necros through the Temple of Na'arin and the Office of Necromancy.
     
     

    A Dangerous Game

    Harvesting is an extremely dangerous profession. If caught, a harvester can face heavy penalties including fines, imprisonment, community services, forced military conscription, and other legal ramifications.   Early death is a common outcome for many harvesters. It is not unusual for them to be killed in the act, either by witches protecting their property or through resisting arrest. As a criminal enterprise, harvesters are often quick to resort to violence in response to opposition and even to "settle" disputes amongst themselves.   Additionally, many of the plants and animals that harvesters poach are extremely dangerous in and of themselves. Disorganized, unprepared harvester groups fall to the very species they seek to capture and sell.
       

    Commonly Poached species

    Temple Guardian

    Temple Guardian is an extremely poisonous and caustic plant whose flower petals are used in healing salves, as well as various potions and poisons. It is extremely difficult to grow, and can be lethal if mishandled. As such, it is a prime target of harvesters who steal parts of this plant from wealthy homes, temples, and universities.   While growing Temple Guardian is perfectly legal in Salaris, most people do not have the skill or desire the inherent risk in tending to such a lethal plant.     (The article below contains a story about what happens when a harvester fails to take adequate precautions around this plant.)

    Magimandus

    Magimandi are thought to be capable of consuming magical energies, and as such, their scales are thought to hold latent power that can lend itself to potions when ground into a powder or to people when worn as a protective charm.   Its teeth, blood, claws, and bones are also traded, however the scales are the most coveted part.   The Eldahi people revere this creature and protect it. The Eldahi also sell humanely sourced scales that are collected after being naturally shed or from magimandi that die from natural causes. Any sale of scales from non-Eldahi is considered a grave insult and a high crime by Eldahi.

    Alpine Cat

    The Alpine Cat is an extremely dangerous predator living in the frigid and inhospitable Northern Mountains of Rhovan and Necros.   The terrain alone is often enough to deter most from trying to poach this creature. Oftentimes, those who venture into the alpine cat's territory never return.   However, alpine cat pelts, claws, and teeth are still highly valued. While hunting these cats is legal in the northern countries, harvesters often ignore limits and sale laws surrounding the creatures.     (The article Lily tells the story of when a group of harvesters cross the wrong alpine cat)
     

    Comments

    Author's Notes

    Thank you for reading! Please be sure to check out my official Progress Page to see all of my World Ember 2021 articles.


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    2 Dec, 2021 07:42

    Cool article! I loved seeing Lily's article, it brought back memories!   Question: is there any way to obtain certain things legally? Are they sold for higher prices? Or are certain body parts simply unobtainable and thus certain spells uncastable? In which case, would using said spells out you as a buyer of illegal harvested items?  

    Some of these harvesters fancy themselves adventurers
    Hihihi, I loved that part. It feels like a jab to the side to many adventuring groups ;)

    7 Dec, 2021 05:03

    Thank you so much for your comments and your questions. They helped me clarify and improve the article.   Yes, many items harvesters deal in are legally available, but through specific dealers, and the items are heavily regulated, taxed, etc. (with the exception of some things which are always illegal). Harvesters bypass regulations, and thereby offer cheaper goods, sometimes at larger quantities. I could add tax evasion to their list of crimes :)   As far as specific spells, I haven't really developed individual spells yet, but I do imagine some spells/potions would be impossible or far more difficult without specialty items. Or perhaps it would influence the strength/duration/etc. I suppose some spells would out you as a buyer, but you'd have to be caught by the authorities, and in most cases, it would be a lesser crime to being a harvester. Could be an interesting short story or bit of prose though, using a buyer to get to the seller....   Again, thank you for your feedback and questions.

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    7 Dec, 2021 06:51

    Awesome! I also really like the addition of the sacrificial ingredients section :)

    2 Dec, 2021 09:20

    Some of these harvesters fancy themselves adventurers
      I was going to say, sounds like a great entry career for some adventurers xD   Great article, and the formatting is absolutely fantastic. It looks so good and inviting to read :D


    Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
    7 Dec, 2021 05:04

    Thank you so much :)

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    Sage George Sanders
    George Sanders
    3 Dec, 2021 16:57

    I really like the color scheme on this page. The extra headings with orange and icons really make it stand out and easy to read. Also like how it linked so many previous articles and ideas together - from the types of poachers to the types of species.

    Check out my World Ember progress! Completed Articles

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    7 Dec, 2021 05:06

    Thank you :)

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    4 Dec, 2021 23:08

    This is such a great article. I love your use of icons! :D I really like that you've gone into detail on the different types of harvesters there are, such as individuals and groups and their specialities, as well as common targets of the harvesters. It was fun seeing articles I've read referenced here too. :)

    Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
    7 Dec, 2021 05:08

    Thank you so much :)

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    7 Jan, 2022 18:53

    I like how you write sacrificial ingredients as a spoiler, so it'd not make the article feel disturbing. Combined with the well-formatting and many details, I totally love it!

    Come visits Terraloga, the story of the fictional Romans on how they are going to rule the world.

    6 May, 2022 04:51

    Thank you so much :)

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