Professions: The Beggar
The Beggar, by Rincewind of Europa; Edited by Xena Dragon
Begging is one of the most underrated skills in the game. Most people simply don't see it as skill of it's own right and put into the same drawer that holds veterinary and some of the other less important skills. However, begging can not only be quite profitable, it also can bring you some unique experiences, no matter whether you chose it for role playing reason or simply for profit. The main advantage of the begging skill is that you don't need a supplementary skill like lumberjacking or mining to get you started. You'll get money right from the start.

At character creation it is not necessary to waste any points for begging. The beggar's practice weapon is the open hand and that can neither be stolen nor looted (well it can be looted, but the damage ain't permanent) nor can it break. Begging rises pretty fast in the beginning and doesn't slow down as much as other skills do at higher levels.

Start in Jhelom, Skara Brae, or any other town where NPC's are readily available. Don't start in Britain, Trinsic or Vesper. The people there are all scrooges and won't even give money to a GM Beggar if his fame and karma are too low.

The most profitable NPC's to beg from are Nobles, Seekers of Adventure, Fighters, and Paladins. If you're in for becoming a GM Beggar, you should concentrate on them initially. Don't even think of wasting your time with shopkeepers, they won't give you anyway until you're skilled enough. Additionally, you will need them as soon as your skill no longer rises while groveling to your standard clientele.

Below is a simple summary to show how the begging skill works:

  1. Initially, your skill affects ONLY your success in begging. Meaning, it determines whether you will be given some money or not. It does NOT determine the amount of gold you receive. If you manage to get beyond 90 skill, shopkeepers will begin to give you gold and things change a bit.
  2. If an NPC has 100 gold or more in its pack, it will give you 10 gold after each successful beg. Note, even if that NPC has more than 200 gold in its pack, it will still give only 10 gold pieces.
  3. If an NPC has 90-99 gold in its pack, it will give 9 gold pieces. 80-89 will yield 8 gold pieces, and so on.
  4. You can continue to beg from the same NPC until he or she runs out of gold.
    (editors note: or until he or she has 9 or less gold)
  5. If your karma gets too low, there is a chance the NPC will refuse to give you any gold at all. Where "low" means negative karma. All karma my GM Beggar had was the little he could acquire from wrestling rats in town.

The only danger to the beggar is a town thief. So be careful not to carry around a lot of money, and watch your back in general. But thieves are near the banks mainly and you will only be there for short moments to deposit your gold, so this danger ain't that big. And don't get discouraged if an NPC is not willing to part with its gold, it might be that it is flat broke.

So, now that you know the basics, it's time to actually start groveling to NPCs and take your character to grandmaster level and have an experience that is unique to the beggar.

Once you've gained about 80 skill you will notice that your skill no longer rises from groveling to our usual clientele of Nobles, Fighters, Paladins and Seekers of Adventure. Now it's time to start begging from Mages, Wandering Healers and the other NPCs except shopkeepers. They usually give less money than nobles but still have more than 100 gold to give. This should take you close to 90 skill where you will notice again that you don't gain further skill.

At this point, the "100 monkeys" phenomenon comes into play. You probably confuse this effect with the other famous theory that says that if you put 100 monkeys in a room with 100 typewriters, they will eventually come up with some Shakespeare novel. This theory is wrong as the Internet already has proven. The real "100 monkeys effect" goes like this: One monkey on an isolated islands learns to use a skill, e.g. using a tool to open sea shells. Other monkeys learn from him. As soon as a certain amount of other monkeys have learned the skill, too, *all* monkeys will suddenly have that skill, even those on other islands that don't have contact. Now, that's probably an urban legend, but it happens in UO:

At above ninety you will notice sudden skill gains when *unsuccessfully* groveling to a shopkeeper or other craftsman. From this point on, there will be at least one other NPC of the same profession somewhere on your shard that will give you money if you beg from him. Once you've gotten money from him, all other NPCs of the same profession will be willing to give you money, too.

Interestingly, you will most likely only get further skill gain if you continue to beg from this type of NPCs and only once for every profession. So you will have to travel a lot to find the "magic" NPCs that will give you the skill points you need to become a Grandmaster. You will eventually have to visit the islands that can't be reached with the moongates and I even had to walk through Papua and Delucia to get from 99.2 to 99.8 . 99.9 was acquired in Nujel'm and it was the tailor's guildmistress in Serpent's Hold that made the final point. So, the Grandmaster Beggar is probably the only profession that learns to know every single NPC character on a shard which is indeed no small quest.

Stuff to note that just doesn't fit anywhere else.

The gold you get from an NPC through begging doesn't equal the amount of gold you see in their backpacks via snooping. They draw off some hidden reserve. It's like if you give an NPC a rune and then snoop their pack, the rune won't be there, it will be in their secret stash.

The use of begging in no way effects your fame, but it does lower your karma. You might use a lot of it if you're admirable.

However, fame might effect your chance of successfully groveling. I will report on this later once my beggar has gained some fame-

Begging from NPCs that are too far away from you will usually yield the message "You are too far away..." Sometimes you will also get "You couldn't beg from it anyway" The latter message has no meaning at all. Don't let them fool you and get closer. If your skill is sufficient, they will give.

Begging is the purest skill to return only money. By that I mean you don't have to chop some wood then carve a bow to make the money.

Begging goes unaffected by thief activity because of the NPC hidden stash. And if you happen to be a mage who is in the accompanying business, you can get double income by groveling NPC travellers into the ground and still get your reward.

Don't forget to actually try some serious role playing and grovel to other players as well. Make sure your character is easily discernible from the "Can you spare some armour for a newbie that was just PK'ed?" type of losers and do some serious begging. There might be some surprises in for you...

There, that's all you need to know to start down the path of begging and take your character to grandmaster. Use it as you see fit.

Rincewind, Grandmaster Beggar, Europa

[Thanks to Hauntess of The Outpost for her original work that inspired this essay]