#AtoZ: O is for Ostiary

This post belongs to the #AtoZchallenge 2024, where I attempt to turn a word a day into something that can be used in Role Playing Games.

In ancient Rome, the Ostiarius was doorman, porter or gatekeeper – usually a slave who was sometimes even chained to the door to prevent flight. Their main obligation was to keep unwanted persons out and regulate the entry and passage of wanted persons.

In early Christianity, they became the gatekeeper for churches and graveyards. Their duties grew over time into general keepers of the church, even becoming the lowest clerical rank in the Roman-Catholic church during Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. Their „blue collar duties“ were often transfered to laypeople, and they began to turn into „white collar workers“ in a bishop’s entourage until the position was abolished in 1972.

How to integrate it into your typical fantasy RPG?

  • A supernatural being that is bound to the entrance of sacred places.
  • Evil beings could chain slaves to their doors which plead with rescuers not to enter and, if necessary even fight them – as any damage caused by those who enter without invitation of their evil masters will be transfered to them.
  • It could be a class specialized in fighting the undead, having grown out of a guild of graveyard protectors.

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