airwalkrr's Out of the Abyss
Adventurers in the World of Greyhawk are a not exactly a common sight. The profession is certainly romanticized by bards, poets, and writers all throughout the Flanaess, but this hardly makes it commonplace. The fact of the matter is that adventuring is a dangerous business. Most adventurers in the Flanaess are human and begin their careers at the average age of 17. That few adventurers survive to the age of 18 is telling. Even mercenaries have a safer profession, as most mercenary jobs involve less risk (in times of peace anyway). But with great risk comes great reward, and adventuring is certainly one of the most lucrative, if not the most lucrative profession of all.
Most adventurers in the Flanaess are fighters or rogues. Clerics and wizards are the second-most common. All other classes are uncommon in adventuring companies. Similarly, humans make up the majority of adventurers. Elves tend to remain in their forest homes, dwarves prefer other endeavors like mining and prospecting, and halflings can rarely be bothered to leave the safety of their comfortable holes, but all can be found adventuring if one looks hard enough. The other races which inhabit civilized society are rare enough that they are uncommon in any profession, let alone adventuring.
In the World of Greyhawk, adventurers often form companies typically consisting of 8-30 members; smaller companies are more informal. Each company is different, and the rules governing the company, such as distribution of “salvage” (treasure), leadership, and who is allowed to join varies from company to company. Some prefer democratic means, others invest a single leader with authority to make decisions, and still others have different rules. The agreement is usually laid down in writing, with a figure of some local or regional authority bearing witness to the signatory members. This is all mostly ceremonial; few courts of the land have the power, let alone the desire, to take on cases involving disputes within an adventuring company. Such cases are therefore most commonly decided by a duel between the dissenting parties, a final resort when no compromise can be reached. Such duels are understandably rare, as few are willing to risk their lives over a few coins. Nevertheless the fact contributes somewhat to the risk of the business.