A fletcher is a craftsman who makes arrows for a living - individual archers might well fletch their own ammunition privately (unless there is an ahistorically severely enforced guild monopoly), but only the fletcher manufacturers in bulk1. Strictly, fletching is the process of assembling the arrow from parts and the striking of heads was the work of an arrowsmith, but the pre-modern period was not one for overspecialisation and a fletcher may have limited smithing skills as well. He could also, conceivably, be a bowyer and thus run a one-stop shop for archery supplies2.
It would also be reasonable to expect a fletcher to be able to produce darts and crossbow bolts as well - anything with flights and a pointy end infact. He might even end up working on rounds for a ballista.
Status can vary widely - a fletcher might be unfree (such as a feudal serf-craftsman or a skilled slave) or might be a free tradesman, indeed there is nothing really preventing him from being a craft guild syndic and patrician given the right circumstances. It will probably take a very large bow-using community before a full time fletcher is required, although combining trades with an arrowsmith and/or bowyer (as above) may help.
Game and Story Use
- Expect most archer PCs to have fletching skills - and still to visit fletchers on a fairly frequent basis.
- Possibly a good source of sidequests to find feathers from something unusual for fletching special (?magical?) arrows or collecting special materials for arrowheads and shafts.
- Anyone hiring a lot of bowmen is going to need at least one fletcher unless he's prepared to have his men take up a lot of time and space making their own ammunition.