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Basic Information

The term master can have a variety of meanings, generally related to a high degree of proficiency in a given field of expertise (mastery), and frequently the ability or licence to teach others. Of those relevant to RPG/fiction culture any of the following may apply depending on context:

  • A member of a guild who has been recognised as possessing enough experience and skill (or money and political clout) to enter into business on their own account, employing journeymen and training apprentices and acting as a full and voting member of the guild (the whole package is generally known as a franchise). Also known as a Master Craftsman (if in a craft guild) or master merchant if in a trade guild. These are the men (usually men) from amongst whom the guild syndics are elected.
    • More generally, anyone who takes on an apprentice, even outside a formal guild structure.
  • A person who has "mastered" a fighting style (as in Master of Defence, Master at Arms or Martial Arts Master) and, besides being recognised as a skilled combatant might well be one to whom others look for training.
  • Someone who has completed the full programme of study in a given field at a university (traditionally), or a course of entry level postgraduate study (in the modern era), once considered the true point of graduation and a pre-requisite for teaching (except at university level which would be the purview of a doctor).
  • A non-commissioned (or warranted) officer in charge of a ship or the navigation and sailing thereof (also Sailing master - compare the old rank of master and commander for a comissioned officer below the rank of Captain in charge of a ship).
  • The owner of a slave or the bondholder of many other forms of unfree person.
    • Also, the employer of a free servant.
  • The owner of an animal.


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