3.2.4 – Crafting Skills

Crafting skills are physical actions intended to create tools, which are heavily reliant on social and mental attributes. Note that the tools are usually physical objects, but they can also be intellectual object like the proper alignment of a vessel toward a destination.

There are three stages to crafting. Acquisition involves obtaining raw materials from the environment. Processing involves preparing those raw materials. Creation involves crafting processed materials into useful implements, which can be material or informational.

Note that many crafting skills are modified by or can require the character have certain fields of knowledge.

Acquisition.

[PRI onward]

Collecting – capturing minerals for food, medicine, or tools. Specified by mineral. Also, implicitly specified by habitat. As tech level develop, the techniques develop, increasing the difficulty of advancement. Can be modified by the character’s geology knowledge.

Espionage – gathering information stealthily. This information is processed through Intelligence. Can be modified by the character’s psychology or sociology knowledge.

Fishing – locating water-dwelling animals. Actually obtaining the animal may require a combat skill involving a net, spear, or other tool/weapon. Specified by habitat. Can be modified by the character’s zoology knowledge.

Gathering – capturing vegetable matter for food, medicine, or tools. Implicitly specified by habitat. Can be modified by the character’s botany knowledge.

Hunting – otherwise known as tracking, this is locating land-dwelling and flying animals, including characters. Whatever result is intended by this hunt may require another skill. Specified by habitat. Can be modified by the character’s zoology knowledge.

Trapping – capturing meat with traps set for later retrieval. Specified by type of trap: deadfalls, snares, leg-holds, body-holds, pits, glue traps, cage traps, weir. Also implicitly specified by habitat. Can be modified by the character’s zoology knowledge.

Waterfinding – locating drinkable water in areas where water is scarce. Specified by habitat. Can be modified by the character’s geology or hydrology knowledge.

[ANC onward]

Compilation – a set of techniques to organize information to improve the application of mental attributes. Can be modified by the character’s field of study in relation to the information to be compiled.

Processing.

[PRI onward]

Farming – purposefully growing vegetable matter. Specified by species, but the narrator may rule that certain collective farming techniques count as a single skill, like the Native American “three sisters” method of planting maize, squash, and beans together. Also implicitly specified by habitat. Can be modified by the character’s botany knowledge.

Cleaning – preparing the meat of trapped, hunted, or fished creatures. Specified by species.

Preparing – preparing vegetable matter for food, medicine, or tools. Specified by species.

Herding – a set of techniques to maintain a group of animals kept for meat and other products. These creatures can be land-dwelling, flying, or water-dwelling, but the herding skill is nevertheless specified by species. This differs from animal communication in that it relies on a set of learned techniques, but it can be assisted by animal communication. Can be modified by the character’s zoology knowledge.

Animal Training – a set of techniques to teach animals to follow basic instructions. These creatures can be land-dwelling, flying, or water-dwelling, but the animal training skill is nevertheless specified by species. This differs from animal communication in that it relies on a set of learned techniques, but it can be assisted by animal communication or modified by the character’s zoology knowledge.

Riding – a set of techniques allowing the character to use an animals as transportation, beasts of burden, or platforms for combat. While normally land-dwelling, these creatures can also be flying or water-dwelling, but the riding skill is nevertheless specified by species. This differs from animal communication in that it relies on a set of learned techniques, but it can be assisted by animal communication or modified by the character’s zoology knowledge.

Smelting – heating ore to extract the metal from it. Can be modified by the character’s geology knowledge.

[ANC onward]

Analysis – processing information from espionage or compilation into a usable form.

[MED onward]

Papermaking – creating  paper for individual use in correspondence, forms, and maps or the construction of scrolls and codices. Creating scrolls simply requires writing, but creating codices requires skills at binding and covering.

Wine Pressing – Using a screw-based machine to apply pressure to fruit in order to obtain juice, usually for making wine.

Creation. An important way of specifying creation skills is by the intent of the effect: design (including improvement), construction (the basic version), repair, or sabotage. Design is a wholly mental activity, but including in crafting for simplicity’s sake. Construction is the basic form of creation, using learned designs. Repair is a highly valued skill specification among workers who use the relevant tools in their trade, like ship’s carpenters. Sabotage would include skills like lockpicking, demolition, and counterfeiting.

[PRI onward]

Ballistics – devising the proper arc for missile attacks, modifying relevant combat actions. This can be via careful study through practice or a set of learned techniques.

Boatwright – creating watercraft from wood, leather, steel, and other materials. Must be specified by material and style. In terms of NRP, shipwrights are a form of boatwright. Can be modified by the character’s engineering knowledge.

Bowyer – creating bows. This includes crossbows and (during later tech levels, ANC onward) siege engines that operate as bows, for example ballistas. Can be modified by the character’s engineering knowledge.

Brewing – creating alcoholic beverages. Can be modified by the character’s chemistry skill. In EXCEPTIONAL settings, can be modified by the character’s herbalism knowledge.

Cartwright – creating wheeled craft for travel and transport on land. Must be specified by material and style. Can be modified by the character’s engineering knowledge.

Carving – creating tools or visual images by shaping stone, wood, bone, or other materials by removing pieces of it. Specified by materials and method.

Casting – creating tools and weapons by pouring smelted and melted metal, or another liquid material, into a cast. This can be used to create tools, weapons, sculptures, or architectural features. Must be specified by material, and the type of casting to be made. Can be modified by the character’s engineering knowledge.

Cooking – creating food from prepared meat, vegetable matter, and minerals. Specified by habitat. In EXCEPTIONAL settings, can be modified by the character’s herbalism knowledge.

Cordage – creating thread and rope from natural fibers. Must be specified by the fiber and the type of cordage.

Disguise – creating other goods (clothing, paint, etc.) that enable a character to look like another character or a member of a specific group. This skill becomes considerably more effective at higher tech levels.

Donning – the product of donning skill is the ability to effectively use worn items. This means any item, including special clothing and armor, that achieves some modification of action rolls. Must be specialized by the type of item worn. A character can be assumed to be competent in donning his or her normal clothes, of course.

Fire Making – starting fires with a given set of materials. Specified by method: friction, sparking stones, focusing light with a lens, etc.

Fletcher – creating arrows and bolts for use in all sorts of bows. Must be specified by the type of weapon. Can be modified by the character’s engineering knowledge.

Knapping – creating tools and weapons with collected flint.

Leatherworking – creating clothing (a form of tool) from the skin of creatures.

Medicine – creating medicines from prepared meat, vegetable matter, and minerals. Specified by habitat. Can be modified by the character’s chemistry or pharmacology skill. In EXCEPTIONAL settings, can be modified by the character’s herbalism knowledge.

Navigation – The product of navigation is an accurate waterborne course to a destination, taking into consideration not only geography but also winds and currents. Can be modified by the character’s astronomy, geography, oceanography, or meteorology knowledge.

Painting – creating visual images by applying some material to a surface. Specified by materials and method.

Pottery – creating containers from clay.

Sailing – The product of sailing success is the placement of sails toward the ends of navigation.

Smithing – creating tools and weapons by hammering smelted metal. Must be specified by metal, and by whether the tools created are crafting tools, weapons, or armor. Traditionally, one who smiths both crafting tools and weapons is known as a blacksmith, while one who creates armor is an armorer. A farrier is one who is doubly specified in iron and applying shoes to the hooves of animals, horses in traditional settings. Can be modified by the character’s engineering knowledge.

Survivalism – a set of techniques to aid characters to avoid the affects of a harsh environment. Note that—as hunting, fishing, gathering, collecting, fire starting, and waterfinding are their own skills—this skill focuses on applying these skills and other actions toward surviving extreme environments. Thus, it can modify those other skills when the going gets tough, but also helps RESISTANCE to things like extreme cold, heat, poor air, dehydration, etc. Must be specified by habitat.

Weaving – creating containers and cloth from cordage. Must be specified by the type of cordage and the type of container or cloth.

[ANC onward]

Administration – a set of techniques for modifying ACUMEN and VISION action rolls. Compare to the teambuilding knowledge.

Authentication – a set of techniques for securing the authenticity of documents and goods. This usually involves some sort of seal that secures the object from nefarious duplication. Early forms included wax or stamped seals. The sabotage specialization of this skill is known as counterfeiting.

Bookkeeping – a set of techniques to keep track of economic (and other) exchanges.

Cryptography – a set of techniques to disguise communications. This is closely related to authentication, but involves a change in the communication itself rather than a seal attached to the communication.

Glassmaking – creating tools made of glass. Can be modified by the character’s engineering or optics knowledge.

Hydraulics – a set of techniques for applying liquid power (usually water) to machinery. This can modify machinery’s actions on watermills, or even sailing and navigation as they are influenced by currents. Latter developments include hydroelectric power generation and powered water transport using propeller screws.

Irrigation – creating works to channel water for farming. This includes the creation of rice paddies. Can be modified by the character’s engineering knowledge.

Machinery – creating tools driven by gears, ratchets, levers, etc. of wood or metal or plastic. At first this is very basic machinery like watermills, but it later includes more complex machines. Can be modified by the character’s engineering, chemistry, optics, mathematics, etc. knowledge.

Mapmaking – creating charts for aid in travel, navigation, city planning, etc. Can be modified by the character’s geography knowledge.

Masonry – creating buildings from prepared stone. Can be coupled with the casting of concrete. Can be modified by the character’s engineering knowledge.

Pneumatics – a set of techniques for applying gas power to machinery. This can modify machinery’s actions on windmills, or even sailing and navigation as they are influenced by the winds. Latter developments include the parachute and powered flight by rotary aircraft.

Soapmaking – creating materials that clean objects and characters. Can be modified by the character’s chemistry knowledge.

Teambuilding – a set of techniques for modifying INSIGHT and SHREWDNESS action rolls. Compare to the administration skill.

[MED onward]

Bookmaking – creating codices from prepared pages that already have writing or printing on them.

Distillation – creating concentrating liquids using machinery for evaporation and condensation. Can be used to create alcoholic beverages, or substances for pharmacology and herbalism knowledge.

Lensmaking – creating glass tools that change the direction and properties of light. Can be modified by the character’s engineering or optics knowledge.

Press Printing – Using a device very similar to a winepress, but to press ink onto sheets of paper, either for binding in a book or as completed indivindual flyer. Thus, press printing is technically a processing/creation skill. The images to be pressed onto the paper can be woodcuts (requiring a skilled carver) or pages of cast metal character (requiring a typesetter). Can be modified by the character’s engineering knowledge.

Typesetting – Organizing cast metal characters, called sorts, into words, lines, paragraphs, and pages for use in a printing press. Can be modified by the character’s engineering knowledge.

[ENL onward]

Powdermilling – creating gunpowder from processed sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate (also called saltpeter).

[IND onward]

Steam machinery – applying the power of steam to machinery. This can be seen as an expansion of machinery and hydraulics.

Mechanization – substituting human power for machine power. This can be seen as an expansion of machinery.

Electricity – creation of tools generating or powered by electricity. This includes lights, telegraphy, and telephony.

[ATM onward]

Nuclear engineering – designing, constructing, maintaining, and/or sabotaging reactors and bombs. May, of course, be specified by intent or whether reactors or bombs are the relevant tool.

Rocketry – designing chemical propulsion systems.

Electromagnetic Communications – designing tools that communicate using electromagnetic waves. This includes radio and television.

[CYB onward]

Hardware Design – creation of electronic tools to manage information, including systems that communicate between these tools. The sabotage specialization of this skill is called phreaking. This can be seen as an advancement of electricity. A specialization of this skill toward achieving physical results is called robotics. A further specialization to apply robotics to improving the action of creatures is called cyborg tech.

Software Design – creation of written programs that guide the behavior of electronic tools, including the means of communicating between these tools. The sabotage specialization of this skill is called hacking. A specialization of this skill toward achieving independent mental actions is called artificial intelligence.

Lasers – creation of tools using coherent light. This can include computer and communications technology, or weapons.

Genetic engineering – creation of biological products by manipulating the genes of creatures.

[SPC onward]

Ionics – designing ion propulsion tools.

Plasmatics – designing tools that use plasma, including propulsion systems and weapons.

Warp Tech – designing tools that bend space to aid in transportation. The nature of this skill relies heavily on the rule of the game setting.

Gravitics – designing tools that manipulate the force of gravity. This can mean artificial gravity and gravity-driven forms of propulsion. The nature of this skill relies heavily on the rule of the game setting.

CRAFTING CLUSTERS

In order to craft certain tools, multiple crafting skills are required. In these cases, the game setting should provide a profession (to which characters could be apprenticed) that encompasses all of the relevant skills. These are not as confining as the classes one finds in other RPGs, of course, only being restricted by the necessities of the tools being created.

Three examples of crafting clusters are provided below for guidance.

Siege Engineer. [ANC onward] These military experts are masters at creating moveable weapons for use against fortresses and city walls. The relevant skills are cartwright, machinery, masonry, ballistics, bowyer and fletcher (for ballistae), mining (for undermining walls), etc.

Gunsmith. [ENL onward] Crafting gunpowder weapons requires casting, smithing, machinery, powedermilling (if only to understand the nature of gunpowder), and carving.

Android Design. [CYB onward] Creating thinking machines requires hardware design, software design, as well as some means of powering the android.