Core Rules: Trade Skills

[toc list: ol; title: Table of Contents; minlevel: 2; maxlevel: 4; attachments: 1;]

Description

[Agriculture / Apothecary / Artist / Blacksmith / Bookbinder / Bowyer / Brewer / Calligrapher / Carpenter / Cartographer / Chemist / Clothier / Cook / Dentist / Doctor / Embalmer / Glassblower / Gunsmith / Jeweller / Leatherworker / Locksmith / Merchant / Miner / Potter / Sculptor / Shipwright / Shoesmith / Stonemason / Tanner / Valet / Writer]

Trades are the art of making money by producing stuff or providing a service. The above list is by no means exhaustive, if you have a good idea for a trade skill, tell your GM about it (and let us know too). A character can have more than one trade, as long as they have the time to learn each trade that they practice.

A character can engage in their trade(s) in between adventures to earn a living. A 'working week' in Echelon is usually about 6 days and depends on the job: more manually intensive jobs tend to work longer hours. Time spent trading cannot be spent on training.

At certain skill levels, a character can practice your trade without supervision and make a decent living, use the tools of your trade, perform the trade's daily tasks, supervise untrained helpers and/or apprentices, and handle common problems. Untrained labourers usually earn about ⅛ to ¼ of their master's earnings in a day, depending on their own skill level (and how much detail you want to get into).

Some trades allow a character to craft things (both for their own use and for sale), and will be noted as such, along with a timescale in days for a finished product.

A character can choose to specialise - they get a +1 bonus to rolls for their specialisation, but a -1 to rolls outside of it. E.g., if a level 5 wheat farmer wanted to raise sheep, then they would have a +4 bonus for rearing sheep rather than a +5.

A character can leverage their trade for favour or charity, as to win over the recipients of their goodwill. This does not necessarily mean giving things away for free, expertise can be just as valuable: a very experienced level 9 farmer can use his knowledge to help out a struggling village for example. The GM should adjudicate any bonuses when interacting with people who have been at the receiving end of such goodwill.

Depth of Trading

Trading can become very in-depth, and could even form the core adventures of the characters involved if all of the players wished it to be.

The players and GM are encouraged to work out how in-depth their use of trade skills should be before they begin a game. This can be anywhere from abstracting completely to a single roll to cover gaps between adventures, delving in very occasionally to craft specific items; to running the game as a trading enterprise adventure.

Engaging in Trading

Summed up:

  • Outlay the costs and materials (if any)
  • After a certain amount of in-game time, test against your trade skill
  • If the character passes, they successfully do their trade and reap the benefits
  • If they fail, the character may either be set back or waste the resources entirely

Trading is measured in 'intervals', a flexible time unit that could be anywhere between a day or a year. This is for abstracting the daily ups-and-downs of a trade skill over a longer time period; so that everyone does not become overburdened with stacks of paperwork to rival a poorly managed in-tray and an amount of rolling dice to make a Shadowrun® player blanche.

A character will begin an interval by outlaying some cash - normally anywhere between ⅛ to ¾ of the price of the finished goods or net earnings - and find or purchase any materials required. Once all of the things have been gathered, the characrer rolls their trade skill test for that interval. The stats used to make the test are noted in the trade skill's entry below. Most trades will take a few intervals to complete a task to earn money or craft items.

A pass on the trade skill test will yield a positive result of some sort: usually either money earned or something crafted. Trade skills might also be used to curry favour with other characters by working for them or solving a problem relevant to a trade skill. A slight failure (around 2 or less, GM to decide) will set back their work by one interval, but not waste the initial outlay of money and materials. A greater failure will mean that the work done this interval has failed, and nothing is gained.

Each level of training that a character has increases their target number by 1. i.e., having level 5 in a trade will give a +5 bonus to their trade skill dice roll.

You can safely assume that when rolling a trade skill a character is not only engaging in their trade, but also actively searching for buyers or a market if appropriate. This can be going to the local market, setting up in their shop, talking to contacts, and so on. Unless it is pertinent to a quest or mission, this saves time by avoiding mundane trading scenarios.

The GM should feel free to randomize the prices a little: The GM could use dice rolls, or choose arbitrary modifications.

Finally, any oddities that arise during trading should be worked out by the GM.

Training in Trades

Noted below is the amount of time (in days) needed under expert tuition to achieve the level of expertise listed. When spending a character's initial 5000 days, it is assumed that they have access to expert tuition - schooling, on the job training, and so forth. If no expert tuition is available, double the amount of time needed to study from the previous level.

If the trade skill is particularly cerebral you will also need have access to books, notes and so forth detailing the methods and means of the skill. Skills that need such materials will say so in their description. The GM should restrict learning of these particular skills to the vicinities of suitable centres of learning as appropriate. If no materials are available and are required, but expert tuition is present, double the amount of time needed to study from the previous level. Skills that require learning materials cannot be trained if neither the materials nor an expert is on hand.

Skill TrainingExpert AvailableExpert Not Available
Materials Not NeededNo penaltyDouble learning time
Materials NeededDouble learning timeCannot train

The time taken to learn a skill from the defaults below is reduced in days by a character's Intelligence Bonus, multiplied by the level of skill you presently possess. For example: If a character's intelligence bonus is 3 and they are training a skill from level 4 up to level 5, they would have a time reduction of 12 days.

Training in levels 7, 8 and 9 must be spread over at least 1 year each in-game time.

Training for all trade skill is thus, with the time required measure in in-game days:

Level123456789
Time required24364860728496108120

For each interval that a character successfully completes, they can use the days in that interval as training for levelling up: Note that this would ordinarily be double learning time due to a lack of expert tutition.

Unless otherwise stated, the level for mastery of a trade is 5, the level for supervision in a trade is 3, and the level for having apprentices in a trade is 5. The level of mastery indicates at what level a character can train others. The level of supervision is the level at which a character can hire labourerseffectively in their trade. If they're under this level, then they'll need double the number of labourers for the same benefits. The level for apprenticing is the level at which a character can take on and begin training apprentices. Apprentices can also look after an operation whilst the charcater is away, and also look after their own labourers.

Agriculture

Growing, caring for and harvesting crops and/or animals - a character could specialise: e.g. dairy, wheat farming, sheep farming, etc.

TestInt + Str
Cost of materialsAround ¼ final product value
Recommended minimum test interval4 weeks (24 working days)
Average price per yield

Animals: 40S per cow, 20S per sheep
Crops: 2G 40S per acre.

Agriculture needs a fair amount of land for farming. Measured in either acres (100 square yards) or km² (1000 square yards, or 10 acres). Per acre:

  • You can fit around 3 to 6 cows or similar sized animals for grazing. Horses are one alternative.
  • You can fit around 6 to 12 sheep or similar sized animals for grazing. Pigs are one alternative.
  • You can fit around 30 to 60 hens or similar sized animals for grazing, pecking and other chicken-approved activities. Ducks, geese, or turkey are a few alternatives.
  • Or you can plant crops by the acre.

Farmers are not held with any particular regard by most others, although some in the upper classes will look down upon simple farmers. Agriculture here refers to actually working the land, rather than managing it as an estate.

Additional Restrictions

A character can look after acreage up to around triple their level in training, at a minimum of 4: For example, at level 4 they can tend to 12 acres.

A character will need at least 1 labourer for every 4 acres over their own acreage. i.e., if they have 12 acres at level 1, they'll need at least 2 labourers. A character can work as a labourer on someone else's farm for some of the yield per acre, or for pay.

An apprentice can look after around 8 acres, and a character can have any number of apprentices once the character is skilled enough.

There are capital costs to realize before begining farming, such as the cost of the land, any beasts of burden such as oxes or horses, the construction of buildings and so forth. The GM should adjudicate costs.

Apothecary

An apothecary is all about creating remedies for a variety of ailments. An apothecary's tinctures often tie in well with other healing methods... if they work at all.

TestInt + Per
Cost of materialsaround ¾ final product value
Recommended minimum test interval1 week (6 working days)
Average price per yield

Variable, depending on the medicine. Anywhere from a few copper for pleasant tasting tonics to a few gold for 'miracle cures'.

The apothecary is the precursor to the modern pharmasist, in a time when medicine and its effects on the body were not well understood. Modern 'home remedies' often began life as the wares of apothecaries. Players and the GM may wish to come up with many exotic tinctures and potions with all manner of effects with all manner of ingredients. Here are some more 'well trodden' mixtures that might yield some benefits.

The GM may well wish to randomize the effects of any potions and tinctures somewhat on their use, as all rememdies of Echelon's era are of variable quality.

  • Chamomile potions:
    Useful for helping with sedation, mild pain, sleeping problems and colds.
    Price each: ~1S
  •  

Artist

For drawing, painting and generally making pretty pictures - you can specialise in a particular medium: e.g. drawing, paint, pastel, charcoal, sculpture, etc.

TestPse + Per
Cost of materialsaround ½ final product value
Recommended minimum test interval1 week (6 working days)
Average price per yield

Highly variable, depending on how epic the final piece is. The end worth of the work should be primarily dictated by both the amount of intervals put into it and the fashions of the target audience.

Artistry runs the whole gamut from charcoal or pencil street art to masterful works of art worthy of monarchs. As artistry is beholden to the tastes of a work's patron, the renumeration can (and should) be highly variable.

The GM should start the basis for a price for an artistic work (or works) by the amount of time spent on a single item. Fast street art, with the character using their talent as a medium of entertainment in public, would individually be worth only perhaps a few copper - rising to a probably a respectable amount of silver for a full interval. More involved artistry such as portrait painting for wealthy patrons would take much longer - but perhaps be worth much more after several intervals. Of course, if the patron takes a displeasure to the work the character might not be paid at all.

The GM should take into account the amount of success that an artistry trade roll achieves when working out renumeration. A pass of perhaps only 1 or 2 might yeild barely acceptable pay; a pass of perhaps 10 or more might yield much more; and an epic success may give the character an accidental masterpiece worthy of praise for centuries to come.

Blacksmith

Blacksmiths can make and mend pretty much anything simple and made of metal, or fabricate the parts needed to allow someone else with knowledge of a device to construct and fix it. You can specialise, e.g. parts, nuts and bolts, fences, horseshoes, ironwork, etc.

A very specific specialisation is that of being an Armourer: making and looking after both armour and metal weaponry. You could further specialise: e.g. swords, plate armour, etc.

TestPse + Str
Cost of materialsaround ¾ final product value
Recommended minimum test interval1 week (6 working days)
Average price per yieldAn interval of every day work - making nails, machinery parts, fixing things and shoeing horses for example - might earn anything from a handful of silver shillings to a gold or 2 in a very busy interval. Individual items would be priced similarly to their equipment entries.

All but the smallest blacksmiths would also have apprentices, who may be able to render assistance or work by themselves using their own blacksmithing skill. The GM may wish to assign a skill level to any apprentices that a blacksmith uses.

Bookbinder

Pretty much synonymous with being a printer - bookbinders prepare books. Either lovingly and by hand, or using newer printing presses and machinery.

TestPse + Int
Cost of materialsaround ½ final product value
Recommended minimum test interval4 weeks (24 working days)
Average price per yieldAn interval of every day work - depending on the level of automation that a bookbinder has access to and the ornateness of the books involved. Small and simple books might command only 25 copper pennies or so, whilst ornate books bound with precious metals could fetch a few gold sovereignse each.

Artistry runs the whole gamut from charcoal or pencil street art to masterful works of art worthy of monarchs. As artistry is beholden to the tastes of a work's patron, the renumeration can (and should) be highly variable.

The GM should start the basis for a price for an artistic work (or works) by the amount of time spent on a single item. Fast street art, with the character using their talent as a medium of entertainment in public, would individually be worth only perhaps a few copper - rising to a probably a respectable amount of silver for a full interval. More involved artistry such as portrait painting for wealthy patrons would take much longer - but perhaps be worth much more after several intervals. Of course, if the patron takes a displeasure to the work the character might not be paid at all.

The GM should take into account the amount of success that an artistry trade roll achieves when working out renumeration. A pass of perhaps only 1 or 2 might yeild barely acceptable pay; a pass of perhaps 10 or more might yield much more; and an epic success may give the character an accidental masterpiece worthy of praise for centuries to come.

Bowyer

Bowyers make bows and arrows. They aren't very common in cities and large towns any longer, but can often be found in more rural locales.

Brewer

Making alcoholic beverages of some sort - you can specialise: e.g. wine, whiskey, beer, mead, etc.

Calligrapher

Turning writing into an art form. Calligraphers are especially useful for designing fancy letters to brighten up otherwise dull walls-of-text. Calligraphers tend to be quite capable of forging handwriting.

Carpenter

Carpenters build things out of wood, anything from structures to cabinets - you can specialise: architectural carpentry, structural carpentry, cabinet making, etc.

Cartographer

Making maps and taking measurements of the landscape - you can specialise: oceanography or geography.

Cook

Making (mostly) delicious and (mostly) nutritious food! Om nom nom. You can specialise: e.g. tavern food, gourmet, puddings, etc.

Chemist

Mixing chemicals together, either to assist with other manufacturing processes or to make things explode somehow.

Dentist

Looking after the oral hygiene of your peers.

Doctor

Looking after the general health of your peers.

Embalmer

Preparing and preserving corpses, and generally dealing with dead people.

Glassblower

Glassblowers don't necessarily have to blow anything, but often do in the making of bottles. Glassblowers make glass of all kinds - you can specialise: e.g. windows, stained glass, bottles, etc.

Gunsmith

Gunsmiths are specialised manufacturers of firearms - you can specialise: e.g. pistols, muzzle loaders, etc.

Jeweller

Jewellers procure gems and metals and make jewellery from them - you can specialise: e.g. rings, pocket watches, etc.

Leatherworker

Leatherworkers make items and/or armour out of leather - you can specialise: e.g. armour, packs, jackets, etc.

Locksmith

Locksmiths are those who concern themselves with the production of locks and keys

Merchant

Merchants trade goods made by others - you can specialise in a particular field of goods: e.g. produce, artwork, fineries, etc.

Miner

Miners extract minerals from and maintain mines. They can also identify mining and underground hazards.

Potter

Potters make pots and ceramics, some more decorative pieces might be very valuable.

Sculptor

Shipwright

Shoesmith

Stonemason

Used to assess and construct stone buildings.

Tanner

Used to prepare and tan hides.

Valet

Used to refine the appearance, give droll asides and tend to the needs of superiors in a gentlemanly/ladylike fashion.

Writer

Used to create writen works, similarly to artist creating artistic works.