I’ve been trying to associate the Trades with basic needs. I think I found my connection at last. Starting with “Survival,” I tried to think of how each one of the Trades would fulfill a fundamental human need. Here’s the list for reference:

Fundamental human needs

  • Affection – personal connections with others
  • Creation – imagination, spontaneity
  • Freedom – expression, exploration, space
  • Leisure – relaxation, hobbies, interests
  • Identity – language, religion, self-esteem
  • Participation – responsibility, duties, work
  • Protection – shelter, autonomy, security
  • Subsistence – food, water, shelter, hygiene
  • Understanding – literature, studies, intuition

  • You’ll already see some crossover with my list of Trades, since I found the Max-Neef list I’ve been using it as a guide for additional research and association.

    I figured I would remove “Protection” from my list of Trades because it overlaps with Initiative — building fortification, training a militia, scouting, and manufacturing arms and armor are all expressions of Initiative.

    I also decided to remove “Espionage” from my list because it represents an end more than a means — to perform espionage requires at least two entities to be in conflict, and conflict presupposes too much about the cultures in question.

    Ultimately I figured I’d just associate Trades with needs on a one-for-one basis, getting each as close to its need as possible, and assuming a stable society.

    Trades for Need Fulfillment

  • Survival – subsistence
  • Exploration – freedom
  • Intuition – understanding
  • Athletics – leisure
  • Cultures – identity
  • Initiative – protection
  • Academics – creation
  • Persuasion – participation
  • Theatrics – affection

  • You may note that I’ve added Theatrics back into the bunch, which isn’t something I imagined I would do — I see a stable, functioning Trade of Theatrics effectively manufacturing affection — creating feelings as required by the audience.

    In a lot of ways, the association with filling fundamental human needs provides each of the Trades with all the definition it should require — every community will need these things, and when there is a surplus, people will need to relocate or change professions. There will be no connection between Class and Trade.

    When you create a character, you’ll choose from Race, Class, and Trade — there will be other choices to make of course, but these will be the big ones. Whereas Races will change over time, and there will likely be a lot of turnover in Classes (though archetypes will remain the same), the Trades will remain the same.