Not to be confused with collecting comic books together.

I’ve been doing that lately — playing with titles. I do that a lot, actually.

Right, I mentioned last week that I have a preliminary list of Trades. There are twenty-two in total, divided among eight “power groups” and four “social estates.” Does that sound weird? It was weird to type.

The concept of social estates is pretty old. The first three are, anyway — the clergy, the nobility, and the commoners. The press likes to consider itself “the fourth estate,” but the press does things like that.

I have this radical idea that a fourth estate might actually be a sort of anti-establishment social order. Kind of. It’s the spanner in the works — the organization of the disorganized. Basically, the law itself — or lack thereof.

In the first estate (clergy), I placed academia and religious ministry — including priests and healers. In the second estate, I placed government and military. In the third estate, I placed commoners and craftsmen/tradesmen.

The fourth estate includes criminals and law enforcement. Kind of weird.

Now that the organizational phase is essentially over, I’m going to stop referring to them as the estates because I deviated from the model — it’s important to remember how I got there though, for future reference.

In addition to describing where a character comes from, and roughly what social class they fall into, Trades help a GM build NPCs and settlements quickly. No need to roll up stats or anything, all you really need to do is combine a Race and a Trade. A Dwarf Tradesmen (Miner), you say? How about a Gnome Aristocrat?

It’s shorthand. You’re still supposed to use your imagination a little bit.

But! In addition to the above, a Trade also confers a “Trade Secret” — which you may have noticed on the new character sheet — enabling a PC to do something neat with their downtime. Priests minister. Philosophers research. Et cetera.

Given the nature of the game, many occupations have been condensed or distilled for the sake of covering as much ground as possible. Given the approximate time period for the game’s setting, some professions are more or less prominent.

I’m trying to come up with some other ways to apply this system — especially for the creation and development of settlements — but I’m also pretty satisfied with what I have so far. I might even have all the Trade Secrets written up!

(It’s possible for me to not know because things are still moving around.)