Forgotten crafting professions

Discussion in 'Crafting & Gathering' started by redfish, Aug 27, 2013.

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  1. redfish

    redfish Avatar

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    I wanted to create a running list of crafting professions that were part of Medieval life, but which are not commonly in RPGs. They may or may not be used in the game, but might be helpful to think about. Others can add if they think of anything.

    POTTERS and TILERS.

    These could be the same profession or two separate professions, but they both used the same type of kilns. Potters were craftsmen of in clay, porcelain and early forms of ceramics; basically they produced pots for cooking and storage and occasionally worked as sculptors. A YouTube video on making Medieval pottery here.

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    Tilers made floor tiles, often with very ornate designs. A description of the tile-making process here and a video on YouTube, and a PDF document with illustrations of the process and a picture of a replica of a wood-fired kiln.

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    CANDLE-MAKERS and SOAP-MAKERS.

    Often this was done by the same profession, as candles were often made out of tallow, just like soap. Candles from beeswax were also made. They would often be called chandlers, and their craft, chandlery. A visit to a medieval-style candle-making shop in Italy here.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    A discussion of medieval soapmaking here.

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    GLASS-BLOWERS.

    Glass-blowing was added into Ultima Online as an afterthought, but was a major profession. They would have a special kiln called a "glass kiln."

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    STONE-MASONS.

    Responsible for cutting and setting stone. A discussion of Medieval stone masonry here.

    [​IMG]

    TAR-MAKERS and CHARCOAL-MAKERS.

    Tar and pitch was sold in the towns during the Middle Ages. It was needed for making boats watertight and keeping the draught out of the houses. It was usually produced in the forests. One made tar from tree-stumps, or other pieces of wood which contained a lot of resin. The wood was chopped in small pieces. These were put in a pit in the ground, and covered with peat, or in a tar-kiln. Then the wood was set fire to. It was allowed to smoulder for a couple of days, while the tar trickled out of the wood to the bottom of the pit. There, a pipe collected the tar. The tar was then poured into wooden casks, which were sold in town.

    Charcoal was also made in a similar manner, in a charoal-pit, or choarcoal-kiln. A YouTube video on the charcoal-making process used by the Saxons here.

    AMENDMENTS:

    ROPE-MAKERS and NET-MAKERS.

    Weaving ropes and twine, and making nets from them. A YouTube video here. And here is a description of the rope-making process in the Middle Ages.

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    And are some photos of net-making tools.

    [​IMG]

    BASKET-WEAVERS.

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    BOOK-BINDERS, and PARCHMENT-MAKERS.

    Scribes, book-binders, illuminators, and parchment-makers would have worked nearby churches, at universities, or at monasteries, since they were the ones who largely used them. Book-sellers, called "stationers," would also have shops near by, on what was called "book street." There is a description of book-making for profit in the late Middle Ages here.

    [​IMG]

    Paper didn't become common until around 1450, so until then books were made with parchment or vellum. Pelts were first soaked in a lime solution to loosen the fur, then stretcched, and scraped using a knife, in a repeated process until the parchment maker achieved the desired thickness. There's a description of the whole process of parchment-making, book-binding, illumination, and writing here in the documentation for an exhibition at the Getty Center, "The Making of a Medieval Book." A more detailed description on book-binding in particular here.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. redfish

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    Posted in the wrong forum by mistake :<
     
  3. redfish

    redfish Avatar

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    Here's a suggestion on incorporating this type of thing into the game for players:

    In Ultima Online, a lot of crafting professions were dumped into a category called "Tinker." They created tools, jewlery, and instruments. Things like chandlery, pottery, glassblowing, and tile-making wouldn't fit into a tinker's craft, though. But because all of these professions need a kiln, they could probably create a similar type of category called "Artisan," with a kiln as a crafting station. Lumberjacking, tar-making, and charcoal making could be rolled into "Forester."
     
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  4. Bowen Bloodgood

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    I think that's over simplification. First I think what we call our profession is up to us. We simply use the skills we want in the manner in which we want. I can call myself a tinkerer or artisan regardless of my skill set.

    Now remember the expressed intention of continuing to add new skills as the game goes on. It would seem to me to be in the best interests of the game therefore to separate skills as much as possible rather than to combine them. Besides.. some of this stuff could fall under 'unskilled crafting'.. such as tar or charcoal making. Since all you really need to do is follow a simple procedure.

    They could also be a bi-product of processing wood.. a carpenter always has bit and pieces of wood left over.. as an aside they could easily turn their scrap into tar and charcoal.

    The real question I think you'd need to address is how these skills would be useful in-game. Tile making for example.. where would you use it? It's a very specialized craft with limited use. The only application I can think of is retexturing floors.. and that itself is a bit awkward since you'd need a ton of tiles to cover an entire room.. so what you'd need to do is buy and sell in lots that cover X square feet.. you would require so many square feet worth to tile a floor or perhaps a pathway. Not the most feasible but it would open up interesting decorative options for property owners. Unfortunately, players who don't own property would have no need of such a service.

    Tar would be applicable also to a limited market.. but this is a little different because that market would be other crafters. Tar could be used in making torches for example.. or primitive fuses for hand thrown explosives (anyone remember grenades from Savage Empire?). As a sealant though I'm more hard pressed to find a use.. except perhaps for making barrels..

    Soap we wouldn't need at all. Not unless we plan to watch ourselves take a bath or wash dishes. I don't think SotA will be THAT kind of game. Candles is an interesting question. You might use a candle as a craft component for making candebras and the like.. or they may decide that candles can burn out and be replaced.

    Glass blowing I've brought up before as this is more of an artisan type skill. Glass 'working' might be a more apt skill name. Anything from plates & bowls to vases & sculptures. A very cool skill.. perhaps a master could (in very limited capacity) make a form of glass sword or other high damage one shot weapon (using VERY expensive materials). Just a thought.

    Stone masons would be cool but I just don't see an application for players.. unless they're going to allow stuff like stone fireplaces to be craftable.. but masons would generally be involved in building construction.. maybe you could put stone sculpting as a subskill? (ok fine I found some applications).
     
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  5. Arkhan

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    whoa.

    whoa now.

    Glassblowing isn't forgotten. Ask the Gargoyles.
     
  6. redfish

    redfish Avatar

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    Yea, I know the game is classless, but we'll probably logically progress our skills on certain paths, and I was just pointing out that that "tinkering" was a wide skillset in UO, with a lot of different crafting jobs underneath it, and probably will be the same way in SotA. The devs have had discussions about balancing different skillsets so that tailoring is as rewarding as alchemy, and so on. For instance, Chris was discussing the fact that RG surprised him with new tailoring stations and this upset the balance between the skllsets. So it looks like we'll be choosing different paths, regardless of what they're called or whether there are thick walls between them. All of these artisanal jobs, individually, wouldn't make sense as a whole skillset, so it would make sense, if they were added, to group them together in the same way as "tinkering." "Artisanship" just seemed like a kind of good name for the class of skills. I don't know if there's a better name. Pottery, glassworking, tilemaking are all similar types of jobs. Such a person would logically also do sculpting, since sculpting was also a part of pottery, so could also do masonry and stonework.

    A lot of these artisanal skills are related to decorative crafts, but even to that point they aren't completely useless. Are we only going to be able to decorate our homes in wood and iron items? Will we also have ceramic items? If so, we should be able to make them, and not just buy them from NPCs. People will want to decorate their homes, and possibly very beautiful tiles and vases could only come from players, and not NPC merchants. These could be very expensive compared to other crafts, bringing the artisan a lot of gold. Jewlery-making could be a part of artisanship rather thank tinkering.

    But just as the tinkering skillset had both more useful and less useful skills, so would the artisan skillset. Instead of the alchemist being the glassblower, the artisan can be the glassblower, which is useful, and he can also make candles, which is also useful.

    The only reason I suggested tar and charcoal-making is because you'd also need a special crafting station for those, tone that you'd have to buy and put in your house. It wouldn't be a bushcraft type of skill. Charcoal would be valuable for blacksmiths. Rosin, which is made from pitch, is an ingredient in making ink. Resins from trees were also extracted for a variety of herbal purposes. A lot of small useful types of products from those professions.

    Even if they aren't particular skilled professions, it would still be cool to see NPCs doing these trades, and using crafting stations for them.
     
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  7. Myth2

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    You better not be talking about the abominations in Ter Mur..:p
    EDIT: Redfish snuck in under my radar. If we're going to have rosin in SotA, then string instruments should be required to have it used on their bows, perhaps to repair them in some way (not exactly how it is used irl but close enough).
     
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  8. MalakBrightpalm

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    While the devotion to historical recreation is commendable, I think it bears some consideration here that glassblowers, potters (and yes, that includes tilers, I am a ceramic artist IRL), and chandlers are part of routine city life, emphasis on routine. I plan to play an adventurer. The most use I'll have for those capacities in game is in stocking my house, and I doubt anyone will want to play those characters. We are talking about 6-12 hours a day of labor just to earn a living, let alone have excess monies for buying luxuries, or adventuring equipment.

    While I am all for some mention and involvement of them in the game, can you show me how having any of these skills would be preferable to paying an NPC to do it for you when in town? Can you show me how these skills would help us in adventuring?
     
  9. Bowen Bloodgood

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    Speaking strictly in terms of adventuring..

    Among many possible creations of glass working/blowing.. are potion bottles.. and the glass components for lanterns... plus the crazy thought of high powered one-shot glass weapons (though should be very expensive and difficult to make).

    Pottery can also be used for small containers.. possibly for throwable chemical weapons.

    As far as labor vs wages.. that doesn't need to reflect RL. Like anything else can be tweaked.. even by the players themselves who are free to set their prices.

    Whether or not you prefer to pay an NPC as opposed to doing it yourself has nothing to do with how useful you feel the skill is. Quite a lot of players will simply pay someone else for all crafting services as they'd rather not do it themselves.
     
  10. redfish

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    Even if its just NPCs in town, it would be nice for their shops have the crafting tables, and if crafting tables exist, you might as well let PCs use them. Though, as Bowen points out, I could see an alchemist relying on these type of skills for creating all sorts of things.

    There are other NPC jobs I'd like to see in town related to cookery, like millers, smoke-house workers, and people doing curing and pickling. I'm assuming if farming wheat is in the game that there will be some way to process it using a mill stone.
     
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  11. redfish

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    Speaking of that...
    http://wiki.ultimacodex.com/wiki/Flaming_Oil

    [​IMG]

    That was actually a fun part of Ultima games.

    Another thing glassworkers could do is make crystal balls, unless of course that requires gem-cutting instead.
     
  12. Bowen Bloodgood

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    I had kept thinking about grenades from SE.. but flaming oil works too! :)
     
  13. redfish

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    And I could see alchemy being extended so you could create things like flasks of sleeping gas or smoke gas, or lightning-in-a-bottle type concoctions.
     
  14. Bowen Bloodgood

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    Exactly.. various gas grenades or timed (fuse) gas bombs.
     
  15. Miracle Dragon

    Miracle Dragon Legend of the Hearth

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    Tiles aren't just used for floors, but for roofs and walls as well. Tar is a big component for roofing too i think. I could see all these professions as being needed for building up towns and individual buildings within them.

    Perhaps after a siege, many buildings will need to be repaired before they can be used at full capacity again! Maybe various buildings in town can be upgraded over time, to make your home village more successful withstanding the next siege than the last one. Huge barrels of tar could be used for wall defenses during sieges as well!

    Curing barrels for storage of alcohol would need to be tarred i think..

    Speaking of soap and stonework and tiles got me thinking of the ancient roman bath houses! Spas like this are a great way to recuperate after a long week's adventure. Maybe players wouldn't bother bathing in their own homes in a computer game, but paying to experience the luxuries, services, and sense of community that is a bath house? I think that sounds like great fun! I suggest that maybe taking baths hasn't 'caught on' in most of the land, but perhaps there is a city on the coast where the practice is a huge exotic fad..

    Also, it would be nice if washing clothes and other things could extend its life, so it wouldn't need repairs or to be replaced as often if you take good care of it.
     
  16. Bowen Bloodgood

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    Unless we get a system for building our own houses.. customizing our floor or having to repair our roofs I don't see any real demand for tiles. Yes tar is used for water proofing.. not just roofs but ships and barrels also. Thinking a bit more about it they might use a kind of tar for wooden drinking vessels also.
     
  17. redfish

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    There's this, too. I guess it would be somehow related to tailoring, skill-wise.

    ROPE-MAKERS and NET-MAKERS.

    Weaving ropes and twine, and making nets from them. A YouTube video here. And here is a description of the rope-making process in the Middle Ages.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And are some photos of net-making tools.

    [​IMG]

    BASKET-WEAVERS.

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Reigner

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    I think having crafts other than just the typical MMO ones would make the game more interesting, especially if you can incorporate them into the economy....or even just a local economy. It could also make the game more appealing to a wider audience. Perhaps there could be trade routes, like the spice trade of old? (I'm sure the bandits out there would love that. ;-)


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  19. Javin

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    Ooooooooo, I really like that. I wonder how you could pull this off what with the ability to mark/recall? Like, maybe in an area that has LOTS of reeds, you could crank out a ton of baskets. But baskets in this area would be a dime a dozen. But if you went far away to a land where there were no reeds, baskets there would sell at a premium. So how to avoid the whole mark/recall thing and force a need to actually get a caravan to travel across the necessary path to sell the baskets for a profit in the distant town? Perhaps the costs of a mark/recall would make it prohibitively expensive to zap a small handfull of goods to the distant town multiple times? Perhaps a "mule" or "wagon" type thing you can buy/rent that isn't able to teleport with you, but that can carry an absurd amount of gear? Gather a good group of people and start walking, and keep an eye out for PKs that want your loot, and NPC "raider" spawns along the way maybe?

    I could see this being a super neat addition to the game. I'd be all about jumping in with my guild who has a massive haul to take to a far away town, and we all split the profits. It'd give you something to do with all those lowbie chairs you've been grinding to create, too, if you can get a premium price for them at a vendor in a town that doesn't have any trees nearby.
     
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  20. Montesquieu Paine

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    Let me add to the list of possibles:

    FORESTERS (still a profession in Germany, thank goodness)

    SWINEHERDS, SHEPHERDS, GEESE-MONGERS (and other paltry poultry specialists)

    HOPS-PICKERS (thieves, pay attention: they can teach stilting for you 2nd-story types)

    MOWERS (using a scythe is not as simple as one might think; using one without getting exhausted is actually a separate skill)

    RAG-PICKERS (discussion elsewhere on recycling materials in SotA); and

    SCRIVENERS (because 95% of the population or more were illiterate).

    But something to remember is that somewhere around 35% of the population were involved in making the clothing that everybody wore, and wore out. There's a reason why textiles were the first to go mechanical....
     
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