Making a Living

According to City and Guild, people make a living using either Craft skills or Profession skills.
So far so good.

What about other skills?
Skills like Medicine or maybe Teaching.
Plausibly Theology for eg an episcopal aide?
Could these be used to make a living, or would you have to take some for of Profession skills as well?
I'd say yes, but I'd like some feed back, confirming or not.

How about someone with the Landed Noble virtue (or equivalent)? Is it still necessary to have the skills to make a living?

There can be listed many situations where there may not be a Craft or Profession for a certain living. A hunter uses Hunt I assume. A chirurgeon uses Chirurgy. A guard or soldier? Unskilled laborers - those who dig ditches or lift crates or things requiring little or no professional skill, most likely with a foreman directing the work so no professional skills really are needed.

Does A&A say anything about the use of Medicine?
I doubt Church say anything about the actual ability scores needed for making a living, however there may be some minimum scores for various positions. Or is that Ease Factors for various ability rolls in order to get 'promoted'? Serf's parma.

I think maybe the concept should be that one needs a Craft or Profession ability to make a living unless there is some other, more relevant ability.

Perhaps a landed noble uses Etiquette to keep his lord from granting his domain to someone else if not hereditary. Otherwise it is used to keep him in good standing with neighbors, and to avoid having his lord send him on dangerous errands.

It's also a matter of where to stop, really.
Does a merchant need Profession: Merchant, or is Bargain good enough?

Not a lot - indeed no-one except C&G (and to a lesser degree tC&tC) seems to care about such details, though the Doctor in (Faculty) virtue (A&A, p. 91) does require the character to have 5+ in the ability corresponding to his faculty degree. Thus usually the Arts (Artes Liberales), Medicine, Law or Theology.

IMHO yes, because there is a lot more to being a merchant than simply bargaining. You need to know your products, your suppliers, some accounting, manage transportation and storage, etc.

Of course, that level of detail only becomes important if the troupe wants it to be. But if you reach the point where you have a character who makes a living at something, then that level of details may be needed.

That is basically the same decision that needs to be taken regarding the granularity of Craft skills. What do you need to make a sword? Craft: Blacksmith, Craft: Weapons or Craft: Swords? Can the same ability be used to make armor? Etc.

Each saga may want to handle this differently.

I seem to recall that LoM (or possibly some other book?) has the rule that a knight can make a living fighting in tourneys. He earns labour points based on Dex+Great Weapon or Dex+Single Weapon according to the rules in C&G.

Also, in C&G we read that a smuggler can earn labour points based on Intrigue+.

So, yes, there's precedent in the RAW for earning a living based on Skills other than Craft or Profession.

As for Bargain being sufficient for a merchant... it's tricky. On the one hand, the precedents above suggest that Main Skill+ Appropriate Characteristic should be enough to earn a living - a Weapon Skill is probably not all that counts in tourneys, and Intrigue is certainly not all that counts in being a good smuggler. Still, Profession:Merchant is a canonical Skill by C&G, and if Bargaining were enough, why take it? One possibility is to say that Bargaining alone may not be enough but could it be if complemented by other Skills such as Area Lore. Note that in C&G craftsmen beyond a certain level need to complement their Craft score with other Skills, so perhaps something similar could be arranged.

Another tricky case is Music vs. Profession:troubadour. In our games, we allow someone with Music+Com to earn labour points, based on the knight and smuggler precedents above; and in general we allow anyone with a reasonable Skill paired with the most applicable Characteristic to earn labour points (so, Hunt+Per, Medicine+Int, +Com, Legerdemain+Dex etc.).

For landed nobles, we assume labour points are earned with Leadership+Int; if you are not particularly talented you can delegate tasks to someone else, using their Leadership+Int with all the attendant risks and consequences. However, managing an estate certainly requires skill!

So doctors can earn a living using Medicine+Communication, but merchants can't make a living using Bargain+Communication?

You can make a living using only a single skill. Whether you can make a good living, or improve your standard of living, is a different thing.

Medicine is not something that can be easily learned. It requires formal teaching, litteracy, and access to study material. It is the tip of a learning pyramid.

Bargain, on the other hand, is more like the bottom of the pyramid. You can make a living from it, but it is more in the nature of surviving. You need seed capital, because you can't earn money from just bargaining -- you need something to bargain with. A prosperous merchant, or even simply a good one, will need more than a good Bargain score to make a living. Thus Profession: Merchant. And even there, I usually require one to be specific about the kind of merchant you are, represented by the specialty. So Profession: Merchant (textiles) or Profession: Merchant (foodstuff) or Profession: Merchant (wine). And perhaps also some secondary abilities like Area Lore, Organization Lore, Etiquette, Intrigue, Leadership, etc. Not all of them, of course, and the one that would be useful depend on the professional area.

RAW is vague on what is required to make a living, and rightfully so I believe. It is very much a saga-dependent decision. But as someone else mentioned, to be considered a master craftsman, you need more than simply a high Craft score.

My thinking is along those lines -- a single ability is considered the primary one and is enough to "make a living", but the secondary ones allow you to become propserous at it and improve your standing.

But that's just me. :smiley:

I would say yeah. You'll want profession merchant to be a good merchant. Profession Merchant would include some aspects of Area Lore, some aspects of Bargain, and some other skills such as the ability to predict trends or the ability to know how to store goods. So a merchant could get a good deal on spices, know where to sell them, and know how they should be stored on the ship. I would not let him negotiate a truce though (Bargain would work), nor let him know where to find the local witch (Area Lore would work). Maybe allow Bargain to work at a penalty? Or maybe a you could use bargain in a more specialized roll. One member of a merchant house might have Bargain and use only that.

What about the other way around ? Is a character with Profession: Physician 10 able to cure disease ? How good is he ? As good as the person with Medicine 10 ?

I think there are lots of borderline cases, where Craft and Profession bleed into each other, and to other Abilities. I don't know if a rule is applicable, but I'm tempted to just consider the Profession skill as the effective Ability skill and vice versa, for simplicity sake.

In other games when this comes up (read: HERO System), I usually house-ruled that Profession is a meta-skill, and covers a number of sub-skills: the relevant Professional skill, any associated Lores, actual Abilities (Physician vs. Medicine, for example), etc. I also ruled that it covered the equivalent of Gossip checks, and could be rolled to uncover Contacts and the like. Basically, it became the "anything vaguely related to what your character does for a living" skill. Functionally, it ended up covering 5 or 6 skills, but usually only one or two of them were used on a regular basis.

The disadvantage being that it cost more than a regular skill: 3x the amount for a focused or not-particularly-useful-to-most-RPG-story profession (High School Cheerleader or Baker), or 5x for a useful and/or broad profession (FBI Agent or Knight).

I think the skills a person would have such as medicine, craft blacksmith,ect. do not quite translate into actually making a living in the world. While a person with Medicine 10 would be a excellent doctor, and could easily cure vast numbers of ailments, this has no impact on her being capable of procuring supplies that she needs, charging for cures at the appropriate price, and in general running a business of being a doctor.

Could the doctor hire a business manager so to speak? Yes, and that person could for a price run the business aspect. Or even a family member could do this for them and roll the cost into the general expenses for the family.

A black smith that is really good at his Profession Metalcraft score, could possibly only have basic knowledge of working metal, but hires a number of workers with great metal working skills. His money would be made based on his ability to run a smithy, not work the metal.

I think the Profession skills are the skills of earning a living at something. The skills you use within that profession are not necessarily as simply as a specific skill.

Just think, your profession is say tailor. You are living in Constantinople or Basil or Paris, and you have to find customers amongst the clergy or nobles. Sure your skill in the craft would be important but no matter how good you are, if you are unknown, few elite would buy your wears. The skills of intrigue, charm, and etiquette would also be very important in procuring contracts or sales.

I guess the way I see it is Profession is a cover all which you use for seasonal advancements, money and such, and direct skills such as the craft, intrigue, folk ken, bargain, ect. are for in-story or covenant book keeping. In the end though I can see profession as a catch all for simplicity sake.

I say all of the above, and would if I was in charge make this a absolute rule in my game, but that said, in my current TT game which is troupe style we fully allow Profession to sorta cover a number of skills. Mostly this applies to sailors.

When I was making the sailor grogs, I gave most every one Profession: Sailor and then gave each of them specific skills of sailing of which they excel. But player characters, some took just the coverall Profession Sailor, and when I story guide I maintain our group precedents that the Profession allows for basic Sailor knowledge. Skills that most sailors would have are covered. Specific skills not learned by the average sailor would not be.

So even though personally in my mind I would rule the skills much much stricter, in reality and in game I am a big softy and side on the "lets just have fun" ruling.


The pickle may be that C&G state that Craft or Profession is the ability used to earn a living. But only for craftsmen do we specifically hear of secondary skills needed at higher ranks, [Org] Lore for the Guild and Leadership unless I'm mistaken.
For merchants I see Bargain as a very general haggling skill that anyone may have but Profession: Merchant is for gauging the market, assessing quality of goods (without the relevant craft ability that us), bookkeeping, administration etc. At higher ranks he should also have [Org] Guild Lore and perhaps even Leadership. But that's still one ability more than the craftsman. However, Bargain is also a useful ability for a craftsman for when he is selling his finished goods or buying raw materials, is it not? But it seems more required for a merchant because his main business is buying and selling.

As for a doctor using only Medicine? For similarity with the crafts one could require a Profession. Merchant ability to cover the administrative and business side while Medicine is the actual treatment.
Then again, when to stop? The smuggler and criminal? The tourney knight? The lowly soldier? The landed noble? The bishop's aide? Do all of these need a corresponding Profession ability? I would not enforce this. Not all vocations need several abilities IMHO. What about the humble peasant? He'd need profession: farming (or is this a craft?) and nothing else. Sure, there are secondary stuff as well he may want. Can he build and repair his own cottage, or does he need carpentry or thatcher? How about animal husbandry, does he need Animal handling? Etc.

Going back to the merchant, if the core principle is to not overburden people with abilities the one-man merchant may get by with Bargain, but running a business may require the Profession: Merchant ability. Or is this covered by Leadership, by being a similar situation as a craft master with several journeymen in his employ? I'm beginning to think so.

In conclusion - or lack thereof - every troupe needs to decide what to do. Same as for deciding how to divide up crafts. E.g. what is covered by Blacksmith, is that only horseshoes and backhoes? Is there such a thing as Armourer for both arms and armour, or is it divided into Weaponsmithing and Armoursmithing? Or is it as specific as Swordsmithing? Etc.


I'm not sure that those with Academic Abilities as their main 'trade' do make a living. They are generally employed directly by the great and the good; the Labour Point rules are for those running their own businesses. In the thirteenth century it would be very unusual to find a physician's shop, and be able to make an appointment about curing a disease. There were a few cities that had municipal physicians, paid for by the city, but most with a Doctoral degree will be working either in private employment or be part of a university, where he is required to teach. Independent physicians become more common in the fifteenth century, up until then you might be able to pay one privately to deal with a particular illness, but it is unlikely to be the main revenue stream of the physician.

Sick townsfolk go to the apothecary (and there are C&G-style Labour Point rules for apothecaries in A&A), or maybe a barber (who probably does have Profession: Barber as well as Chirurgy). Otherwise there is the empiricus, who is generally specialised in a single operation --- he would need to have a Profession, because getting clientele is not covered by his Abilities. If there is a university in their town, they probably can't afford the fees that the Doctor in Medicine will charge.

I would same is true for an episcopal aide. He is employed by the church, so he doesn't need to earn Labour Points. He still needs to work for two seasons a year, but he is under a different paradigm.

I suppose you could have licentates and doctorates earning Labour Points from the Teaching Ability (after all, this could easily be a Profession: Teacher Ability); but personally I wouldn't track Labour Points unless I wanted to make a story out of the fact that someone is not earning enough, or else earning too many.