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View Poll Results: What would be the most valuable pre-industrial / artisanal trade in T2k
Potter 0 0%
Tanner / Leatherworker 0 0%
Spinster / Weaver 2 11.11%
Glassblower 0 0%
Candle maker 0 0%
Cooper 0 0%
Carpenter 3 16.67%
Stonemason 1 5.56%
Seamstress 0 0%
Cobbler 0 0%
Blacksmith 8 44.44%
Other (Please specify in comments) 4 22.22%
Voters: 18. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 10-30-2021, 04:52 PM
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Default Most Valuable Artisanal / Pre-industrial Trade

I was thinking about Molotov cocktails, and how available glass bottles would be three or more years after the end of mass production, and that got me considering alternatives. I figure that small ceramic vessels could serve nearly just as well as glass bottles for making Molotovs. IIRC, at least one ancient/medieval civilization filled pots with venomous snakes and hurled them into besieged cities as a primitive bioweapon.

Anyway, that got me thinking about how many people there would be with the skill to produce pottery in the post-industrial era, and that got me thinking about other pre-industrial trades. I reckon most, if not all, of them would be very valuable during and after the apocalypse. Does any one jump out as being especially so? Did I miss any important ones?

What are your thoughts?

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Last edited by Raellus; 10-30-2021 at 05:04 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-30-2021, 10:10 PM
cawest cawest is offline
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distiller or making of wine and beer.
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  #3  
Old 10-30-2021, 10:57 PM
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A really good book if you can get it is "The Medieval Machine" 1976. Gimpel, Jean.

This is a good and readable overview of just how surprisingly mechanised the medieval world was. At this point you start to realise that not just carpenters and fabricators are vital but also the people who design, site and emplace this machinery are essential for survival.

As an aside, if you do historical or historical-fantasy games these things make great adventure locations.
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Old 11-01-2021, 08:17 AM
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Based on my eLibrary, you could potentially add the following to your list. Some would likely be secondary skills rather than primary occupations.

Apiarist
Basket maker
Bookbinder
Botanist/Herbalist
Brewing/Distilling
Chemist - includes manufacture of adhesives, inks, solvents
Engineer - boring, hydraulic/irrigation, mechanics, sanitation, etc.
Farrier
Horologist
Meteorologist - includes building and use of barometers
Printer - includes paper-making, engraving and woodcuts
Rope-maker
Wheelwright
Woodworking - cabinetmaking, carving, joinery, turning
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  #5  
Old 11-01-2021, 06:47 PM
Bulldog1972 Bulldog1972 is offline
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Default Tough call

I went with carpenter because everyone needs shelter. But potter & leatherworker right up there. Seamstress or tailor gets quite important come winter. Spinner/weaver are good additions to this list.

Last edited by Bulldog1972; 11-01-2021 at 08:38 PM.
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  #6  
Old 11-12-2021, 08:57 AM
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How about the man or woman who has the knack to make old stuff work again?
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  #7  
Old 12-08-2021, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmulcahy11b View Post
How about the man or woman who has the knack to make old stuff work again?
Definitely. Individuals that we here in the States call a "Mr. (or Ms.) Fix It", or handyman/woman, would be worth his/her weight in gold after the apocalypse.

People like me, who have very little practical knowledge, on the other hand...



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Last edited by Raellus; 12-08-2021 at 01:40 PM.
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  #8  
Old 12-08-2021, 01:34 PM
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It's not an artisanal trade, but I think storytellers and/or performing artists would see their value rise during and after the apocalypse. Deprived of modern electronic media (TV, movies, radio, etc.), people would be starving for entertainment and news. I think you'd see a return of the wandering minstrel (combining the roles of entertainer and news conveyer).

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https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...--Rooks-Gambit
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...ula-Sourcebook
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...nia-Sourcebook

Last edited by Raellus; 12-08-2021 at 01:42 PM.
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  #9  
Old 12-08-2021, 09:08 PM
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IMHO, one of the most useful skills in a (barely) post-apocalyptic situation is manufacturing prosthetics and "mobility aids". This could be anything from making false teeth to artificial limbs and wheelchairs.
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  #10  
Old 12-08-2021, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt W View Post
IMHO, one of the most useful skills in a (barely) post-apocalyptic situation is manufacturing prosthetics and "mobility aids". This could be anything from making false teeth to artificial limbs and wheelchairs.
Great thought! That would definitely require some specialization to do well. Would the base trade be carpentry? If so, that might get my vote now.

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https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...--Rooks-Gambit
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...ula-Sourcebook
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...nia-Sourcebook
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  #11  
Old 12-11-2021, 07:40 PM
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Looks like all the medieval reenactors are going to be valuable. Most of them have keep a good part of those skills.
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  #12  
Old 01-01-2023, 05:12 PM
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Default Night Soil Men & Pure Finders

I just finished The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson, about the 1854 London Cholera outbreak. In it, I learned of the various trades involved in recycling raw sewage in the fast-growing industrial metropolis. One, in particular, stood out as being relevant to the T2kU.

https://stacitiesbaad.files.wordpres...-soil-men2.pdf

I'd like to nominate "night soil men" for most valuable pre-industrial tradesmen. These brave souls collected human excrement from cesspools around the city and delivered to the surrounding countryside to be used as fertilizer. I imagine that 2000 would see the emergence of neo-night soil men (and women), as modern waste removal tech breaks down and chemical fertilizers are no longer widely available. Someone would need to shift effluvia once again, lest cholera reclaim its place as a top killer of urban populations.

Another odd one that deserves a mention, if only for its oddity, is the pure finders. "Pure", in this context, refers to dog feces. The pure finders would pick up dog turds and hand them over to tanners, who used it in the processing of leather goods.

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https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...--Rooks-Gambit
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...ula-Sourcebook
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...nia-Sourcebook
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  #13  
Old 01-01-2023, 06:51 PM
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I always figured that one of the biggest trades that would form isn’t “pre-industrial” per say, but a derivation of the blacksmith and Mr. Fix-it… a “reclamation” expert. This would be someone who has a good head for mechanical things that can repair old machines and combine them with others to create new. This would require a lot of metal fabrication knowledge, machining, and a dose of creativity.
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Old 01-02-2023, 05:49 PM
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A tinkerer of some sorts would certainly be an important commodity to have. And yes, not only in a party, but also as an asset in trade: human trafficking would be huge in T2K, I'd imagine.
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Old 01-04-2023, 08:56 AM
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It's not pre-industrial, but I think a machinist would be very, very high up on the most valuable trade ranking.

Throw in a good machinist with some sand casting, and you can re-create cottage level industrial infrastructure from scratch.

Being able to make guns, mortars, long stroke engines, or even just basic things like screws, pumps, and tools would be...very useful.

Likewise, a bucket chemist would be useful as well. Someone that knows how to leach nitrates from a titer bed to make gunpowder/explosives.
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  #16  
Old 01-05-2023, 07:36 PM
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I received Foxfire 5 for Christmas. The following quote, from the editors' early-1970s correspondence with California backwoods-dweller Carl Darden, made me think of this thread:

Quote:
But [flint-knapping]'s a nearly dead art, and the man who takes it up, even for a hobby, is perpetuating a trade that once was one of the greatest industries in the civilized world - the last bit of man's stone age.

It's a scary thought to know that so many people are alive today artificially because of modern inventions. The passing of such free cultures as the fruit tramps and the hobos and the gypsies are seldom thought of, let alone missed or wept over. But it's the same for the tinker, cooper, potter, wood-cutter, blacksmith, miller, ferryman, old-time gunsmith, powder miller, horseback mailman, bowmaker, tanner, windmill salesman, general handyman, postmaker, miner, prospector, moonshiner, and a thousand other tradesmen that most parts of our society have forgotten or don't know anything about in this day and age of specializing. As a young man, I was a tinker (I still repair pots and pans rather than throw them away), coopered churns, buckets, and barrels; still make musical instruments, made whiskey and beer, mined placer gold, worked at blacksmithing, worked as a tanner and as a cowboy, explored unvisited places in the wilderness as a wanderer, made furniture, built cabins from materials at hand, made a few wooden water pumps, cooked meals for tunnel crews on a wood stove, made gun flints and arrowheads, smelted my own lead to make round balls from, and a dozen other self-sufficient and unique things few individuals even consider today. The arts and trades are being lost and forgotten at an ever-increasing rate, and if hard times fall on us in some way or another, our survival rate will be low.
- C.
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  #17  
Old 01-06-2023, 03:23 PM
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i'm going with blacksmith because every other job requires a blacksmith to make at least some of their tools.
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  #18  
Old 01-26-2023, 03:10 AM
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Mr. Fred Dibnah.

I can see someone with skills, equipment, friends and experience like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Dibnah leading a salvage / repair group in the T2K world.
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