Gate of Souls
Production Skill List
These are some examples of how the various skills may be implemented as a production skill. Most organizations will attempt to increase their productivity by whatever means they have available, and as such these skills only represent the most prominent factors at play, diversified further by any bonus skills. Other trades or means are automatically assumed to be employed to some extent or another, but not in a way that is influential enough to affect the Leadership Skill Pool
Most of these descriptions contain only flavor text, that should give you some idea of how they operate. I am inclined to add more mechanics to each, minor bonuses and penalties to represent the focus of each kind of holding and domain. All of the major mechanical effects I should have already listed however, so anything else will just be small tweaks to support their flavor.
Provinces that are based on Academics represent an extremely literate and cultured people, who often look to history to guide them in regards to their problems and challenges.
A trade or arcane holding based off of academics may only exist in a region of well developed and stable lands (Level 5 or more provinces without major wars in all adjacent and active provinces), as only these kinds of lands will support a market to sustain secular colleges or a trade in manuscripts.
Academics is a sound basis for a philosophy holding, as it represents knowledge of religion as well as history and other such forms of higher learning. For other holdings Academics is much harder to utilize, as it requires a stable market for learning of this type.
A Law holding depends on keeping the populace informed about criminals and dangers, and allowing the people to act as their eyes and ears. Law holdings based on an academics production skill are possible only in holdings where the Domain Attitude is Helpful.
Provinces based on alchemy focus very heavily on the use of alchemical essences and various other chemicals to assist in their every-day lives. Such provinces are likely to have an alchemist in every settlement, guard natural sources of essence jealously, and make regular use of Aspect enhanced tools. Such societies may also come to depend on potions or drugs to enhance the effectiveness of their workers.
A trade holding based of alchemy hoards such resources to create refined goods for sale and export.
Arcane holdings based on alchemy are extremely common, as alchemical essences can allow for truly dramatic ritual magic effects and the production of powerful magical artifacts. In addition having Aspect essences on hand can smooth the way for such holdings to make powerful allies among the elementals.
Philosophy holdings generally have less use for the products of alchemy, unless they choose to deal with the elemental planes for their source of guidance and spirituality. Such holdings can use alchemical essences to produce portals to the elemental planes, but their followers are likely to fall into far extremes of attitude and even potentially mental illness.
Law holdings that use Alchemy to enforce the laws tend to be some of the most resented and brutal. Resorting to the overpowering force of enhanced weapons, bombs, and poison to maintain ‘order’. Such holdings can never have a truly positive relationship with the people, and are much more likely to face rebellion.
Provinces that are based on crafts focus on the skill of their hands, filled with tool using commoners who look first for the right item to accomplish the task at hand, and then look to fashion one if nothing appropriate is available. Even the least skilled commoner knows how to carve a stout staff or hammer tin.
Trade holdings focused on crafts are the most obvious, simply producing high quality but mundane practical goods for sale.
Arcane holdings that utilize crafts do so to produce trade goods as well, but those goods are usually intended for otherworldly recipients. Such goods can be used as bribes for any number of alien beings, or sacrifices for others.
Philosophy holdings based on crafts usually emphasize the relationship of skill and self-improvement with enlightenment. The work of your hands is a metaphor for the perfection of oneself.
Law holdings based on crafts use the prospect of hard manual labor as a deterrent, sentencing criminals to work houses.
A province based on investigation is one in which the people are patient and inquisitive. This can be either a boon or bane for the regent as they are more likely to be able to solve their own problems by coming at them from many angles. But they are more likely to meddle in the affairs of their fellows, and less likely to see the need for any regent at all.
Trade holdings based on investigation are likely to be primarily composed of contractors, people who will travel and ply their individual trades for people on the road or in foreign settlements. Tinkers or wandering troubadours are good examples.
Arcane holdings based on investigation seek out obscure locations of mystic potential. They can be powerful, but become more and more limited as the population encroaches on their hidden treasures. Arcane holdings of this type have a maximum of 8 – province level rather than province level, but may still not be created in a province with no level.
Philosophy holdings based on investigation are not so much rare as disorganized. Because most people who believe that exploration is they key to enlightenment tend to go exploring. A philosophy holding based on investigation is limited to 1/3 of the province level, and it’s membership is likely to have a high turnover rate.
Law holdings based on investigation are some of the most effective in actually locating the perpetrators of crimes. Law holdings that rely on evidence in this fashion are some of the most respected by the law abiding, and most sought out by criminals as being havens for those of skill.
Provinces based on medicine are few and far between, as the people are generally more concerned with with health and well being than with accomplishing their goals. Such provinces recover from natural disasters automatically, but require an extra domain round to accomplish any other action. Military units garrisoned in such a province recover at twice the normal rate.
Trade holdings that focus on medicine are primarily caregivers and the providers of medicines or natural drugs, and occasionally poisons.
Arcane holdings based on medicine are of a few kinds. Some have a sinister reputation, obtaining occult power through organ extraction, vivisection, or some other manipulation of flesh. Some focus on necromancy and animating dead flesh instead of affecting the living. Some few serve as mystical healers, calling on otherworldly spirits to cure illness in return for payment from the people, but these are extremely rare.
Philosophy holdings based on medicine are generally temples that offer services to the sick and suffering, or medical colleges that train physicians who travel across the whole land.
Law holdings based on medicine are as ill regarded as those based on alchemy, relying on torture or drugging to obtain information, and to punish lawbreakers.
Provinces based around the occult are also rare, and in them every farmer knows a few small rituals to appease the spirits or aid crop growth. In such provinces otherworldly forces are unpredictable, and often hostile or outright violent. Being pulled about by every layman makes spirits frustrated and flows of energy unstable.
Trade holdings based on the occult can only be established in areas of great mystical power, such as provinces with many Wells or large Verges. Such guilds most often make their living selling exotic creatures, or the remains thereof. Possibly working minor rituals as any contractor performing a trade is within the purview of these groups, but often the local arcane holding views such activity as amounting to a declaration of war.
Arcane holdings that deal in the occult are extremely common, and can make the best use of ritual magic to create large scale effects. They are also likely to call upon demonic ‘allies’, and otherworldly allies in general.
Philosophy holdings that focus on the occult may focus on the ‘small gods’, describing spirits and demons, or fey creatures as minor deities both good and evil.
Law holdings that depend on the occult to function use divination to determine the perpetrators of crimes, and rely on otherworldly allies such as familiars and spirits to help them investigate and subdue lawbreakers. The punishments inflicted on criminals by these holdings can be as varied and… inventive as their leaders might desire.
Provinces cannot readily use politics as a production skill, except possibly in the extreme case of a metropolis in the center of a large and well established nation of many provinces.
Trade holdings that focus on politics act as information brokers and fixers, they act almost as modern banks, using influence and leverage as currency. They are seldom well-loved, but often quite powerful.
Arcane holdings that prioritize politics as their method of production often do so by playing upon the factions of spirit courts or trading favors with demons. As such, a political arcane holding does not count as being in conflict with another province or holding that utilizes politics, but does count as being in competition with another holding that is utilizing occult as a production skill.
Philosophy holdings based on politics are often a sort of training ground for the grand vizir or courtier. A forum of debate for politicians and source of advisers for rulers. When of a religious bent, these holdings often stress the interplay of multiple deities, showing each as part of a united pantheon. Or they study the local spirit courts and try to mirror them in some fashion, looking to spirit politics for spiritual guidance.
Law holdings that center on politics tend to function extremely poorly for actually maintaining order, instead simply using leverage and influence to accrue more leverage and influence. A holding of this kind functions effectively as a trade guild without the ability to create trade routes, but retaining the ability to raze other holdings. The domain attitude of a regent of this kind can never rise above four.
Provinces where the people are of a scientific bent are filled with problem-solvers and thinkers. They function more effectively than other people when executing construction or dealing with mundane Realm Events. Unfortunately this reliance on logic over spirituality leaves the people much less prepared to cope with supernatural events, as these will often not act in any truly logical fashion.
Trade holdings that are based on science are engineers, working to construct roads, buildings, boats, and mechanical appliances.
Arcane holdings built around science can be surprisingly effective, but tend to focus more on the ritual aspect of magic rather than otherworldly expertise and allies. They construct massive ritual apparatuses, allowing them to evoke even larger and more complex effects. Such constructions are inevitably rendered obsolete after a single use however.
Philosophy holdings based on science resemble academic philosophy holdings, but focus more heavily on natural law. Such holdings can never be truly devoted to deities or spirits, though they can still hold strong spiritual ideals.
Law holdings based on science are usually focused on punishment, and maintain large prisons to house offenders, or resort to more elaborate ‘corrective methods’. They can be very effective at hunting criminals of a mundane nature, but tend to be at a loss when it comes to supernatural threats when they are not of an obvious nature.
Provinces centered on athletics are societies where physical ability is valued and encouraged. People are more inclined to meet a problem with raw force than consideration, which can marginalize the skills of planning and careful thought.
Trade holdings based on athletics usually employ large numbers of workers as a ‘mobile serf force’, providing needed labor to farmers and other regent’s to complete construction or mass produce goods.
Arcane holdings based on athletics also focus on ritual magic, centered on large numbers of enthusiastic participants joining in intense mass-performances. As such the nature and frequency of their rituals is limited, as are they types of resources they can gather.
Philosophy holdings based on athletics are much like those based on crafts. Simply focusing on the perfection of one’s body over the extent of one’s skill.
Law holdings based on athletics rely on catching criminals in the act, and sentencing offenders to work gangs as punishment.
A province that relies on a combat skill such as Brawl, Archery, or Melee represents a people who are raiders. They venture forth from their province to pillage neighboring lands, and as such cannot exist without nearby rivals to raid. Such lands produce veteran militia units, but no real income of their own.
Trade holdings that rely on combat skills function as mercenary guilds, selling their services in warfare or to pacify the land.
Arcane holdings that center on combat skills train and equip their followers to raid the supernatural realms for resources or serve as inter-planar mercenaries. Individuals that survive long in such groups are some of the most effective warriors in the world. Not many do survive such work long however, and the holding itself will quickly accrue a long list of supernatural enemies.
Philosophy holdings based on combat skills resemble those based on crafts, seeing perfection of the martial arts as equal to the perfection of oneself. In addition they most often see themselves as champions of ‘right’, and the strong right arm of whatever ideology they espouse.
Law holdings based on martial skills are much like those based on athletics when it comes to catching criminals, and really only see one way to address a persistent crime problem…
Provinces that focus on ride are nomadic peoples, possibly raiding others or simply following resources from place to place. Such societies can never truly establish themselves in one place and build up their communities. Provinces based on ride can never rise above rank 5.
Trade holdings based on drive focus on the sale of horses or other mounts, serve as messengers and scouts, transport goods via ship or caravan, or act much as mercenary groups similar to those based on combat skills.
Arcane holdings based on ride can exist only in the midst of extremely wealthy provinces, and produce supernatural creatures or conveyances for regents and wealthy adventurers.
Philosophy holdings based on ride function as those based on exploration. One exception might be the temple or school dedicated to shipbuilding, in a thriving coastal area, but such a temple would likely face heavy competition from the local trade holdings.
Law holdings cannot focus around Ride.
Provinces cannot be based upon larceny, even for the purpose of raiding other provinces this skill is ineffective to sustain a population.
Thieves guilds have a long tradition in fantasy settings, and the Gate of Souls setting is no different. Focusing not so much on producing goods themselves as taking a share from others, a well organized and powerful larceny trade holding can sometimes maintain order more effectively than any law holding.
Arcane holdings based on Larceny are not possible, as even the most ambitions arcane holding will not be able to simply take enough magical resources to sustain their work.
Philosophy holdings based on Larceny are traditionally temples to gods of theivery, and either very small or very effective at maintaining their secrecy through false fronts.
Law holdings based on Larceny are effectively secret police, breaking into homes to search for clues or evidence of wrongdoing. Such methods can sometimes be effective, but are seldom appreciated.
Provinces based on stealth usually only occur in particularly dangerous landscapes. Often filled with dangerous beasts and creatures. Communities are small and hidden, and the people gifted at avoiding or working around dangers more often than facing them. Provinces based on stealth reduce two from their maximum level, but all militia produced in such provinces are scouts
Trade holdings based on stealth are likely either thieves or assassins. Sometimes, but rarely, they provide services as scouts or spies.
Arcane holdings revolving around stealth are secret societies of sorts, inducting member quietly and gathering resources of many kinds without alerting others to their plans.
Philosophy: See Larceny philosophy holdings
Law: See Larceny law holdings
Provinces based on survival are home to hardy and self-reliant individuals. However, these people are also the ones least likely to build up large-scale infrastructure, depending on their own skills rather than engineering or organization to support them.
Trade holdings based on survival are trappers and hunters, or gather rare herbs and other natural resources. Trade holdings based on survival are limited to a level of 8-province level.
Arcane holdings based on survival focus on naturalistic occult rituals, calling upon sympathetic connections with nature to fuel their magic. These holdings are limited in the same fashion as survival trade holdings.
Philosophy holdings based on survival look much like the stereotype of a druidic circle, revering the land and acknowledging it’s mysteries. Holdings of this kind do not conflict with provinces that use survival as a production skill, but still conflict normally with other holdings that do so.
Law holdings based on survival excel at handling issues such as poaching, smuggling, or banditry, but suffer a penalty when seeking crimes that occur entirely within metropolitan areas. In addition they suffer a greater penalty when dealing with more ‘white collar’ types of crimes such as corruption.
With the exception of Animal Ken, social skills are not appropriate as production skills for Provinces.
Provinces based on animal ken make their living as shepherds, or simply by training and utilizing animals in all aspects of life. Beasts of burden to carry good, oxen to plow, dogs to guard and hunt, etc.
Trade Holdings that rely on animal ken train animals to assist others as guards or beasts of burden.
Arcane holdings that focus on animal ken resemble trade holdings, but the creatures they train and produce are much more exotic. See the restrictions on arcane holdings based on ride.
Philosophy holdings based on animal ken are much like those based on survival.
Law holdings based on animal ken are surprisingly effective in tracking and subduing criminals, but are not as effective in pursuing crimes that require following a paper trail.
Trade holdings based on empathy are most often those oriented toward providing companionship to their clients. Such trade is sometimes held in great esteem by a society, but just as often looked down upon and derided.
Arcane holdings based on empathy rely heavily on influencing the minds of the populace, in order to manipulate the local spirit courts.
Philosophy holdings based on Empathy tend to encourage introspection and self-examination. As well as providing their services as soul-healers, possibly including those same services provided by empathy trade holdings.
Law holdings cannot be based on empathy. Though many law-officers work based on hunches about a suspect’s personality, such hunches and observations cannot be called evidence in any true sense of the word, and basing judgement entirely upon them will result on in suspicion and resistance from the common people.
Trade guilds based on expression focus on performance art, which can only serve as the basis for a trade holding in a wealthy area. See the restrictions for academic trade holdings.
Arcane holdings based in expression function much as those based on Athletics.
Philosophy holdings based on expression typically center around performance art as a form of worship, seeking to please the spirits or gods though dance, song, or poetry. They may also take the form of forums that encourage debate and discussion as a means of refining and contesting ideas.
Law holdings cannot be effectively based on expression.
Trade holdings based on intimidation function through fear and extortion, typically in the form of unscrupulous lenders or simply as a thuggish thieves guild.
Arcane holdings centered on intimidation function as those based on politics, however such a holding is extremely likely to inspire retaliation from otherworldly forces.
Philosophy holdings based on intimidation are churches that rely on fear of divine punishment to enforce worship. And generally if divine punishment is not forthcoming soon enough, the church then feels obligated to deliver it personally.
Law holdings based on intimidation resemble those based on combat skills.
Trade holdings that rely upon persuasion are masters of establishing trade routes and establishing a web of contacts to facilitate exchanging goods at even a local level.
Arcane holdings based on persuasion most often resemble those based upon politics, and depend on having stable and friendly relations with other planes.
Philosophy holdings based on persuasion cannot function effectively. While many philosophy holdings rely on persuasion as a means to attract followers (as an interaction skill), persuading another to follow your own point of view cannot create an effective basis for a philosophy.
Law holdings based on persuasion function through local contacts and interrogation to determine fault and locate criminals. While often well-regarded, they may find themselves operating off of unreliable information more often than other types of law holdings.
Trade holdings based on socialize are often those that rely upon the hospitality services to produce income. Inns, taverns, and services resembling those of empathy trade holdings are all possibilities.
Arcane holdings cannot be based upon socialize, as relations with both the populace and otherworldly creatures require more substantial interaction than this skill allows for.
Philosophy holdings based on socialize tend to favor revels and other large gathering to support their followers and direct worship. Such organizations spread their message subtly rather than in the form of pulpit-pounding. Such organizations tend to need more time to spread their message, but are in some ways more insidious and harder to uproot than a church or school that defines their creed in an obvious fashion.
Law holdings based on socialize rather resemble those based on larceny. They are secret police that strive to blend in, but must still rely on information passed on by unreliable sources. Socialize law holdings subtract two from their maximum level, due to the inefficiency of their methods.
Trade holdings based on streetwise are adaptable organizations that usually focus on the sale of physical goods in the highest demand. They often have a shady reputation and may fall into the realm of thieves guilds. Because they are based in cities such holdings may only exist in provinces of level 5 or more, or in provinces that represent a single city.
Arcane holdings based on streetwise in some ways resemble those that are based on empathy, but they have the same restrictions as trade holdings based on streetwise. In addition these holdings are liable to focus not only on the emotional aspect of their people; but also the city-spirits based around architecture, organizations, etc.
Philosophy holdings centered on streetwise most often resemble those based on larceny, but may occasionally espouse a socialist style philosophy of the power of the common people.
Law holdings based on streetwise can be some of the most effective in managing crime. Managing, but almost never eliminating, because such holdings depend on their contacts in the underworld to garner their information and sometimes even enforce the law. Such holdings are focused far more on maintaining order than pursuing the strict letter of the law.
All holdings based on subterfuge function as those based on larceny, except arcane holdings.
Arcane holdings based on subterfuge function as those based on stealth, but they also tend to manipulate the local denizens of the other planes. This strategy is risky as it might prompt retaliation, but can provide the holding with many more resources than they might otherwise acquire.