Skills: Craft, Knowledge, Perform, Profession 

I’ve gotten tired of the 15 million variations of these, so following is a somewhat simplified list of 20 crafts that cover pretty much all types of applied arts and sciences, from low-tech to high-tech. If you have to have a specific craft for some reason, substitute the craft listed here that would include that more focused skill. I will also be using an alternative specialization option for skills which becomes useful here. It allows for general skill or more focused skill masters much less capable outside their concentration sub-skill. Not specializing indicates a broader skill in the subject. Specialization suggestions are indicated in parentheses. To specialize, spend 1/2 rank in a skill you already have trained, and gain an extra effective rank in a sub-skill specialization of your choice, up to the maximum ranks possible for your character at the time. If you wish to single specialize only, you can exceed your usual ranks by “splitting” your skill. To do this, you treat your effective ranks in the general skill as 1 or more lower than what you allocated (to a minimum of 1) and treat your specialization as having an equal number of virtual ranks above what you allocated. Example of splitting: Tracy the Rogue wishes to learn poison-making, a sub-skill of Alchemy, but isn’t too interested in the other aspects of the general skill. So, Tracy takes 4 ranks in Craft (Alchemical) and splits it fully. She takes a 3 virtual real reduction to keep the 1 minimum required, and adds an equal 3 virtual ranks to Poison. The net result is a virtual real allocation of 1 and 7. She’s pretty darned good at poisons, but just an apprentice in the rest of the Alchemical field. Also below is a simplified list of Perform and Knowledge skills that can be similarly specialized. Note: for quick or random character building, 1d20 will get you a quick choice of craft or knowledge and 1d10 will get you a quick choice of performance art. 


  1. Aeronautical  (boat, submersible, plane, rocket, car, aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, propulsion systems) 
  2. Alchemical (chemistry, poison, dye, tanning, brewing, wine-making, thermodynamics, pharmaceuticals, crystals, toxic waste disposal)
  3. Animal (ivory, horn, bone, chitin, leather, hide, sinew, gut, feathers, taxidermy, scrimshaw)
  4. Atomic (nuclear power, nuclear detonator, Force screens, radio-isotope dating, radioactive waste disposal, electromagnetic, magnetic) 
  5. Culinary (food processing, cooking, pastry, rations, chef artistry, catering, food science, artisanal foods, diet) 
  6. Earthworks (tunnels, masonry, statuary, ceramics, adobe, road, canal, sewer, mining) 
  7. Electronic (computer, control system, power system, lighting, sensory system, video, audio, cybernetics, remote control, laser)
  8. Explosive (propulsion, gunpowder, grenade, ballistics, dynamite, bomb, anti-personnel, IED, fireworks)
  9. Fine Work (watch, clock, jewelry, lock, gun, miniaturization, camera)
  10. Locomotion (wheel, sled, skates, skis, chariot, cart, steam engine, internal combustion engine, turbine)
  11. Mechanism (lever, gears, pulley, springs, traps, mills, siege engines) 
  12. Metaphysical (Spellcraft, Psicraft, ritual, magic circle, fetish, hypnotherapy)
  13. Plant (farming, horticulture, hedge, topiary, garden, ikebana, floral arrangement, forestry, mushroom) 
  14. Smith (blacksmith, goldsmith, silversmith, weapons, armor, farrier, tools, foundry)
  15. Structures (engineering, architecture, construction, bridges, city walls, city planning, aqueduct)
  16. Visual Art (painting, sketch, sculpture, film-making, photography, 3D art, holography, etching)
  17. Weaving (textiles, rope, basket, tailor, crochet, knitting, macrame, tapestry) 
  18. Weird Science (temporal, warp, transdimensional, anti-gravity)
  19. Woodwork (carpentry, bows, arrows, fiberglass, plastics, raft, boat, cabinetry)
  20. Writing (poetry, prose, technical writing, academic papers, essay, official writ, music, scripts)


  1. Arcana (Spellcraft, constructs, dragons, magical beasts, mysteries, magic traditions, arcane symbology, enchanting, curses, magic items, familiars)
  2. Art & Music (important artists, art history, styles/movements, theory, deconstruction, technique, critique) 
  3. Architecture & Engineering (buildings, aqueducts, bridges, fortifications, roads, dams, supports, fire suppression, prison)
  4. Business & Trade (trade routes, market needs, logistics, negotiation, tariffs, documentation, trade laws, shipping companies, black market) 
  5. Combat & Warfare (combat styles, martial orders, martial lore, troop definitions, tactics, military history, weaponry, armor, fortifications, conscription, gladiatorial, street fighting)
  6. Geography & Travel (geology, terrain types, climates, territorial boundaries, ethnology, culture, travel lanes, astronomy, astrogation) 
  7. Government & Politics (factions, law, civil divisions, law enforcement, important personalities, citizenship, lawsuit, campaigning, administration) 
  8. History & Antiquities (wars, migrations, colonies, founding cities, important figures, archeology, anthroplogy, genealogy)
  9. Language & Literature (authors, poets, literary history, literary styles, literary movements, library science, resources, linguistics, analysis, specific language, journalism)
  10. Mathematics (common functions, Geometry, Probability, statistics, Algebra, calculus, numerology)
  11. Nature (animals, fey, monstrous humanoids, plants, seasons, natural cycles, weather, vermin, food chains, Biology, ecology, herbalism)
  12. Local (by area, legends, personalities, inhabitants, local laws, local customs, local traditions, demographics, landmarks, points of interest, local cuisine, accommodations)
  13. Nobility & Royalty (genealogy, heraldry, personalities, etiquette, laws of succession, inheritance, hierarchy)
  14. Religion/Thaumaturgy (deities, holy symbols, demigods, mythic history, undead, ecclesiastical traditions, specific religion, rites and rituals, spellcraft, shrines, churches, temples, holy sites, religious law) 
  15. Psionics  (Psicraft, disciplines, Psionic races, Psionic monsters, the gift, mindblade, psicrystal, psignet, crystals, Psionic items)
  16. Dungeoneering (aberrations, oozes, caverns, spelunking, mines, traps)
  17. The Planes (Inner, Outer, Ethereal, Astral, elemental, planar magic, pocket dimensions, planar travel, outsiders, extraplanar beings) 
  18. Philosophy & Psychology (traditions of thought, psychoanalysis, sociology, behavioral sciences, mob dynamics, crowd dynamics, sexuality, therapy)
  19. Electronics & Computers (electrical systems, electronic components, programming, specific programming language, networks, mass networks, social media, communications, user interfacing, technical support)
  20. Science (scientific method, specific science, critical thinking, logical systems, experimental standards, lab equipment, contamination protocol) 


  1. Acting (comedy, drama, melodrama, romance, mime, kabuki, passion plays, action choreography, impersonation, mimicry) 
  2. Comedy (buffoonery, limericks, jokes, puns, stand-up, situational, improv) 
  3. Dance (specific dance style, kata, choreography, improvisational, aquatic ballet, chorus line) 
  4. Keyboard (harpsichord, piano, pipe organ, accordion, dulcimer, clavier, kalimba, harmonium)
  5. Oratory (epic, ode, storytelling, news crying, rhetoric, debate, sales pitch, freestyle, beatnik) 
  6. Percussion (bells, chimes, drums, gong, steel drum, xylophone, wood block, maracas, castanetes, timpani) 
  7. Strings (fiddle, harp, lute, mandolin, guitar, cello, balalika, sitar, bass, banjo, erhu, pipa, guqin, guzheng) 
  8. Wind (flute, pan pipes, horns, trumpet, recorder, shawm, clarinet, saxophone, tuba, trombone, sousaphone, Alpin horn, didgeridoo) 
  9. Sing (ballad, chant, melody, harmony, choral, opera, madrigal, marching tune, cadence, rap) 
  10. Parade (majorette, band dance, marching, precision, weapon display, color guard, coordinated charge) 

A note on Professions: SRD indicates that professions are dependent on other skills, so whatever profession you take, make sure you have the base skills needed to perform your professional duties. I use profession skills for various purposes, so don’t discount them altogether. Certain activities can only be performed by certified professionals, like lawyers, law enforcement, tax collection, bankers, etc. Also, calculating income from non-adventuring activities and adventure-lateral activity is based on ranks in a profession. No ranks means no more than minimum income, unless your related skill checks are phenomenal… professions are not as specializing because each specialty is usually considered a separate profession, but if you abs the DM can agree on a grouping and specialties, then the specialization rules could apply there, as well. For example, one might say that Jurist was a profession, with sub-skills in judge, attorney, expert witness, recorder, bailiff, and jury member. It could be a bit of a stretch, but they all need a varying level and type of focus on various parts of the law and legal proceedings. Similarly, Chef could include pastry chef, short-order cook, sommelier, caterer, waiter, barista, bartender, grill-master, baker, fry cook, survivalist and sushi chef. They all need to understand cooking and food service in differing ways and levels of expertise. Just try to keep it simple. 


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