Caledonian Trade Guilds

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The Principality of Caledon is famous for its commercial ventures. This is partly due to the Principality's very low degree of commercial regulation, the easy availability of capital through the various clan Credit Pools, a choice of stable and/or dynamic currencies, and a court system that is broadly considered fair but firm in enforcing contract law throughout the Principality.

But the final piece of the puzzle is the widespread availablility of capable, well-trained, affordble-yet-well-enough-paid labor. A key facet in this is the Caledonian Guild system.

The Guild System[edit]

Most Caledonian labor, especially on the higher-population and higher-technology worlds (systems at TL9 or greater, with populations above 5 million), works through "Guilds". The guilds provide a beginner-through-retirement system for their workers; workers start as apprentices, become "journeymen" after a few years (depending on the trade), and then "Masters" upon mastering the trade. The time between steps varies; it's possible to go from apprentice to master Baker in six years or less; a master Jump Drive Technician or master Nurse (with skills nearly equal to those of physicians), perhaps 15-20.

Each guild employs "brokers" - salesmen, basically - whose job it is to "sell" the guild's services to businesses in need of labor. In most fields, multiple guilds compete for work. The result is a constant competition between guilds to place their members in commission-paying positions, and between businesses to find the highest-skilled labor for the money, and among Caledonian guild members to learn and improve their skills to thereby make them more easily marketable. New guilds form regularly, and old guilds dissolve somewhat more rarely, as the labor market adapts to fit market demands.

The guild system - especially in the "Vocational" guilds (see "Types of Guilds", below) serves as the vocational education system on most Caledonian worlds; workers begin apprenticeships at age 14-18 in one of the guilds, with an aim toward becoming "Journeymen" in four years.

Guild Organization[edit]

Guilds come in all sizes (although rarely do they span multiple systems, outide the Transportation industry; smaller vocational fields in smaller systems may be groups of a few dozen workers with semi-formal standards and an ad-hoc sales, placement and training system.

In higher-volume fields on larger systems, a Guild can be a fairly large (although lean) organization, incorporating:

  • Training staff, to select and place new trainees in apprenticeship programs according to the guild's selection standards.
  • "Brokers", to sell the services of the Guild's members to customers. The goal at a Vocational guild (see below) is to place a Journeyman or Master with an employer for a period of years, even decades; at a "Contract" guild for carpenters, plumbers or other project-based careers, jobs can last a matter of days to months.
  • Social Life - Many guilds, especially the larger ones, serve as social centers, providing recreational and vacation opportunities for their workers at steep discounts
  • Health and Life insurance for members, frequently including direct contracts with healthcare providers for journeymen and master employees and their families.
  • Corporate Intelligence staff, focused on planning the Guild's "portfolio" of skills for upcoming developments in the market.
  • Pensions. Trade Guilds are the largest supplier of pensions in the Principality, outstripping even the Navy.
  • Negotiators. It's with good negotiators that guilds earn their keep - providing companies with highly-skilled labor that earns enough to be solid, secure employees at a price that fits inside the employer's top line.

Types of Guilds[edit]

There are three major types of guilds:

  • Professional - workers receive their trade training elsewhere (university, the military); the Guild serves as an insurance, social, retirement and regulatory body. Professional guilds are common for doctors, barristers, engineers, scientists, academics, as well as starship masters, pilots and navigators.
  • Vocational - guild training - apprenticeships serve as "technical school" for workers in these trades, in addition to the healthcare, sales, retirement and social benefits.
  • Contract Guilds - Workers in fields involving discrete projects - construction workers through house painters and plumbers - get their work largely through their Guilds, in addition to healthcare and retirement benefits. Contract guilds strive to provide a sense of continuity and continuing development in workers in project-based fields. These fields can be fairly menial (landscapers, housecleaners), highly skilled (carpenters, masons, plumbers) or technical and lucrative (software development and fiber-optic network consultants).

Available Guilds[edit]

The lists below are not exhaustive, but rather provide a sample of the guilds available on most TL9+ worlds in the Principality of Caledon.


Administrative assistants, bookkeepers and accountants, and other office personnel.

  • Vocational

Agriculture/Food Production[edit]

Farm labor guilds exist on crowded, high-population worlds like Cuillin. Food-processing workers, as well as mechanics and technicians for agricultural equipment, have guilds on all worlds with agriculture.

  • Vocational, Contract


Caledonian brewers and distillers have been famous for their alcoholic and other beverages since time immemorial. Brewery and distillery worker guilds develop the fields from the lowliest vat-tender to the most skillful master distillers and taste-testers. Caledonian alcoholic beverages are coveted througout the Human universe, and are a major export.

  • Vocational


System Networking, Fiber-Optic technician and other data communications technicals have many large, powerful guilds.

  • Vocational, Professional


Construction trades - for residential, commercial, and civil engineering construction projects - are largely controlled by networks of trade guilds.

  • Contract, Vocational


Kitchen staffs, from apprentice dishwashers and prep-cooks to chefs in four-sword restaurants in the ritziest parts of Selkirk, work for the various culinary guilds. At their best, they bely the Caledonian reputation for mediocre-to-awful cuisine.

  • Vocational


Housecleaners and domestic staff, as well as plumbers and heating/air conditioning repairmen, have powerful guilds.

  • Contract, Vocational


While most Caledonian teachers are employed by private schools and require at least a University degree to qualify, they still largely belong to guilds for their healthcare and pensions.

  • Professional

Emergency Services[edit]

Firefighters, Paramedics and other emergency workers belong to large, powerful guilds that negotiate with units of government (cities, shires, counties) or with private employers (closed neighborhoods, corporate or noble estates).

  • Vocational, occasional Professional
  • Referee's Note: This is an obvious place for player characters with appropriate skills to seek employment.


Entertainment guilds serve as job clearinghouses and healthcare/pension administrators. Guilds exist for musicians, entertainers, professional and semi-professional athletes, gambling workers, and in more libertarian quarters, prostitutes (whose guilds frequently hire private security).

  • Contract, sometimes Vocational
  • Referee's Note: This guild can be a rich source of information for player characters.


Bankers, Lenders, Investment services and Insurance industry workers often join guilds after (usually) getting their university degrees.

  • Professional


Nurses, orderlies (nursing assistants), and even many doctors belong to healthcare worker guilds.

  • Professional, Vocational
  • Referee's Note: This guild can also be a rich source of information and job leads for player characters.


Hotel and restaurant workers, from the lowliest porter to hotel management, come up through various hospitality guilds.

  • Vocational

Intra and Inter-System Travel[edit]

Guilds exist at every starport for Caledonian merchant pilots, navigators, and plant/maneuver/jump engineers.

  • Professional (for veteran pilots, captains and navigators), Vocational (for engineers and other staff)


Barristers assistants (paralegals), legal secretaries and court reporters belong to various legal guilds. Barristers (lawyers) frequently belong to professional "guilds".

  • Professional (barristers), Vocational

Law Enforcement[edit]

Caledonian police guilds negotiate with government as well as private clients.

  • Vocational
  • Referee's Note: "Copper Guilds" are both a potential source of information and, for the right player characters, employment.


All manner of manufacturing labor, from consumer goods assembly lines to technicians and laborers at Starship construction yards, belong to a plethora of Manufacturing guilds.

  • Vocational, Contract


Infostream technicians, personalities, journalists and other staff belong to media unions, mostly in larger cities.

  • Vocational
  • Referee's Note: Obviously a source of info for Player Characters.


The mining industry is a stronghold of many powerful guilds. In a region with a fairly laissez-faire regulatory structure, the Mining Guilds play a vital role in worker safety, negotiating complex agreements with mine owners to ensure the greatest degree of safety possible.

  • Vocational

Retail and Wholesale Commerce[edit]

Store and warehouse staff have guilds.

  • Vocational, Contract

Science and Engineering[edit]

Technicians of all varieties have guilds; academic scientists and professional engineers in many fields have professional guilds as well.

  • Professional (scientists, engineers), Vocational (Technicians)


Law Enforcement in the Principality is largely a matter of investigating major crimes; many firms and communities employ private security. These guilds provide the labor.

  • Vocational, Contract
  • Referee's Note: An obvious source of employment as well as information for player characters.


Programmers, maintainers and administrators of software and systems come up through the software guild system.

  • Professional, Vocational, occasionally (and lucratively) contract.
  • Useful source of information and job leads for player characters.

Transportation (planet-side)[edit]

Prime-mover operators, ocean-ship crews, and mechanics.

  • Vocational
  • Referee's Note - source of employment for PCs.

This article was copied or excerpted from the following copyrighted sources and used under license from Far Future Enterprises or by permission of the author.