List Of Tribal Professions
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Basic Information

This is a list of occupations likely to be available in hunter-gatherer and nomadic cultures. Note that many such societies lack professional specialization. Everyone shares in a variety of chores and tasks, and no one gets to focus exclusively upon a particular job. The nomadic lifestyle makes it hard to focus on one specialty, and requires everyone to travel lightly. Dedicated bureaucrats, artisans, hierarchy, etc, are relatively rare in such cultures[1]. See gift economy for a possible economic (and social) structure that such cultures are likely to develop. Equality is commonly a hallmark of such societies.

Note: Most of the links below are currently dead. Links in Red do not have pages yet, and clicking on them will make a new empty page. Links in Blue go to an actual existing page, most of which have useful material for gaming.




Game and Story Use

  • If the PC has travelled to a low-Tech-Level civilization and made to work (or wanted to blend in), then this list would be useful.
    • Indeed, any veteran chrononaut would be likely to have a couple of relevant survival skills, so that they can find food or work no matter when they go in time. Having a job helps provide a cover, as well.
  • A common (and repeated) misunderstanding when white men encountered natives in prior centuries was to over-estimate the authority of native chiefs.
    • In the 19th Century, the US Government kept imagining there was one single "Great Chief" of the Plains Indians that they could strike a bargain with over land access. Not only were the many tribes of Native Americans far more decentralized than the government imagined, but each individual chief had a lot less authority than the whites imagined. A particular chief may have been greatly respected by those who chose to live with or near him, but pretty much every individual in the tribes was free to make up their own minds and/or set off on their own if they disagreed with how the local chief was handling things. The white settlers and US military, accustomed to hierarchy, had a hard time understanding this.
      • And that's saying nothing of the many times that the US Government of the era willingly broke it's own treaties. It was a dark and thorny chapter of US history.
    • Many tribal societies are likely to have similar social flexibility, even in fiction and gaming. Players trying to win a war, broker a peace, or settle a dispute may find that they have to negotiate again and again, with new splinter groups forming among those they didn't directly talk to the first time.
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