An excellent resource for those that want to put flesh on the bones of their characters.
I came across this accessory while planning the first major town my PCs would come across. Now I for one like the 4e rules and powers, but these almost exclusively deal with combat encounters. What about the more mundane aspects of life? Do we know how much these gems are worth? Could I sail that ship to the island? These things relate to your characters past, to what they did before they began their adventuring career.
'Trades and Professions' provides your character with several suggestions for their past life, from Peasant to Noble, Ruffian to Sage, Sailor to a landlubbing member of the City Watch. Each of these professions is associated with a new Trade Skill (Crafting, Farming, Influence, Learned, Performance, Read the Land, Scoundrel, Seafaring, Soldiering and Travel). These skills work like Knowledge checks, and the description for each details what you might learn or be able to do with a successful check.
Each Trade Skill is associated with two ability scores (and their bonuses), meaning they can be made effective for a variety of character classes. Many have logical connections with existing classes. For example a mage with the Learned trade skill, a rogue with the Scoundrel trade skill or a bard with the Performance trade skill. However, it is equally possible (and perhaps more interesting) that a character spent their youth as a pickpocket and street runner, simply to stay alive. After some epiphany they joined the priesthood, but the knowledge they gained on the street does not disappear....
The list of profession and Trade Skills is comprehensive but not exhaustive. It does not pretend to be. However, all can be used as written, enabling PCs who are struggling to think of a background with an easy starting point. There are surely many more possibilities, and many of those described can easily be adapted or even added to, particularly for those who already have an idea of their past.
Importantly, the Trde Skills do not detract from or alter any of the pre-exisiting skills, powers, etc., within the 4e rules. A Trade Skill is chosen in additionto these, and will most commonly be used out of combat, getting to and from places or finding information when you're there. If you are a gamer who just enjoys the hack and slash of combat, fair play, the Trade Skills can probably be ignored. However, for those who want their characters to have an extra dimension, the Trade Skills provide the means to do so.
In summary, a very good product at a very reasonable price.
[5 of 5 Stars!]