The Crafts system of Pern based loosely on the medieval system of guilds. Crafthalls are establishments that maintain Pernese knowledge and skills.

In the absence of efficient means of mass communication, crafthalls serve as colleges where the senior members of the craft conduct research as well as provide instruction in the craft.


After Landing on Pern, they had a apprentice system, that establish systems of learning before the calamities of the First Pass; however, pre-colonization plans included a system similar to the Crafthall system. Originally, the Crafthalls were centralized as a College at Fort Hold, built around the computer databanks available there. With the breakdown of the available computers and the loss of electrical power at the beginning of the Second Pass (Dragonseye), there was little point in continuing to confine the scholars of Pern away from the subjects of their study. Contrariwise, there were political and economic reasons to distribute the Crafts around the settlements of the Northern Continent. As a result, the Halls drifted apart physically. Over time, this led to the Halls adopting the same philosophy and politics of autonomy that already dominated the Holds; by the Eighth Pass, this trend had led to the breakdown of nearly all cross-craft technical collaboration. The dramatic reversal of this trend near the end of the Eighth Interval was crucial for the success of the recolonization of the South during the Ninth Pass. After the rediscovery of the original settlements and their precious treasure of databanks and ancient technologies, a University of sorts was re-established at Landing, and cross-craft contact was elevated to a level not seen since the Second Pass. However, the tradition of Hall autonomy except in planetwide matters was maintained, as was the widespread geographic distribution of centers of learning on Pern.

List of Crafts and Halls

Main article: List of Crafts and Halls

The Crafthall system

Each of the crafthalls on Pern adhere to the same basic organizational structure and ranking system.


Crafthalls are establishments of work and education. A Crafthall may be of any size, but typically, the largest Crafthall is recognized as being the center of knowledge and learning within the craft. Each Crafthall has as its senior member a Master which oversees the activities and education at that establishment. Additionally, the Masters of each craft elect one person to serve as the head of the craft, or Mastercraftsman. The Mastercraftsman has the right and responsibility to represent the craft to the entire population of Pern. Also the removal of his craft folks, leaving only the local trained left, like in Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern, or in The Masterharper of Pern.

Craft ranking system

There are three degrees of rank: apprentice, journeyman (or journeywoman), and master.

  • Apprentice — beginners in learning the craft. The apprentices may be as young as 8 or 9 but there are examples of bringing in apprentices from many older age groups as well. Apprentices are taught in a structured manner by the senior Journeymen or Journeywomen and Masters.
  • Journeyman (Journeywoman) — the large majority of all crafters are Journeymen or Journeywomen who have reached that certain level of expertise where they may be posted at Holds or Weyrs to provide training or serve as practitioners of the craft within the establishment.
  • Master — has the ability and responsibility to pass on his or her expertise within the craft to the Apprentices, Journeymen and Journeywomen.

There are two types of Master in a crafthall: a Master Craftsman, who is higher ranking than apprentices and journeymen/journeywomen, and a Craftmaster, who is in charge of all things relating to that particular craft. For example, a Harper Master Craftsman would be referred to as a «Master Harper», but the Harper Craftmaster would be referred to as «Masterharper».

The difference between Hall-Crafts and Hold-crafts

A distinction should be drawn between the Hold-crafts and the Hall-crafts. Several Crafts, while having their own Halls and places of learning, are basic skills that no Hold can do without. Examples include the Farmercraft, Cookingcraft, and Beastcraft (or Herdcraft). These Hold-crafts are therefore found everywhere, and their life does not primarily revolve around their home Halls. In contrast, crafts such as the Minercraft, Smithcraft, or Healercraft require specific locations, specialized halls, and years of learning to master. Unlike the Hold-crafts, these Crafts stand somewhat aloof from the regular day-to-day life of the Holds of Pern. As their technology began to fail at the beginning of the Second Pass, the colonists of Pern had to shift the methods they used to pass along information. The College decided that teaching by rote, using catchy tunes, and apprentice-master training would work best for Pern. The College later became the Harper Craft To make sure that conflicts wouldn't arise, Craft Halls are considered autonomous of the Holds and Weyrs.

As the Turns passed several major crafts emerged, as well as several smaller ones. Each craft is over seen by a Craftmaster. Under the Craftmaster there are Masters who teach the Apprentices. Journeymen, ranked between Master and Aprentice, were considered skilled in their craft and could either stay at the Hall to learn more or go out and earn a living at a Hold or Weyr.

With the discovery of AIVAS, old skills were rediscovered and several of the Old Crafts were renewed.

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