- A detailed description of the Craft on the basis of the The Dragonlover's Guide to Pern
In Crom itself, the mines produce Firestone, blackstone (also called Cromcoal), and sapphires, all of which are handy to the much-respected Minecrafthall. Like the Farmcraft, with which it has an ongoing rivalry, the Minecraft has many minor halls all over Pern. The skill of the Masterminer must extend not only to the excavation and shaping of minerals, but also to the knowledge of ecology of the land. The Minecraft is considered to be solid, honest, and reliable, as well as discreet. Its influence on Pern is deliberately underplayed by Masterminer Nicat, who would rather get on with his job and leave bickering to those with less to do.
Complaints fostered by the Masterfarmer, presently Andemon, usually have to do with disputed fields in which the Master-miner wants to dig and which the Farm-crafter wishes to plant. They each recognize the necessity for the other; without both of them, ecology would quickly break down, and life on Pern would be much less comfortable.
The Minecraft works hand in hand with the Smithcraft, for whom it digs ore and minerals in exchange for new and more efficient tools. Their functions frequently dovetail. Not only must the Masterminer be premier in his Craft, but he must also be able to coordinate with the Mastersmith. In effect, they are two halves of the same whole. The smith refines ore and puts it to its final uses. There are dozens of mines all over the planet, and Masterminer Nicat is in charge of them all.
He has in his service a huge number of harper journeymen who act as the communication system between him and his Master-miners. With the Harper Hall's aid, he keeps in close touch with what is happening in the world, both specific to his craft and of general interest. Nicat occasionally makes use of Fire Lizards as messengers, but he also uses the little dragon cousins in the mines for killing tunnel snakes and detecting gas leaks.
A miner may practice a specialty of his Craft. Some mine only gems, a science in itself. It takes a special skill to get the crystals out of matrix intact. Others seek liquid minerals, such as rock oil and natural gas, both useful to the Smithcraft. Geology and petrography are specialties of the Minecraft, though they are not known by those names. The minecraft also trains interested students in lapidary, spelunking, and mountain climbing, all of which require the study of the stress and structure of stone formations. The lapidary classes are especially popular in both Hold and Weyr. Gems have no specific value on Pern except as ornamentation and in limited functions within the Smithcraft. For example, the black diamonds found off the shore of Ista are not terribly sought after by amateur jewelers since they are not very pretty, but the stones make useful tools to the smiths.
Women in the Crafthall cut and polish stones to make their own jewelry, which they wear or barter freely. Agate and other pretty stones are traded around or given as gifts. Any stone that a man or woman considers attractive is used for making into a necklace or brooch. Most non-Craft students seek only to learn enough to polish the stones and to bore holes in them to put them on a necklace. The Smithcraft sells or barters tools for ladies to make jewelry, and sells some settings ready-made for the insertion of gems. Most stones come from the Minecraft, either in trade or as gifts.
Jewelry crafting employs shells, bone, and pretty bits of wood as well as cut and polished stones to make scrimshaw, pins, brooches, necklaces, and rings.
There are distinct regional tastes in Pernese jewelry. Pern has much the same range of precious and semiprecious stones as does Earth: the full range of colors of garnet and sapphire; tourmalines; agates of every kind including lace agate and moonstone; the full range of quartz crystals; and all the corun-dums, including beryl. Some untapped diamond pipes still exist in the Southern Hold in the Ninth Pass.
Far from being stagnant, the Minecraft seeks to expand its skills and to discover more of the Ancient knowledge that has been lost over thousands of Turns. Its many Halls Pernwide work to improve techniques and safety procedures in bringing out the ore efficiently.
Positions and responsibilities
- Mining Engineer, geologist — these professions, used after the landing, were later abolished and merged into the Minecraft.
- Miner — the general name of specialists.
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The main area of operations has changed over the Turns. For its an out and about crafthall, during the time between Landing and the First Fall. It started based in Fort Hold after the Second Crossing and had moved to other sites that were mapped.
- Craftsmaster: Tarvi Andiyar (Head Mining Engineers).
- Craftsmaster: Kalvi (Head Mining Engineers).
- Craftsmaster: Britell.
Miner Cot: sapphires, in Fort Hold, the unnamed Master Miner, told T'ron that sapphires that were as big as man eye were found in his time, now not so much the very same day that Piemur as messenger-drum apprentice came, bring them back to the Harper Hall, after they only gave him, flawed stone, he, would close up and Masterminer Nicat.
- Craftsmaster: Nicat.
|Crafts and Halls|
|Traditional||Bakers • Beastcraft / -hall • Farmercraft / -hall • Fishercraft / -hall • Glasscraft / -hall • Harpercraft / -hall • Healercraft / -hall • Minecraft / -hall • Runners / -stations • Scriber • Smithcraft / -hall • Tannercraft / -hall • Traders • Winecraft / -hall • Weavercraft / -hall • Werhandlers|
|Recreated in Ninth Pass||Computercraft / -hall • Dolphincraft / -hall • Papercraft / -hall • Plasticcraft / -hall • Printercraft / -hall • Starcraft / -hall • Techniciancraft / -hall • Woodcraft / -hall|
|Holds • Stakes • Weyrs|