In Norrath, choosing a trade doesn't mean you have to join a union.
Tradeskills are indispensable in Everquest 2, providing everything from incredible weapons and armor to delicious food and drink to keep adventurers fighting at peak condition. It's one of the more involved crafting systems ever created in a game, with a detailed alternate leveling system and a set of minigames that keep things interesting while you crank out gear for sale to your fellow players. Any character has two classes - their adventuring one, and their tradeskill class. Tradeskills can be one of the easiest ways to make money if you focus on it, or as just as supplement from the income you bring in fighting the monsters of Norrath.
You don't even have to be an adventurer to ascend to the heights of tradeskill prowess - you could theoretically remain in a city throughout the life of your character, only crafting to spend your time. Of course, it's easier if you grow them in tandem, as many materials can only be found through adventuring in dangerous areas. All EQ2 characters start out as an Artisan, but they then hone their specialty down to a narrow focus. At level 10 in your tradeskill class, you choose between Craftsman, Outfitter and Scholar, and then choose a clear specialty at level 20. You can choose to drop your primary tradeskill at any time for another one, but it reduces you to a level 9 artisan again and you lose all the recipes above that level.
Many excellent recipes are no-trade drops from dungeon and raid enemies as well, so neglecting your adventuring leaves you at a disadvantage for building up your tradeskills. Using the commission system, you can craft recipes using no-trade parts even if you don't have them, so long as the person who does provides the materials.
There are nine primary tradeskill specializations and two secondary professions. Each is useful in its own way, generally providing either equipment or buffs to various classes and abilities. Different tradeskills go better with serving different classes, but you should choose the tradeskill that appeals to you. If you're going to be primarily selling to other people or giving things to guildmates, what matters is the utility that you are able to provide them. All characters can harvest resource nodes from the world. Their skill is determined by their highest level - either adventuring or artisan - multiplied by five.
Carpenter: Mostly a non-combat trade, you create boxes, altars and furniture for player housing.
Provisioner: You focus on cooking and brewing, providing powerful food and drink for adventurers.
Woodworker: You produce arrows, shields, totems and wooden melee weapons.
Weaponsmith: Produces most weapons.
Armorer: You create metal armor for other players.
Tailor: Craftsmen that create cloth and leather armor, thrown weapons, backpacks and more.
Alchemist: Create potions and deadly poisons and combat art essences for fighters.
Jeweler: Tradesmen that produce fine magical jewelery and combat art enhancing runes for scouts.
Sage: Produces scrolls for mages and priests along with enhancements for both classes.
Tinkering: Creates a variety of useful items ranging from tradeskill buff equipment to pets to gnomish stilts.
Transmuting: Allows the user to take powerful magical items and transform them into adornments that can be added to other items to improve them.