For specialization in the combat use of specific weapons, see weapon specialization.

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Specialization refers to the practice of craftsmen and other economic producers getting better and better at a smaller and smaller sphere of their craft.
Specialization is most obvious as one moves from village to town to city, as urbanization is closely related to specialization. However, technological development is also related to specialization as Dark Age craftsmen will be less specialized than Medieval craftsmen who are themselves less specialized then Renaissance craftsmen.
Most crafts could be envisioned as a tree from generalist to specialist in which generalists are making a variety of simple craft items, usually at low DCs while specialists are making a small group of very similar items sometimes with a much higher DC.
Examples include this specialization tree for leather working.
The most general practitioner would be the village hidesman who acquires and processes animals for all of their usable materials. They will perform a variety of related crafts including hunting; trapping; butchery; smoking meat; cooking meat; brewing broth; sheep-shearing; curing, liming, and tanning hides; bone and antler working; and working the leather into clothing, tools, containers, equestrian gear, and other leather objects.
At the next level of specialization, which might be in a larger village or a small town, this list will be divided into two or three specializations. How the specializations break down would be highly variable depending on the individuals involved and their skill sets. However, since skills are passed from parent to child, while there may be considerable variation from village to village, there is unlikely to be much variation between generations. Examples might be:
A butcher, who slaughters animals, skins them, turns the skins over to the leather-worker, and then smokes, cooks, or sells meat. The majority of their work may involve village animals, especially around the beginning of winter when herds are thinned according to the winter provisions harvested. At other times he may supplement his supply of animal product by hunting and trapping.
A leather-worker who cures, limes, and tans hides before working them into a variety of useful goods, combining the roles of a leatherman and tanner.
Other roles such as shearing sheep, working bone, or cooking meat might be performed by one of these two men, by families themselves, or by other specialists.
In some small towns and certainly large towns, the functions of worker in leather and tanner of leather would be divided. Butchers would not procure their meat, but process the kills of hunters and trappers as well as herd-owners.
In a city, butchers may specialize in a form of processing, this man smoking meats, that man making sausage, another selling cuts of fresh meat in the market. Other times specialists focus on the process, smoking many types of meats, but purchasing the meat from a butcher who slaughters and butchers the meat as a wholesaler. Leather-workers might specialize in as narrow a craft as the market will support. Cobblers and saddle-makers are the first to split off from other leather-workers because their product is in such demand. Pursemakers, makers of hats, and makers of other kinds of clothing are also specialists commonly found in cities. They may also be members of either the Clothiers Guild or the Tanners Guild, depending on politics.

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