Red Dead Online: How to Play as a Trader

Red Dead Online: How to Play as a Trader

We've got the full guide to being a Trader in Red Dead Online and starting the Cripps Trading Company.

Since the release of Red Dead Online's specialist roles, one of the most complex and potentially profitable has been revealed as the Trader, a role based around hunting animals and selling their parts for cash. We'll show you how to become a Trader here, as well as how to be the best Trader possible.

Playing as a Trader

Being a Trader in Red Dead Online is similar to selling animal carcasses and furs to a butcher's shop, but with more in-depth elements and potentially a lot more profitable, turning in animals to Cripps at your camp, who will then render them into material you can escort and sell to buyers. As you level up your Trader rank, you'll be able to unlock new items, cosmetics and equipment to improve your business.

How to Become a Trader

The opportunity to become a Trader unlocks after ranking up a few times in the game, whereupon you'll get a letter sent to you in any of the game's post offices. Collect and read the letter to see that Cripps is inviting you to set up a business with him, thus opening up a mission at the store in Armadillo (it should be marked on your map). Go to the mission to speak with Cripps himself, whereupon he'll give you the chance to pay an upfront investment and essentially start the Cripps Trading Company. Don't worry if you don't have the money, you can buy into it at any point later.

How Much Does it Cost to Become a Trader?

Pay in the cinematic or pay later on, the price will cost you 15 Gold Bars to start up either way, assuming Rockstar aren't doing a discount or you have some kind of bonus (they've dropped the price to 10 Gold Bars in the past). If you don't pay in the cinematic, go into the online menu (left on the D-Pad) and set up your camp. Visit it, then go to the Wilderness Outfitters section and buy a "Butcher's Table" under the equipment menu. That's what Cripps was trying to get you to buy in the mission earlier, and what you need to start life as a trader. There'll be a brief mission wherein you go and steal a wagon, before the role opens up properly and you're ready to go.

Is Becoming a Trader Worth It?

Well, that's the big question, isn't it? Becoming a Trader is pretty similar to being a CEO or Motorcycle Club President in GTA Online, with an emphasis on constantly stocking up your business with hunted animals, then making a danger-fraught delivery across the sandbox map while hoping other players don't come after you. There's also NPC attacks and various unique items for being a Trader, so if that's something you like the sound of, then this role might be up your alley. If hunting is something of a snore for you, we can't recommend it otherwise.

As a trader, you'll travel across the whole frontier in your pursuit of profits. | Joel Franey/USgamer, Rockstar North/Rockstar Games

How to Set Up Camp and Access Your Trader Company

Once you buy your Butcher's Table, this becomes the center of your Trader world, similar to the Bounty Board for Bounty Hunters or Madam Nazar for Collectors. It'll become a physical object in your camp, marked on the mini-map by a small icon of a table itself. Going up to it and holding down Triangle/Y will open the Trader Menu.

Of course, you're going to need your camp set up, as explained how to do above, and this leads to one of the problems: as of time of writing, the Camp Deployment option is more than a little glitchy. Sometimes Cripps won't set up your camp at all, sometimes he'll set it up only to immediately pull it back down again, and there's very little reason as to why. Hopefully this'll be remedied in future updates, but for now we suggest that if you're left campless for too long, quit the online mode, load it back up, and try again. Beyond that... well, you're at the mercy of Rockstar's servers.

Being a Trader requires you to source animals for Cripps. | Joel Franey/USgamer, Rockstar North/Rockstar Games

How to Get Materials for Your Trader Company

Materials, in this case, is how the game refers to animal parts. Doing is quite similar to hunting animals and getting fur for a butcher, though there's some important distinctions. For one thing, dropping off materials at your company doesn't immediately get you the money, that comes later when you make the big delivery. You also shouldn't skin any hunted animals if you don't have to; Cripps will accept them, but they won't fill up the materials meter as much as a full carcass will. If you find a herd of deer far from camp, drop as many of them as possible, put the highest rated one on your horse and skin the rest. The same goes for all other animals: only peel them if there's no other way to bring their bodies back. It's better to have something than nothing, after all.

Once you have a horse weighed down by dead animals and an inventory full of bison horns and gutshot squirrels, take it all back to your butcher's table and donate them under the "materials" menu. Everything you give in will raise the material meter a little more, and the bigger the catch (a high-quality dead deer, or an alligator skin, for example), the more the meter will go up. Now you can just walk away while Cripps automatically converts your submitted materials into sellable stock, a process that takes place over time even while you do other activities.

Does Cripps Accept Fish and Raw Meat?

No, annoyingly, but with good reason. Cripps isn't a butcher and he isn't selling food, he's selling functional resources: skins, hides, horns, rendered fat and so on. He won't take any meat or fish you have in your inventory, so we suggest taking it to a normal butcher's shop and selling it there, assuming you don't want to cook it yourself. It's a way to make a little extra profit even while he turns all those carcasses into stock.

Traders apparently don't deal in fish. We're as disappointed as you are, trust us. | Joel Franey/USgamer, Rockstar North/Rockstar Games

How to Get New Supplies

Every now and then you'll be told by a notification in the top-left of the screen that Cripps has stopped converting food because you're low on supplies. This is different to running low on materials, as supplies refers to basic tools and chemicals Cripps needs to do his work. No amount of animals brought to him will help here, he can't do any work with them until his tools are brought back to him.

Go to your Butcher's Table and you'll see two options presented to you: just buy Cripps some more supplies, which'll cost you 20 dollars, or undertake a brief mission where you can get them for free (assuming you succeed). Missions vary, but usually involve either stealing something or fighting a bunch of goons. They're also unlikely to decrease your honor, though a few times it can happen if you fail the mission badly (for example, one has you steal a wagon, but only penalizes you if you use lethal force on the guards). These missions often give you a few materials thrown in as well, so we'd really recommend doing those unless you've got somewhere to be soon.

You'll be alerted to whenever Cripps is running low on supplies or materials. | Joel Franey/USgamer, Rockstar North/Rockstar Games

However you do it, once you resupply Cripps he'll go back to processing the animal carcasses as usual, and business can resume. Now you just have to wait until he's got enough stock made to fill up the delivery wagon.

How to Make Trader Deliveries

Technically you can make a delivery at any point by going to your Butcher's Table and selecting it from the bottom option, though you'll probably want to wait until the meter representing your goods reaches the white line: that represents the maximum amount you can deliver in a single go. When you start the business this'll be twenty-five units of goods, but later on you can buy a larger wagon from Wilderness Outfitters that can carry twice that. The more you deliver in one go, the more each unit is worth, so we suggest waiting until your wagon is full to bursting before you take it out into the wild.

When you do want to make a delivery, you'll be able to choose whether to make a short or long-distance delivery. The latter of these is always more dangerous and takes a lot more time, but you'll make some extra money for doing so (the menu will tell you how much exactly. Once you get to the delivery point, there's a good chance there'll be bandits attacking it - park the wagon a little way back to keep it safe and try to kill them as quickly as possible. If they kill the people who are buying from you, the sale will be cancelled and you'll get nothing.

Once you've chosen to sell, you need to decide how far you're willin to drag a wagon full of animal parts. | Joel Franey/USgamer, Rockstar North/Rockstar Games

Should I Do Long or Short Distance Trader Deliveries?

While up until now we've recommended taking all the profitable options, here we'll actually suggest doing short-distance deliveries, even though they don't pay as well.

Why? Well, long-distance is soooo much longer that it often comes full circle and stops being profitable again, requiring you to journey halfway across the map for only a fistful of dollars. Not to mention that while the only danger in short-distance deliveries are bandit NPCs, in long-distance the game alerts all other players to your presence and offers a reward to anybody who can bring you down. For us, that's a step too far to make it worth it, not without a few dollars more.

Bandit Attacks on Your Camp

If you have a lot of materials left in your camp, there's a chance it'll be attacked by NPC bandits. Fortunately, there's a way around this: buy a dog from the Wilderness Outfitters. If your camp is under attack at any point, even if you're halfway across America, the dog will come and get you, giving you a prompt to teleport across the map back to your camp and defend it. We highly recommend buying one pooch or another, partly because he keeps your barrels of processed squirrel safe, and partly because defending your camp is pretty fun.

I SAID NO TRESPASSING! | Joel Franey/USgamer, Rockstar North/Rockstar Games

If you found that to be of use, you can take a look here to see what the other professions have to offer and how to unlock them. Or you can go to our guide on saddles and getting the best gear for your horse right here.

Joel Franey

Guides Writer

Joel loves books, games, comics and drinks that make a person feel like they just got kicked in the head by a mule. He has a Masters in writing from Sussex, which he somehow got by writing about Superman. He is absolutely NOT three children in a long coat, so please stop asking.

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