Note - this is extremely rough at this stage. This is only for mundane items. This is not a revision to the magic item crafting as yet, since that is a whole other mess. I see several possible extensions into that area, but the basic approach here is far enough from the norm that I'm not worried them yet.
- 1 Starting Assumptions
- 2 Crafting Revision
- 2.1 Crafted Items
- 2.2 Crafting Disciplines
- 2.3 The Crafting Process
- 3 Cost revision
Crafting mundane gear is a background thing that does not net you more power when you do it. Crafting is not relevant during an actual adventure, though it may be relevant in NPC interactions the same way other background characteristics are.
Crafting mundane gear is not something that should depend on level, as it is not something that can possibly remain relevant with level. Crafting magic gear could be relevant, but should depend ONLY on level (and no other benchmarks) so that people don't have the option of falling behind in a gear dependent game. Investing things that could go to keeping you relevant in your adventuring party is right out then (mostly, feats remain a possibility that I dislike for other reasons), since you should either invest nothing at all or everything you possibly can. The former makes it not valuable as a skill and thus a poor inclusion, the later makes it better suited for a character ability in the same way that casters just make stuff limited by their current level (and feat choices, but meh).
As crafting is a downtime thing and not an adventure, it is not something that people should roll for. Rolls might need to be made to graduate from apprentice to partner to master (or whatever), or other times that might involve making something above your current skill level, but normal crafting should just happen over time. Rolls for these other things could be their own mini-game, but as they are unlikely to involve the rest of the party I don't see that as a particularly good option. One roll, attribute bonus only, against a pre-fixed and never modified DC seems best, but I'd honestly be happy to just let people craft what they want in their ability level and train up when plot appropriate at no cost.
As part of the crafting revision, we're going to look at items again. Crafted items, which are most items in the game, come in one of three levels of quality: poor, standard, and masterwork. There is a level beyond masterwork, but it is functionally the same as masterwork and largely decorative. Items of the decorative masterwork quality
Poor Quality Items
Poor quality items have some defect or limitation, but they are often better than nothing. Boats made from poor planks may leak and need to be bailed regularly, poor quality weapons may have a -1 to hit or damage due to balance, and poor quality art is just ugly. Poor quality items sell at a discount.
Standard Quality Items
Standard quality objects function with neither benefit nor drawback. Items listed for sale in the PHB are assumed to be of standard quality, though unscrupulous merchants may try to shine up a poor quality item and sell it at the listed, standard quality item price.
Masterwork Quality Items
Masterwork items are those that offer a benefit, often a numerical one, and sell for a premium.
Decorative Masterwork Quality Items
Decorative masterwork items are masterwork items with additional filigree, engravings, or other cosmetic details done in such a way as to not detract from the quality of the craftsmanship. These function as masterwork items, but are near works of art in other ways. They also sell for a premium, and may sell for more than the listed masterwork rates.
The various crafting disciplines are listed below. There is some intentional overlap between types. Characters who wish to be able to craft objects simply start with the crafting discipline or spend some down time between adventures acquiring it. There is no limit on the number of crafting disciplines a character can have, but most people only have the time and inclination to learn one.
|Discipline||Objects they make||Materials they need||Key Ability|
|Metalsmith||metal working, horseshoes, plows, etc., includes pieces used in weaponsmithing and armorsmithing||raw ore||Strength|
|Armorsmith||armor construction, using pieces made by tanners, metalsmiths, weavers||forged plates, metal wire or links, cured leather, prepared hides, cloth||Constitution|
|Weaponsmith||weapon construction, using pieces made by woodwrights, metalsmiths, and assorted minor bits||alloy bars, cured leather, cloth, prepared wood||Constitution|
|Bowyer||constructs bows and arrows from start to finish||raw wood||Wisdom|
|Tanner||skins and prepares animal hides for other uses, including pieces for||animal hides||Dexterity|
|Bonewright||uncommon discipline. glue, gelatin, bone gear||raw or prepared bones|
|Carpenter||builds homes, boats, wagons, etc. using pieces made by woodwrights and metalsmiths||prepared wood, nails / rivets, metal bars||Constitution|
|Woodwright||takes trees and turns them into planks or other bits, including pieces used in carpentry||raw wood||Strength|
|Tailor||makes clothes||cloth, thread, dyes||Intelligence|
|Weaver||makes cloth||raw wool, raw silk, raw cotton||Wisdom|
|Sculpter||makes pottery and sculptures||raw clay||Charisma|
|Glassblower||makes glass using sand and stuff||sand||Intelligence|
|Alchemist||makes alchemical items in containers provided by glassblowers and metalsmiths||miscellaneous||Intelligence|
|Trapsmithing||somewhat of a misnomer as it also includes locks and clocks and other finicky devices using pieces supplied by metalsmiths, carpenters, tanners, clothwrights, alchemists, glassblowers, and others||miscellaneous||Dexterity|
|Stonewright||makes stone bits, including statures||raw stone, raw marble||Wisdom|
|Jeweler||cuts gemstones, makes jewelery||raw gemstones, prepared gemstones, metal rings or wire||Dexterity|
|Painter||makes paints, murals, portraits||canvas, dyes, oil||Charisma|
|Bookbinder||makes books, paper, etc.||wood pulp, rice pulp, papyrus, prepared leather||Intelligence|
Everyone with a crafting discipline has a skill level within it. Their skill level determines how quickly they can make objects, the best quality of the objects they can make, and the level of detail and decoration they can add to their work. When a character acquires a crafting discipline, they are enter as apprentices. The levels are apprentice, partner, and master.
Apprentices make poor quality stuff and can attempt to make standard quality objects.
Partners make standard quality stuff, can attempt to make masterwork objects, and can rush out poor quality objects. Partners can also take lower quality stuff from those working under their supervision and improve it. If an apprentice begins making a sword, for example, a partner can take it from them as a poor item and turn it into a standard item in a short period of time. This allows a partner to craft more items of quality in the same period of time if they have one or more apprentices available to help them.
Masters can make masterwork stuff, and can rush out poor and standard quality items. Masters can also attempt to add decorative engravings, filigree, or whatever to their masterwork items, while apprentices and partners can not. Masters, like partners, may take items crafted by those working under their supervision and improve their quality. This provides a master with a similar output increase.
Advancing Crafting Level
You may increase your crafting level with a discipline at no cost other than the time spent making items. Practice makes perfect after all.
The Crafting Process
Crafting involves two main pieces: materials and work. Materials are simply purchased, and a list of common materials and their costs appears in the next section. Work is simply a matter of time, and determining how much time goes into an object requires us to look at the size of the object relative to the crafter, the type of materials going into the job, the skill of the crafter, the quality of the desired item, and the number or people working on the job. Each of these items is explained below.
The first step in crafting an object is determining it's size relative to the size of the crafter. This determines the base time required to make an item, as listed on the table below.
<Insert table here>
This base time is modified by the nature of materials worked with. Particularly hard, firm, stiff, or difficult materials can increase the crafting time by up to twice as much. Difficult materials also includes brittle or fragile materials. Jade, ironwood, adamantine, and dragon scale are examples of these types of materials. On the other hand, particularly soft, pliant, or easy to work with materials can reduce the time by up to half. Particularly complex or dense jobs may also increase the time required by up to twice as much. Simple jobs do not decrease the time required, however.
<Insert table here>
Crafter Skill and Item Quality
The skill of the crafter determines how quickly they can make an item of a particular quality. Look up the multiplier of the desired quality for a crafter of the appropriate level, and multiply your base time by that amount.
For some really large projects, you really really need a lot of people working on things to get it done in any reasonable time. If the time above is greater than 1 day, it can be cut in half for each additional person working on the project, to a maximum of 3 additional people. After 4 people are working on the project, if the time is greater than 4 days it can be cut in half for each additional 2 people working on the project, to a maximum of 8 additional people. After 12 people are working on the project, if the time is greater than 8 days it can be cut in half for each additional 3 people working on the project, to a maximum of 12 additional people. People in excess of these amounts don't help very much.
Unfortunately, you can't just fill up your ranks with apprentices and pump out masterwork quality items because a master was in charge of the project. The lowest crafting discipline skill level determines which time multiplier you use, as well as if you must make a check at the end. For that reasons people who work on large scale projects are generally partner rank or more advanced; you can't have people who don't know what they're doing mess it up for everyone.
<may add something in here about unequal contributions for different sized creatures>
Crafting an item above your ability level requires a successful attribute check. The DC for this check is 15, and you add the bonus from the key attribute for your crafting discipline to your roll. Bonuses from enhancement effects can only be added to this check if the enhancement persisted through the entire crafting of the item. You may not take 10 on this check.
A successful check indicates that you have properly crafted an item of the desired quality. A failed check indicates that you failed to craft an item of the desired quality, but instead created an item of the next quality lower. If you were attempting to make a standard or masterwork item and failed, you can retry one time by spending the time difference and making another check. If that retry also fails, or you were trying to make a decorative masterwork item on the first attempt, you must restart the crafting time from scratch if you are still unhappy with your results.
Crafting Really Complicated Objects
Large complicated projects, like boats or castles, are crafted in pieces. Each piece is crafted, taking time according to it's size, and it is built into the proper position at the end of its time. This allows multiple teams of people to work on large scale, complicated projects without getting in each others' way, and also to allow for mixed material and component quality within the finished work. It's slightly complicated in these cases, but it's better than the alternatives.
Items have a raw material cost depending on their weight and materials, which I think it listed somewhere but I don't feel like looking up. You can purchase partially worked materials (lumber planks from a woodwright for barrels or boats, leather from a tanner for backpacks or armor, etc.) can be purchased for 2x the raw cost. Probably. These numbers may need to be adjusted so that we don't fall into weird cost problems. In general, making armor and weapons should have a huge profit margin and the non-combat ones less so, since the non-combat ones will have a higher useage rate within a community.