Logical, usable and simple craft rules!
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  1. #1
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    Logical, usable and simple craft rules!

    Short: these rules allow crafting to replace cost, within limits, and without stepping too far away from the original rules.

    Intro:
    I've been thinking about the craft rules a lot, mostly because I play an artificer that wants to craft magic items, and in most cases also wants to Craft the base items needed for his magic items.

    The gigantic difference between mundane crafting and magic item crafting becomes really obvious when you realise you have to spent about 8 months crafting your armor, only to add a magic bonus in one day. Until, of course, you get access to Fabricate, in which case you can craft an armor in one second instead of 8 months.

    Then there is the rediculous notion that items take longer to craft if the price is higher, even if the price of the item is largely in the materials (gold cannonball?), and the fact that items with a higher DC can be crafted faster than items with a low DC!

    So, I tried to come up with something that is not too complicated, but allows for some flexibility, and most of all, allows the craft skill to be used for what it was meant to do (IMO): allow characters to put some imagination and personal touch to their equipment, or build something themselves when the item is not available due to limited availability of actual craftsmen.

    Enough introduction. My (simple) set of craft rules, for your merciless comments
    minimum crafting time: 1 day per item DC (includes masterwork DC increment, see below) Edit: is this too high?
    minimum cost: 1/3 marketprice (of a normal, non-masterwork item)

    masterwork increases crafting DC with 10 Edit: should this be higher?

    time required is determined by the amount of work performed by the crafter.
    The amount of work needed is determined by the amount of money to be made.
    The amount of money to be made is the difference between the raw material cost and the endproduct cost.

    Example:
    A crafter can buy an almost finished armor, and assemble the pieces. The almost finished armor will cost nearly as much as the finished armor. Therefore, the amount of money to be made is minimal, and the crafting time will be minimal.
    The crafter could also use 'Fabricate' to create the endproduct. In that case, the endproduct of the fabricate will be the 'almost finished' product, and require only final assembly. As mentioned above, that might still require 1 day per item DC.

    The amount of money to be made translates into the amount of time by performing craft checks.
    Assuming the craft DC is made, the skillcheck result in gp is performed in work.
    If the DC was not made, no progress is made.
    If the DC including a masterwork component was not made, progress was made but the endresult can never be a masterwork item.
    If the DC was failed by more than 5, materials are ruined and new materials have to be bought to replace the ruined materials.

    When crafting a masterwork item, and failing the DC, a crafter can opt to use the 'materials ruined' option instead of loosing the masterwork item, increasing the cost without having to start all over again.

    The masterwork additional price of an item can never be 'bought'. This means a masterwork weapon will allways require work to reach the masterwork status, even if the materials aquired cover the price of a non-masterwork sword.

    Note:The progress in gold instead of in silver, as is the case with the original crafting rules, is considered balanced since the skillcheck result is not multiplied with the craft DC.
    Edit: please people, I'd appreciate some comments, be they 'yes!', 'no way!' or 'meh'. Anything to get a feeling for where i'm standing with these rules before I try to introduce them as DM and/or try to convince my DM to use them.
    Last edited by Herzog; Tuesday, 19th May, 2009 at 01:28 PM. Reason: Changed the title to get more responses

  2. #2
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    Made some changes in the original thread post.

    Please people, give me some feedback here!

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    Muad'Dib of the Anauroch
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    I like it. But then again, I like any mechanic that attemts to model more realistically and logically. Not that there's anything wrong with mechanics designed for simplicity and ease of gameplay.

    I think you did a really good job with it.


    p.s.: I think the minimum crafting time guideline is good, but yeah, I think the DC for Masterwork should increase by 15 (I think 20 may be too high, although I don't think it would be unrealistic).
    Last edited by El Mahdi; Tuesday, 19th May, 2009 at 04:52 PM.

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    @El Mahdi: thanx for the support! I'll give the masterwork addition some more thought when I have the time.

    @Yahzi: I see the similarities in your system, but also the main difference:

    As is the case with the RAW crafting rules, your system requires months or even years to complete items. While this may be realistic, it has no use in a game where the scope of most adventures is days, and campaigns may last a couple of months in game.

    Although that balance may be necessary to support a crafting community, it is my opinion the rules where put down for the PC's, not the NPC's. If you need to provide a generic rule to calculate how long it takes an NPC to craft something, you can use either your rule or my rule, or even the RAW rules.
    But when it comes to a PC wanting to actually use his skills, I think my rules are better.

    And sorry to say, but I still think mine are simpler (although I might have put them down a bit complicated....)

    Both thanx for the reply. I hope to get some more comment....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yahzi
    Until your players decide to take up crafting for a living, and make 1,000's of gold a week. Remember, there's no rule the players can't abuse.
    How would they accomplish that?
    Using RAW:
    Quote Originally Posted by PHB p.70, Craft Skill
    You can practice your trade and make a decent living, earning about half your check result in gold pieces per week of
    dedicated work.
    Using my rule, that would double. *shrug*. I still have to find a PC that can get a Craft skill check of 1000....

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    Something I missed in my first attempt: hasty work:
    You may voluntary increase the DC of the crafting by any number.
    If you still make the DC, you may then add the DC increase to the result for the purpose of calculating progress.

    This represents working faster, which makes the chance of failure more likely.
    (Note: the result is here simply added to the result, because increasing the DC does not automatically increase the progress as it does in the original craft rules)

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    Reading this post, I got inspiration for a simpler Craft system that you could like: when your character wants to craft something, the DM sets the DC and the PC makes the roll: he subtracts the DC from his result and saves this number in a sort of completion pool; each roll represents the work made in the standard 8 hours; he must take additional rolls on additional days until the value of the pool equals or exceeds the Craft DC.
    For example...

    Ronald Greentide is a 3rd level Expert, trained in Craft (Armorsmithing), who has been asked by a local lord to craft a masterwork suit of banded mail. Ronald is very competent in his work: his Int score is 13, he has maximum ranks in Craft (Armorsmithing), Skill Focus for the relevant ability and masterwork tools, which means he has a total score in Craft (Arm.) of:

    1 (Int) + 6 (Ranks) + 3 (SF) + 2 (Tools) = +12

    He begins to work at the suit of armor, beginning with the masterwork component: the DC is 20, meaning that he needs at least a roll of 9 to make progress.
    On day 1 he makes his roll and gets a 15, which means he got a check result of 27: subtracting the DC from the roll gives a result of 7, so in his completion pool value is 7.
    On day 2 he rolls a 10, for a check result of 22: this means that the completion pool value is 9.
    On day 3 he gets a 5, for a result of 17, not enough to make progress.
    On day 4, he gets a natural 20, for a result of 32: this means that he adds 12 points to the completion pool, for a total of 21. His completion pool exceeds the DC for the masterwork component, so, in 4 days, he finished it! He can now move on to the suit itself.
    With this method, the crafter could have safely done the masterwork component taking 10 for 10 days (22[Check]-20[DC]=2[Pool increment/day], 20[DC]/2=10[Days]); the banded mail armor has a Craft DC of 16 so, taking 10 every day, Roland would craft it in less than 3 days of work (22[Check]-16[DC]=6[Pool/day], 16[DC]/6 ~< 3[Days]): this means that the masterwork suit of banded mail is ready in about 13 days, which is fully acceptable in the D&D time scale (at the obvious expenses of realism - but this is another story).

    Of course, this caluclation assumes that Roland has paused all of his pending tasks to work at the armor, as he spends his every day 8 hours of work on said armor: this is not entirely consistent, as a smith would have other urgencies, other simpler armor to craft or repair, everyday tools to craft for townsfolk or sort. This means that, for example, he can work to the suit of armor only 4 hours, which means that he must halve every day the number of point that he puts in his completion pool (meaning that, taking 10,he would end the masterwork part in 20 days).

    You could adjust the DC as you see fit: for example, working with uncommon material, such as when making a gold armor, adds 1 to the DC, while really strange material, such as Astral Shadow Iron, adds a +2 or +3 to the DC.

    With this system, simple objects tend to be completed more quickly. For example, a 1st level apprentice crafter with a Craft bonus of +8 making a wooden spoon (DC 5), taking 10 would have a pool of 18, the difference would be of 13, which means he would craft the object in about 3 hours (18[Check]-5[DC]=13[Pool/day], 5[DC]/13 ~ 0.4[Days]: as a day of work is 8 hours, he spends 0.4x8[Hours] ~ 3[Hours]): this is not so weird...
    Said apprentice crafter would make a crossbow (DC 15) in about five working days (18[Check]-15[DC]=3[Pool/day], and 15[DC]/3=5[Days]), assuming a complete focus on the crossbow from the builder. A masterwork mighty (+4) composite longbow would be really difficult to be built by this apprentice, while a more skilled artisan would build it in few days without problems.

    I think this system is simple to manage and quick, with regards to D&D time scale. Tell me what you think about it.

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    @Cicciograna: I like the idea, but I think it deviates too much from the RAW and from realism to 'sell' it to my DM.

    Regarding my own game as DM, I think it is too big a step from the RAW.
    Where I think months or years to complete an armor is too long, being able to complete it in several days is too fast.

    I think your system works best at low levels, but consider a crafter with an Int of 30 and 20 ranks in crafting creating an armor.....

    Of course, a wizard could also use 'Fabricate' to finish the armor even faster....

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    Regarding my own rule, and the Masterwork DC increase:

    Creating masterwork equipment should require a 'skilled' artisan.
    Generally, this means having 5 or more ranks in a skill.

    Creating a masterwork spoon or fork is not really our focus here, so let's look at weapons and armor.

    Armors have a standard DC of 10+AC bonus, which means they have crafting DC's ranging from 11 to 18. (I'm not aware of armors with higher AC's. If there are, please correct me )
    Weapons have a standard DC ranging from 12 for simple weapons to 18 for exotic weapons.

    Increasing the DC by 10 for masterwork would make those DC's range from 21 to 28.
    A crafter with 5 ranks in the appropriate craft skill and an above-average intelligence (let's say 16) would only just be able to create the top of the range, but only on a (range of) natural 20('s).
    Taking 10 would not allow him to make any of these items at masterwork quality (taking 10 would result in a check result of 18)

    And that's for an above-average intelligence.

    A 10-th lvl crafter having specialized in crafting could have 13 ranks in an appropriate craft skill. Assuming the same Int, this would allow him to craft masterwork armor with a DC of 26, in other words, an AC of +6.
    At lvl 20, taking 10 would allow him to craft all weapons and armor at masterwork quality, allowing even to increase the DC to decrease crafting time.

    I think the above is appropriate for believable crafting DC's, and therefore keep the Masterwork DC increase at +10 (instead of the +15 proposed by El Mahdi)

    However, the above exercise does introduce something I would like to rectify: riskless fast crafting. Therefore, I expand the fast crafting rule by ruling that when increasing the craft DC for fast crafting, you can't take 10.
    (of course, when the crafter is skilled enough to even succeed on a 1, that increase is still witout risk, but I suppose that's reasonable)

    Also, when using fast crafting, this would technically mean the minimum crafting time is increased. Instead, when using fast crafting, the minimum crafting time should be reduced by the DC increase selected.

    Observation:
    I think my ruleset, while attempting to simplify things, has now become more difficult than the RAW. I'll attempt to provide the rules constructed up till now in a more structured format in the near future for further comment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Herzog View Post
    @Cicciograna: I like the idea, but I think it deviates too much from the RAW and from realism to 'sell' it to my DM.

    Regarding my own game as DM, I think it is too big a step from the RAW.
    Where I think months or years to complete an armor is too long, being able to complete it in several days is too fast.

    I think your system works best at low levels, but consider a crafter with an Int of 30 and 20 ranks in crafting creating an armor.....
    You are right about realism, but in D&D one must choose between realism and playability: in this game there are an amazing lot of deviations from realism in all of its aspects: armor weights, falling damage, hit point system, and many, many others. My system obviously favors simplicity and quickness over realism, and this fits D&D style of game.
    Take the case of Stronghold Builder's Guidebook: in this book there's the material to build castles and keeps, tasks that in real life could take years and decades. In D&D world, the construction of such a building takes one week for every 10000 gp of cost, which is really, really a low time: the manual assumes that magic is used every time is possible, but you could make up with a completely magicless castle that would be built in less than a year. Realism is not a concern in D&D...

    For what concerns level, you are right: I admit that I made up this system with low level characters in mind, and basically NPC, who don't rise very high in level. On contrast, a crafter with In 30 and 20 ranks in Craft would be a real rarity, unless she's a Wizard, in which case I think she wouldn't engage in such pity manual tasks, resolving instead to use magic or workers; this is why the local lord in my previous example, who is likely to have a decent level (and could well have maxed his Craft skill), resorts to the work of a crafter instead of making his personal suit himself: it wouldn't be a task deemed to his social leverage, so he decides to hire someone to do it in his place.
    An Expert with Int 30 and 20 ranks, on the other hand, would be a clear bug, but how many Expert with these prerequisites are there in the world? So you are right: my system stems a lot from realism, and a little bit from RAW, but it could work, IMHO. I like your idea that to build a MW item the crafter needs to be skilled, as your idea that the crafter cannot take 10 when making such an item; but your system risks to become too complex for D&D simplicity...
    Last edited by Cicciograna; Thursday, 28th May, 2009 at 10:21 AM.

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