PF2 alternate Crafting rules (items from the Treasure chapter)

CapnZapp

Hero
(I have asked for feedback about this over at Paizo forums, but since they insist a subject like this one must be relegated to the Homebrew forum, where next to nobody sees it and even fewer care to respond; I'm asking you people instead)

Replace the overall crafting process in the CRB with the following:

A crafter can craft items during downtime but not while adventuring. Crafting requirements (pages 244 and 535) remain in place, except that formulas are not mandatory for Common items.

The cost is 100% of the market value.

However, for Common items, formulas provide a 20% discount on item market value. That is, formulas aren't necessary but allows you to pay 80% of the market value.
For Uncommon items, formulas are required and give no discount. Rare items can't generally be crafted.

The market price for items are found in the Equipment and Treasure chapters of the CRB. The market price for formulas is listed in Table 6-13 on page 293.

During one week of downtime a crafter can create any combination of items and formulas whose combined levels don't exceed his own level. You get four consumables in place of one permanent item.
Example: A level four crafter could spend a week and then create items/formulas of levels 1+1+1+1 or 1+1+2 or 1+3 or 4 or any other legit combo.


Make a single Crafting check after each downtime week spent crafting.
Decide on the highest item level you're trying to craft, maximum your own level. This decides the Crafting Skill DC per table 10-5 as modified by table 10-6 (pages 503-504).
You do not need to decide what exact items you craft until you see the result of your check; you only need to decide on what level a regular success will let you craft.

This means you don't have to check how much gold your party has available have ahead of time. You simply make the roll and can then sell items to your friends as if you were a Magic Shoppe. Easy. Whether you pocket any discounts or pass them along is up to you :)

Critical Success - you get a discount of 20% even if you don't have a formula. If you do have the formula, the combined discount is 30%.
For uncommon items, you need the formula and you get a 20% discount.

You can also craft item(s) two levels higher than what you decided on.

Success - you create item(s) up to the level decided upon

Failure - your effective level is at -2, and formulas don't provide any discount. (You can then choose to craft nothing. This wastes the week, but you pay no gold.)

Critical failure - you suffer a mishap and fail to craft anything that week. You must also replace tools and materials before you are allowed to craft again. You (and your party?) must pay gold equal to the first listed permanent item two levels lower than the decided level (on Table 11-1). For example, as a sixth level crafter deciding on level 4 item(s), the cost of a critical failure is the cost of a level 2 "full plate": 30 gp.

Example: As a level 6 crafter, Drachma decides to spend a week of downtime creating moderate healing potions. As these are level 6 items, she announces she's aiming for level 6 which sets the DC to 22. Success means she gets to craft the equivalent of one level 6 permanent item, such as four moderate healing potions, but she could also reconsider and create any number of lower-levelled items whose total doesn't exceed 6. If she has the formula for moderate healing potions, they each cost 40 gp (20% discount; 160 gp total) otherwise 50 gp.

If she scores a critical success, she could create a level 8 item. Perhaps she forgets about the potions, and instead crafts a +1 resilient armor for herself (assuming she has the requisite feats). She probably doesn't have the formula for this, so she would have to pay 400 gp for the armor (20% discount). She could alternatively craft the formula for the armor (20 gold with the discount), so she could craft them for everyone in the party later on.

If she scores a critical failure, she needs to pay 75 gp ("bag of holding type I").


There is no provision for partial crafting. (The upside is you never have to write down partial progress reports!) If you and your party don't have the money, you can't craft it at this time.
 
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CapnZapp

Hero
What's my design goals for this variant and why not simply use the RAW rule?

First off, I wanted to provide a Crafting variant that isn't so heavily dependent on campaign specifics. The core rule makes it so the main benefit of Crafting is access to items in campaigns with no easy or reliable access to Magic Shoppes stocked with a good selection of items at or close to the characters' level.

With the standard rule, if the campaign makes it easy to purchase items for gold, there is no great benefit to becoming a Crafter outside a small number of select use cases (such as repairing items in the field).

With this rule, however, you know that even if shoppes are available, Crafting remain viable (or a must-have, if you feel every piece of gold counts).

Other benefits of this rule:
  • getting rid of the detailed administration and day counting. This rule makes each Crafting activity take one week, full stop.
  • you don't have to decide exactly what to create until you see the results of your skill check. With players prone to analysis paralysis this benefit is not to be underestimated.
  • formulas provide a benefit, without me (the GM) having to intervene actively. The player can purchase them and gain discounts entirely without my supervision. I consider this a sharp upgrade compared to the vague rule of the rulebook.
  • I can't imagine playing a Crafter myself using the RAW. The benefits are simply way too miniscule to justify the rather significant administrative burden. This is me placing my mouth where the money is 💍
Z

PS. Let me state outright that I don't consider gold to be a crippling balance issue. In fact, I don't see the fuss. In short, if the player(s) take this variant of Crafting and start making great savings on items, I can always hand out less gold in the future... ;)
 

dave2008

Legend
I like it, I'm not a big fan of crafting rules in general, but anything to make them simpler is a push in the right direction IMO.
 

pcrotteau

Explorer
The people that benefit from the CRB RAW most are the organized play members. In PF1e, you could only access the items on the chronicle sheet, unless your fame was high enough to allow purchase. There was plenty of grouching about having to buy things at full price (like scrolls) rather than crafting for 1/2 price.

Currently, crafting is available to the organized play members under the current rules. They also have a specific number of downtime days available to do it in after each adventure. (8-12) There is also no partial crafting in Society.

Your system works within the normal framework (crit success, success, fail, crit fail) so that definitely helps.

If I had time for a home game, I just might use it.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
The people that benefit from the CRB RAW most are the organized play members.
Well, my impetus wasn't over concern about that.

I mostly just looked over the Crafting rules... then read more closely, and once again... and I still couldn't figure out what the benefits were.

I had to ask (over at Paizo forums) to understand.

The RAW rules are incredibly cluttery and byzantine in that the benefit depends on so many factors outside the player's control, and if I (the GM) run an official campaign, even partially outside my control as well!

There's just so many questions: will we always have a settlement of our level available? how much downtime will there be? what sort of formulas will I find? how much of the loot will be in cash (either in gold or in vendor loot)?
(Your ability to make money out of crafting depends greatly on the settlement where your party spends its downtime. The lower the settlement vs your own level the better - for you (it sucks for your mates). The longer the downtime the better - for you (it sucks for your mates). You need formulas of your own level, and you obviously need a lot of free cash, so you can take advantage of all that downtime) In short, the system sucks, since it basically rewards you relative to your mates, not in absolute terms.

As a player, what I want out of any Crafting rule is a simple straight answer to the question "what kind of discount can I expect if I become a crafter?" You just can't gain that information from the rulebook, you just can't.

That is my impetus for creating a simpler faster and much more straight-forward framework.

Not only is my proposal much easier to use for both player and GM, it also gives a decent overview of what the player can expect. You get a 20% discount, pure and simple. And this is much less dependent on campaign specifics (but still not entirely divorced from them, of course). If nothing else, it's an absolute benefit, not relative to the rest of the party, so it doesn't require you to be holed up in some starter town for three months where your friends are forced to work in the ragged militia for peanuts even though you're all level 12! :rolleyes:

It was when CaptainMorgan over at Paizo made it clear to me that while on the face of it, you gain no substantial savings from the core rule, in practice you do. Just in a way that's almost entirely unpredictable and opaque! So it's not that "my" 20% discount is substantially better than the core rule. It's about the same, or at least can be. Believe it or not, but I'm not in it to give my players free loot or make Crafting a "skill tax" that every minmaxer "must" take. (Not unless you believe the RAW Craft skill is a "must have") The benefits were there already in the core game, just so deeply hidden that I find it impossible to unearth them without assistance (and I consider myself a veteran when it comes to evaluating rules!)

My rule is just infinitely simpler and more open and just plain better if I may say so myself :)
 
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Philip Benz

A Dragontooth Grognard
I haven't examined and weighed the benefits of your alternate crafting regimen, but one thing's for sure: the standard PF2 crafting rules are not simple to use. The 4-day lead time may make sense for high-value items (mostly magic items) but it's bullocks for minor items, like crafting arrows or other mundane equipment.

There needs to be an alternate rule for a fletcher making his own arrows, or any small-value items.

As things stand, you can get up to a 50% discount on items if you put enough time into it. The calculation of that time is difficult to systematize since it depends on your character level and the amount of cash you can generate with the Earn Income activity. As you noted, this takes a significant duration in days spent crafting, and if the non-crafters in the group don't have anything useful to do during that time, that's a problem.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
I haven't examined and weighed the benefits of your alternate crafting regimen, but one thing's for sure: the standard PF2 crafting rules are not simple to use. The 4-day lead time may make sense for high-value items (mostly magic items) but it's bullocks for minor items, like crafting arrows or other mundane equipment.

There needs to be an alternate rule for a fletcher making his own arrows, or any small-value items.
I don't disagree, but just to openly flag that is not within the scope of my discussion. My efforts are squarely aimed at the needs of adventurers - and adventurers only.

Cheers
 

CapnZapp

Hero
As things stand, you can get up to a 50% discount on items if you put enough time into it. The calculation of that time is difficult to systematize since it depends on your character level and the amount of cash you can generate with the Earn Income activity. As you noted, this takes a significant duration in days spent crafting, and if the non-crafters in the group don't have anything useful to do during that time, that's a problem.
While the 50% discount claim is technically true, it is also highly questionable.

This is because the discount only accrues by you spending downtime days. Days you could be Earning Income.

So while there is no or little discount to be had in any "kick in the door" action campaign where adventurers don't spend a lot of time on downtime....

...my main objection is instead that the discount only becomes an actual benefit for the Crafter if the Earn Income tasks available are of a lower level than your level. If you're level 11, and you're in a level 11 settlement with level 11 tasks, not only might you be able to simply purchase level 11 items over the counter, you don't actually gain anything from crafting as opposed to just earning income.

In other words, the value of crafting depends on the non-crafters not having anything useful to do! 😮
 

Philip Benz

A Dragontooth Grognard
Surely a low-level adventurer might want to craft arrows during an adventure, say, a few hours each evening. This should be possible, but given the 4-day lead time in the current PF2 crafting system, it isn't.

If you're comparing Earn Income with crafting to see what advantages are accrued for the crafter, it's even worse. You lose those 4 days.

Certainly there is a need for an alternate system. When I have more time, I'll try to weigh the advantages of your proposed changes. But I suspect (at first glance) that they don't go far enough. Good on you for making this proposal, though.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
Surely a low-level adventurer might want to craft arrows during an adventure, say, a few hours each evening. This should be possible, but given the 4-day lead time in the current PF2 crafting system, it isn't.
Again, I am not disagreeing. Just openly flagging that's not a concern for me.

I would think you're better served by starting a different thread to discuss rules for "mundane" crafting, that's all :)

PS. I've updated to the topic title to make it clear I'm targeting my rule at items from the Treasure chapter, not the Equipment chapter. Hope that helps.
 

Philip Benz

A Dragontooth Grognard
If I have understood correctly, you can craft anything up to your level in a week, in this alternate system. Multiple items as long as they total to your level.

I didn't see anything about batches for potions or whatever.

Why is it always a week? Shouldn't something take longer, the higher level it is?
 

CapnZapp

Hero
If I have understood correctly, you can craft anything up to your level in a week, in this alternate system. Multiple items as long as they total to your level.
Correct.

I didn't see anything about batches for potions or whatever.
"You get four consumables in place of one permanent item."

(Not my rule, just sticking to what Paizo decided)

Why is it always a week? Shouldn't something take longer, the higher level it is?
It kind of does :)

A level 7 crafter will be able to craft a first level item in just a day (=they can craft seven L1 items in one week), while a seventh level item takes a whole week. So something does take longer, the higher level it is! (Then when the character reaches level 14, that same level 7 item only takes half a week to craft = two L7 items in one week).

Thank you for your feedback, Philip, even if I realize this rule might not be for someone more concerned about realism and verisimilitude! My main concern here is ease of use and playability. The "downtime currency" used by Earn Income and every other downtime-related rule is "one week" so I consider it a benefit that Crafting uses that unit of currency. I also want Crafting to remain useful even in campaigns where you only have a few short weeks of downtime here and there. (y)
 
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CapnZapp

Hero
In short, I prefer a rule that hands out the discount "early" rather than one where the discount only appears where downtime is plentiful.

That is, if and when the campaign features a long stretch of downtime, the issue at the oppoiste end of the spectrum - the crafter running out of money - that is the lesser problem.

Why? Because that's not a problem - even when you're out of money, you can still Earn Income just like the others!

What this means is that the discount doesn't only appear at the whims of the particular campaign. As long as there is a week of downtime here and there, that's enough for the crafter to gain the listed benefit.

Since this benefit (roughly 20% off, give or take) already applies (just obscured), it isn't unbalanced. Just clearer and more upfront.

(Based on CaptainMorgan's summary of Age of Ashes, a character does benefit from crafting in practice. He concluded a mid to high character could make thousands of gp, which very roughly corresponds to 20% off of an item appropriate at that level)
 

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