D&D 4E Ben Riggs' "What the Heck Happened with 4th Edition?" seminar at Gen Con 2023

Red Castle

Adventurer
lol

Seriously? The crafting rules are you can craft 5gp towards an item per day.
So it would take 3 days to make a longsword? From what I read, taking into account the equipment of the time, it should take about a week to make one in real life… So that rule doesn’t look very good if you’re looking for realism…
 

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Voadam

Legend
Here are the 5e crafting rules for mundane items out of Xanathar's. They are quick and easy to apply (no skill roll) while throwing in some possible plot complications. They tie crafting time to price so not super tied to how difficult a thing is to actually make.The system is mostly there for rarer magic items to take up a lot of time to craft while mundane items are fairly easy. The biggest impact I can see for mundane crafting is getting plate mail a little earlier at half price if you or your group takes up armorsmithing.

CRAFTING AN ITEM
A character who has the time, the money, and the needed tools can use downtime to craft armor, weapons, clothing, or other kinds of nonmagical gear.
Resources and Resolution. In addition to the appropriate tools for the item to be crafted, a character needs raw materials worth half of the item's selling cost. To determine how many workweeks it takes to create an item, divide its gold piece cost by 50. A character can complete multiple items in a workweek if the items' combined cost is 50 gp or lower. Items that cost more than 50 gp can be completed over longer periods of time, as long as the work in progress is stored in a safe location.
Multiple characters can combine their efforts. Divide the time needed to create an item by the number of characters working on it. Use your judgment when determining how many characters can collaborate on an item . A particularly tiny item , like a ring, might allow only one or two workers, whereas a large, complex item might allow four or more workers.
A character needs to be proficient with the tools needed to craft an item and have access to the appropriate equipment. Everyone who collaborates needs to have the appropriate tool proficiency. You need to make any judgment calls regarding whether a character has the correct equipment. The following table provides some examples.
Proficiency
Herbalism kit
Leatherworker's tools
Smith's tools
Weaver's tools
Items
Antitoxin, potion of healing
Leather armor, boots
Armor, weapons
Cloaks, robes
If all the above requirements are met, the result of the process is an item of the desired sort. A character can sell an item crafted in this way at its listed price.

***

Complications. Most of the complications involved in creating something, especially a magic item, are linked to the difficulty in finding rare ingredients or components needed to complete the work. The complications a character might face as byproducts of the creation process are most interesting when the characters are working on a magic item: there's a 10 percent chance for every five workweeks spent on crafting an item that a complication occurs. The Crafting Complications table provides examples of what might happen.
CRAFTING COMPLICATIONS
d6 Complication
1 Rumors swirl that what you're working on is unstable and a threat to the community.*
2 Your tools are stolen, forcing you to buy new ones.*
3 A local wizard shows keen interest in your work and insists on observing you.
4 A powerful noble offers a hefty price for your work and is not interested in hearing no for an answer.*
5 A dwarf clan accuses you of stealing its secret lore to fuel your work.*
6 A competitor spreads rumors that your work is shoddy and prone to failure.*
* Might involve a rival

A longsword is 15 gp so smithing one would take .3 work weeks, so a couple days of downtime to save less than 8 gp. Plate mail is 1,500 gp so 3 work weeks to save 750 gp.
 

Red Castle

Adventurer
What about rules before Xanathar’s release?

Because Xanathar’s got release in November 2017, so 3 years after the release of 5e. Does it means that during its first 3 years of existance, 5e did not support crafting mundane items at all? Because you need rules for that, right?

EDIT: Martial Power 2 came out in 2010, so 2 years after the release of 4e and include Martial Practices. Of those Practices, there is Forge Weapon/Armor to make magical weapons/armors, but there is also Master Artisan to craft mundane items, like tools, weapons, armors or basically any non magical item. So I guess there is crafting rules after all, and it came earlier in the lifespan of 4e than 5e.
 
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billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
What about rules before Xanathar’s release?

Because Xanathar’s got release in November 2017, so 3 years after the release of 5e. Does it means that during its first 3 years of existance, 5e did not support crafting mundane items at all? Because you need rules for that, right?

EDIT: Martial Power 2 came out in 2010, so 2 years after the release of 4e and include Martial Practices. Of those Practices, there is Forge Weapon/Armor to make magical weapons/armors, but there is also Master Artisan to craft mundane items, like tools, weapons, armors or basically any non magical item. So I guess there is crafting rules after all, and it came earlier in the lifespan of 4e than 5e.
Crafting first appears in the 5e Player's Handbook. So present from day 1. Xanathar's elaborates on the downtime rules, it doesn't introduce them.

But it's not like the presence crafting rules is the totality of the issue. Editions prior to 4e and after all incorporated aspects of a character's more mundane life and were useful for helping fill in and enrich those aspects of a campaign, assuming PCs are occasionally doing things other than constant dungeon delving. I've found them particularly useful for city-based campaigns where much of the play takes place outside of a dungeon. We used them fairly extensively in Oriental Adventures campaigns I've run, multiple Paizo APs set in cities, and in my current Age of Worms 5e campaign.
 
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Voadam

Legend
But it's not like the presence crafting rules is the totality of the issue. Editions prior to 4e and after all incorporated aspects of a character's more mundane life and were useful for helping fill in and enrich those aspects of a campaign, assuming PCs are occasionally doing things other than constant dungeon delving. I've found them particularly useful for city-based campaigns where much of the play takes place outside of a dungeon. We used them fairly extensively in Oriental Adventures campaigns I've run, multiple Paizo APs set in cities, and in my current Age of Worms 5e campaign.
4e starting with PH2 had backgrounds to give narrative non-class background specified options with mechanical distinctions such as:

Occupation
Before you became an adventurer, this was the way you earned your keep.
Artisan: You had a skilled occupation dedicated to a particular craft, such as baking, blacksmithing, carpentry, or cobbling. What did you make? Did you enjoy your work, or was it only a means of supporting yourself? What was your finest creation, and what happened to that item?
Associated Skills: Athletics, Diplomacy

or

Farmer: You worked on a farm, learning the ways of the natural world. Did you raise livestock, crops, or both? Did your farm have a specialty? Did you or your family own the farm, or were you a hired hand? Do you miss those days, or were you eager to escape?
Associated Skills: Endurance, Nature

The 1e PH has nothing like that either, you had to wait for the 1e DMG to give you the option for secondary skills.

PLAYER CHARACTER NON-PROFESSIONAL SKILLS
When a player character selects a class, this profession is assumed to be that which the character has been following previously, virtually to the exclusion of all other activities. Thus the particular individual is at 1st level of ability. However, some minor knowledge of certain mundane skills might belong to the player character — information and training from early years or incidentally picked up while the individual was in apprenticeship learning his or her primary professional skills of clericism, fighting, etc. If your particular campaign is aimed at a level of play where secondary skills can be taken into account, then use the table below to assign them to player characters, or even to henchmen if you so desire.
Assign a skill randomly, or select according to the background of your campaign. To determine if a second skill is known, roll on the table, and if the dice indicate a result of TWO SKILLS, then assign a second, appropriate one.
SECONDARY SKILLS TABLE
Dice
Score Result
01-02 Armorer
03-04 Bowyer/fletcher
05-10 Farmer/gardener
11-14 Fisher (netting)
15-20 Forester
21-23 Gambler
24-27 Hunter/fisher (hook and line)
28-32 Husbandman (animal husbandry)
33-34 Jeweler/lapidary
35-37 Leather worker/tanner
38-39 Limner/painter
40-42 Mason/carpenter
43-44 Miner
45-46 Navigator (fresh or salt water)
47-49 Sailor (fresh or salt)
50-51 Shipwright (boats or ships)
52-54 Tailor/weaver
55-57 Teamster/freighter
58-60 Trader/barterer
61-64 Trapper/furrier
65-67 Woodworker/cabinetmaker
68-85 NO SKILL OF MEASURABLE WORTH
86-00 ROLL TWICE IGNORING THIS RESULT HEREAFTER
When secondary skills are used, it is up to the DM to create and/or adjudicate situations in which these skills are used or useful to the player character. As a general rule, having a skill will give the character the ability to determine the general worth and soundness of an item, the ability to find food, make small repairs, or actually construct (crude) items. For example, an individual with armorer skill could tell the quality of normal armor, repair chain links, or perhaps fashion certain weapons. To determine the extent of knowledge in question, simply assume the role of one of these skills, one that you know a little something about, and determine what could be done with this knowledge. Use this as a scale to weigh the relative ability of characters with secondary skills.


Or wait until Oriental Adventures for non-weapon proficiencies to enter the character sheet and develop your mechanical mastery of the tea ceremony.

Basic did not have non-class stuff until around the gazetteer series introduced some skill option stuff.

It would have been preferable for 4e to have their background stuff in their first main books but they became a regular part of character creation fairly quickly.
 

Kannik

Hero
Editions prior to 4e and after all incorporated aspects of a character's more mundane life and were useful for helping fill in and enrich those aspects of a campaign, assuming PCs are occasionally doing things other than constant dungeon delving.
Not in the 1e PHB it didn't. And as Voadam noted, the 1e DMG was loosy-goosy and an optional rule. You had to wait until the Wilderness & Dungeoneer's Survival Guides to get NWPs. So 4e at its release was really returning to the classic 1e foundation that so many laud.

Also, I wrote a supplement for Trades & Professions as I preferred having a bit more detail in that arena as well. But I recognized the role of such skills and activities in previous editions and it didn't strike me as a torch waving offence or omission.

and centering the game around making ability checks instead of following 4e’s lead
I'm not sure I get what you're driving at here. Skills and their uses are included and detailed in 4e's PHB1, and the game very much centers around making skill (ability) checks in all sorts of situations, the same as any edition (and further expanded with skill challenges). There's no removal or obfuscation of ability checks that I saw.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
Also, I wrote a supplement for Trades & Professions as I preferred having a bit more detail in that arena as well. But I recognized the role of such skills and activities in previous editions and it didn't strike me as a torch waving offence or omission.
And were that the only issue, it probably wouldn't have been a torch waving offense. But it wasn't. I refer back to a post I made in this thread about 90 pages ago:
Some 4e-isms might have been alright if it weren't for the fact that so many of them felt like they were swimming upstream against the regular D&D current. 5e, for my money, took some of those 4e-isms and turned back downstream with them so it's far less work to fit them into my mental D&D model.
For many of us who didn't like 4e and dropped it early, there are a number of issues that we found threw sand in the gears of the D&D we knew and preferred and, taken all together, aroused our ire at the edition. This bit that the current discussion is hyper-focusing on is merely one of them.
 

Crafting first appears in the 5e Player's Handbook. So present from day 1. Xanathar's elaborates on the downtime rules, it doesn't introduce them.

The crafting "rules" in the PHB are 4 paragraphs that only cover non-magical items and, again, are incredibly broad. These aren't as much rules as sort of a guideline for allowing people to do things. Calling them "rules" would imply some sort of system, but this is more of an afterthought to give you something to do with the tool proficiencies. It's not really a system that is meant to hold up under extreme scrutiny as much as something the GM is meant to fill out themselves... which is kind of 5E's thing, anyways.

Edit: It would be similar to saying that 5E also gives you costs for magic items for a magic item economy: they do, but not in a way that robust enough to function at anything but the barest level.
 

Red Castle

Adventurer
Crafting first appears in the 5e Player's Handbook. So present from day 1. Xanathar's elaborates on the downtime rules, it doesn't introduce them.
But it's not like the presence crafting rules is the totality of the issue. Editions prior to 4e and after all incorporated aspects of a character's more mundane life and were useful for helping fill in and enrich those aspects of a campaign, assuming PCs are occasionally doing things other than constant dungeon delving. I've found them particularly useful for city-based campaigns where much of the play takes place outside of a dungeon. We used them fairly extensively in Oriental Adventures campaigns I've run, multiple Paizo APs set in cities, and in my current Age of Worms 5e campaign.
I'm sorry but I don't get it. I really don't.

You don't need rules for any of that, that's just creating a background for your character. I've played a lot of 4e (still do) and never had a problem with any of that, and I'm not talking about games focusing on dungeon delving (fun fact: I hate dungeon delving and pointless combats), I'm talking about entire sessions set in city without any combat, just good ol' roleplay. And I never felt like the system was lacking any rules to support it.

Other fun fact, 4e introduced in PH2 character Backgrounds and then later (first appearance in Dark Sun I think) character Themes, so 'rules' to fill in the background of the characters. I never even used those rules. I thought that in the end, they were too restrictive and 'forced' the player into an archetype. I always prefered to let the player 100% come up with his background so that the character is exactly how he wants it to be. You don't need any rules for that kind of stuff.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
The 1e PH has nothing like that either, you had to wait for the 1e DMG to give you the option for secondary skills.

PLAYER CHARACTER NON-PROFESSIONAL SKILLS
When a player character selects a class, this profession is assumed to be that which the character has been following previously, virtually to the exclusion of all other activities. Thus the particular individual is at 1st level of ability. However, some minor knowledge of certain mundane skills might belong to the player character — information and training from early years or incidentally picked up while the individual was in apprenticeship learning his or her primary professional skills of clericism, fighting, etc. If your particular campaign is aimed at a level of play where secondary skills can be taken into account, then use the table below to assign them to player characters, or even to henchmen if you so desire.
Assign a skill randomly, or select according to the background of your campaign. To determine if a second skill is known, roll on the table, and if the dice indicate a result of TWO SKILLS, then assign a second, appropriate one.
SECONDARY SKILLS TABLE
Dice
Score Result
01-02 Armorer
03-04 Bowyer/fletcher
05-10 Farmer/gardener
11-14 Fisher (netting)
15-20 Forester
21-23 Gambler
24-27 Hunter/fisher (hook and line)
28-32 Husbandman (animal husbandry)
33-34 Jeweler/lapidary
35-37 Leather worker/tanner
38-39 Limner/painter
40-42 Mason/carpenter
43-44 Miner
45-46 Navigator (fresh or salt water)
47-49 Sailor (fresh or salt)
50-51 Shipwright (boats or ships)
52-54 Tailor/weaver
55-57 Teamster/freighter
58-60 Trader/barterer
61-64 Trapper/furrier
65-67 Woodworker/cabinetmaker
68-85 NO SKILL OF MEASURABLE WORTH
86-00 ROLL TWICE IGNORING THIS RESULT HEREAFTER
When secondary skills are used, it is up to the DM to create and/or adjudicate situations in which these skills are used or useful to the player character. As a general rule, having a skill will give the character the ability to determine the general worth and soundness of an item, the ability to find food, make small repairs, or actually construct (crude) items. For example, an individual with armorer skill could tell the quality of normal armor, repair chain links, or perhaps fashion certain weapons. To determine the extent of knowledge in question, simply assume the role of one of these skills, one that you know a little something about, and determine what could be done with this knowledge. Use this as a scale to weigh the relative ability of characters with secondary skills.
There was a different table somewhere (a Dragon article?) that included Engineer, Nobility, Gemsmith, and other things yet wasn't much longer than this one. I remember this because an early character of mine was (and still is) an engineer.
 

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