5E Crafting Items - Expert Craftsman vs Adventurers

Maybe it gives the DM that sense - because should anyone else /really/ be seeing those stat blocks? ;)
Point taken (and wink accepted). At the risk of wandering a bit off topic, I have two comments:

1) If everyone rolls their dice out in the open (as we do), its pretty easy for players to work out ACs, attack bonuses, hit points, ability modifiers, etc.

2) As a DM I am happy to have the players be familiar with the stats of commonly encountered schlubs. When presented with a patrol of 20 soldiers, they will have a good idea of whether they should take them on or not.
This allows me to present a more naturally diverse set of encounters with variable difficulty. The players can decide for themselves whether they should run, be sneaky, negotiate, or just charge in. Of course occasionally, things ain't what they seem . . .
 
1) If everyone rolls their dice out in the open (as we do), its pretty easy for players to work out ACs, attack bonuses, hit points, ability modifiers, etc.
It can be a good idea for the DM to keep his rolls behind the screen, of course. But everyone else, I should hope, out in the open, sure.

And I suppose it's a matter of taste whether working out the game stats of monsters/NPCs is "metagaming" or "immersion."

As a DM I am happy to have the players be familiar with the stats of commonly encountered schlubs. When presented with a patrol of 20 soldiers, they will have a good idea of whether they should take them on or not.
This allows me to present a more naturally diverse set of encounters with variable difficulty. The players can decide for themselves whether they should run, be sneaky, negotiate, or just charge in. Of course occasionally, things ain't what they seem . . .
Some systems lend themselves better to stats out in the open than others, IMHO. D&D, traditionally - and 5e is traditional D&D - works well with the DM keeping plenty of info behind the screen.

But that, too, gets into the realm of personal preference.

And the DM didn't want to be nasty, he wanted to use lower CR creatures in number to try this "bounded accuracy lets mooks be effective, yada yada yada."
BA delivers mooks still being a challenge and overleveled horrors still being touchable, to an extent. But it has some stumbling blocks. Numbers can tell too much under the wrong circumstances - the mooks can suddenly become an overwhelming threat, not just the credible one intended. Save:1/2 can be a death sentence to an encounters worth of such mooks, undoing the point of designing in BA (they have a chance to save, even if not a good one, but 1/2 damage is still fatal). It replaced bonus inflation with hp inflation. Etc...
But compared to calculating hit% for hundreds of orcs in 1e, not s'bad.

Well, I don't expect the difference to be as much as it was in 3.5E and 4E, but more than they made it. Instead of a +1 improvement for prof bonus, a +3 or +4 would more represent the increased ability 7 levels of XP should warrant IMO.
Yeah, I don't think there is a 'right' answer for scaling bonuses to apply to a d20. 5e is tuned to use the small bonuses of BA. 4e was tuned to use rapidly scaling bonuses, but they were partially smoke & mirrors - as long as the DM used challenges very close to your level, that is.


Personally, I despise cantrips. But anyway, there wasn't the concentration nerf in 2E so I don't know why they did it now.
There were certainly AD&D spells that had durations based on concentration or couldn't readily be combined with other casting. So Concentration doesn't seem inappropriate, conceptually or in terms of tradition. It fits D&D magic fine.

And while the battle was well-in-hand I would still like to contribute more meaningfully then plinking away with cantrips or magic missile simply because of a game mechanic. Honestly, I could have had my character just sit down on a log and snack on popcorn for all the good she did while concentrating on slow.
You'd already made the most meaningful contribution of the encounter, so it hardly seems unfair for you to make attack rolls with your cantrips the same as everyone else is with their weapons...
...unless your cantrip forces a save, of course.
 
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Lord Crimson

Explorer
This is only a problem if you insist on every NPC being built according to PC rules, which is fairly absurd.

I would just hand Bob a +5 bonus and call it a day.
This. NPCs with the "Expert" class gets a bonus or expertise or some other widget that makes them bad-ass at whatever skill they're supposed to be an expert in.

They're not PCs, so they don't follow the same rules/classes/assumptions.
 

S'mon

Legend
BA delivers mooks still being a challenge and overleveled horrors still being touchable, to an extent. But it has some stumbling blocks. Numbers can tell too much under the wrong circumstances - the mooks can suddenly become an overwhelming threat, not just the credible one intended. Save:1/2 can be a death sentence to an encounters worth of such mooks, undoing the point of designing in BA (they have a chance to save, even if not a good one, but 1/2 damage is still fatal).
I like that 'Combat As War' swinginess in 5e very much - neither side necessarily knows how the fight will go, and PCs need to be ready to retreat, not always fight through every encounter 4e-style.

Re Area Effect damage, IME it only really trivialises encounters with the really weak mooks. A platoon of 58 hp Veterans, 52 hp Knights or 42 hp Orogs, or a squad of 112 hp Gladiators, 105 hp hill giants or 84 hp Trolls is typically a challenging encounter to a party with good position & AoE, or a run-away encounter to a party without. An encounter with a squad of stone frost fire cloud or storm giants tends to still be 'run away!' at all levels.

In my Primeval Thule game recently, the level 2-5 PCs knew they were outmatched by the cultists of Monyat the Golden Prophet, so they rounded up a squad of 6 52-hp Legionaries before going to take him on. Which worked out well when he Flame Striked them - the Legionaries in the AoE survived with 27 hp left, though one did get Hypnotised and had his throat slit by a cult dancing girl he was sweet on. Still Hastur was un-summoned and Quodeth was saved. :D
 
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CapnZapp

Adventurer
This was a deal breaker for me back when d20 Call of Cthulhu came out.

The notion you can't start out as a top academic just because you're level 1 simply makes no sense.

Non-adventuring abilities absolutely does not need to be level-constrained.
 

S'mon

Legend
The notion you can't start out as a top academic just because you're level 1 simply makes no sense.
"You have to start as a first year Doctoral student" :D

I think it makes even less sense that if d20/3e Steven Pinker is a top academic, he's going to have something like 100 hit points. And Albert Einstein could wrestle Shoggoths.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
"You have to start as a first year Doctoral student" :D

I think it makes even less sense that if d20/3e Steven Pinker is a top academic, he's going to have something like 100 hit points. And Albert Einstein could wrestle Shoggoths.
Please, you're relativizing.

As a newly created character I should definitely be able to assign a top tier score to my Anthropology skill, for example.

No pointing elsewhere change that.

Level constrains are for "hero abilities", not academic background skills.

This is simply the Call of Cthulhu way, and I expected more from Monte Cook & co.

But enough about this tangent.
 

S'mon

Legend
Please, you're relativizing.

As a newly created character I should definitely be able to assign a top tier score to my Anthropology skill, for example.

No pointing elsewhere change that.

Level constrains are for "hero abilities", not academic background skills.

This is simply the Call of Cthulhu way, and I expected more from Monte Cook & co.

But enough about this tangent.
You have an amazing ability not to notice when someone is agreeing with you! I guess it happens so rarely!
 

BlivetWidget

Explorer
So 3 point difference. Does not sound like a lot. But look at it that way. Crafting an item does not take 1 skill check DC 20, but 20 Checks of DC 10. One each day. While Bob will make every single check Timmy will on average fail 3 checks and will waste materials.
The Adventurer needs to make a DC 20 check the one time it's important for him to create a masterwork and there's a meaningful consequence to screwing it up.
Several mentions of using dice rolls for crafting in this thread. Where does this come from? Unless I'm mistaken, 5e doesn't make you roll for crafting an item. The item crafting rules in PHB, DMG, and XGE don't mention any need for a check.

Closest I can find is some of the suggestions in XGE Tool Proficiencies, though to be honest I find some of these rather absurd. DC 10 skill check for "create a typical meal"? I am by no means an expert cook but I have never once as an adult failed in any attempt to "create a typical meal."
 
I like that 'Combat As War' swinginess in 5e very much - neither side necessarily knows how the fight will go, and PCs need to be ready to retreat, not always fight through every encounter 4e-style.
while a DM, given encounter-design guidelines that actually work, can choose to consistently design combats that will always go the same way, nothing forces him to do so. Conversely, given no such guidelines but a sturdy DM screen, he might accidentally make an encounter far easier or harder than intended, but can always fudge things to deliver the desired experience.

Re Area Effect damage, IME it only really trivialises encounters with the really weak mooks.
Well, sure, that's when they're really relying on BA to get a tap or two in on the PCs.

Several mentions of using dice rolls for crafting in this thread. Where does this come from?
3.5 … well, and maybe Eldritch Wizardry, in spirit.

It's something some of us feel is missing from 5e (even though/especially because tool proficiencies that at least imply crafting are present), and when you add it back in, BA messes with it on a conceptual level. 5e crafting as a check when it matters in an adventure, and as a mechanically dissimilar downtime activity when it doesn't, makes sense and is perfectly workable, but it doesn't deliver the same feel as 3.5, with it's Experts and Commoners having levels & skills just like PCs.
 
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Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
It's something some of us feel is missing from 5e (even though/especially because tool proficiencies that at least imply crafting are present), and when you add it back in, BA messes with it on a conceptual level. 5e crafting as a check when it matters in an adventure, and as a mechanically dissimilar downtime activity when it doesn't, makes sense and is perfectly workable, but it doesn't deliver the same feel as 3.5, with it's Experts and Commoners having levels & skills just like PCs.
Its part of the weirdness that produced a 20th level commoner classed character in Sharn: City of Towers. I think they kind of bodged things by giving the character the minimum possible hit-die result from levels 2 through 20, but it still had like 40+ hit points.

In a lot of way it makes sense in 3.x D&D where the rules simulate the world to a large degree (at least in so far as the PC interact with the world), rather than the actions of PCs interacting with adventures and dungeons and monsters like you get 5E.
 

Geeknamese

Explorer
While I agree with the basic premise, that adventurers and non-adventurers should use different rules for how their skills improve over time, the big problem is that we have no idea what Bob's bonus should be. We have very detailed formulas for how good an adventurer with smithing proficiency should be, and we have nothing for how good a non-adventuring smith should be. So does Bob get a +5 to checks? Or a +10 to checks? Is he simply unbeatable by anyone who isn't also an NPC?

For the amount of detail given over to PC advancement, they really could have spent a bit more effort on defining what NPCs can do, since they are the majority of the people in the world. Whether an expert NPC has +5 or +15, in general, is an important detail in figuring out how the world works.
The bonus for an NPC smith should be as good as you narratively want it to be. Just set it.
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
The bonus for an NPC smith should be as good as you narratively want it to be. Just set it.
My job as the DM is to remain impartial and unbiased. I don't want anything. I have no preference for whether the NPC has +7 or +17.

I only interpret the rules provided by the game. The rules are supposed say whether an expert smith has a +7, or some other number.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
I was thinking about this more, and I really think it comes down to the fact that there are no good crafting options for PCs. Like there's no "Master Artisan" feat that lets you craft the :):):):) outta everything. If there were, then the modifier doesn't matter as much, and the NPC stat block could have the same abilities as the feat.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
My job as the DM is to remain impartial and unbiased. I don't want anything. I have no preference for whether the NPC has +7 or +17.

I only interpret the rules provided by the game. The rules are supposed say whether an expert smith has a +7, or some other number.
While you might want to remain impartial, apparently in 5E the "rules" that are "supposed to say whether an expert smith has a +7, or some other number" don't exist. This was intentionally done to allow the DM to decide what that number should be.

As a general guideline, I like to think of the modifiers as representing a standard deviation or the "next level of ability" for each +1. For example, in academics I might rate:

Intelligence:
10-11 = IQ 100
12-13 (+1) = IQ 115
14-15 (+2) = IQ 130
16-17 (+3) = IQ 145 ("Genius" level)
18-19 (+4) = IQ 160
20 (+5) = IQ 175+

Proficiency:
+0 = Middle school or less (what you know or can do is based solely on your ability score)
+2 = High school
+3 = Associate's degree (2-years in college)
+4 = Bachelor's degree (4-years)
+5 = Master's degree (6-years)
+6 = Doctorate degree (8+ years)

I am sure others might scale this differently, but it is really all subjective.

So, if I combine the general knowledge about a subject along with increased reasoning, understanding, recall speed, etc. from a high IQ (say 150) then I would have an INT 16. Add to that a decade of studying "higher" levels of the topic, such as a Master's or PHD, and the total skill modifier might be +3 and + 5 for a +8 total. If you want someone to be truly exceptional, grant that NPC the Expertise feature, for a +13 total.

Think about what +13 means... A DC 20 "Hard" task would be routine. You could not even have to make the roll (assume 10) unless there is the potential for horrible consequences if you fail. And it means 1 out of 5 times you are likely to complete a DC 30 "Nearly Impossible" task (17 or higher or 20% chance).

It is said with about 10,000 hours of study/practice/use comes "mastery". I would normally rate a master's proficiency at +4 to +6, and add Expertise if I want to REALLY make the NPC exceptional, with a very good ability mod of +3 or higher, hopefully putting the NPC in the +10 to +15 range.
 

bedir than

Explorer
My job as the DM is to remain impartial and unbiased. I don't want anything. I have no preference for whether the NPC has +7 or +17.

I only interpret the rules provided by the game. The rules are supposed say whether an expert smith has a +7, or some other number.
As a DM you never introduce your party to a master craftsman, or just a schmuckle, or anyone with any level of skill?
 

S'mon

Legend
As a general rule, 5e crafting does not require 'crafting checks' and ability does not depend on the size of a skill roll bonus. I generally treat exceptional smithing ability as a 'boon' type reward, eg Hakeem the Barbarian trained with Aeanor the legendary wizard-smith to be able to reforge the legendary Sword of Bondorr. This did not involve any dice rolls, neither the training nor the reforging.
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
As a DM you never introduce your party to a master craftsman, or just a schmuckle, or anyone with any level of skill?
When I'm acting as world-builder, one of the jobs is to populate the world with NPCs. One town might have a smith of moderate skill, but nothing special. The big city probably has one or more experts. If it's the capital city of the dwarven empire, then they probably have some of the best smiths in the world. If the PCs go to one of these places, then they will find the people who are there.

The problem is that, from reading the books, I have no idea what an expert smith looks like in terms of game mechanics. I can extrapolate, based on the rules that do exist, to say that they might have a proficiency bonus as high as +6 and an ability modifier of +5. If that's the case, then I can compare them to a starting PC, with a proficiency bonus of +2 and an ability modifier of +3. If it's not the case, though, then I don't know what their bonus should be. (And looking at the NPCs in the Monster Manual, it's highly unlikely that an NPC has a proficiency bonus of +6, unless they can also take a Balor in a fist fight.) For whatever reason, with all of the pages available to them, the designers never explain what the other 99.99 percent of the world population looks like.
 

LordEntrails

Adventurer
As a DM you never introduce your party to a master craftsman, or just a schmuckle, or anyone with any level of skill?
Of course. But why does s/he need a mechanical value to some skill? Can they craft a shoe horse? Sure, can they craft a sword? Yep, can they fix Dawn Breaker? Hmm, well since I placed them in my world to do exactly that, then the answer is yes. Is it automatic? How long does it take? Well, what do I want it to be? Is is just a delay for the party? Or perhaps I want to send the party on a quest for special metals or elemental fires or a MacGuffin. So then that's what it takes. No rule is going to, or should, tell me any of that. It's the primary function of the DM to set out the bounds for the story.

As others have said, you are too caught up in the 3E philosophy that rules should tell you how to do everything. Most RPGs don't force the GM to narrate a certain result or require a fixed solution to a story line plot/issue. Don't restrict yourself :)
 

MarkB

Hero
When I'm acting as world-builder, one of the jobs is to populate the world with NPCs. One town might have a smith of moderate skill, but nothing special. The big city probably has one or more experts. If it's the capital city of the dwarven empire, then they probably have some of the best smiths in the world. If the PCs go to one of these places, then they will find the people who are there.

The problem is that, from reading the books, I have no idea what an expert smith looks like in terms of game mechanics. I can extrapolate, based on the rules that do exist, to say that they might have a proficiency bonus as high as +6 and an ability modifier of +5. If that's the case, then I can compare them to a starting PC, with a proficiency bonus of +2 and an ability modifier of +3. If it's not the case, though, then I don't know what their bonus should be. (And looking at the NPCs in the Monster Manual, it's highly unlikely that an NPC has a proficiency bonus of +6, unless they can also take a Balor in a fist fight.) For whatever reason, with all of the pages available to them, the designers never explain what the other 99.99 percent of the world population looks like.
If you did have those numbers, what would you do with them? How would your expert smith deploy their talents that would require a die roll on your part to adjudicate?
 

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