Level Up (A5E) Crafting / Maintenance Rules Clarification

steels12

Villager
Hey all, my players and I have switched over to a5e and they've just killed their first dragon. Naturally, they're both recuperating from the fight and also eager to craft with these new dragon parts. However, I'm finding some of the rulings are a bit vague, I was hoping people might be able to give their input or clarification on the subjects.

Crafting
"Initial Check. At the beginning of the required time, the character makes an ability check against the DC for an item of that rarity. On a success, they can continue crafting the item as normal. On a failure, they have to start over. On a failure by 5 or more, crafting can continue but the final check’s DC increases by 2. Failing this check by 10 or more consumes half the required materials and is considered a failed attempt; however you gain one expertise die that you can use the next time you attempt to craft the same item, as long as it has been no longer than a month."

"Final Check. At the end of the required crafting time, the character makes another ability check to complete their magic item against the DC for an item of that rarity. On a success, all the materials are consumed and they make the desired magic time. On a failure, the process consumes half of the required materials and the crafting fails. On a failure by 10 or more, all the materials are consumed and the crafting fails."

  • So this question pertains to the meaning behind a failure state during crafting. In the initial check, since this check is made when you start crafting, doesn't "having to start over" just mean they get to re-roll immediately with absolutely no consequences? Doesn't that just mean the effective DC of the initial check is just -5 of what is actually displayed, because that's when a penalty actually comes in?
  • Secondly, I'm assuming in the "final check" section the "and the crafting fails" refers back to the initial check, implying they need to start over completely from scratch? That seems a bit more straightforward, though I feel like the wording of this whole section is awkward.


Maintenance
"On a success, the gear is restored to full working order. On a failure or until the roll is made successfully, gear is damaged."'

  • My reading of this would imply that when the DM calls for a maintenance check it would mean the gear is already, by default, damaged, because for one: it does not say "On a failure AND until the roll is made successfully", and secondly, why would you perform maintenance on undamaged gear? The next section on Damaged Equipment then says:

"When you fail a maintenance check and your gear is already damaged, it becomes broken and cannot be used with its full effectiveness until repaired."

  • I'm not sure if the intention is for armor to go like: Undamaged, then if a maintenance check is failed it becomes damaged, then if a maintenance check is failed AGAIN it becomes broken, and THEN the party ALSO has a chance to repair it on a short or long rest. If that is the case that seems like a cumbersome amount of pre-broken checks just to then have equipment that can be rolled against every single short AND long rest the party has during the day. Am I wrong to think like this?
 

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tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
You make the check after the time based on rarity goes by. Things that are more rare can take a long long time. Also I think you lose some of the gold if you fail
 


lichmaster

Adventurer
  • So this question pertains to the meaning behind a failure state during crafting. In the initial check, since this check is made when you start crafting, doesn't "having to start over" just mean they get to re-roll immediately with absolutely no consequences? Doesn't that just mean the effective DC of the initial check is just -5 of what is actually displayed, because that's when a penalty actually comes in?
My understanding is this: crafting is done in two phases, and there's a given amount of time between the two depending on the item's rarity.

You make your first roll during phase 1 (at the beginning of the crafting period).
Success: wait X amount of time than move to phase 2.
Failure: wait X amount of time of time and are still at phase 1, but didn't waste any material and the job isn't harder (you get to do it over, but you still wasted time).
Failure by more than 5 and less than 10: wait X amount of time then proceed to phase 2, but the final check will be harder.
Failure by 10 or more: you waste half of the material and have to start over, but you gain an expertise die the next time you try to craft this item, if you do so within 1 month.

Phase 2 (after the stated amount of time).
Success: item crafted
Failure: waste half of the materials and crafting failed.
Failure by 10 or more: waste all the materials and crafting failed.
Maintenance
"On a success, the gear is restored to full working order. On a failure or until the roll is made successfully, gear is damaged."'
"When you fail a maintenance check and your gear is already damaged, it becomes broken and cannot be used with its full effectiveness until repaired."
Here my understanding is:

Your item starts as undamaged. Adventuring takes a toll on everything, so it can require a maintainance check.
On a success it stays undamaged, on a failure it becomes damaged. Mechanically this doesn't necessarily have an effect (it does for some items and vehicles), but it surely works as a "warning".
Once an item is damaged, you can attempt a maintainance check again.
On a success it returns undamaged, on a failure it becomes broken. This definitely has an effect, as now the item cannot be used anymore.

Think of "damaged" as a form of warning. It is similar to a pc that has lost a good amount of HP: it is still 100% effective, but if battered and bruised again it might not be effective anymore.
The damaged condition can be very useful during a prolonged journey in an unhospitable environment. Maybe the group is travelling through a swamp, and after an attack the armor of a fighter gets battered hard. Trying to maintain it is paramount: if it gets broken, the fighter won't be able to use it again and will have to decide if it's better to carry it and have it repaired (but it's just a burden for the moment), or it's better to leave it there to rust.

Mechanically, this system allows you to do some interesting things:
  • enemies defeated by the party will probably have a good amount of gear that is damaged, if not outright broken. This allows to avoid the PCs selling gear of defeated enemies at full price, and as a DM you have better control on how much resources they have
  • NPC blacksmiths now have a purpose, as maybe none of the PCs is skilled in maintaining their gear. This is another way to control the party's wealth
  • Blacksmith followers become an investment, given the point above
  • There is a point in purchasing items of superior materials, which are more expensive but easier to maintain
 

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