Level Up (A5E) Crafting Rules and Artisan's Tools

Subtle Knife

Explorer
Hello, all!

I find myself vexed by mundane crafting rules once again.

On pp337-339 of the Adventurer's Guide, it has rules on using Artisan's Tools to craft objects of specific values. It looks like smithing tools is no longer an 'Artisan's Tool'? This seems odd, as smithing is what you need to forge weapons, many types of armor. But I digress....

On pp426-428 of the same book, it has rules on crafting as well, but these seem...different...from the rules on pp337-339?

It seems really unclear when to use which set of rules. Having these rules widely spaced apart in the book does not help.

I'm very happy that the armor table (pp319-320) has guidance on tools for repair and associated DCs, but it would additionally be helpful to have guidance and DCs for crafting - what tool set, what DC?

----
Let's take a suit of Leather Brigandine armor (normal quality) as an example - medium armor, 20gp value. What artisan's tool(s) do you need to be proficient to craft this?

Let's assume it is Leatherworker's Tools (to fashion the leather foundation of this garment):
- according to the table on p338, the maximum value of any leatherworking craft, at a stunning DC of 25+, is 15gp. So based on this table, no one could actually ever craft Leather Brigandine of normal quality?
- according to pp426-428, it would take 10gp of materials and 2 weeks

If we assume Smith's Tools (to fashion the metal plates to be attached):
- the table on p337 provides no guidance - smith's tools are not used for crafting (tell that to any blacksmith!)
- according to pp426-428, same as above

This then calls into question as to the purpose of the rules on pp337-339?

If later I need to repair this suit of armor, I need to be proficient with Sewing Kits. OK. So my leatherworking tools aren't sufficient for that, even though I may have previously used those tools to literally sew the components together? Invoking a new 'repair' toolkit seems unnecessary to my mind - the tool you craft something with maybe ought to be useful in their repair...?

----


My points:
- crafting rules should be clear and explicit in what toolset is used when, without a conflicting 'two-tier' process.
- having the repair guidance in the armor table is excellent; include similar guidance for crafting in the table!
- you can provide 'fine/masterwork/special material' item crafting guidance as modifiers on base DC, cost
- do the same for weapons!!!!
- If I break my grandfather's masterwork sword, I might want to repair that!
- put all these rules in the same place!
- artisan's tools used for crafting should be useful in repairing the same objects (Sewing Kit?!?)
 

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Raelysk

Villager
You don't need proficiency with tools for anything, if I understand correctly.
Having proficiency only makes check easier and not a requirement.
 

Subtle Knife

Explorer
Agreed, Raelysk - you are absolutely correct - that amends my post in one part - you need to use a sewing kit (not be proficient with it).

That said, have you ever tried to sew leather? I am trained as a veterinary surgeon (not a skill I use anymore except in emergencies), and suturing the skin of cattle, horses and other animals one is likely to get 'leather' from for armor purposes (ie not cats, fish, squirrels) is actually quite difficult and requires pretty specific tools - more akin to a leatherworking kit than a sewing kit. I've used 4-6 inch curved needles to get through LIVE cowhide (not cured), and you wield that needle more like a dagger than the delicate needles used on cloth. Proficiency is useful!

Thoughts on the rest? I think there is a real opportunity to clean this up and make it more user-friendly!

Subtle Knife
 

Damos

Villager
One point I noted:

The Artisan background implies you can be a Smith (p77 Artisan Memento's) but only allows the selection from the artisan tools. The artisan tools chart does not have smiths tools, they are listed as Miscellaneous Tools. P30 under Dwarf lists Smiths Tools as separate to artisan tools.
 

Mike Myler

Have you been to LevelUp5E.com yet?
The table on page 338 is for using artisan tools to abstractly ply your trade—for example, using alchemist's supplies to make glues, oils, and other stuff people would buy but aren't going to have an impact on adventuring, not for making a tanglefoot bag. The wording is getting some tweaks to hammer that in!
 

Stalker0

Legend
While we are talking crafting, I have a few concerns myself:

1) It seems that the rules effectively assume failure for many PCs. Assuming a +2 tool proficiency and a +2 crafting stat (what stat is used for crafting normally anyway?), that means I'll only hit the DC 50% of the time (and never on a take 10). And then 25% of the time I'm making a poor quality item. That seems pretty penalizing.

2) Poor quality items both seem insanely bad and crazily profitable. Getting the broken condition after every use....I mean that's not a poor item that's basically unusable. Who would ever use an item that breaks the second they use it?

And yet, you can sell them for half price and it only consumes 1/10th the material cost (as opposed to half for normal). You can also make them in half the time (often even faster than that, because you don't need to succeed on the DCs, so its always the minimal time). So it seems like you could sell these products and make a mint.

hehe maybe that's the point....good advertising and shoddy workmanship are the keys to riches! :)
 

Mike Myler

Have you been to LevelUp5E.com yet?
While we are talking crafting, I have a few concerns myself:

1) It seems that the rules effectively assume failure for many PCs. Assuming a +2 tool proficiency and a +2 crafting stat (what stat is used for crafting normally anyway?), that means I'll only hit the DC 50% of the time (and never on a take 10). And then 25% of the time I'm making a poor quality item. That seems pretty penalizing.

2) Poor quality items both seem insanely bad and crazily profitable. Getting the broken condition after every use....I mean that's not a poor item that's basically unusable. Who would ever use an item that breaks the second they use it?

And yet, you can sell them for half price and it only consumes 1/10th the material cost (as opposed to half for normal). You can also make them in half the time (often even faster than that, because you don't need to succeed on the DCs, so its always the minimal time). So it seems like you could sell these products and make a mint.

hehe maybe that's the point....good advertising and shoddy workmanship are the keys to riches! :)
1) Depends on the crafting and the item! Pitch the Narrator your best shot. I think the bigger problem for PCs below 5th level (with no expertise dice or other bonuses on their checks) is having the requisite downtime and gold to spend. Crafting is definitely geared more for tier 2 and up (although it's not |wiggles fingers| forbidden without a feat or whatever to get in the door).

2) Seems like you narrowed down who might use a poor quality item and how. :whistle:
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
While we are talking crafting, I have a few concerns myself:

1) It seems that the rules effectively assume failure for many PCs. Assuming a +2 tool proficiency and a +2 crafting stat (what stat is used for crafting normally anyway?), that means I'll only hit the DC 50% of the time (and never on a take 10). And then 25% of the time I'm making a poor quality item. That seems pretty penalizing.

2) Poor quality items both seem insanely bad and crazily profitable. Getting the broken condition after every use....I mean that's not a poor item that's basically unusable. Who would ever use an item that breaks the second they use it?

And yet, you can sell them for half price and it only consumes 1/10th the material cost (as opposed to half for normal). You can also make them in half the time (often even faster than that, because you don't need to succeed on the DCs, so its always the minimal time). So it seems like you could sell these products and make a mint.

hehe maybe that's the point....good advertising and shoddy workmanship are the keys to riches! :)
It's the Walmart way!
 

noodohs

Explorer
2) Poor quality items both seem insanely bad and crazily profitable. Getting the broken condition after every use....I mean that's not a poor item that's basically unusable. Who would ever use an item that breaks the second they use it?

And yet, you can sell them for half price and it only consumes 1/10th the material cost (as opposed to half for normal). You can also make them in half the time (often even faster than that, because you don't need to succeed on the DCs, so its always the minimal time). So it seems like you could sell these products and make a mint.
Sure, but remember that this isn't a video game and it's not like you're just going to sit in town for weeks farming gold. Narrator is going to get a little bored and drop a fireball on you or something to get you to leave.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Sure, but remember that this isn't a video game and it's not like you're just going to sit in town for weeks farming gold. Narrator is going to get a little bored and drop a fireball on you or something to get you to leave.
Well actually, LU has a whole section on "downtime"....aka sitting in town for weeks doing stuff. Now whether the narrator will allow you to farm gold like this....probably not, but then that highlights the question of why make poor items like this in the first place.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Well actually, LU has a whole section on "downtime"....aka sitting in town for weeks doing stuff. Now whether the narrator will allow you to farm gold like this....probably not, but then that highlights the question of why make poor items like this in the first place.

There are a lot of knobs in levelup that the narrator can crank against that being done to a problematic degree that simply don't exist in o5e. Here are a few good ones. Check out AG347/348's lifestyle expenses. Sure 2sp-5gp/day may not seem like much but adding income to a stronghold doubles the cost per squarefoot, getting a stronghold to cover wealthy lifestyle's base cost would be a 40000gp sink & take about 21 years to break even. Living in squalor long term will impact who is willing to interact with you so there's a decent floor added to the break even point needed for poor quality stuff
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There are so many wonderful knobs that make it easy to credibly say the most terrifying phrase a narrator can say....specifically: "Are you sure you want to do do that." Doing it even sets up fun campaign options that might not otherwise have been so easy to stake the party into the center of

Sure you might be able to churn out a bunch of cheap armor & weapons for a peasant militia to rake in some quick coin with crafting, but high cost items tend to be purchased by people who expect to depend on it. Now you dear player have helped create conditions for a war and surprise are also a military target. If you are instead selling nonmilitary stuff there is going to be limited demand for rickety farm equipment & such once you meet the initial needs of the few hobbyists who just wanted to fiddle around a bit in the back yard. Now you have a mountauin of finished goods with no buyers. Worse still though you are known as a snakeoil salesman & need to recover your image somehow because some of it was given to $importantPeople as gifts by unsuspecting well wishers who assumed the respected adventurer bob's mark was good as his reputation as an adventurer. By association you've successfully trashed the prestige rating of everyone in the party, I'm sure that could never be an issue though.

Oh you want to have some custom crafted really nice item made with that pile of gold you made as a cut rate arms dealer known for causing the death of thousands due to faulty equipment in addition to getting personally involved in the war & maybe engaging in things like regicide?... yea... strange thing how all of the talented crafters seem to claim your request is beyond their capabilities & point you to someone else they claim is better qualified to craft for someone of your fearsome reputation as if the don't want to be known as the crafter who enabled your next scheme.


Maybe you just want to sit around & make money reputably, that's fine & should be expected from time to time. Doing that can have escalating lifestyle expenses though because your social circle is growing in quality as well as size (great!). With that growth expectations for what a wealthy lifestyle entails for someone in your position keeps growing. Some of those people are going to call in favors of their own & you've already been paid so hope you find cool stuff doing them ;)
 
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Stalker0

Legend
If you are instead selling nonmilitary stuff there is going to be limited demand for rickety farm equipment & such once you meet the initial needs of the few hobbyists who just wanted to fiddle around a bit in the back yard. Now you have a mountauin of finished goods with no buyers.
This right here is my problem. I completely agree with you, which is why I think the buy price for such goods is crazy high. Who would possibly be willing to pay such a high price for goods that are SOOOO shoddy (basically one use items)? And if no one is buying goods at that price, why is that the "standard price" for such goods?


We need to remember that this is not the scenario where the poor farmer can only afford shoes that last 6 months, versus the nobleman who has boots that last 5 years. This is the poor farmer who are buying shoes that last them one day....no one in their right minds would buy goods like that.

I think a more reasonable approach is to consider the goods "damaged" instead of "broken". That requires a lot of maintenance, but its something you can work with. Damaged weapons are a pain because of the draw clause, but they aren't useless.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
This right here is my problem. I completely agree with you, which is why I think the buy price for such goods is crazy high. Who would possibly be willing to pay such a high price for goods that are SOOOO shoddy (basically one use items)? And if no one is buying goods at that price, why is that the "standard price" for such goods?


We need to remember that this is not the scenario where the poor farmer can only afford shoes that last 6 months, versus the nobleman who has boots that last 5 years. This is the poor farmer who are buying shoes that last them one day....no one in their right minds would buy goods like that.

I think a more reasonable approach is to consider the goods "damaged" instead of "broken". That requires a lot of maintenance, but its something you can work with. Damaged weapons are a pain because of the draw clause, but they aren't useless.
I think it's more to avoid players buying poor quality stuff they only expect to use once. Knowing the sale price doesn't mean that the GM will have someone buy it for that or any other price though
 

Stalker0

Legend
Knowing the sale price doesn't mean that the GM will have someone buy it for that or any other price though
With respect, that's exactly what the sale price means for every other good in the game. The default assumption is that players can find buyers at those prices most of the time.

Now players can negotiate, and the DM can of course make exceptions.... but if the assumption is that players will generally not find buyers for the good at the Sell price......than that should not be the sell price, its as simple as that.

What makes more sense is that the Sell price for poor quality is a (*), and the star is something like: You generally cannot sell poor quality goods, unless you are able to convince a buyer they are of normal quality. In such case, use the sell price of a normal quality good.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
With respect, that's exactly what the sale price means for every other good in the game. The default assumption is that players can find buyers at those prices most of the time.

Now players can negotiate, and the DM can of course make exceptions.... but if the assumption is that players will generally not find buyers for the good at the Sell price......than that should not be the sell price, its as simple as that.

What makes more sense is that the Sell price for poor quality is a (*), and the star is something like: You generally cannot sell poor quality goods, unless you are able to convince a buyer they are of normal quality. In such case, use the sell price of a normal quality good.
AG308 " vendors may not believe the item is genuine let alone be willing to buy it" & "
While common items can be sold in almost any town, some more unique items may be difficult to sell without locating a specialist or a sufficiently wealthy collector."
AG76 "you can expect to earn full price when you sell items you have crafted (though there is no guarantee of a buyer)."


A warmonger wanting to equip a peasant militia might be (or employ) a specialist, but poor quality items are not exactly common items & you might have trouble finding a specialist for poorly crafted farm equipment or whatever
 

Stalker0

Legend
but poor quality items are not exactly common items
Considering how hard it is to make common items and how fast you can make poor quality ones, you would think Poor Quality would be MUCH MORE COMMON than regular ones.

But I feel like the crux of the thing....you are going out of your way to apply DM adjustments to an item in the table because I think you agree with me that buying poor quality items at the price noted would be kind of insane. Aka there has to be a bit of DM intervention here.

So...wouldn't it make sense to adjust the table to a much more reasonable price....or make poor quality items not so insanely bad? Than players and DMs will use the table most of the time with no game issues, and if the DM wants to adjust they can of course do that.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Considering how hard it is to make common items and how fast you can make poor quality ones, you would think Poor Quality would be MUCH MORE COMMON than regular ones.

But I feel like the crux of the thing....you are going out of your way to apply DM adjustments to an item in the table because I think you agree with me that buying poor quality items at the price noted would be kind of insane. Aka there has to be a bit of DM intervention here.

So...wouldn't it make sense to adjust the table to a much more reasonable price....or make poor quality items not so insanely bad? Than players and DMs will use the table most of the time with no game issues, and if the DM wants to adjust they can of course do that.
I agree to a degree & am normally loathe to apply let the gm fix it, but the solution is probably better rooted in a footnote about difficulty selling poor quality items on 426 or whatever. The math that goes into what the market will bear before the glut of production causes the price to tank is incredibly complicated & depends on a lot of things not normally tracked or considered in even the crunchiest ttrpg. The narrator holding up a hand & just declaring there is no buyer & storage costs are now piling up or whatever works well as a stand in for that though.

I may have glossed over them, but do you have a set of numbers that you feel would provide a better framework if the functionality of using poor quality items remains the same?
 

Stalker0

Legend
I may have glossed over them, but do you have a set of numbers that you feel would provide a better framework if the functionality of using poor quality items remains the same?
Probably the simplest way would be to make the Sale Price (1/10th the normal sell price). This means that at base a person selling poor quality goods cannot make profit (as it takes 1/10th the price in material goods just to make it). So the only way to actually make money selling the goods is to negotate or lie to get buyers to buy at a higher price.

Now frankly, even at 1/10th the price, I still don't think people would buy them (you can buy 1 dagger or 10 daggers that each last like one day....I would still buy the 1 dagger every single time)....but at least this removes any "benefit" to going poor quality selling.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Probably the simplest way would be to make the Sale Price (1/10th the normal sell price). This means that at base a person selling poor quality goods cannot make profit (as it takes 1/10th the price in material goods just to make it). So the only way to actually make money selling the goods is to negotate or lie to get buyers to buy at a higher price.

Now frankly, even at 1/10th the price, I still don't think people would buy them (you can buy 1 dagger or 10 daggers that each last like one day....I would still buy the 1 dagger every single time)....but at least this removes any "benefit" to going poor quality selling.
and yet idea makes millions every year, the dollarstore alibaba & dhgate are likewise happy to sell you a wide selection of poor quality items vhurnerd out in huge numbers by modern factories ;).

If material cost & sale price were both 1/10th there would never be no reason to ever risk the downsides. Yes if you were buying one dagger it might make sense to spend the extra for the good one, but if you were buying one thousand daggers for an army where you expect 80% of the troops are going to be barely capable of using it & at least 60 % of them to never use it for anything more critical than peeling an apple you might buy the cheap daggers and put the savings towards quality boots that allow them to marge at good speed. Of course if you want to sell a bunch of poor quality daggers the difficulty is in finding a buyer interested in buying a thousand sharpened sporks ;)
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
This right here is my problem. I completely agree with you, which is why I think the buy price for such goods is crazy high. Who would possibly be willing to pay such a high price for goods that are SOOOO shoddy (basically one use items)?
When it comes to shoddy goods, I imagine that most of them look shoddy. It should be easy for a person to look at such an item and realize that the item is badly made. A poor farmer would know the difference between good-quality leather and leather that is old, poorly-made, about to break, etc. (after all, this farmer has to maintain his own equipment, which likely includes at least some leather), and wouldn't buy a shoddy pair of shoes. So if it came to mechanics, I'd say it would be a really simple Int or Investigation check--maybe DC 10 or even lower--for the farmer to notice the quality. If I actually felt the need to roll for this, of course. For a merchant who regularly deals with these types of goods, there shouldn't even be a roll.

Who would pay for a high price for the goods? Two answers: one, someone who is buying sight unseen, and two, someone who bought something from a charlatan--who probably made the item look better than it actually is (there's actually a spell from the Acquisitions Incorporated book, distort value, that does exactly that).

And in either of these cases, the deception lasts just long enough to make it interesting for the Narrator and PCs (for different meanings of the word fun, of course).

I think a more reasonable approach is to consider the goods "damaged" instead of "broken". That requires a lot of maintenance, but its something you can work with. Damaged weapons are a pain because of the draw clause, but they aren't useless.
I think that it should be more of a usage die thing. Roll a d4 or a d6. On a 1, the item breaks.
 

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