• COMING SOON! -- The Awfully Cheerful Engine on Kickstarter! An action comedy RPG inspired by cheerful tabletop games of the 80s! With a foreword by Sandy 'Ghostbusters' Petersen, and VTT support!
log in or register to remove this ad


D&D 5E What do you want out of crafting rules?


Goblin Queen
@Dausuul @Charlaquin raise good points. I want a crafting system to be something that makes my payers flip through magic items & enchantment types like a kid with a bucket of legos or who got the new sear catalog back in the day. 5e made crafting skills almost the default & pointless in that it pretty much just saves you some pointless money in exchange for spending time crafting an item you could probably have otherwise just bought. both 2e & 3.5 had good points to their crafting while 4e made it too easy to just break down some undesired items to make a desired one.
Yeah, I imagine something like the crafting systems in a lot of CRPGs. A sword is made of 3 metal, 1 wood, and 1 leather, with an optional rune slot. Mix and match materials of those types to create one with the stats you want.

log in or register to remove this ad

Rules for crafting that actually make sense so you can add them to your character sheet as actual skills instead of for example left having to pick up the Xanathar's Guide just for hints about how its done but ignore things like you can brew healing potion using the Herbalist Kit but that proficiency bonus would be strictly an Intelligence check or an Arcana check for something that would otherwise scream Nature check?

Apparently if you train long enough you can pick up a new tool kit proficiency without having to use a feat to obtain it.

That deserves being emphasized.
One of my players is using this to slowly gain proficiency in more languages and weapon types.

Magic item formulae.

XGE left it ambiguous (need a quest + formula) because we don't have a "wealth by level" system anymore and DMs will know what will and won't break their game. Still, some actual, specific examples and any associated costs (e.g. a 1,000gp value ruby worn in battle...) would be nice.

I don't see the point of crafting most mundane items. It's largely penny-pinching.


I want the ability to make mundane* and magical items in a reasonable amount of time. And I don’t want to HAVE to be a spellcaster to make something magic. Being able to go on quests to gather sympathetic magic components (such as Red Dragon blood for a potion of Fire Resistance) is a must - but not to the point where PCs are becoming taxidermists or walking to the local magic mart for eye of newt.

* mundane or the ability to take all that gold and gems and make something spiffy, like a long sword carved from a dragon’s tooth, a suit of bejeweled plate or a hat with a roc feather in it.


I would like some sort of daily, weekly, and maybe longer benefits. Maybe you can make a healing potion each day that only stays fresh for one day. This way you are encouraged to use it and you cannot make more than one. Maybe you can reroll an attack once per day since you have done something special to your weapon. Something small that makes your skill unique and worthwhile.


A very OK person
Crafting system needs to take stuff/loot we find on an adventure and turn it into stuff we want.

So at the base level I want loot that has a ready GP value such that if I DONT craft, I can sell the loot for cash equivalent. Even at the point of acquisition. DM can say “you snag X coins and 3 steel ingots (whatever) worth Y coins,” and then I can either write down X+Y coins or track the materials. Of course that means either deliberate treasure placement on monsters or in adventures.

It also implies a wealth-by-level advancement. More likely by tier.

And I want to take that loot, compare it to a crafting list in the book, and “buy” the crafted item by exchanging the loot and the time for the item. That means each item needs a “recipe” of its own. Although those recipes can be formulaic. So I also want a table with those collected recipes so that I can quickly go through.

I want crafting to grant access to items that are not traditionally available through the market, and to equate to something like a 10% to 25% discount from the market price of those things that ARE traditionally available (the time spent as an opportunity cost accounts for the price drop). So I can get platemail at a 20% discount but it’ll take 2 or 3 weeks (or whatever) - do we HAVE 2 or 3 weeks to spare right now? Or I can supply some potent healing potions that I know we’ll need but nobody is selling, and we’ll need to wait a few days to brew them.


41st lv DM
An odd diametrically opposed combo.
•Something easy enough to use
•something that'll actively discourage players from wanting to waste time doing it.


Some people complain about 5e’s crafting rules. Others think it’s just fine. What do you want out of them?
I don't think there should be crafting rules in D&D. I don't think players should spend time crafting and except in unusual cirrcumstances (helping make swords to arm the townsfolk because the orc army is only 3 days away). The character backgrounds and artisan tools add nice flavor, but for the most part that should be something the left behind when they became adventurers.
Last edited:


I have no need for them, but I'm going to go ahead and shout out to @CapnZapp here as he has pretty clear ideas about what he/she wants in crafting rules (I think).
Last edited:


I don't think there should be crafting rules in D&D. I don't think players should spend time crafting and except in unusualy cirrcumstances (helping make swords to arm the townsfolk because the orc army is only 3 days away). The character backgrounds and artisan tools add nice flavor, but for the most part that should be something the left behind when they became adventurers.
I don't need crafting rules, but I don't mind if they are available for those who want them. I don't think it is my place to say what other tables enjoy or want to do with their RPG time.

I don't think there should be crafting rules in D&D. I don't think players should spend time crafting and except in unusualy cirrcumstances (helping make swords to arm the townsfolk because the orc army is only 3 days away). The character backgrounds and artisan tools add nice flavor, but for the most part that should be something the left behind when they became adventurers.
My opinion too, you want to craft stuff play Bakers and Blacksmiths. Adventurers in D&D I believe since they chose adventuring probably dont posses enough skill to make anything more than the odd item here and there, certainly not enough to make alot of money from it or even have the time to do so. I'd prefer if they were left out of the game.


A couple people mentioned the lack of WBL table in 5e being a big problem for crafting & I agree. 5e has a table where magic items cost x-y gold based on rarity & such, but that's not all that much more useful than knowing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin when it's a cost given in isolation with no magic item budget in the system math & no WBL table to peg things to


Let me state upfront my current gaming philosophy so you know where my thoughts on crafting are coming from:
"The object of this game is to advance your first level character into as much of a superperson as you can."

I would like crafting rules to support that objective, by enabling PCs to convert resources that they do not want (e.g. gold) into resources that they want (e.g. magic items), effectively bringing back magic item wish lists and magic item shops.

I had previously done an analysis of a "typical" distribution of magic items across a 1st to 20th level campaign and obtained the following guidelines on magic items per character which I use when planning my own adventures and campaigns:

1 common consumable every level from 1 to 5.
1 uncommon consumable every level from 6 to 10.
1 rare consumable every level from 11 to 15.
1 very rare consumable every level from 16 to 19.
1 legendary consumable at level 20.
1 uncommon permanent item at level 4, and another at level 7.
1 rare permanent item at level 10 and another at level 13.
1 very rare permanent item at level 16.
1 legendary permanent item at level 19.

A separate analysis of "typical" monetary treasure (which I may have posted, but redid recently) resulted in the following guidelines:

650 gp total from levels 1 to 4.
20,400 gp total from levels 5 to 10.
109,000 gp total from levels 11 to 16.
507,000 gp total from levels 17 to 20.

If we adopt the rough convention that an uncommon magic item is worth 500 gp, a rare magic item is worth 5,000 gp, a very rare magic item is worth 50,000 gp, and a legendary magic item is worth 250,000 gp, and assuming a magic item shop or crafting rules which enable the conversion of gold to magic items, this translates into an additional uncommon magic item at level 4, four additional rare magic items between levels 5 to 10, two additional very rare magic items between levels 11 to 16, and two additional legendary magic items between levels 17 to 20. (As 250,000 gp for a legendary magic item seems an outlier in terms of the progression, maybe the value should be changed to 500,000 gp, in which case each PC would only get one additional legendary item.)

With that in mind, I'd like to see crafting rules in line with the following:

1. Crafting takes place during downtime
This is a personal preference when it comes to pacing campaigns as I'm not a fan of the PCs rushing from adventure to adventure. Crafting during downtime gives the PCs a reason to remain in their base of operations in order to get better prepared for the next adventure - and to spend gold, of course.

2. Crafting should take place in a reasonable amount of time
That said, I'm not keen on high-level PCs spending 250 days to craft a legendary magic item. I'm thinking 10 days of work should be enough, and the types of items a PC can craft should be based on level: common and uncommon at levels 1 to 4, rare at levels 5 to 10, very rare at levels 11 to 16, and legendary at level 17 to 20.

3. Special components are helpful but not necessary
Gold is enough of a gate. You don't need the PCs to go on special quests to find exotic components as well. That said, a helpful DM could choose to place items in the adventure that either count towards the gp requirement or reduce the crafting time required.


Three-Headed Sirrush
For me, the most important elements of a D&D crafting system are that it (1) adds richness and depth to the setting, and (2) plays nicely with the lore of pre-existing D&D campaign worlds, both published and homebrew (other than worlds that have setting-specific lore regarding magic items).

With regards to (1), it's important to me that the crafting system at a minimum makes sense from an economics standpoint. I'm fine with generalizations and abstraction, but I want to avoid immersion-wrecking issues such as crafting being so difficult or time-consuming that it's implausible that anyone would have bothered to make a particular item (e.g., the 5e DMG crafting rules that say that making one dose of Universal Solvent takes 27.5 person-years and 250,000 gp). Beyond that minimum for an acceptable crafting system, a good crafting system would make crafting a visible part of the game world, with (e.g.) the raw components available in a different part of the world from where production takes place, which is itself located away from where the items are in demand, thus leading to specialization in different phases of production and trade in ingredients and finished products. Such a system would add far more interactive elements to a setting than just one crafter becoming an effective hermit for weeks/months/years and needing only coinage (or universally available ingredients) as raw materials.

For mundane items, a good crafting system should produce a result that looks like crafting in the real world, such as with distributed resource gathering feeding materials into denser settlements with specialist producers. For magical items, a crafting system with similar properties could involve gathering resources in unspoiled wilderness, but then taken to a place of power (perhaps natural, like a volcano or waterfall, or requiring significant investment, like a magical laboratory) for the actual enchanting. If the required ingredients can be used for multiple types of items, they can effectively become fantastical, high-value commodities (which can then be interesting loot!). To be more player-friendly, such a system might allow skipping the rare ingredients and magical locations at a steep cost in lost efficiency.

For (2), many D&D players have preferred settings or persistent homebrew campaign worlds. To be a useful tool to the existing playerbase, any crafting system needs to be able to be dropped in to at least the most-generic of those settings without contradicting the lore. For example, 4e, by introducing crafting via residuum, did not play nice with 3e settings, and 5e, by originally only providing an outline of a crafting system and making magic items effectively not merchantable, did not play nice with 3e settings or 4e settings.

As a player, I want crafting to be useful to occasionally make makeshift items when away from town. Repairing armor and weapons, brewing a healing salve, etc. can be a lifesaver if stuck in the wilderness/dungeon, but normally isn't that big a deal (saving a few coins in town shouldn't be worth the time of an adventurer).

As a DM, I want a method to allow crafting magic items that doesn't replace the idiotic magic item shops of prior editions. Players should have to adventure to get the formula and the components necessary. The crafting time for the item should be significant, but not ridiculous, allowing PCs to make them during downtime (but not mass produce them).

An Advertisement