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

Dausuul

Legend
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.
I would hate that. The last thing I want in D&D is to be keeping track of wolf pelts and iron ingots.

IMO, a good crafting system in D&D would keep the raw materials abstract. When I said I wanted a crafting system that could be used in the field with the materials at hand, I didn't mean you should have to determine each individual material that's at hand and refer to a chart. I meant something like "Spend X time searching and make a roll and if you make it, you find what you need and can craft the thing."

With respect, that's in large part because the game doesn't have rules for other things, not because making things has no place in the genre. And, since Morrus is asking bout what to include in rules, maybe this assertion is not so functional.
I see what you mean, but I also think @commandercrud is touching on a key point: D&D is fundamentally an adventuring game. Crafting mechanics should not interfere with adventuring. If you've got five people in the party, and one of them is a blacksmith, the mechanics should not force the players to choose between "go on adventures" and "the blacksmith makes stuff while everyone else tries to find something interesting to do in town."

That's why I'm interested in crafting that can be done in the field, directly supporting the adventurers' needs at that moment. It makes crafting into part of the adventure, not an alternative to it.
 
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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I see what you mean, but I also think @commandercrud is touching on a key point: D&D is fundamentally an adventuring game. Crafting mechanics should not interfere with adventuring.

Let us clarify that somewhat. There's a split here between the narrative, and gameplay.

The idea that, in the fiction, active adventuring is an everyday activity is questionable. Fafhrd and Grey Mouser and Conan were not stealing stuff every day - they hit a big score, and then lived high on the hog for some weeks or months, and then did something else. Continuous action, every day, gets you characters who go from level 1 to level 20 in one in-game calendar year - from nigh apprentice to casting Wish. This is kind of silly, as a narrative, and raises major setting-design questions. So, in the fiction, there should be plenty of time in the interstices, weeks and months between periods of deadly activity, for crafting to occur.

However, in terms of a group of people sitting at a table and playing a game, we do not want sub-systems that take large amounts of table-time focused on a single player resolving complicated actions. If your crafting takes half an hour of a table session in which all but one player is sitting on their thumbs, that's a spotlight sharing issue.

Thus, crafting needs to be part of a robust "out of adventuring time" pillar that includes things for non-crafters, or crafting must be quick to work though, or done out-of-band from table play.
 

Dausuul

Legend
So, in the fiction, there should be plenty of time in the interstices, weeks and months between periods of deadly activity, for crafting to occur.
This is an assumption that is wildly untrue at many tables. It's very common for a campaign to be built around a single epic quest. During this period, there may be travel time from Point A to Point B, but there is rarely an opportunity for true "downtime" where the PCs stop moving for more than a few days.

Crafting rules that rely on extensive downtime might be great for people who play a more traditional, episodic style; but they would have little value to people who play "grand quest" campaigns.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
This is an assumption that is wildly untrue at many tables.

It is not an assumption - it is a reasoned conclusion. Even if the game has long travel times, the narrative of "we have travel, and deadly action, and nothing else" still gets weird if you look at it closely.

But let's take what you say at face falue. Is your system criteria "all rules bits must be applicable for all tables"? If not, then you are not presenting an argument against a decent crafting system.

Your GM can say, "Guys, this campaign is unlikely to have long periods of downtime in any particular location - I would not reccomend characters built to use the crafting rules." This deals with your issue in a single sentence in Session Zero.
 


Dausuul

Legend
Is your system criteria "all rules bits must be applicable for all tables"? If not, then you are not presenting an argument against a decent crafting system.
The OP asked "What do you want out of a crafting system?" My table often has this type of quest campaign, which means that as a player, I would have little use for a pure-downtime crafting system. And I'd be sad about that, because I would like the opportunity to have "I'm a blacksmith" matter in play.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I think the dichotomy between short-rest-based and long-rest-based classes already leads to some pacing weirdness in the adventuring sequence, so I'd suggest that adding another layer of timing for a character to ''do their thing'' would not be such a good thing.

''Ok guys, can we take 10 days off so I could forge an adamantium dagger before we go rescue the chickens from the Court of the Mad Golem King.''

I think crafting should be counted in terms of long rests that do not need to be sequential.
Ex: crafting my adamantium daggers requires 1000 gp of material (rare minerals), proficiency in and access to smith's tools and 4 long rests without any other activities. I can still adventure in the days, and use my off-screen resting time to create the item. It could requires a test at the end of the long rest to see if progress is made.
 

This is an assumption that is wildly untrue at many tables. It's very common for a campaign to be built around a single epic quest. During this period, there may be travel time from Point A to Point B, but there is rarely an opportunity for true "downtime" where the PCs stop moving for more than a few days.
Commonality is not the same as exclusivity. I don't think a single one of my 5e campaigns went that route.
In contrast, most of those games were about whatever pulpy adventure the players happen to be getting involved in with those adventures generally being somehow tied to or causes by the Last War, political intrigue, The Draconic Prophecy, and or scheming way above their pay grade. There were often a lot of repeat NPCs who rarely were something one could call a "good guy" but they weren't exactly bad guys the world would be better off without either and killing them wouldn't fix things. One good example is a dragon marked heir artificer who once got confronted surrounded by the missing people/ prisoners captured by his fixer guy who just had a brief polite conversation ending with a statement along the lines of "no... that's not happening, because you're going to watch me calmly walk out of here while you... you will be dealing with *points at thing under a tarp that turned out to be a war forged titan*kill the prisoners... come see me for lunch at 2 about that other matter if you survive"
 


Dausuul

Legend
I think crafting should be counted in terms of long rests that do not need to be sequential.
Ex: crafting my adamantium daggers requires 1000 gp of material (rare minerals), proficiency in and access to smith's tools and 4 long rests without any other activities. I can still adventure in the days, and use my off-screen resting time to create the item. It could requires a test at the end of the long rest to see if progress is made.
This is an excellent idea that would solve my issues with a pure-downtime system.
 

dave2008

Legend
That's why I'm interested in crafting that can be done in the field, directly supporting the adventurers' needs at that moment. It makes crafting into part of the adventure, not an alternative to it.
I could see that being a part of a system, but not what I generally think of as a crafting system. That sounds more like: everyone gets to be an artificer.

I mean it takes weeks/months to forge a quality sword. I can't see a system I like allowing that to happen in the field. And the ability to forge a sword, shield, armor is something I would want from a crafting system.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I think there's 2 different type of crafting that may require different timing:
a) short/ in the field/ with portable tools/ over night crafting:
things like quick and weak poultices, oils and ointments to put on arms and armors, rune etching etc

b) in need of installations, long process over many days:
creating an item from raw material, major enchantments etc

So it would take 5+ long rests with access to a forge and a cost of 25 x the original cost of the weapon to craft my silvered longsword. Then in the field, my ranger could craft a ointment of undead bane an apply it to its leather armor using their leather worker's tools overnight, gaining a temporary (8h?) +1 AC against undead and immunity to HP reduction.
 

Emerikol

Adventurer
I never said free just not at the mercy of dms who are human thus not as reliable and emotionless as cold math.

This is probably why there might be a disconnect between old school and modern DMs. The idea that the DM does not want the player to have a magic item but the player wants it so he uses the rules to force it into the campaign seems crazy to me.

So to answer the question asked originally, I want a game where mundane small items can be crafted but not stockpiled. Where items of great power require a great amount of effort and can be blocked by the DM without a lot of trouble. You just can't find that orange feather from a red headed cockatrice.

One idea I had was for potions for example to just go bad after a short period of time. Keeping them from going bad is very costly but on rare occasions worth it. Same for scrolls though you'd probably say the ink runs or the glyphs fade without the special permanent ink.

And yes, I am not of the PC's should be Christmas trees school of D&D.
 

I think the dichotomy between short-rest-based and long-rest-based classes already leads to some pacing weirdness in the adventuring sequence, so I'd suggest that adding another layer of timing for a character to ''do their thing'' would not be such a good thing.

''Ok guys, can we take 10 days off so I could forge an adamantium dagger before we go rescue the chickens from the Court of the Mad Golem King.''

I think crafting should be counted in terms of long rests that do not need to be sequential.
Ex: crafting my adamantium daggers requires 1000 gp of material (rare minerals), proficiency in and access to smith's tools and 4 long rests without any other activities. I can still adventure in the days, and use my off-screen resting time to create the item. It could requires a test at the end of the long rest to see if progress is made.

I can appreciate this, but that particular example would be blisteringly fast.

I would like a table of items, cost and rarity of raw materials, minimum skill (crafting steel vs. adamant, &c.), and time required. Ideally these times would be informed by real-world artisan skills when possible. I would tend to have this activity happen during downtime, but some time during long rests could be done. (Assuming that a "long rest" isn't just sleep and recovering from the day. Otherwise it would occur during the 12 hrs or so that includes the long rest.)

As an amateur blacksmith, I can crank out an utilitarian dagger in a week / 30 hrs. The first 8-10 hrs will require a forge, the rest will be filing, drilling, and carving. The first bit I couldn't do on the trail, but the last part would be possible. If you wanted it to be pretty, that would take longer; as long as the actual production of the piece, actually.

As for actual products skills, probably mostly smithing, weaving, shipwright, carpentry, masonry, jewelry, visual artistry, and musical composition. That's what I can see needing for strongholds, magic item components, and other cool things characters might want to make for themselves and their team. Low level consumables such as minor potions, medicines, acids, &c. would also be useful.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
As an amateur blacksmith, I can crank out an utilitarian dagger in a week / 30 hrs. The first 8-10 hrs will require a forge, the rest will be filing, drilling, and carving. The first bit I couldn't do on the trail, but the last part would be possible. If you wanted it to be pretty, that would take longer; as long as the actual production of the piece, actually.

But that's the crux of the problem, tho. We can go for realism, but would the character make use of those rules if it takes them 1 week of downtime to create a dagger?

IMHO, comes a time where realism should take the backseat and let the game be a game. If the rules dont have benefits within the adventure day or small downtime between adventure phases, I fear they wont see much use.
 

dave2008

Legend
But that's the crux of the problem, tho. We can go for realism, but would the character make use of those rules if it takes them 1 week of downtime to create a dagger?

IMHO, comes a time where realism should take the backseat and let the game be a game. If the rules dont have benefits within the adventure day or small downtime between adventure phases, I fear they wont see much use.
I like the idea of having a quick system for crafting in the field, but I think a separate (or at least longer) system is needed for things that take longer and or need specialized equipment (like a forge). I see no need to take everything out of downtime. If the longer system is not used, that is OK. I would rather there be no rules than rules that make no sense to me.

To take your example I would swap long rest for an "extended rest" (1 week) and be mostly good to go.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I like the idea of having a quick system for crafting in the field, but I think a separate (or at least longer) system is needed for things that take longer and or need specialized equipment (like a forge). I see no need to take everything out of downtime. If the longer system is not used, that is OK. I would rather there be no rules than rules that make no sense to me.

To take your example I would swap long rest for an "extended rest" (1 week) and be mostly good to go.

Agreed. This is why I think a game containing such rules should have price to rent an atelier for longer projects. So yeah, of course no armor or weapon making in the field, only enhancing what's already there ( my preference would be to only allow temporary enhancement in field by crafting consumables).
 


auburn2

Adventurer
Let us clarify that somewhat. There's a split here between the narrative, and gameplay.

The idea that, in the fiction, active adventuring is an everyday activity is questionable. Fafhrd and Grey Mouser and Conan were not stealing stuff every day - they hit a big score, and then lived high on the hog for some weeks or months, and then did something else. Continuous action, every day, gets you characters who go from level 1 to level 20 in one in-game calendar year - from nigh apprentice to casting Wish. This is kind of silly, as a narrative, and raises major setting-design questions. So, in the fiction, there should be plenty of time in the interstices, weeks and months between periods of deadly activity, for crafting to occur.
If you are running most of the published WOTC campaigns (TOD, TOA, OOTA, DIA, ROFM ......) I think it is going to be difficult to craft without disrupting gameplay. As these are the official campaigns, I would suggest that the standard template is adventuring from levels 1 to 13ish (where these end) is an everyday activity.
 

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