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

Zaukrie

New Publisher
For them to be in a separate book than the rest of level up......
Replying to my own comments.....

There should be a lot more things/ways for artificers to make, and to make them on the fly or at least fast.....for example, if I'm in the desert, I should be able to use the sand around me to cast a spell like firebolt, but that is a blast of sand. Or, lava around that. Or use the snow or sand or dirt or bones to obstruct line of sight.
I'd like there to be rare items needed for some things, so the adventure is to find the rare item.
I think the ideas above about some things being fast, and some taking a long time make sense.

I don't want rules whose only purpose is to consume gold pieces......the rules, imo, should facilitate story telling somehow (where tables want that).
 

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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.
I think this might be the best compromise: two(similar) systems: one for small, consumable buffs that can be done during normal rests, and a longer set-piece version for making significant items.

But I would add that neither should be better than the non-crafter backgrounds, otherwise you reduce the number of meaningful choices available.
 

dave2008

Legend
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).
I think I could get behind that.
 

dave2008

Legend
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.
I really wish campaigns that leveled characters from 1-15+ assumed years of in-world time. I've never liked the idea you go from zero to superhero in 1 year.

My current group is at level 15 and it took them about 10 years (in game) to get there.
 


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.
as another example, I can make a wheel of fromage blanc in about 3 days. The first 8hours or so are letting calcium citrate do its thing on the pasteurized milk. The next twelve to 20 are letting the curd form followed by 8-36 of letting it drain depending on how much I'm using weights. Salting & waxing it takes another hour or two. Aging it for amazing taste* takes 3 months or more in a wine fridge or cool basement. The entire process needs some level of temperature control/compatible temperature & some are pretty awkward like letting a couple gallons of milk & culture sit in a giant pot or draining enough whey to get two gallons of milk down to a wheel 2-3 inches thick & 6 or so across :D Outside of industrial scale stuff home cheese making is pretty much the same as it was done for thousands of years but with the addition of culture & rennet packets :D

* It tastes like semi-spreadable parmesan & makes for an amazing bagel topping :D
 

ART!

Hero
I do not know the crafting rules in 5E well at all, having rarely if ever used them as a player and as a DM. That probably says something right there.

As such, I won't comment much other than to say: it would be great to have many, many more examples of the kinds of things proficiency with each kit and tool set allows you to make. Also, I want more kits and tools to choose from.
 

Wants:
  • The details of how to make most mundane, but useful, items. For example, how long does it take to twine a solid 50' of hempen rope? How much are the base costs? And, what are the odds of it not being as strong as someone who builds them everyday?
  • The detail of how to make magic items. This is so tricky, and personally, I have never seen it done correctly. It is never consistent with the magic of the world, and when it is, it tends to break all sorts of rules that bind players during regular play. An example would be: how long does it take a wizard to make a ring for himself that can hold one of his cantrips, and can be activated with catalyst or event? Maybe a ring that harbors dancing lights and triggers once the wearer is knocked unconscious. These details of course would cover a list of ingredients: like what kind of paints are needed to make an elven cloak?
  • And details on big picture magical crafting. Basically, how does a wizard suddenly become stronger because they are in their "lair?" Or, how can a coven come together and build a circle of magic that allows them to cast spells they normally couldn't? I know most don't think of this as crafting, and instead call it ritual magic. But, in essence, they are crafting, so I place it under this.
 

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.
You don't need to keep to the pacing in the published adventures, though. My players earn 10 days of downtime after each chapter, but they get to spend it when they want. In fact, they don't need to wait for earned downtime. However, if they spend downtime when their "bank" is empty, there is an increased risk of consequences that take away the time you wanted to spend doing other things. (If they are in a town overnight, resupplying doesn't count as downtime.)
 

hopeless

Explorer
If I'm reading this right a Potion of Hill Giant Strength is of Uncommon Rarity so costs about 400gp to buy and would require I assume a Herbalist Kit, 200 gold and 2 weeks to brew that potion.
Does anyone know if Brewer's Supplies could be used instead?

There's alchemy rules suggesting you need at least a +3 proficiency bonus (5th level) to craft Uncommon items still reading.
 
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TheAlkaizer

Game Designer
There's a few things.

If I'm to pick a feat, an option or have points in a skill related to crafting, just like anything else in D&D, it comes with a mental image, a fantasy, a goal. So, if I do, I'd say that I expect the rules to allow me the following things:
  • Allow me to craft a weapon, an armour or something interesting. Crafting the same generic longsword at a 10% rebate is not interesting. It does not gives me a sense that I'm a good craftman, or that I used my expertise to achieve something I couldn't without it. I saved a handful of gold. It can be something small, especially at low levels, but having a weapon that +1 to damage, +1 to hit or an increased critical-range definitely feels good if the reason you got it was because you got a certain expertise.
  • Allow me some cool features: repair equipment or weapons, adapt the size of an armor, spend some time crafting stuff during downtime to earn a bit of gold, etc.
  • I really liked the knowledge skills in past editions. Obviously, I want to be more knowledgeable about what is related to my craft.
Now, for the actual rules, here's what I'm looking for:
  • I'm not interested in going through tables of materials and having to farm them in the game. However, it can be interesting to look for maybe one item that allows you to craft that special item; whether it's something specific or generic.
  • Having a mini-game, or a skill challenge to manage to craft the item is fine. But it's difficulty should be inversely proportional to the challenge or gathering the materials or whatever step comes before it. If I easily spend a bit of gold to get generic materials and try it, then it can be a harder challenge. I don't mind trying a few times at different downtimes until I finally get it. If there's stuff to hunt for, or some timesink before the skill challenge, I don't want to have to start over.
  • I really like tools, at least as a concept, and I think they're not really interesting in 5E. Maybe having tiers of tools that you can get to allow you crafting better stuff would be another interesting progression.
Translated to actual game moments, I want things like this to happen:
  • As we're moving quickly through the forges of an infernal citadel, I stop and ask the DM "Can I take a moment and search for any special blacksmithing materials, or maybe some magic tools?".
  • As we have a goal that pertains to entering a forgotten forest guarded by circles of druids, I think to myself that if I we get in their good grace, I'm definitely going to try and get a better Herbalist Kit, they surely have something!
  • The last two times I tried to craft my Masterwork Axe, I failed the skill challenge. This time, I'm having a friend help using a skill of their own, so I get advantage and increase my chances!
  • I finally manage to craft my weapon. It's at least slightly better than a generic one. I'm encouraged to give it a visual element that's unique and maybe even name it.
  • I know that our party will be splitting up for a dangerous mission in a few days. I take some time to craft some handy scrolls with useful spells for the half that won't have my as a wizard with them.
 


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?
Why wouldn't they? A week is a really short time to make anything. Especially if you want it to be pretty; people like nice things.

Now, from my perspective, my players often have anywhere from two weeks to three months of downtime for their characters between adventures. That's enough time to make some simple potions, scrolls, mundane items, or special mundane items suitable for enchantment.

For base materials, I don't want to necessarily farm them either. But, if I'm looking to make a spiffy hammer for the cleric, it would be cool to know that I get +0 to my check for the steel at the ironmongers, +2 for that star iron from the pain-in-the-neck wizard we did that one job for, and +? from bog iron that's found in the mire to the north with the creepy hut in the large dead oak tree.
 

If I'm reading this right a Potion of Hill Giant Strength is of Uncommon Rarity so costs about 400gp to buy and would require I assume a Herbalist Kit, 200 gold and 2 weeks to brew that potion.
Does anyone know if Brewer's Supplies could be used instead?

There's alchemy rules suggesting you need at least a +3 proficiency bonus (5th level) to craft Uncommon items still reading.
By default?
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5e also goes a step further by practically giving away the proficiency & having no magic item budget baked into the system math. If I had houserules in place to expand that in ways that would make that potion being very available I'd go a different route from @Morrus though. Making it requires dc 12 brewers tool check and 5 pounds of heartstems carved from grade A purple hove leaves and a sizable period of time left distilling in a suitable basement (3 weeks?). During those 3 weeks the cask needs to be turned by 1-2 commoners

  • 1 pound of purple hove leaves =2sp5cp
  • 1 pound of grade A purple hove heart stems =100gp
  • A suitable herbalism check(dc12) can process 100 pounds of purple hove leaves into 1 pound of heart stems over a period of one week.
  • Instead of the hair I'd go with a bloodstone extracted from a hill giant being capable of reducing the brewing time from 3 weeks to 2 weeks :D
It takes a long time to process the leaves but doing so is not very difficult so a follower (likewise with the brewers tool bit) but the size of your distillery would limit how many potions you could be distilling at any one time.

Personally I don't really like one shot consumables with crafting & not sure I'd allow this one but crafting a belt of hill giant strength with body slots or similar in use would probably look very similar with different tools that made more sense & higher prices. There's nothing special in lore or anything about purple hove leaves or heart stem (it got pulled from a book) & sounds fairly magical/exotic. The important part is the massive quantities that make "yes you find a (garden of) purple hove plant(s)" not an instant jackpot with the added benefit of being a good reason why a well stocked supplier might only have a small amount that makes doing some side work to shore up relations with wherever they are grown enough to be a more valuable customer with a larger amount of leaves set aside for you.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I'm imagining a game mechanic that works like this.

First and foremost, you need time.
  • Crafting a consumable item (like a potion, oil, or scroll) can be done as part of a long rest.
  • Crafting a permanent item requires one week of downtime.
  • Rare and powerful items might require more time, at the DM's discretion.
Next, you need tools.
  • Crafting an item requires the proper tools. You want to make potions? You'll need Brewer's supplies. You want to make alchemist's fire? You'll need Alchemist's supplies. Manacles? Tinker's tools. A folding boat? Carpenter's tools. A flying carpet? Weaver's tools. This is strictly pass/fail, you either have the tools or you don't.
  • At the discretion of the DM, some items might need more than one set of tools. A mirror of life trapping might need Carpenter's tools or Woodcarver's Tools to build the frame and engrave the runes, Glassblower's Tools to make the pane of glass, and Alchemist's Supplies to apply the silver substrate.
Then you need the formula.
  • To make something, you first need to learn how. Being proficient with Brewer's Tools doesn't automatically mean you know how to make a chocolate oatmeal stout, after all. At the DM's discretion, you will need to find the instructions first. You might need a recipe from an NPC's cookbook, or you might need to translate the alchemical formulae from an ancient tome, or you might need the trade secrets passed down from father to son for generations.
Then, you need the ingredients.
  • All items require rare and expensive ingredients, which must be purchased from special suppliers. The DM should price these ingredients in such a way to prevent abuse and to preserve the game economy.
  • Permanent items should require at least one ingredient that cannot be purchased anywhere for any reason, and will require adventuring to recover. A rare flower, a secret recipe from a master chef, a piece of a dangerous monster, something like that.
  • This rare ingredient should vary even between similar items...you might have needed a rare flower for that first flaming sword you made last week, but now you need a rare butterfly to make the second one.
  • Basically I never want crafting to become rote, something dismissed out of hand. I don't want it to become "so we set camp and oh yeah, we make another half-dozen invisibility potions just like we did last night and the night before."
Finally, you need a bit of luck.
  • Once you have all the ingredients and tools together, you spend the time, and then at the very end, you make a Skill check. Usually Intelligence-based, but exceptions might be made depending on the item.
  • If the craftsman is proficient with the tools they are using, they add their Proficiency bonus to the check.
  • If the craftsman has an assistant who is also proficient with the tools they are using, they gain Advantage to the check.
  • Some items might need more than one check. Like that mirror of life trapping would need a Strength (Carpentry) check or a Dexterity (Woodcarving) check, then a Constitution (Glassblowing) check, followed by an Intelligence (Alchemy) check.
  • The DC is selected by the DM to be appropriate to the power level of the item being crafted.
  • If the check passes, it's a success! Congratulations, you may add the item to your inventory.
  • If the check fails, something went wrong with the item. The DM decides whether this was a complete loss and all time/materials were wasted, or a cursed item was made by accident, or whatever else the story needs.
Anyway, that's kind of how I envision it working. Note the number of times I imply that the DM will decide on a case-by-case basis what is needed and how? That's intentional.
 
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I'm going to take a contrary, and maybe controversial, view. I want crafting to be expensive for the characters and/or the players.

As a GM, I don't want to sit and watch players spend an hour doing crafting stuff, having their characters spend two months making an awesome sword/armor/whatever. *

If crafting is effective (the return is more than the investment) then why would a character even enter a dungeon and risk their life and limb?

There's the dungeon of the snow lich! There's a magic sword entombed with the undead monster!
No thanks, I can make a better magic sword myself.

That bandit group have thousands of gold. We should raid them.
No, when I finish this armour I can sell it for thousands of gold.

More technically, I don't want crafting in the game because I don't want an economy in the game, because economies of swords & sorcery worlds are complex. Allowing the players to craft stuff means someone (probably me) has to worry about supply and demand, material costs, inflation, scarceness of resources, etc.

Also, crafting is boring. The LOTR movies didn't show three hours of Aragorn crafting a sword - they showed Aragon out doing exciting stuff while someone else crafted the sword and brought it to him.

The weaponsmiths and alchemists and herbalists are the people the adventurers say goodbye to on their way to having adventures.

_____
* Also, as a GM I don't want to sit and watch players do stuff without me. :)
 
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