Page 1 of 1

Player Guide: How Crafting Works

PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 9:14 am
by Jiriki
How Crafting Works, Digital Dreaming-Style
There has been much said about the relative uselessness of making items with the Craft skill, both from a profit standpoint and a sheer usefulness standpoint (given the extreme amount of time it takes to craft all but the most basic items, the drawback of playing in a real-time campaign). The description of the Craft skill itself is also somewhat vague in terms of which specialty allows you to make what (especially when referring to the more esoteric specialties, such as "blacksmithing").

While the typical adventurer will never have as easy a time making items for fun and profit as a dedicated smith (who can afford to expend max ranks and a feat on Skill Focus, as well as all his gold on items to enhance his craft), there are plenty of viable options for those who toss just a few ranks into this skill. This post is designed to both better explain the various specialties and give people some ideas on what exactly your Craft skill can do.

The following is an explanation of the basic system of Crafting, and some helpful facts (both standard and house-based) to keep in mind when planning to Craft something.

Rolling for Money
  • To simply make money, roll a Craft check once per month. You receive twice your check result in gold pieces. (Note: It is the player's responsibility to keep track of when rolls are made and to contact a DM at the appropriate times.)
  • Other skills (usually Profession or Perform) can also be used for simple weekly profit checks, depending on your character's profession. Speak to a DM for details; if you are using a skill other than the main three designed for this purpose, your profit is generally equal to four-thirds of your roll instead of double.

Crafting Items
  • To Craft an actual item, find the price of the desired item in silver pieces (sp). You then make a Craft check once per week; this check is multiplied by the Craft DC of the item. Once your total checks equal the price of the item, you are finished.
  • Alternately, you may make daily checks to Craft a particular item. Find the price of the desired item in copper pieces (cp), then follow the process outlined above. This is advantageous when making a very cheap item.
  • The cost in raw materials to make an item is typically 1/3 of its market price.
  • Any week in which you fail the Craft check by 5 or more, you ruin half of the raw materials and must pay half that cost again if you wish to continue.
  • This skill may be used untrained. However, you must possess a set of Artisan's Tools to make a Craft check without penalty; without these tools, you must improvise your tools, and your checks are made at a -2 penalty.
  • You can voluntarily raise the DC of any Craft check in increments of 1, to any level you wish. This accelerates your crafting, as your check result is multiplied by the modified DC. The DC may not be adjusted once crafting has started, and it may only be raised--never lowered.
  • You can procure a hireling to aid you in Crafting a specific item. An untrained hireling costs 1 sp per day, and provides you with a +2 bonus on your Craft checks while making the chosen item. A well-trained hireling runs 1 gp/day, but provides you with a +4 bonus. In either case, you must hire the hireling before starting construction, and retain it throughout the item's construction. On weeks where you do not roll (for instance, if you adventure), you must still pay the hireling. You cannot use more than one hireling to help create a given item.

Some General Notes on Crafting
  • You may Take 10 on a Craft check for any purpose, but you cannot Take 20. See Taking 10 and Taking 20 for more details.
  • You cannot make a Craft check (either for money or to make progress on an item) for any week in which you have adventured. (The only exceptions to this are adventures that take place in Waterdeep itself over the course of a single in-game night.) Because mundane item crafting does not depend on continual progress, however, you may freely stop your progress for an adventure, and start again when you return.
  • Some items crafted by these specialties are rather exotic, to the point that most people in this area barely know they exist, let alone how to make them. As such, DMs reserve the right to prohibit the creation of certain items without established IC knowledge.
  • Refer to the Player's Handbook or the System Resource Document for more details on Crafting in general. For more information on the specific Craft specialties and what they can be used to make, see below.

Craft Specialties
The following are the various Craft specialties we acknowledge on this site, explanations of what each encompasses, and some rules and suggestions regarding each. Note that this list uses the Craft specialties in the SCORES 4.0 character registry; if you don't see one you wanted for your character, it's because we've condensed it into one of the below-listed ones. If you want to make an item and it's not accounted for anywhere below, let the DMs know and we'll identify which specialty is required.

Alchemy
This specialty is used to create complex chemicals that replicate the effects of minor magic. You must be a spellcaster (able to cast spells for classes that don't gain spells at 1st level) to use this specialty. Ranks can be taken at any level, but wouldn't be usable until the PC gains their first level of spells. Masterwork artisans' tools have no effect on this specialty; to realize a bonus with this, you must purchase an alchemist's lab (500 gp).

Many of the various sourcebooks allowed on this site contain lists of additional items that can be created using this specialty. For alchemical items presented in a book with no listed DC to create, assume a DC of 20.

You can also use Alchemy to create the special inks and materials required to scribe in a spellbook. The DC is 25, and the basic unit of "Arcane Scribing Materials" has a market price of 100 gp; this represents sufficient material to scribe one page into a spellbook. (Remember that a spell takes one page for each level of the spell being scribed.)

Armorsmithing and Weaponsmithing
These two specialties are closely linked, so we discuss them under the same heading here, though they are in fact two different specialties. Armorsmithing is used to make armor and shields, while weaponsmithing makes melee weapons, thrown weapons, crossbows, and damage-dealing add-ons such as armor- and shield-spikes.

Items made of the special materials discussed in the various sourcebooks we allow on this site (especially the Dungeon Master's Guide and Magic of Faerun) can also be created using this specialty. Special rules about using these materials follow.
  • Cold iron weapons cost twice as much in raw materials as the same weapons made of steel, but take no longer to make. The cost of the masterwork component (if applicable) is unaffected, as is the DC of the item to be made.
  • Alchemical silver is treated as a separate item component made in addition to the base item, and in addition to any masterwork component. This component has its own price (1/3 the addition in price to the base item) and a Craft (alchemy) DC of 15.
  • Other materials (mithral, adamantine, etc.) are almost all inherently masterwork in quality. As such, they are treated as separate item components made in addition to the base item, as a replacement for the masterwork component. This component has its own price (1/3 the addition in price to the base item) and a Craft DC of 20. It uses the price of a masterwork component (150 gp for armor, 300 gp for weapons), however, to determine how long it takes to create. Magically-bonded silver, in addition to the aforementioned requirements, also requires a caster level of 1st or higher.

Artistry
This specialty covers many different areas, including painting, sculpture, glassworking, weaving, tailoring, and tattooing. Beyond being rolled to make money, there are a few common uses of this specialty:
  • It can be used to make outfits, such as those that appear in the Player's Handbook, and other articles of clothing. The DC of most standard outfits is 12; the DC of a courtier's or noble's outfit is 16, and the DC of a royal outfit is 20. The DC is also 20 to craft a silversilk outfit, an outfit worth 150 gp that is suitable for armor enhancements (basically a "masterwork outfit").
  • This specialty can be used to craft organic jewelry, such as bracelets, earrings, torcs, necklaces, and so forth, from bone, wood, vines, flowers, etc. The cost to craft such items depends on the materials (duskwood, zalantar, assassin vine, etc.) used in them, and the base DC for such items is 15. Consult a DM for more information on crafting these sorts of items.
  • It can be used to make tattoos. For the most part, this is a mechanics-free perk, but many spellcasters like having portions of their spellbooks inked onto their bodies. The DC to do so is DC 20, and requires special inks costing 200 gp per page. (For more information, see Complete Arcane.)
  • It can be used to produce game items, such as talis decks, chessboards and pieces, marbles, dice, and more. The DC for such items is 12.
  • It can be used to produce general artwork, and occasionally produces masterpieces, works of sheer genius or unparalleled beauty. These are highly prized in some circles, but are of subjective value. If the artist rolls a natural 20 on his weekly money roll, double the check instead of halving it, then adjust it by (2d6+3 times 10%) as if a buyer were making her Appraise check. If the artist rolls a natural 1, she creates a worthless item fit only for scrap.

Blacksmithing
This is a catch-all specialty for items made of metal, as such:
  • It can be used to craft simple items such as artisan's tools, caltrops, chains, common lamps, crowbars, grappling hooks, and sledgehammers with a DC of 12.
  • It can be used to craft intermediate items such as aspergilium, climber's kits, lanterns (bullseye or hooded), locked gauntlets, manacles, merchant's scales, metal holy symbols, and thieves' tools (base and longspoon) with a DC of 16.
  • It can be used to craft complex items such as masterwork manacles, masterwork artisan's tools, masterwork thieves' tools (base and longspoon), and locks (poor quality) with a DC of 20. (Average or better locks have a Craft DC equal to their Open Lock DC.)
  • Other items can be added to this list at DM discretion.
This specialty can also be used as a weak substitute for the more specialized knowledge of weaponsmithing and armorsmithing, as such:
  • It can be used to make armor. This includes banded mail, breastplates, chain mail, chain shirts, full plates, half-plates, scale mail, and splint mail.
  • It can be used to make shields. This includes bucklers, small steel shields, large steel shields, and tower shields.
  • It can be used to make weapons. This includes bolas, daggers, punching daggers, gauntlets (normal and spiked), kukri, all types of swords, warhammers, flails, spiked chains, and armor/sheild spikes and razors.
  • This specialty can be used to make shuriken, darts, and sling bullets.
Making any of the above items works by the same rules as weaponsmithing and armorsmithing. To craft a masterwork weapon/armor or one made of a special material, however, requires a minimum of 8 ranks in Craft (blacksmithing).

Boatbuilding
This is is used to create boats up to Huge size. These include the following vessel types: dugout canoe (DC 8), coracle (DC 10), raft (DC 10), skiff/rowboat (DC 12), launch (DC 15), war canoe (DC 18), and pinnace (DC 20).

The building of vessels larger than Huge are typically feats requiring Knowledge (architecture/engineering) rather than a Craft skill. You may continue to use this Craft skill instead, however, though all the below-listed DCs are increased by +5: longship, knorr (DC 10); cog, junk (DC 12); caravel, dhow, galley (DC 15); trireme (DC 18); dromond (DC 20); elven wingship, greatship (DC 22); ironclad, theurgeme (DC 25). Note that with vessels of this size, there is an additional expense for workers equal to 1/4 of the price of the vessel.

See Stormwrack, p.84, for more details on this specialty.

Bowmaking
This is one of the narrower specialties, focused exclusively on the process of making bows and arrows. No other specialty, however, can produce these items--the knowledge of proper balance, tensile strength, etc. that are required to make a proper bow is too specialized.

This specialty can be used to produce shortbows, longbows, and the composite versions of either. It can also be used to make arrows, bolts, flight arrows, sea arrows, and signal arrows. The DC to make standard arrows or bolts is 15, and the DC for other types of arrows is 18.

Making these items out of special materials (such as Zalantar [darkwood] for bows, or the various metals for arrows), or making masterwork versions of the same, works by the same rules as it does for weaponsmithing and armorsmithing.

Leatherworking
This is one of the more varied specialties, as it can be used to create a strange smattering of items, some of which are made possible by nothing else.
  • This specialty can be used to create armor. This includes padded, leather, studded leather, and hide, as well as armors from other supplements made from various exotic hides (sharkskin. serpentscale, chameleon, etc).
  • It can be used to craft any armor or shield that is normally made of metal, if the crafter instead uses dragonhide. This works as per the rules for special materials with armorsmithing.
  • It can be used to create weapons. This includes bolas, slings (normal and halfling warsling), lassos, whips, saps, scourges, nets, and blade boots.
  • Making any of the above items works by the same rules as weaponsmithing and armorsmithing. To craft a masterwork weapon/armor or one made of a special material, however, requires a minimum of 8 ranks in Craft (leatherworking).
This specialty can also be used to craft certain other items. These include the following:
  • DC 12: Backpack, bandoleer, bit and bridle, hammock, hempen rope, potion belt, saddle (riding or pack).
  • DC 14: Horn, saddle (exotic or military), saddlebags, scroll organizer, spellbook slipcase, tent (1-person or 2-person).
  • DC 16: Masterwork bandoleer, masterwork potion belt, silk rope.
  • DC 20: Masterwork saddle (riding, military, exotic).

Poisonmaking
Again one of the narrowest of the specialties, this is also one of the rarest. Because poisons are illegal in Waterdeep, as they are in nearly all civilized lands, an aspiring poison-maker must be very circumspect in how he both procures his ingredients and sells his finished goods. (PCs who are dumb about this will find themselves hauled into the city's dungeons right quick.) Most people find this more trouble than it is worth, so poisonmakers are usually rare, mysterious, and dedicated to their work.
  • The description of this skill in Complete Adventurer has a fairly complete list of options for the aspiring poison-maker. For any poisons not listed in that chart or otherwise given a Craft DC where they appear (such as FR-specific poisons), assume the DC is the greater of 20 or the poison's save DC.
  • As per the Allowed Materials Errata, costs for producing poisons are either 1/3 or 1/2 market price, depending on availability of materials (check with a DM before starting construction). At DM discretion, you may be able to reduce material costs by adventuring for the necessary raw components.
  • As per Complete Adventurer, the product of each check is measured in gold pieces, not silver pieces.
  • Narcotics can also be produced with this specialty; the DC of all such materials is 20, and the price for raw materials is 1/2 the market price.

Stoneworking
Stoneworking doesn't tend to produce a great many items of use to your average adventurer, or many items that are readily salable for that matter, but by no means is it totally useless:
  • This specialty can be used to make stone buildings (towers, keeps, or castles; see Dungeon Master's Guide, p.101). Up to one hireling per 500 gp of the market price can be hired to work on these. Check results are measured in gold pieces, not silver pieces.
  • This specialty can be used to craft jewelry, such as bracelets, earrings, torcs, necklaces, and so forth. The cost to craft such items depends on the materials (gems, metals, etc.) used in them, and the base DC for such items is 15. Consult a DM for more information on crafting these sorts of items.
  • If you have at least 4 ranks in Spellcraft or Knowledge (arcana), or are a spellcaster, you can cut stones in such a way that they can serve as Spell Catalysts. The DC to create a catalyst is at least 20, and higher for more powerful stones.

Trapmaking/Locksmithing
These two skills don't seem all that similar on their face, but have been combined both because they're rather rare, and at their hearts they involve very similar mechanisms--tiny, complex machines with many moving parts. Locksmiths and trapmakers are common, but those who actually have a high level of talent in their chosen craft are rare creatures: technical thinkers and tinkerers almost ahead of their time.
  • This specialty can be used to make mechanical traps, as per the rules in the Dungeon Master's Guide.
  • This specialty can be used to make impromptu traps. See Part III in this series.
  • As they are the tools of the trade, this specialty can be used to create thieves' tools (normal, longspoon, or masterwork versions of either) and locks. The DCs are the same as those listed under "Blacksmithing."
  • This specialty can also be used to make a limited selection of other items. The water clock, the drogue wing, the footsaw trap, the rope climber, and the spyglass are examples, all of which are DC 20 to make (except the water clock, which is DC 25).

Woodworking
This is a very common and generic-use specialty that is used for a wide array of items, but few are of much use to most adventurers:
  • It can be used to craft musical instruments, skis and poles, snow shoes, wooden holy symbols (all DC 14), portable huts (DC 16), or masterwork musical instruments (DC 20).
  • It can be used to craft vehicles, siege engines (see Heroes of Battle and Stormwrack for more details on these), and wooden buildings (simple houses, grand houses, or mansions; see Dungeon Master's Guide, p.101). Simple vehicles (carriages, carts, rickshaws, and sleds, and wagons) are DC 16, all others are DC 20 (and their check results are measured in gold pieces, not silver pieces). Up to one hireling per 500 gp of the market price can be hired to work on these.
  • Additionally woodworking can be used for building boats up to Huge size. Boats greater than Huge size require more advanced skills (see Boatbuilding above), and Woodworking cannot be substituted for the required Knowledge skill. To craft a boat made of a special (wood) material, however, requires a minimum of 8 ranks in Craft (woodworking) if you do not use Craft (boatbuilding).
This specialty can also be used as a weak substitute for the more specialized knowledge of weaponsmithing and armorsmithing, as such:
  • It can be used to make armor made of wood when combined with the druid's ironwood spell.
  • It can be used to make small wooden shields and large wooden shields.
  • It can be used to make weapons. This includes bolas, clubs, crossbows, greatclubs, maces (light and heavy), axes (throwing and battle), morningstars, quarterstaves, and polearms (shortspear, spear, longspear, glaive, guisarme, halberd, lance, ranseur).
  • It can be used to make arrows, javelins, and bolts.
  • Making any of the above items works by the same rules as weaponsmithing and armorsmithing. To craft a masterwork weapon/armor, however, requires a minimum of 8 ranks in Craft (woodworking), as does the use of special materials.

Note: In all cases, the lists above are NOT meant to be comprehensive, just suggestive, and there may be other things you can do with these specialties at DM discretion.