Jump to content

Crafting


Daxos232

Recommended Posts

Since the BRP book and the basic MRQ books don't go very indepth into the crafting of items I've been working on a system for my setting. To save time and to make things easier to understand, all the measurements of materials in my system are just called "units". For example: it takes 3 units of bronze to make a sword. It takes 1 unit of kinsfoil root and 1 unit of rosemary to make a healing balm.

As to how to handle a PC's skill and the kinds of items they want to make, they would have to have a high enough skill to make certain items.

For example: An apprentice blacksmith has a Blacksmith skill of 15%. He knows how to make and fix simple items like horseshoes, farm scythes, arrow heads, and spear points. At 30% he can start making things like shortswords and battleaxes, when hes at like 50% he can start making longswords and chainmail armor. This is off the top of my head, I just thought of it about 20 minutes ago, and I haven't had an opportunity to test it.

Only thing is if the PC is at only 15%, he is going to be making a lot of failed dice rolls to make a simple horseshoe. Even making it an easy skill roll is hard, because he's still at 30%. I have no thoughts yet as to how to solve this, other than he just automatically succeeds at tasks within his skill, but that leaves out the chance of failure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Only thing is if the PC is at only 15%, he is going to be making a lot of failed dice rolls to make a simple horseshoe. Even making it an easy skill roll is hard, because he's still at 30%. I have no thoughts yet as to how to solve this, other than he just automatically succeeds at tasks within his skill, but that leaves out the chance of failure.

The trick with skills is to try to make sure there are meaningful consequences before calling for the roll. So, if the blacksmith is in a shop making a horseshoe on a saturday afternoon and he fails, then so what. He'll just start over or keep working on it until he gets it. So the practical consequence of failure is not "Sorry, you failed to make a horseshoe" but "You made the horseshoe, but it took you twice as long as you said it would and the farmer's kind of pissed off."

So, if you're tinkering with the craft system, maybe make a little list of possible consequences for the various success levels, but especially failure. For a smith, these might include:

1. Took way too long to make.

2. You made it and it works, but it's so ugly that people keep commenting on it.

3. (for a sword): PC: "I hit him in the arm for 8 points!". GM "8 points? Your sword shatters with the force of the blow - it wasnt made well enough to handle that kind of abuse."

4. You didn't make that too well - there was a lot of waste and it took much more raw iron than it should have, making it cost twice a much in raw materials.

5. The balance is out on that sword - using it will incur a -5% penalty.

6. Theres something wrong with that horseshoe - any horse using it will be at -1 movement. (or a sword might be forced to strike in a later strike rank, etc)

7. Etc.

If you define success as "being able to make a quality item in a reasonable amount of time for a fair price", then you will see there are many ways to fail.

"Tell me what you found, not what you lost" Mesopotamian proverb

__________________________________

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is an interesting idea if your game involves a lot of DIY, for example if it's set in a poor barbarian culture game like the Greydog clan, or if you have a sorceror character who needs to make a lot of special items for some reason. I may have to steal and adapt it, if you don't mind!

Rather than having skill thresholds for different items, though, I'd just have modifiers based on the difficulties of items. You could use either straight percentages or the difficulty ratings from "the big golden book" (there, I said it, Dustin!). Horseshoes would be so easy that even a character with 30% skill would rarely fail. Also keep in mind that he would not be a professional blacksmith until he had a reasonable level of skill. A 15% blacksmith is not a "blacksmith", he's either an apprentice or a hobbyist.

Dreamscape Design: Crafters of the Finest Tabletop Roleplaying Games

Dreamscape Design: My Corner of BRP Central ... Mine, All Mine! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The standard definition of a "professional" in BRP is a skill of 51%+ - which is someone who will under all normal circumstances (i.e. excepting fumbles) always make an easy skill roll. Plus, as Thalaba points out, the challenge in crafting straightforward item like a horse shoe is not simply making it - given enough time and raw materials to allow endless retries, even the most incompetent smith will eventually produce a serviceable horseshoe. The challenge is more often something else - doing it with limited resources, or completing the work in a timely fashion.

Complex items should require a skill threshold as the will require reasonable command of techniques before they can be attempted - the most fumble fisted apprentice can attempt to make nails but a scythe blade requires more technique. In certain settings as well there may be "secret" knowledges and the like - the cliche is folding steel to make samurai swords, but every craft will have it's advanced and complex techniques... If you can see it, Monty Don's recent series of Mastercrafts is revealing, as would the accompanying book (Mastercrafts: Rediscover British Craftsmanship by Thomas Quin).

I created an "extended projects" for BRP (that write up is aimed at Eternal Champion settings, but it's not setting specific) years ago, based on dim and distant memories of the "Task system" from FGU's Bushido.

Cheers,

Nick

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been thinking about a related issue. How would you handle invention? Can a primitive character invent a crossbow or cuirbouilli armor?

I was thinking a Difficult Idea roll followed by a Difficult Craft roll. Or maybe a Critical on a Craft roll, then a Difficult Idea roll. Failure on either means you can't try again until your skill increases. GMs would have to determine what the limits of this are. Maybe there is a logical sequence to invention--self bow > composite bow or long bow > light crossbow > medium crossbow > heavy crossbow > arbalest > repeating crossbow? So you wouldn't be able to go from a self bow all the way to an arbalest with one invention roll.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been thinking about a related issue. How would you handle invention? Can a primitive character invent a crossbow or cuirbouilli armor?

That is a really good question, but I don't have any advice on the matter. Though what you mentioned in your post sounds like it may lead to something.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd recommend a HUGE amount of caution on this 'invention' idea. How long was gunpowder around before it was used in cannon? A LONG time. The counter-measure game of offense vs defense had reached a point where catapults just weren't practical. Necessity IS the mother of invention.

What drove the 'need' for the crossbow? Without the 'need', there would not be a crossbow. And indeed, without the infrastructure, the understanding of practical engineering (levers, pulleys, etc) the items to fabricate a crossbow wouldn't exist either.

Just my opinion

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd recommend a HUGE amount of caution on this 'invention' idea. How long was gunpowder around before it was used in cannon? A LONG time. The counter-measure game of offense vs defense had reached a point where catapults just weren't practical. Necessity IS the mother of invention.

What drove the 'need' for the crossbow? Without the 'need', there would not be a crossbow. And indeed, without the infrastructure, the understanding of practical engineering (levers, pulleys, etc) the items to fabricate a crossbow wouldn't exist either.

Just my opinion

I'm inclined to agree - there's a lot more to innovation that just the desire to try and invent something. We tend to think of technology as a progression because we can look back on it and see how it has progressed, but if we were to re-set the world back to the stone age and start over, technologies might have developed in a very different tree, based on need and circumstance. It doesn't seem quite right for a character in a game to sit down and invent something simply because the player playing him knew it was invented in our world.

"Tell me what you found, not what you lost" Mesopotamian proverb

__________________________________

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Right... if you're doing a historical simulation, or a fantasy campaign in a conservative society (in the sense that there is little change). But what if you're doing a post-apocalyptic or cyberpunk campaign, where there is either a lot of technology and knowledge that can be recovered or a high degree of innovation?

Meh... I'm not even sure it's a great idea in those cases, either... unless you're ready to deal with players saying, "Okay, I know how to make rails, and a gun... I want to make a railgun!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My head's usually in a simulationist space, FYI, so that's where my comments come from. In a Post-Apoc world, I would keep innovation very low, assuming there isn't much of a network for distributing ideas, and what networks there were would probably be very much controlled so that the contoller of the network benefited from the infomation, rather than everyone else. But in a Cyberpunk world, in a digital age - then yeah, why not?

Here's how I think I would handle it: Rolling a critical on a craft roll results in something unexpected, perhaps even unique. If someone made a crit on a craft roll, and then made a successful Idea or Knowledge roll, they could then benefit from understanding how their innovation could be used in the future. I would ask the player to come up with a single, appropriate innovation based on the critical craft roll, and this innovation could be applied to future crafting of that item, and even be taught to others. Does that sound workable? It's not so different from what you said in effect, but here the innovation comes first from an accident of genius, and then is applied to the product. I suppose you could also use a critical Chemistry roll, or critical Physics roll, etc., to initiate the process, too.

"Tell me what you found, not what you lost" Mesopotamian proverb

__________________________________

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Be very careful with invention-especially in a historical/fantasy setting. Prior to concepts like Cause and Effect or Scientific Methods of discovery, advances in technology were few and far between. Often a very simple idea/invention would have revolutionize civilization if somebody had just bothered to think of it, but is is a lot easier to do this sort of thing in hindsight.

For example, one big technological breakthrough, the one that is partially responsible for the end of the feudal age and the beginning of the age of reason, is the horse collar.

Very simple idea: A horse can plow land faster land than an ox.

Problem: The ox collar didn't work on a horse (it choked the horse).

Solution: Design a collar that would work on a horse without choking it.

Today, a problem like this might take a long weekend to solve. The solution is so obvious (design a new collar) that it springs to our modern minds right away. Yet historically, nobody managed to come up with a solution until around the 14th century! Or at least, that is how long it took for the idea to catch on.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...