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Puck

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I was playing around with the idea of the craft skill. I was hoping to come up with something that would work well in a fantasy setting(blacksmiths, leather workers) and increase higher skilled crafter's chances of making superior weapons, armor, and other items at a regular basis without going too far overboard.

The following is a rough of what I came up with:

Optional Rule for Crafting.

If a character rolls a special roll during the crafting of a item they may add a virtue to the item. If they roll a critical they may add three virtues to the item.

Once a character is successful with their initial crafting skill and the item in question is created they may continue to work on and refine the item, attempting to add virtues to the crafted work by rolling a special or critical success. Each further roll a crafter makes, his skill is at –25% and requires an additional amount of time equal to the original crafting. A failure means that the item is finished and no further work can gain any special benefits. A simple success allows a character to roll again at a further –25%, a fumble will destroy the item. On a special roll a the crafter may add one virtue to the item in question. On a critical they may add two virtues.

Virtues:

Increased Balance/ Function +5% to skills up to 15%

Light/ easy to carry/ well balanced: 2/3 normal weight.

Superior appearance: Half again normal value.

Sturdier: increases hps +20%

Weapons:

+1 damage up to +3

Armor Virtues:

+1 Ap

The crafters skill may be increased by the following:

Meticulous: Doubles normal crafting time +5%.

Superior tools or workshop: +5 to +15%.

Superior material, +5% to +20%.

certain types of magic may also add to the characters craft skill.

Any Suggestions? Would this work?

Note: The idea for additional rolls to refine or further increase the results of a skill roll is not my own. It was suggested by Soltakss as a way of increasing potency of herbs and potions by use of an alchemy skill. It seemed to work rather well in play though and I thought it might work well with crafting as well.

Edited by Puck

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In my opinion it would work well, although some of the modifiers seem to be a

little high. I would hesitate to give a modifier higher than +15 %.

Do you mean in total, as a cap, or for each individual item?

One modifier that was higher than +15% was superior material. I suppose I was kind of thinking of the possibility of special magical substances here (I am still thinking in terms of the Green), but I believe you are right and it should be lowered.

The other modifier that was above +15% was HP's of the item. I am very wishy washy on hp's of items. Would 15% work better? I suppose it depends a lot on the item in question. Set HP bonuses do not seem to work well either.

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In my experience modifiers have a tendency to accumulate unexpectedly,

so I would most probably not give any single modifier of more than 15 %.

However, I would not introduce a "glass ceiling" for stacked modifiers, be-

cause it is almost impossible to come up with a logical expanation for this

in the setting.

The two modifiers you mentioned are the ones I was thinking of, and in both

cases I would lower them to 15 % in one of my settings.

There may well be some extraordinary magical materials which would allow

even higher modifiers, but I would keep such powerful specials out of the

general rules and introduce them only in specific adventures.

One way to handle the additional hit points could be to simply connect them

to the crafter's skill and add 1/10 (or so) of the modified skill as additional hit

points.

This would put all the factors (meticulous, superior tools, superior materials,

magic, skill level of the weaponsmith ...) into one simple and easy to calculate

number, I think.

Just an idea ... :)

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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I would not allow post-production improvements to crafted items unless in exceptional cases. I can see the logic as it applies to herbalism and alchemy, but it is difficult to see how, for example, the quality of a chair could be improved after the fact.

Let me also reiterate rust's point about these bonuses accumulating unexpectedly in a game. Especially in a fantasy setting, players spend most of their time trying to find ways to improve their PC, one of which is through equipment bonuses. There are many magical means available in RuneQuest for boosting damage or durability, so you have to look at the big picture before deciding the relative merits of "mundane" craft bonuses. Keep in mind, also, that magic must have a reason for existence - if it is relatively easy to produce a +15% sword, why would anyone bother with a Bladesharp spell?

Note that I am not coming down on the general idea of using craft bonuses, in fact I like the concept and use it a lot myself. But you have to carefully judge the effect of these on your setting, and see if they will require further changes in other areas.

Dreamscape Design: Crafters of the Finest Tabletop Roleplaying Games

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

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I would not allow post-production improvements to crafted items unless in exceptional cases. I can see the logic as it applies to herbalism and alchemy, but it is difficult to see how, for example, the quality of a chair could be improved after the fact.

You make a chair and it's good and strong and you can sit on it. Then you think about improving it, so you shave bits off here and there to make it just as strong but lighter. Then you carve decoration into it and stain it a nice colour. The subsequent steps don't make it a better chair, but they can make it a lighter/more attractive chair. The danger is that the Craft roll might fail and you might cut to much off or carve a hole into the seat or burn the finish with to much varnish, thus spoiling the function of the chair.

Let me also reiterate rust's point about these bonuses accumulating unexpectedly in a game. Especially in a fantasy setting, players spend most of their time trying to find ways to improve their PC, one of which is through equipment bonuses. There are many magical means available in RuneQuest for boosting damage or durability, so you have to look at the big picture before deciding the relative merits of "mundane" craft bonuses. Keep in mind, also, that magic must have a reason for existence - if it is relatively easy to produce a +15% sword, why would anyone bother with a Bladesharp spell?

I'd only give skill bonuses on a critical but would possibly have AP/ENC bonuses on a special. Ideally, I'd have Special Virtues and Critical Virtues as different things and have a Special Virtue on a special roll and a Critical Virtue on a critical roll. It's a bit complicated but stops every fifth sword doing extra damage/having a bonus to hit.

To get the equivalent of Bladesharp 3, you would need +15% to hit and +3 damage, which is 6 Virtues, i.e. two critical rolls, 1 critical roll and 3 specials or 6 specials, each additional roll being at -25%, so this reflects a lot of extra work, a high skill and a lot of luck. So, they wouldn't be at all common.

Note that I am not coming down on the general idea of using craft bonuses, in fact I like the concept and use it a lot myself. But you have to carefully judge the effect of these on your setting, and see if they will require further changes in other areas.

Craft bonuses don't matter that much, in principle. NPC craftsmen simple act as if they had a higher skill. They would sell special equipment at a higher price, which means that PCs can buy the special equipment more easily. PC craftsmen could boost their skill by a fair amount, but what would this actually mean in practice? They would succeed in making things more often - so what? They may be able to make special items with slightly better characteristics - they could keep them or sell them, but in itself this wouldn't particularly unbalance a game.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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...Any Suggestions? Would this work?

In general I like it.

I'd try and distinguish between aesthetic / presentational / non-game mechanic qaulities and things that have a direct game mechanical advantage. I also would probably look at restricting this ability based on skill level, so that Professionals, Experts and Master Craftsman can do these sorts of enhacements and are worth hiring, and novices can miraculously happen to produce works of genius (or at least, not easily...).

I'd probably want to tinker with some of the details (I'd be teampted to use halving, rather than a flat 25% penalty for example) but looks good. I've got a set of rules for extended projects in BRP somewhere (loosely inspired by the system in Bushido and opriginally intended for use in Elric! and Hawkmoon games) I ought to PDF and put up here...

Cheers,

Nick

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One of the big issues, is the stacking of additional damage and to a lesser extent, skill bonuses. Having many of these items out there could scale up the game pretty fast.

I'd only give skill bonuses on a critical but would possibly have AP/ENC bonuses on a special. Ideally, I'd have Special Virtues and Critical Virtues as different things and have a Special Virtue on a special roll and a Critical Virtue on a critical roll. It's a bit complicated but stops every fifth sword doing extra damage/having a bonus to hit.

It does not sound all that complicated. But it would be nice to be able to add those things at least one point of damage or +5% without a critical roll.

The RAW allows +5% +1 damage for a Special, +3 or +15% for a crit.

What if a artisan could only add One of each virtue with a special. No stacking. Only on a critical could they add 2 additional damage or 10 skill bump. Another Crit to bump it to the +3, 15% level. That would allow weapons with a little boost to be fairly common with a skilled artisan, but still keep the potencial game wreckers pretty rare.

I'd be teampted to use halving, rather than a flat 25% penalty for example

I was thinking about that as well. I believe it would be more in the spirit of the BRP rules. It would also bring down the refining/adjustment roles more quickly and thus the important specials. I kind of liked the way the -25% scaled down better, but I have not really tested the thing very much.

Edited by Puck

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Once a character is successful with their initial crafting skill and the item in question is created they may continue to work on and refine the item, attempting to add virtues to the crafted work by rolling a special or critical success.
I'm always cautious about allowing 'normal' skills and crafts to add a lot of bonuses. I think that in a fantasy setting, adding a lot of extras requires magic. And, a normal craftsman can add up to three (on a critical) anyway.

Overall, I like the mechanics. It also gives a mechanic & opportunity for roleplaying, "I'm looking for a sword. Do you have anything special?" "Well, yes, but I intended to give it to my daughter. She's a strapping girl who's always..."

I may adopt this and take a middle ground on the additional virtues: THey are only possible if the item is made of special materials (e.g. meteor metal, or mithril, etc). If you really want to beef it up, special materials require a Special success to create anything worthwhile, but the item automatically gets a virtue that is specific to that material. On a critical, the item gets a second Virtue.

And, items made with special materials could then have additional virtues added to them. This way there is some magic involved (eminating from the material) coupled with master craftsmanship. And there are built-in plot hooks, which I always like.

Steve

Bathalians, the newest UberVillians!

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And there are built-in plot hooks, which I always like.

Yep! Making a better story is really behind the whole thing. Particular types of wood or metal may be "treasures" in their raw form because in the hands of a master artisan they could become great works of art. Master artisans might hire characters to find a particular tree that grows in a dangerous area. All sorts of adventure possibilities. Master Artisans could become strong characterful NPC's. It would be nice to think that if they spent more time and effort on an item or made it with special materials they could turn out a superior product more often.

I may adopt this and take a middle ground on the additional virtues: They are only possible if the item is made of special materials (e.g. meteor metal, or mithril, etc). If you really want to beef it up, special materials require a Special success to create anything worthwhile, but the item automatically gets a virtue that is specific to that material. On a critical, the item gets a second Virtue.

Seems like that would work pretty well too, particularly because it draws focus on the differences between valuable materials.

The other thing I was playing with was Traditions/Cults/Magics. This could be more trouble on the balance thing. Wouldn't a magician who specializes in trees/wood magic have a bonus or even a spell that helps them craft wooden items? What about folk who may specialize in earth or metal magic? Might they have magical advantages when working with iron or bronze?

The other thing I was thinking about is whether characters could have to make their own cult/tradition weapons, sort of a right of passage thing. There seem to be a lot of old stories where heroes need to learn to forge their own weapons to truly take on the status of hero.

One thing I was trying to work on was a tradition called arrowdancers where spells called arrowchants were like foci and built into the arrows and just activated when fired. Different arrows must be crafted for different spells. The arrows/spells have to be pre-crafted to gain the magical ability and are generally one use.

I have not really thought it all out yet but I kept bumping into these issues and was hoping I could find a little add-on system that could work to tie my imagination into the game system a little better.

Edited by Puck

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The other thing I was playing with was Traditions/Cults/Magics. This could be more trouble on the balance thing. Wouldn't a magician who specializes in trees/wood magic have a bonus or even a spell that helps them craft wooden items? What about folk who may specialize in earth or metal magic? Might they have magical advantages when working with iron or bronze?

The Harnmaster system has exactly that kind of magic, too, so it might be

interesting for you to take a look at it.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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I would not allow post-production improvements to crafted items unless in exceptional cases. I can see the logic as it applies to herbalism and alchemy, but it is difficult to see how, for example, the quality of a chair could be improved after the fact.

I thought this at first, but then I thought about the blacksmith making an excellent sword for his lord.

He would spend a lot of time on it (+5%) and use his best iron (+5%) maybe even his best tools (+5%). Hopefully, he'd get at least a special roll out of it, but let's say the lord wants as keen an edge as possible (+3 damage), it seems far more reasonable to make an extended roll than to say, "Sorry, you keep that sword handy and have to try for a critical again."

Overall, I think these rules are a really good way of giving people who want to play craftsmen a little something to do during downtime. It means they can make that longsword with +3 damage for their party's fighting man (or woman).

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Besides, there are so many famous weaponsmiths and famous named weapons

in the various cultures' legends and therefore in most settings that I would

hesitate to make all those extraordinary weapons magical ones instead of ex-

cellent results of craft skills.

For my taste, treating them all as magical could create a kind of "magical in-

flation" of a setting, with far too many magicians studying magic to become

weaponsmiths ...

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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I thought this at first, but then I thought about the blacksmith making an excellent sword for his lord.

He would spend a lot of time on it (+5%) and use his best iron (+5%) maybe even his best tools (+5%). Hopefully, he'd get at least a special roll out of it, but let's say the lord wants as keen an edge as possible (+3 damage), it seems far more reasonable to make an extended roll than to say, "Sorry, you keep that sword handy and have to try for a critical again."

To be honest, I think this is purely a matter of the descriptive words, not the process. The master sword smith crafting a fine weapon for his lord will takes weeks or months at the task. He will haggle with merchants for several different batches of raw ore, prepare several samples of raw steel to work with and select the most promising, forge several basic blades from that and selected the best to take forward to the next process and son on.

Think of that first roll as "getting the basics right": selecting the right raw materials, drawing up the right basic design and so on. Subsequent rolls are refinements on top of those. Depending on the specific act of craftsmanship they might be happening after the object is actually created; or they might be happening as part and parcel of the act of creation.

Overall, I think these rules are a really good way of giving people who want to play craftsmen a little something to do during downtime. It means they can make that longsword with +3 damage for their party's fighting man (or woman).

Flat adds to damage in BRP are very powerful - my instinct would be to make it work like Sorcerer's Razor: it adds to the damage rolled for the weapon but can't take the damage ABOVE the weapon's maximum damage.

Cheers,

Nick

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I like the use of special materials - the different properties of rune metals in Glorantha always added a lot of flavour to the games. You could also have non-magical materials which are beneficial, although these would have to be rare or every crafter would be using them.

Again, I would say that anyone using this system should decide what different bonuses are available, and work out how much they should be with a top figure (I'm using 10%) as the maximum combined non-magical bonus.

Dreamscape Design: Crafters of the Finest Tabletop Roleplaying Games

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

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