Campaign of the Month: January 2015
Skies of Glass
The Crafter System
Beings of incredible and unique power, Crafters are unique individuals capable of creating nearly anything they can imagine. The Crafter system has three main focuses. First, the Crafter system allows the DM and their players to collaborate and create new, unique magical items. Second, it allows the players to put their characters’ experience into direct and tangible rewards while simultaneously breaking them from the leash of a magic item shop. The final focus, and by far the most important, is to encourage role-playing and reward those who do; the reward getting better as the quantity and quality of role-play increases.
The Crafter system is a variation on Pathfinder rules. When using the Crafter system:
- See Table 1 for adjusted gold values at each given level.
- Very few are capable of gathering Magic Points – only those with the Crafter’s Spark are capable of it, and these people are called Crafters by the few who know of their existence. All party members are Crafters.
- Crafters are capable of creating ‘themed’ items by combining two concepts, such as the “Boots of Lightning Speed,” “Gauntlets of Draconic Might,” or the “Helm of the Skybound Mind.” In doing so, they can combine what would normally be multiple magical items into a single one, so long as the abilities all match the theme of the item.
- Whenever a Crafter gains experience they also gain a certain number of Magic Points (MP). The amount of MP gained is equal to the experience (XP) they gained multiplied by the number in the “XP->MP Multiple” in the level row they’re leveling toward. Example, Bobo the kithkin rogue is level 1 and he gains 100 XP. Bobo is advancing toward level 2, so the DM finds the .6 in the “XP->MP Multiple” in the level 2 row (information known only to the DM, though if you really want to figure it out from the tables below feel free) and then multiplies this number times the amount of MP Bobo gained – which in this case is 60 MP.
Magic Points and Magic Items
Crafters can infuse all types of magical power into physical objects. By taking an appropriate base item for the magical item they want to create (example, a bag for a handy haversack), the Crafter can begin a ritual that infuses their MP into the base item and transforms it into a magical item. The MP cost of making a magical item is equal to the gold cost of buying the item. However, the types of magical items a Crafter can create have few limitations. The cost for a magical item in a book is as-listed, the cost for a unique magical item is based upon already existing magical items and standard magic item creation formulas. Crafters can use MP to enchant weapons and armor, to create staffs, rods, rings, and wondrous items.
Crafters can also use MP to convert an existing material into another similar material – steel into adamantine or wool into silk, for example. The cost of converting materials is the same as if you were to buy it normally. There are some materials which Crafter magic cannot convert a material into, notably highly magical or unstable materials. However, some of these materials can be created with additional resources and preparation. Crafters can also create minor warps in the form of an item or even fuse some materials together to a certain degree, with the appropriate knowledge of the materials. The cost of these changes is typically small but the more expensive the materials altered, the greater the cost.
Magical items made by Crafters are unique magical called “Crafter items.” Crafter items are rather different from normal magical items – they are powerful, but temperamental. Crafter items do not detect as magical to Detect Magic unless cast by a Crafter, but Arcane Sight and more powerful spells read them as magical. Identifying a Crafter item with a Spellcraft check is more difficult than identifying a normal magical item, with a DC of 25+caster level. A Crafter is always aware of the abilities of an item they created (unless cursed). Unless cast by a Crafter, Identify doesn’t give a bonus to identifying Crafter items, but Arcane Sight and any spell more powerful can identify them.
Crafter items are normally only usable by Crafters. Crafter items don’t function for normal people – portable holes become sheets of cloth, bags of holding become normal bags. Items with extra-dimensional space (such as bags of holding, portable hole, etc) return to normal once a Crafter regains it. However, if a non-Crafter is aware of the abilities of a Crafter item, they may attempt a Use Magic Device check to be able to use it (DC 15+Caster Level of the item).
The spell Mage’s Disjunction cannot destroy Crafter items, instead shutting them off for 1 hour/caster level of the spell if it would normally destroy the item. Antimagic Field only partially suppresses Crafter items – continuous effects continue to function but activated items cannot be activated.
Themed Crafter Items
Crafters are capable of creating ‘themed’ Crafter items by combining two concepts, such as the “Boots of Lightning Speed,” “Gauntlets of Draconic Might,” or the “Helm of the Skybound Mind.” In doing so, they can combine what would normally be multiple magical items into a single one, so long as the abilities all match the theme of the item. Themed magical items usually reflect their theme to some degree, though not so much that it distracts from the Crafter’s innate aesthetic (see Crafter Aesthetic below).
While a Crafter item doesn’t have to be a themed magical item, most just find it beneficial to make them as such. Any Crafter item may be turned into a themed Crafter item by identifying a theme that would fit with the item’s already-existing enchantment and spending 1 hour meditating with the item.
Most Crafters have an innate aesthetic, a look that is core to their personality and powers. This innate aesthetic often comes through in two big ways for Crafters: how they meditate to infuse magic into an item (see The Ritual below) and what their items look like once they’ve altered them. For instance, a Crafter with a penchant for fire magic and thorns may smolder when meditating with an item and unconsciously alter his robes when enchanting them to have a trim resembling burning thorns. The more powerful the magic being infused into an item, the more intensely the Crafter’s aesthetic will show through. While this cannot increase the material value of an item, it can increase the artistic value of an item, especially when more powerful enchantments are being done.
While Crafters are mostly unable to control this innate aesthetic, those conscious of their aesthetic can guide it to create more specific looks. A Crafter’s aesthetic is so core to them that very few are alike, and, while they have little control over it, most find it very pleasing and comforting to wear items that match themselves so perfectly.
When creating a magical item, a Crafter must spend an amount of time meditating with the base item to be imbued. The meditation can be completed in any increment, over any period of time, until the total time is completed. The total hours of meditating required is equal to the total cost of the item divided by the character’s level and then divided by 100. For example, Bobo is now level 5, has 4800 MP, and wants to create a Ring of Protection +1. The DM tells him the ring will cost him 2000 mp, which he has. To find the number of hours he must meditate with the item, Bobo divides the total MP cost, 2000, by 100. He then divides this new number, 20, by his level, 5 – giving him a total of 4 hours of meditation to infuse the magic into the ring.
Crafters often develop a unique style through which they complete this ritual, be it through a monk’s calm meditation or through a barbarian’s tribal dance. However, whatever their method may be, the more powerful the Crafter becomes, the more their Spark will show through during this ritual (see Crafter).
Interrupting the Ritual
If a Crafter has time to ease himself out of the Ritual – a process requiring 5 minutes – his progress and work on the item goes into a kind of magical stasis, allowing him to pick up again where he left off when he next has time to work on the item.
Should the Crafting Ritual be forcibly interrupted for whatever reason, meaning the Crafter cannot ease himself out of the Ritual, all progress on the item is lost and a percentage of the MP being invested is lost – the longer the crafting has been going on, the more can potentially be lost.
When a Crafter ends the Ritual without easing himself out, he makes a Level Check against the number of hours he’s been Crafting, plus the caster level of the item. If he fails, 1000 MP per hour Crafting is lost. If he succeeds, 200 MP per hour Crafting is lost. The MP lost may not exceed the cost of the item.
A character with an Mana Essence matching the local dominant Mana type, he or she gets a +2 bonus on this check. A character with a Mana Essence opposed to the local dominant mana type suffers a -4 penalty on this check.
Reducing Magic Point Costs
The Crafter system has two main focuses. The first is to allow the DM and players to collaborate and create new, unique magical items. The second, and most important goal is to encourage role-playing and reward those who do; the reward getting better as the quality of role-play increases. This reward takes the form of reduced Magic Point costs on items. Minor role-play aspects reduce the cost of a magical item by up to 5%, major up to 10%, and character defining up to 20%.Examples of minor role-play aspects:
- Having a rod blessed by a supplicant of the deity you worship before turn it into a Nightstick Rod
- Enchanting a weapon you crafted yourself.
- Enchanting a well-made item.
- Enchanting a weapon you invented yourself.
- Enchanting an item made of a quality material (Silver, Cold Iron, Adamantine, Drakescale, etc)
- Enchanting something centric to your character (ex, Armor and Weapons for warriors)
- Enchanting in an area with a Dominant mana type that matches your essence
- As a demon-hunting paladin of Serra, adding Evil Outsider Bane to the greatsword you’ve used for years.
- Enchanting an incredibly well-made item.
- Enchanting an item made of a superior material (Rustmetal, Spirit Silver, Shifter’s Hide, etc)
- Enchanting in a notably strong dominant mana type that matches your essence.
- Adding Greater Disruption to your father’s mace to hunt down the Lich that killed him.
- Enchanting a legendary material.
Any magical item may be reduced up to 50%. However, getting anywhere near 50% is quite the ordeal. A generally considered “good” item for enchanting will have a 15% reduction or more, whereas 30% or more is considered extraordinary.
Magic item costs can also be reduced if the Craft possesses the appropriate item creation feat. This reduction only applies to the relevant type of item (aka you gain a reduction on Wondrous Equipment only if you have Craft Wondrous Equipment, etc). This reduction may break the normal reduction limit. For example, Bobo has reduced the cost creating his Ring of Invisibility by 50%, however he also has Craft Wondrous Equipment so he may reduce it by up to 55%. This reduction varies depending on the particular Craft feat, see Item Creation Feats for more.
If players are created above 1st level and they wish to reduce the Magic Point costs of items they’re starting with, they should complete a character questionnaire with particular attention to their items. During character creation, a grand-sum refund will be given for all MP spent for up to a total of 20%.
These reductions to cost are counted after figuring out if the Crafter has enough MP to craft the item and calculating the amount of time the Crafter needs to spend meditating.
The cost of converting materials cannot be reduced.
While the main focus of Crafters is the ability to create magical items, they also have the power to destroy magical items. If a Crafter has a Crafter item they wish to remove the magic from, they may meditate with the item for 1 hour and then may remove enhancements or destroy the magic in an item. During this destruction the Crafter selects exactly what they wish to remove and then gains a piece of the released magic back as MP. The Crafter gains 50% of the total MP cost to enchant the item back as MP.
For example, Bobo added Disruption to his already existing +2 weapon enchantments in the last campaign session before the party went out hunting undead. The party is now moving on past undead and Bobo believes they will be fighting dragons for some time and he believes having Dragon Bane instead of Disruption would be great. What’s Bobo to do? He breaks the Disruption enhancement – giving him 5000 MP back. Bobo can then meditate once again to use his now-increased MP total to put Dragon Bane on his now +2 weapon enchantments.
Crafters cannot use this ability to draw magic from a non-Crafter item.
Combining Magical Effects
When combining magical effects in a themed item, the Crafter finds he must pay an additional cost. The Crafter must pay an additional cost equal to one quarter-again the market cost of the magic he is adding, or one quarter-again the total market cost of all unique magics on the item it is being added to. For example, Bobo is wanting to add a Ring of Counterspells (4000 MP) to his themed Mage Stalker’s Ring (with the base enchantment of a Ring of Invisibility, 12000 MP). Bobo finds that the one quarter-again of the new magic is cheaper so he’ll have to spend an additional 1000 MP to enchant Counterspells onto his ring.
This additional cost cannot be reduced but does not increase the time required for the Ritual
Shifting Magical Effects
Crafters also have the ability to move the magic from one object to another. The Crafter must meditate with the magical item and the new item to transfer the magic to for 1 hour. In this process, all desired magical effects from the first item are transferred into the second item. The process requires an additional magical cost and has other restrictions based on the magic being shifted.
- If a Crafter is moving an enchantment into a non-magical item then the process costs 250 mp and has no further restrictions.
- If a Crafter is moving an enchantment into an already magical item then the process costs 500 mp in addition to one-quarter the cost of either the base cost of the new magic being added or the total sum quarter of the base costs of all other magical effects on the item the magic is being shifted into – whichever is more expensive, up to a maximum of half the moved enchantment’s market value. Enchantments may only be moved into an already magical item if they fit that items theme.
Repairing Magical Items
A broken Crafter item can be repaired in a 1 hour ritual that costs the Crafter 25% of the total market value of the item. A Crafter may also repair a normal magical item in the same way.
Intelligent, Cursed, and ‘Different’ Items
When Crafters make a magical item they are, in effect, forging a piece of their thought and power into a physical item through the medium of the magic they’ve gathered. Thus, Crafters have a chance of creating an item infused with a little bit more than they meant to – that being intelligent or, alternately, cursed items. Creating either is rare, though a cursed item is far more common than an intelligent one, particularly for weaker Crafters. Occasionally an item will also just come out…different than intended. Normally this will be an effect, almost always beneficial, in addition to the intended effect and this is far more common than either intelligent or cursed items.
An intelligent or cursed item always has a small chance of appearing when crafting an item but most Crafters will go through their entire lives without seeing either. Intelligent items have a higher chance of showing up the more the cost of a magic item is reduced. Cursed items have a higher chance of showing up when the Crafter is attempting to bend the normal rules of crafting – reducing the meditation time, trying to create the item with less MP than he needs, etc. Interestingly enough, intelligent and ‘different’ items also have a much higher chance of showing up when a Crafter is attempting to bend crafting rules but only under certain circumstances, though exactly what those circumstances are is a topic of much debate and may even change from Crafter to Crafter.
Rumor says that some Crafters make more powerful items and see more intelligent,’different’, or cursed items in certain areas that are known for their strong or unusual magic. What exactly does this is unknown.
Yes, however the rest of the information about the Crafter system will by found out in-campaign. I recommend thinking beyond base rules in important role play situations. For example, maybe the meditation time requirement can be bypassed? Who knows?
Experiment in character, and you will be rewarded.