View Full Version : Mastercraft Weapons, Giving the Craft Skill a Boost

2012-05-11, 06:36 PM
Hello Playgrounders!
As many of you are undoubtedly aware, some skills in the 3.5 system tend to get neglected because they are rarely deemed useful. This tends to be the case of the craft skill, as few, if any, characters take ranks in it, save for the Poison making or Alchemy versions. Even then, few ever go beyond 8, as those are all that are needed to qualify for certain prestige classes.

The Weapon Smithing and Amor Smithing aspects in particular are rarely used, except for Warforged characters who wish to fix themselves, and the rare character who's background is that of a smith. This has a good reason, since anyone who wants to make a good weapon or armor tends to be a spellcaster who enchants equipment rather than a craftsman who forges it.

Fo anyone who considers the craft skill to be as important as any other skill (i mean, it is one of the only skills every class has), and those who wish to run a game in a low-magic or no-magic setting, or who think that magic in general is a little overused, I present the following craft variant:

Masterforge Weapons & Armor

For the most part, the craft skill is unchanged, but there are a few additional rules:

1) the number of checks needed to create the item is fixed. A single check represents a weeks worth of work (in the case of items costing more than 1gp), or a single day (in the case of items costing 1gp or less).

2) an item is ruined only if three failures are rolled before the number or required successes (rather than failing a single after a single missed check).

3) Items of quality higher than Masterwork (called Mastercraft items) are created though the same process as any other time in the craft skill, and grant a bonus on Attacks and Damage (if Weapons) or Armor Class (if armor) equal to their Rank (ex. a Mastercraft I weapon grants a +1 bonus to attack and damage).

The number of succesful checks required to create the item depends on the DC of the item:

{table=head]DC|Number of Checks
9 or lower|1
25 or higher|10[/table]

As usual, it costs half the price of the item to craft it. The Number of successes and DC's of standard items are as follows:

{table=head]Item|Number of Successes|DC
Composite Bow|3|15
Composite bow with strength rating|5-10|15+(2x rating)
Simple Weapon|3|12
Martial Weapon|5|15
Exotic Weapon|5|18
Masterwork Component|7|20[/table]

Like a Masterwork Component, a Mastercraft Component is crafted separately.
The Rank, number of successes, DC, and price for Armor/Weapons is as follows:

{table=head]Rank|Number of Successes|DC|Price (Armor)|Price (Weapon)
*Smiths cannot actually forge weapons this powerful without the aid of magic, see below.

The prices are for straight creation. Weapons can, like their magic counterparts, be enhanced though a process called "Reforging". Reforging works the same way as regular creation, but the price is reduced by the base product (ex. a Masterswork Weapon is being reforged into a Mastercraft I with the craft skill. It costs half of 2000GP {1000GP} to forge it. It the same weapon were to be reforged into a Rank II, it would cost {8000-2000}/2, or 3000GP to enhance it though crafting). If a character is hired to reforge a weapon, the price is not halved (in the example above, it would cost the character 6000GP to get a smith to enhance the weapon for him).

This system deliberately limits itself to Rank V enhancements, completely disregarding magical abilities. If a DM still wishes to give characters a way to give their weapon/armor a special ability, they can use the three methods presented below, or make their own rules (note: the passages refer to "enchantments". These are the same as the enchantments listed in the DMG):

Method 1, Oriculus Alloy
Mastercraft weapons and armor are commonly made out of a special material called Oriculus Alloy. Also called Sacred Metal or Chanel Metal, this substance is magically malleable. It is able to absorb special properties from locations of special purpose, ex. It could become an unholy weapon if brought to a site dedicated to a god of Slaughter or Evil. Such locations should be hard to get to, and usually involve a quest in and of themselves (similar to location rewards in the DMGII). Once a weapon has absorbed a property, it becomes harder to Reforge without destroying the enchantment. Add the enchantment equivalent of the property to the weapon's rank to determine it's effective Rank.
This option is suggested for dentures that contain many dedicated "holy sites" (Zelda fans, this is for you)

Method 2, Special Materials
Mastercraft weapons and armor can incorporate special materials in their construction to give them specific special abilities. Adding bits of "flameforge steel" to the mixture may give the weapon the flaming ability, for example. Similarly, a weapon haft carved from the of of a Vampyric Tree may grant the Bleeding special ability. Such materials are notoriously hard to work with, and therefore increase the Weapon's Rank by the enchantment equivalent of the special ability. DM's are encouraged to add materials for flavor. This method works best of the world has little magic, but many monsters and areas with magical effects.

Method 3, Nonmagical Augments
Skiled Smiths can modify weapons and armor to make them more effective. Modifications such as this typically include making the weapon sharper (which adds the keen), making armor more resilient to blows (fortification), or adding explosive charges (vicious). These additions are hard to incorporate, and thus increase the Rank of the Weapon by the effective enhancement bonus. This method works best for settings that have no magic at all (yay historic accuracy).

There are many more ways that could be used to add magic properties to weapons, but hopefully this set of rules will find use for anyone wishing to make the craft skill a little more prevalent in their game.

Feel free to comment and offer additions.

Optional: Degradation
This is a little aspect for those who wis to use a specific weapon or armor as a plot element in multiple campaigns with timelines several years apart. This option adds the idea that over the course of several years, or even decades, Mastercraft items begin to loose their usefulness. Metals oxidize and rust, leathers rot, magical energies fade, and special materials transmute into common substances. Assuming that a character does not take measures to ensure the best condition for his items, a Mastercraft weapon will begin loosing its bonuses to attack and damage and its special properties while a Mastercraft armor or shield will lose its bonus to AC. The item drops by one Rank every ten (or however many the DM determines) years it goes without proper maintenance (ex. a Rank III weapon will become a Rank II, going from a +3 to a +2 bonus on attacks and damage). If the weapon has a special property, it has a 40% chance of loosing that first (except if it is a Rank I weapon, in which case the ability is lost before the weapon becomes a simple masterwork weapon).
To return the item to its regular state follows the same Reforging procedure that making such an item involves, sometimes requiting replacement materials to be sought. Maintenance, with prevents such effects from occurring, is assumed to be done as long ad an adventurer is still using the item in question for their exploits.
This option allows for rules on family heirlooms and mythical weapons that must be brought to sacred locations to recharge their power (Master Sword anyone?).
If such rules are not of your liking, the Dm is free to leave them out.

Edit: In case you were wondering why there is no XP cost here, consider how high the skill checks are. It seemed like a little overkill to add an XP cost on top of such things. Also, one would figure that a) no magic is involved with the crafting, so no drain other than fatigue should come into play; b) the high DC's needed usually discourage abuse (i mean, who wants to keep rolling 10d20 when three failures cost him more than it is worth?); and c) looking for materials/locations should be an adventure in and of itself.

Edit 2: added the Degradation option.

2012-05-11, 07:14 PM
Seems like a great system except what does making a Mastercraft IV weapon do for you?

2012-05-11, 08:02 PM
Seems like a great system except what does making a Mastercraft IV weapon do for you?

do you mean IV or VI?

because a IV adds a +4 to attack and damage.
VI on the other hand is equivalent to an "effective enchantment bonus" and signifies the cost of forging a Mastercraft Weapon that has special abilities like Flaming or Frost.

(Yes, i essentially took the "magic" out of "magic weapons". Somebody had to do it somehow).

2012-05-11, 08:26 PM
nice... now I would build a fighter with craft ranks just so he could build his own magic armor/weapons.

also, removing the XP cost is a good plan.

and I like the actual craft fix, much easier, and means people won't spend generations crafting a master work full plate.

2012-05-13, 11:50 AM
nice... now I would build a fighter with craft ranks just so he could build his own magic armor/weapons.

also, removing the XP cost is a good plan.

and I like the actual craft fix, much easier, and means people won't spend generations crafting a master work full plate.

Seriously, an actual blacksmith can work now.

And the time fix is huge.

2012-05-13, 12:32 PM
Bookmarked, now subbed. Very good fix, sir. I applaud you.

2012-05-13, 01:30 PM
This makes Craft(basketweaving) WAY more powerful now.

"Taste my +5 Vicious Flaming Throwing Returning basket, knave!"

In all seriousness, it's a good fix. My favorite aspect is how it opens up a whole slew of new adventure ideas based on finding rare materials to make magical personalized weapons and armor. Heck, it even opens up DMs to create new and fantastic materials for the players to discover.