I really just go for the "magic IS technology" version of things and build a world so that with widely available low-level magic things approach a late-industrial-revolution quality of life anyway. It resolves so many of the bjorked-economy/stupid-WBL-table issues.I mean, I've tried to make technology using classes that have powers on par with casters, yet without having to use "spells" that sort of thing is actually quite hard and it becomes much more understandable why people never try to invent new sub systems all by themselves.
That stems from 2 problems. The first is that you need to expend adventurer/PC-level resources to learn to craft things, which takes away from your adventuring ability. And the second is why would you want to make the effort when you can just point to the DMG or SourcebookX and say "I want one of those"?One major flaw about the crafting system as is is the need to make magical items better in every way... including the speed in which creating the base item in the first place works.
The first problem is resolved by (mostly) decoupling crafting from PC levels, but the second takes a bit more effort. I've always disliked the magic-mart style of item-distribution; I prefer that the DM either gives the players specific items as they need them (that can't easily be resold for their full value) or roleplaying out the players tracking down exactly what they need. In any game world I have influence over things you'd need from level 1-4 are fairly common, 5-9 are uncommon, 10+ rare, and 15+ unheard of. So at some point around level 8ish you either start spending a lot of time tracking down specific stuff or you spend a lot of time learning how to make it yourself.
"Realism" is always a tricky duck to deal with in games. Normally I try to use it for inspiration and not grossly violate common sense as we know it, but beyond that it's not really a priority.I don't even think tempering swords or armor takes as long as D&D makes it out to be.
I do know from watching reading and watching videos on youtube that making a high-quality sword in real life, between the smelting, forging, sharpening, polishing, and final assembly can take a skilled craftsmen and his apprentices several days.
As for the magic component there is no logical solution- the answer is basically "however long or short you want"
Yeah, without trying to get to off-topic, that's basically what I envisioned for my crafting system. It doesn't work on a DC failure/success chance at all, which I know is a bit of a departure from the way a normal D20 system runs, but after a lot of theoretical number crunching it was honestly the best idea I could come up with. Every item has a "crafting value" (or, hell, call it labor-units if you want) and every day you rolled your crafting dice to determine how much progress you had made. More complicated items had higher values, higher level craftsmen had more dice. When you had rolled enough units to match the value, the item was done.I mean, seriously. PF didn't even try to solve it and we're stuck doing algebra and multiplication to figure out how many silver peices an item is worth to create using thirds and then having to beat the DC... just to have "progress" on a weekly basis.
Maybe as part of the revision, we should distill the measure of how much people can work as "manpower"?
Something like a sword might have 100 units, something like a sailing ship could have 1,000,000. It might take one person a lifetime, but lots of people making little checks each day could get it done in a much shorter time.