This is a site for discussing roleplaying games. Have fun doing so, but there is one major rule: do not discuss political issues that aren't directly and uniquely related to the subject of the thread and about gaming. While this site is dedicated to free speech, the following will not be tolerated: devolving a thread into unrelated political discussion, sockpuppeting (using multiple and/or bogus accounts), disrupting topics without contributing to them, and posting images that could get someone fired in the workplace (an external link is OK, but clearly mark it as Not Safe For Work, or NSFW). If you receive a warning, please take it seriously and either move on to another topic or steer the discussion back to its original RPG-related theme.
NOTICE: Some online security services are reporting that information for a limited number of users from this site is for sale on the "dark web." As of right now, there is no direct evidence of this, but change your password just to be safe.

Author Topic: The Many Flaws of the 5e Crafting System  (Read 8409 times)

S'mon

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11763
The Many Flaws of the 5e Crafting System
« Reply #135 on: October 29, 2019, 06:09:19 AM »
Quote from: Omega;1112300
They were definitely aiming to tone down magic items in some ways in 5e. Ring of protection only goes to +1, weapons and armour only to +3 at best. Dont think even artifacts go over +3?


The DMG suggests there could be Legendary +4 weapons and shields, but none have appeared in print AFAIK. Personally I would tend to keep +4 back for stuff like Gungnir & Mjolnir. Actually Mjnolnir is +3 in 1e D&DG so prob stick with that. :D

estar

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9661
The Many Flaws of the 5e Crafting System
« Reply #136 on: October 29, 2019, 09:26:37 AM »
Quote from: HappyDaze;1112299
Since you've already written so much on this,  why not user your word count to present a better set of rules that still fits within the basics of 5e (i.e., that accepts the way proficiency bonus and skills work without altering them). Bitching is the easy part.

There even some open content to get one started.

Naburimannu

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • N
  • Posts: 181
The Many Flaws of the 5e Crafting System
« Reply #137 on: October 29, 2019, 09:31:03 AM »
Quote from: Sacrificial Lamb;1112278
I think that there are some orders that high-level Wizards would refuse to follow, king's orders or not. I'm having great difficulty imagining a scenario in which six high-level Wizards would willingly submit themselves to indentured servitude for almost a year, in order to create a weapon that is barely more combat efficient than a Sword +1.


Reality check: one of my employers hires the plurality of the world's PhDs in one particular subject, pays them extraordinarily well, and gives most of them scutwork. Despite this low-efficiency use of modern-day wizards, said employer makes many billions of dollars in profit every year.

insubordinate polyhedral

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • i
  • Posts: 338
The Many Flaws of the 5e Crafting System
« Reply #138 on: October 29, 2019, 10:15:57 AM »
Quote from: Naburimannu;1112321
Reality check: one of my employers hires the plurality of the world's PhDs in one particular subject, pays them extraordinarily well, and gives most of them scutwork. Despite this low-efficiency use of modern-day wizards, said employer makes many billions of dollars in profit every year.


Although if PhDs could cast Fireball, the grant process would probably be quite a bit different.

Zalman

  • RPG Evangelist
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 501
The Many Flaws of the 5e Crafting System
« Reply #139 on: October 29, 2019, 10:49:46 AM »
I always ignore "craftfing rules", so this thread is my first exposure to 5e's specifics in that regard. The arguments here have certainly solidified my feelings about crafting rules in general, and 5e's rules are clearly no exception.

The idea that we're arguing over whether a Player Character -- an adventurer (supposedly), can make a profit, is beyond absurd to me. I for one do not play RPGs to simulate successes running a business! If I did, it sure wouldn't be a fantasy game.

As far as I can tell this is a vestigial leftover from 3e where buying magic items was de rigueur -- in fact integral. It was a shopping game in that regard, not a fantasy-adventure game. I grew up playing Monopoly and got bored with that already, no thanks. The crafting rules in 3e (and thus the vestigial version in 5e) is just an extension of the adventure-as-shopping motif. Shopping is for suckers, get into manufacturing kid!

I can do that every day, for real, and make real money instead of monopoly money. It's not fantasy, it's utterly mundane.

And here's one for you all to chew on: if we assume -- or conclude -- that it does make economic sense to craft and sell items, then every wealthy king, queen, or merchant would be dripping with magic items. Is the world presented thusly in 5e? It certainly was not in 3e.

More importantly to me though is that magic in my games is supposed to be mysterious. Magic items even more so. The exploration pillar demands that we discover something interesting, not just "valuable". As soon as the creation of magic is codified, the mystery of its existence disappears.

DM: You find a magical sword +1!
Player: I wish I'd found more regular cash instead, so I could just manufacture a sword +2.

*Yawn*

Edit: see any fantasy myth that includes magic items. Usually, the origin of the item is a complete mystery, much less its manufacture. When its creation is specified, it's never the point of the story but a quick montage. It's generally explained by being crafted by a fucking god. In the rare case a character in the story creates a piece of magic, it's because that piece has a very specific use that is absolutely critical to that character in that story. I can't think of any fantasy story where anyone sells such a thing after making it themselves. Can you? Whatcha got?
« Last Edit: October 29, 2019, 10:55:44 AM by Zalman »
Zal

Old School? Back in my day we just called it "School"

Doom

  • Fact and Truth Ideologue
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2675
The Many Flaws of the 5e Crafting System
« Reply #140 on: October 29, 2019, 11:53:53 AM »
Quote from: Sacrificial Lamb;1112294

What I like or dislike doesn't matter much, does it?

Well, it matters quite a bit to you, obviously.

Quote
Isn't this discussion about what makes sense FOR PLAYER CHARACTERS in the 5e crafting rules, and what does not?

Note important clarification. It's been explained to you multiple times why PCs can't freely build whatever they want for cheap risk free profit.

Quote
If certain game mechanics are defective or nonsensical, then I don't see an issue with ruthlessly deconstructing and critiquing those game mechanics.

I don't either, but that's not what you're doing here.


Quote
You're saying it's "clear" that NPCs in 5e use different crafting rules. Well, are those NPC crafting rules codified, in the form of actual game mechanics? You're being very carefully non-specific about that, which implies that separate NPC crafting rules don't truly exist.

Those rules aren't codified because they don't need to be codified. The reproductive habits of monsters aren't codified, either, even though the existence of those monsters clearly indicates they had to come from somewhere.

But, rather than add 100,000 pages to D&D rules clarifying how thousands of various monsters reproduce, it's left to the GM to fill in details as needed. They do this because bottom line, D&D isn't about monster reproductive habits any more than it's about how magic items were created by NPCs.

Quote
Yes, I'm sure that magic items appear in the 5e adventure modules. However, I seriously doubt that the authors of these modules are asking themselves questions about how Leather Armor +2 (which takes five-and-a-half years to craft) or Leather Armor +3 (which takes 55 years to craft) BY PLAYERS are making an appearance in these products.

Again, I've added the important part you keep forgetting in the above. I'll remind you more clearly: the magic items weren't made by the players at your table. The magic item creation rules given in the DMG are for the players if they want to make items. Is it deceptive that they made it functionally impossible for players to make the more advanced items? Sure, but it's only a page of rules, and has been explained to you repeatedly, 5e isn't about making super-powerful magic items, and there are some more official creation rules elsewhere.  

Bottom line, it's been explained to you repeatedly, and you just don't get it. It's like a kid bitching endlessly about how he keeps losing at a pinball game because the game doesn't give him an infinite amount of time to consider how to use his flippers to hit the pinball. The adults try to help the kid and explain that pinball machines just don't work that way, but at some point the adults need to realize the kid just can't be helped.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2019, 12:47:48 PM by Doom »
(taken during hurricane winds)

A nice education blog.

jhkim

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9032
The Many Flaws of the 5e Crafting System
« Reply #141 on: October 29, 2019, 12:43:00 PM »
Quote from: Zalman;1112328
The idea that we're arguing over whether a Player Character -- an adventurer (supposedly), can make a profit, is beyond absurd to me. I for one do not play RPGs to simulate successes running a business! If I did, it sure wouldn't be a fantasy game.

As far as I can tell this is a vestigial leftover from 3e where buying magic items was de rigueur -- in fact integral. It was a shopping game in that regard, not a fantasy-adventure game. I grew up playing Monopoly and got bored with that already, no thanks.
I'm mostly agreeing - but I'd add that even if one *likes* economic games, that doesn't mean that D&D is *flawed* for not having an economic game in magic item creation. I don't like Monopoly - but I like Power Grid, for example. I played in a cool fantasy game a few weeks ago where we were managing the logistics of moving an army through enemy territory - where one of the most important PCs was the Quartermaster.

If someone wants to make a fantasy game with a cool economic aspect to it, I'd be interested. But I don't think it's necessary. AD&D1E had magic item gp costs as well as enchanting rules, and 3E had different enchanting rules - but I mostly approve of 5E's decision to mostly avoid that side.

That said, I'd like some guidelines on what NPC magicians and enchanters are like -- possibly world-specific.

mAcular Chaotic

  • All Evils of this World
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2090
The Many Flaws of the 5e Crafting System
« Reply #142 on: October 29, 2019, 02:49:36 PM »
Since you're so thorough, sacrificial Lamb, I want to see your take on the XGE crafting rules since that's what's the up to date version anyway.
Battle doesn't need a purpose; the battle is its own purpose. You don't ask why a plague spreads or a field burns. Don't ask why I fight.

Omega

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • O
  • Posts: 15071
The Many Flaws of the 5e Crafting System
« Reply #143 on: October 29, 2019, 07:04:36 PM »
Personally in Xanatar I think they went too far in the other direction and magic items feel in this optional method to be potentially too fast. A mere year to make a legendary item.

I think though this may be a little deceptive a feeling as it does not factor in the gathering element that is added. A suit of Cast-off armour might take a week to craft. But getting the components could require weeks, or months of trekking if the required reagent is not local. Or may require research just to discover the needed reagent. Which is more time spent on the task.

Let us also not forget that you can not craft any magic item without knowing the attendant recipe or schematic.

And this is actually the campaign a friend of mine is in currently as they playtest a setting I've been sloooooowly developing. Her PC is a long lived race and shes teamed up with another player whos character is also from a long lived race and their end goal is to craft a legendary item as an offering to one of the PCs patron deity. Working together they plan to have it done in about 27 years. If they can talk an NPC into joining the project they can get the projected time down to probably 18 years.

Currently they are researching clues on the whearabuts of the schematics. Then trek across the land to get that, then probably have to hike who knows where to get the reagent.

Essentially "Lets craft a Legendary Item!" is the campaign. All concocted by the players themselves.

Sacrificial Lamb

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1909
The Many Flaws of the 5e Crafting System
« Reply #144 on: October 29, 2019, 10:27:26 PM »
Quote from: Naburimannu;1112321
Reality check: one of my employers hires the plurality of the world's PhDs in one particular subject, pays them extraordinarily well, and gives most of them scutwork. Despite this low-efficiency use of modern-day wizards, said employer makes many billions of dollars in profit every year.


Here's another reality check:

You're describing a situation that is the opposite of what is in the 5e DMG. Based upon the written game mechanics in the 5e DMG, six HIGH-LEVEL 11th-level Wizards working in concert to enchant A Frost Brand sword.....will be sitting together in a quiet room for 11 months, after which most customers will expect them to give their labor away FOR FREE.

In fact, in many cases.....you end up selling these items for LESS than what it cost to craft them.

But listen to me. I should make this scenario more favorable to the grogs in this discussion, because the higher your Charisma score is.......the greater the chance you have of making a small profit. So let's make them all 11th-level Sorcerers instead, with the Guild Artisan background, the Persuasion skill (+4 bonus) and 20 Charisma (+5 bonus). The 11th-level Sorcerer is more likely to make a profit than the 11th-level Wizard, so we'll do things this way instead.

Six 11th-level Sorcerers with the Persuasion skill and 20 Charisma selling a Frost Brand sword

d100 roll with average check ___ Buyer(s) lowball you with...
20 or lower __________________ 10% of base price
21-40 ______________________ 25% of base price (normal buyers)/50% of base price (for a "shady" buyer)
41-80 ______________________ 50% of base price (normal buyers)/100% of base price (for a "shady" buyer)
81-90 _______________________100% of base price
91-00________________________150% of base price (for a "shady" buyer)

So these six 11th-level Sorcerers have a 10% chance EACH (on average, assuming an average roll of 11 on d20) of finding a "shady" customer from the criminal underworld.......willing to pay them enough money for their Frost Brand sword to make a profit. To put this in layman's terms, 90% of their customers expect them to give their labor away for free. :rolleyes:

If it costs you 50,000 gp to craft an item, and 90% of your customers refuse to pay you more than 50,000 gp for it, then this means two things:

(1.) Your customers know what your creation costs are.
(2.) 90% of your customers refuse to pay you for your labor. :mad:

In fact, if we assume that half your customers from a dice roll of 21 to 80 are "shady" criminal underworld types, then the conclusion I'd come to would be that there'd be a roughly 60% chance of most customers demanding that you sell at a loss, a 30% chance that they'll pay you full price (which means you're actually giving your labor away for free), and a 10% chance of "shady" criminal underworld types offering to pay you 25,000 gp in profit.

But let's break this down a little more. For the sake of argument, let's assume that your Sorcerer enclave finds a total of 100 potential customers. Here's the breakdown:

* 20 customers offer you 10% of your creation costs/base price [you're selling at a 90% loss]
* 10 customers offer you 25% of your creation costs/base price [you're selling at a 75% loss]
* 30 customers offer you 50% of your creation costs/base price [you're selling at a 50% loss]
* 30 customers offer you 100% of your creation costs/base price [you're breaking even, giving your labor away for free]
* 10 customers offer you 150% of your creation costs/base price [you're making 50% profit]

But perhaps even this is not enough information, because we want to differentiate between ordinary customers and "shady" customers.....from the criminal underworld. Remember that this is for a "very rare" Frost Brand sword with a base price and creation cost of 50,000 gp. It cost you 50,000 gp to create this weapon. So we also break it down like this:

# Customers________Payment Offer___________________Customer Type
* 20________________5,000 gp (10% creation cost)____________Normal
* 10_______________12,500 gp (25% creation cost )____________Normal
* 20_______________25,000 gp (50% creation cost)_____________Normal
* 10_______________25,000 gp (50% creation cost)_____________"Shady"
* 20_______________50,000 gp (100% creation cost)_____________"Shady"
* 10_______________50,000 gp (100% creation cost)_____________Normal
* 10_______________75,000 gp (150% creation cost)_____________"Shady"


If you spent almost a year of blood, sweat, and tears working on a project.....you'd feel a little bit insulted by all this, right? :(

However, for the sake of argument.....let's assume that these Sorcerers rolled high, and found a "shady" customer from the criminal underworld who doesn't try to rob them, and who actually agrees to pay them a profit. :)

The base price for a Frost Brand sword is 50,000 gp, and half of that is 25,000 gp. So the 11th-level Sorcerers split this money six ways, and earn 4,166 gp each for almost a year's work. Now call me crazy, but I think it could be much more profitable to get money adventuring. These characters are not researching anything, or learning anything new. They're just building something, by applying research they already know. And somehow, you have to convince six different high-level characters to sit in a room together every day for almost a year......and offer them a pittance to do it, in comparison to the likely much greater money they could receive while adventuring. Meanwhile, 90% of their potential customers are insulting them by refusing to even pay them for their labor. Adventuring sounds much more lucrative than this, right?

Additionally, what you're really describing with the guys with the PhDs.....is the equivalent of a group of zero-level sages from AD&D being hired by a wealthy benefactor.....and agreeing to sit in the same building, in order to do research and some menial labor....while getting paid well to do it. That scenario simply does not apply here. Once you're a high-level spellcaster, you're not a low-level peon grunt that gets pissed on any more (allegedly). So your analogy completely falls apart. :cool:

HappyDaze

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • H
  • Posts: 3494
The Many Flaws of the 5e Crafting System
« Reply #145 on: October 30, 2019, 02:59:37 AM »
Compare the risks of adventuring vs making an item. Item crafters may not make as much as adventurers, but they are far less likely to die horrifically,  and for some,  that's what matters.  IOW, crafting is a job for retirees.

mAcular Chaotic

  • All Evils of this World
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2090
The Many Flaws of the 5e Crafting System
« Reply #146 on: October 30, 2019, 09:51:19 AM »
Quote from: Sacrificial Lamb;1112413
Adventuring sounds much more lucrative than this, right?

See, you hit on the heart of it after all this. That's the point, right? If everyone stayed home there would be no adventure.

Now let's look at the description of magic items in the DMG:
Quote from: DMG
Magic items are gleaned from the hoards of conquered monsters or discovered in long-lost vaults. Such items grant capabilities a character could rarely have otherwise, or they complement their owner's capabilities in wondrous ways.
In other words, the implication is these are ancient items held in obscure places -- not things just crafted by people. So my inference is, that while it's unpractical now (by design), that in the past there must have been alternate methods that resulted in these items being created. Remember, in 5e, even an uncommon item is something most people would never lay eyes on.
Battle doesn't need a purpose; the battle is its own purpose. You don't ask why a plague spreads or a field burns. Don't ask why I fight.

Steven Mitchell

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • S
  • Posts: 2508
The Many Flaws of the 5e Crafting System
« Reply #147 on: October 30, 2019, 10:28:21 AM »
Quote from: mAcular Chaotic;1112463
See, you hit on the heart of it after all this. That's the point, right? If everyone stayed home there would be no adventure.

Now let's look at the description of magic items in the DMG:

In other words, the implication is these are ancient items held in obscure places -- not things just crafted by people. So my inference is, that while it's unpractical now (by design), that in the past there must have been alternate methods that resulted in these items being created. Remember, in 5e, even an uncommon item is something most people would never lay eyes on.


Yes.  Which leads to the obvious, easy solution if a GM wants to include more crafting without changing those assumptions:  The default crafting is the brute force method, that you'd only use for most items in desperate need, accomplished by wizards and their ilk working off of scraps of knowledge.  After all, you'd find it more efficient and rewarding to locate an existing item that you want and recover that.  However, in the course of researching where such an item might be, the characters may instead come across lore about how such an item was crafted--the special place, the materials, the players, the conditions, etc.--from that earlier golden age before the apocalypse, when wealthy and advanced societies knew the short cuts to making such magic.

It's almost as if D&D was predicated on such a setting ...

Omega

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • O
  • Posts: 15071
The Many Flaws of the 5e Crafting System
« Reply #148 on: October 30, 2019, 11:42:40 AM »
Quote from: mAcular Chaotic;1112463
See, you hit on the heart of it after all this. That's the point, right? If everyone stayed home there would be no adventure.

Now let's look at the description of magic items in the DMG:
In other words, the implication is these are ancient items held in obscure places -- not things just crafted by people. So my inference is, that while it's unpractical now (by design), that in the past there must have been alternate methods that resulted in these items being created. Remember, in 5e, even an uncommon item is something most people would never lay eyes on.

1: See the older thread on what to do with various jackasses who at the start of the adventure or on getting a valuable magic item early declare "I retire and start a farm!"

2: Problem is that ideal does not fit at all the high magic setting of Forgotten Realms where there are magic shops all over the place and magic items are fairly plentiful. I think the optional rules in Xanithar better fit a high magic setting like FR while the standard one in the DMG better fit a mid or even low magic setting where magic items are alot harder to come by for various reasons.

Opaopajr

  • SeƱor Wences
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7423
The Many Flaws of the 5e Crafting System
« Reply #149 on: October 30, 2019, 12:15:16 PM »
Since I see the table as a quick and dirty bunch of dials set on a particular setting mode, I see a lot of this conversation as a rant about the current channel and display without using the remote to change them. :confused: It is a fascinating drama playing out, but it doesn't look like it's anywhere close to catharsis. :) Will this show get renewed for another season?
Just make your fuckin' guy and roll the dice, you pricks. Focus on what's interesting, not what gives you the biggest randomly generated virtual penis.  -- J Arcane
 
You know, people keep comparing non-TSR D&D to deck-building in Magic: the Gathering. But maybe it's more like Katamari Damacy. You keep sticking shit on your characters until they are big enough to be a star.
-- talysman