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I'm running my first Exalted game, and I now have a player who wants to craft objects. Upon examination, I think the system proffered in the core book is mostly the result of blunt head trauma. While I do agree on the three-phase process of creation when working with projects, they give no guidelines whatsoever as to how many successes it takes to actually craft anything. The only thing they offer is that objects of servicable quality take one success. Doesn't that mean that crafting horseshoes and crafting acticulated plate take one success? And anyways, how much does the raw materials cost, relative to the cost of the finished product?
I'm completely at a loss on this one. Does anyone have any advice, guidelines, etc?
Well, as a first-order approximation, I use the resources cost as a base. Resources 1-2 are diff 1 things, that require roughly one craft roll, of some arbitrary duration. Resources 3-4 are diff 2, and require roughly 3 craft rolls of some longer duration. A resources 5 item is generally diff 3, and 5 craft rolls of a week each. That's for mortals, mind you, and assumes good craftsman. Backtracking, then, we find the following: Assume a smithy of a small town. Attribute 3, perhaps, and Perhaps Craft 1+ 1Specialty. (He's not great, but he can make horseshoes) That's 5 dice to roll, for an average of two successes per roll. More to the point, he really only fails if he rolls all failures on 5 dice, which is about 7% of the time. Me, I can see that smithy screwing up a horseshoe about 7% of the time. Even nicer, is that if he rolls more successes, he works faster, in my book. So if we're looking at a morning's worth of work, one success grants him a set of horseshoes, and puts them on a horse. Maybe not super-realistic, but it's what I'm working with. If he gets two successes or more, he can do that much more work. Go him. If he were to try to make a nice sword (Resources 3, say), he'd need two or more successes, which occurs a lot less often - maybe, say a 67.5% success rate. Making 3 rolls, at a day each gives him only a 30% chance of success. Not really gonna cut it for profit. Going to an expensive item, he only gets 3 successes 29% of the time, for a chance on 5 craft rolls is down to less than 1% chance he can do it. Switching to an average Nexus craftsman, with Attribute 4, Ability 3, Specialty 1, making something he's good at for a Resources 3 sale, he's got 8 dice. That's an 87% chance of success per roll, for a 65% chance of success. Not great, but then again, he doesn't need to make that many successfully to make a good living. He can accept that he's got some failure. If he tries the really expensive stuff, that's a bit tougher - at only 66% per roll, he's down to a 12% chance. He can do it, but it'll take one year of full-time work for him. Then again, for a resources 5 item, that's a good year's income! Finally, the real master workers - Attribute 5, Craft 4, Specialty 3. 12 dice. This guy is a monster. On 217 rolls for the cheap stuff, he succeeds 217 times. On the middling stuff, that's 97.7% chance of success per roll, for 93% total. He's the man. Even with the tough stuff, he's making 91% success per roll, for a grand total of 65% success on a large project. He is the guy.
Continuing, it comes down to rate then. How long does it take these people? Well, the way I described things was just rolls and diff, no measure of successes needed. That's not a good thing. It doesn't allow you to work faster, if you could. Thing is, I'm ok with that - you can't make it super-super fast easily - it's tough. Even captain super crafter can't whip out horseshoes without taking the time to heat them, hit them, and go. You can't speed it up easily. What you can do though is increase the quality of the item. My theory is that for a resource X item, you need X extra successes on your crafting to make it one 'step' better. So, for example, if you're making a Resources 3 item, you need a diff 2 roll, done thrice, and if you want to make it 'fine' or 'superior' or whatever the word is, you need an extra 3 successes. To make it one step better yet (perfect, for example), you'd need another 3. Here, Exalts shine. Their huge die pools give them enough successes, even in the basic case, to whip out perfect things everytime they build. For the mere mortals, they have to spend extra crafting time on things, and if they're not regularly exceeding the difficulty, that's gonna take a while to get those successes. Making a perfect suit of articulated plate requires 10 over-successes on Diff 3, in 5 rolls, so roughly 5 successes per roll to do in the 'standard' time, or just plain extra time.
This allows mortals to live their lives, making things, until an Exalt with the first-tier craft charm comes along. Suddenly, he's purchasing the successes he needs to make things, and cranking out perfection every time. Sure, it still takes him time, but hey - it's good stuff. Once said Exalt hits Craftsman Needs no tools, he can do a day's work in an hour. That's a factor of 8 speedup. Suddenly, where you were wasting a week per roll before, (5 days) for 5 rolls (25 total days) you can now do things in 25 hours of work. 3 days. What a mortal craftsman does in a year (10 suits) you can do in a month. And each one of them is flawlessly perfect.
I'm not saying this is a perfect system. It fails, for example, on jewelry, where the resources cost is based on raw materials, rather than skill. At the same time, do you want a meat-fisted craftsman touching a resources 4 diamond? I think not. Anyway, it's just an idea, and one I welcome comments on. - GregLink
Very nice, I'll be printing this out =). A few ideas that come to mind though...
- Does material affect craft time? For instance, how long would it take someone at craft 3 to carve a wooden sword?
- Possibly a minimum craft rating to make some objects, e.g. Jewelry might need a craftsman with a craft of three and at least 1 specialty dot in Craft-Jewelry or something.
- How about using craft for creating Artwork?
- Cutting corners on material costs?
- Design or construction of something that hasn't been done before or is unfamiliar? Example, a Blessed Isle craftsman trying to replicate a Haslanti crossbow (without accidentally removing the destruction pin)
~ BrigandRansom , who thinks anyone who takes craft higher than 2 has to focus on a specific craft
I'm not going to examine this idea in detail, as I've been awake 23 hours at this point: Bt it occurs to be that 'savant and sorcerer' has artifact crafting rules, and Manse crafting rules: The book of Bone and Ebony has crafting rules for Walking War machines.. the latter, definitely takes material costs and uses int oaccount, I suspect that my examining all of these 'detailed' systems, we could create a 'template' system, that could easily be developed into the specifics of a given type of item? - Molikai
Pretty wicked stuff, guys. Thanks for the material so far. I need to take a closer look, but it seems pretty sound. Let me see if I understand this (in a general sort of way).
-difficulty is usually set to about half of the resources cost of the item crafted, round down.
-increments on small-scale (hand tool) sized objects is usually one roll per day of work
-higher quality items require more successes to craft (indirectly increasing craft time)
Sounds like a really good framework. For Brigand's question, I'm considering bumping up the difficulty by 1 if the project is particularly large (such as a full suit of articulated plate - not exactly a hand tool) or small (fine work is really just that much easier to screw up), so someone crafting fine jewelry (resources 3-4) is looking at difficulty 3. And if they botch, they're ruined their raw materials, which was most of the cost. But that also stretches out time. I'd probably either do that or bump up the period between rolls, from a day to a half-week. One or the other.
As for the wooden sword point (nice one, by the way), I'd imagine most practice swords are Resources 1, so we're looking at one success on a difficulty 1 roll, which your average craftsman could crank out pretty easily.
The minimum ability idea is another good one. Perhaps you simply don't have the depth of knowledge to pull off the more complex stuff. Makes sense to me. I'll probably cap it at Craft+1 in Resources value. Then again, failure rate is somewhat prohibitive already, so I may not.
My impression for artwork would be about the same as the rest of it. An average artist can crank out silhouettes and basic charcoal sketches without messing up too often, but a true work of art is challenging. For a work of pure art (no real function), I'd probably set it to the same system. For artful embellishment of a functional item, I'd tack that on as an increase in the Resources value and call it good, myself.
I was considering the idea of cutting corners and, more importantly, what your limits are based on your materials. Going off of game canon, it takes a legendary success (5) to make an excellent sword from poor materials, or fine swords from scrap iron and broken plowshares (p.136-137). So I would guess that exceeding the basic quality of your materials would boost the successes needed in the same manner as other quality increases would. You could make horseshoes from cheap iron easily, but making them from scraps takes more work. Likewise, making a excellent weapon from normal steel would also take more successes. Perhaps that rolls together. How about this - making an item of the same level of quality as the raw materials is no increase in difficulty (usually the difficulty is at least 2 anyways for the basic Resources value), but making it better than its materials would normally make brings about the increase in difficulty. Sound kosher?
Anyways, great ideas again, everyone. What do you think of this now?
Just a few things to clear up | suggest pertaining to your above summary. The first is that never ever trust White Wolf's suggested difficulties in the "abilities" section. In my head, the Exalted system handles things like bad materials quite well - they're an environmental penalty, and hence, either considered a die pool reducer, or a difficulty increaser. No need to make anything of it, the ST simply says "Oh, and that iron you've got? It's crap, so consider yourself at +1 difficulty to make anything out of it." As for the time frame thing, the scale of "roughly one day per hand-tool sized thing" came up, and I'm tending to say that for simple things, it's a half a day (like a shovel), but the full day for something a bit more complicated (like an articulated doll. Still cheap, and low resources, but a bit more complicated.) Otherwise, I'm glad I could throw up some generic rules I've followed, but as always, I point out that whatever works in your game is great. In mine, since I follow the S&S artifact rules religiously, we've got crafters with all the canonical charms, and about 6 more non-canonical ones, whipping out Level 5 Artifacts (the big boys) in about a month, and a month later, they whip out the Essence Accumulator required to power the thing. The player realized (quite rightfully) that the first artifact he'd ever make would be a Level 5 Essence Accumulator, and every artifact since has required one to function. Thing is, he's made so many by now that he's got a drastically reduced number of successes, and stockpiles the ingredients. It's grand fun, because these lantern-battery sized canisters are becoming so common that other NPC's are now tracking them down to steal them. - GregLink