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Craft (Int)

Alternative and 3PP Crafting Rules

Here are some other options if you don't like the standard crafting rules!

You are skilled in the creation of a specific group of items, such as armor or weapons. Like Knowledge, Perform, and Profession, Craft is actually a number of separate skills. You could have several Craft skills, each with its own ranks. The most common Craft skills are alchemy, armor, baskets, books, bows, calligraphy, carpentry, cloth, clothing, glass, jewelry, leather, locks, paintings, pottery, sculptures, ships, shoes, stonemasonry, traps, and weapons.

A Craft skill is specifically focused on creating something. If nothing is created by the endeavor, it probably falls under the heading of a Profession skill.

Common Uses

Practice a Trade

You can practice your trade and make a decent living, earning half your check result in gold pieces per week of dedicated work. You know how to use the tools of your trade, how to perform the craft's daily tasks, how to supervise untrained helpers, and how to handle common problems. (Untrained laborers and assistants earn an average of 1 silver piece per day.)

Make Something

The basic function of the Craft skill, however, is to allow you to make an item of the appropriate type. The DC depends on the complexity of the item to be created. The DC, your check result, and the price of the item determine how long it takes to make a particular item. The item's finished price also determines the cost of raw materials.

To determine how much time and money it takes to make an item, follow these steps.

  1. Find the item's price in silver pieces (1 gp = 10 sp).
  2. Find the item's DC from Table: Craft Skills.
  3. Pay 1/3 of the item's price for the raw material cost.
  4. Make an appropriate Craft check representing one week's worth of work. If the check succeeds, multiply your check result by the DC. If the result × the DC equals the price of the item in sp, then you have completed the item. (If the result × the DC equals double or triple the price of the item in silver pieces, then you've completed the task in one-half or one-third of the time. Other multiples of the DC reduce the time in the same manner.) If the result × the DC doesn't equal the price, then it represents the progress you've made this week. Record the result and make a new Craft check for the next week. Each week, you make more progress until your total reaches the price of the item in silver pieces.

Action: Craft checks are made by the day or week (see above).

Retry? Yes, but if you fail a check by 4 or less, you make no progress this week (or day, see below). If you miss by 5 or more, you ruin half the raw materials and have to pay half the original raw material cost again.


  • Tools: All crafts require artisan's tools to give the best chance of success. If improvised tools are used, the check is made with a –2 penalty. On the other hand, masterwork artisan's tools provide a +2 circumstance bonus on the check.
  • Fabricate Spell: In some cases, the fabricate spell can be used to achieve the results of a Craft check with no actual check involved. You must still make an appropriate Craft check when using the spell to make articles requiring a high degree of craftsmanship.
  • Ironwood Spell: A successful Craft check related to woodworking in conjunction with the casting of the ironwood spell enables you to make wooden items that have the strength of steel.
  • Minor Creation: When casting the spell minor creation, you must succeed on an appropriate Craft check to make a complex item.
  • Progress by the Day: You can make checks by the day instead of by the week if desired. In this case your progress (check result × DC) should be divided by the number of days in a week.
Table: Craft Skills and DCs
Item Craft Skill Craft DC
Acid Alchemy 15
Alchemist's fire, smokestick, or tindertwig Alchemy 20
Antitoxin, sunrod, tanglefoot bag, or thunderstone Alchemy 25
Armor or shield Armor 10 + AC bonus
Longbow, shortbow, or arrows Bows 12
Composite longbow or composite shortbow Bows 15
Composite longbow or composite shortbow with high strength rating Bows 15 + (2 x rating)
Crossbow, or bolts Weapons 15
Simple melee or thrown weapon Weapons 12
Martial melee or thrown weapon Weapons 15
Exotic melee or thrown weapon Weapons 18
Mechanical trap Traps Varies1
Very simple item (wooden spoon) Varies 5
Typical item (iron pot) Varies 10
High-quality item (bell) Varies 15
Complex or superior item (lock) Varies 20

1 Traps have their own rules for construction.

Create Masterwork Item

You can make a masterwork item: a weapon, suit of armor, shield, or tool that conveys a bonus on its use through its exceptional craftsmanship. To create a masterwork item, you create the masterwork component as if it were a separate item in addition to the standard item. The masterwork component has its own price (300 gp for a weapon or 150 gp for a suit of armor or a shield, see Equipment for the price of other masterwork tools) and a Craft DC of 20. Once both the standard component and the masterwork component are completed, the masterwork item is finished. The cost you pay for the masterwork component is one-third of the given amount, just as it is for the cost in raw materials.

Action: Craft checks are made by the day or week (see above).

Retry? Yes, but each time you miss by 5 or more, you ruin half the raw materials and have to pay half the original raw material cost again.

Repair Item

You can repair an item by making checks against the same DC that it took to make the item in the first place. The cost of repairing an item is one-fifth of the item's price.

Action: Craft checks are made by the day or week (see above).

Retry? Yes, but each time you miss by 5 or more, you ruin half the raw materials and have to pay half the original raw material cost again.

Other Special Situations & Modifiers

  • Accelerated Crafting You may voluntarily add +10 to the indicated DC to craft an item. This allows you to create the item more quickly (since you'll be multiplying this higher DC by your Craft check result to determine progress). You must decide whether to increase the DC before you make each weekly or daily check.
  • Tools & Equipment To make an item using Craft (alchemy), you must have alchemical equipment. If you are working in a city, you can buy what you need as part of the raw materials cost to make the item, but alchemical equipment is difficult or impossible to come by in some places. Purchasing and maintaining an alchemist's lab grants a +2 circumstance bonus on Craft (alchemy) checks because you have the perfect tools for the job, but it does not affect the cost of any items made using the skill.
  • Gnome A gnome receives a +2 bonus on a Craft or Profession skill of her choice.
  • Craft (mechanical) Those who wish to construct or repair technological items use Craft (mechanical) in conjunction with technological item crafting feats. Without the Technologist feat, Craft (mechanical) can still be used to craft less advanced forms of technology such as gears, hinges, and pulleys. NPCs with the means of crafting technological items are extremely rare, and it is not assumed that PCs have access to such resources. GMs are encouraged to discuss such considerations with their players before allowing technological crafting into the game.

Unchained Crafting

Source PFU

About This Section Optionally, a character who reaches 5, 10, 15, or 20 ranks in a skill unlocks various bonuses and abilities unique to that skill. The unchained rogue uses these rules extensively, but others can gain access to them with a new feat.

In this system, characters unlock additional abilities when they attain 5, 10, 15, and 20 ranks in a skill. The skill unlocks system interfaces with the unchained rogue to make the rogue the true master of skills.

Skill unlocks give characters new abilities and ways to use their skills upon reaching 5, 10, 15, and 20 ranks in a skill. Any character with the Signature Skill feat can earn skill unlocks for a single skill, and they are a prime feature of the revised version of the rogue who uses her rogue's edge ability to gain skill unlocks for several of her most iconic skills. Alternatively, you might make skill unlocks a universal part of the game, but you should be aware they add significant power and flexibility to skills, so giving them for free to all classes would grant power boosts to other highly skilled classes such as the investigator and bard, particularly in comparison to the rogue. Another alternative is to eliminate access to the Signature Skill feat, limiting skill unlocks to rogues and rogues alone.

With sufficient ranks in Craft, you earn the following.

5 Ranks: When determining your weekly progress, double the result of your Craft check before multiplying the result by the item's DC.

10 Ranks: You do not ruin any of your raw materials unless you fail a check by 10 or more.

15 Ranks: When you determine your progress, the result of your check is how much work you complete each day in silver pieces.

20 Ranks: You can craft magic armor, magic weapons, magic rings, and wondrous items that fall under your category of Craft using the normal Craft rules.

Expanded Alchemy Options

Spontaneous Alchemy

Source Pathfinder Player Companion: Alchemy Manual

The spontaneous alchemy rules allow any characters to dedicate themselves to the art of spontaneous alchemy. Feats that increase one's prowess in spontaneous alchemy make this path even more potent, allowing both professional and amateur alchemists to craft dozens of different alchemical items in a fraction of the time that would normally be required. For Your Character

These optional rules provide an all-new way for characters to rapidly craft alchemical items. This subsystem requires the player to track the individual alchemical reagents her character has on hand, which she can combine in a variety of ways using different processes to create a wide selection of alchemical items. With the GM's permission, characters with the Eschew Materials feat can assume they have the correct reagents on hand to perform spontaneous alchemy; instead of tracking the quantities of each reagent owned, players can then simply track the number of gold pieces worth of reagents their PCs spend each time they perform an act of spontaneous alchemy. The cost to craft an item with spontaneous alchemy is usually 10% to 20% higher than the item's market price.

Characters versed in spontaneous alchemy can concoct alchemical items more quickly than through normal use of the Craft (alchemy) skill. However, instead of simply making skill checks and spending the necessary currency for unspecified raw materials, the character must provide specific reagents and combine them according to the recipe for the item she wishes to create. This allows the alchemist to obtain results with less time and effort, but often at greater cost, because of the necessary purity and greater volume of reagents required by alchemical recipes.

To perform spontaneous alchemy, a character must begin with the reagents and crafting tools required by the recipe of the item she wants to make. The reagents, crafting tools, and length of time required are noted in the recipe. Once the necessary time has passed, the creator attempts a Craft (alchemy) check against the DC to craft the item. If she succeeds, she completes the item. If the creator's check fails, however, she risks a mishap (see Alchemical Mishaps).

Reading Recipes

Each alchemical item features a recipe at the bottom of the item stat block that details how to create the item using spontaneous alchemy. Every alchemical recipe adheres to the following format.

Recipe: This lists the names and amounts of the reagents needed for spontaneous alchemy, as well as the alchemical process used to create the item.

Craft: This specifies the DC of the Craft (alchemy) check required to complete the item. The base DC is the same whether the item is being made with conventional crafting techniques or spontaneous alchemy.

Time: This is the amount of time required to create the item using spontaneous alchemy.

Tools: This is the tool required to perform the process (see Crafting Tools). If the creator uses an improvised crafting tool, she takes a –2 penalty on her Craft check.

Type: This entry notes the type of alchemical item to be created—most alchemical items are either alchemical remedies, alchemical tools, alchemical weapons, alcohols, drugs, or poisons.


Each alchemical process listed below requires a certain length of time, and might require one or more alchemical crafting tools. The length of time and the crafting tools required to craft certain alchemical items might sometimes differ from these baselines.

Calcination: This is the process of burning a reagent down to its essential minerals. Time: 1 hour. Tools: Crucible.

Ceration: This process calls for adding a liquid (such as water) to a hard, dry, heated reagent to soften it. Time: 10 minutes. Tools: Crucible.

Congelation: Congelation increases the viscosity of a reagent by cooling it, possibly with the addition of another reagent such as urea. Time: 10 minutes. Tools: Alchemist's lab.

Digestion: In this process, a solution is allowed to rest, usually while being heated, as particles precipitate out of the solution. Time: 1 day. Tools: Heat source.

Distillation: A mixture is placed in a retort and heated, causing the component with the greatest volatility to vaporize, condense in the neck of the retort, and flow down into a second vessel. Time: 1 day. Tools: Retort.

Earth: This process involves letting one or more reagents mingle with fresh earth to absorb its minerals or other essential properties. This process cannot be performed unless a source of fresh soil is available. Time: 10 minutes. Tools: None.

Exposure: This process involves ready airflow. A recipe that requires this process cannot be performed indoors unless a steady air current from outdoors passes through the area (such as a current provided by large open windows on opposite walls). Time: 1 hour. Tools: None.

Fermentation: This process allows a reagent to be digested by yeast or another organism, yielding a new product. Time: 1 day. Tools: None.

Filtration: This process separates one component of a mixture from another by passing the mixture through a filter that catches larger particles. This is sometimes made easier by adding a solvent that dissolves one component but not the other. Time: 10 minutes. Tools: Sieve or filter.

Sublimation: Also known as exaltation, this process calls for a reagent to be heated to a vapor in a vessel so that a pure component crystallizes in the neck of the vessel. Time: 1 day. Tools: Retort.

Table: Alchemical Mishaps
d6 Mishap
1 One random reagent is ruined; other reagents can be reused.
2 All reagents are ruined.
3 All reagents are ruined and the mixture explodes, dealing 2d6 points of damage (half fire, half acid) to you. A successful DC 15 Reflex save halves the damage.
4 Half of the doses of each reagent are ruined (round up), and you must use a full-round action to salvage the remaining doses.
5 Two random reagents are ruined, and you are exposed to an inhaled or contact poison appropriate to your level and worth no more than the alchemical item you were trying to create (GM's discretion).
6 All reagents are ruined, and the crafting tool used (or one random crafting tool, if an alchemist's lab was used) breaks.

Alchemical Mishaps

Source Pathfinder Player Companion: Alchemy Manual

If you fail a Craft (alchemy) check to perform spontaneous alchemy by 4 or less, you simply fail to produce a result and can try again using the same reagents. However, if you fail by 5 or more, a mishap occurs. Roll on the table at right to determine the effects of a mishap.

Fungal Grafts

Source Pathfinder Player Companion: Alchemy Manual

Growing a fungal graft is similar to crafting a magic item, but requires only a specific number of ranks in Craft (alchemy) instead of an item creation feat.

Growing a fungal graft takes the same amount of time that creating a magic item of the same price does. During this time, the nascent fungus must be fertilized with expensive material components (the cost varies according to the graft), watered as needed, and kept safe from harm. After the required time has passed, the cultivator must succeed at a Craft (alchemy) check in order for the fungus graft to be properly formed. The DC of this check varies according to the graft. On a failure, the graft withers and the cultivator must begin anew. On a success, the fungus is ready to be grafted onto a target.

Grafting a fungus onto a target requires a 1-hour-long surgical procedure, during which time the subject must be either willing or helpless. At the end of the hour, the surgeon must attempt a Heal check against the listed DC. Failure indicates that the patient's body rejects the fungus and the fungus dies. Regardless of the surgery's success, the subject takes 1d4 points of Constitution damage. Although fungal grafts are not magical, some occupy a magic item slot on the body, preventing that slot from being used for any magic item or other graft.

A fungal graft can be removed with a heal or greater restoration spell, or with a successful Heal check against the original DC in another hour-long surgery.

Fungal Eyes

Price 18,000 gp; Slot eyes


These small, glowing blue fungi form a protective film over the subject's eyes, preventing her from seeing with normal vision but granting her blindsight to a range of 30 feet.


Cost 9,000 gp; Skill Requirements Craft (alchemy) 12 ranks; Skill Check(s) Craft (alchemy) DC 25, Heal DC 25

Reaching Vines

Price 4,000 gp; Slot wrists


Brain mold spores seeded beneath the subject's skin enable the subject to extend and contract fungal vines from its wrists and forearms at will. The subject gains two vine attacks per round, which count as secondary natural attacks with a reach of 10 feet. These vines deal no damage, but the fungal-grafted creature can attempt to pull a struck target up to 5 feet toward itself, as the pull universal monster ability.


Cost 2,000 gp; Skill Requirements Craft (alchemy) 9 ranks; Skill Check(s) Craft (alchemy) DC 21, Heal DC 21

Alchemical Archery

Source Pathfinder Player Companion: Alchemy Manual

Elves are skilled at crafting reagents from the flora growing in the forests of that nation, and some even know the secrets of infusing arrows and other ranged weapons with the alchemical properties of these plants. The most talented alchemists can make such alchemical arrows on the fly, allowing them to choose and craft their ammunition as the situation warrants.

Although the techniques of alchemical archery have been used for thousands of years, elven archers do not openly flaunt the virtues of this ancient craft, but neither do they purposefully obscure their alchemical methodologies. Those fellow archers and ranged tacticians who share adventures with archers may hope to find teachers in their elven companions, and indeed, some fighters are happy to share their methods.

What follows is a sampling of alchemical arrows. Unless otherwise stated, these alchemical arrows are only effective for one shot, regardless of whether the shot hits its target. Though elven alchemists created these formulae, any alchemist can use them.

The listed costs are for one non-masterwork alchemical arrow; a masterwork version costs 6 gp more than the listed price. Unless otherwise noted, 20 arrows weigh 3 pounds.

Other Types of Ammunition: While some archers prefer alchemical arrows to other missile weapons, characters can infuse other ammunition and thrown weapons that deal piercing damage (such as crossbow bolts, darts, and shuriken) with alchemical effects. Aside from differing base statistics, these alternative types of alchemical ammunition have effects identical to the alchemical arrows listed here. However, firearm ammunition can't be imbued with alchemical ingredients, nor can ammunition types that don't deal piercing damage.

Arrow, Bleeding

Price 160 gp; Weight

This sharpened hollow tube looks like the narrow proboscis of some giant insect, but it actually comes from a carnivorous plant. A bleeding arrow deals normal damage when it hits a creature and deals 1 point of bleed damage. A critical hit does not multiply the bleed damage.


Recipe (30 darkwood + 90 myrrh + 25 realgar)/exposure; Skill Craft (alchemy) DC 25; Time 1 hour; Tools

Arrow, Durable

Price 1 gp; Weight

These arrows are tightly wrapped in strands of alchemical glue. Durable arrows don't break with normal use, whether or not they hit their target; unless a durable arrow goes missing, an archer can retrieve and reuse it again and again. Durable arrows can be broken in other ways (such as deliberate snapping, hitting a fire elemental, and so on). A magical durable arrow with an enhancement bonus or magic weapon special ability applies these magical effects only the first time it is used—afterward, the durable arrow becomes non-magical, and it can be reused or imbued with magic again.


Recipe (1 cold iron + 1 myrrh)/exposure; Skill Craft (alchemy) DC 25; Time 1 hour; Tools —; Type alchemical weapon

Arrow, Dye

Price 1 gp; Weight

This arrow ends in a crystalline bubble filled with a viscous alchemical dyeing agent. Firing a dye arrow is a ranged touch attack; a creature struck by a dye arrow takes no damage but is splashed with enough black, blue, green, or red marker dye to coat about 1 square foot. The stain caused by marker dye cannot be washed off except with magic for the first 72 hours, but fades completely after 2 weeks.


Recipe (1 cold iron + 1 phosphorous)/earth; Skill Craft (alchemy) DC 25; Time 10 minutes; Tools —; Type alchemical weapon

Arrow, Lodestone

Price 10 gp; Weight

This heavy iron arrowhead is sealed with an alchemical resin. Pulling a small string (a move action) breaks the seal and triggers a reaction in the arrowhead, greatly increasing its magnetic properties. You gain a +4 circumstance bonus on attack rolls when firing a lodestone arrow at a target wearing metal armor or a target made of metal, but the magnetized arrow deals only half damage on a successful hit. The increased magnetism fades 1 round after you activate a lodestone arrow, after which it becomes a normal arrow.


Recipe (8 myrrh + 6 salt + 4 silver)/exposure; Skill Craft (alchemy) DC 25; Time 1 hour; Tools —; Type alchemical weapon

Arrow, Pheromone

Price 15 gp; Weight

The arrowhead of this arrow is coated with potent substances that react to blood and sweat, releasing a strong aroma that most predators recognize as the scent of tasty injured prey and other creatures perceive as merely unpleasant. Any creature with the scent ability gains a +2 circumstance bonus on attack and damage rolls against a target marked with a pheromone arrow. This effect lasts for 1 hour or until the target spends 1 minute washing it off.


Recipe (10 myrrh + 10 salt + 14 urea)/congelation; Skill Craft (alchemy) DC 25; Time 10 minutes; Tools alchemist's lab; Type alchemical weapon

Arrow, Raining

Price 30 gp; Weight

This thick-shafted arrow contains a reservoir of holy water and is designed to burst upon impact. A raining arrow damages the target as normal, and also treats the target as though it had been struck by a direct hit from a thrown vial of holy water; adjacent creatures take splash damage from this effect. A raining arrow imparts a –2 penalty on attack rolls because of its weight.


Recipe (3 cold iron + 3 darkwood + 1 flask holy water)/calcination; Skill Craft (alchemy) DC 25 Time 10 minutes; Tools crucible; Type alchemical weapon

Arrow, Slow Burn

Price 100 gp; Weight

Behind the head of this arrow is a small receptacle of alchemical material that heats up when exposed to air and eventually combusts; barbs on the arrowhead pierce the pouch when it hits a target. If you hit a target with a slow burn arrow, it deals damage as normal, but at the beginning of your next turn, the arrow bursts into flames and deals 1d6 points of fire damage to the target.


Recipe (70 magnesium + 80 myrrh + 25 phosphorus)/congelation; Skill Craft (alchemy) DC 25; Time 10 minutes; Tools alchemist's lab; Type alchemical weapon

Arrow, Splintercloud

Price 25 gp; Weight

The shaft of this arrow is formed from numerous small bone fragments that have been painstakingly glued together. On a successful hit, a splintercloud arrow deals normal damage as it tears itself apart, creating a burst of razor-sharp bone shards centered on the target. These shards deal 1d3 points of piercing damage to the target and any creatures adjacent to the target (Reflex DC 18 negates).


Recipe (28 myrrh + 30 salt)/earth; Skill Craft (alchemy) DC 25; Time 10 minutes; Tools —; Type alchemical weapon

Arrow, Tangleshot

Price 20 gp; Weight

This arrow is tipped with a tiny vial of tanglefoot goo. Firing a tangleshot arrow is a ranged touch attack; the arrow deals no damage when it hits, but the target is splashed with the alchemical adhesive. This effect is similar to that of a tanglefoot bag, but with the following adjustments: Reflex DC 10, Strength DC 12 to break, 10 points of slashing damage to cut through, concentration DC 10 to cast spells. A tangleshot arrow imposes a –1 penalty on attack rolls because of its weight.


Recipe (18 myrrh + 26 urea)/congelation; Skill Craft (alchemy) DC 25; Time 10 minutes; Tools alchemist's lab; Type alchemical weapon

Arrow, Trip

Price 40 gp; Weight

This squat arrow has a large, bulbous metal tip that expands and flattens in flight. If you hit a creature with a trip arrow, the arrow deals no damage but performs a trip combat maneuver against the target with a Combat Maneuver Bonus of +5. For the purpose of determining Combat Maneuver Bonuses or penalties based on size, the arrow is treated as if it were the size of the creature it was designed for.


Recipe (20 cold iron + 15 magnesium + 20 myrrh)/earth; Skill Craft (alchemy) DC 25; Time 10 minutes; Tools —; Type alchemical weapon

Making Craft Work [Alternative Crafting Rules]

Many believe that the standard rules for the Craft skill don't work very well nor make much sense. The following alternative crafting rules first appeared in Making Craft Work, by Spes Magna Games.


  1. Find the item’s price in silver pieces (1 gp = 10 sp).
  2. Find the DC on Table: Craft Skills.
  3. Pay one-third of the item’s price for the cost of raw materials.
  4. Make an appropriate Craft check representing one week’s worth of work.
  5. If the check succeeds, multiply your check result by the DC. If the result × the DC equals the price of the item in silver pieces, then you have completed the item1.
  6. If the result × the DC doesn’t equal the price, then it represents the progress you’ve made this week.

Record the result and make a new Craft check for the next week. Each week, you make more progress until your total reaches the price of the item in silver pieces.

What seems like a pretty straightforward series of steps actually produces some bizarre results. Let's look at a few examples.


#1 Erlic wants to craft a one-pound silver ball. His brother Rynook wants to craft a one-pound gold ball. A one-pound ball of silver is worth onetenth as much as a pound of gold. Even though Erlic and Rynook work on pretty much the same project -- melting metal and pouring it into a mold -- Rynook must spend much longer on his one-pound ball simply because it's made of gold.

#2 Erlic next wants to craft some full plate. Full plate costs 15,000 silver pieces and faces an armorsmithing DC of 19. Erlic has Craft (armorsmithing) +8. Let's be unrealistic and say that he rolls a 20 for each and every Craft check. 28 times 19 equals 532, which means it'll take Erlic 28 weeks to finish his full plate. So much for having time to adventure.

#3 Erlic and Rynook want to see who can craft an item first. Erlic decides to make a high-quality box (value 20 silver pieces, Craft DC 15).

Rynook wants to make a crowbar (value 20 silver pieces, Craft DC 10).

The brothers have only a +1 bonus for their checks as they are both untrained when making these particular items. Again, let's assume they both roll nothing but 20s. Here are the contest's results:

* Erlic: 21 times 15 equals 315, which is 15.75 times higher than the box's cost.

* Rynook: 21 times 10 equals 210, which is 10.5 times higher than the crowbar's cost.

The Winner: Erlic, despite the fact he is making the more complicated item.

Every Craft attempt is defined by two elements: the time required and the DC. The time required to craft an item is influenced not by an item's price in silver pieces, but rather by its complexity. The DC is likewise influenced by item complexity.

Table: Item Complexity, Time Units & DC Modifiers
Item Complexity Time Unit Modifier
Very simple 4 hours +0
Simple 1 day +2
Moderate 2 days +4
Complex 4 days +8
Very complex 1 week +10

Item Complexity

The complexity categories listed on the table above require some defining. Keep in mind that there is a certain amount of subjectivity at work here. The key to item complexity isn't to rely an exhaustive list of what items belong to which categories. Instead, these rules provide basic category descriptions and a few examples of sorts of items one might expect to fit each respective category.

Very Simple: These items are more or less all one piece or one material of simple shape with no moving parts. Examples: crowbar, quarterstaff.

Simple: A simple item is largely made of one material, but it requires a more specialized shape. Examples: many simple weapons, backpack, most common articles of clothing, simple traps such as pits.

Moderate: Moderate complexity items are characterized by diverse materials or different parts that must be integrated into a whole. Examples: Most martial and exotic weapons, bows, all shields, locks, simple traps using simple mechanical triggers, acid.

Complex: Complex items have diverse materials, moving parts, different parts, and/or decorative bits. Examples: Most types of armor, strength bows, crossbows, most vehicles (excluding large ocean-going vessels), alchemist's fire, smokesticks, tingertwigs.

Very Complex: These are the most complicated items. They require diverse materials, moving parts, different parts, decorated bits, and/or multiple functions or uses. Examples: ocean-going vessels, unusual armors (such as barding), antitoxins, tanglefoot bags, sunrods, thunderstones.

Time Unit

The amount of time in this columns indicates how much time must be spent working before a Craft check is permitted.

DC Modifier

The number in this column is added to a base DC 10 of all Craft checks.

Crafting Masterwork Items

A masterwork item has a 50% increase in time unit (in addition to the normal increase in cost). For example, a longsword is a moderately complex item with a time unit of 2 days. Thus, a masterwork longsword has a time unit of 3 days.

Furthermore, any masterwork item has its Craft DC increased by +4. Thus, the masterwork longsword faces a DC 18 Craft check2.

Working with Special Materials

A craftsman working with an unusual material (such as adamantine) faces a 50% increase in time unit, which stacks with the 50% increase in time unit associated with masterwork items when applicable. For example, an adamantine masterwork longsword has a time unit of 4 days. Also, unusual materials are harder to work with and increase the item's DC as shown below:

Table: Special Materials Modifiers
Material DC Modifier
Adamantine +6
Darkwood +2
Dragonhide +4
Cold iron +2
Mithral +4
Alchemical silver +2

Thus, the masterwork adamantine masterwork longsword faces a DC 24 Craft check.

Using Tools (or Not...)

All crafts require artisan’s tools to give the best chance of success. If improvised tools are used, the check is made with a -2 penalty. On the other hand, masterwork artisan’s tools provide a +2 circumstance bonus on the check.

Failing a Check

What happens if the Craft check fails? Well, that depends on how badly it failed. When confronted with a failed Craft check, there are up to three possible bad effects:

  1. If the Craft check fails, the item is not completed. Work for another time unit and try again.
  2. If the Craft check fails by 5 or more, half of the raw materials are ruined. Pay half the raw materials cost to replace the ruined materials.
  3. If the Craft check fails by 10 or more and you are using Craft (alchemy), your laboratory explodes. Pay to replace it as well as the ruined raw materials (as number 2 above). Also make a DC 10 Reflex save to avoid 1d6 points of fire damage.

Exceptional Craft Check Results

What happens if you really ace the Craft check? Can a character get finished more quickly than the time unit? Certainly, but there are limits. For every 5 points greater than the item's DC is the Craft check, halve the item's time unit, but no time unit can be halved this way more than twice.

Taking the Bizarre Out of Those Examples

Here's how the revised Craft system works:

  1. Determine the complexity of the item to be made. As always, the DM's input here may be decisive.
  2. Pay one-third of the item's cost, including masterwork and unusual materials increases, in order to acquire necessary raw materials.
  3. Make a Craft check. If successful, the item is completed in the item's time unit.

Let's go back and look at our oddities again, but this time we'll use the amended Craft system: Erlic wants to craft a one-pound silver ball. Rynook wants to craft a one-pound gold ball. Both items are very simple. They thus have a time unit of 4 hours and face a DC 10 Craft check. Assuming their respective Craft checks succeed, both finish their one-pound balls in the same amount of time (but not for the same price, since gold costs more than silver).

Erlic wants to Craft some full plate. Full plate is complex. It has a time unit of 4 days and faces a Craft DC of 18. With a good enough Craft check, Erlic finishes his armor in 4 days and has plenty of time to go adventuring3.

Erlic and Rynook are twin craftsmen engaged in a contest to see who can craft an item the quickest. Erlic crafts a high-quality box (moderate complexity, 2 day time unit, DC 14), and Rynook crafts a crowbar (very simple, 4 hours time unit, DC 10). Unless Rynook is incredibly unlucky with his skill checks, he'll win the contest.

There you have it. A change to Craft that makes the skill more player-friendly as well as a bit more in line with common sense. If it seems as if DCs are too low, just adjust the modifiers. If it seems time units are too short, lengthen them. The basic system itself remains intact even with such tweaks.

1 If the result × the DC equals double or triple the price of the item in silver pieces, then you’ve completed the task in one-half or one-third of the time. Other multiples of the DC reduce the time in the same manner. Rules presented under Exceptional Craft Checks replace this.

2 These rules replace those for crafting masterwork items described under the Craft skill.

3 Yes, this is unrealistic. No one finishes a suit of full plate in four days. The goal of this system, however, isn't realism, but usability.

FastPlay Rules
See this skill in FastPlay format.