Pathfinder Craft-Based Item Creation
My regular gaming group and I play Pathfinder for the most part, but one thing that never quite sat right with me was the way the game handles magic item creation. Specifically, handling all magic item creation through the Spellcraft skill seems like a waste when the game includes a robust Craft skill subsystem that is largely allowed to become obsolete. As a solution to this, I put together this rough draft of an alternate system, that gives Craft skills a bigger role in the game. Keep in mind that this is still a rough solution—consider this post a Request for Comment.
First the item creation feats will be removed from the game. Instead, the magic items that can be created by a given character depends upon whether or not that character can make the Craft checks most appropriate to the type of item he or she wants to create. The DC of the checks involved depends upon the type and caster level of the item to be created, and the necessary craft skill depends upon the item created as well.
To create a magic item, convert the base price of the item to silver as with other uses of the Craft skill. This number represents the total progress necessary to create the item.
The creator makes one Craft check and two Spellcraft checks per eight hours of work against the DC of the item to be created. The creator may not take 10 or take 20 on these checks.
The creator may be joined by up to two collaborators, to whom the creator delegates one of the Spellcraft checks. For each check the creator does not delegate, each of the checks he or she makes suffers a −2 penalty. In addition, the creator and each of his collaborators may have up to two assistants, who may contribute by using the Aid Another action.
For each successful check, multiply the item’s DC by the check result to determine the amount of progress made during that eight-hour period.
Creating magic items is a continuous process and new checks are made at the end of each eight-hour period until the item is completed, but manipulating the forces involved is a grueling endeavor. At the end of each eight-hour period, the creator and both collaborators must make Fortitude saves against the item’s craft DC or become fatigued and suffer a −2 penalty to all saves and checks made at the end of the next period. If a second Fortitude save is failed, the character becomes exhausted and the penalty increases to −4. If a character fails a third save, that character looses consciousness—checks are made and progress is calculated as normal, but if the item is not completed at this point, the attempt fails and all progress is lost. If this last save is failed by 5 or more (or rolls a natural 1), the character dies instead of loosing consciousness.
There are two ways around this: 1) At the end of each eight-hour period, the creator can assign any of the three checks to any character involved, including fresh collaborators or a fresh creator. 2) The creator may suspend the ritual for one eight-hour period. One character must remain active in the ritual to keep it going, but no saves or checks are attempted and no progress is made.
If any of the three checks fail, no progress is made for that check during the eight-hour period. If the Craft check fails by 10 or more, the ritual fails and half of the raw materials are lost. If a Spellcraft check fails by 5 or more, the ritual may proceed as normal, but the item’s Instability increases by 1 (for every 5 by which the check failed).
At the end of the creation process, the GM makes an Enchantment Stability check for the item by rolling 1d20 against a DC equal to 2 plus any Instability accumulated during the crafting process. If this check fails, the GM rolls on the Magic Item Instabilities table to determine what quirks, flaws, or outright curses the item acquired during the creation process.
Or maybe the GM rolls 1d100 plus the item’s Spellcraft DC for each instability to determine what quirks, flaws, or outright curses the item developed during the creation process.
Classes with Item Creation Feats
Characters of a class such as Wizard that gain item creation feats as bonus feats may instead choose a metamagic feat or a Skill Focus feat for a skill appropriate for creating magic items.