The cost of crafting

We now have a system in place for players who want their PCs to loot or forage their way to resources for item crafting. If they seek out resources through foraging or looting or whatever seems reasonable, they roll one or more of their crafting dice on the resource table. The resources they obtain in this way can be used in recipes to craft items.

But as mentioned before, this system needs to be balanced with the D&D treasure system, which also provides items (or money with which items can be bought). Since there is no way to predict how much crafting a given group will actually do, the best way to go about is to just track how many resources the party gathers, which monetary value corresponds to said amount, and then making sure this amount is subtracted from any other loot.

But how much is a given resource worth? Looking at the system I am introducing here, it should be no surprise that the value of a resource is only determined by rarity. And not in the economical, markets-looking-for-equilibrium sense either. An uncommon unit of iron ore has the same value as an uncommon unit of bugbear spit. Although I like to put economics in my campaign world as a causal force, we are not going to consider the differential availability of resources in this crafting system.

And how does rarity determine value? Well, items of different rarities exist in certain bandwidths of value, and the total cost of ingredients for any item should equal the item cost, for game mechanical reasons. So our table of ingredients for magical items can be used to work out resource costs.

Magic item rarityCommon ingredientsUncommon ingredientsRare ingredientsVery rare ingredientsLegendary ingredients
Common6
Uncommon34
Rare125
Very rare135
Legendary136

Or can it? If I solve for this, I get some pretty extreme costs. 15 gp for a common resource, 115 gp for an uncommon resource, 1000 gp for a rare resource, 10000 gp for a very rare resource and 80000 gp for a legendary resource. There’s no way I can use prices like this for the creation of non-magical items. And so it seems that plugging in the numbers bring me back to the drawing board. We need to make the crafting system just slightly more complex.

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