I'm tired, boss. Mostly I'm tired of people being ugly to each other.
Hello there dear readers, it’s been a while and for that I apologize. Last week I had a real roller coaster of a week at work during our federal audit, then got sick, all following up right on top of that data loss that occurred while doing my previous article detailing out the region of the Frozen North. I know I don’t really owe anyone anything here, but I’d been enjoying the project and did want to pick it back up, but getting the willpower together to do so was just not coming together for me.
I do still want to do some more zoom-in design work on the area to get it ready for play such as getting the sites onto the map, setting up trade routes and rumors, stocking dungeons, etc. Sometimes I think I enjoy that portion of DMing more than the actual play at the table. I know there’s a bit of a trend among my peers to lean in to a noprep lifestyle, but even the least prepared judge needs to have an established sandbox from which elements can diagetically emerge from as the players move throughout the world. Once the baseline is established though, my creator hat comes off and the dice become the creator. Ryan Howard from Rollin’ Bones had a good episode (or maybe it was on his Substack) recently about the absurdity of encountering a Shambling Mound in the middle of a desert, but how that encounter drives a creative process to explain why it is there, and what effect the terrain has on it.
Anyway I think I’m going to get back to work on that portion of my project next week for now let’s go ahead and pick up where we left off with some of our ACKSgrinders. First off we’re going to take a look at Carl the Craftpriest and Ian the Cleric. Intending to head off to the big city to find a healer capable of curing Carl’s blindness. Carl is suddenly struck by the realization that when he took the mortal wound that had struck him blind dropped him to -4 HP and the mortal wounds table result that blinded him also required that he be healed back to 1 HP within 1 round of being mortally wounded. As Ian was only able to bandage his wounds and provide 2HP worth of healing via his lay hands proficiency, Carl would have remained at -2 HP beyond the one round permitted from his mortal wounds table and expired thereafter. Carl should not have survived his encounter with the Bugbear’s morningstar. Momentarily distracted by this cruel twist of fate Carl falls down the stairs and dies. Tragic.
Ian distraught with grief joins up with another adventuring party meeting with great success. Over the next year they have several reasonably successful delves and even assist a noble during a conflict over a border dispute. During this time Ian has gained enough experience and has reached the 5th level of experience. Before heading back to regroup with the ACKSgrinders he wants to craft a potion of healing just in case the worst happens again and he is out of spells for the day. As a one use item that replicates a 1st spell would have a base cost of 500gp and one week which he will do at the temple of odin using their workshop. In addition to the base cost, it appears that he will also need to secure a vial of troll blood. As far as I can tell monster parts have a gp value equal to the monster’s XP value, so 680 gp, bringing the total cost to manufacture a healing potion to 1180gp. Oh man, that’s pretty pricey. Especially since the sale price for magic items is typically double the base cost (1000gp for said healing potion), and the purchase price is also typically twice the base cost as well.
However, this is where the vagaries of the market may come into play. There’s a few ways Ian might be able to cut down on his costs. The first and most obvious one would be to secure the troll’s blood himself, or have an existing formula to work from. In our example he does not have either, so he’ll cough up the 1180gp from the funds he accumulated during his time with that much better party. At the end of the week, he’ll have to make a 12+ (technically 13+ since he’s imbuing the potion with a first level spell) magical research throw. Only a 40% chance of success. Not really liking those odds, but things like the magical engineering proficiency, having a higher class level, or even using additional precious materials in the process (not available for something with a base cost of less than 10,000gp though… so that’s typically for powerful magic items) can certainly improve the likelihood of success. But on a 10 he fails, and the time and money put into it by Ian are lost. Ouch.
Let’s take a slightly different example though, let’s say Ian has a ready supply of troll blood (20 or so vials) collected during a previous campaign, and has a functional formula he could make two potions per week, and the base cost is reduced by 50%. So over 10 weeks he could make 20 attempts at 250 per pop… putting up 5k gold up front with the same 40% success rate would result in 8 sucessful potions worth 8k gold. It’s not gonna compete with adventuring but he’s a lot less likely to die during that time, and could gain experience points from doing so. In this case, as a 5th level cleric these healing potions wouldn’t be worth enough to exceed the gp threshold for experience, but other magical research and crafting could potentially earn him XP while otherwise not engaged in the fine art of muderhoboing.
All-in-all my initial impression of magical crafting is that it is not a massive money maker on it’s own, but has massive potential in that arena. A character that has access to high level spells and has developed his proficiencies in this direction could be a very sought after individual with wealthy and powerful patrons seeking his services. The inclusion of special (typically monster parts) components into the crafting process does provide an incentive for players to go out and fight to harvest parts to use in crafting or perhaps sell in the market.
I think that’ll be it for tonight. I’m going to try to find some time to get back to it tomorrow, but we’ll see how the day pans out. Until then farewell.