4e/Dark Sun/Skills and Forging

Crafting & Skills in 4e
You may or may not think there’s a problem with these aspects of 4e but my player group for my forthcoming Dark Sun game think that there is a problem with it. They like greater character customisation and they like to be able to ‘make things’ so I’ve decided that, at least for my game, we’re going to have a little tinker around.

Skills
We’ve got a lot less skills in 4e and they’re much broader. They also only give a flat 5 bonus (though level comes into it now). This doesn’t allow for a lot of expression of degree of skill or for much investment in the background of your character, representing it through the odd point here and there.

I think we’re going to go for:

Each skill pick (4e) is equal to 5 skill points (Grim’s Game) and you can spend these amongst your class skills or on non class skills at 2/1. The maximum level you can take any skill at is +10.

EG: Ross is playing a Thri-Keen Ranger. Rangers get 5 trained skills at 1st level (4e) so get 25 points now (GG).
Ross spends his points on: Nature +7, Acrobatics +6, Athletics +5, Endurance +2, Perception +2, Stealth +3

Taking Skill Training Feats etc, gives you another 5 points.

Crafting
Normal items can be made using the normal skills. These would typically be Knowledge skills, Arcana, Nature. Introducing Crafting skills proper would spread the skill points a bit thin but there’s a model from Adventurer’s Vault that serves. Alchemy.

Alchemy uses up a Feat slot but allows non-magical characters to create items that are essentially magical by incorporating arcane ingredients. Alchemical formulae aren’t really any particular match for enchanted items but they can be powerful.

Essentially the difference is that the ‘rituals’ are more expensive and the recipes are limited in a way that the Enchant Item ritual is not.

We don’t need to balance with the Enchant Item ritual but we do need to fall between that and Alchemy in terms of cost and inconvenience.

Crafting Feats:
Craft Light Armour
Craft Heavy Armour
Craft Weapons
Craft Bows
Craft Arcane (Symbols, Orbs, Rods, Staffs, Wands, wondrous items, Potions)
Craft Jeweller (Bracers, bands, necklaces, rings)

Crafting Rituals:
Master Craft: 1 – 100 GP – Can create Masterwork – but nonmagical – items such as feyleather armour.

Scavenge: 2 – 200 GP – Can scavenge arcane ingredients from dead magical enemies by making an appropriate roll. Value of arcane ingredients collected is expressed as residuum, the roll total multiplied by the creature’s level providing the total.
EG: Tlaloc has killed a young copper dragon and cuts out its jewelled eyes for use in his creations. He rolls his nature + half level + Wisdom bonus and gets 16 total. The level of the dragon is 6 making for a grand total of 96 GP of residuum.

Disenchant: 3 – 300 GP – Can destroy an existing magical item for its residuum at 1/5th of the item’s value.

Reforge: 4 – 400 GP – Can reforge an existing magical item adding to its abilities – up to your level – or replacing its abilities from those that you have. This costs 75% of the cost if you were crafting the item from scratch.

Learn 5 – 500 GP – By destroying a magical item the character can learn the recipe for ONE of its enhancements.

Characters start with 1 level 1 crafting ritual and gain one of their level (or several of lower level) each time that they advance. They may only buy rituals within their level – provided that they’re available.

Crafting rituals relate to level and cost level x100. The actual enchantments cost half as much but MUST be paid in residuum. Some items will have other material requirements, obvious in their description.

EG:
Level 1 Craft Armour rituals
Magic +1 – Confers a +1 magical bonus upon the weapon – 100 GP
Dwarven – Confers a bonus equal to the magical enhancement of the armour to Endurance checks and Daily +1 Healing surge. – 100 GP.
Razor – 1d10+Dex modifier damage when an enemy scores a melee critical on you – 100 GP.

(NB – Dwarven armour is normally a level 2 magical item, but once you remove the +1 bonus, it’s left at level 1. Without a magical bonus there’s no bonus to Endurance checks, JUST the healing surge. You’ll have to play it by ear otherwise. Similarly Razor Armour is normally level 2 but without the +1 bonus…_)

This means that Crafted items are more limited, but cheaper, though their ingredients – Residuum – can be harder to find. It also means that normal, non-magical crafters, have more to put in and especially on Athas this is going to be useful.

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