Crafting & Alchemy

Crafting Gear and Items

Crafting an item requires time and resources. You can’t typically make a sword without a forge or a bow without wood and you must have at least one level in a relevant focus skill (e.g. Bladesmithing for blades, Armourcraft for Armour, Bowyer for bows or arrows)

Determining the difficulty to craft an item…

To determine the crafting difficulty use the list below to compile a value from the variables.

Difficulty Table 

VariableDifficulty Modifier
Weapon, Melee5
Weapon, Ranged10
Weapon, Tech15
Size, Small2
Size, Medium4
Size, Large6
Positive Trait1
Weapon, Dmg.1/damage
Armour, Soak1/soak
Type, Light5
Type, Medium10
Type, Heavy15
Simple Ammo10
Complex Ammo15
Downtime, Week-5
Downtime, Month-10

Example Items 

ExampleVariablesTotal Difficulty
MaulMelee (5) + Medium (4) + Damage (7) + Trait Brutal (1)17
BatonMelee (5) + Small (2) + Damage (3)10
Hunting SpearMelee (5) + Large (6) + Damage (4) + Trait Parryx2 (2)17
DaggerMelee (5) + Small (2) + Damage (3)10
ShortswordMelee (5) + Small (2) + Damage (4)11
LongswordMelee (5) + Medium (4) + Damage (5)14
LongbowRanged (10) + Medium (4) + Damage (5)19
Light CrossbowRanged (10) + Medium (4) + Damage (6)20
Bellator WarbowRanged (10) + Large (6) + Damage (8) + Trait Piercing (1) + Trait Brutal (1)26
Repeating XbowTech (15) + Medium (4) + Damage (5) + Trait Reload (1)26
LeatherLight (5) + Medium (4) + Soak (2)11
ChainmailMedium (10) + Medium (4) + Soak (6)20
BreastplateMedium (10) + Medium (4) + Soak (9)23
BoneHeavy (15) + Medium (4) + Soak (10)29
Full PlateHeavy (15) + Medium (4) + Soak (15)34
Tollam PlateHeavy (15) + Medium (4) + Soak (21)40

While it is possible to craft some items in a single day or even a few hours (daggers, arrows, simple armour) most attempts at crafting require more than a single day’s work to complete.

Once you have determined the Difficulty of the check, divide this value by 5 and round up. This is the number of checks/stages that are required to complete the task. The artisan can make 1 check for each day spent focusing on the work.

Example: To create a standard longsword is a difficulty 14 and takes 3 checks. Creating a full suit of plate is difficulty 34 and requires 7 checks.

Improving Chances and Speeding up the Process 

Some things are so difficult to craft it requires more than just skill and luck. Fortunately there are several ways to improve both the chances on a given crafting check and the number of checks required to complete the task. For example, Tollam Plate is virtually impossible for humans to forge because it takes months and teams of skilled smiths using ancient tech to do so. Many advanced weapons require not just expertise to craft but specialized equipment. Even normal plate armour can take a team of skilled armourers weeks to complete, assuming normal circumstances. Below are some of the ways to deal with these problems.

  • Assistance: Many hands make for light work. For each person who assists in earnest the artisan gains a bonus to their roll.
    • Unskilled Help grants a +1. The assistant doesn’t need to be an expert or even trained, but their player needs to explain how they are helping.
    • Skilled Help who have at least 1 point in craft and a relevant focus skill grant +2.
  • Materials: Some materials are simply easier to work with than others. At the storytellers discretion they may reduce the difficulty by 1-3 points due to the use of superior materials or reduce the number of checks to finish the work by 1.
  • Hurried: The checks above assume an average pace of work but skilled Artisans can output goods more quickly by sacrificing time for skill. Anyone with the Tinker or Mechanic standard calling, Artifex, Urangi, or Sige advanced calling can trade checks for difficulty, imposing an additional difficulty of +5 to a check and reducing the number of checks required by 1. This penalty can be stacked.
  • Low Grade: The checks above assume the Artisan is attempting to make a decent quality item, but it is also possible to sacrifice quality for ease or speed. A player can declare they are making a Low Grade item and reduce the difficulty by 1 per element sacrificed. A junk shortsword that does 3d is 9 difficulty to make and only takes 2 rather than 3 days. The artisan can even combine Hurried with Low Grade, making a dull and ugly sword in one day at a difficulty of 14.
  • Technology: Some Urul foundries and forges integrate advanced technology to assist artisans in their work. The exact benefit of a given technology is determined by the Storyteller but typically ranges from a bonus of 1-3 on the roll or a reduction in the number of checks required to finish the work, reducing the time.

Examples:
Marcus Vansen is a skilled blacksmith and wishes to craft a fine longsword for his friend Fedha. He has gathered the materials, prepared his forge and is now ready to start the work. Since it is a Longsword the base difficulty is 14 (Melee (5) + Size, Medium (4) + Damage (5)) but he would also like to add engravings to the blade (1) and give it a Selenian edge (1), adding two additional positive traits for a final difficulty of 16. 16 / 5 = 3.2 which rounds up to 4, meaning it will require 4 at least 4 days to complete this blade.
Marcus has Intellect 3, Craft 4, and Focus Skill Blacksmithing 4 for a +11. He also has an Urul forge that grants him +2 and a novice assistant who grants +1 for a total bonus 14, meaning he doesn’t really need to roll on this check, he simply needs to focus on the task for 4 days. He is able to do so for the first three days but is unable to focus on the task on the 4th and therefore cannot complete the task. He is able to return on the fifth day and finish the blade.

Alternately, Marcus decides he wishes to craft this blade more quickly and wants to complete the task in 2 days rather than 4. To do so he declares his intention to hurry the task by 2, imposing an additional +10 to the difficulty, increasing it to 26. With a bonus of 14 he needs to roll 12 or higher both days in order to succeed in his task.

Vel is a novice bowyer who is looking to create a longbow to replace the one that was stolen while adventuring. The difficulty for a Longbow is 19, (Ranged (10) + Medium (4) + Damage (5)) so he has his work cut out for him. Unfortunately he’s stuck far from home and must scavenge for materials meaning he must first succeed on a Intuition + Survival check to find the right wood and hunt an animal from which to make a bowstring. He is successful but his materials are poor imposing an additional +1 difficulty making the target 20 and requiring 4 days to complete.
Vel has Intellect 1, Craft 2, and Focus Skill Bowyer 3 for a +6. He will need to roll a 14 or higher each day he works on the bow.

Gerand is a Victran factorum worker who spends his days crafting gear for the cannon fodder armies of Victra. He works on an assembly line, putting together cheap breastplates for the troops. Normally breastplates are difficulty 23 (Type, Medium (10) + Size, Medium (4) + Soak (9)) but the Lords of Victra aren’t particularly concerned about the survival of their soldiers so they use Low Grade metals, reducing the soak to 6 and the difficulty of creation to 20. With the factories ingenious automation the work could be done in 4 days rather than 4 but unfortunately even that isn’t sufficient for the greedy owners who hurry the process with whip wielding foremen who drive the line to get work done in 2 days, resulting in a difficulty of 25 per armour. Like most Victran workers, Gerand has limited skills (Craft +2, Armour +3 = 5) but benefits from ample assistance (Roustabouts x3 = 3). Still, every day is hard work, requiring a roll of 17 just to avoid the foremans lash.

Maintenance and Repair 

Restoring a reasonably damaged item to working condition is usually much easier than crafting a new item wholesale. Generally speaking repair checks for minor damage should be singular rather than extended checks, typically 1 check at the items. Repair checks for major damage or broken items require 1/2 the number of checks of full item creation.

Modifications and Accessories 

Applying a modification or accessory to a piece of gear necessitates a single craft check as indicated on the Modification or Accessory table.

Downtime 

These mechanics are intended to represent checks made during periods of high intensity activity; for example during an active adventure or period of chaos where each day can bring new dangers and difficulties. Periods of extended downtime should be treated slightly differently. Rather than making checks for each day of a week or month of downtime, instead the player makes a single check with the difficulty reduced by 5 for each week, or 10 for each month where the character is focused on creation of an item. If the player wishes to create multiple items it is suggested they be limited to a number of concurrent creations equal to the lower of their level in Craft or Intellect and this assumes they are devoting the majority of their energy during the specified period to crafting and not, say travelling or research.

Crafting Legendary Equipment and Advanced Technology 

What if I’m a master craftsmen and I want to create a longsword that does 10 damage and has every positive trait?
There are some limits on how much damage a weapon can do on its own or the amount of damage armour can soak before skill comes into consideration. A 10d sword doesn’t seem overpowered until you realize that even a grazing hit will kill the average adventurer in chainmail in 1 hit at a cost of only +5 to difficulty.

Gear TypeMax
Normal Melee7d
Tech. Melee9d
Normal Ranged7d
Tech. Ranged18d
Normal Armour6 Soak
Tech. Armour8 Soak

What if I want to create Folding Armour, a Barrier, or another advanced technological device?
The monumental complexity of these devices and their associated materials put them beyond the skills of a smith with a forge, or even a full factory of workers. These devices are the purview of exceptional Mechanics, and Artifex and special Relics such as Armourers and Looms.

When travelling, assuming the character has the right supplies, a check can made once per week during travel at a penalty of -3 as any effort must be necessarily split between the task at hand and the rigors of travel. Certain circumstances can mitigate this penalty such as extended rests which reduce the penalty to -1 but add 30% to the travel time of any journey. This has the expected impact on provisions, vehicle wear, and risk.

Alchemy

Alchemists can craft a variety of substances and serums but to do so they require the appropriate equipment, components, and formulations. An Alchemist without these things is little more than a specialized lorekeeper. With them however, an Alchemist is a font for all manner of curious, useful, or downright deadly creations.

Basics 

The Alchemist must have the following in order to craft most substances:

  • Equipment: An alchemist must have a kit or lab in order to make their checks. Exceptional equipment can add a bonus to the Alchemists craft check. Common variations of equipment include: a basic kit (25g) which is a portable set of alchemists tools for simple crafting while traveling and reduces the penalty for alchemy in transit to -2 from -4; a portable alchemist’s lab (75g) which is a more robust set of equipment than a kit, but not as much as a full lab and reduces the penalty for alchemy in transit to -1; a full Alchemist’s lab (200g), which is a full stationary laboratory with all the needed equipment for alchemy and grants a +1 to alchemy checks; and a Masters Lab (800g), which is a stationary laboratory with high quality equipment that adds +3 to alchemy checks.
  • Components: Components are derived from bundles. Each bundle represents an array of base and specialized reagents and substances, typically procured from local herbalists, craftsmen, hunters, exotic traders, and explorers through no small effort. A single bundle costs 100 gelt and contains 12 units of components. The rarity of components and difficulty inherent in their acquisition makes bundle costs exceptionally difficult to bargain.

Crafting
Creating things requires an Intellect + Craft + Focus Skill check.

Alchemical focus skills include:

  • Poisons
  • Serums
  • Intoxicants
  • Perfumes
  • Curatives
  • Rudiments

The end result of a check is the creation of a substance or serum.

Substances 

Alchemists of any level who have the necessary equipment, components, and time can attempt to create a wide array of substances and each one is classified as Easy, Medium, or Hard. The substance class defines the difficulty inherent in creating it, the amount of active time spent crafting, and the number of usable volumes of the substance that are created as a result.

ClassTarget DifficultyActive Crafting TimeUnits Made
Easy121 Hour3
Medium166 Hours2
Hard181 Day1

Note that there are two exceptions to the difficulties noted above:
Critical Failure: A roll of 2 is always a failure and all components used are ruined. Roll again and if second roll is also a critical failure any catalysts or equipment used is also ruined
Critical Success: A roll of 20 is always a success and yields double the normal amount of product

List of Substances 

RecipeTypeClassEffectBase ComponentsSpecial Components
AlcoholPleasureEasyVariable (Discuss with storyteller)2N/A
AntiemeticCurativeEasyA medicinal syrup used to battle queasiness.2N/A
DrugsPleasureEasyVariable (Discuss with storyteller)2N/A
Flash PowderRudimentsEasyA mixture of oxidizer and metallic fuel which burns quickly and can be used in pyrotechnics. Can distract or blind a target or group of targets.2N/A
GlueRudimentsEasyA resilient glue that can adhere most substances to one another.2N/A
GreaseRudimentsEasyAn extremely slick goo that can be used to coat flat surfaces or people, making traction or grappling incredibly difficult.2N/A
GympieWeaponEasyPrepared clippings from a neurotoxic shrub found in the badlands that inflicts severe pain akin to simultaneous electrocution and acid immersion2Gympie
KindnessCurativeEasyA mixture of herbs and alchemical materials that act as a remedy to hangovers.2N/A
PlasterRudimentsEasyA useful powder mix that can be used to create a mold of a recessed feature such as a foot print or carving, a cast for a broken bone, or to fill in gaps in surfaces.2N/A
Poison, BasicWeaponEasyA substance likely but not guaranteed to kill average person.2N/A
Sealing WaxRudimentsEasyA rod of sealing wax specially prepared for a pair of individuals to be both highly identifiable and resistant to resealing.2N/A
Smelling SaltsCurativeEasyAlso known as sal ammoniac, Smelling Salts are an aromatic spirit of ammonia mixed with scented oils and used to restore consciousness and mental alertness.2N/A
Smoke, HeavyRudimentsEasyA pair of substances that produce thick smoke when mixed.2N/A
Sneezing PowderWeaponEasyA mixture of potent spices that triggers a series of severe sneezes in a target who inhales the powder. Can be resisted with Will2N/A
SolventRudimentsEasyA powerful solvent that destroys most adhesives, including tar, sap, glue, alchemical glue, and sludge.2N/A
Vermin RepellentRudimentsEasyA distillation of predator musks and other chemicals that can repel minor vermin such as insects and rats.2N/A
Anti-ToxinCurativeMediumVariable – Anti-toxins are produced by type to counteract particular toxins.4Toxin
Anti-VenomCurativeMediumVariable – Anti-venoms are produced by type to counteract particular venoms.4Venom
DefoliantRudimentsMediumA mixture of alchemical reagents that can kill most minor vegetation such as plants, shrubs, and bushes. Application to the skin causes injury to Tamaa and ingestion can cause death.4N/A
EtoraWeaponMediumA potent tranquilizer derived from specially cultivated Luxi plants. A single phial can knock out most human sized animals. Attaining the same effect with larger creatures requires skilled calibration of the dosage.8Etora
FesterotWeaponMediumA truly cruel mixture of reagents that can hamper the natural healing of most lifeforms. Can be applied to a prepared weapon or thrown on an enemy. The effect of this substance can last for weeks depending on the potency/dosage6Grot render
Grot OilWeaponMediumA mixture of putrid smelling reagents that can cause those who inhale to gag and vomit.4Grot render
MatchesRudimentsMediumAlso known as a fire stick or tindertwig, this is a stick of treated wood that can be struck against a hard surface to produce an open flame for a short time.2N/A
Pepper PelletWeaponMediumA mixture of irritating spices and peppers. When cast out the diffusion of aeresol pepper can trigger coughing, tears, and general illness.N/A 
PerfumePleasureMediumVariable1N/A
Poison, StandardWeaponMediumA substance likely to kill anyone but a Tollam.8N/A
SludgeWeaponMediumA strong glue-like substance that can be thrown on an area or enemy, causing them to be slowed by the sticky substance unless they can break free.3Glue
Smoke, BasicRudimentsMediumA pair of substances that produce smoke when mixed.4N/A
DazerWeaponHardA set of materials that react violently when mixed causing an intensely loud bang and produces a bright flash, causing unexpecting viewers to be blinded and deafened for a short time.3Picric Alum
FreezeRudimentsHardAn alchemical liquid that reduces the temperature of any surface it is applied to dramatically, making it easier to break. Can also be used to freeze liquids.6Chilldust
HotstoneRudimentsHardA piece of obsidian treated with alchemical reagents to produce a pleasing and long lasting heat. Often used in northern bed-heating pans.6Obsidian
Liquid FireWeaponHardA liquid that ignites on contact with air, clings to a target and burns intensely8Resin or Bitumen
Liquid StaticWeaponHardA liquid that holds a powerful shocking charge that can stun targets.8Eel Glands
Phosphor GelRudimentsHardA mixture of alchemical reagents that react when agitated to produce bright light and intense heat.6Bioluminescent Fungi
Poison, DebilitatingWeaponHardA substance that inflicts blindness, paralysis, or other conditions on target.6Animal Toxin
Poison, MasterWeaponHardA substance virtually guaranteed to kill a normal human and likely to kill a Tollam.12Animal Venom
RemedyCurativeHardA solution of alchemical reagents that briefly enhance resistance to diseases. This does not cure existing diseases.6Cationic Gland

Formulations 

True Alchemists (those with the calling) find it possible to attempt most substances via memory and intuition, but the safer and more consistent method is to utilize specific formulation. A formulation is a set of measures, processes and directions that makes Alchemy more predictable and effective.

Working from a formulation has one of the following effects:
Duration: If the substance or serum has a time limited effect it is doubled.
High Render: Craft checks for this substance output twice as much usable volume.
Efficient: Craft checks for this substance require half the active time.
Reliable: Craft checks for this substance have a -1 to their target difficulty

Multiple formulations can be combined. A High Render, Efficient, Reliable, and Long Duration Formulation for a substance or Serum represents the pinnacle of the Alchemists craft and is worth a kings ransom to other alchemists.

Formulations can be obtained through research, experimentation, or purchase from other Alchemists. Only alchemists can craft or understand formulations and each Alchemist tends to keep a journal of their discoveries. These rare codices can become objects of desire, prompting feuds, quests, or simply fetching high ransoms for their contents.

Research 

To research existing formulations in libraries and luminar the Alchemist can make an Intellect + Lore check with any relevant focus skills added. This roll can only be made once per week and represents days worth of research time. The results are as follows:

RollEffect
2A roll of 2 generates what looks to be a useful formulation but in fact is counterproductive. The next substance the Alchemist makes is faulty.
3-12No usable formulation is found.
13-16The Alchemist derives a formulation for a substance in the Easy class
17-19The Alchemist derives a formulation for a substance in the Medium class
20A roll of 20 derives a formulation for a substance in the Hard class.

In most cases once an Alchemist has derived a formulation, good or ill, from a resource such as a library or luminar, they cannot make another roll using the same resource. They must find a new one. The exceptions to this tend to be truly grand libraries such as those found in capital cities, or luminar nexi found in dangerous ruins.

Experimentation 

Some Alchemists prefer to uncover new formulations through more exciting methods than flipping the pages of dusty books and tinkering with cracked luminar. The process of experimentation requires the Alchemist to declare which substance and which type of formulation they wish to create (Duration, High Render, Efficient, or Reliable). Then, assuming they have the required equipment, components, and skill they make a check of Intellect + Craft + Focus Skill. This check can only be made once per week and does not produce any usable material or substance; all components are lost in the process of experimentation. The targets are as follows:

ClassTarget Difficulty
Easy18+
Medium22+
Hard25+
SerumCritical Success

Purchase 

Most Alchemists horde their formulations, allowing them to corner the market on certain substances and ensuring they have enough ongoing funds to both survive and continue their research. There are some who are willing to sell their formulations but the price is typically quite steep. Prices are typically set in the hundreds or thousands of gelt.

TraitCost
Easy Substance200g
Medium Substance300g
Hard Substance800g
Serum2000g
Durationx2
High Renderx4
Efficientx2
Reliablex4

Result: If an Alchemist wanted to purchase an High Render Formulation for pepper pellets the starting cost would be 1200g. This could be negotiated further via mercantile.

Serums 

With enough time and dedication to their calling Alchemist gain sufficient confidence in their abilities to attempt to create ‘Serums’. These consumable concoctions have a variety of beneficial effects, from drastically increasing the rate of healing to soothing stress, to enhancing aspects. Creation of a Serum requires something beyond more mundane substances; a Catalyst. A catalyst is a special material typically crafted into a retort, alembic, or phials which only needs to be acquired once as they are not consumed during the creation of a serum. One of the great works of any Alchemist is documenting the catalytic properties of various materials and the list below provides examples only; Rumours of alternate or advanced catalysts which can enhance the potency of Serums abound and many Alchemists make it their life’s work to seek them out. All serums are classified as Hard and have the requisite difficulty, crafting time, and output, with the exception of Kirna Serum which outputs 2 usable units per creation.

RecipeEffectBase ComponentsCatalystCrafting TimeFrequency of UsageStandard Units Made
Atrox+5 to Stress Soak for 1 day6Atrox Bone1 Day1/day1
Bellator+1 to Grace for 1 hour6Aetherium, Bellator Bone1 Day1/day1
Heliar+1 to Intellect for 1 hour8Vitrum, Heliar Dust1 Day1/day1
Kaeki+1 to Will for 1 hour12Helion, Kaeki Bone1 Day1/day1
MendingHeals 3 Health5Corfire, Tamaa Bone1 Day1/week1
Oneiri+1 to Intuition for 1 hour8Corewood, Oneiri Bone1 Day1/day1
Titan+1 to Power for 1 hour6Orick, Tollam Bone1 Day1/day1
KirnaHeals 5 Stress2Silver, Human Bone1 Day1/day2

Questions 

Why bundles? Why not just base prices?
Bundles permit Alchemists to purchase components without knowing exactly what they’re going to make; particularly useful for travelling alchemists.

What about gathering your own bundles?
It is possible to forage for basic components but it is both difficult and dangerous as useful materials are not typically found behind the safety of a city wall. While in an appropriate locale as defined by the Storyteller the Alchemist can dedicate a full day to foraging. During this time they cannot travel or undertake other extended checks such as crafting potions. Instead the Alchemist spends their day searching for and preparing appropriate components. This is represented by rolling 2d10 + Intellect + Survival + Focus Skill: Foraging. The results of their efforts are defined on the chart below.

RollEffect
2The Alchemist encounters dangerous flora or fauna. Storyteller discretion
3-15The Alchemist finds nothing.
16-18The Alchemist finds 1 component.
19-23The Alchemist finds 2 components.
24+The Alchemist finds 3 components.

No Unnecessary Rolls 

Between Aspects, Skills, Focus Skills, Traits, Callings, and other bonuses it is entirely possible for a character to have a bonus that exceeds base difficulties. This represents a character who has mastered a craft and are above the concerns of luck, able to demonstrate their skill at a high level consistently. This does not mean they can create things without resources or time however, it just means they don’t need to roll for it. A Master Artisan whose relevant craft roll exceeds the difficulty of an item no longer needs to roll to create that item, they just need to expend the resources and time. The artisan still calculates the difficulty and stages as indicated but they are assumed to succeed on each difficulty roll automatically. The exception to this would be if situational penalties might increase the difficulty to equal or greater than the skill check. For example, if the character is sick or injured, has substandard resources, or is rushing. If the skill is equal to the difficulty the artisan must still roll but only fails on a critical failure.