Eclipse – The Mastercrafter

Dungeons and Dragons Heroes

What do you mean the pansy “crafter is more use to the party than I am?” Dungeons and Dragons Heroes (Photo credit: Will Merydith)

Here we have another special request – how to build a specialized crafter of magical items in Eclipse.

Wizards may weave their spells, warriors slay dragons, clerics invoke minor miracles, and thieves pilfer from the gods themselves – yet their efforts are passing things, and soon forgotten. A Blade of Legend however… such a creation may endure for a thousand years and more, to become a part of dozens of tales. Even lesser items may become a part of a hundred heroes tales.

Such is the path of the Mastercrafter.

Basic Purchases: BAB +15 (90 CP), Skill Points 92 (58 CP after Fast Learner), Saves +24 (72 CP), 20 Bardic Spellcasting Levels (Int based, 120* CP), Proficient with all simple weapons, light and medium armor, and shields (15 CP).

*Specialized; minimum casting time of one minute, all spells either create temporary magic items or enhance constructs, even if similar to common spells they’re considered “Crafting Spells” rather than being Arcane or Divine. Enhanced Effect/free choice at the time of casting from the entire (if of very limited theme) Spell List.

That’s 355 CP – and a fairly basic framework for any semi-spellcaster adventurer with limited access to magic of one sort or another. As with most such characters, the really interesting part is the list of special abilities.

First up though there’s a complication:

In games where making magical items costs “experience points” (a type of magical energy which accumulates in people and objects until it abruptly reaches one of a series of critical points and transforms and empowers them to a greater or lesser extent) Mastercrafters basically have four choices.

  • They can put up with spending some of their own “experience points” on making magic items, presumably making up in equipment what they lose in personal power. That’s why a (the?) classic class along these lines provides some 22,900 XP along the way for just this purpose.
  • They can buy Harvest of Artifice from the item-crafting ability sequence – a talent which, at its base level, provides 100 “experience points” per month to craft items with. That’s not a huge supply, but it’s certainly useful – and the ability can both be upgraded to get more points per month and will keep on paying off forever. Sure, it will take nineteen years to get that 22,900 XP this way – but if you happen to be playing a long-term game, or expect most of it to take place at low levels, this is much better. If you expect to be power-leveling at four encounters a day this won’t do you much good – but you aren’t going to have time to make items anyway. You’ll want to look into the Unspecialized version of Action Hero / Crafting.
  • They can buy Action Hero/Crafting, Specialized for Double Effect/can only be used to pay XP costs, the appropriate amount of time and money must still be spent. That will get them 500 Action (or “Crafting”) Points to spend making things over the course of a twenty-level career.

But how does that stack up against experience points?

Well, a Wand will cost three action points regardless, so you might as well make decent ones. Say… 6d Fireball? That would normally cost 540 XP. A minor, permanent, enchantment – perhaps a Lens of Detection (140 XP) – costs six action points. That’s a much poorer ratio. A “midrange permanent item or “lesser magical staff” – perhaps Bracers of Armor +5 (1000 XP) or a Staff of Illumination (1930 XP) costs 10. A major magical staff costs – perhaps a Staff of Transmutation (2600 XP) cost 15. Making a pair of Plane Shift scrolls (90 XP) costs only 1.

Overall, a ratio of about 100 XP to 1 Crafting Point looks about right for an approximation, although you may be less efficient during the first few levels – but the vast majority of your Crafting Points will become available at higher levels, where you’ll be making the good stuff. This is also a superior option – and if you don’t have time because of the pace of the game, you can just take it without the Specialization; sure, you’ll only get about about 25,000 XP worth of action/crafting points that way – but now using them will also eliminate the time requirements and can be done at any time. Abruptly pulling out just the item you need in a given situation… is often well worth the price.

  • They can try to persuade the game master that crafting items shouldn’t cost experience points. This can be done – it’s the way it works in several d20 variants – but it REALLY makes a mess of the magic-item economy in the long run. Just remember oh mighty game master – “experiences” have nothing to do with “experience points”.

Just to make sure our Mastercrafter will be buying options #2 and #3 – Harvest of Artifice AND Action Hero/Crafting with the specialization. If you’re going to specialize in making stuff, you might as well make a LOT of stuff.

Special Abilities (147 CP):

  • Fast Learner, Specialized in Skill Points for Double Effect (6 CP).
  • Action Hero/Crafting Option, Specialized/for Double Effect/can only be used to pay XP costs, the appropriate amount of time and money must still be spent (6 CP).
  • Occult Sense/Magic Analysis, Specialized/requires minutes or hours, direct access to the item, and a chance to examine it carefully (3 CP). Mastercrafters are good at sorting out just what things do.
  • Augmented Bonus/Adds (Int Mod) to Charisma-based skill based, Specialized and Corrupted/ only for Use Magic Device, only for types of items that the Mastercrafter knows how to create (2 CP). Crafters are good at using the stuff they make. Is that really a surprise?
  • Equipage with Purchasing, both Specialized /the user must spend the time, XP, and cash as appropriate to create the item in question and must be otherwise qualified to create it save for not being of an appropriate alignment or race, being a level or two short of the usual level requirement, or not knowing the appropriate spells – although this effect restricted to common spells (6 CP). Magical items can have all kinds of annoying prerequisites; they may call for particular levels (even when levels are in no way relevant), particular spells, and even particular items. While a Mastercrafter can’t bypass special materials requirements – no forging adamantine blades when you haven’t got any suitable metal – they can evade many other requirements. Yes, this means that you can whip up scrolls for your buddies with spells they don’t know in them. Of course, at the same effective cost you could go and buy one anyway.
  • Master Craftsmen get Scribe Scroll, Brew Potion, Craft Construct, Craft Wondrous Item, Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Craft Wand, Craft Rod, Craft Staff, and Forge Ring – as well as Harvest of Artifice (60 CP).
  • Inherent Spell, Specialized and Corrupted for Double Effect and reduced cost (4 CP)/requires eight hours to cast, user must have the item creation feat for the item to be affected. Fundamental Breakdown 1/Day (L6, the user may transform a magical item into power components (salvaging the XP invested in it – or a part of it for partially depleted items) plus additional materials worth 1/4’th of the purchase price of the item. The salvaged XP may only be used to create items, not for other purposes).
  • 30 CP – for additional item-related abilities of choice.
  • Greater Empowerment: Empowerment, with +4 levels of Streamline, all Specialized for Half Cost and Corrupted for Increased Effect (Empowerment has no usage limitations, Streamline applies to any metamagic)/can only be applied to a charged item, uses one extra charge from the item per level of streamline required, only works on one metamagical theorem and effect at a time. A Mastercrafters can push his or her tools beyond all normal limits, applying any single metamagical theorem that he or she knows to them at the cost of spending one additional charge per level of metamagic applied (15 CP).
  • Grand Empowerment: Empowerment with Surge (Int-Based) with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized for Half Cost and Corrupted for Increased Effect (Empowerment has no usage limitations, Surge can apply to any one metamagic, can only be applied to a spell-completion item (12 CP).
  • Mastery (Spellcraft, Use Magic Device, Knowledge/Arcana), Specialized/only applies to those three skills regardless of (Int Mod) (3 CP).

That comes out to 502 CP out of the 504 available at level twenty – almost precisely right.

A Mastercrafter is pretty formidable – but their real punch comes from simply having twice as much gear as anyone else. Is that worthwhile? In a low treasure campaign… they may not be able to get much use out of their abilities. In a high treasure campaign… the skies the limit.

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