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Who's to say that the weapon smith and the enchanter / runecaster need to be  the same person?   It may work out that way but it doesn't have to be like that.

I don't understand what this is in response to. I wasn't suggesting anything regarding a necessity for the same person performing both jobs, or even anything related to problems arising from such. I was merely comparing an actual master smith and the efforts and schedule that got him there with a narrative RPG adventurer who's dealing with problems 24/7. You can't START as a master smith, because that goes against the whole progression dynamic, and you can't FINISH as a master smith because you're too busy not doing anywhere NEAR the amount of smithing that is required for one to master smithery and forge renowned weapons and armor. On top of that, unless your character is the only person in the world who has mastered smithery, other master smiths must exist in the world, and if they spent 30 years of constant, everyday smithing to get where they are, and they're in the game and can sell you renowned equipment, and you reach mastery in a year (perhaps?) of in-between-quest smithing, where does that leave ANY kind of consistency in the lore/story/setting? OR in the gameplay? "You can buy this fan-TAS-tic sword that only this guy can make 'cause he spent his whole life smithing, OR you can just make it yourself after you level up a few times."

 

That's the only point I was making there. I'm all for abstraction, but not blatant paradox. "Only a handful of people in the world have mastered this art after spending their entire lives at it, so their works are so amazing for this very reason, but then also you can just master and produce the exact same thing, so their works aren't really all that amazing and/or purposeful in their existence."

 

I honestly don't know what sparked your specific reply (and I'm not saying that to be condescending). If it's the way I worded something, please point it out to me, as I seem to be missing it completely. Or, maybe I missed the point you're trying to make?

 

 

Again you're thinking small.  Instead of 10 different runes try 20.  Instead of a single slot think 3 or 4.  You could add different elemental damage, defensive runes, sharp edges in virtually an endless array.  Okay it wouldn't really be limitless - it's still a finite number but you get the idea.  We're talking 100s of combinations.

 

No, I'm not really thinking too small, but I can see why you thought that. I was simply referencing the typical smallness of most existing games' rune/gemstone sets. They tend to be very small, and very uni-facted. I agree that if you have great enough numbers of components, and enough different slots for different ones/different factors, you can create a quite enjoyable set of possible results. The only other important factor there is that, if it's crafting, it needs to work/feel differently from mere obtaining. It's dumb when it's mere happenstance that you "made" this particular thing, instead of looted it, or bought it. I think crafting, of all things, demands emergent elements.

 

At the very least, one thing I love about the whole essences thing (at least in Thaumcraft) is that, I can make the same thing out of OODLES of ingredients. I need 6 Fire and 4 Magic essence? Well, anything that's magical has magic essence, and anything that's fire-based (or flammable in nature) has fire. So, in the case of Thaumcraft, to get that 6 fire, I could use a couple chunks of coal, or some Fire crystal shards, or a bunch of cooked meat, or a bunch of heatscar spider silk, etc. But, the even GREATER thing is, each of those things has OTHER essences than just fire. So, if I want to make something with, say, cloth/fiber essence, AND I want to make something with fire essence, do I use the spider silk up to get the fire essence I need? Or do I save it for the cloth item? Do I go ahead and make something? Or do I wait until I have things that fulfill my essence needs much more efficiently?

 

The other neat thing in Thaumcraft was Flux. Basically, If you have extra essence in your crucible when you make something, it just gets released into the ether, essentially, as flux -- disturbance in the magical aura of the immediate environment. So, it was something to manage, without being doomsday or anything. If you just needed fire essence, you'd think twice about breaking down an item that has Fire, Life, Darkness, AND Plant essence. Because then you generate a lot more flux than if you used an item that JUST had fire essence, or only had one other essence.

 

Anywho, I know what works in the context of Minecraft is not what works in the context of P:E. I just think it's amazing to have a crafting system that ACTUALLY lets you make decisions and feel like you're using tools at your disposal, rather than just either following a linear path, or not. Almost everyone who dislikes crafting in these games cites how much of a chore it is. "If I want to make a such-and-such potion, I HAVE to go find 6 more of this herb, and 3 more of this spider gland, etc.". Well, what if you just needed certain types of components (maybe essence, maybe something different?)? And most items you found actually served multiple purposes? Now, instead of "this particular hard-coded item and THIS particular hard-coded item form the recipe for THIS other thing you want!", you get "here's what you ultimately need to make an item of this type, now you figure out all the different ways in which you can achieve that, and what the differences are."

 

The same goes for non-magic crafting. I think using different styles of hilts/guards/blades/materials in combination should produce various different resulting weapons, for example.

 

Runes, no matter how many you have, just feel like cookie cutters. I'd rather have shapeable dough in the game, then the means by which to shape the dough. Rather than "Okay, here's all the shapes in the game for the dough. Pick and choose." I want go figure out how to make a star cookie, rather than going "OH, well, obviously I use this star-shaped cookie cutter right here."

 

I know ultimately it's all just a hard-coded "recipe" list, essentially. But, having dynamic overlaps in the ability to create even the same item, for example, drastically helps it feel a lot better. After all, I should be able to make a shield in a variety of different ways. Not just "metal ingots plus forge = shield." Oh, hey, a chitin shell from some animal! Maybe if I cut it a little, and scrape the gunk off of it, and apply some kind of resin/hardening coating and affix a grip and strap to it, it'll make an excellent shield!"

 

It's the difference between figuring out how to get to a treasure chest, and just finding the contents of a chest lying on the floor. Or, as I've said before regarding crafting, look at combat. In combat, there are a PLETHORA of ways in which to accomplish the same thing, such as lighting a foe on fire. There's not just ONE recipe for burning a foe, like "cast Fireball, and that's the only way!". Imagine how lame combat would be if that were it? Nothing else burns a foe. Just the spell Fireball. Well, the same goes for crafting. Why should there be ONE thing that allows me to make my sword do more damage, or allows my armor to protect me from arrows? This one rune... It's just so bland. It's not crafting. It's simple procurement and application. And even if the destination is often quite nice, the journey blows. "Yayyy! I read a list, got all those things, and then clicked a button!" No wonder people tend to think it's a chore. Each recipe is little more than a fetch quest.

Edited by Lephys

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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But, it makes sense that it's HIGHLY unlikely you'd MASTER smithing.

 

If you use the middle ages as a model you're right that it would be unlikely but certainly not impossible for a character to be a "master" smith.  Apprentices could begin as early as ten years of age, with a term varying from 5 to 9 years (usually 7).  At the end of their apprenticeship they would serve as journeyman.  To be  considered a master craftsman required a sum of money and the fabrication of a single "masterwork"" which was judged by other masters.  So a very exceptionally gifted individual could achieve master smith status in his late teens, and possibly in his mid teens.  Unlikely?  Yes.  Impossible?  Not at all.  Since adventurers can be considered as somewhat exceptional to begin with, I don't see that it's too much of a stretch to allow characters to craft weapons or armor.

 

also keep in mind that in a typical game characters gain 5-10 years worth of experience in the combat arts.

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Who's to say that the weapon smith and the enchanter / runecaster need to be  the same person?   It may work out that way but it doesn't have to be like that.

 

I don't understand what this is in response to. I wasn't suggesting anything regarding a necessity for the same person performing both jobs, or even anything related to problems arising from such. I was merely comparing an actual master smith and the efforts and schedule that got him there with a narrative RPG adventurer who's dealing with problems 24/7. You can't START as a master smith, because that goes against the whole progression dynamic, and you can't FINISH as a master smith because you're too busy not doing anywhere NEAR the amount of smithing that is required for one to master smithery and forge renowned weapons and armor.

 

"forging the greatest sword" seems to imply both masterwork and enchantment.   If I misread your intent, I apologize. 

 

But as far as a mastersmith I think you can either start as one or achieve it during the game.  The middle ages example says you it is more than possible to achieve master smith status before you even begin adventuring.   It's not out of the realm of possibility at all.  Check the ages I listed and consider what age you might start the PE campaign at.   But if you want to claim that it's not possible because of lack of experience, It is not that difficult to extend your argument to other disciplines.   Language skills?  HAHA  When are you going to find time to learn new languages.  Alchemy?  Takes time to study chemical reactions and how chemicals interact.  Can't just pull the Alchemy for Dummies book of the shelf.  (Well okay you could but you probably won't like the results).  Medical skills?  Okay it's not In PE, but learning medical skills takes a long time and years of study.  Hmmm, where are you going to find time to do THAT in a game.  Yet games like JA2 let you improve medical skills.  So please ... just throw away the time constraint argument.    Skill progressions are generally abstracted to begin with.   You rarely find people being required to find new books on metallurgy, botany, wilderness skills, tracking etc.  The process by which knowledge is gained is abstracted at the level process. I don't see why weapon smithing should be any different.    YMMV 

 

I have seen skill progressions that are based on repeated usage of certain skills to advance them.  Forget that.  Mindless repetition is boring.  We can do without that.

 

I think you're advocating the type of npc mastersmith/enchanter that was in BG2 and NWN.  I found those systems to be far less satisfying than the crafting systems in any of the NWN2 series or several other games. 

 

At the very least, one thing I love about the whole essences thing (at least in Thaumcraft) is that, I can make the same thing out of OODLES of ingredients.

 

The Witcher alchemy system did basically the same thing.  It had multiple ingredients that provided the same base elements and actually had a secondary property with them.  It was actually a very neat system.  It's not that different in concept and allows a lot of flexibility.   I think the best you can hope for is enough variety in the ingredients and recipes that it seems expansive - any system is going to require hard coding.

 

 

 

also keep in mind that in a typical game characters gain 5-10 years worth of experience in the combat arts.

 

 

Before the game starts?  maybe but it's not a given  When the game starts the characters are novices even in their chosen fields.  Do they bring previous experience to the table.  Sure but you're speculating as to how extensive that experience is.  Exactly the same way I am speculating that a character might have sufficient skill to be a master smith when he starts the game.  

Edited by kgambit

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Typical human needs to practice skill about 10k hours to master it. And as become a master smith person needs master several skills, so it would probably take 20k-40k hours work to become a master smith. So 5-10 years work if you do about 12 hours days around year and keep some holidays once in a while.

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Typical human needs to practice skill about 10k hours to master it. And as become a master smith person needs master several skills, so it would probably take 20k-40k hours work to become a master smith. So 5-10 years work if you do about 12 hours days around year and keep some holidays once in a while.

 

Only if you believe Malcolm Gladwell, or more accurately Ander Ericsson (now at Florida State) on whose work the 10K rule in Gladwell's Outliers was based.  For starters, Ericsson's work stated that 10K was an average time required which meant that exceptionally gifted people could achieve master status in far less time.  Ericsson himself has said that "there is nothing magical about the 10K figure".  So 10K hours isn't a rigid measure.  It could just as easily take half that time for a truly exceptional individual. 

 

10K hours works out to 3.4 years of extended practice or study at 8 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Cut the practice time per day to 4 hours that's slightly less than 7 years total and you can still achieve master status before you've exited your teens if you start at ages 10 to 12, which by the way is not that different from the time required to achieve master status for apprentices in the middle ages. That's achievable prior to the start of an adventuring career.   

 

You can't claim multiple skills are necessary without delineating what those skills are.  I claim Smithing is a single skill, but if you want to argue that becoming a master smith involves mastering both metal working and metallurgy, you could still achieve that in 7 years by spending 4 hours a day working a forge and 4 hours a day studying metallurgical tomes.  Again that's doable before you start adventuring. 

 

Remember that the 10K rule isn't rigid.  It's not a huge stretch to argue that my adventurers, being the exceptional people that they are, could have achieved master status in half that time.  My rogue was one of Fagin's kids when he started out: learned his pickpocket, open locks etc skills starting at a very early age.  We don't have any trouble accepting that premise do we?  Or a young mage with a proclivity for magic?  Again that doesn't cause us a moments pause. 

 

We are talking about abstracted skill progressions in a fantasy rpg and you're trying to impose a rigid standard which actually isn't that rigid in the first place.   How pray tell would you justify becoming a master of persuasion then?  Do you practice your glibness in front of a mirror 4 hours a day?  Talk to your dog?  Or how about bartering.  Did you spend 4 hours a day running thru the bazaars chating up merchants in order to practice negotiating lower prices?  Of course not.  If you are willing to set aside a certain amount of realism (for lack of a better word) in those instances, why can't we do it for everything? 

Edited by kgambit

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Typical human needs to practice skill about 10k hours to master it. And as become a master smith person needs master several skills, so it would probably take 20k-40k hours work to become a master smith. So 5-10 years work if you do about 12 hours days around year and keep some holidays once in a while.

 

Only if you believe Malcolm Gladwell, or more accurately Ander Ericsson (now at Florida State) on whose work the 10K rule in Gladwell's Outliers was based.  For starters, Ericsson's work stated that 10K was an average time required which meant that exceptionally gifted people could achieve master status in far less time.  Ericsson himself has said that "there is nothing magical about the 10K figure".  So 10K hours isn't a rigid measure.  It could just as easily take half that time for a truly exceptional individual. 

 

10K hours works out to 3.4 years of extended practice or study at 8 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Cut the practice time per day to 4 hours that's slightly less than 7 years total and you can still achieve master status before you've exited your teens if you start at ages 10 to 12, which by the way is not that different from the time required to achieve master status for apprentices in the middle ages. That's achievable prior to the start of an adventuring career.   

 

You can't claim multiple skills are necessary without delineating what those skills are.  I claim Smithing is a single skill, but if you want to argue that becoming a master smith involves mastering both metal working and metallurgy, you could still achieve that in 7 years by spending 4 hours a day working a forge and 4 hours a day studying metallurgical tomes.  Again that's doable before you start adventuring. 

 

Remember that the 10K rule isn't rigid.  It's not a huge stretch to argue that my adventurers, being the exceptional people that they are, could have achieved master status in half that time.  My rogue was one of Fagin's kids when he started out: learned his pickpocket, open locks etc skills starting at a very early age.  We don't have any trouble accepting that premise do we?  Or a young mage with a proclivity for magic?  Again that doesn't cause us a moments pause. 

 

We are talking about abstracted skill progressions in a fantasy rpg and you're trying to impose a rigid standard which actually isn't that rigid in the first place.   How pray tell would you justify becoming a master of persuasion then?  Do you practice your glibness in front of a mirror 4 hours a day?  Talk to your dog?  Or how about bartering.  Did you spend 4 hours a day running thru the bazaars chating up merchants in order to practice negotiating lower prices?  Of course not.  If you are willing to set aside a certain amount of realism (for lack of a better word) in those instances, why can't we do it for everything? 

 

 

I put there typical human, as there is exceptions and in fantasy game there is races and species that we don't have in earth and one can't say any thing about them.

 

Skill that I though that master smith needs are forging, etching, drilling, metal lore (knowing how different metal react, melt, bend, oxidize, harden, etc.), hardening, leather works (cutting, stitching, etc.), designing, measuring  and balancing products for use (because hammer, sword, etc. is quite useless if it is balanced wrongly). And there is probably much more skills that master smith needs to learn. Many of this skills have common elements, which is why I estimated that it would probably take 20k-40k  hours to master them all, but that is only uneducated guess.

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I put there typical human, as there is exceptions and in fantasy game there is races and species that we don't have in earth and one can't say any thing about them.

 

Skill that I though that master smith needs are forging, etching, drilling, metal lore (knowing how different metal react, melt, bend, oxidize, harden, etc.), hardening, leather works (cutting, stitching, etc.), designing, measuring  and balancing products for use (because hammer, sword, etc. is quite useless if it is balanced wrongly). And there is probably much more skills that master smith needs to learn. Many of this skills have common elements, which is why I estimated that it would probably take 20k-40k  hours to master them all, but that is only uneducated guess.

 

 

Fair enough about the typical human.  That simply makes the point about adventurers taking less time by virtue of being exceptional more relevant.

 

How many of those skills would you reasonably expect to find as separate skills in a crpg?  Design?  Measuring?  Balancing?  Forging?  Those can all be lumped under a general classification of metal working.  You're correct that a master smith would have to have knowledge of all those, but they are also part and parcel of the fabrication process.  Knowing how much steel you need to make a long sword, how to shape it, fold it, etc.  can all be lumped under metal working.  Hardening, tempering, sharpening are all metallurgical considerations.  So I'll give you two skills total and possibly a third for leather working. 

 

The 10K model allowed for two skills to be mastered at 4 hours a day for a normal human.  Make that human truly exceptional or use an exotic race with special learning talents and we could easily imagine a 5K requirement which lets our exceptional person learn 4 skills instead of 2.  Now you've got metal working, metallurgy, leatherworking and room left for one more.

 

Consider what it takes to master a second language.  There are actually four separate macro-skills associated with learning a language: reading, writing, speaking and listening (comprehension).  And those 4 skills require additional micro skills such as vocabulary, grammar, tenses, pronunciation and spelling.  That's a total of 9 individual skills (and I probably missed some) yet we lump them all into one base skill and call it language knowledge. 

 

Unless you want to apply the same sort of detailed breakdown for all skills that you do for smithing, you need to be able to combine sub-skills and abstract them.   Otherwise you are going to end up with a massively complex and unwieldly skill system. 

Edited by kgambit

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Skill that I though that master smith needs are forging, etching, drilling, metal lore (knowing how different metal react, melt, bend, oxidize, harden, etc.), hardening, leather works (cutting, stitching, etc.), designing, measuring  and balancing products for use (because hammer, sword, etc. is quite useless if it is balanced wrongly). And there is probably much more skills that master smith needs to learn. Many of this skills have common elements, which is why I estimated that it would probably take 20k-40k  hours to master them all, but that is only uneducated guess.

Common sense should tell you that you don't need 10k hours to master cutting leather. And just by dividing blacksmithing into subskills you multiplied the hours needed to master it. If I put blacksmithing and some other skills together and create the artisanry or handicraft skill (which would take 10k to master), obviously blacksmith is only part of it and we are talking about 2k hours to master blacksmith. It's the same fallacy just the other way round

 

But lets get back at cutting leather. Lets say those 10k are really true for everything. If you put in those 10k to be master leather cutter, you probably won't make better leather straps than someone who practiced only 5k hours. You might be a few milliseconds or seconds faster. That still counts for something if all you do is leather cutting all day long. But if you want to create a sword, those seconds you saved while cutting the leather straps will not make this sword any better at cutting people.

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I put there typical human, as there is exceptions and in fantasy game there is races and species that we don't have in earth and one can't say any thing about them.

 

Skill that I though that master smith needs are forging, etching, drilling, metal lore (knowing how different metal react, melt, bend, oxidize, harden, etc.), hardening, leather works (cutting, stitching, etc.), designing, measuring  and balancing products for use (because hammer, sword, etc. is quite useless if it is balanced wrongly). And there is probably much more skills that master smith needs to learn. Many of this skills have common elements, which is why I estimated that it would probably take 20k-40k  hours to master them all, but that is only uneducated guess.

 

 

Fair enough about the typical human.  That simply makes the point about adventurers taking less time by virtue of being exceptional more relevant.

 

How many of those skills would you reasonably expect to find as separate skills in a crpg?  Design?  Measuring?  Balancing?  Forging?  Those can all be lumped under a general classification of metal working.  You're correct that a master smith would have to have knowledge of all those, but they are also part and parcel of the fabrication process.  Knowing how much steel you need to make a long sword, how to shape it, fold it, etc.  can all be lumped under metal working.  Hardening, tempering, sharpening are all metallurgical considerations.  So I'll give you two skills total and possibly a third for leather working. 

 

The 10K model allowed for two skills to be mastered at 4 hours a day for a normal human.  Make that human truly exceptional or use an exotic race with special learning talents and we could easily imagine a 5K requirement which lets our exceptional person learn 4 skills instead of 2.  Now you've got metal working, metallurgy, leatherworking and room left for one more.

 

Consider what it takes to master a second language.  There are actually four separate macro-skills associated with learning a language: reading, writing, speaking and listening (comprehension).  And those 4 skills require additional micro skills such as vocabulary, grammar, tenses, pronunciation and spelling.  That's a total of 9 individual skills (and I probably missed some) yet we lump them all into one base skill and call it language knowledge. 

 

Unless you want to apply the same sort of detailed breakdown for all skills that you do for smithing, you need to be able to combine sub-skills and abstract them.   Otherwise you are going to end up with a massively complex and unwieldly skill system. 

 

 

It is true that in rpgs you need abstract things behind skills that are quite all-round in their particular aspect, because otherwise most of the game play would consist going rough skill list that mostly don't effect character or game session (I look you Rolemaster). If I would choose crafting skills in fantasy rpg they probably would be design (to determine your ability to create new or improve old things), metal craft, leather craft, wood craft, alchemy/chemistry and depending on what kind product you try to make, skill needs for master class level item would vary, like for example master level sword could need max/near max metal craft skill, but only minor knowledge of other skills.

 

And determine how long to it takes to pc to learn his/her skills to master level is of course complicate question, which I would leave for GM to determine, but of course in computer games you can't do that, where you need to beforehand decide all factors that can occur during the game. So I would drop idea to try determine how long things take in our world and decide what pcs should be able to do in the game. Personally I would avoid Leonardo syndrome (meaning that player can masters all skill in the game) and zero to hero syndrome (meaning that in the beginning of the game pc knows little or nothing about skill and end of game s/he is best in the world in that skill), especially if your story arc takes under a year to reach it conclusion.

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also keep in mind that in a typical game characters gain 5-10 years worth of experience in the combat arts.

 

 

Before the game starts?  maybe but it's not a given  When the game starts the characters are novices even in their chosen fields.  Do they bring previous experience to the table.  Sure but you're speculating as to how extensive that experience is.  Exactly the same way I am speculating that a character might have sufficient skill to be a master smith when he starts the game.  

 

no, during the game you advance 5-10 years worth of experience relative to the average person.  you start off barely above a pack of rats in battle prowess most of the time, hardly a novice.  by the end of the game you can go toe to toe with things that can wipe out whole villages.  i used 5-10 years based on a soldier who goes to a protracted war, and thus would be equivalent to a novice going to work for a blacksmith for 5-10 years that was dedicated to learning the craft.

 

on the one hand adventures don't last 5-10 years, and typically the characters start as pretty pathetic (sub peasant teenager competency) and end up a grizzled veteran.  so the amount of experience is inflated already.  on the other hand being dedicated to adventuring means one can't also be dedicated to crafting.  so where do you draw the realism line?  it would seem you have drawn it someplace different than those you are arguing with, which is pretty much what the whole argument boils down to.

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"forging the greatest sword" seems to imply both masterwork and enchantment.   If I misread your intent, I apologize.

Ahh. No worries. Sorry that caused confusion.

 

But as far as a mastersmith I think you can either start as one or achieve it during the game.  The middle ages example says you it is more than possible to achieve master smith status before you even begin adventuring.   It's not out of the realm of possibility at all.  Check the ages I listed and consider what age you might start the PE campaign at.   But if you want to claim that it's not possible because of lack of experience, It is not that difficult to extend your argument to other disciplines.   Language skills?  HAHA  When are you going to find time to learn new languages.  Alchemy?  Takes time to study chemical reactions and how chemicals interact.  Can't just pull the Alchemy for Dummies book of the shelf.  (Well okay you could but you probably won't like the results).  Medical skills?  Okay it's not In PE, but learning medical skills takes a long time and years of study.  Hmmm, where are you going to find time to do THAT in a game.  Yet games like JA2 let you improve medical skills.  So please ... just throw away the time constraint argument.    Skill progressions are generally abstracted to begin with.   You rarely find people being required to find new books on metallurgy, botany, wilderness skills, tracking etc.  The process by which knowledge is gained is abstracted at the level process. I don't see why weapon smithing should be any different.    YMMV

Well, to put it simply, you're pretty much using all those other skills the majority of the time (you're battling, healing, speaking, deciphering ruins, etc.). Then, you spend 5 minutes at a forge here and there, and somehow you're mastering smithing. "I made like 5 iron swords! NOW I KNOW HOW TO EXPERTLY FOLD STEEL!". So, the time abstraction isn't NEARLY as extreme with swordsmanship and healing and language knowledge as it is with crafting, typically. As far as starting as a sort of novice and going all the way to master. Plus, I really think it's a bit silly (in a way... not silly in others, I suppose) for your character to start out at "what's a sword?" skill level. Especially when you're a level 1 Warrior or something, and not a level 1 Infant, who might actually become a Warrior after 5 more years of experience and training. In other words, I don't find it very exciting when the baseline for combat skill is "I MIGHT can swing an object at something else, maybe," and you have to go about fighting slightly angered rats and incompetent bandits until you're actually capable enough to handle feasible worldly threats. Just for what that's worth.

 

But, of course, that brings us to your "what if you start out not as a teenager, and with much more life experience?" point. Which is quite a good one, I might add. I agree, in the same way I was just getting at combat skill. I think that, if you build a character and take some craft as one of your main skills, etc., then it should be assumed that you've had some background in it, and you're not just starting out with "Alright, *rubs hands together*, so what happens when you heat metal, and what's a forge?". BUT, I really don't think you should be able to become the absolute best swordsman in the universe, OR the best smith in the universe. If you're the most skilled combatant in the universe, then everything else is at-or-below your level, meaning you're not really overcoming much. And if you're the best smith in the universe, then all other smiths are, again, redundant. That isn't so much wrong as it is unfortunately less exciting, I think. You could remedy it by just not having other smiths in the world who are that skilled, but then, that would be a bit silly. NO one spends all their time as a smith, instead of doing other things? Why not? And so forth...

 

So, that's just what I observe about such factors and their effects on things. I don't think it's WRONG to allow players to master a craft such as smithing, or that it ruins the game. I just think it's not really ideal, given other factors that, if removed, just trade one problem for another. So, it seems to me that allowing a player's characters to simply become moderately skilled at crafting various things (starting from a potential baseline of "I'm not a complete nooblet at this because I worked as a such-and-such for a few years before setting out adventuring" and developing an appropriate amount of skill in between all adventuring tasks that don't really hone crafting skills at all), then allowing for "I've spent my whole life at a forge, and still work at that forge" NPC crafter characters in the world to satisfy all the masterwork-level-goods needs is a pretty smart plan. That's all.

 

I have seen skill progressions that are based on repeated usage of certain skills to advance them.  Forget that.  Mindless repetition is boring.  We can do without that.

I agree, and that's why you see people not wanting a feasible (albeit still abstracted) amount of effort being required/represented in the mastery of a craft skill in an RPG like this. I simply think that "let NPCs have 'mindlessly repeated' the forging process for the last 40 years and still provide the nicely represented outcome" is a preferable alternative to "let's just skip all that work and pretend it takes some skill point allocations over the course of a few hours to be able to produce magnificently-crafted equipment."

 

Honestly, though, I'd still like to see a game that simply abstracts all that "mindless repetition" of craft-skill honing in a fun and interesting manner. That probably makes me weird, I know... Again, I'm not against crafting mastery. I just think completely ignoring the fact that it requires a QUITE extensive amount of effort (by abstracting it down to a few clicks of the mouse during the player's party's coffee breaks), while simultaneously highlighting the fact that it requires an extensive amount of time and effort (by incorporating NPC characters in the world who have spent the past 60 years not only working at a forge for 10 hours a day, but ALSO studying under some previous master smith for 40 of those years) isn't exactly the most ideal way of handling things, and I seek a better alternative.

 

The Witcher alchemy system did basically the same thing.  It had multiple ingredients that provided the same base elements and actually had a secondary property with them.  It was actually a very neat system.  It's not that different in concept and allows a lot of flexibility.   I think the best you can hope for is enough variety in the ingredients and recipes that it seems expansive - any system is going to require hard coding.

I forgot about that! Yeah, it actually was rather nice. Again, I think at the very least, it's safe to say that some amount of dynamic component utility is drastically better than 100% static recipes and component uses.

 

It's just that, the entire game is built upon dynamics. You have a character, but it could be any number of classes, depending on what you pick. You're a Fighter? You could use all kinds of different bits of equipment, or specialize in different fighting styles, or take different combinations of skills, or even specialize in things that aren't directly related to your class (like diplomacy/social skills, or Sneakery, etc.). Got an intelligent character? You could handle a given dialogue in A NUMBER of ways. Not just "this is the smart-character dialogue option, and this is the not-so-smart-character dialogue option." Got a kick ability? You could use it to interrupt an attack, OR to reposition an enemy, OR to just deal some extra damage quickly, all depending on the situation. The list goes on.

 

Then you get to crafting. "Want to make a weapon? You can only make an iron dagger. You need 3 iron ingots, and some wood. Yay, now you got better at crafting, and now you can make a BRONZE dagger! Ooooooh! You need 3 pieces of bronze, and some wood. Yay! You're better at crafting! Now you can make an ornate bronze dagger. Yeah, you don't even get to decide HOW it's ornate. It's just one thing. All people in the world who want to make an ornate dagger put this SAME design into it, with this exact same recipe and exact same components. They even work the metal the exact same way, and use the exact same forge tools."

 

Like I said... it's no wonder crafting has such a bad rep. :)

 

I'll end on some food for thought, regarding the effects of adventurers mastering crafting: Imagine if, in Lord of the Rings, the Fellowship just all made camp, and Gimli said "Wait a minute! Let's go to a forge, and I'll just craft us all resplendent weapons that can harm Nazgul and that all glow blue when orcs are nearby, and that do fire damage, and armor that will protect us from all manner of nasty things!" Instead of the group struggling with what resources they have, and their acquisition of exceptional/enchanted items being something quite significant. (Note: I only chose Gimli as an example because Dwarves probably had the most experience at forges. I realize the Elves were responsible for most of the equipment magic/enchantment. I was just rolling with the "if you can master one thing so quickly and easily via abstraction, why not several things?" notion.)

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Yes, research is absolutely necessary. I was (swear to god) staring at the ceiling loosing sleep over exactly what was necessary to improve crafting, and I got out of bed and logged in just to make this exact post but it seems Lephys beat me to it. Gathering blueprints is bad because it takes most of the crafting out of the players hands. There is a huge difference between researching a better sword and getting a diagram for the same thing. If crafting is based on diagrams, then it takes all the responsibility away from the PC. On some level, you are just fulfilling someone else's designs. It is far more satisfying to build something you thought of yourself, even if the difference is purely symbolic.

 

That said, there is some room for blueprints. It would be totally cool to rediscover the forging technique based on some musty tome unearthed from a ruin, but the key is in the narrative. Diagrams shouldn't be Diablo 3 style where the things just fall out of enemies pockets. They should be impressive and have stories or plotlines/quests of their own. They could even unlock entire new paths of research! 

 

Why stop research with crafting? Extending it to magic would be similarly awesome. It would be fantastic if you could research new spells in your tower. It is bizarre that all the NPC casters spend all their time reading books, but, for some reason, the PC caster gains knowledge by blowing things up. 

 

There are, however, a few things where I disagree.

 

I disagree with the notion that the player shouldn't be able to make some of the best items in the game. This reasoning is problematic because it effectively makes crafting a waste of time at higher levels. Why bother with armorsmithing when everything you do will eventually become obsolete? This is a big problem in almost every crafting system I have seen. The satisfaction you get from making your own gear is quickly eliminated when the things you make are replaced three loot drops later. Obviously, player made gear sholdn't always be better, but crafting can be controlled by requiring rare ingredients. Furthermore, ingredients just make it more satisfying. The process of climbing mount olympus to gather lightning motes to put in a staff makes the staff much more impressive. 

 

Also, there is alot of talk about how it isn't realistic that adventurers can spend all kinds of time saving the world and be master crafters at the same time. I have two responses to this. 

 

First, one needs to consider the rule of cool. It is much cooler that you forged the soul harvester blade out of meteoric steel in magma of Mtn. Kir'Maadur and quenched with the tears of angels than having some lackey do it for you. 

 

Second, if your concern is realism you should start with the fact that it is impossible for dragons to fly given their weight and wing design. Furthermore, it isn't reasonable for people to shoot lighting from their fingertips. Getting bogged down in how many hours you need to master skills X,Y,Z and be savior of the world is ridiculous when you are willing to accept the notion of a sentient rock pile (a.k.a. earth elemental). Its a magical world, and some people are unreasonably awesome. 

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Suggestion:

 

Perhaps we should separate skill (how well you can craft) from knowledge (what you can craft)

Then a high skill allows you many options to craft what you know and as you gain more knowledge, you'll have more items to craft well

 

So someone with the highest crafting capabilities, but little experience won't be able to call himself a master despite being really good at mending buckles.

Proficiency with weapons and armour, experience in fighting certain weapons and armour, owning certain weapons and armour, all improve knowledge. Eventually you may have fought with spears or against spears or carried a spear long enough that you got to study it well enough to start crafting it yourself. And then your skill in crafting is applied.

Edited by JFSOCC
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Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
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Suggestion:

 

Perhaps we should separate skill (how well you can craft) from knowledge (what you can craft)

Then a high skill allows you many options to craft what you know and as you gain more knowledge, you'll have more items to craft well

 

I like what you are getting at, but I think that will complicate the system without making it more fun.

 

My idea is that you have research trees where all you have to do to get a particular knowledge is invest a certain amount of money (representing raw materials lost in experimentation) and in game time (i.e. the game clock moves forward).

 

Certain research branches of the skill tree can be unlocked by training with a master smith or by finding ancient tomes. 

 

This gives a sense of progress greater than "my smith knowledge went from 10 to 11". It creates a system that rewards diligence (finding all the hidden branches), contains the power of crafting powerful items (by making them expensive), and it helps maintain the good feeling you get from making something you thought of yourself (without having to think of it yourself).

 

You can also add an element of replayability or control the power of crafting further by making certain research branches incompatible. (E.g. you can learn dwarven or elven smithing but not both.)

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Well, to put it simply, you're pretty much using all those other skills the majority of the time (you're battling, healing, speaking, deciphering ruins, etc.). Then, you spend 5 minutes at a forge here and there, and somehow you're mastering smithing. "I made like 5 iron swords! NOW I KNOW HOW TO EXPERTLY FOLD STEEL!". So, the time abstraction isn't NEARLY as extreme with swordsmanship and healing and language knowledge as it is with crafting, typically. As far as starting as a sort of novice and going all the way to master.

What really made someone master blacksmith? I have as much idea as anyone here but I doubt that it was something that needed thousands of hours of training. I guess that blacksmithing consisted of mostly secret methods that were handed down by father to son or by guilds to their members (guilds did mainly exist just to control the practice of a craft). Now if some boy got apprenticeship with a blacksmith it didn't mean that he now was practicing the skill at the forge for hours and hours. No, he was the cheap labor who had to keep the forge heated, bring water and coals... After a few years he got better and more important tasks, but it doesn't necessarily mean that they were complicated or an art form. He would also naturally learn by watching the master, but again it doesn't mean it was complicated stuff, it was just trade secrets that a blacksmith just wouldn't tell you even if you asked nicely.

 

Is there any indication that that could be true? Well, at a certain time weapons made out of damascus steel had a nearly legendary reputation. Naturally even damascus swords came in different qualities, but obviously it was the manufacturing process that made those weapons legendary, not the individual blacksmith. Another example: The norici were a celtic tribe that delivered their steel to the roman empire and were an important factor to the military successes of the empire. It surely wasn't a tribe of exceptional artists, it was mainly their secret knowledge that kept them in bussiness. Roman blacksmiths surely put in 10k hours as well to be metallurgy master, but still they couldn't compete with that tribe.

 

I don't dispute that there also were some things you would learn by doing, like knowing the correct timing which is difficult to describe in a book. Or that there is an art in creating weapons that also look good. But just assuming you find someone or some book that gives you all the knowledge you need, I would not be surprised if you could master blacksmithing with a lot less effort at honing your motor skills. And if the correct timing is in question you could always make ten swords with different timing and keep the best. It also might not look like the finest sword but its damage will rival one if you just have the right steel.

 

"5 minutes at a forge here and there" completely ignores the fact that there is a lot of time between adventuring that isn't used for adventuring. How else could the thief master thiefing, lock picking and trap disarm? This downtime is never simulated in RPGs but it's there. Speaking with nobles for example needs you to know and train etiquette, making small talk is not a skill you can train with the dwarfen fighter at the camp fire. And to learn healing might be possible in a war with enough "raw material" that dies if you do something wrong, but if you don't want your team members to change every week you better learn the trade while making stop-overs in towns with healers available.

 

Then you get to crafting. "Want to make a weapon? You can only make an iron dagger. You need 3 iron ingots, and some wood. Yay, now you got better at crafting, and now you can make a BRONZE dagger! Ooooooh! You need 3 pieces of bronze, and some wood. Yay! You're better at crafting! Now you can make an ornate bronze dagger. Yeah, you don't even get to decide HOW it's ornate. It's just one thing. All people in the world who want to make an ornate dagger put this SAME design into it, with this exact same recipe and exact same components. They even work the metal the exact same way, and use the exact same forge tools."

 

Like I said... it's no wonder crafting has such a bad rep. :)

Yes, this is the crafting horror story. The Thaumcraft method might be a way out by bringing some decisions into the collecting of raw materials. But I would guess those decisions are still not that interesting when crafting is just used to make the few weapons that you didn't find somewhere else, only if it is used to generate consumables like arrows or potions it could be a noticable improvement (because you have much more to craft resource management becomes important).

 

I still hope for some more mystery and experimentation to occur when crafting stuff.

Edited by jethro
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@Warren:

 

First of all, nice post. And sorry for inadvertently stealing some of your thoughts before you got a chance to post them, :). I didn't mean to.

 

Secondly, to be fair, I never said I didn't want the player to be able to craft some of the best items in the game. I just don't think you should be able to possess the highest amount of deftness at particular active crafting processes in the world. And I think what JFSOCC hit on (the whole "skill versus knowledge" thing) is pretty spot on, really.

 

(Now sort of also @jethro:)

 

It's easy to know how to do something, and completely different to be able to do it well.. Even if I tell someone how to perform open-heart surgery, that doesn't mean they're going to be able to do it without screwing it up. Better yet, look at sports. I know HOW to play golf. It's easy. You swing a club, and strike a ball, propelling it towards a hole. You try to do it as well as possible. A pro golfer could teach me how to golf for two years, and I'd still be pretty-good, at best. Don't ask me why it takes us, as humans, so long to perfect things like that; to get our muscle memory just right, and time everything and perform every action with maximum efficiency and precision. I have no idea. But it does.

 

Also, to clarify, I'm not talking about "mastering smithing" as in "getting to where you don't make swords incorrectly." I'm talking about completing the forging process in the absolute highest-quality fashion in existence.

 

Anywho... could you have a character who, much like pro athletes of today, pretty much started crafting when they were 6 and continued doing so ever since, up until the start of the adventure that takes them away from the forge for the majority of the game's story? Sure. But then, they'd probably be pretty big noobs at pretty much everything else. Maybe not, though. Maybe they focused as much as they could on some form of, in the context of P:E, class-based combat proficiency and/or adventuring capability. The only remaining concern there is: What about that legendary Dwarf who's been at the forge for 60 years, when your character is only like 20-something? Is he not more skilled than you are? There's absolutely NOTHING he could make that you can't, now?

 

Does that make sense? I think that, even if you're allowed to "master" smithing (or a similar artisan craft), the world would still be remiss not to contain experience and skills beyond your own, through the sheer extra amount of time and experience people in the world would obviously have put into it. Sure, maybe your character isn't a little sproutling. But, you know why they tend to be? Because, if you're 70, what the HELL have you been doing all those years if you suck at everything to the point that you're level 1, and can actually progress to something much higher throughout the game? It's hard to progress from a seasoned veteran at life to something better, and progression is one of the main aspects of these games' designs.

 

So, maybe you can even make the equivalent of a Damascus steel blade, and get quite good at it, but there should still be someone out in the world who can make something completely different. And maybe you can find meteorite, and you know that it CAN be forged into a blade, but it's REALLY tricky, and you can't do it. Limitation... the leveling system... there's only SO much you can learn in the game. You can't just infinitely find new materials, and master the nuances of crafting with them. Knowledge-wise OR skill-wise.

 

But, it's sure as hell a lot easier to know and comprehend something than it is to deftly perform a complex task. So, to me, it makes fine sense that you might be able to find and procure legendary meteorite metal, but you'd need to take it to someone even more skilled than yourself to have it properly fashioned into a blade that won't break and chip and bend every time you swing it. Then, maybe you even know how to do more TO that blade -- customize its hilt/guard/pommel, infuse it with soul-magic, attune it to something... who knows. But, why shouldn't you have SOME kind of limitation? And if you're going to have one, why shouldn't it be in SKILL rather than KNOWLEDGE?

 

Like you said: anyone intelligent enough can read or be told about a process and comprehend how it works. But, not everyone can necessarily perform that process with the necessary skill. You could read a book written by a master about martial arts, all day long, and that wouldn't make you a martial arts master. Why is it that people who've practiced martial arts for 50 years are still statistically far more masterful of them than those who've only practiced for 15 years? I have no idea. I'm just observing that fact, is all.

 

I think it's a bit cheap to simply allow your character to just so happen to be the world's greatest prodigy at whatever it is you choose to do, just so the player never has to deal with any kind of limitation. Sure, it's really cool and fun to be able to craft the most legendary sword every heard of in the history of the fantasy realm, but it puts a bit of a damper on all those thousands of years of history and legendary figures and craftsmen when you read about some blade that severed the heavens, and your character just shrugs and says "Yeah... I can consistently make those now, because I'm really good at forging."

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I still hope for some more mystery and experimentation to occur when crafting stuff.

 

 

 

To keep it interesting, we might make the research tree "blind". I.e. you can invest time and money into heavy armor crafting research, and you will discover heavy armors. You wont know exactly what kind of heavy armor you will get, but it will probably be useful.

 

E.g. "you have improved on your chain link technique, making your heavy armor plating sit more comfortably. Heavy armor penalties on armors you make are reduced by 2" or you could also get something like "through your diligence and experimentation in dwarven smithing you are now able to craft Master Dwarven Plate". 

 

The amount of research you can do in a particular branch can be limited by your characters respective skill, and some basic recipes and abilities might be awarded just from improving your skill through leveling, but if you want the really good stuff you have to invest.

 

You can be a master smith in terms of your literal point based skill value, but your real specialty would be in, say, swordsmithing and the lost art of bloodstone armors. However, if someone asks you to make a spear, you can do it, and it will be good, but it wont make it into the bardic tales.

Edited by Warren
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^ Yeah. Even if the results are functionally the same as a list of recipes, just the sheer difference in the process of acquiring them via discovery is much more satisfying and true to crafting than just going through tiers of existing, procurable recipes. Not that the world should be devoid of recipes. Just... I'd rather discover a new way to work with iron, resulting in differences to all iron things I can make, instead of "You now have the recipe for an iron bracer! 8D!"

 

The research in Thaumcraft is blind like that. There are items and materials, and their essences, and the things you research are called "theories" and are essentially comprised of a number of different essences. You put something on your research table, for study, and you study it. If something currently able to be discovered by you (many things have pre-requisites) doesn't use any of the essences of the thing you're currently studying, then, after a couple of attempts at study, the essences will grey themselves out. Basically, you've exhausted your existing knowledge with that essence.

 

Once you study a valid essence (on that's in at least ONE of the invisible theories available for you to discover at the moment), it will pick an available theory at random, out of the pool of ones that use that essence. So, you don't know what you're getting, but, at the same time, you know what essences you're studying. So, if you want to learn more about armor, you can study stuff with the armor/defense essence (this is all just Thaumcraft contextual specifics.) Once you're onto a theory regarding, say, the armor/defense essence, you have to continue to study things that have that essence. So, the essence almost serves a double function (part knowledge, part magical crafting substance). Items still have essence amounts, and that applies to the research as well. So, a piece of leather might have 1 armor essence, while a steel breastplate might have a value of 8 armor essence. Basically, if you're studying a strip of leather, there's less data available towards the nature of protecting things and designing armor. While, the breastplate obviously provides more opportunities to observe the effectiveness of protective design (especially with the knowledge of how the breastplate works).

 

So, studying the breastplate will result in greater percentage gains toward the completion of the armor essence aspect of your current theory than studying leather strips. But both can get you there. Of course, after a certain number of studies, the item gets "used up." Yup, it just goes away. While wonky, it works in the context of Minecraft, because the whole game is pretty much crafting. It's quite easy to whip up 17 steel breastplates just to research with.

 

Anywho, once you get one or more essence aspects to 100% on the current theory, you generally figure out what it is you're onto (some advanced metal allow, or maybe a particular type of armor, or a type of armor enchantment, etc.). This gives you clues as to the other essence aspects involved with the theory. And when you get far enough along (or sometimes at random? I'm not sure, as sometimes it seems like it's set, and sometimes it seems almost random), it flat-out reveals other aspects to you. You still have to get them from 0% to 100%, but, you know to study items with THAT aspect instead of one of the other... I dunno, 40?

 

Again, that's just how it works in Thaumcraft, and I wouldn't at all ask for that EXACT SAME system in P:E. I just think it's very interesting how much more like discovery it feels, even as basic as it is. Many of the theories you discover and research result in MULTIPLE recipes. So, in that way, it's less basic than may other systems. You actually come up with an applicable piece of knowledge, rather than a gamily arbitrary development of just a single object and nothing more.

 

Imagine it like this: You know of ways you'd apply portals, IF YOU COULD MAKE THEM. So you study and study... and suddenly, you hit onto a theory about stabilizing and sustaining magical portals. You research it fully, and now you've got it. Okay, well, now you don't have to research ways in which to use portals. That was the EASY part to design. You can instantly come up with many ways of using them. But, maybe there are further bits of research for very specific implementations of this magical portal technology. Like... (I'm just making all this up for an example, for what it's worth)... defensive portals. You think "What if I could put up a portal outside my stronghold walls, to stop incoming siege weapons/arrows and such, then cause the portal to invert itself, allowing all the enveloped projectiles to exit back the way they came?" Well, now that would be something you'd need to research... to figure out how to get portals to do that. It's not just something you can automatically do with the basic knowledge and functionality of portals.

 

Anywho... I'm sure a much more something-that-would-actually-be-feasible-in-P:E example would've been better than portal technology, but you play the hand you're dealt, I guess, heh. That's what my brain dealt me, and it refused to think of something more practical.

 

All I'm trying to get at is, as far as my experience has shown me in Thaumcraft, the basic functionality of a research system like that is quite pleasant in tandem with the basics of a crafting system and pretty much any RPG's loot/item system. I know Minecraft is Minecraft, but its loot/item system is remarkably similar to that of pretty much any other RPG, to be honest. So, I think observing how the research and uncommon magical-essence-crafting systems interact with that item/loot system is valuable.


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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It's easy to know how to do something, and completely different to be able to do it well.. Even if I tell someone how to perform open-heart surgery, that doesn't mean they're going to be able to do it without screwing it up. Better yet, look at sports.

No, not sports. That is muscle memory. That is training your reflexes, automatizing reactions. That was what I was driving at. There are skills like that and there are other skills. I have learned tennis, piano and computer programming and the first two are totally about doing the same things over and over to train your reflexes. The third is knowledge based and totally different. Sure, you train that too to some extent, but mostly it is defined by your talent, memory and lets call it symbolic intelligence. Many people couldn't master it irrespective of how much time they would invest, some understand it without much effort.

 

I'm just saying that in my opinion blacksmithing was very much a skill defined by secret knowledge and not at all comparable to sports or martial arts.

 

Also, to clarify, I'm not talking about "mastering smithing" as in "getting to where you don't make swords incorrectly." I'm talking about completing the forging process in the absolute highest-quality fashion in existence.

For me a PC in an RPG is, when he maxed out his blacksmithing, not able to forge like the best blacksmiths in the world. But you don't need to make the best damascus sword if the rest of the world has to forge mostly with lesser steel or even iron. You still will find better legendary items from masters long gone in caves or in the hands of your arch nemesis, swords that are more deadly as well as products of art. But for your blacksmithing skill you have talked to numerous blacksmiths, some of them masters of their art. And for some reason (you being in the guild for example AND saved their home town) they told you their secrets and trained you. Now your technique may not be the best, but through your travels you found many tricks and new materials and could combine some of that, making your weapons rivals in effectiveness to the works of other blacksmiths. Your weapons don't work as adornment for a nobleman, but in a fight they are the equivalent of masterwork weapons.

 

So, maybe you can even make the equivalent of a Damascus steel blade, and get quite good at it, but there should still be someone out in the world who can make something completely different.

Absolutely true. The PC should never be able to make better or even comparable weapons to the best found in the world. He also shouldn't be able to make anything.

 

I think it's a bit cheap to simply allow your character to just so happen to be the world's greatest prodigy at whatever it is you choose to do, just so the player never has to deal with any kind of limitation. Sure, it's really cool and fun to be able to craft the most legendary sword every heard of in the history of the fantasy realm, but it puts a bit of a damper on all those thousands of years of history and legendary figures and craftsmen when you read about some blade that severed the heavens, and your character just shrugs and says "Yeah... I can consistently make those now, because I'm really good at forging."

The thing is, if there is a blacksmithing skill and you have to put experience points into it, then yes, your PC must be the one to do the smithing. That's at the core of the system we accepted when playing RPGs.

If blacksmithing is instead not a skill but just you buying and collecting knowledge fragments from all over the world which you bring to the blacksmith you hired for a lot of gold? Well, then that is excellent because I can think of better skills than blacksmithing an adventurer would be interested in.

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^ Yeah. Even if the results are functionally the same as a list of recipes, just the sheer difference in the process of acquiring them via discovery is much more satisfying and true to crafting than just going through tiers of existing, procurable recipes. Not that the world should be devoid of recipes. Just... I'd rather discover a new way to work with iron, resulting in differences to all iron things I can make, instead of "You now have the recipe for an iron bracer! 8D!"

 

....

 

Once you study a valid essence (on that's in at least ONE of the invisible theories available for you to discover at the moment), it will pick an available theory at random, out of the pool of ones that use that essence. So, you don't know what you're getting, but, at the same time, you know what essences you're studying. So, if you want to learn more about armor, you can study stuff with the armor/defense essence (this is all just Thaumcraft contextual specifics.) Once you're onto a theory regarding, say, the armor/defense essence, you have to continue to study things that have that essence. So, the essence almost serves a double function (part knowledge, part magical crafting substance). Items still have essence amounts, and that applies to the research as well. So, a piece of leather might have 1 armor essence, while a steel breastplate might have a value of 8 armor essence. Basically, if you're studying a strip of leather, there's less data available towards the nature of protecting things and designing armor. While, the breastplate obviously provides more opportunities to observe the effectiveness of protective design (especially with the knowledge of how the breastplate works).

 

So, studying the breastplate will result in greater percentage gains toward the completion of the armor essence aspect of your current theory than studying leather strips. But both can get you there. Of course, after a certain number of studies, the item gets "used up." Yup, it just goes away. While wonky, it works in the context of Minecraft, because the whole game is pretty much crafting. It's quite easy to whip up 17 steel breastplates just to research with.

 

Exactly! Its kind of ridiculous how little is actually being changed with such a massive increase in satisfaction. Instead of having recipes being generated into merchant's inventories and then buying them on the "shopping screen", you go to your bookshelf/anvil, spend time and money on the "research screen". Same result but for some reason naming the screen "research" and making you not know what you are effectively buying makes the process 1000x more interesting. Just mentioning how little is actually different makes me feel stupid about how much more I prefer one system to the other. 

 

To dovetail with your minecraft suggestions, you could have a system where you deconstruct loot that you don't want/need and get and gain a gold equivalent investment in a particular knowledge branch. I mean its not that crazy. Want to figure out how something works? Take it apart. Although, you shouldn't be able to gain knowledge from deconstructing things that you have made, nor should taking apart a basic iron sword be at all helpful or interesting to a master swordsmith. 

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Sports is largely muscle memory, but it's also muscle-capability. Muscle-memory is training your muscles to replicate the exact same application of technique consistently. But you must first develop that technique. Someone with a strong arm can throw a football, but it takes a hell of a lot of practice to throw it at the perfect angle, with the perfect spiral, and hit the perfect spot, every time (or most of the time). Yes some people have more talent with that than others. One person might play football for 10 years and become the most accurate passer ever, and someone else might play football for 10 years and still be pretty sloppy at it. Maybe if you give them 10 more years, they'll become almost as good as the first person. Obviously their maximum potentials will differ... but, the point is, NO one is going to play football for only ONE year and be as good or better at passing than the person who did it for 10 years. And even the person who played for 10 years and had talent is going to be out-techniqued by the person who played for 20 and ALSO had talent.

 

That's what I'm getting at. You can't be the only prodigy in the world, so if there's at LEAST one other prodigy in the world, and you're both doing the same thing, and he's been doing it longer than you have, I can guarantee he knows stuff you don't, and can do things to some degree better than you can.

 

You don't get to become the best in the world at anything else. Not even combat. Well, not typically. You may become VERY skilled with a sword throughout the course of an RPG, but there's going to be some foe out there that's "better" than you: a creature that's stronger, or faster, a spellcaster who can do things you can't, a sniper who's far more accurate than you'll ever be. You can't expect to enter some 1,000-year-old-ruins and challenge the nether-creature that's ruled there and feasted on people's souls for hundreds of years and expect to just laugh and go "HA-HAH! I do more damage than you! ^_^". You can't even expect to run into no other non-nether-creature (humanoid, "regular" person) like you who hasn't acquired capabilities that you haven't, or who wasn't born with greater inherent talent than you have, or who doesn't possess far greater experience than you do.

 

So, all I'm asking is that the same goes for crafting. I think in a lot of games, it just gets SO overly simplified. I'm not asking for an actual, in-game representation of the exact process of honing one's forging technique, with hours and hours and hours and hours of trial-and-error spend at a forge, building up control muscles and working the metal JUST right, and holding it JUST in the right spot, heating it for JUST the right amount of time... etc. I don't want to simulate real-life crafting. I just ALSO don't think there's a need to completely throw all things real-life-crafting into the garbage, for the sake of "It's fun to reap the results of horribly-oversimplified crafting! 8D! I just made Zeus's lightning bolt with the click of a button! 8D!"

 

That's all. I think you've touched on the same thing. There have been other crafting threads around here, and people have said things like "You probably should only ever be allowed to make really basic stuff, because you don't have time to hone crafting over the course of an adventure." And I don't agree with that. That's not what I'm trying to say. I think you could probably get pretty good at crafting. Especially if your character's background involves a foundation in crafting, so that it's understood you're not starting from scratch, and learning how to forge metal as you run about from place to place, handling the narrative. But, the story is BLATANTLY only taking place over a very short (relative to people in the world who've been crafting their whole lives, and never stopped to run off and address a world-threatening narrative) amount of time. So, I think it's perfectly fine to have the cutoff point for the player's maximum potential (in the amount of time that the story allows) to be lower than that of some few renowned crafters in the world (with whom the player can interact), as well as ancient/forgotten/beyond-human-potential artifacts and equipment that can be found throughout the world. There's nothing wrong with what you can craft not being comparable to the ABSOLUTE top-tier of existing equipment in the entire universe. I don't need my character to be surpassed by none, be it at crafting or ANY other skill/capability/technique.

 

That's all. I don't know exactly where to cut that off. Depends on a lot of factors. But I agree with the general idea of limiting the player's capability, because the rest of the world is a much older, wiser place than the player's character.

 

And yes, I agree about the "if Blacksmithing is a skill" comment. But, it could very well not be a skill, and, as I said before (a while back somewhere in here), there's the potential for stronghold hirelings to consider. You could essentially play out the smithing system via a blacksmith who works for your party and your stronghold, and progresses as the rest of it does. You run off to tackle a dungeon, and he's busy gaining experience at the forge all the while. Boom. The player still gets to enjoy the crafting, but the character doing the crafting isn't just arbitrarily awesome at smithing because he gains some abstract levels, but because he's working at a forge for 10 hours a day. You bring him new knowledge and techniques from books or what-have-you, and/or new materials to work with, and he applies his skill to that knowledge/material and figures out how best to use it.

 

Now, just because there's a stronghold blacksmith (if there is one, I mean), doesn't mean the entire crafting system has to hinge upon him, and no one else could ever blacksmith. But, again, he (and other smiths/merchants throughout the realm) might be able to produce or sell you equipment and such if you simply choose not to pursue crafting with any characters, and/or produce or sell you (eventually) top-tier equipment that you can't make on your own because you've hit your ceiling. OR, maybe it takes BOTH of you. Maybe you know things he doesn't (you're skilled at smithing, but also at working with rare/soul-magic-related materials, etc., which he's not as experienced with), and he's far more skilled with standard metals/materials and at running the forge than you are. So, only together can you forge a weapon out of some kind of legendary soulstone or something. (it wouldn't be made completely out of it, but it would be incorporated into the design of the weapon somehow, maybe... *Shrug*).

 

It's just one big spectrum of possibilities. :)

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Jethro, I couldn't disagree more. The PC should definitely be able to make some of the best gear in the game. He just shouldn't be able to make all of the best gear. If you have maxed out light armor smithing, your light armor should be legendary. If it is any less, than you run into the whole obsolete skill problem. I just spent all kinds of skill points, gold, and questing on becoming the best light armor smith possible, and you are saying that I still wont be able to compete with the true masters? Thats not just un-epic, it is also cruel to make me jump through so many hoops and then serve me with: "here is a light armor better than anything you could possibly do". (I run into this in almost every crafting system and it makes me cry every time.)

 

If thats the nature of PC crafting then screw it, get rid of the system all together and hire lackeys to do the stuff for you. But again, this is also not as cool since you don't get the satisfaction of killing the dragon with the sword you made yourself. 

 

I get that real life has various constraints that prevent you from being a pro boxer and a chemical engineer at the same time, but I'm playing a game specifically so that I can avoid those constraints. 

 

I'm not saying that the PC should be able to master all the skills and be some sort of max level Skyrim character. I'm saying he should be world class in 2-3 things outside of his chosen profession of kicking butt and taking names.

 

If I killed a dragon to use the tip of it's tail for the shaft of a staff, at the top of which I put a fist sized ruby stolen from the crown of an emperor, and then bind 1000 tortured souls into the gem using ancient arts I uncovered from deciphering the grammar of creation, the staff BETTER BE THE BEST STAFF EVER.

Edited by Warren
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Exactly! Its kind of ridiculous how little is actually being changed with such a massive increase in satisfaction. Instead of having recipes being generated into merchant's inventories and then buying them on the "shopping screen", you go to your bookshelf/anvil, spend time and money on the "research screen". Same result but for some reason naming the screen "research" and making you not know what you are effectively buying makes the process 1000x more interesting. Just mentioning how little is actually different makes me feel stupid about how much more I prefer one system to the other.

Yeah! I mean, that's how reality works, even. The things we discover ALREADY EXIST (same as being hard-coded into some resource file as a discoverable "recipe"), and we uncover them and study them and gain applicable knowledge about them. I mean, the fact that cooking a chicken a certain way, at a certain heat, for a certain amount of time makes it mighty tender and delicious is an existing fact. And we don't just boil water 50 times, then go *DING!*, and magically gain the knowledge of how to cook a chicken properly.

 

The only difference with an RPG like this is that the player shouldn't have to 1:1 literally throw a particular herb or spice onto that chicken, taste it, then say "Nope," and try again with a different one, because complete trial-and-error isn't exactly super fun, and because the game already says we're controlling a character who has his own intelligence and capabilities. So, that stuff can easily be abstracted a bit into a more enjoyable discovery process that's less ultra-tedious. But, not-tedious doesn't mean "takes 5 seconds and is nothing more than a linear progression through a tiered tree of pre-defined recipes that are automatically discovered."

 

Reducing everything to a single progression scale with a blatantly catalogued world full of recipes has been crafting's biggest problem for a while now, in games. And like someone said a few posts back (it might have been you?), the same kind of goes for things like spells and abilities to a more minor extent. I've said it oodles of times: Why can't I cast a variety of fire spells, choosing to use projectiles or jets or heat fields, etc., and choosing speeds or sizes or numbers of projectiles, etc.? Instead of "Fireball... Firebolt... Firewall..."? "You've hit a breakthrough in your understanding of fire magic... and produced exactly ONE single application with this epiphany! 8D!"

 

Such systems have been begging for a dose of organic form for a long time. I mean, PnP rulesets were doing it long ago, because... well, mainly because you can pretty much do almost ANYTHING in a PnP game (governed only by the context of the lore). And I know old 8-bit games probably couldn't do it very well, but, again... Look at Minecraft (pretty simple for a 3D game), and, like you said, look at how much difference a simple change can make; choosing a topic to advance in, and making discoveries based on actual dynamic choices. And look at the effects it can have on the typical equip-it-or-sell-it loot system.

 

To dovetail with your minecraft suggestions, you could have a system where you deconstruct loot that you don't want/need and get and gain a gold equivalent investment in a particular knowledge branch. I mean its not that crazy. Want to figure out how something works? Take it apart. Although, you shouldn't be able to gain knowledge from deconstructing things that you have made, nor should taking apart a basic iron sword be at all helpful or interesting to a master swordsmith.

Yessssss. :) Gooooodcellennnnnnnt... *fingersteeple*

 

 

If I killed a dragon to use the tip of it's tail for the shaft of a staff, at the top of which I put a fist sized ruby stolen from the crown of an emperor, and then bind 1000 tortured souls into the gem using ancient arts I uncovered from deciphering the grammar of creation, the staff BETTER BE THE BEST STAFF EVER.

See... all I'd point out there is this:

 

Is not the value of that weapon in the feat of overcoming the obstacles necessary to acquire such materials, FAR more than it is in the simple act of combining them?

 

I mean, you're not going to take that dragon tail spike, and hammer it out on the anvil like it's just some mundane material, so that everyone goes "OOOOoooh! I can see how good you are at crafting, because LOOK what you managed to do with an impervious/inherently-enchanted DRAGON'S tail spike!"

 

Like I pointed out with some shield example before, if you were to make a shield out of some naturally-occurring creature's armored plate, you wouldn't FORGE it. It'd be a simple matter of cleaning it up, maybe reinforcing it a little, and attaching a handle, pretty much.

 

Something that's made of the emperor's crown ruby of 1,000 tortured souls isn't exquisite because of how expertly you melted that ruby into ingots, then deftly heated and cooled it at PRECISELY the right intervals in between precision hammer-poundings on an anvil. It's exquisite because it's made from a giant magical ruby containing 1,000 tortured souls.

 

It's like everything you did to get that ruby in that state -- the whole bit with the emperor, the whole knowledge gain of infusing it, and then finding a source of all those souls, so that it wound up like it did... not to mention the dragon's tail spike and all that -- WAS the crafting process for that item. I personally couldn't care less who sets my 1,000-souled emperor ruby into a simple metal setting on a staff to which a friggin' dragon's tail spike is fitted. Does that make sense?

Edited by Lephys

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Jethro, I couldn't disagree more. The PC should definitely be able to make some of the best gear in the game. He just shouldn't be able to make all of the best gear. If you have maxed out light armor smithing, your light armor should be legendary. If it is any less, than you run into the whole obsolete skill problem. I just spent all kinds of skill points, gold, and questing on becoming the best light armor smith possible, and you are saying that I still wont be able to compete with the true masters? Thats not just un-epic, it is also cruel to make me jump through so many hoops and then serve me with: "here is a light armor better than anything you could possibly do". (I run into this in almost every crafting system and it makes me cry every time.)

 

If thats the nature of PC crafting then screw it, get rid of the system all together and hire lackeys to do the stuff for you. But again, this is also not as cool since you don't get the satisfaction of killing the dragon with the sword you made yourself. 

 

I get that real life has various constraints that prevent you from being a pro boxer and a chemical engineer at the same time, but I'm playing a game specifically so that I can avoid those constraints. 

 

I'm not saying that the PC should be able to master all the skills and be some sort of max level Skyrim character. I'm saying he should be world class in 2-3 things outside of his chosen profession of kicking butt and taking names.

 

If I killed a dragon to use the tip of it's tail for the shaft of a staff, at the top of which I put a fist sized ruby stolen from the crown of an emperor, and then bind 1000 tortured souls into the gem using ancient arts I uncovered from deciphering the grammar of creation, the staff BETTER BE THE BEST STAFF EVER.

even if you make something that is just as good as what you can find, all the points that could have gone into making you better at using the item went into getting it, so you are still gimped.  what you make should be at least equal what you can find+the skill points that could have gone into using it better, otherwise you are gimped for making stuff yourself.  of course spending 10 hours collecting stuff to make the thing you can make would make just spending points to use the item better a more efficient route if what you can craft is equal to 'what you find+the points spent that could have gone into using it better' though it would be cooler, so if you reward all the extra time or not is debatable.

 

ex. it takes 100 points to max out crafting a rapier, it takes 200 points to max out rapier use, the best rapier you can find is a +5, at 200 points in rapier use you get +4 to THAC0 and damage, at 100 points of rapier use you have +2 to THAC0 and damage, if you max out rapier use your total THAC0 and damage bonus is +9, therefore the best rapier you can craft should be a +7.

 

personally i think the idea of divorcing skill point usage from crafting is the better idea, otherwise the ancient super sword that was forged by the gods should be weaker than what some guy did on his off time while trekking through the countryside.

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Ok, so I should point out to all the devs that are reading this: the combined brainpowers of jamoecw, Lephys, jethro, JFSOCC, myself, and several others who are very much deserving of mention given their significant experience and intellect all have reached the same conclusion: We need a research system! 

 

(My apologies to any whom I did not explicitly mention. I'm too lazy to go through the entire thread and come up with a complete list)

 

Back to the needless bickering about minutiae:

 

@Lephys

 

 

It might not matter particularly much to you who physically combines the ingredients to make the epic item, but it does matter to me. This might just be some weird eccentricity on my part, but it really does make me massively happier if I put it together myself than having someone else do it.

 

@jamocew

 

I am sympathetic to skill tree advancement that has little to do with Skyrim or 3E "skill points". My guess is that you might suggest a crafting system that is roughly analogous to The Witcher experience system. (Which is awesome.)

 

The difference is that I don't think spending 200 points in rapier use as opposed to 100 points in rapier use and 100 points in rapier craft should amount to the same thing. If crafting rapiers requires more diligence on the part of the player, he shouldn't end up on the same power level as the person who just levels up the weapon skill and doesn't spend mental energy optimizing his character progression. 

 

I also agree that the sword of gods should beat what some guy from the countryside is able to crank out on a Tuesday stroll through the woods. But the PC is not some random dude, he/she is (by necessity) extremely excellent. If the PC (who is by all accounts astoundingly incredible) isn't able to create the sword of the gods (once) after a lifetime of trials and tribulations, then the story is a tragedy.

 

My ideal crafting system does not include the ability to spam Godsbane the Fatescythe. (I'm just guessing here, but I think that you are opposed to everyone being armed with the same ridiculous weapon.) You should be able to make it once, and only under very specific conditions when you have fulfilled various obscure and difficult quests. 

Edited by Warren
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