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Author Topic: Netheril Age of Magic: A Fool's Guide to Crafting  (Read 163 times)

FireballWilson

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Netheril Age of Magic: A Fool's Guide to Crafting
« on: July 13, 2021, 12:43:23 pm »
Netheril Age of Magic: A Fool's Guide to Crafting
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Hello everyone, this is Fireball Wilson

This is a guide to the crafting system, an incomplete log of my findings and opinions regarding the new crafting system, teetering between a guide and a review. I wanted this guide to be useful both for players who want to get into the crafts when V2 starts as well as for the Team to know where the I find the crafts lacking. As such, I'm not entirely sure where this should be posted, I settled here after an hour of uncertainty.

For context and as an admission of fault, I am a player and do not know these things absolutely. My findings may be wrong or misinformed, or the facts themselves may change with time. Feel free to comment or contact me with parts I may have gotten wrong, or discuss to your heart's content.

Overview
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The Crafting system as it stands currently is made up of ten separate crafting disciplines, these consist of:
  • Weapon crafting (STR/DEX)
  • Armour crafting (STR/CON)
  • Carpentry (STR/WIS)
  • Tailoring (DEX/INT)
  • Jewelry (DEX/CHA)
  • Cooking (CON/CHA)
  • Chemistry (CON/INT) (Otherwise known as Tinkering)
  • Enchanting (INT/WIS)
  • Imbuing (WIS/CHA) (Otherwise known as Potion Making)
  • Investing (INT/WIS) (Otherwise known as Scroll Making)

These all have their own stuff to talk about but let’s talk first about stats and their role in these crafts.
When crafting, each recipe has a certain percentage chance of success for a baseline character, with each +1 adjusted ability score adding or subtracting 5% from your character's final score, alongside +10% per level of the player’s relevant crafting skill. So if you have good stats for the skills your interested in, you can perform recipes easier and have an easier time progressing the skill... sort of.

Crafting Xp is awarded according to how difficult the craft was for you to make. Simple recipes like polishing a low quality gem or making a simple Ondaran Dagger won't award you as much as you become more skillful in the craft... which is where the ability scores come in. If your character has good stats in the skill your interested in, you’ll find many of the simple recipes much much easier than someone who doesn’t, but by that same merit, someone with worse stats will get more XP than you from doing these simple crafts, allowing them to catch up to high stated characters by merit of spamming simpler, and less resource intensive, crafts. This means effectively, every 2 adjusted ability score points you have for the skill in question, simply represents 1 extra level worth of experience you didn’t have to grind through. There is a Level cap of 20 on all Crafting skills however, and should you reach it, then a character with good stats would be superior to lower stat crafters, though I believe with the current systems in place, certain crafts simply do not have the difficult recipes necessary to allow one to progress to level 20.

This being said, so long as temporary modifiers such as spells or item effects are allowed to affect crafting, you can craft “equipment of lameness” in order to grind crafting much more effectively at the cost of getting less resources out of it than you normally would.

Now that the overview is out of the way, let’s talk about another fundamental aspect.

Improvements
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Another Fundamental that permeates all of crafting is the “Improvement” system. It is by far the most complex and most powerful aspect of the crafting system by far, as well as the most poorly understood.

For starters, you can improve any item in any crafting station, it does not matter at all where you do it. This threw me off the first time but is just an aspect of it as a whole.
Second off, there are a number of factors that go into how difficult an item is to improve, these are:
  • The value of the item in question (Heavily determined by previous improvements and natural properties a crafted item comes with)
  • The Material’s Modifier for Mundane or Magical Improvements (each improvement is split between these two types and each material has their own bonus)
  • The skill level the crafter possesses in the associated skill for the type of improvement the crafter is trying to apply.
That last one is the most complex, but it can be easily explained with this table:
Item type Mundane ImprovementsMagical Improvements
Armour, bracers, shieldsArmour craftingInvesting
Bows, ammo, stavesCarpentryImbuing
Whips, slings, gloves, cloaks, belts, bootsTailoringInvesting
Other weaponsWeapon craftingImbuing
Rings and amuletsJewelryInvesting

This boils down to that most crafts improve their own respective products mundanely, but in order to be improved magically, you have to do Potion Brewing or Scroll Making fundamentally. Since Scrollmaking is a craft that only Spellcasters can do, Spellcasting classes are the only ones that can apply magical improvements onto non weapon equipment.

A fair trap that many fall into, is that Enchanting has absolutely nothing to do with the Improvement system at all, but rather, is simply a method by in which you can attain certain magical artifacts (or atleast, the ones that have crafting recipes for em’).

A subtle aspect of these systems though, but has a huge reverberation upon the value of material as a whole, is that Mundane and Magical improvements both increase the value of an item, and thus the difficulty of Improving an item. This means that materials that have equal stats in being Improved Mundanely or Magically aren’t anymore powerful than items that can just be improved in one of these aspects, as such:

“A material is only as POWERFUL as it’s highest Improvement Multiplier minus it’s natural item property’s adjustment of value”

While having both Mundane and Magical improvement bonuses provides more options, materials are only ever as POWERFUL as their highest most Improvement Multiplier minus however ‘Valuable’ the material’s “Natural Item Property” is. Notable exceptions are materials whose natural item properties would be something you’d already want to apply to your item.

With that out of the way, we can now look at the crafts themselves.

Weapon Crafting
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Weapon Crafting is pretty simple and straightforward, you get metal, you make it into a weapon, and you smack people with it. This is the core idea and it gets the job done well. That being said, it suffers a tad from the improvement system.

At the moment, weapons can be made out of Ondaran, Iron, Silver, Iolum, or Elfur, though we'll only be going over Ondaran, Iron, Silver, and Iolum for reference.

Melee:
  • Ondaran (being the simplest metal), applies no natural property to items forged out of it. That being said, it can be magically improved a TINY bit easier than Iron by merit of it’s low gold value. That being said, it’s strictly worse than market purchasable swords for mundane improvements. Generally speaking, save this material for jewelry making instead, as Iron will near always reward much MUCH more XP than Ondaran.
  • Iron melee weapons do an additional 1d8 damage Vs Fae, a weapon property depicting the lore of fae being weak to cold iron. This is flavorful and makes iron weapons good for selling, the property improving the item’s value significantly. Iron daggers are a weapon crafter’s simplest way to grind for gold, and will net yah a real pretty penny, a necessary step in progressing through other crafts. Iron is the best early game material to improve mundanely, but I will warn that many randomly generated weapons may outdo what you can craft early on.
  • Silver melee weapons do an additional 1d8 damage Vs Shapeshifters, a property depicting silver’s use against lycanthropes. This is also pretty irrelevant but has a far greater number of creatures it can affect. In accordance with the above statement about Improvement Multipliers and “Improvement power”, Silver is worse than Iron at being improved. Silver’s rarity and value amongst other disciplines means that crafting weapons with it is rather discouraged, the material is better spent elsewhere.
  • Iolum melee weapons provide +1 dex bonus. This is a rather useful buff, but is also a remarkably expensive improvement. Iolum’s Improvement Multiplier is not currently known to players, but it is nearly impossible to improve. This might be due to the material’s Improvement Multipliers or due to the +1 dex Natural Item Property.

Armor Crafting
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Armor crafting is quite a bit more powerful in the early game than Weapon Crafting, to such an extent, that I would argue EVERY character should invest themselves into armor crafting so long as they do not use leather armor. For those that use leather armor or use no armor at all still read this because it may very well be simply wrong not to use this armor instead.
At the moment, Armor can be made out of Ondaran, Iron, Silver, Iolum, Elfur, or be dipped into Adamanium or Stallix. The Natural Item Properties these material imparts depend on what type of item they’re being made into.

We’ll quickly go over the three most common early game materials for this craft to give a feel for things.
  • Ondaran Armor applies no bonuses of any sort as is standard for it. It’s hard to improve and you should prolly use the resource elsewhere.
  • Iron Armor is REALLY REALLY GOOD for early game armor. Iron armor imparts various Natural Item Properties equaling a DR of 10 depending on what piece of equipment you're trying to craft. Iron Chainmail Imparts DR 5/Piercing DR 5/Slashing for example, meanwhile Iron Platemail imparts DR 10/Slashing. This is.... GREAT! It can be Improved Mundanely rather well, and Iron Helmets are the easiest way to grind gold for this type of Craft.
  • Silver Armor Imparts +2 Deflection AC Vs Shapechangers. Deflection AC is the worst AC variant by far and away since so many other effects grant it, and it does not stack with itself. Due to the fact that “Shield” wands castable by anyone are available for purchase (Perfumes) deflection bonuses underneath +4 aren't worth particularly much. Silver is used better by other crafts in any case, do not waste it here.

Shields
Shields are unique in that they can be improved with their own Armor and Shield AC bonuses as well. This means that ontop of Deflection, Dex, Dodge, Etc, Armor and Shield Bonuses to AC can be accrued with skill and patience in the craft. The fact that Shields get their own unique bonus to AC actually devalues two handed weapons by ALLOT, to the extent that I would say that:
All classes should SERIOUSLY consider if wielding a two handed weapon is worth it compared to wielding a shield with unique bonuses to AC and a 1-handed weapon.
This is further modified by the fact that Arcane spell failure is an incredibly easy thing to reduce using the Improvement system so long as the material in question has an alright Mundane Multiplier. This means that:
Wizards, Sorcerers, and Bards can wield medium armor and a heavy shield without incurring ANY arcane spell failure chance. All Wizards and Sorcerers require is a few feats or a 1 level dip into any martial class for Proficiency.
A knee-jerk reaction would be that this is broken or unbalanced, but I would remind that Clerics have been casting in full plate this entire time and that it’s not too dissimilar either to what dnd 3.5 would eventually turn Mage armor into (+4 Armor AC). I would further ask for hesitation for nerfing this if only because Bards DESPERATELY need this. If this would be nerfed/removed, consider first the poor bard, unable to cast in medium armor despite having proficiency with it (seriously what’s up with that?).
As an addendum, Iron Heavy Shields provide DR15/Piercing, which is monstrous.

Carpentry
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Carpentry is a bit of a misfit in terms of crafting. It’s responsible for bows, arrows, clubs, and staves as well as providing base materials for weapon crafting such as wooden poles to make spears or shields. It’s near completely forgettable having next to no relevance for most classes so long as you do not use bows clubs or shields, and for those who use shields, this craft is only necessary for crafting a component to make the shield in Armor Crafting. And further unfortunate for the cavemen and wizards among us, clubs and staves only have Irl wood recipes for right now, though more recipes may get added later. This leaves to the rather depressing find that “Carpentry is for bow users and bow users only, though others may dabble.

There are 3 types of wood available at the moment: Irl, Ironwood, Duskwood, each imparting different Natural item properties depending on what type of item it’s applied to. Unfortunately, I cannot espounge for what any of the Natural Item Properties are, as I’ve only briefly tasted carpentry in my time.

A brief aside for arrows, Irl is used as a base wood for all of these, all that matters is the head material. These are also not arrows as you would normally understand them; these are “Bundles” which offer infinite arrows seemingly, and can be improved using the Improvement system or maybe Enchanting.

Tailoring
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Tailoring is by far and away the easiest Crafting Skill to gain skill in initially due to the ability to purchase “Cloth” right off the bat and for relatively cheap. If you wanted to, you could spend five hours and ten thousand gold to grind Tailoring till the point where you no longer gain xp from cotton. Tailoring is also one of the most generalist skills since EVERY character can make use out of gloves, belts, boots, bags, and cloaks, though it’s particularly valuable to character who wear leather armor or robes.
Tailoring is split into three tables, clothwork, leatherwork, and Tinker’s device.
Clothwork has a general focus upon materials with good Magical Improvement Multipliers,
Leatherworking has a general focus upon materials with good Mundane Improvement Multipliers
Tinker’s table focuses upon taking certain types of leather or cloth items and fitting bits of metal onto em’, replacing their Magical/Mundane Improvement Multipliers with the metal’s equivalent, and applying some Natural Item Properties appropriate for the metal. There also exists a subset of items that ONLY exist to be improved via Tinker’s table. These items are: Belts, Bracers and Bindings.

Jewelry
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Jewelry making is where the majority of materials not used by Armor/Weapons Crafting will be going, as well as a fair bit of materials those DO use as well. It’s a core skill where in which 2 other skills branch off of; Inscribing and Enchanting. Enchanting in particular is necessary for higher level Jewelry making, leaving the two crafts rather dependent upon each other.
To start with, allot of the early game gems can be purchased from Southbank’s “Gems of Netherese”, this is REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE as it’s incredibly difficult to make progress into jewelry making without this, with Enchanting and Inscribing being nearly impossible without.

Gem Polishing:
Gem Polishing is necessary for all other jewelry recipes, an unpolished gem is useful to nobody. This process produces Gemdust as a byproduct used only for Inscribing and Enchanting.

As for the various things you can CRAFT with jewelry making, I’ll be showing the Ondaran, Iron, and Silver rings for reference:
  • Ondaran Greenstone Ring: +2 Saves Vs Poison
  • Ondaran Malachite Ring: +2 Saves Vs Mind Affecting
  • Ondaran Fire Agate Ring: +2 Saves Vs Fire
  • Iron Phenelope Ring:  +3 Saves Vs Positive Energy
  • Iron Amethist Ring:+3 Save Vs Positive Energy
  • Iron Adventurine Ring: +3 Saves Vs Electrical
  • Silver Alexandrite Ring: +2 Deflection AC Vs Shapechangers, +2 Bonus to Persuade
  • Silver Garnet Ring: +2 Deflection Bonus Vs Shapechangers, +2 Bonus to Disciplin

Amulets:
  • Iron Adventuring Amulet: +2 Deflection bonus Vs Fae, SR 10
  • Silver Garnet Amulet: +4 Deflection Bonus Vs Shapechangers, +2 Reflex
Not exactly spectacular pieces of equipment all in all. The gemrings are all sorts of disappointing and niche but they sell well. Ondaran Malachite Rings can be a great source of Income early on, allowing 1 ondaran ingot and 17gp worth of malachite to be sold at around 300gp. Now THAT’S VALUE!

Tinker’s Setting table has some jewelry crafting recipes within it as well though, some recipes here shall be shown for reference.
Amulets:
  • Iron Amulet: SR 10
  • Iolum Amulet: +2 Deflection AC Vs Chaotic, Darkvision, +2 Reflex Saves
  • Adanium Amulet: +1 Con, +1 Universal Saves
  • Demon’s Bane Amulet: Light (white) 10ft, +2 Will Saves, +2 Deflection AC Vs Outsiders
Rings:
  • Iron: +2 Saving throws vs Sonic
  • Adanium Ring: +3 Deflection AC Vs Monstrous, +3 Universal Saves
  • Demon’s Bane: +3 Will Saves, +3 Deflection AC Vs Outsiders

This section of jewelry making is a tad underdeveloped as well, with certain rings and items being labeled as “(old)” in their name. This will likely be an aspect developed later, but for now, Adanium rings are PRETTY SPICEY though may be difficult to make. Adanium is more common than you may think, search some of the caves around Sullivans.

Cooking
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Cooking is near completely separate from all other crafts. For members of the Conch, the crafting tables are located not inside the crafting halls, but in the soup kitchens next door. I’ll admit in knowing nothing about the craft as it stands, but look forward to “A Fool’s Guide to Cooking™” sometime soon!

Chemistry
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Chemistry is broken up into two parts: Tinkering and Explosives.

Tinkering is a bit of a catch-all craft, wrapping together toolcrafting, trapmaking, and fitting brooches/bands/buckles onto cloaks/bracers/belts respectfully. This later aspect of the craft is a tad hap-hazard, as while tinkering is used for SOME aspects, others require Jewelry/Tailoring.

Explosives is near completely separate from all other crafts, having next to no integration with anything else. It’s a relatively small part of the craft with relatively few recipes, yet it does promise power to those who can gather together it’s rather rare bits of material.

For reference on what a brooched/banded items looks like, here’s a brooches cloak:
Iron Brooched Cloak: SR 10, +1 Deflection AC Vs Fae.

Enchanting
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Enchanting is tentatively what I would call a “Tier 2 craft”, a craft that you can only really participate in if you’ve some skill in some other crafts. The easiest recipes in the craft require polished gems from Jewelry making, with the craft being all but inaccessible without grinding by enchanting gems. Most crafts also cost Enchanting oil, which is incredibly expensive to purchase and uncraftable to boot, making this the MOST expensive craft to grind.

I will also state once again that gems can be purchased from “Gems of Netherese” in southbank, and that this craft is nearly impossible without this knowledge.

Aside from that, Enchanting offers a number of unique end-game recipes for people who grind the craft, allowing certain weapons to be enchanted with elemental damage, certain shields with elemental resistances, rods with certain spells inside, etc.. Near every recipe is INCREDIBLY difficult though, requiring significant commitment in order to even craft 1. Consider Enchanting merely a tool for Jewelrymaking for a very long time.

Imbuing
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Imbuing (or potion making) is a craft I would honestly just recommend not getting into if it wasn’t for the fact that it determine’s your Magical Improvement Success for weapons. Even with that, I would still hesitate in saying that you should get into this. Imbuing is relatively simple, gather ingredients and you can craft certain specific potions based on what you gather. The ingredients are plants found all abouts Netheril so you’ll have to explore each reset if you want to gather significant quantities. That being said, I would STRONGLY recommend not picking up every plant you see, as Herbs are incredibly heavy. Now to be fair, they’re not individually, about 0.3lbs each. But 0.3lbs adds up QUICK compared to the quantities you’ll be finding and NEED. Bags full of herbs will be weighing 11.5lbs without any magical weight reductions, and you’ll be needing more than 1 bag to store all of these bulky ingredients. Do not get into this craft without several, 80% weight reduction magical bags you're willing to spare for this.

For early game grinding of this craft, make sure to gather up tons of Fire Beetle’s bellies and Bombadier Beetle’s bellies, as well as tons of garlic cloves and aloe leaves as you can find.
  • Fire Beetle’s bellies craft simply into tanning oil, but this can be purchased so it’s not necessary to hold onto em’, the material is purely for grinding experience.
  • Bombardier Beetle’s Bellies on the other hand are the basemost material for Investing, and thus it’s INCREDIBLY important to gather as much of this material as possible and to hold onto the output until you can use em’.
  • Garlic cloves and aloe leaves can be used to craft a simple early game recipe: cure light wounds potions. These are functionally worthless for actual use though, so i’d suggest just selling them after you craft em’, unless you can’t afford proper healing.

Investing
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If Enchanting is a “tier 2” craft, then Investing is THE “tier 3” craft. This BEAST of a craft requires you to
  • Be a caster
  • Find Bombadier Beetle’s bellies and use Imbuing to turn them into relevant ink, possibly requiring gold or silver as well.
  • Find the particular type of gem associated to the spell you want to craft and keep the gem dust formed when polishing them in jewelry making. The likes of which are incredibly bulky and heavy.
  • Puchase some Blank Scrolls (relatively easy now).
  • Have a number of open spell slots for the day that you are willing to spend on % chances you’ll even get a successful craft.
  • Once you have used all the spell slots you have for the day, hold onto ALL the materials you gathered until you can rest to recover your spell slots.

This craft is honestly the most egregious craft present, and the only instance of a craft that is completely blocked off to certain types of classes. I would hazard to say that this craft would be utterly impossible if not for the purchasable gems from Southbank. You’d have to find gems out in the wild and HOPE you had a spell that could use that particular type of gemdust otherwise, a process that would not leave you with the spell scrolls you WANT but rather, the spellscrolls you could afford to GET.

I would also say that this craft is 100% not worth it to get into EXCEPT for the fact that it controls your ability to magically improve equipment. This means that non spellcrafting classes simply CANT improve their equipment magically by the way, and that partial crafting classes will NEVER be able to improve their Investing enough to get to the higher tiers Investing.

If I were to change this craft in any way, I would say: “Remove the need to have the spell in your spellbook at all”. This would turn the craft on it’s head, allowing non casters to participate in the craft and for casters to ACTUALLY GAIN ACCESS TO NEW SPELLS by merit of the craft. Crafting wouldn’t be hamstrung by the number of spells you have per day and it’d turn a “necessary” list of gemdust you NEED to get in order to progress into an “I want” list of gem dust you WANT to get in order to craft useful spell scrolls.

If I was to change 1 thing about the crafting system as a whole, it’d be this by far and away.

Conclusion
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And with that, we’ve covered every craft to some degree. Not every recipe has been documented and perhaps some recipes will change, but waiting until all aspects are known to put out your first draft is a rather good way to make sure you never put out a complete paper. Allot of entries are blank that I wanted to at least get 1 crafting recipe for reference for though and that does displease me. Please contact me if you know of a recipe’s output and we can add that to the second draft of this paper (OOC: Discord: Fireball Wilson).

Summarizing my various key points throughout the paper were as follows:
  • Negative Ability Equipment is usable to make grinding for crafting XP easier, at the cost of greater loss of output.
  • Spellcasting classes are the only ones that can apply magical improvements onto non weapon equipment.
  • A material is only as POWERFUL as it’s highest Improvement Multiplier minus it’s natural item property’s adjustment of value. Exceptions for those with good Natural Item properties.
  • Iron armor is REALLY REALLY good.
  • Shields are REALLY REALLY good. Good enough to devalue two handed weapons to a degree.
  • The Improvement that allows you to reduce Arcane Spell Failure is really really good, but I’d hesitate to call it “busted” due to it’s limit of only up to a certain %
  • Having a good portion of early game gems be purchasable is GOOD and near necessary for the systems in place as it stands. I would ask for an expansion of the number of places that sell gems rather than removal.
  • Please reduce the weight of herbs and gem dust, they’re really really heavy.
  • If I were to change 1 thing about ANY of the systems, it would be to remove the need to have a spell in your spellbook and prepared to craft with Investing. If not, at least not have the spell be consumed on craft.

I am open to criticism, and if I’m wrong about any of this please contact me. I appreciate all the work that has gone into all of these systems and this is my way of paying it back.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2021, 04:51:09 am by FireballWilson »