Crafting Rules (And Others)
Artistry and craftsmanship are sources of personal pride, and offer a chance for players to build a reputation throughout the Empire, both in the courtroom and on the battlefield. The guidelines presented here are meant to explain the crafting process as well as describing how these rules can be used by characters who have less of a creative focus but have skills that allow them to do things like research spells, locate harder to find items, or uncover useful information. ‘Crafting’ refers to any of the skills covered by these rules, not just the Craft or Artisan skills.
As a general rule, any item with a listed cost in koku or that can be converted to koku cam be cracked. Simple items that can be created during the events of a session don’t require these rules unless a school technique or other ability grants them mechanical bonuses different from those listed in the 4E rulebook.
There are three key components to Crafting an Item: material, time, and skill. How you acquire and combine these things will determine how many time units are required, and any additional costs associated with the work. All Crafted items should have some description detailing their crafting and planned use. While it will be possible to create nemuranai, this should be seen as a long-term goal, and will likely not be completed until towards the end of the campaign or the natural life of a character.
For most items, your daimyo will provide the necessary materials, and in exchange, the Item you create should be used in his or her service. Your Kakita swordsmith should not be crafting weapons for her friend in the Hida, for example, unless the Hida is willing to gain an obligation to the Crane or the gift is part of a larger negotiation. Crafting items from special materials such as jade requires some major political pull in the form of favors as well as a mastery of the crafting or artisan skill involved.
The number of crafting rolls required to complete an item represents the idea that you are not focusing all of your time and attention on the work of creation while wandering Bakufu troubleshooting on behalf of your lord, adventuring and your usual duties. Crafting will require a number of time units and rolls equal to the price in koku divided by 5. Only one roll can be made per time unit. Once per roll, the player may call 2 raises when making a crafting roll to reduce the total number of rolls required to create the item by 1..
In order to receive approval for crafting, your character must meet certain skill requirements. While there are advantages that allow you to use your natural talents to craft something on the fly, a true artisan or craftsman has worked hard on developing those inherent gifts and honing his skill. A character must have at least 3 skill ranks in the appropriate skill before requesting a crafting, and creating some items may require an even deeper understanding of the skills involved. For example, beginning work on a naginata requires Craft – Weaponsmith 3, while a katana would require Craft – Weaponsmith at 5 ranks, and the katana emphasis.
Example 1 – the Basics
Asahina Badugai wishes to follow in his family’s proud tradition of weaponsmiths, and begins work on a No-Dachi. At 30 Koku, the Crafting time required to complete the weapon is 6 time units, and the Base TN is 30. Badugai wishes to poor extra effort into his work to decrease the amount of time needed to complete the project, so he calls two raises, making the TN 40. Before he can begin, however, his GM must sign off on the cert that Badugai has indeed purchased the required 3 ranks in Craft: Armorsmithing.
Example 2 – A little fancier
Doji Arenji, an Asahina Fetishist is being played in a court module, and wants to create spectacular gifts for his daimyo’s very important dinner guests – Origami Fetishes based on each guests’ Clan Mon. The TN for the Crafting Roll is 10, but requires one craft check for each PC receiving the Origami Fetishes and one for all NPCs.
Example 3 – Katanas
Creating a katana is a long and involved process, requiring at least 10 crafting checks, and this number cannot be reduced. Additional requirements include an increased skill rank requirement, the katana emphasis, and an increased TN difficulty. This should be a long-term goal, and not something that is taken lightly.
Examples 4-6 – Spellcraft
- 4. Moshi Arani wants to add “Token of Memory” to her repertoire, and wishes to learn the spell from her Sensei. Arani’s Player submits a request, explaining the reasoning behind Arani’s need, and the GM allows Arani’s to work on learning the spell, granting access to the Spell and detailing the costs involved – in terms of Favors and XP equal to the Mastery level of the spell. After Arani’s next module, the player spends XP based on the Mastery level of the Spell (1, in this case) and crosses off a Favor from Arani’s character sheet.
- 5. The Ronin Arashi has heard of a spell called “Haze of Battle” that he thinks might be useful to his otokodate and has spent several months speaking to the fire kami and asking them to teach him how to ask for the effects generated by this spell. In this case, the mastery cost is doubled. Haze of Battle is a Mastery Level 3 Fire Spell, so the XP cost of learning it is 6XP and requires 6 Spellcraft (Spell Research)/Intelligence rolls (TN 20). Since only one of these rolls can be made per time unit, it will take Arashi six time units to learn the spell. Arashi calls two raises on the roll to raise the TN to 30, and succeeds on a 32. The GM takes note Arashi has completed 2 of the 6 rolls, leaving 4 more successful rolls before Arashi masters the Spell.
- 6. Isawa Oboiken wants to create an entirely new water spell that allows him to pelt his enemies with fist-sized hail. After negotiating with the GM and creating a rules-balanced version of the spell, Oboiken raises his Spellcraft to rank 5 and begins work on the Mastery Level 3 spell, which requires 10 time units to complete and must also receive the blessings of the Elemental Masters (or expending several favors).
Other Possible Uses
As mentioned earlier, the crafting rules can apply to other creative endeavors beyond simple artistry. Shugenja can use these rules to research additional spells, or even create new ones using spellcraft. Merchants from the Yasuki family or Daidoji Trading council can create minor trade agreements or procure hard to find items using the Commerce skill. By building a network of
knowledgeable and skilled people throughout the Empire, some samurai can gain even access to information not readily available through normal channels. These options come with some additional costs or prerequisites, and may not be available to all characters.
Researching Spells is the primary method that a Shugenja may gain additional spells beyond those granted by their school, but these rules can also be used to create entirely new spells. Additional XP or favors and the Spell Research emphasis are required on top of the crafting rolls (spellcraft) and normal in-character explanation. Only Shugenja may research spells, of course.
Merchants can use the Crafting rules to get special items that may not be readily available through their daimyo. The negotiations take time, and will vary based on the items being sought out, but the idea is essentially the same. Instead of making the item, you are either paying someone to make it or purchasing it from someone else using the Commerce skill to hammer out the
negotiations. This ability is limited to the Yasuki family of the Crab, members of the Daidoji Trading Council, and Ronin. Exceptions may be made for members of other clans and families, but those will be made on a case-by-case basis.
Lastly, characters with the Spy Network advantage may use these rules to expand their contacts and gain additional bonuses to their Courtier (Gossip) or Underworld rolls. This option relies on the Commerce or Lore: Underworld skills, and failure can lead to a player gaining infamy as a potential spy.
Crafting: Step By Step
Time Units are not “days”, because samurai don’t have free days. They represent scrapping of time, a few hours between duty, fun and rest, that accumulate.
So, a Crafting has these steps.
1) Pick what you want to do. GM rules skills that you can use. Need at least rank 1 on that skill or Phantom. Some uses of a skill might require emphasis. Some types of crafting like making a katana or researching a spell require at least 5 points in the skill.
2) GM picks an unmodified base TU cost. This TU cost is based on one of these 3 variables.Monetary value: TU is equal to the Koku value of all items, in multiples of five, rounded up Influence: If it affacts people of Status 1, TU base is 2; Status 2-3, TU base is 4; Status 4-5: TU base is 6. Higher Status is case by case basis. Quality: The items created have a glory value, a valor of their quality. For each rank of Glory an item has, it costs 2 TU base to create.
When multiple variables would apply, pick the highest TU cost.
3) Crafting the item requires a roll in the selected skill per base TU spent. The TN of EACH roll is based on the Base TU Cost x 5.
The cost of TU can be modified: for each 1 additional TU invested, one roll can be decreased by -10 to a minimum TN of 10
for each 2 raises you make on a roll, the total number of TUs (and rolls) is reduced by 1. Up to a minimum of 1.
4) Each time you make a TU roll, pay 1 koku. This represents material invested. Money and TUs used on a failed roll are LOST and don’t account for the completion of the Crafting.
If you have at least the used skill at 3 (journeyman), your clan supplies the materials. As such, you need only to invest TUs.
If you have at least the used skill at 7 (grandmaster), since you are one if not the most talented on that craft in the current generation, your duties often accomodate your crafting needs. Reduce all TUs costs by half (minimum one)
5) Once you have accomplished a number of rolls equal to the base crafting, congratulation, it is done and you shaped the Empire in some way between sessions.