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Using the 3.5 crafting rules, how would you optimize for the cheapest magic item crafting possible, and how cheap would it be? By default, crafting is 1/3rd the base price, or 33.33% + materials. Lowering that percentage as much as possible is the main goal.

Bonus points for:

  • Lowering the XP cost.
  • Not needing the materials. (I don't actually know if this is possible, but it would certainly be useful.)
  • Making crafted items better. (Higher caster level for wands, putting metamagic into it, etc)
  • Being better with said items. (For example, Attune Magic Weapon isn't useful for the main focus of the question, but it is something to keep in mind for any character that spends a lot of time crafting.)
  • Lowering the crafting time. (Yes, I know that makes succeeding on the craft checks harder, but if it can be done safely it would make things easier.)

Specifically, I'm playing a human artificer (currently level 5) in a relatively gold poor campaign, but I'd love general crafting optimization advice. (Despite the title, I have more than coppers. I just want to get the crafting cost as low as possible.)

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I think I saw a link to a crafting calculator awhile back. You put in market price and it tells you how much gold/xp/time it takes to make it (excluding costly components) If anyone has that link handy I think it'll help you and future posters. –  Ben-Jamin Feb 13 '13 at 20:32
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A "low gold campaign" is a terrible idea in 3.5 without massive changes to the system, including eliminating or severely slowing down all magical classes. It makes no sense for the Artificer class to even exist in such a campaign. I strongly believe that there are serious systemic problems in this campaign that should be addressed first: see Ignoring/adjusting the WBL chart? for more info on the problems with such a campaign. –  KRyan Feb 13 '13 at 20:41
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Also, you have some serious misconceptions about how crafting works. Magic crafting costs half the market price in gp, not a third; only mundane crafting requires a third. Magic crafting also requires Item Creation feats but does not require the Craft skill; the skill is only for mundane crafting. You cannot speed up magic crafting using the Craft skill, either; that's only mundane again. –  KRyan Feb 13 '13 at 21:02

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

The best resource available is the Complete Cost Reduction Handbook, which can get your crafting gp costs under 5% of the market price, and also covers how to reduce crafting times and XP costs. The best methods are Extraordinary Artisan and Bind Elemental from Eberron Campaign Setting (Exceptional and Legendary Artisan cover time and XP, respectively). Magical Artisan from Player’s Guide to Faerûn is also a great addition, assuming you can mix Eberron and Forgotten Realms material – it reduces all of the above, though less than the individual Eberron feats do. Several guilds from Dungeon Master’s Guide II also can help.

The fabricate spell can speed up mundane crafting immensely. A dedicated wright (Eberron Campaign Setting) doesn’t actually make things faster, but it can craft for you while you’re off adventuring; this is a highly-recommended use of your Craft Homunculus ability. Unseen crafter from Races of Eberron can provide a similar function.

Avoiding the need to find the materials for sale is possible with true creation, but that is quite high-level.

This is extremely powerful, and will break most games, particularly in a campaign where 3.5’s systemic imbalances are exacerbated by less-than-usual wealth. An artificer could easily dominate such a campaign as it is; really pushing for reductions will dramatically increase the likelihood that you’ll become literally one of the dominant forces in the campaign world, long before your non-magical teammates could manage any such thing.

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A selection of feats can make anyone an amazing craft GoD: Here are the feats I like to use.

Exceptional Artisan (Eb p52) Reduce the base time for crafting any magical item by 25%.

Extraordinary Artisan (Eb p53) Reduce the cost of raw material for crafting any magical item by 25%.

Legendary Artisan (Eb p56) Reduce the cost of XP for crafting any magical item by 25%.

Magical Artisan (players guide to Faerun, page 41) Choose one Item Creation feat that you posses. When you make an item with that feat, you pay only 75% of the normal cost to creation the item. You may take this feat multiple times, each time with a new Item Creation feat.

Theurgic Creationist (Dragon Magazine 325 page 62) Add the levels from all your spellcasting classes to determine your Caster lvl for taking an Item Creation feat Also, your combined spellcaster level is your Caster level for the items you create. Note that you must still have access to the spells needed for making an item.

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