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I read in the rules that

The caster can work for up to 8 hours each day. He cannot rush the process by working longer each day, but the days need not be consecutive, and the caster can use the rest of his time as he sees fit. If the caster is out adventuring, he can devote 4 hours each day to item creation, although he nets only 2 hours' worth of work. This time is not spent in one continuous period, but rather during lunch, morning preparation, and during watches at night. If time is dedicated to creation, it must be spent in uninterrupted 4-hour blocks. This work is generally done in a controlled environment, where distractions are at a minimum, such as a laboratory or shrine. Work that is performed in a distracting or dangerous environment nets only half the amount of progress (just as with the adventuring caster). hour blocks.

Now the question is: If I am out adventuring (i.e. having stuff like fights going on at that day, but not more than say 1-3 hours) and I have an adequate, quite place (say a room in a tavern or a workshop) for at least four uninterrupted hours. Can I craft at the normal rate or do I need to work at the slower adventuring rate?

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2 Answers 2

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For convenience, lets assign names to the two styles of item creation.

  • Casual Item Creation: While out adventuring (e.g. killing monsters, disarming traps, murdering folks who don't look like you because they don't look like you, stealing family heirlooms) adventurers do other stuff that's usually unimportant and handled off-screen (e.g. taking care of bodily functions, maintaining weapons and armor, restocking spell component pouches). A creature with an item creation feat who spends a day adventuring uses that off-screen, usually unimportant in-between time to work on items. Between murder sprees the creature finds 4 hours of time to work on stuff, but with that 4 hours it makes only makes 2 hours of progress.
  • Dedicated item Creation: If a creature has an item creation feat and access to a "controlled environment [...] where distractions are at a minimum" and it can get to that environment and it can spend at least 4 hours there, it can make 4 hours of progress on its stuff. The DM's determines what constitutes that controlled, distractionless environment.

You don't combine the two. During an adventuring day 2 hours of progress is made on the stuff, or if capable of getting away for at least 4 hours, 4 hours of progress is made on the stuff. A high-level wizard who teleports from the dungeon to his lab or hauls his portable workshop into his mage's mansion and crafts away for 4 hours definitionally isn't out adventuring the whole day--he's spent part of it crafting! He won't get the free 2 hours per day, but he will get the whole 4 hours (barring interruptions).

The idea is to permit PCs who take item creation feats to use those feats even in a fast-moving campaign. If you're the wizard on Team Fighter, for example, the rest of Team Fighter can just keep on going day after day without stopping, and if you want to accompany them on all their adventures, you'll never have time to scribe a scroll. The casual item creation rule let you scribe a scroll despite not having time or facilities available for dedicated item creation, albeit at a vastly slowed rate.

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Either you are "out adventuring" is not that important here. The rule calls out for extremely controlled environment. What is the difference between an inn and your own laboratory? Even in a quiet inn, you may continuously hear surrounding noises (such as people checking in, room service, other party members coming in, etc.) which may come to the level of distraction.

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