Axoren's Devoted Crafter's Guide
Things to Focus on
These aren't in any particular order.
Without this, you have to buy the base items at market price. Since magic items require that the base item be masterwork, you're going to want to pay 1/3 the market price if you're making a lot of them. It also nets you faster creation time for base items if you really shine on your checks. I'd read up on this skill if I were you.
Without this, you can't successfully create magic items. To create magic items, you must make a Spellcraft Check against a DC of 5 + [Caster Level of Item]. For each requirement needed to make a magic item that you lack, the DC for crafting it gets 5 points harder. Getting this as high as possible is crucial, because failing by more than 5 results in cursed items.
Without these, you can't reliably add effects to your magic items. You will need to buy scrolls to compensate for spells that you lack and those cost money or add +5 to the Spellcraft DC. Many DM's will argue that you can't decide to increase the Spellcraft DC for lacking spell knowledge, which is something you'll have to take up with them.
Without a high enough of this, you can't reliably qualify for the Magic Item Creation Feats (MICF) you need to make magic items in the first place. Because of this, cross-classing is going to be discouraged. However, if you have the MICF but don't have the caster level you need, you can always add that dreaded +5 to the Spellcraft DC.
Use Magic Device (Cha)
This tends to be more important than you'd think, even if you've carefully planned the most optimal crafting build. When you make a choice of class, you limit yourself to a specific spell list. However, you will often want to create items that require spells you can't know. There are two options:
- You need to be able to reliably make a Use Magic Device Check against a DC 20 + [Caster Level of Scroll].
- You need to be able to reliably make a Spellcraft Check against a DC 5 higher than usual (per missing requirement).
Only in the rare case that you want to make an item in which you have NONE of the requirements, or you've just been giving a lot more love to UMD than Spellcraft, you'll be choosing the former.
These aren't in any particular order.
No bonuses or penalties to Intelligence. Nothing really good about them except for the alternate racial trait, Craftsman:
Craftsman: Dwarves are known for their superior craftsmanship when it comes to metallurgy and stonework. Dwarves with this racial trait receive a +2 racial bonus on all Craft or Profession checks related to metal or stone. This racial trait replaces greed.
Bonuses to Crafting are always welcome.
We get a +2 to Intelligence, we don't care about anything else, really.
We get a +2 anywhere we want. We're picking Intelligence. That Bonus Feat helps, but since our Level 1 choices for MICF are limited, we have to think of other things to do with it. Also, there's an alternate racial trait that turns that Bonus Feat into THREE Skill Focus Feats over time:
Focused Study: All humans are skillful, but some, rather than being generalists, tend to specialize in a handful of skills. At 1st, 8th, and 16th level, such humans gain Skill Focus in a skill of their choice as a bonus feat. This racial trait replaces the bonus feat trait.
Consider taking this alternate racial trait if you consider getting a Skill Focus feat at level 1, because there's no reason not to.
In the same boat as Dwarf, no Int bonus but they get +2 to a Craft skill of your choice with their default racial traits.
We get a +2 anywhere we want. We're picking Intelligence. Sound familiar? Strictly better than an Elf because of the Bonus Feat. However, the only difference between Half-Elf and Human is that the Bonus Feat must be Skill Focus. If you don't plan on spending your Human Bonus Feat on anything in particular, being a Half-Elf with Skill Focus (Craft/Spellcraft) is another option. Although, the Human with the Focused Study trait will be better in this regard.
A pretty reasonable choice, actually. You'd think a race with no bonus to intelligence shouldn't be considered, but you should look closer and one of their alternate racial traits.
Ingratiating: Ingratiating Halflings often survive at the whims of larger, more aggressive races. Because of this, they go out of their way to make themselves more useful, or at least entertaining, to larger folk. Halflings with this racial trait gain a +2 bonus on skill checks for a single Perform skill of their choice, and Perform is always a class skill for them. They also gain a +2 bonus on Craft and Profession checks. This racial trait replaces keen senses and sure-footed.
That's right. ALL craft checks. For the purpose of Craft, it's as if your intelligence were 4 higher. Since you're still missing out on the Int bonus to Spellcraft, you're missing out when making a Magic Item.
Half-elf Minus. About the same as an Elf unless you don't choose to add +2 to Intelligence.
Hedge Magician (Magic)
Whenever you craft a magic item, you reduce the required gp cost to make the item by 5%.
This is a great trait for being a magical crafter. A must-take if it weren't for...
Spark of Creation (Magic)
You gain a +1 trait bonus on Craft checks, and the cost of creating magic items is reduced by 5%.
This trait is Hedge Magician Plus. Same price reduction, with the added +1 to all Craft Skills. This is a trait bonus, so be mindful of how it stacks. No reason to take Hedge Magician over this trait, though.
Eldritch Smith (Dwarf/Magic)
Whenever you use the Craft skill or a crafting feat to make a stone or metal item, you reduce the cost of making the item by 5%. This includes metal-headed weapons with nonmetal parts, such as axes and spears.
This trait isn't as good and it competes for the Magic Trait slot with Hedge Magician, not to mention that it requires you be a Dwarf. Since this only affects the stone and metal items you create (and some would argue not the magic items they'd turn into), I would forego this train in favor of Hedge Magician.
Choose one Craft or Profession skill in which you have at least 1 rank. Ranks in your chosen skill count as your caster level for the purpose of qualifying for the Craft Magic Arms and Armor feat. You may craft +1 armor, weapons, or shields (with no special qualities), substituting your rank in the chosen skill for your caster level. You must use the chosen skill for the check to create the item. Crafting in this fashion takes twice as long as normal. These items cannot be upgraded with new abilities.
This is the trait you take if no one in your party is going to be a magical crafter and you really want the 50% discount on bargain brand +1 gear. Since you can't upgrade it later, the gear you make this way is useless at higher levels. However, this makes it great for low-level one-off campaigns with no expectation of longevity.
Pragmatic Activator (Magic)
You may use your Intelligence modifier when making Use Magic Device checks instead of your Charisma modifier.
This trait removes Charisma from the equation entirely, allowing you to focus on Intelligence for all your crafting related ability bonuses. If you're going to use Use Magic Device to substitute for lacking class features, this frees up your point-buy to go deeper into Intelligence which will net you more skill points to spend in crafting skills.
These are in no particular order.
Allows you to take item creation feats using a craft skill as your caster level as well as giving that skill a +2
This is especially useful for the alchemist crafter route.
Choose two Craft, Perform, or Profession skills in any combination (two Craft skills, a Craft skill and a Perform skill, and so on). You receive a +2 bonus on checks with these skills. If you have 10 or more ranks in any one of these skills, the bonus increases to +4 for that skill.
Great for Crafting. Let's you pick two Craft skills. Choose now which two types of items you'll make the most: Weapon/Armor/Bow/Alchemy/Clothing
Skill Focus (Craft: Weapon/Armor/Bow/Alchemy/Clothing)
You get a +3 bonus on all checks involving the chosen skill. If you have 10 or more ranks in that skill, this bonus increases to +6.
Greater for Crafting, but you don't get to pick two. Decide now which type of item you're going to make the most of if you choose this skill. I wouldn't recommend choosing Skill Focus more than once for Craft skills unless you've got nothing else to spend a feat on.
You get a +2 bonus on all Spellcraft checks and Use Magic Device checks. If you have 10 or more ranks in one of these skills, the bonus increases to +4 for that skill.
It's like they knew we needed both of these. Most of these feats will be just as self-explanatory as these.
Skill Focus (Spellcraft)
Skill Focus (Use Magic Device)
You can assist another character in crafting mundane and magical items. You must both possess the relevant Craft skill or item creation feat, but either one of you can fulfill any other prerequisites for crafting the item. You provide a +2 circumstance bonus on any Craft or Spellcraft checks related to making an item, and your assistance doubles the gp value of items that can be crafted each day.
Two words: MAKE FRIENDS. Rules as Written (RAW) could be taken one of two ways:
- Only one character can cooperate with a crafter for Cooperative Crafting.
- More than one character can cooperate and the amount of progress made is doubled for each cooperator.
I, and many sane GMs, would take it to mean the former. In either case, you won't get more than a +2 circumstance bonus because those bonuses can't stack. Regardless, having one friend help you with the crafting process speeds things up dramatically.
Magic Item Creation Feats
These are in order by Level.
Generally useful. When you know you'll need a spell later, but don't want to dedicate a spell slot to it. Since this is the only feat really available at Level 1, you will probably get this just to have it. If you don't see anyone in your party needing it, I suggest taking it anyways.
You know what? I'm just going to forego the descriptions of these feats. I have a bias here, my favorite rune is Rune of Contingency. I would take this MICF just so that I could tattoo myself with this rune.
Once per day, the bearer of this rune can gain the effects of the spells feather fall and water breathing. In addition, if he is reduced to 0 or fewer hit points and is not killed, he turns into a cloud of vapor as per the spell gaseous form for 5 rounds. He remains conscious during this time, but after 5 rounds returns to his normal form and is unconscious and dying.
It's invincibility so long as your DM isn't actively trying to kill you in particular.
Generally useful. Like scrolls, but things that anyone in the party can use without prior training.
Craft Wondrous Items
This is your bread an butter. Once you have this, you are going to become the craft-bitch for the entire party. Start taking orders, you're making EVERYTHING that EVERYONE needs. You even get to make custom gear, so long as your DM approves and helps you price it.
Craft Magic Arms and Armor
Here is where you make enchanted Weapons and Armor. Eventually, you're going to want enchanted gear because enemies will have Damage Reduction (DR). When enemy DR gets really high, you're going to need enchanted weapons to bypass them or be reduced to tickling your enemies to death. Your party members will thank you for providing cheap weapons.
Inscribe Magical Tattoo
These are neat. Like, REALLY neat. You can make a tattoo on any "slot", but they take up the skin at that slot, instead of taking up that equipment slot. You can't tattoo a slot that doesn't have skin, like your eye. You follow the same rules as Craft Wondrous Item creation, but you generally double the cost of the magic item since it doesn't take up the slot. Not only that, but instead of making Spellcraft checks, you can make Craft: Calligraphy/Painting/Tattoo checks. So long as you're cool with being painted from head to toe, tattoos are the way to go.
Underrated by people who don't live by them, wands are a very necessary addition to any long-standing campaign. It's never fun for the spellcaster when their spell slots are expected to be filled with healing or utility by everyone else in the party. Wands are more cost effective than scrolls and should be considered when your party needs a spell more than 30 times or so but no one wants to dedicate slots to it. If you see your party needing more than a handful of wands in the future, this feat is definitely a consideration.
Editor's Note: There is some controversy as to whether or not you should ever be spending money on consumable magic items due to
their cost. Over time, the cost incurred will put a player behind in
total wealth. However, the setback from the decision to purchase a
wand may be worth it if made occasionally. The Craft Wand feat
mitigates this setback at the cost of a feat. You as the player need
to decide if wands are worth using.
Make your own army. Easier to maintain than undead and often far more legal and moral. In-place of Spellcraft, you can use a Craft: Sculpting for Stone Constructs, Craft: Carpentry for Wood Constructs, Craft: Clockwork for Mechanical Constructs, etc. You end up with a lot of freedom here. You are practically building custom robots.
Rings are different from wondrous items. Wondrous Items can't be made for the "ring" slots of a character. The reason for this distinction is to make ring slots "worth more". Since you can only have two rings, you're limited in your choices. Being able to Forge Rings lets you open up those choices (so long as you cooperate with your DM on magic item creation). That's not to say that the rings that exist aren't awesome. Take this if you like fancy jewelry or want to invent your own.
Rods are for metamagics. These are feat sticks. You are literally crafting feats so that party members don't have to take them. There are also the few useful rods like the Immovable Rod and other such baton-shaped magic items. This is a must have for a party with a lot of spell casters. However, I do suggest you skip this feat if you don't see your party needing that many different metamagics. It's only worth spending a feat if you're actually making loads of feat sticks.
Brew Fleshcrafting Poison
Sometimes, I just wish I was more like my animal companion. What this lets you do is make toxins that give you monster abilities. Wish you could crawl under doors? Give yourself the Compression ability of a Delver. The possibilities are as vast as the bestiary. You decide how useful such a feat would be.
Staves are a touchy subject. Should you make a staff when you could just make a handful of wands? It really depends. Staves last FOREVER. You cannot consume a staff by emptying it. You can refill staves with one charge per day. If you see your campaign getting some major longevity (years worth of actual play time), a staff is great to have. However, whether or not staves are worth spending a feat on is another story. I don't see anyone ever needing that many staves, but the staves you'd like to have are pretty expensive. This is really a crap-shoot.
For classes, I'm just going to list off the things that have going for them. I will only discuss classes that have ANYTHING going for them. I'm going to spoil it for you right now, but Wizards are the clear winners here. However, if you just want some early feats, consider dipping into the other classes mentioned to get certain MICFs early.
- Wizards get Spellcraft and Craft as class skills.
- Wizards get Scribe Scroll at Level 1.
- Wizards of the Arcane Crafter (Universal) School can get a bonus MICF at Level 3. Also, they get a +2 to their crafting check when using a metamagic in MIC.
- Wizards have the option of choosing MICFs as Bonus Feats at level 5, 10, 15, and 20
- Wizards have two Arcane Discoveries they can take as Bonus Feats that revolve around MIC:
Arcane Builder: Select one type of magic item (potions, wondrous items, and so on). You create items of this type 25% faster than normal, and gain a +4 bonus on Spellcraft checks (or other checks, as appropriate) to craft items of this type.
Golem Constructor: You have learned the art and craft of creating a single type of golem (such as stone golems or iron golems). When creating a golem of this type, you count as having the Craft Wondrous Item, Craft Magic Arms and Armor, and Craft Construct feats. You must meet all other construction requirements for the golem as normal.
- Wizards can have a valet familiar which aids in MIC.
Class Skills: A valet treats Craft, Perform, and Profession as class skills.
Able Assistant (Ex): A valet's master treats the valet as if it possessed the Cooperative Crafting feat and shared all Craft skills and item creation feats he possesses. A valet's master treats the valet as if it possessed the Cooperative Crafting feat and shared all Craft skills and item creation feats he possesses.
- Witches get Spellcraft, Craft, and Use Magic Device as class skills.
- Witches can get the Cauldron Hex at Level 1, which is Brew Potion with a +4 insight bonus to Craft: Alchemy.
- Witches can have a valet familiar which aids in MIC.
- Clerics get Spellcraft and Craft as class skills.
- Clerics of the Rune Domain get Scribe Scroll as a Bonus Feat.
- Forgemaster Clerics gain Craft Magic Arms and Armor as a Bonus Feat at Level 3.
- Forgemaster Clerics can craft mundane and magical items in half the required time at Level 5.
PurpleVermont for the addition of Promethean Disciple discovery.
This guide was made on the fly with little to no prior planning. It was made just for your question by me. I expect to get my facts aggressively checked in the comments section where I may have misspoken or just been plain wrong, but over all, I've brought up enough things for you to consider when making a crafter. I may have missed out on a few things, too, so don't just stop at this guide.