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According to the rules of crafting,

To create a masterwork item, you create the masterwork component as if it were a separate item in addition to the standard item. The masterwork component has its own price (300 gp for a weapon or 150 gp for a suit of armor or a shield, see Equipment for the price of other masterwork tools) and a Craft DC of 20. Once both the standard component and the masterwork component are completed, the masterwork item is finished. The cost you pay for the masterwork component is one-third of the given amount, just as it is for the cost in raw materials.

But if I'm not able to craft the masterwork component, is it possible for me to buy the masterwork component and craft the rest of the weapon myself?

UPDATE: I was looking for a more concrete RAW or FAQ.

UPDATE 2: I will ask paizo directly. I'll let you know how that goes.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Just to make sure, you want to save, like, 8 gp by making your own sword or whatever then spend 300 gp to buy the masterwork part? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Sep 5 '17 at 6:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ No, I want to save 250 gp making a 400 gp weapon (heavy repeating crossbow). \$\endgroup\$ – Jean-Luc Nacif Coelho Sep 5 '17 at 6:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ Fair enough. Got a couple of months of downtime, huh? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Sep 5 '17 at 6:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @John Thanks for the thought, but please use answer posts to help solve a Q's problem. Comments are only for administrative purposes relating to managing and improving the question itself, not for small or incomplete answers. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Sep 6 '17 at 15:06
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I would say no, that the usage of the term 'component' is misleading. Although the craft rule is treating these pieces separately for the purpose of checks and costs, they are simply representing the process of making something with better materials, more care, and more expensive techniques.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It actually makes sense to me. If you want a masterwork sword, the only important part is the blade. \$\endgroup\$ – Jean-Luc Nacif Coelho Sep 5 '17 at 8:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jean-LucNacifCoelho Not true, you don't want a flimsy handguard or a mis-balanced pommel, do you? \$\endgroup\$ – Pyritie Sep 5 '17 at 13:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ Upvoted, but I'd prefer if you at least addressed the rules-version at least enough to dismiss it as a silly interpretation(assuming RAW differs from your opinion) or reinforce your interpretation(assuming it agrees). \$\endgroup\$ – godskook Sep 5 '17 at 17:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @godskook If you could point me at such a rule text, I'd gladly include it. Sadly, pretty sure what has been quoted is the entirety of what we have. \$\endgroup\$ – YogoZuno Sep 5 '17 at 20:49
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I would say Yes to being able to buy the masterwork component.

The Curse of the Crimson Throne Pathfinder version has a piece of loot that the book says can be used as a masterwork component specifically for crafting a dagger. This implies to me that masterwork components are separate objects that can be bought and used in crafting a specific item.

Admittedly this is from an adventure path and not a hardcover rule book and I would not expect a craftsman to create a super fine thing and then let someone else take credit for the final product.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Wouldn't that mean you have materials worth of 100 gp (1/3 of 300 gp) that can only be used to craft the masterwork part of a masterwork dagger? \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Sep 5 '17 at 20:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowKras I would assume so, though the masterwork crafting rules don't explicitly say that the 1/3 cost of the masterwork component that you pay when crafting is for materials. \$\endgroup\$ – jneko Sep 5 '17 at 20:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ It says the market price for them is 300gp. You pay 1/3 when you craft it. \$\endgroup\$ – Jean-Luc Nacif Coelho Sep 6 '17 at 1:28
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No, you cannot

If you happen to have a spellcaster in your group, ask them if they have access to Masterwork Transformation. This spell will allow you to turn any weapon or armor into a masterwork simply by buying the necessary materials and casting the spell.

The material component for the spell is magical reagents worth the cost difference between a normal item and the equivalent masterwork item (typically 300 gp for a weapon, 150 gp for armor, or 50 gp for a tool).

If you do not have access to that spell, you could hire a spellcaster for 60 gp, plus the material costs of 300 gp, for a total of 360 gp. As long as your settlement has spellcasters available with access to at least 2nd level spells (like a Hamlet or bigger). Being a cleric and wizard spell, this shouldn't be too difficult.

Another option is the Exemplar Weapon Salve (350 gp), which permanently turns a weapon into a masterwork weapon when applied. Do notice that this can only be applied to weapons, not armors, and that it costs an extra 50 gp (from 300 gp to 350 gp).

Otherwise you will have to craft the masterwork part of your weapon/armor using the normal methods (Craft skill), it cannot be bought and then thrown into the item to magically transform it into a masterwork.

What does this mean? You have to buy the raw materials, which cost 100 gp for weapons (1/3 the cost of masterwork quality, 300 gp) and 50 gp for armors (1/3 of 150 gp), and use it to craft the masterwork component of your weapon/armor using the Craft skill rules. There is an online craft calculator to help to figure this out. But notice that the masterwork component cannot be crafted separately, you only separate them to calculate the cost and time spent crafting your item.

Pathfinder Society

According to the Pathfinder Society Guild Guide (version 9.0, page 20), you cannot upgrade non-masterwork items to masterwork:

Mundane items cannot be upgraded to masterwork items, nor can nonmagical aspects of equipment be upgraded, such as the strength rating on a composite bow.

And later explains (page 23) that you can only cast a single Masterwork Transformation and keep the benefits of the spell to the next adventures:

A character can have one each of the following spells on an item or items that carries over from adventure to adventure: continual flame, masterwork transformation (Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Magic 228), secret chest, and secret page.

The FAQ further clarifies how Masterwork Transformation works in PFS:

The Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Guide says that I can only transfer the effects of one copy of the masterwork transformation spell from one adventure to another. What happens if I enchant an item under the effects of masterwork transformation?

The enchanted item no longer counts as being under the effects of masterwork transformation, so it does not count against the limit of one copy of the spell.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I guess if the spell exists it makes sense for it not to be allowed. \$\endgroup\$ – Jean-Luc Nacif Coelho Sep 6 '17 at 1:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jean-Luc Nacif Coelho The spell was only added in Ultimate Magic, in 2011. It wasn't exactly there from the start. \$\endgroup\$ – YogoZuno Sep 7 '17 at 20:31
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is it possible for me to buy the masterwork component and craft the rest of the weapon myself?

I would say anyone can buy a thing if there is someone willing to sell that thing to them.

The real question is can you use that masterwork component effectively?

I'm not able to craft the masterwork component

As you're not able to craft the masterwork component, I would say it's no. The reason being that without the correct level of skill you would not be able to make effective use of the masterwork component. Therefore, any item you made with it would be, at best, a normal item with one fancy bit on it.

Besides, if you could do it, so can the NPC's. There's a thought for you, a screaming hoard of "insert this week's monster" running at you with masterwork weapons and armor they couldn't possibly craft for themselves under normal circumstances on their own, but got by stealing a load of masterwork parts in that caravan they took out last month.

So, I'd say yes you can buy it but it wouldn't do you any good and that's as much about not having NPC's do it as not having PC's do it.

Could I see another GM calling it the other way? Yes, I can see that. It comes down to what is allowable in the game world that GM wants to run in. Is it possible to buy a masterwork blade and put on your own guard and pommel? If you have the skill to do it, yes. How much skill? More than making a normal sword? That's the debatable part. I would come down on the side of needing master skill to go with master components if you want the master bonus.

Lets look at RAW again.

To create a masterwork item, you create the masterwork component as if it were a separate item in addition to the standard item. The masterwork component has its own price (300 gp for a weapon or 150 gp for a suit of armor or a shield, see Equipment for the price of other masterwork tools) and a Craft DC of 20. Once both the standard component and the masterwork component are completed, the masterwork item is finished. The cost you pay for the masterwork component is one-third of the given amount, just as it is for the cost in raw materials.

Some may read that and say you could have two people sharing the work, one the "master" crafter making the hard bit and other, a "normal" crafter, putting it all together. After all it doesn't say which one has to put all the parts together.

Right, it doesn't say which has to put all the parts together. I would say the "normal" one could not put it together effectively, hence no masterwork bonus, just a normal item with a really nice piece on it. To get the masterwork bonus, it would have to be put together by a "master". The "normal" could make the regular parts but the "master" has to put it all together at the end if you want a masterwork bonus for it.

Again, it has to do with what kind of world the GM is looking to make. Before ruling on it the GM should ask of themself, are masterwork swords on the hip of every 2nd level warrior or are they rare? That answer should guide them.

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    \$\begingroup\$ A masterwork blade can fit into any ol' handle \$\endgroup\$ – Jean-Luc Nacif Coelho Sep 6 '17 at 9:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just pointing out, the difference between raiding a caravan for MWK components for monster's pre-existing equipment and raiding that same caravan for new equipment is a fairly marginal distinction. \$\endgroup\$ – godskook Sep 6 '17 at 13:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jean-LucNacifCoelho Yes, the blade can fit on any handle. But is it done with masterful skill? I say, unless it's done by a master, no. \$\endgroup\$ – Leezard Sep 6 '17 at 17:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @godskook No it is not a marginal distinction. It's a matter of what kind of world the GM is making. Is it a world in which masterworks are just another item in every two-bit smith of the land or is a masterwork item rare. If it is rare then having a caravan with parts or fully made masterwork items would not be an issue. \$\endgroup\$ – Leezard Sep 6 '17 at 17:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Let us continue this discussion in chat. \$\endgroup\$ – godskook Sep 6 '17 at 20:33

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