How long does it take a character to make a painting and how is the painting's price determined?


Pathfinder Unchained added an optional system that includes the 'artistry' skill. This skill covers not only using art to earn a living, but also creating individual pieces of art as a commissioned work. Sounds like the second option is of interest to you.

Roughly, the process for creating art is similar to the one for Crafting. I've copied an excerpt from the Artistry rules below.

Creating a Commissioned Work: If you are creating a specific commissioned work, determine the value of the work you wish to create by looking at the table below, then follow the listed steps. You must have a patron willing to pay this value to attempt to create a commissioned work. The amount earned from trying to make a living using Artistry is for works that are distributed among many people and publications, not bought by one patron.\$\DeclareMathOperator{\sp}{\text{ sp}}\DeclareMathOperator{\gp}{\text{ gp}}\$

\begin{array}{l|l l} \textbf{Quality of Work} & \textbf{DC} & \textbf{Commission Fee} \\ \hline \text{Pedestrian work} & 10 & 1\sp \\ \text{Pleasing work} & 15 & 25\gp\ (250\sp) \\ \text{Impressive work} & 20 & 50\gp\ (500\sp) \\ \text{Memorable work} & 25 & 100\gp\ (1{,}000\sp) \\ \text{Masterful work} & 30 & 200\gp\ (2{,}000\sp) \\ \end{array}

To determine how much time and money it takes to complete a work of art, follow these steps.

Step 1: Find the DC and price corresponding to the quality of the work you intend to create.

Step 2: Spend 1/4 the price of the work you intend to create. This represents buying supplies such as parchment and ink, hiring the services of musicians, paying for research materials, and the like.

Step 3: Attempt an Artistry check with the appropriate DC, representing 1 week's worth of work. If you succeed, multiply your check result by the DC. If the resulting value equals the price of the item in sp, then you have completed the work of art and gain your commission fee. (If the resulting value equals double or triple the price of the work in silver pieces, then you've completed the task in half or one-third of the time. Other multiples of the DC reduce the completion time in the same manner.) If the resulting value doesn't equal the price, then it represents the progress you've made this week in sp. If the check fails, you make no progress.

Step 4: If you didn't complete the work of art, you can either continue working or call it done and cut your losses. If you continue working, you must spend 1/4 the price again for each week you work. Record the result of your check from the first week, and add your progress for each subsequent week to the total until you either complete the item or cut your losses. If you decide to cut your losses, you gain the commission of the highest-quality level that your total could have completed. For instance, if you were trying to create a memorable work (a commission price of 1,000 sp) and have made only 600 sp worth of progress, you can cut your losses to gain a commission fee for an impressive work (500 sp, or 50 gp). You can't earn the value for a higher quality than you were aiming for, so if you aimed to create a memorable work but ended up creating a masterful work, you couldn't gain a commission price higher than 100 gp. When you cut your losses, you don't gain back any money you spent on supplies and services. So if you spent 250 sp when trying to create a memorable work, selling an impressive work would net you only 250 sp total if you spent 1 week of work, and would cause you to break even if you spent 2 weeks. It's possible to lose money working on a commission.


As an art object, a painting is always bought and sold for a certain amount of money (never halved, the way gear is when players try to sell it).

But the actual rules for pricing it don’t exist—art is worth whatever it’s worth. All the Craft rules are about how long it takes someone with skill check \$C\$ to produce an item of value \$P\$ and DC \$DC\$ (and \$C \ge DC\$). Specifically, if you make a check of \$C\$ against DC \$DC\$, then you make \$(DC\times C)\text{ sp}\$ worth of progress. Once your progress over several weeks exceeds the cost, \$P\$, in silver pieces, the item is complete.

In other words,

$$ t_{completion} = \frac{P\text{ sp}}{DC\times C \frac{\text{sp}}{\text{week}}} $$

In this case, we don’t know \$DC\$ or \$P\$. But we can say that \$DC = C\$, which is the best-case scenario, and then solve for \$P\$. That yields

$$ t_{work} \times C^2 = P $$

So the number of weeks you work, times your take-10 check squared, is the value of the artwork in silver pieces.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Or, conversely, it takes you a number of weeks equal to the price of the painting you want to make divided by your skill squared to make it via unaugmented mundane crafting, in the best case scenario. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Feb 27 '18 at 6:36

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