Player's Handbook lists some rules about downtime activities, including crafting (p. 187), as does Dungeon Master's Guide (p. 127). In both resources, downtime activities are defined as activities characters can participate in between adventures. What about during adventures?

Say my character is proficient in carpenter's tools. In 10 days, he can craft a longbow for 25 gp (market price 50 gp). According to the rules (please no "Ask your DM" answers), can he work on crafting a longbow while traveling during an adventure?


  • Can certain crafting activities be performed while traveling? This obviously depends on what kind of crafting is being performed—I don't see how a blacksmith could bring his forge and anvil with him on an adventure. However, I don't know why it would be so difficult for a painter, a leatherworker, or a jeweler to craft an item while traveling. Even a carpenter or weaver could conceivably craft while traveling if their project and the tools needed to craft it are portable enough. (Maybe not a chair, but why not a wooden bowl or a shortbow?)
  • If the party is on the road and camping but not resting (not engaging in combat), could some of this extra time be spent crafting? The rules regarding traveling "assumes that characters travel for 8 hours in day" (PHB, p. 181). If a long rest takes 8 hours, that leaves 8 more hours in the day for other activities.
  • Could crafting be performed during part of a long rest? As previously mentioned, a long rest takes 8 hours; two of those hours can be used to perform "light activities" (PHB, p. 186). While some crafting activities may not be considered light work (pounding heated metal on an anvil into a sword), one could argue that other crafting activities (painting, whittling a length of wood, weaving a shirt or blanket, etc.) is light work. Furthermore, since [an elf's long rest is over after 4 hours], one could further argue that an elven crafter could craft for 4 hours while his or her traveling companions finish their long rests.

Again, I'm looking for RAW answers—I consider that "ask your DM" is always the given answer in the absence of RAW rules. Thanks!

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    \$\begingroup\$ Your considerations make a lot of reasonable argments as to why it makes sense for crafters to be able to craft while "adventuring" but they are rendered completely irrelevant by your insistence on the rules as they are written in the books. Are you actually happy getting an answer which is just "no, the rules don't cover this" (and therefore implicitly, if not explicitly, "ask your DM") or do you want an evaluation of your arguments, which is necessary going to involve some departure from the existing rules? \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcer
    Jul 25, 2018 at 21:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Carcer I was mostly just wondering if there were any official rules supporting my considerations; however, it’s good to know that others might agree with my arguments in favor of “crafting on the go”. \$\endgroup\$
    – KSchank
    Jul 26, 2018 at 5:12

2 Answers 2


By RAW, it depends on what you are crafting; Yes, for some things.

As per the "Tool Proficiencies" section in Xanathar's Guide to Everything (starting on p. 78), with the correct tools many things can be crafted during rest periods. Each of these are specifically mentioned in RAW.

You can make basic alchemical materials like acid, alchemist's fire, antitoxin, or soap during a long rest.

Ditto a meal or a forged document takes a short rest.

Repairing metalwork, so smithing, can be done at 10 HP per hour but stipulates you need to have a hot enough flame to soften the metal, which in the real world means you need a forge wagon to do while afield, but here might be accomplished with magic.

Clothing can be created during a long rest, or repaired during a short one.

Arrows can be crafted during a short or long rest with woodcarver's tools.

Crafting a map is directly stated to something that can be done while traveling with cartographer's tools.

Painting and drawing is stated to be doable during rest periods.

Crafting also falls under the downtime activity rules (Xanathar's, p. 128), 50 gp value per 40 hrs of work, including some of the above as examples, implying some overlap and allowing us to compare time and progress.

The implication is clear anything you might reasonably be able to do with the tools on hand, you can do it, but other things are nigh impossible because the equipment or material is not portable. Notably masonry, glassblowing, and leatherworking lack any mention of rest activities which makes sense since these each require significant time and non-portable equipment or are themselves not portable (note in the real world harvesting a hide is very different from turning it into leather). Even smithing only allows for repairs with a big qualifier attached.

To use arrows as an example (XGE, "Woodcarver's Tools", p. 85), you can create 20 arrows during a long rest or 5 during a short rest, using downtime crafting 20 arrows takes about an hour (1 gp, 0.8 hours), so there is definitely an implication that crafting on the go takes a lot longer, about 4 times as long when it is possible at all. This makes sense since you would not be able to devote your full time and effort into it.

Yet something like an 50 gp antitoxin also takes a long rest (XGE, "Alchemical Crafting", p. 79), presumably because the cost reflects material cost not labor, which makes sense given the cost of raw materials given (50 gp per pound).

So it is up to the GM whether it is possible (do you have the necessary tools and raw material). How much you get done is not well-defined, but a good rule of thumb might be 1 gp worth of labor per long rest. Keep in mind that D&D is not supposed to be a high-fidelity life simulator; just because it doesn't talk about it does not mean you can't do it. Nowhere does it tell you you can bathe or how to construct a campfire either, yet few would argue you can't do these activities.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Please provide references to these 'allowed activities' during long or short rest as I cannot find such description in the PHB or DMG for the activities you listed as being allowed during long and short rest per RAW... \$\endgroup\$ Dec 19, 2019 at 17:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KilrathiSly Its all Xanathar's Guide to Everything, some of it is on page 78, tools and skills together. I think I know which ones gave you trouble I will add them. \$\endgroup\$
    – John
    Dec 19, 2019 at 22:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch all rules are optional, but nothing in the section calls them out as specifically a variant or add on ruleset. \$\endgroup\$
    – John
    Dec 19, 2019 at 23:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ok I see Xanathar's rule on it. but they are VERY specific activities.. like crafting arrows only. no one can craft a longbow during anything but a downtime activity and the like. ok Xanathar seems to provide a very few specific things you can craft during long and short rest, but that is it everything else you can only do during downtime activities. right ? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 22, 2019 at 4:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KilrathiSly That's up to you, its quite clear they are not trying to create an exhaustive list, merely examples. consider it mentions arrows but not bolts even though bolts are far easier to make, or using wood carving tools to say make a carving which in real life you can even do while walking. . It leaves out common activities like bathing or grooming. just because it is not explicitly included does not mean you can't do it, dnd is not supposed to be a high fidelity life simulator, \$\endgroup\$
    – John
    Dec 22, 2019 at 5:37

RAW, no. Even while assuming you have access to a location conducive to your craft.

Both the PHB and DMG both reference making progress in day intervals.

PHB, p187. For every day of downtime you spend crafting...

DMG, p129. A character engaged in in the crafting of a magic item makes progress in 25gp increments, spending that amount for each day of work until the total cost is paid. The character is assumed to work for 8 hours each of those days.

As days (or 8 hour workdays more appropriately) are the only unit of time listed as a means of tracking progress, one reading of RAW is that you can't craft for a shorter period and make any appreciable impact.

Fluffwise, this time could be argued to include all manner of indirectly beneficial actions, such as set up, breakdown, clean up, coffee breaks, waiting for glue to dry, etc... While not directly producing an item, they are part of the crafting procedure and need to be incorporated. Also as you pointed out, downtime is supposed to occur between adventures, during a period when adventurers can assume they are relatively safe from harm. As crafting presumably requires some amount of focus, it would seem unwise to participate in while under threat from wandering monsters.

I know you are only interested in RAW, but sidenote on allowing shorter periods of downtime during adventuring. Switching from the designed day progress increments to shorter increments will be very tedious to track. Using 25gp/8 hours as a measure, 15 minutes of work rounds to 7sp and 8cp of progress. That's not going to be fun to keep track of.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Why are you using magical item rules for mundane items? Mundane items have their own rules. which specifically allow for multiple item creation for lower cost items. Xanthar's starts on pg 128 \$\endgroup\$
    – John
    Jul 26, 2018 at 21:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Answering the title question for magic-item crafting is useful, but it would be much better to point out in a ## header that the scope of your answer is crafting magic items, something John's answer doesn't mention. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 9 at 1:20

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