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I'm GMing a Pathfinder game that's been going on for awhile now and wanted some advice.

We have a new player that's joining a game in progress. The rest of the party is level 8. He's coming in at that level too, and has the standard money you'd expect at that level to spend on gear. He's taken the Craft Magic Arms and Armor feat and is intending to "craft" all his gear at half price using the feat.

I have issues with this since the rest of the party didn't have the opportunity to use that feat until recently. They spent their early money, at full price. It feels like he's ignoring the fact that he would have had to have spent time without that feat and bypassing the in game time it would have taken him to actually craft the items by jumping ahead.

How would you advise handling the situation?

At some point he would have had the feat and could have crafted half price items. But some of the budget would have been full price.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! Take the tour. A great first question. Thank you for participating and have fun. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Dec 23 '18 at 8:25
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The general guidelines make no mention of the Item Creation Feats, but I'll quote it for completeness:

Characters should spend no more than half their total wealth on any single item. For a balanced approach, PCs that are built after 1st level should spend no more than 25% of their wealth on weapons, 25% on armor and protective devices, 25% on other magic items, 15% on disposable items like potions, scrolls, and wands, and 10% on ordinary gear and coins.

My groups have had success with using the first portion of that "no more than half their total wealth on a single item" and expanding that (as a homerule) to be "no more than half of their wealth can be spent on crafted items". We also rule that the value (not crafted cost) of your most expensive item cannot be greater than half your wealth.

By doing this, you end up with a character that is rewarded for having a party-oriented Feat, but is only slightly more "wealthy" than the rest of the party. The way that magical item value increases with level will ensure the medium gap is quickly closed as the party makes use of their new best friend and finds things of greater value than any of them had before.

Additionally, I would average the "wealth" of existing members (who are able to calculate it) for the new player rather than going off the Wealth By Level table, if possible. This will keep them closer to the rest of the party in case your actual value numbers are significantly above or below average.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @nijineko Since the question asks about Pathfinder, there is no XP impact from crafting. If the question had asked about D&D 3.5e, this would be different. \$\endgroup\$ – Tim C Dec 24 '18 at 5:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for that. As a new GM I'd missed that part and I like the house rule about it working off value rather than cost, even if it is crafted. \$\endgroup\$ – Ironmonk Dec 28 '18 at 21:25
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A new PC must meet the GM's approval to enter the campaign. A GM shouldn't let into the campaign any PC that makes the GM uncomfortable. Attempts should be made by the GM and the player to compromise so that the PC can enter the campaign, but, ultimately, the GM can—for whatever reason or no reason at all—say no to a particular character. Likewise, a player may walk away from a campaign for whatever reason, such as finding the GM too restrictive.

Anyway, that said, here the FAQ agrees with the player in the following exchange:

If a PC has an item crafting feat, does a crafted item count as its Price or its Cost?

It counts as the item's Cost, not the Price. This comes into play in two ways.

If you're equipping a higher-level PC, you have to count crafted items at their Cost[s rather than their prices]. Otherwise the character isn't getting any benefit for having the feat. Of course, the GM is free to set limits in equipping the character, such as "no more than 40% of your wealth can be used for armor" (instead of the "balanced approach" described on page 400 where the PC should spend no more than 25% on armor).

If you're looking at the party's overall wealth by level, you have to count crafted items at their Cost. Otherwise, if you counted crafted items at their Price, the crafting character would look like she had more wealth than appropriate for her level, and the GM would have to to bring this closer to the target gear value by reducing future treasure for that character, which means eventually that character has the same gear value as a non-crafting character--in effect neutralizing any advantage of having that feat at all.

So, in short, the player's not wrong in his desire for his PC to benefit from this ruling.

However, it's possible that the player may be trying to maximize his PC's use of the feat Craft Magic Arms and Armor by, like, using Table: Estimating Magic Item Gold Piece Values to devise new magic items that also just so happen to be armor or weapons and having his new PC enter play with—at cost—an at-will command word-activated +1 sword of cure light wounds, or adding existing magic items to armor or weapons and saying that the entire +1 sword of holding ("It's a +1 sword! It's a bag of holding! It's both!") has been created using the feat Craft Magic Arms and Armor alone and is therefore available to his PC at cost.

If that's the case, you really don't have to approve those new or unique magic items. (And, in fact, you can veto the PC possessing any magic item you think will create problems or that's inappropriate for the campaign.) You can also mandate that the player's PC limit himself to buying or creating for cost printed items. By the way, if you do limit this PC this way, it's only fair that other new future incoming be limited likewise.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This is just the latest in a long list of "disputes" we've had. I'm a new GM and he's an experienced player. It seems like every time I take a closer look at his character he's doing something else that's really fishy. Playing the numbers rather than playing the role. Also looks like a lot of the items he crafted are made up. I expected he'd run those by me first before introducing them to the game, or at least give me the heads up that he'd made up new items. \$\endgroup\$ – Ironmonk Dec 28 '18 at 21:09
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What do they consider "all their gear"?

Well, for a start Craft Magic Arms and Armor only lets you craft weapons, shields and armor; not cloaks, belts, bracers, or helms as those are wondrous items not armor; not rings, wands, or potions as those have their own feats. That's likely only two or three things in a normal adventurer's gear (range weapon, melee weapon, armor, shields), and not "All his gear".

Also, remember you can make them roll for creation of these items, making a magic item is not a guaranteed success. They might have spent the money and failed after all, getting nothing for the money spent. Then they have to buy the item again and they still might fail again. They might end up spending more than normal cost. They may even end up with a cursed item if they fail their roll by 5 or more. You can give them the option half price with rolls to see if they fail each item or full price with no rolls. Magic item creation rules can be found here.

Remember, each prerequisite spell you don't have makes the DC higher. You could even roll for them so they don't know if they get a cursed item, maybe they role a 1 and you get to give them something special, a unique cursed item of forced plot hook they can't get rid of.

There is not that much issue with letting them craft one melee weapon, one ranged weapon or shield, and one armor at half price. Especially if you use the piece Ifusaso's quoted about how much they should spend one each part of their gear. The price of these items scale so fast getting them at half price will not help them get much extra. They might get one extra magic item out of it, especially at 8th level. Remember anything that is not armor, shields, or weapon they have to buy at full price.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Rolling a natural 1 does not automatically fail a skill check. Accidentally creating a cursed item requires the crafter to fail the check by at least 5. Depending on the character, by level 8, a skill bonus could be as high as +16 or more, even before adding temporary bonuses. \$\endgroup\$ – YogoZuno Dec 27 '18 at 0:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ I did mention hte 5 or more, the real potential is to fail and waste hte materials requiring you to but them again. \$\endgroup\$ – John Dec 27 '18 at 2:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Another consideration is where are they making these things, to craft magic platemail for instance you probably need a smithy if not a laboratory, does the PC own a smithy? if not he probably has to rent one for the weeks of crafting time, which should be expensive. This is not RAW but it is a pretty realistic consideration. \$\endgroup\$ – John Dec 28 '18 at 20:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not entirely sure where he's getting these items from. I think some were bought properly but others were crafted. But the numbers aren't adding up right. I suspect he did something sneaky like took Craft Magic Armor, created his armor, then dropped it and retrained in Craft Wondrous Item in the time before he joined the party. \$\endgroup\$ – Ironmonk Dec 28 '18 at 21:21
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Be up front with him. You know what level he gains the feat, he is expected to spend his wealth before that level at normal costs. Only once the feat is acquired at whatever level can the wealth be spent.

Or allow him to start crafting once the game starts. Should take several months or years in game time to craft his stuff while adventuring.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ you are making many assumptions about crafting items that don't line up with the RAW. A basic +1 magic armour only takes one day to craft. Worst case, even when adventuring, a character could do that in 12 days...and that assumes no downtime. d20pfsrd.com/magic-items/magic-item-creation \$\endgroup\$ – YogoZuno Dec 26 '18 at 8:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @YogoZuno Didnt assume anything. Level 8 should have 33k in wealth or 8-16k for a single item. Yes, a basic +1 weapon would be easy to make, but thats not the point here. it craft a 8k item would take a month using the traveling rules. Yes my upper end of years was a bit over the top. \$\endgroup\$ – Fering Dec 26 '18 at 15:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ lol, so you did assume more than a +1 item, and you also assumed there will be no downtime in the game. Some games and GMs don't give much downtime, but that is far from universal. The Kingmaker AP, for instance, is full of downtime opportunities. \$\endgroup\$ – YogoZuno Dec 27 '18 at 0:45
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The paizo srd states somewhere (although i can't off-hand remember where), that new characters can get a boost of 25% to their WBL, per crafting feat they possess; this is supposed to take into account used potions/scrolls and botched creation rolls.

Alternatively, you could ask this new player to first kit out his character at level 7 without crafting feats, for level 7 WBL, and then spend the difference between levels 7 and 8 to "upgrade" his weapons and armor using his feat

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Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Hello and welcome! You can take the tour to learn more about the site. This answer could really use a quote or a link to the mentioned rules. I believe what you remember may be these rules. If you could edit them in your answer I think it would be considerably improved. Happy gaming! \$\endgroup\$ – Sdjz Jan 22 at 10:56

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