How does Pathfinder Unchained's special raw materials work?

I can't seem to get them; I could be misunderstanding but it always seems like something is off to me.

For example, say I wanted to craft an agile breastplate. The standard price is 1/4 of the market value, so I can craft one at 100 GP. Note that crafting isn't based on the weight of the crafted item, but on its price. But say I want to craft one with Easily Worked Adamantine. The Easily Worked Adamantine's price is set at 600 GP/pound to BUY IT. But it is only worth half of that when used for crafting - or at least that's what I understood.

So, do I need to buy 50 pounds of Easily Worked Adamantine to craft said agile breastplate and pay 30000 GP? And even if I didn't have to buy 50 pounds, would I still need to buy 25 pounds and spend 15000 GP? Then what is the point of crafting it since I could buy it at roughly 1/3 or 2/3 of that?


The Process of Preparing to Craft with Special Raw Materials.

1. Decide on our item we want to craft.

In this case we want to craft an Agile Breastplate.

2. Decide on if we want to craft it from any Special Materials, or Special Raw Materials.

Special Materials are just different materials from the normal material of an item. In some cases these materials provide benefits or penalties.

Special Raw Materials may be the same material as the normal material of an item, these are just raw materials designed to provide different benefits to crafting the item.

  • Easily Worked Raw Materials allow you to Craft faster.
  • Flawless Raw Materials allow you to Craft Masterwork items without an increase in the DC of the craft check.
  • Malleable Raw Materials make it so you don't waste raw material if you fail your craft check.
  • Pure Raw Materials let you roll twice on your craft checks, making you more likely to succeed.

They are not designed to be as cheap as crafting the material normally, instead they are designed to keep you from failing or increasing your crafting speed.

In this scenario we are choosing to craft our Agile Breastplate from Easily Worked Adamantine.

3. Purchase Raw Materials for Crafting.

If we are not using Special Raw Materials, this is normally 1/3rd the item cost, or 1/4th if we use the Unchained Crafting Rules.

If crafting from a Special Raw Material, we need to determine the item's final weight. Looking at Agile Breastplate , it normally weighs 25 Pounds, this means that we need to purchase 25 Pounds of Easily Worked Adamantine for crafting the Agile Breastplate.

If we consult the rules for Special Raw Materials we see:

Unlike normal raw materials, special raw materials have both a cost and a crafting cost. The cost of the special raw material is the amount for which it can be purchased and sold. Special raw materials are trade goods, and like all trade goods, they can be bought and sold for the same price. The crafting cost is the amount of gold they are considered to be worth for the purposes of crafting. For example, flawless steel’s cost is 8 gp per pound, but its crafting cost per pound is 4 gp. It can be bought and sold for 8 gp per pound, but when used as the raw material for crafting items, it is considered to be worth only 4 gp per pound.

We are not using it as a trade good, instead we are using it for the purposes of crafting, so we use the Crafting Cost of the Material, or 300gp/pound in this case. This comes out to a cost 7,500 gp.

Normally purchasing an Adamantine Agile Breastplate adds a cost of 10,000 gp for the item, this means it would cost of 3,333 gp 3 sp 3 cp to craft normally (2,500 with Unchained Crafting). However, with Easily Worked Adamantine, you also craft the Armor at double speed, allowing it to be worn and enchanted faster. Mostly though, it is better to craft items without Special Raw Materials than it is to use Special Raw Materials unless you are worried about failing your craft check or are strapped for time.

4. You are now ready to Craft the item.

Just don't fail your skill checks.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This part right here "Since we are purchasing the material for Crafting, we use the Crafting Cost of the Material, or 300gp/pound in this case." is mostly what I'm not sure of. It's written that the material is considered to be worth half price for crafting purposes - 300GP/pound in this case - but not that the players can buy it at that price. So are we sure we need to buy only 25 pounds of material? \$\endgroup\$ – Elmoserpe Jun 21 at 5:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Elmoserpe While there is no definitive statement on how much raw material you need for an item, it's reasonable to assume that it would be the weight of the item itself. Especially if we take into account the Mithral FAQ. As for the price I've added more details explaining why I believe you buy for 1/2. \$\endgroup\$ – william porter Jun 21 at 11:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok, then I have another question that could make this more difficult. How do these rules interact with composite bows? The weight doesn't change for a composite bow, no matter how high the strength bonus is, so do I still only buy 3 pounds of wood? That seems unlikely. \$\endgroup\$ – Elmoserpe Jun 22 at 8:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Elmoserpe I'm actually unsure of how it would work in that case as written, as a GM I'd add the crafting cost of the str bonus (33 or 25 gp) as an additional cost for crafting. \$\endgroup\$ – william porter Jun 22 at 13:11

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