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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?

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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. Calculate the Crafting Cost

This is normally 1/3rd the item cost, or 1/4th if we use the Unchained Crafting Rules.

An Agile Breastplate normally costs 400gp, as a medium armor Adamantine adds 10,000gp to this cost bringing us to a total cost of 10,400gp for the armor. This would then make our crafting costs:

  • Normal: 3,466gp 6sp, 7cp
  • Unchained: 2,600gp

4. Purchase Raw Materials for crafting

Normally for crafting, this would simply be going out and purchasing the correct amount of raw materials. In this case though, since we want to use Special Raw Materials, we need to purchase enough that their crafting cost (not purchase cost) is equal to the craft cost of your item. In this case we would need to purchase:

  • Normal: 6,933gp 3sp, 4cp worth of Easily Worked Adamantine
  • Unchained: 5,200gp worth of Easily Worked Adamantine

As you can see, if you have no special raw materials, the value you pay for them when crafting is 2/3rds the cost of the item normally, or 1/2 the cost if you are using unchained crafting rules. It doesn't matter what type of Special Raw Material it is. Because the crafting cost of special raw materials is always half the purchase price of them.

5. You are now ready to Craft the item.

Just don't fail your skill checks.


Why use special raw materials?

Given that they seem to only increase the cost of crafting items, you may be wondering why you should ever use Special Raw Material. As I note in section 2, each version of them gives you a special benefit for crafting with them that you may want or need for crafting.

Additionally, the GM may use them as loot items to give out during an adventure, which can result in lowering the amount you need to pay to craft an item. Also, as a trade good, Special Raw Materials are bought and sold for the same price, which means that if you don't want to turn that 1lb of Pure Mithral into a Mithral Chain Shirt, you can sell it for 600gp.

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  • \$\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\$ – Snakehelm Jun 21 '19 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 '19 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\$ – Snakehelm Jun 22 '19 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 '19 at 13:11

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