One of my players in an upcoming game came up to me and noted that crafting items takes a ridiculously long time and/or is not much cheaper than just buying the item. This got me to look into the crafting system a bit deeper.

This is question #2, dealing with crafting times. Here is #1, about profits/costs.

I looked at the Earn Income table on page 236, and the prices of magic items, in the table starting on page 536 of the Core rulebook. Eyeballing the average price of a permanent item and assuming the highest proficiency level possible I made a quick excel table.

Assuming a normal success on the skill roll, getting the full price reduction on an item you craft (to half price) takes you:

  • lv 1: 37 days
  • lv 2-7: ~ 2 months
  • lv 8-13: ~ 3 months
  • lv 14-18: ~ 4 months
  • lv 19-20: 5+ months

Crafting an item 3 levels below you takes:

  • lv 1: 10 days
  • lv 2-4: ~ 2 weeks
  • lv 5-8: ~ 3-4 weeks
  • lv 9-17: ~ 1 month
  • lv 18: ~2 months
  • lv 19: 100 days
  • lv 20: 175 days

(Plus the 4 days to start crafting in every case.)

These numbers make it really impractical for a generic adventurer to create an item suitable for their own use (ie. of their level). Even if they settle for half the reduction they can get, it will take time on the scale of months, even on fairly low levels.

Are there rules or factors I did not take into account? How do these times line up with the downtime that a PC might expect or that the GM is advised to give?


3 Answers 3


Yes, Crafting for a discount is meant to take that long

Keep in mind that no matter what you're crafting, if you succeed the check you can always choose to finish the item after 4 days; you end up paying full price for the item, but there are other reasons to craft. This extra cash in your pocket lines up with the cash someone equally skilled can make taking other work, though your crafting work is all but guaranteed to be available where other characters may not be able to find work of a similar level for the same duration.

Doing it this way solves historical issues

The system as it stands is effectively making sure Crafting items for you or your party isn't an objectively better use of your time than a different way to make money. This is to alleviate an issue in previous versions where a party who had a spellcaster with item creation feats could very easily end up doubling their expected wealth in a relatively short amount of time (compared to a party of blacksmiths spending downtime to make a couple silvers). By avoiding that issue by making crafting and other ways to earn an income comparable, the system doesn't have to assume one way or the other (either that you have twice as many magic items as the charts say, so the game's hard for parties not doing that; or that you have the items the charts say, so the game's really easy for parties that are doing that).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually, this would be a better answer for my other question, about the cost issues. What you write here does not explain why the length of time is necessary, just why the cost/profit numbers are as they are. \$\endgroup\$
    – Szega
    Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 20:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Szega Well, your title question is on a false premise then - to craft something takes 4 days if you can succeed the check. This does not change from level 1 to level 20 (unless there's a feat or other thing that modifies the time needed). It only takes longer if you reduce the cost by a percentage of the total price. \$\endgroup\$
    – Delioth
    Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 20:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ I may improve the phrasing, but I reject that it is "a false premise". The text describes what I am interested in. Also, you did not answer my question about amount of downtime assumed by the mechanics. They are also not the same question. If you could earn 2x as much income per day, crafting for max reduction would take half as long. There should be no fear of this being better than adventuring in terms of income: traveling to a dungeon 1 week away (and back) has to generate more than 15 days' income, which is 90gp for a 10th level PC, ie. nothing compared to the treasure expected then. \$\endgroup\$
    – Szega
    Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 20:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Szega it's a false premise because if you say there is a scaling crafting time, you're wrong - crafting an item takes 4 days. Crafting a +3 Sap doesn't take more time than a +1 Sap; they both take 4 days to craft, but you can invest more downtime into the +3 Sap for a higher (absolute) cost benefit (and also higher per day). And the comparison isn't between crafting and adventuring, it's between crafting expensive stuff and other Earn an Income tasks. If you're wondering why earn an income values are where they're at, that doesn't relate to crafting but is more general to Earn an Income. \$\endgroup\$
    – Delioth
    Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 21:57

I want to begin by pointing out...

The benefit of crafting your own equipment seems to be that you have the exact gear you want. You can complete any project in 4 days if you pay market price. Any further efforts are more akin to Earn Income than they are Crafting for yourself (although as my answer to your other question addresses, there may be reasons to Earn vs Craft).

My calculations vary from yours to an extent.

The numbers I get are significantly different but paint a similar picture. However, it is notably more more even by level. It does tend to trend up at higher levels, but is immediately more slow to craft at your level.

\begin{array} {|r|r|}\hline Item Level & Avg Cost (Total) & Progress (daily) & Days for half Cost \\ \hline 1 & 15g & 2s & 38 \\ \hline 2 & 33g & 3s & 55 \\ \hline 3 & 58g & 5s & 58 \\ \hline 4 & 90g & 8s & 56 \\ \hline 5 & 150g & 1g & 75 \\ \hline 6 & 240g & 2g & 60 \\ \hline 7 & 350g & 2.5g & 70 \\ \hline 8 & 470g & 3g & 78 \\ \hline 9 & 680g & 4g & 85 \\ \hline 10 & 930g & 6g & 77 \\ \hline 11 & 1,300g & 8g & 82 \\ \hline 12 & 1,800g & 10g & 90 \\ \hline 13 & 2,700g & 15g & 90 \\ \hline 14 & 4,100g & 20g & 103 \\ \hline 15 & 5,500g & 28g & 99 \\ \hline 16 & 9,500g & 40g & 119 \\ \hline 17 & 14,000g & 55g & 127 \\ \hline 18 & 19,000g & 90g & 106 \\ \hline 19 & 37,000g & 130g & 143 \\ \hline 20 & 70,000g & 200g & 175 \\ \hline \end{array}

Sourcing: AvgCost(Total) is from p536-542 permanent magic items based on eyeballing, as described in the OP; Progress(daily) is from the level-appropriate skill ranks of Earned Income table; DaysForHalfCost is (AvgCost/Progress[daily] )/2

However, I would like to reformat the table from level 7 down, when any self-respecting Crafter will have taken Impeccable Crafter.

\begin{array} {|r|r|}\hline Item Level & Avg Cost (Total) & Progress (daily) & Days for half Cost \\ \hline 7 & 350g & 3g & 59 \\ \hline 8 & 470g & 4g & 59 \\ \hline 9 & 680g & 6g & 57 \\ \hline 10 & 930g & 8g & 59 \\ \hline 11 & 1,300g & 10g & 65 \\ \hline 12 & 1,800g & 15g & 60 \\ \hline 13 & 2,700g & 20g & 68 \\ \hline 14 & 4,100g & 28g & 69 \\ \hline 15 & 5,500g & 40g & 69 \\ \hline 16 & 9,500g & 55g & 87 \\ \hline 17 & 14,000g & 90g & 78 \\ \hline 18 & 19,000g & 130g & 73 \\ \hline 19 & 37,000g & 200g & 93 \\ \hline 20 & 70,000g & 300g & 117 \\ \hline \end{array}

It seems almost expected that the feat is taken to keep higher level crafting more in line with its early counterpart... 2 months "gets you" the item you want for half price except at the highest of levels.


The length of time it takes to craft items is quite long in duration, but it is correct as per the source book.

Not all campaigns march on at a linear pace. There are several reasons in a campaign to allow players to have a long period of down time.

From a GM's perspective, this allows a character to expend a resource (down time) to gain a specific desired benefit (cheaper equipment) without having to plan out encounters that contain that equipment as a reward.

From a player's perspective, there could be in-game reasons that a character remains idle for a prolonged period of time. They could be waiting for the return of a messenger who is traveling cross-continent, they may be snowed in for the winter, or they could be waiting for an upcoming tournament. The character is then free to spend a prolonged period of time doing non-adventuring to gain some benefit.

As for if this lines up with the downtime a PC might expect, it is completely up to the GM and the type of campaign they are running for how much downtime is appropriate. If the players communicate clearly with the GM that they would like to pursue some downtime activities, the GM can budget that into the adventure. Spending the downtime is something that can be easily coordinated between sessions and quickly wrapped up at the start of the following session to update character sheets and dole out rewards before embarking on the next chapter. Months can pass in game without the players having to sit idly in real life.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I am aware that the group/GM can settle on any kind of expected downtime for themselves. Are you saying that the books are silent on the matter? Explicit mention or implicit statements are both acceptable. \$\endgroup\$
    – Szega
    Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 14:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Szega The books do not explicitly say "give players this much downtime". That is something dictated by the pace of the campaign. Player/DM communication is required to decide how much is reasonable. A campaign involving the players escaping prison and proving their innocence may not lend itself to any downtime, while a campaign involving the exploration of a new continent may lend itself to a lot of downtime. \$\endgroup\$
    – JRodge01
    Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 14:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ When a book lays out certain mechanisms, there are often underlying assumptions on the part of the designers. These are sometimes explicitly stated to the players, but sometimes can only be inferred from the ruleset. Like that in DnD5e that a party should have 4-6 encounters a day is explicitly stated to be the assumption. That is not a strict rule, but straying from it will have significant impact on the gameplay. \$\endgroup\$
    – Szega
    Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 14:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Szega I'm not sure what you're asking. Your question is "is it supposed to take this long, and why?". My answer addresses that, and give the insight as to how that much downtime could come up in a scenario. \$\endgroup\$
    – JRodge01
    Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 15:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ We're not in the habit of guessing at design intent here. You could try the Paizo forums to see if this time scale was intended, though. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 15:42

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