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The Apprentice feat (from the DMG 2) can only be taken at 1st level and grants both a competence bonus to an appropriate check as well as a secondary ability related to your mentor's specialty. Also, when your character reaches fifth level you can exchange your Apprentice feat for the matching Mentor feat.

However, the mentor feat does not contain any text related to the secondary abilities. Does a character lose these benefits when becoming a Mentor? The only listed features Mentor feat include gaining an apprentice (a diet version of leadership), and some +2 competence bonuses to skills. As competence bonuses never stack and a +2 bonus can be purchased for only 400 gold, this is rather lackluster.

The particular option I am considering is Apprentice: Craftsman, which grants a +2 competence bonus to *all* crafting skills and a 10% reduction in crafting costs. This is especially nice because it does not only apply to magical crafting, but also to mundane crafting. This represents an increase of 3% of an item's total market value in profit when crafting specific items for sale. (Profit is equal to income minus expenses, which are usually 1/2 market value and 1/3 market value, respectively, causing profit to equal 1/6 market value. A 10% decrease in material cost reduces expenses from 33.33% to 30% and increases profit to an even 20% of market value. This is, coincidentally, a 20% increase in profit from a single feat.)

Given all this, is upgrading from Apprentice: Craftsman to Mentor: Craftsman a trap?

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First, an Apprentice does not get a 10% reduction in crafting costs, but rather:

a 10% discount when he purchases raw materials for items he makes

Also, as part of being an Apprentice, you are expected to:

Additionally, an apprentice is expected to practice her skills, study, and even undertake minor tasks for her mentor. Every week, she must spend at least 8 contiguous hours working for her mentor and practicing her skills.

This means that if you trade in your Apprentice Feat for the Mentor Feat, you gain an Apprentice you can boss around. Who can purchase raw materials for you, giving you that same bonus.

Danger, danger

There's however the part with, "for items he makes". I don't see why it should make any difference who makes the item from the raw materials purchased, but your DM might see it differently, so check with them.

Now, if they have no problems with that, the bonus happens to be untyped, so...

Best of both worlds?

Keep the Apprentice Feat at level 5, then buy the Mentor Feat at level 6. Then watch over your Apprentice as they haggle for prices. Depending on your DM, this could conceivably result in a 20% price reduction, and also end up with dice being thrown your way.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting. Do you think the discount was meant to be presented as a result of leveraging your mentor's connections? Or them actively subsidizing your material costs? The criminal mentor actively helps the apprentice for the secondary ability, the entertainer mentor grants a secondary ability by virtue of the apprentice prevailing upon their mentor's reputation, and the spell caster mentor allows their apprentice make use of the mentor's spell book for copying spells. If that is the case, I could see a reason why graduating from your apprenticeship could result in losing the discount. \$\endgroup\$
    – Benjamin
    Oct 24, 2022 at 13:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ RAI is always a treacherous ground to tread, but I suspect your first guess is close to the mark - you gain access to the suppliers/connections of your Master. The other alternative sort of makes sense when looking at the other types of Apprentice, but if the Master's being paid to train the Apprentice, why would he then use (potentially) more money than he is paid on materials for the Apprentice? Well, I guess a Mentor could get swept into the enthusiasm of a very dedicated Apprentice. tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/StudentAndMasterTeam \$\endgroup\$
    – From
    Oct 24, 2022 at 15:03

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