I was thinking of having a GMPC character craft most of his starting gear in a game I am GMing. I have 4 ranks in craft (metalworking) [conjoined weapon and armor making] and an int modifier or +2. This means that, if I take 10, I can instantly succeed in the check to craft my gear. Is this how it works, or do I have to actually roll?

The campaign hasn't started yet when he makes these weapons so it's obvious he could have the time to take 10 if it's allowed, but is it allowed? His backstory involves learning blacksmithing from his father at a young age and seeking to reforge his father's magic sword, so "crafting everything" is important to him. (And, it would be less expensive.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Question aside, this is actually a great example of one of the ways people advise strongly against GMPCs. Here, your GMPC is taking up time and attention that would be a hundred times more valuable if it were spent on campaign and adventure preparation instead. Making a strong GMPC is useless if the campaign is weak. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 25, 2015 at 20:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Although! If you're bent on playing a GMPC because you really want to be a player, you should strongly consider not being the GM for your group and finding a GM for all of you instead. Because the road you're leading them down almost inevitably ends in sadness and disappointment for everyone involved. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 26, 2015 at 0:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think that's interesting to say, but I'm a bit isolated in that way. I'm 15, I live on a hill in the woods with 1 neighbor with kids my age (those are my players), I've been dissallowed from using social media, and as much as I'd love to focus more on play, I have to be DM. I also have specific plot points that any other DM wouldn't allow. (like getting pieces of an adamantine sword for my PC) and rules things (ignoring legacy personal costs for said sword) \$\endgroup\$ Mar 26, 2015 at 3:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ Knowing that your plans for your GMPC would be disallowed by another GM is a good sign you should scrap those plans. Making that kind of plan in the first place is a really good sign that having a GMPC is a terrible idea and should be avoided like the plague, too. You will get the chance to play one day and really ought to wait until then to have a PC. That is, you'll have a chance later if you don't ruin your only group now. You really should drop the GMPC and start paying attention to your real players' plots points. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 26, 2015 at 3:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes. That is normally the point at which you put the PC away in a folder marked "some day" and then concentrate on learning to GM. Running games is hard work, and designing/running a PC is a waste of time/energy that, being new, you have no idea how not-enough you will have. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 26, 2015 at 3:59

3 Answers 3


Taking 10/20:

When your character is not in immediate danger or distracted, you may choose to take 10.

(and then some expansion on why this might be a good thing).

Use Magic Device specifically calls out that "You cannot take 10 with this skill", which strongly suggests that some skills prevent characters from taking 10 on them, but that those skill descriptions will explicitly call out those exceptions.

Crafting doesn't say anything about not being able to take 10, and it seems reasonable to assume that characters would only be crafting while "not in immediate danger or distracted".

Thus, yes, characters should generally be able to take 10 on their craft checks.

Crafting before the campaign starts

I know of nothing in the RAW which prevent characters from having crafted their own gear before the campaign starts, nor have I found anything in the RAW to indicate that characters can do so (the guidelines in the Magic Item Creation section are good, but not quite RAW). I think this one falls squarely in the "GM Prerogative" area.

Therefore, a few guidelines that have been useful in the past:

  • 10% extra GP worth of mundane/alchemical gear per full 5 bonus in a Craft skill (quasi-cumulative: if you can pull off a +8 in each of 3 Craft skills, you'd get 60% more GP), which can go towards the non-magical portions of weapons and armor
  • 25% extra GP for magical gear per Craft feat (unless it's from a class), + 5 percentage points per additional feat
    • so, a Cleric with Brew Potion, Scribe Scroll, and Craft Wondrous Item would get 35% bonus starting GP
    • a Wizard with just the free Scribe Scroll feat would use the standard starting wealth
  • ... but, pick one (especially at higher level, it gets very easy to get 2x or more standard starting wealth)

As with any other house rule:

  • determine what limits/benefits PCs have in terms of crafting before the campaign starts
    • as a limit: "no more than 25% of your wealth" or "up to 3 items"
    • as a benefit: "buy items as if you had 25% more GP" or "anything you could craft by taking 10 can have been made with your skills/feats"
    • the specifics will depend heavily on the GM preference (but the guidelines in the creation section are good starting points)
  • communicate the guidelines you've come up with clearly
  • follow them for your GMPC

The rules here, which I think are from Ultimate Campaign but might be from Ultimate Magic or even the Core Rulebook in some tiny corner I don't remember indicate that 25% WBL (wealth-by-level) adjustment is 'fair' (for Pathfinder's weird sense of fair) with a single item crafting feat. For a character with just skills and no crafting feats, probably something more like 12.5% would be considered 'fair' in a WBL game. If you start at first level, you should certainly be allowed to craft as much of your gear as you can afford and have the skill to produce in backstory-- it wont affect the game in any negative way. If you start at a higher level and want to enforce WBL you could do 12.5% for a single skill at max ranks, and 25% for multiple skills at max ranks.

If you aren't going to enforce WBL after the game starts, though, I'd either just let the player have whatever backstory crafting time makes narrative sense or give him a flat 24 hours material plane time, depending on the group and the game (mostly low-op v.s. high-op). This helps discourage the player from just spending all their time crafting once the game starts.

And, of course, if your weren't the GM I'd recommend you ask him or her about it, since it's ultimately their decision. It is true that most GMs would deny such a request, but doing so generally results in non-crafting players doing nothing while crafting players craft for the beginning of the game (and is contrary to stated designer intent).

(note: a Wealth by Level game is a game where the GM attempts to enforce the values on the WBL chart on the players)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Typically, I assume that your starting money includes gear you've crafted, etc etc. I make an exception for starting above 1st with magic item creation feats; but just taking Craft[metalworking] isn't enough to get a 80% on all your metal starting gear with me :D \$\endgroup\$ Mar 24, 2015 at 5:16

Crafting before a game starts is very much up to the GM, and there aren't any rules for it. You can definitely take 10 on Craft checks, but whether you can make checks before the game starts or not is up to the GM.

Most of the GMs that I've played with disallow using any kind of crafting rules before the game starts. The amount of money you start with is supposed to represent the total value of stuff that you've accumulated, not a pile of cash that you spend right before the game begins. I wouldn't allow the use of the craft skill rules to make your equipment cheaper for the same reason that I wouldn't allow a character with a magic crafting feat to use that before the game; with the right skills, you can significantly increase your wealth, which is not fair to people who don't take crafting skills or feats.

That said, there is at least nominal support for giving extra wealth based on crafting. There is a guideline in the magic item crafting rules that says that characters with a crafting feat should get 25% extra wealth when they start, to represent the things that they've crafted. Magic almost always costs much more than mundane gear, though, so any benefit that you'd get from crafting mundane gear before the game would be small, and would become mostly irrelevant within a few levels.

If what you're worried about is unbalancing the game by giving your character too much money, don't worry about it. There will be a difference at level 1, a smaller difference at level 2, and by level 4 the amount of extra money you'd get from pre-crafting your gear would be so small that no one will notice it. This counts double for a GMPC in a party where no one else really knows the rules. As long as you're not using your extra wealth to overshadow the other players in some way, you're not going to mess anything up by effectively increasing your starting wealth.


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