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Old 08-11-2015, 02:56 PM   #1
Icelander
 
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Default Crafting Masterwork, Fine and Balanced Weapons

Does it strike anyone else that by the Crafting rules on p. 23-24 in GURPS Low-Tech Companion 3: Daily Life and Economics, it is nearly impossible for fairly realistic smiths with skill 12-16 to produce better than Fine or Balanced weapons?

First of all, why is it that success by a margin from 0-11 all yield the same result? With nearly every other roll, success by 5+ is a huge deal and success by 10+ is pretty much legendary.

What is it about crafting that makes a roll of 1-1-1 by an expert (skill 14) no more noteworthy than an average roll of ten or eleven by a normal professional (skill 12)?

Second why is it more difficult to make a Balanced weapon if you are also using the best steel and aiming for a Fine weapon?

Is it somehow easier to make Balanced spears from ordinary iron and scrounged wood than it is when you are using the finest ash shaft and sword-quality steel for the head?

Third, to take a worked example, a Fine, Balanced Spear costs $280 by the Low-Tech rules. How does that work if even a skill 18 master weaponsmith can't make one on a roll of 1-1-1 using the best tools of TL2-4?

The Craft Secret Perks help some, but given that the craftsman takes a -9 penalty if he tries to use Masterwork Spear and Graceful Spear together, it would seem that a roll of 6 or below is required to yield a Fine, Balanced spear that the master weaponsmith can sell for $280.
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Last edited by Icelander; 08-11-2015 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 08-11-2015, 05:26 PM   #2
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Default Re: Crafting Masterwork, Fine and Balanced Weapons

I have also looked at these rules and tried to make sense of them. They didn't fit in with my understanding of how TDMs should work at all. The time I needed rules for this, I decided to make something up on my own rather than use these.

I would like to know what the assumptions going into these rules were, particularly the assumed skill levels for normal smiths.
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Old 08-11-2015, 06:31 PM   #3
VariousRen
 
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Default Re: Crafting Masterwork, Fine and Balanced Weapons

I don't have the book with me at the moment, but I believe there was a section on different materials and forging styles that improved rolls. The purpose as I saw it was that the smiths skill is less important than the materials being used. It is impossible to take bog iron and forge a fine balanced sword, but it becomes easy with an advanced forge and perfectly smelted steel. Master smiths are known for making the best of bad material, and legendary weapons with the good material.
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Old 08-11-2015, 11:09 PM   #4
Langy
 
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Default Re: Crafting Masterwork, Fine and Balanced Weapons

Quote:
Originally Posted by VariousRen View Post
I don't have the book with me at the moment, but I believe there was a section on different materials and forging styles that improved rolls. The purpose as I saw it was that the smiths skill is less important than the materials being used. It is impossible to take bog iron and forge a fine balanced sword, but it becomes easy with an advanced forge and perfectly smelted steel. Master smiths are known for making the best of bad material, and legendary weapons with the good material.
That's only partially true; you still get really hefty penalties even if you've got a craft secret perk and use the appropriate materials.
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Old 08-12-2015, 04:41 AM   #5
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Default Re: Crafting Masterwork, Fine and Balanced Weapons

Well, seeing as how LTC3 states a journeyman Armorer has Armoury-14, and that masters have their skill levels being two higher, Armory-16 is the baseline to look at...

...maybe the rules assume you can get +2 from having fine-quality tools, +5 from taking extra time, and +4 from Complementary Skill rolls?

I agree that the numbers there really don't mesh well with the costs given for the actual items.
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Old 08-12-2015, 10:37 AM   #6
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Default Re: Crafting Masterwork, Fine and Balanced Weapons

Quote:
Originally Posted by VariousRen View Post
I don't have the book with me at the moment, but I believe there was a section on different materials and forging styles that improved rolls. The purpose as I saw it was that the smiths skill is less important than the materials being used. It is impossible to take bog iron and forge a fine balanced sword, but it becomes easy with an advanced forge and perfectly smelted steel. Master smiths are known for making the best of bad material, and legendary weapons with the good material.
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Originally Posted by Langy View Post
That's only partially true; you still get really hefty penalties even if you've got a craft secret perk and use the appropriate materials.
The rules should work as VariousRen describes, but they currently don't. There is one example where a smith can get a bonus for better materials, but the character must apparently have 20 points in a craft skill and a Craft Secret Perk. That does not really suit my sense of realism.

Presumably any smith should be able to get a bonus toward creating a Fine (Materials) weapon by having access to fine materials. If there is thriving trade in raw materials for weapons, such as picked ash for spearshafts, Italian yew for bow staves, sword-grade steel for axe-heads or spear-points, the weaponsmith should be able to buy these and get a bonus without needing a Craft Secret Perk.

Currently, the rules make it equally impossible for a skill 14-16 smith to make a Fine (Materials) and Fine (Balanced) Small Knife [+7 CF; $240] and a Very Fine (Materials) Edged Rapier [+19 CF; $20,000].

Both require a success by 18+, which even a skill 16 highly-skilled expert with Fine tools can't get unless he spends 8x normal time and rolls 1-1-1 (or spends 30x normal time and rolls 5 or below).

Where do Fine (Balanced and Materials) Small Knives come from and how come they are just $240? It seems that only legendary master smiths could make them at all and it's hard to see why they'd bother to make 20+ attempts before they have even one successful Fine (Balanced and Materials) knife to sell for $240.

Also, why is it impossible to have a Very Fine (Materials) weapons that is also Fine (Balanced)? Is there something about the best materials that makes it impossible to balance them well?
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Old 08-12-2015, 10:44 AM   #7
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Default Re: Crafting Masterwork, Fine and Balanced Weapons

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flameblade View Post
Well, seeing as how LTC3 states a journeyman Armorer has Armoury-14, and that masters have their skill levels being two higher, Armory-16 is the baseline to look at...

...maybe the rules assume you can get +2 from having fine-quality tools, +5 from taking extra time, and +4 from Complementary Skill rolls?

I agree that the numbers there really don't mesh well with the costs given for the actual items.
If the CF modifiers for items are +2 to +7, it doesn't really make sense that it would take x30 as long to make them.

It's non-sensical that making Fine (Materials) weapons Fine (Balanced) should require a margin of success that is +6 higher. That translates into x30 Taking Extra Time (and a +1 extra from somewhere) to make up for the higher margin of success needed and thus can't possibly be cost effective when all it adds are a +4 CF to the weapon.

Also, I have no idea how Graceful Blade is meant to interact with Masterwork Blade.
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Old 08-12-2015, 11:28 AM   #8
VariousRen
 
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Default Re: Crafting Masterwork, Fine and Balanced Weapons

The lack of difference in cost between things like knives and rapiers is definitely a problem, there should be some penalty for making larger weapons, I'm thinking a function of blade length of some sort. A rapier or great sword has a blade length of 2, whereas a knife has a length of 0, and broadswords 1. I'm thinking something like -2 per yard of blade length, so a knife is much easier than a greatsword to make (which matches the difference in price).

I'm going to break my books out and see if I can house rule something up that is at least self consistent. I'd like to include it in my low fantasy game, it would be interesting to have a PC become a proper smith (many have worked as part time laborers for smiths during down time).
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Old 08-12-2015, 11:30 AM   #9
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Default Re: Crafting Masterwork, Fine and Balanced Weapons

I think it should be possible to have very fine and balanced weapons
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Old 08-12-2015, 11:31 AM   #10
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Default Re: Crafting Masterwork, Fine and Balanced Weapons

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalzazz View Post
I think it should be possible to have very fine and balanced weapons
It's possible to buy them, for not very much more money than Very Fine (Materials) weapons. But it's not possible to make them, according to the rules.

This is, needless to say, a problem to me.
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