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  • Craft as a competitive activity

    A thought struck me the other day and I figured I should share it. Craft, as currently written, is solitaire. You don't even need the Storyteller. You just roll the dice a bunch of times and you get either a success or fail. Craft Charms mostly tie into the process to throw more dice at whatever you are making. But what if, instead of flat difficulties, the process was actually a battle between creator and creation?

    ​The way I picture it in my head, the craftsman decides what rating of artifact he's going to create, how specific of powers it will have, and what materials he's going to use for it, essentially Ambition, Finesse, and Means for Craft. The choices the craftsman makes determine the pools he'll have to contend with, with the more potent and specific the artifact is being a tougher opponent and the particular materials involved giving it special abilities to contend with. The two then contend over the duration of the crafting, with the craftsman trying to bring his concept to realization and the artifact trying to either to ruin itself or trying to express the powers of its materials as thematic limitations. Those limitations the craftsman can either accept or else work around them.

    The idea that comes to my mind is something like this: in the process of creating a daiklave whose blade is permanently aflame, the craftsman fails a roll against his creation. Now, the flame from the Elemental Pole of Fire worked into the jade-steel not only expresses itself as a flaming blade but also scorching the hands of anyone attempting to wield the blade who is not somehow immune to the flames. While that might work for a sword intended for a Fire Aspect, that doesn't sit well with the smith. To counter this problem, the craftsman decides to embed a shard of never-melting ice harvested from the heart of a glacier in the far North, warding the hilt against the heat of the blade but also coloring the weapon's resulting Evocations.

    I'm not yet sure what sort of mechanics I'd throw at this sort of a system, but I feel like this could yield more dimensions to explore with Charms than just "throw more dice at it". The traditional measures of craftsmanship have always been Time, Cost, and Quality. Charms that end up shaving time off a project have been pretty easy to implement, the Charms about craft points have tried to address Cost, but right now there's nothing that has allowed Charms to address Quality beyond getting you the dice to make a 4 dot artifact instead of a 3 dot artifact, which feels less than satisfactory when a three dot daiklave and a four dot daiklave have the same stats.



    Masters of the Industrial Elements
    Upon the Rock of Tradition: The Memorial Exalted
    Ghosts: A Revision (2nd Edition)
    The Underworld (3rd Edition)

  • #2
    Generally exalted tends to avoid "you rolled suboptimally, undo the last several sessions of work" effects, which is pretty much what the over-invoking fire chain of events you describe sounds like.

    We already have an example of creating an artifact via a socerous working, if someone wanted to replace craft with a similar system, I'd suggest basing it off of that.


    Odd_Canuck is not a topical medication or food product and is not to be taken internally or seriously.

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    • #3
      honestly i love it. I've hated the mini game that 3rd ed released of accumulating points and as i work in carpentry and other odd tinkering jobs, you always run into some unexpected stupid problem. I think it would be amazing for exalted to take into account that work arounds need to figured out. Sometimes you fail and you just need to jury rig another solution. I think its brilliant!

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      • #4
        this is very interesting, i feel it would create more work for the st in figuring out ways that your charms could mess up, but otherwise it could be interesting. it seems very much like the effects from sorcerous workings where the st can work some quirks into your workings, only now they are working quirks into your artifacts.
        This might not be the most fun for all crafters though, especially ones who have very specific ideas for what they want to accomplish with their artifacts, like i know when i sit down to make an artifact, i write it out and sit down with my st already and figure out exactly what we want to happen and what power level is appropriate for what evocations and such, and i feel that for a player like me this might just add an extra step for both of us in the deciding what to do if the system acts up, but that could be fun too for an artifact with a more free form design.

        then again me and my group have adopted a craft rewrite that is a mix of blue wind's, tortenanz's, and sanctaphrax's rewrites so we don't exactly have craft points to get in the way of production if something does go wrong and we want to try to make a version of a quirky artifact that is closer to what we originally intended after completing the quirky one, so its not as if its the end of the world.
        Last edited by norraba; 05-02-2017, 10:21 PM.


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        • #5
          I've had thoughts similar to this for making artifact crafting more engaging. I went with a less adversarial and more codified process, where each of the six rolls could be declared a particular crafting process (from a list of ten) that would give a minor bonus if you beat the average threshold of the roll (because missing the final threshold by 2 successes is just not fun) and a minor thematic complication if you didn't. Like something akin to the handle of the hammer being too short and thus needing a special gauntlet to shield you from the lightning. Or something.

          Ideally each process would have its own unique bonus/penalty, but I haven't looked at the system in awhile. I'll have to review it again and finish writing it up.


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          • #6
            Originally posted by norraba View Post
            This might not be the most fun for all crafters though, especially ones who have very specific ideas for what they want to accomplish with their artifacts, like i know when i sit down to make an artifact, i write it out and sit down with my st already and figure out exactly what we want to happen and what power level is appropriate for what evocations and such, and i feel that for a player like me this might just add an extra step for both of us in the deciding what to do if the system acts up, but that could be fun too for an artifact with a more free form design.
            ​Sounds like we both have different conceptions of how artifact creation goes, but then I rarely get to be a player. I generally think about evocations as things that would be written later based on what comes out of the craft process, rather than things which are written before the player even begins, but then I think that it's possible for the player to fail and any work like that could be lost.



            Masters of the Industrial Elements
            Upon the Rock of Tradition: The Memorial Exalted
            Ghosts: A Revision (2nd Edition)
            The Underworld (3rd Edition)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Kyeudo View Post

              ​Sounds like we both have different conceptions of how artifact creation goes, but then I rarely get to be a player. I generally think about evocations as things that would be written later based on what comes out of the craft process, rather than things which are written before the player even begins, but then I think that it's possible for the player to fail and any work like that could be lost.
              Hmm, that's very interesting and I never thought of that as a possibility for how evocations could work. I suppose the difference could be in if the crafter is making the item for themselves or for a different person, in which case the evocations would be developed by that person.


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              • #8
                Seems like the biggest thing Craft needs - in any edition - is to be a game, where there's some kind of meaningful decisions to make. "This material is fighting back; what do I do?" would be an interesting way of approaching that question, with the right system.


                Homebrew: Lunar Charms for 3e

                Solar Charm Rewrite (Complete) (Now with Charm cards!)

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                • #9
                  Trying to conceptualize what such a system would look like and this is what I've got so far:

                  ​To complete the Project, the artisan needs to complete a number of Milestones in order to bring the Project to completion. These Milestones might be of different types if forcing the artisan to occasionally use different Attributes and/or Abilities is desired, such as Design (Intelligence + Craft), Fabrication (Dexterity + Craft), Refining (Stamina+Craft), Ritual (Intelligence + Occult), Research (Intelligence + Lore), etc. Using different types of Milestones would also leave more places for Charms and mechanics to hook into the system, so might be a good idea. I think a good number of Milestones would be somewhere around 5-7 for most artifacts, but that would probably be one of the project traits that could be adjusted.

                  The project opposes the artisan's attempts using Complications: Complexity, Delicacy, Resistance, Hidden Flaws, etc. Each of these is probably just a pool like a quick character has rather than some combination of project traits, just to keep it simple. Each Complication should usually have a different size to its pool. The overall magnitude of dice should be appropriate to the artifact's rating, but each Complication would derive its rating from some part of the project's description and materials. If Milestone types are a thing, then those types could affect which Complications the project can use. ​This would mean that the project would be able to pick the Complication in response to the artisan's chosen dice pool, though. Alternatively, the project might only have a limited number of times it can use any particular Complication per project.

                  If the artisan wins the roll off, he completes a Milestone on the project. If the project wins, the Storyteller either adds a Quirk to the artifact or makes an existing Quirk stronger. A Quirk shouldn't render the artifact unusable, but could complicate its use. Maybe it needs ritual maintenance to use certain Evocations, maybe it takes protective gear to use, maybe it places a stricture on the wielder's behavior, etc. If the project accumulates more than a certain number of Quirks, the project is a failure. Since this is now a competitive system instead of solitaire, I don't see a reason why it should be impossible to try to create the same artifact again after a failure.

                  If the artisan wants to remove a Quirk or modify a Quirk, that adds additional Milestones to the project and the artisan must add one additional thematically-appropriate magical ingredient to the project. Perhaps to keep her new plate armor from needing to be heated thoroughly in a forge every full moon or have its joints seize up, the smith needs to work furnace rhino blood into the metal or acquire rare oils with which to lubricate the joints. Merely modifying a Quirk requires less effort than removing it entirely, but both increase the scope of the project and so would raise the project's pools in some way.

                  The magical materials used in the project would give the project special abilities it could use, something like a Charm. Perhaps moonsilver can take a dice penalty on this Complication to add dice to a later Complication, maybe trying to work with elemental fire can cause potentially fatal burns, or possibly soulsteel could drain away craft points on a failed Design roll from the despair surrounding the metal. Anything that boosts dice should require the project to take a penalty up front, so it can't add four dice to its Resistance without first losing two dice on a Delicacy roll because its made using orichalcum.

                  Still not sure how to turn the mostly qualitative description of a project into a quantified game entity or how many Complication categories there should be. I kind of like the idea of Milestone types, but then I came up with it and it might just be needless complexity. Thoughts?



                  Masters of the Industrial Elements
                  Upon the Rock of Tradition: The Memorial Exalted
                  Ghosts: A Revision (2nd Edition)
                  The Underworld (3rd Edition)

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