Thursday, 30 January 2014

I Hit It With My Hammer... Constructively

For some reason, (nearly) every RPG under the sun neglects two major areas of gameplay, which EVERY PLAYER EVER always harps on about after the release of the title. Sure, Designers might argue that it isn't the focus of the game, and therefore unimportant, but in an RPG, player agency is to focus. Your window dressing is secondary.

These two areas are Crafting Rules and Mounted Combat. I'll be saving Mounted Combat for another day, and for now focus on Crafting.

I Hit It With My Hammer... Constructively

There are been a few attempts at Crafting systems in WFRP and other titles by the fan communities, but my problem with them tends to be either too simple or too complex. For WFRP, these fly between the simple:
Purchase materials which equal 1/2 of the purchase cost of the item. Roll relevant Trade Test. Success means you make it in 8 hours. Failure means you lose the materials.
To the awesome, yet needlessly complex Liber Fanatica Trade rules (see "Trades of the Old World").

I propose a middle ground, based on the system originally devised by Rob Schwald, one of the designers for the 2nd Edition core book. His basic premise was to halve the cost of the item in Silver Shillings, pay that amount for trade materials, and then each successful Trade Test would work 1d10s towards its construction. Once this total equals the original cost of the item, the item is created.

What's My Solution?

My crafting system is pretty simple. There are three steps to it: Planning, Construction, and Polish, with an optional fourth step - Transcription.

Step #1 - Planning

During the planning stage, the player determines what they're going to make (including Quality). If the item already exists, they take half the listed price of the item in Silver Shillings, and that is the base cost of the materials. 

This may be lowered with a successful Evaluate Test (to work out a more economical way of making it), reducing the cost by 10s per DoS to a minimum of 1s. It may be lowered further by conventional Haggle rules - I.e. every DoS against the merchant, reduce the cost by 10% to a static minimum (usually 70%).

Once this is done, and you have the materials and tools gathered (tools cost extra, as listed under Trade Tools in the Old World Armoury), you're ready for Construction.

Step #2 - Construction

Next the baseline Shilling cost of the object (the cost of materials above before reductions) is taken as the Build Number. Every day that a character devotes up to 8 hours on the production of an item, they may roll a Trade Test, depending on the item in question. A success grants 10 Build Points, with a +/- 1 for DoS and DoF.

Character may push themselves to the limit (but cannot perform anything else that day beyond simple survival, like eating and sleeping) by successfully rolling a Challenging (-10) Willpower Test. Failure means no more work can be done that day. Success means they can perform another Trade Test. If you're using the Hunger, Thirst & Fatigue rules, lose a further point of Fatigue.

Once the Build Points equal the Build Number, the item is finished production.

Step #3 - Polish

A character can attempt to improve an item up a level of Quality form its base production Quality by repeating the Construction step on the same item. However, Polish can only be performed once on an item. No matter how much addition and extra work, shoddy metal will never produce a Best Quality Sword.

This stage costs no extra money, but does cost time.

Step #4 - Transcription

A character can attempt a Read/Write Test after the object is made to create blueprints for the object. On a success, these blueprints will confer a +5% bonus to crafting the same object in the future, and will negate the need for rolling an Evaluate Test during the Planning stage (though a Haggle is still necessary for an even cheaper price).

I hope these simple rules will do you well!