Crafting Items and Hirelings

Crafting Rules

In Heroes of Alvena, player characters are allowed to take advantage of the various item creation feats (such as Craft Wondrous Item) as well as Craft skills (such as Craft {Alchemy}). Due to the "sandbox" nature of the Heroes of Alvena campaigns, PCs are often thrust into various episodic adventures and mini-campaigns spanning a few sessions at a time. Since this is counteractive to using Craft Skills and Item Creation feats, the following has been implemented.

  • Set Crafting Time: PCs are allotted one week of 8 hour days (7 days or 56 hours) of crafting time per completed adventure, a player is allowed to assume they have taken 1 week to do non-adventuring things such as crafting items. Thus each adventure provides 1 week of crafting time in addition to normal awards. A PC cannot have more crafting time than 1 week per character level stored at one time, and excess crafting days are lost when they hit their limit (thus a 1st level PC could have 7 days worth of crafting, while a 2nd level PC could have up to 14 days, and a 20th level PC could have up to 140 days stored up to craft particularly epic items). Errata: As with GM Tokens, there is a minimum of 4 hours of play-time per adventure when determining the amount of down-time available to a PC.
  • Crafting During Adventures: Some adventures include downtime as part of the adventure (such as if the PCs can wait 3 days before something arrives) which can be used to craft items as part of the adventure. This time does not count against the allotted downtime between adventures. Thus many adventures will allot a few days (or more) to give characters a chance to craft items such as scrolls, potions, wands, or other usable items.
  • Crafting While On Adventures: PCs can keep track of the number of days they have spent on an adventure (actively participating in the adventure, not in-adventure downtime as described above) can be tracked as well. However such days only allot only 1/4th the amount of time actively crafting provides (granting only 2 hours of work per day), representing tinkering on the items whenever you have a moment free (such as during camp, when eating, when on watch, etc).
  • Crafting Minions: If a PC has the Leadership feat and a cohort capable of crafting items or magic items, only the leader gains the allotted 7 days per adventure; but may choose to allot their cohort a portion of this time to their cohort for crafting. Thus leadership does not double your available crafting hours by providing twice the craftsmen.
  • Artisan Golems: Artisan Golems (found on the Alvena Bestiary page) can be crafted by anyone who has the Craft Construct feat, and may be tasked with assisting them in the creation time of magic items. A crafter is not limited to the number of artisan golems that he or she may possess, and may use them to mass produce items quickly. Thus they are highly prized by dedicated crafters for creating multiple items at once, both for themselves and for supplying their friends and allies with.
  • Craft (Skill) Time: As noted on the House Rules page, characters gain an amount equal to their craft skill check x item DC in gold pieces when determining the value of items they can craft per week. This is an amendment to the core rules (which instead give 1/10th that amount). Thus a weaponsmith with a +5, taking 10, to craft a DC 15 masterwork longsword gets 225 gp worth of work done per week; instead of 25 gp worth of work.

Purchasing Items

Due to the abstract nature of Sandbox style gameplay, player characters can freely purchase anything within 25% of their current wealth by level between adventures. This limitation does not apply during character creation. 1st level characters have an item limit of 125 gp after character creation. A PC's wealth by level can be found on the Gamemastering page. This limitation also applies to crafting items, but in such cases it counts the cost of the item's components (1/2 for magic items, and 1/3rd for items crafted using the craft skill) when determining if the item is freely available to the PC; and simply crafts it by deducting the base material cost and then expending craft time (as described above) to create it.

Example: Vandoren is a 2nd level fighter. His recommended wealth by level is 1,000 gp according to the PC Wealth By Level chart on the Gamemastering page. He may freely purchase any item up to 25% of this value (250 gp) without question (no need to request or alert the purchase to the GM between games); as it is considered to be within easy access for a character of his level. If he comes into a large sum of money and wishes to purchase a suit of Masterwork Full-Plate (1,650 gp) he must do so during an adventure and notify the GM.

Meanwhile, Shol, a 4th level alchemist has a suggested WBL of 6,000 gp, so his purchase limit is 1,500 gp; representing his advanced connections and buying power. He would still need to alert a GM that he was purchasing a suit of Masterwork Fullplate (1,650 gp) but could craft it (550 gp in materials) if he had the appropriate craft skill and the time needed; without checking with the GM first or determining if there is a location to purchase the item in the immediate game.

Notice: Items are purchased and crafted in this way between adventures. A PC cannot "purchase" items while in a dungeon, for example. Likewise, once a game has begun, if a PC does not have access to merchants within that adventure who support such items (the items are above a town's GP limit; for example) the PC probably cannot purchase the item until the adventure is over (representing the PC searching for an appropriate merchant during their downtime).

Hirelings and Shops

PCs can hire NPCs to serve them in a variety of tasks, including working for them in a business or even assisting them on adventures. Such NPCs are commonly known as hirelings and can be a valuable asset to PCs if treated well and used intelligently.

  • Animals & Mounts: The most common kind of hireling is actually mounts and trained companions. Animals such as horses, riding dogs, and more exotic fair are a sort of NPC owned by a PC. In most cases, a mount is bred and raised to be sold, and are purchased according to their usual prices. For more exotic pets not listed in the standard equipment list; you can determine their market price using the following formula: 200 gp * CR * CR for a trained animal, or 100 gp * CR * CR for an untrained animal. Thus the price for a trained Raven (CR 1/6) would be about 5.5 gp (200 divided by 6 divided by 6), while a trained war-lion would cost 1,800 gp (200 * 3 * 3). Player characters with the Handle Animal skill can purchase untrained animals and train them themselves as per the Handle Animal rules (using the same downtime as with crafting items); but generally cannot make a profit from doing so in this way (since reselling the animal would be worth the same amount). Rearing and then training a wild animal is more profitable if training to sell.
  • Mercenaries: Players can hire on the help of NPCs to do their bidding, such as fighting battles for them and the like. Mercenary hirelings are generally NPC classed characters (such as adepts, experts, and warriors) but can be PC classed characters as well. The value of a mercenary is determined just as the value of an animal (200 gp * CR * CR) except mercenaries are paid by the week. To determine the price of a mercenary, divide their value by 1/10th. Thus a CR 1/3rd NPC (such as a 1st level warrior) would be worth about 22 gp or 2.2 gp per day (15 gp per week). A CR 1 NPC (such as a 4th level warrior) would cost 200 gp or 20 gp per day (140 gp per week).

Mercenaries come with standard gear for an NPC of their level. Mercenaries are not mindless, however, and aren't suicidal. A mercenary will not willingly take risks such as tripping traps, acting as live-bait, or attacking monsters that are far more powerful than themselves (generally anything 2 CRs higher than the Mercenary's CR). Mercenaries will generally refuse to fight if they are reduced to 1/4th of their maximum hit points, unless it's a matter of life and death (such as if the party is surrounded and thus would be fighting for his or her life). Mercenaries can, however, be coaxed into fighting against greater odds with a successful Diplomacy check. Most hirelings are "indifferent" and making such a request counts as "give dangerous aid", thus the DC for most hirelings is DC 25 + the hireling's Charisma modifier (with a cumulative -5 penalty for each time you must coax the hireling into fighting during that day). Some hirelings can become particularly fond of their employers (becoming Helpful) and may be willing to take greater risks for them (resulting in lower DCs as per the Diplomacy rules). Unfriendly mercenaries are hard to coax into dangerous situations, and hostile mercenaries immediately quit working for the employer; refusing service until their attitude improves.

Some disreputable people may attempt to betray their hired mercenary (such as attempting to rob the mercenary of their equipment, not paying them, offering them as sacrifices, etc). Such practices are very bad for the employer's reputation; as either the mercenaries return to tell of the betrayal, or they don't return at all. In each case, the employer gains a bad reputation; resulting in mercenaries being more hesitant to hire on with the employer. In such a case the Employer must make a Reputation check each time she seeks to hire a mercenary. A Reputation check is equal to 1d20 + your level + your Charisma modifier. The DC to hire the Mercenary is 15 + the Mercenary's CR. If the check fails, she can find no mercenaries willing to serve her and her goals for 1 week. After 1 week, the potential employer may try again. She suffers a -2 penalty for each instance of betrayal against her mercenaries in the past.

Common Hirelings: Most common hirelings, such as tradesmen, are not expected to engage in dangerous business as mercenaries are. Such individuals cost significantly less money to hire and support than their mercenary counterparts. Most hirelings are 1st level commoners or experts (it doesn't make much difference which). Common hirelings are paid based on their labor as described below. Such individuals aren't usually of much use to PCs directly, unless the PC owns land or a business (see Businesses below).

  • Common Hireling Uses: Common hirelings are shopkeeps, waitresses, blacksmiths, and even thieves. In all cases, their pay is based on their Craft, Profession, or relevant skill's value per week. All NPCs can take 10 on a Craft or Profession check, representing their labor (untrained laborers earn an average of 5gp per week, while trained laborers usually earn about 7gp per week). Such laborers can be hired to work for an employer and can be used by the employer to turn a profit under the right conditions.
  • Untrained Laborers (5 gp/week): These are ditch diggers, farmhands, porters, waiters, cooks, etc. Such individuals typically earn 5 gp per week (1/2 of a take 10 craft or profession check) for their services. They have a +0 modifier in their trade.
  • Trained Laborers (7 gp/week): These are professionals. Individuals who have been trained in their respective field of expertise. These are artisans, chefs, farmers, and those that excel at their jobs. They have a +4 modifier in their trade.
  • Advanced Laborers: Advanced laborers can be anyone who excels above and beyond the norm for their trade. This usually means they have a slightly higher modifier in their skills due to a higher key ability and feats specializing them in their task. Such laborers are highly paid, but can turn a tidy profit for their employers.

A PC can open a business and hire on hirelings. In general, this is a significant investment of personal resources and time (most PCs hire on hirelings to run the business for them) and is defined by its employees and what the owner has put into it. The three key points to running a business is location, labor, and income. Note: These business rules are an abstraction, and are not intended to emulate the minute details of running every sort of business (such as the ordering of materials, keeping track of every potion or dagger, etc).

  • Location: All business owners need some place to actually ply their trade. From a lowly stall or stand in a rented area, to a giant emporium of magical sundries, everyone has to start somewhere. The larger the area, the more workers and business you can support with the location. For most people, building a business up to being successful can take years of dedicated work, but many adventurers can invest large amounts of resources into a business quickly and jump-start their productivity.
    • Small Location (100 gp): A modest sized stall in a marketplace, or a tiny corner store in a big city; this type of building doesn't have much space. Most consist of 2 rooms (business and storage) that business is taken care of in. This sort of location can also be used for a gypsy wagon or similar "portable" business location. It can support up to 2 workers (typically a manager and an untrained laborer). This location grants a +10% bonus to income.
    • Standard Location (500 gp): A standard shop. This sort of business is much larger than a small location, and is the size of most most general stores, specialty shops, and well-to-do artisans. It's expensive to open and stock, but it can support up to 8 workers (such as a blacksmith and his apprentices). This sort of location also grants a +20% bonus to their income.
    • Large Location (2,000 gp): A large shop, tavern, inn, or similarly large business. An emporium or a small section of a trade street dedicated to your shop and employees. It may be a group of small stores at once, all owned by you (with a butcher, a backer, and candlestick maker). It can support up to 18 workers and grants a +30% bonus to their income.
    • Small Guildhall (4,500 gp): A sign of true success is when a businessman opens a guild. While it may or may not be a true guild in the organizational sense, it is definitely a noticeable force in the local economy; supporting many jobs and employees, and meeting the demands in a wide area. This level of business supports up to 32 workers and grants a +40% bonus to their income.
    • Large Guildhall (8,000 gp): This level of business generally takes the better part of a lifetime for a common man to build, and that's if they're very focused. Characters with this level of business generally import and export large amount of materials from far and wide, and are a powerful force in their region. A business like this supports up to 50 workers and grants a +50% bonus to their income.
    • Merchant Lord (12,500 gp): A sign of power and influence as much as a business; your business can influence entire economies. Business owners with this much merchant power can often fund huge caravan expeditions through dangerous regions; or even compete with nobility in terms of sheer power and influence. Businessmen and women of this caliber can sometimes support small armies out of their own pocket. A business like this can support up to 72 workers and grants a +60% bonus to their income.
  • Workers: All businesses rely on their employees. Whether self-operated or managed by hirelings, workers are the blood and bone of a business. Without them, business stops. Each type of location allows an owner to support up to a certain number of employees. The employees in turn help the owner earn more money by increasing the maximum workload a business can sustain; but in turn requires the hirelings to be paid. Small businesses don't turn much of a profit, as they often have to pay their workers nearly as much as they produce.
    • Hiring Workers: You may hire as many employees as your business can sustain. At least one of these employees must be a trained laborer (7 gp/week), and additional workers may be untrained if needed (5 gp/week); with the trained worker acting as a manager or supervisor of the business.
    • Paying Workers: Workers earn 1/2 their Craft, Profession, or other relevant skill check in gold pieces each week; which you must pay them. For simplicity, it is assumed that all employees are taking 10 on their checks; resulting in an average payment that you must pay them each week.
  • Earning Income: Each type of business location provides a % bonus on income generated by workers. This % income is your profits each week, after paying your workers and covering your most basic expenses. Larger and more impressive locations allow you to do more business in the same amount of time, granting larger bonuses to income. Example: A small location (such as a stall) with 2 trained laborers working (7 gp/week) earns the owner of the stall 5.6 gp per month (each worker brings in 28 gp per month, and you get 10% of that value). Meanwhile, a merchant with a standard location supporting 8 trained laborers would earn 44.8 gp per month (the workers bring in 224 gp and you get 20% of that). Thus it's easy to see that most small business owners may have other jobs on the side or be forced to grow their own food and be relatively self-sufficient if their business is all that is supporting them.
    • Self Employed: The % benefits for location apply to the owner if they are plying their own trade within their business. Most small business owners do this because it allows them to maximize their profits and they don't have to pay workers for business they do themselves. An owner working in their business takes up the same space as a single worker, but makes their skill checks normally, receiving a bonus to their income as appropriate for the location size. Example: A blacksmith has invested in a stall and hired on an apprentice to help him work. He makes a Craft (Blacksmithing) check which would earn him 7 gp. He then receives a 10% bonus to his income (7 silver pieces) bringing his result to 7.7gp which is all his.

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