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Will crafting finally be fast and fun in the D&D 2024 Player's Handbook? No.

by: Randy -
More On: Dungeons & Dragons

Dungeons & Dragons 5e doesn't want you to craft things. If you do want to craft things, you'll make progress in 5-gold-piece increments during your downtime. The one example the 2014 Player's Handbook provides is the crafting of a suit of plate armor. It has a market value of 1,500 gold. That means it would take 300 days to craft by yourself.

Give me a break, D&D. Ain't nobody got time for that. It's hard enough to carve out an eight-hour long rest to regain your spells and abilities. Where in the Forgotten Realms are you going to find 300 days? You need crafting tools, unbridled access to a forge, 43 workweeks (maybe not in a row, but still), and you'd need half of the 1,500 in gold up front to pay for parts. You're telling me a player is going to work from New Year's Day to Halloween in-game, and barely end up with a product that's worth maybe an hour's worth of adventuring?

No wonder no one likes crafting in a tabletop role-playing game. At least in video games, as long as you've got the supplies in your inventory, you can pump out crafted items as fast as you can hit the X button. 

Click helmet, click chest plate, click gauntlets, click boots. In Skyrim, I just made an entire suit of armor in the time it took you to read that sentence. Forty-three workweeks. Heck outta here, D&D.

The D&D 2024 Player's Handbook will make changes to crafting, but it won't change that. Now you'll crank stuff out with the toolkits (i.e., armorer's tools). There will now be a list of items specific to each toolkit you can craft, but it's unclear whether you're still working at a forge from sun up to sun down. Potions of healing and spell scrolls are along for the ride as items you can craft now. My players just chewed me out for an hour today because, as their dungeon master, I was perhaps being greedy with healing potions. "Why are there only two minor potions of healing at this supposed apothecary?" they said. "Why is the mean lady in this shop going into hiding immediately after a hunting party of Thanoi walrus-men kicked in the door and tried to impress her into the Dragon Queen's service?" Look, I don't know. Stuff happens in D&D, alright?

But if my party had these potion-crafting tools, they'd most certainly not suffer another brow-beating from Wyhan of Wyhan's Apothecary in the ancient port city of Kalaman, I'll tell you that much. They'd spit out those two minor potions of healing on their own downtime.

They're also putting items into the equipment list they're just now realizing they've been missing. They had cartographer's tools you could purchase—but they didn't have a map. So, now there's a map you can make or buy that will have an in-game benefit. He doesn't say what that benefit is, but it's reasonable to assume it'll be a bonus (or something) to your Survival check to keep yourself from getting lost in the world. If that was actually a problem your dungeon master was springing on you all the time.

Designer Jeremy Crawford also doesn't mention how long it will take to craft items. But we can infer when he says,  "...Assuming adventurers will have enough time to spend on crafting," that crafting times are still going to be so long that no one will engage with crafting. If there was going to be a massive overhaul of that, he would've said so. I speculate that the 43-week plate armor you're working on is still going to take every one of those 43 weeks.

Hopefully things like maps and potions won't take a month of Sundays to craft. Otherwise D&D just wasted even more space in the 2024 Player's Handbook on something my players will (continue to) not pursue. They'll just keep walking into Magic Walmart and yell at me if I don't have a full menu of perfectly leveled-up items laid out on the counter for them to purchase.

Everything I've said here today is speculation since Crawford doesn't give a single example of how the new crafting will actually work. Enjoy your teaser.