I thought real hard about the posting order for these last two themes. Originally I was going to end the month with a bang, albeit one of resignation, and let the dragonkin close out the example themes. But I decided against it, and not just to keep dragons out of their traditional spotlight-stealing role. The whole point of themes is to play up the parts of a character that most adventurers ignore or discard when they get their first class level. It’s only proper that the last theme be just as mundane on the surface but meaningful under analysis as the first. We start with the farmer, and we end with the craftsman.
I went back and forth for a long time on the name of this theme too. “Craftsman” is a placeholder. I want “craft” in the name because this is about people who use the Craft skill, but I rejected “craftsperson” for being too clunky and “crafter” for being too simple (and “craftsfighter” is a very specific in-joke). I also rejected anything with “skill” because that’s a game term, anything with “art” because Artistry is different from Craft in Pathfinder, anything with “expert” because it’s both a class and the name of a theme tier (“expert expertise” is the worst name ever), and any number of other names whose contention wasn’t important enough to even mention. If there’s a word I’ve missed, let me know.
You know the value of working with your hands. You trained in crafting the sort of items the average adventurer takes for granted, whether they’re made of wood, metal, animal parts, or alchemical reagents. While your allies think of your creations as “the sort of things you buy”, you appreciate the effort and care that goes into every item, and it shows in the rest of your life.
Theme Skills: Appraise, Craft (any), Disable Device, Knowledge (engineering)
Theme Feats: Catch Off-Guard, Improved Sunder, Improvised Weapon Mastery, Throw Anything
Novice Quests: These quests are appropriate for advancing through 3rd tier.
- The market for a popular manufactured good is being flooded with fairly well-made items at great prices, all from a single magician. This is a problem for every other person who makes the same good, and it’s threatening to put a huge hole in the local economy. If the magician doesn’t stop, or if the locals can’t find a way to compete, a lot of businesses are going to close.
- A patron requests a custom item from the craftsman. She’s willing to pay more than normal, though she has very specific requirements about what the item is, including some that set off some red flags. She intends to use the item in a ritual to bind a demon, kill a group of people, or otherwise perform some significant evil. If she succeeds, she is likely to succeed but captured or killed, and the item will put the craftsman in an uncomfortable spotlight.
Expert Quests: These quests are appropriate for advancing through 6th tier.
- Craftsmen of all types are disappearing from a major city and the surrounding area. Their homes and workplaces show signs of kidnapping, and the city watch suspects somebody is killing off the competition somewhere they can’t find. They don’t know the craftsmen are still alive, enslaved to build a giant weapon that will level the city.
- A new guild is gathering skilled craftsmen, guaranteeing them a regular salary in exchange for a portion of their income. Their numbers are already fairly good, as people treat it as a sort of insurance for when times are lean. But as the guild’s cut grows higher and higher and mysterious accidents befall non-guild craftsmen, people suddenly learn the lengths to which the guild will go to prevent anybody from leaving.
Advanced Quests: These quests are appropriate for advancing through 9th tier.
- A high-ranking noble or member of a royal family is looking to commission a work from a craftsman. He wants has exacting standards, and though he does not explain exactly what he wants he is insistent that he’ll know it when he sees it. But anybody who offers him something he doesn’t like doesn’t make it home, so in order to get the payment and prestige from having such an influential patron, the craftsman must be certain to get it right the first time.
- Objects are spontaneously animating, seemingly without rhyme or reason. They lack intelligence, so while some can perform helpful tasks others are a danger to those around them. They’re actually gaining motion through a fledging planar portal, whose magic is touching items with a particular composition, maker, or other trait. But only a skilled craftsman can identify the trait the objects share and which objects will animate next.
Legendary Quest: The craftsman has an opportunity to work with a once-in-a-lifetime material, like the still-smoldering remains of a fallen star or the petrified body of an elder treant. It’s the sort of material from which artifacts are made. But the material seems to have a mind of its own and actively resists being molded into something else unless the craftsman somehow proves their worth. At the same time, malign forces are making their way to the material to use it for their own purposes.
Craftsense (Su):You can sense when objects in your wheelhouse are nearby. You can cast detect magic at will, except that instead of detecting magical auras you can detect objects for which you have the appropriate Craft skill. You cannot detect schools of magic, but you can determine the quality of an item by making an Appraise check. Objects detected with this ability have no aura, so you cannot detect schools of magic, lingering auras, or whether the objects are magical. You must be at least 7th tier before selecting this ability.
Improved Jury-rig (Ex):You can apply what you know to things you don’t. You no longer need an appropriate Craft skill to jury-rig an item. Instead you can use knowledge from a Craft skill you have. For example, a carpenter could make a wooden splint to hold a sword together, and a blacksmith could create a metal brace to support a wagon. You must be at least 4th tier and possess the jury-rig ability before selecting this ability.
Improved Weak Point (Ex):Your knack for finding flaws in objects extends beyond those you’ve made. You no longer need an appropriate Craft skill to deal bonus damage when attacking objects. You must be at least 4th tier and possess the weak point ability before selecting this ability.
Jury-rig (Ex):You can make repairs on the fly. You can take ten minutes to temporarily repair an object with the broken condition. The object must be one for which you have the appropriate Craft skill. The object loses the broken condition, but if it becomes broken again it is instead destroyed. You can repair the jury-rigged item as normal to return it to full working condition.
Magical Appraiser (Ex):You know how magic items work. By studying a magic item for one minute, you can automatically identify its properties and requirements. You must be at least 4th tier before selecting this ability.
Reinforce (Ex):Your items are sturdier than they appear. You can make a Craft check to reinforce objects for which you have the appropriate Craft skill. Reinforcing an item takes eight hours. The DC for this check is 5 + the DC to make the original item. If you fail, the object gains the broken condition. If you succeed, the object’s hardness increases by one-half your theme tier (minimum 1). An object cannot be reinforced more than once, and an object loses this extra hardness if it is destroyed.
Speedy Crafter (Ex):Through trial and error you’ve learned exactly how fast you can work. When you use accelerated crafting, you can add any number to your DC.
Weak Point (Ex):You know where an object’s flaws are. When you attack an object for which you have the appropriate Craft skill, you deal bonus damage equal to half your theme tier.
Magical Craftsman (Ex):You can imbue your items with limited magic. At 4th tier, you gain Master Craftsman as a bonus feat. In addition, you gain one item worth 5,000 gp. This item must be one you could make by taking 10 on a Craft check in which you are trained. This represents your efforts on making this item over time so you do not need to spend time or mundane material to make it, but you must have access to any unusual materials you need.
Trade Secrets (Ex):You have access to enough exotic materials that you can spoof some spellcasting when crafting. At 7th tier, you can ignore the increase to the Craft DC for any one prerequisite you do not meet when making a magical item. In addition, you gain one item worth 20,000 gp. This item must be one you could make by taking 10 on a Craft check in which you are trained. This represents your efforts on making this item over time so you do not need to spend time or mundane material to make it, but you must have access to any unusual materials you need.
True Forger (Ex):You are as capable at creating magic equipment as any spellcaster.. At 10th tier, you can craft magical items of any type. The items themselves must be items you could make with Craft skills in which you are trained, but they can function like any appropriate magical item. For example, a blacksmith could make an iron rod that functioned as a wand. You must still meet any prerequisites, except for this you ignore with trade secrets ability. In addition, you gain one item worth 50,000 gp. This item must be one you could make by taking 10 on a Craft check in which you are trained. This represents your efforts on making this item over time so you do not need to spend time or mundane material to make it, but you must have access to any unusual materials you need.