Item creation feats and Rise of the Runelords


Rise of the Runelords


Hey all,

I'm going to be playing in a RotL campaign this summer, and I'm strongly considering taking some item creation feats (as is the rest of the party). However, I'm curious - does the module allow for sufficient downtime in order to make proper use of these feats? I'd hate to take them and only get to use them once or twice throughout the entire campaign series. Our GM is still reading over the books, and it is his first time trying to run a game, so I don't want to bug him for extraneous details on items he doesn't have a lot of experience with yet.

As a secondary question - how does the campaign (and Paizo in general) manage magic items? Don't list them or anything - I'm currently hoping to do an elven fighter with a curve blade, but I keep staring at that 'rare' adjective in its description and worrying I'll never see a magical version of it. Does Paizo generally have an 'insert party's favored equipment' magical item option, or does it stick with the 'man I hope you like magical morningstars, cause that's all we're getting' concept?

Grand Lodge

It honestly depends on your GM. I give my players a boatload of down time, and the AP itself does suggest giving free time to do so.

To answer your second question, the AP gives a set bunch of magic items. The weapons are set in type, but your GM maybe be nice enough to switch it up, but the Item Creation Feats will likely help you guys out alot, and will likely have a good place as you become higher level.

Hope this answers your questions, without being too vague.

Good luck!


While the AP mentions that there should be downtime is several places, it does actually only provide one decent point in the story to insert a break (after the second book). Before and afterward you'll be on a timer or feel like you are (I won't tell you which). Don't forget that the AP, vast as it is, is only an outline of the adventure as a whole, and the DM can and should add to it. My players didn't feel comfortable to take a time-out to do serious crafting and though the time pressure isn't as bad as int he next four APs, long down times are certainly not fitting the atmosphere. So I would not plan to take item creation feats without talking to the DM first; I'd suggest that you request that the feats are modified to allow you to create any item within an hour (on days without travel or combat) - or simply have the work take a whole day regardless of how many items you produce or what they are worth.

The weapons available in the game are pretty varied, but fixed; IIRC the curve blade was introduced into pathfinder after this AP, so I don't think you get one. One solution would be an item creation feat 'transfer enchantment' that allows you to move enchantments in their entirety from one item to another (provided it's masterwork at least); if both items are magical they exchange their enhancements; it only works if both items can have all enchantments on them. Of course the DM may allow this without feat or as part of normal item creation feats.

Bring your concerns up before the whole group and ask if they agree; on both issues really. These changes wouldn't affect only you, after all.


I think that if you want an Elven Curved Blade, then you should have to make it or at least look for it. There's really no reason for one to be in any of the adventures as written, though there might be one for sale in Magnimar or with a travelling merchant. (Or perhaps available for oder by one of the merchants in town.)

It's rare for a reason, the elves don't just go around handing them out.

Of course, if you take the right Trait, you can start with one.

But finding one in the game should be a minor side quest in its own right.


Old Drake wrote:
Before and afterward you'll be on a timer or feel like you are (I won't tell you which).

+1. Having played through the first three modules I can attest to that fact. I don't know how much is the adventure as written and how much is my GM's efforts to build anticipation through foreshadowing, but my impression is that there's a near constant threat of impending doom. Unless one is oblivious, callous or just plain reckless, one risks additional death and destruction by delaying overmuch.

Consequently, our group has raced from scene to scene as swiftly as we can manage; meaning that we usually run through the entire scenario of a module in less than two or three game days. Although we had some downtime between the 2nd and 3rd modules, we could only have the items we wanted crafted completed in time by commissioning them from multiple craftsmen who were working concurrently. And even then, we left for the next adventure before they were all complete; having them delivered to us later while we were en route.

As a consequence I didn't feel it worthwhile to take item creation feats for my character.


I am just into book 3 now, and there hasn't been such a time crunch that item creation feats are useless. Between book 1 and 2, there is an indefinate time gap. There is also a huge indefinate break between books 3 and 4 (intimated that it could be as much as a year from the start of books 1 and 4, wintering at Fort Rannik), and another handwaved long journey between the start of book 5 and Runeforge. Likewise, another long handwaved overland journey to kick off book 6, and you have lots of time to squeeze in crafting in blocks.


TwoWolves wrote:


I am just into book 3 now, and there hasn't been such a time crunch that item creation feats are useless. Between book 1 and 2, there is an indefinate time gap. There is also a huge indefinate break between books 3 and 4 (intimated that it could be as much as a year from the start of books 1 and 4, wintering at Fort Rannik), and another handwaved long journey between the start of book 5 and Runeforge. Likewise, another long handwaved overland journey to kick off book 6, and you have lots of time to squeeze in crafting in blocks.

There can be a break between book one and two, but book 2 as written starts immediately after book 1. I don't think many DMs will change that.

Book 2 and 3 have no direct link, and the DM is free to lengthen the pause as much as he wishes.
After book 3 I wouldn't feel comfortable as player to pause; the threat level is too high; even if the DM was willing to delay the first part, the threat is still there and known.
After book 4 you know what the real threat is and know that you need to stop it. The travel times needed will make the characters nervous, because they don't know how much time they have before the end.

And please everyone be careful with spoilers outside of spoiler tags in this threat as the first poster clearly is just starting the game and knows little to nothing!! I hope my comments are vague enough that they only increase anticipation.

DM only!:
I know that the adventure as written has no real time limit, but if the players don't feel it's on a timer, the path looses much of it's potential. I did very openly track the game time passed and implied that they were on a fixed time line like in Red Hand of Doom, and I feel the sense of urgency was critical to the enjoyment of the game.

And in game terms the characters certainly have no idea how long it will take big K to return; or after #3 what the army is planning (only that it will be something bad). It would certainly feel odd if the players stopped and took a few weeks holiday to craft some items, and I don't think I could let it pass without some form of punishment/consequence.


Old Drake wrote:
There can be a break between book one and two, but book 2 as written starts immediately after book 1. I don't think many DMs will change that.

Not to belabor the point, but here's a quote from page 12 of book 2:

The Skinsaw Murders wrote:
After the PCs deal with Nualia and the goblins in “Burnt Offerings,” give them some time to rest and recover from their adventures. There’s no need to start “The Skinsaw Murders” the very same day that they return triumphant from Thistletop. Once you judge that enough time has passed and the PCs are ready for this adventure, they are approached by...

There is a similar quote in book one, between the last and next to last part. Likewise, travel to Turtleback Ferry is a 2-3 week trip, and book 3 specifically mentions that it's reasonable to assume multiple attempts at retaking the fort. There is also the aforementioned huge break between 3 and 4, and others. It definately can be run as if on a timer, but it isn't explictly written that way.

Bottom line: There should be as much time for crafting as the DM wants.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

With very few exceptions, none of our Adventure Paths are on timers. When they ARE, those timers are limited to single adventures—they don't cross over from one volume to the next. There's a few instances where the transition between two adventures doesn't allow for down time, but none of those transitions are in Runelords.

AKA: Between every adventure there SHOULD be as much time as you want to craft stuff, as well as there being time during adventures now and then.

It really does boil down to the GM and the other players, whether or not there's a chance to stop and craft. If you want to make a character that's going to craft, you should tell your GM before hand, so he can either make sure there's downtime or so he can tell you that's not gonna be a good idea since he's planning on running the adventure on a tight schedule.


You're right about the transition #1 to #2. It can be delayed, but after reading this board, it rarely is. Especially by novice DMs, who just run through the path without extra work. You really need to run some extra stuff if you want the introduction to work otherwise - finishing #1 is clearly well suited. Otherwise you'd have the characters getting involved after the first incident of #2 rather than the second as the adventure assumes.

I will strongly disagree with any delays after #3. Sadly James Jacobs has confirmed outside of spoiler tags that there is no timer between adventures, but the characters don't know that! After #3 they know that there's a huge threat to the whole region that could destroy all human settlements - it doesn't fit that they would lay back and do nothing about it. Yes, there is a huge disconnect, but the party is given enough hints that they should panic and send messengers everywhere.

And during #4 they learn of an even bigger threat that can turn up at any time. The desired feeling is clearly that they need to do something urgently. True or not, taking time off to craft feels like breaking character. There are some DMs that don't mind that, but there are some like me who think everything's fair as long as you stay in character, but break it and there will be consequences.

So yes, there is time for crafting, but in a successful campaign it shouldn't feel like there is.

Grand Lodge

He also said that it is up to the players and GM how much time is available. If the GM puts in a greater sense of urgency, then obviously there won't be much time. If the players have an imagined sense of urgency (without nudging by the GM) then obviously there won't be much time.

However, that being said. I have just now began "tightening the screws" so to speak on my players. Where they once had "all the time in the world" now they need to really consider how close the BBEG is to having plans some to fruition...

BTW, we just are about to start #4. I think that from here on out, they are probably going to feel like things are going to need to be taken care of soon...


Old Drake wrote:
I will strongly disagree with any delays after #3. Sadly James Jacobs has confirmed outside of spoiler tags that there is no timer between adventures,
Quote:
So yes, there is time for crafting, but in a successful campaign it shouldn't feel like there is.

Wait, what?

The OP asked if there were enough breaks to craft, and there are. Individual DMs can change this, but the author of the first book and Creative Director comes in and confirms that there should be time enough for crafting, and you use the terms I bolded in response? So if I let my PCs take crafting feats and use them in my game, it's reason to be "sad" and I'm not running a "successful campaign"??

Not only is that rather arrogant and disdainful, I'll counter that the nature of much of the treasure in the AP necesitates that the PCs make their own items. Unless you expect them to use tiny daggers and large ogre hooks.


The OP as a player asked if there was enough time; I consider it impolite to offer any spoiler in that case. The confirmation that there is no overall designed time limit is a rather hefty spoiler in my opinion. An answer like the DM regulates how much time is available would have given comparable information without spoiling any kind of urgency that should come up during game play.

Spoilers:
Does a successful campaign need the sense of urgency? I think it does; if you never fear that the BBEG can return, you can just go off on a few side quests, do this and that, and then return to the plot several game years later. It can be fun, no question, and it can make for a far more interesting final fight, as you can power up the BBEG a lot, but it goes well beyond the campaign as written.

If after #3 the players aren't afraid of what the giant army is about to do to the whole region, do they really care about the campaign? Are they even having enough fun to make it worthwhile to continue?

After #4 they know about Big K and that he wants to return. And that they need to avoid it at almost any cost. Does it really fit that in spite of that threat that looms over everything they take months of time off to craft items? Some items will take over a hundred days! And not just once but several times? It would mean that years pass without them doing anything, just to craft weapons for everyone. That shows a disdain for the threat of K that makes a campaign climax almost impossible. I have no doubt the meetings would still be fun, but they'd be more fun if another game was played. That at least is my experience.

The lack of appropriate items was mentioned, and I offered two solutions (transferring enchantments or making crafting far quicker); another solution is a dedicated magical item trader. I have a high level mage act as trader that introduces it to everyone reaching a certain wealth limit and can be contacted magically. He buys all kinds of magic and either crafts items the buyer wants or finds them elsewhere. It takes some time until orders are filled in most cases, but since the stuff is teleported directly to the buyer, they can keep adventuring.

I'm curious, if your players don't feel the threat of K getting loose is real, how do you keep the game fun? Why do the players keep following the plot if they don't feel K isn't a serious threat to them?


My players just started book 3, so they have no idea what's afoot, much less a sense of urgency. You implied that there was no time for crafting, including the first two books of the AP. That is not accurate. There is plenty of time, even with a doomsday clock running, to craft a ton of items. Some items take over 100 days? Yeah, those costing 100,000+gp. News flash: if items of that power aren't handmade by the PCs or found in the AP itself, they won't exist. There isn't a city in all of Varisia that has a GP limit high enough to buy items like that.

Coupled with the fact that in Pathfinder, you can travel and craft at the same time (albeit at half the rate of progress) and there are built in long journeys and breaks in the AP, there is enough time to craft. Furthermore, letting PCs use feats they have taken is not the hallmark of an "unsuccessful" game. In fact, making a tough choce between crafting that Uber Staff of Coolness or moving ahead with the next step of the AP should increase the tension.

You obviously run things differently (with a "Sears and Roebuck" custom magic item delivery service no less), and that's fine. But to look down your nose at the rest of us like we are having an "unsuccessful" campaign because we allow our PCs to use the feats they have taken is disconcerting, to say the least.


The question of the OP was if the campaign allowed enough downtime to create items. Not the first two adventures and presumably not limited to the creation of trinkets. Until the third book the players need at most a few days to craft anything they can afford; you don't need downtime to do this.
But after #3 they will wish to craft more powerful items that take a very long time. I can't remember how long we took for the second half of the AP, but I believe it was less than a hundred in-game days. I can't see how you can find the time to craft powerful items within the rules; the BBEG is too present to allow them taking massive time-outs. And when talking about crafting items, I was thinking mostly about their most powerful items - as I believe that's what the OP was inquiring about. Even improving a sword from +3 to +4 takes 14 days (28 when traveling); that's longer than any travel I remember during this AP and a pretty long pause between adventuring if you take a time out. Until #3 it doesn't matter, but after the players would probably consider it too long; at least mine did and I don't think I gave them special reasons to do so. Would the BBEG leave the group in peace long enough to do that, let alone more powerful crafting?
The tough choice of what to do can improve the game, indeed tough choices is what creates a lot of the tension needed for a great game, but item creation feats as written will feel very limited as time goes on and no real downtime appears. And if the players feel they wasted the feat because they can't make the super armor or weapon they want, it does detract from enjoyment. So I guess I the answer should be that creating minor items works fine, but you'll be hard pressed to craft major items.
I did at one point consider sending a dream to one character to give them a fixed time limit (with several hundred days left) to slow down the play, but we were having too much fun, so I simply let them teleport to bigger cities to buy what they wanted. And really the campaign was drifting into he background anyway as it transited from defeating the BBEG to the players imprinting their own marks onto the world.

The magic item trader isn't somethings I've used in a campaign yet, but what a player decided his character would do when he retired from adventuring. I offered it as an option here, because it would allow the players to customize their items without massive down times.

I didn't intent to imply that your campaign was unsuccessful because the players got to use their feats; my concern was that the second half of the path doesn't offer the opportunity for crafting without causing a massive break in the story. To improve a +5 weapon to +7 takes 48 days of dedicated work; armor isn't much better, and neither are most other categories. So if you allow/encourage players to take crafting feats, you need to worry about how you handle it in late game play. And that's where I see the problems and why I argue the way I do.


So, when asked if there is time enough to use crafting feats, the answer really is "yes".

When asked if there is a hard time limit on the AP, the answer is "no".

When asked if there are breaks in the AP, the answer is "yes".

Not just in the first 3 books, but in all of them.

Spoiler:
Several downtime breaks of a few days in both of the first two books, a travel time of 1-3 weeks at the start of book 3, explicit instructions that the party can take multiple cracks at retaking Ft Rannik, a winter in said fort, with the AP even saying at the start of book two that up to a year can be run off from the start of the AP before this one ("Swallowtail Festival now is also "Goblin Day"), a weeks long trip to the Storval Plateau also in book 4, then a long search and travel to Rimeskull, and another long searching journey just to FIND the site of the last book. I believe there is also explicit mention of how long the PCs can lurk about Xin Shalast before being discovered.

If you don't like how crafting works, or rather put more of a timer on the AP, both are fine ways of doing things. Already in this AP, I've created the illusion of a deadline complete with consequences ("If we had gotten here a few days earlier, we could have saved XX/stopped XX.") The path is yours to modifiy as you wish, and I have made other considerations for selling/magic stripping useless magic items to fit my own campaign. But when someone askes a generic question, giving the default campaign generic answer is pretty much the way I would answer, and personalization/customization clearly added as a suggestion.

In any case, the real answer is "ask your DM". I hope we gave the OP some points to bring up either way.


James Jacobs wrote:

With very few exceptions, none of our Adventure Paths are on timers. When they ARE, those timers are limited to single adventures—they don't cross over from one volume to the next. There's a few instances where the transition between two adventures doesn't allow for down time, but none of those transitions are in Runelords.

AKA: Between every adventure there SHOULD be as much time as you want to craft stuff, as well as there being time during adventures now and then.

It really does boil down to the GM and the other players, whether or not there's a chance to stop and craft. If you want to make a character that's going to craft, you should tell your GM before hand, so he can either make sure there's downtime or so he can tell you that's not gonna be a good idea since he's planning on running the adventure on a tight schedule.

Awesome - this was the knowledge we needed. Our GM is brand new, and myself and our other GM want this module to go well for him. He's been reading through the books, but I don't think he knows exactly what to look for to answer my question. He's stated bluntly that he'll happily add more time to the adventure for us to be able to keep our characters geared to our levels - we appreciate his willingness to aid us, but we don't want him to favor us. At the same time, I don't want to walk into the last fight with my sword still at +1. Honestly, I'm just satisfied knowing that you guys thought ahead. I've played too many modules that didn't seem to get that D&D is a 'game' and that 'games' are meant to be 'fun' - not a dredge fest in an effort to prove how awesomely difficult they can make their fights with surprise attacks by half-celestial half-demon vampiric half-dragons wielding PC-bane weapons.

Thanks to everyone else for the insights as well. I'm going to recommend our GM check out the board and post questions that he can't ask of us regarding the upcoming books.

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