Salvaging Metal in a Low Resource Campaign


Advice


Hey all.

I'm currently playing in a very low resource campaign. We've recently acquired a town, where we've fixed up the wooden walls and the abandoned houses. We have craftsmen (blacksmith, leatherworker, tailors, carpenter), but we're extremely short on raw materials. The area is heavily forested, so we have plenty of wood and such available (and we've even trained some elk as combat mounts), but metal is extremely scarce.

We keep running into goblins nearby, so we have a decent supply of small short swords and leather armor, but they aren't really useful to us as they are. Logically, we should be able to melt down the swords to reforge them into more appropriate weapons, but the craft rules are silent on how we might go about doing that.

In particular, while the cost of materials for crafting an item is defined, it isn't really specified what materials that includes. For a steel weapon, is that just steel? I'm not sure that this makes sense, given that there is no listing for steel under the trade goods section in the CRB. Iron is listed (and treated the same as steel in terms of hardness and HP) at 1 silver piece per pound, but that gets us nowhere close to accounting for the 25 gold pieces of raw materials to craft an 8 pound falchion.

Has anyone else dealt with this kind of situation before? How did you handle salvaging resources from existing weapons and armor?


Typically speaking, when you salvage a weapon or armor (Melt it down) you tend to lose a decent amount of material. Whenever we salvage anything in the campaign a friend of mine runs, we get half of what it takes to craft the item as usable salvage. This means that salvaging two short swords would allow us to craft one new one.


Heck, in the beginning my players melted down coppers to make pots to sell...they hauled anything that could have had a any value at all back to town...

Now they just keep "the good stuff".

I'd just use the base weight and do some quick math to figure how many of what you want you can get.

Plus charge for the coal you need to smelt it all down and reforge it, and whatever straps and such to finish it up.

Used leather armor from a goblin you have chopped up is probably...oh just toss it out.

Just remember to have fun...if it's too complex...simplify til it's fun again!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

If the weapon is just broken, then Mending works.

Fabricate will take those scrapped weapon, and turn them into working weapons.

Throw a Masterwork Transformation spell in there as well.

If you have the False Focus feat, you won't even need the scrap metal.


You could just break it down by gold piece equivalent. A short sword is 10gp new, so as salvage give them 6gp worth of usable materials. once they get enough of a "crafting pool" to make an item they want, let them do so.

Sczarni

Hmmm... the system is inherently broken in this regard, since "raw materials" in reference to metal, leather, and other fabrics is not the determining factor for crafting weapons. Compare a short sword with a wakizashi...

Short Sword: 10gp
Wakizashi: 35gp

They each weigh 2 pounds but the wakizashi is 3.5x more expensive. I imagine that the distinction here is created due to the overall difficulty in the crafting process.

Anyway, long story short, here's what I'd give you:

If the weapon/armor is made primarily of steel: 90% Craft Value
If the weapon is made primarily of another material but, but with metal: 50% Craft Value

edit: Fixed


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

You're looking at it the wrong way. Crafting costs include a bunch of things, like raw materials (steel) but also other things like coal, water, leather, silk (sharpening) etc.

What you do is just limit the amount of steel they can recycle. I'd go with 90% of the metal (you'll lose some in the resmelting). Then just worry about weight of metal. Melt down 10 1lb swords, get 9lbs of metal. Make one 9 lb weapon, 3 3lb weapons, whatever out of it.

For crafting, just make them spend the same gold as if buying it from scratch, since they have to pay for the coal and labor to smelt it down, thus negating any crafting monetary benefit.

NOt realistic, but keeps it simple.

Sczarni

This is really starting to bother me, after an hour I cannot seem to find any sort of rule-set for salvaging steel weapons and armor.


Okay, first thing is, stuff isn't going to add up perfectly. The abstractions used in the crafting system don't line up very well with actual costs of inputs and whatnot.

Second, though, the major expense in medieval blacksmithing (especially of good steel) was the large quantities of fuel required. Access to a forest you basically own means you have gone a long way to covering that cost (in the short term, at least). However, you're going to need people who know how to burn wood into charcoal (colliers) and, presumably, pay them. (In addition to the people to cut the wood and drag it to the collier, etc., but you apparently have already been repairing walls so you have some idea what that'll cost you.)


Thanks all, this is really helpful.

Bit more detail on the craftsmen.. Essentially, they're refugees, so a lot of the cost of labor is part of an exchange where the party provides a place to live, food, and safety in return for their skills.

Related question... The party has a decent amount of coinage, but between the exchange mentioned above and a lack of friendly merchants elsewhere, money isn't particularly useful on its own. The idea of melting down gold pieces to and mixing it with the steel to extend the supply has come up, but of course the downside is that it would weaken the steel to some extent. Is there any amount that could reasonably be mixed in without much effect on the quality of the weapon, or is there just not much we can really do with the gold? The special materials rules cover gold plating and weapons made of pure gold, but not anything with mixing.

Lantern Lodge

I would give any weapons made with gold the fragile quality.
And I would not use fragile weapons.


ZZTRaider wrote:
The idea of melting down gold pieces to and mixing it with the steel to extend the supply has come up

So in your world the IP (Iron Piece) is a step or two up in value from the GP. Cool!


Deadmoon wrote:

I would give any weapons made with gold the fragile quality.

And I would not use fragile weapons.

From what I can find...

  • Gold plated weapons are just as good as their steel counterparts
  • Pure gold weapons must be light weapons, have a -2 damage penalty if they are slashing or piercing, and have the fragile quality
  • Masterwork and magical weapons and armor lose the fragile quality

So, I think fragile shouldn't be a huge issue.

I'm not sure at what point a mixed material weapon would be able to avoid the light weapons only requirement, though.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

You could mix other metals to get workable weapons, which might be easier to find.

Gunmetal : Bronze, Tin and Zinc. This is the old yellowish metal used for guns and cannons before steel was used.

Cupronickle : You see this every day, it's an alloy of copper and nickle. Take out a quarter, and you got one with a coating, take out a nickle, and you have 100% Cupronickle. You can put an edge on it, but it won't stay on it.

Alternately, straight old Bronze could work as well, although they aren't as good as steel. Iron weapons as well (an iron cudgul works about as well as steel mechanic's wise).


ZZTRaider wrote:

Thanks all, this is really helpful.

Bit more detail on the craftsmen.. Essentially, they're refugees, so a lot of the cost of labor is part of an exchange where the party provides a place to live, food, and safety in return for their skills.

Related question... The party has a decent amount of coinage, but between the exchange mentioned above and a lack of friendly merchants elsewhere, money isn't particularly useful on its own. The idea of melting down gold pieces to and mixing it with the steel to extend the supply has come up, but of course the downside is that it would weaken the steel to some extent. Is there any amount that could reasonably be mixed in without much effect on the quality of the weapon, or is there just not much we can really do with the gold? The special materials rules cover gold plating and weapons made of pure gold, but not anything with mixing.

Your quite literally getting into metallurgy here, a whole field of science..there probably isn't rules out there to cover this kind of stuff. My suggestion is to do a little bit of cursory research...like wiki type stuff on a few base alloys and the very basic principals of smelting....just high level concepts don't get too bogged down in details and present them to your dm as a logical frame work to proceed with. Things like bronze, iron, copper, obsidian, steel, and bone all make nice salvage just for starters. Look up a handful of alloys and their rough percentages, get a grip on what sort of yields come from melting down Iron and then use that for everything....it's doesn't have to be perfect. Maybe look up stuff like flint, bone and obsidian tools ...I bet if you take just an hour or two and a little work you can come up with something simple and

Elegant that you can apply to most salvage and recrafting situations.

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