The Art of Crafting: The Basics

The Basics

Your father still hasn’t forgiven you for destroying his prized beehives when you decided to use them as practice targets for your sword thrusts. If I remember correctly, the incident required you to spend three days in the healer’s tent. And still you didn’t learn a thing.

Your mother, likewise, hasn’t forgotten the episode with the serving maid and the love potion. The poor lass has to shave her back every full moon.

So, martial and magical training are out of the question. Your parents have now charged me to educate you in the virtues of tradecraft. They hope that with this basic knowledge (and a large honorarium) they can apprentice you to a master crafter. I have written this primer to reinforce today’s lesson and to provide you with something you can review at your leisure.

All tradecrafts follow the same fundamental principles. Whether you intend to bake a pie, forge a sword, or craft and enchantment, the methodology is the same.


In any tradecraft, you combine two or more ingredients to create a single superior product. This is not like the time you tried to smash two pony guar together to make a larger pack guar. You must combine the correct ingredients and use the correct tools: a hammer and anvil, mortar and pestle, or cauldron and fire, depending on the craft. Only then can you succeed.

Most crafted items require at least two ingredients. For example, a sword needs smelted iron for the blade and tanned leather for the hilt. Potions require dried flowers and pure water. Enchantments need gems and setting materials.

You must gather the raw ingredients from the wilderness or, knowing your approach to everything you do, find them in an unattended crate.

Next, the raw ingredients must be refined. Smelt the ore into ingots, spin the raw cotton into cloth, and cut and polish the gems. Then, at your workbench, you can create something your father might actually be proud of.


With basic ingredients you can craft basic items. You can create improved items by increasing the quantity and quality of ingredients. As you discovered last year, a ten-pound sledge is more effective in smashing your mother’s urns than a one-pound hammer — though, as you learned, the ten-pound sledge is also more difficult to control.

To solve this problem, tradecrafters infuse their ingredients with additives. Resins and oils make wood more supple and strong. A dash of Imp Stool makes a health potion more effective. (Wipe that smirk from you face. You know I was talking about the mushroom, young man.)

Additives also interact with each other to imbue a crafter item with magical properties. It requires three different additives for a magical effect to take hold. What combinations of additives produce what effects we shall save for another lesson.

(Note to Self: Edit this before delivering it to the young master.) 

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