D&D - Expansion of XGE Crafting Rules


Hello folks,

as probably none of you noticed, I put out a couple of D&D related blog posts to mix things up on my blog. However, I was never really satisfied with them and removed them. So this is my next try and it’s just about crafting in D&D.

The problem I try to solve

Many DMs ran into the problem of making crafting in their game fun and engaging. And when I say crafting I not only mean the process of creating an item. Crafting consist of many small activities that are not covered (or at least not sufficently) in the published materials for D&D.

The Dungeonmaster’s Guide (DMG) and Xanathar’s Guide (XGE) provide some guidelines how to approach crafting items. However, you can basically ignore the rules in the DMG as they are just awful. No player wants to spend hundreds(!) of days crafting a single item.

XGE provides way better rules in my opinion. But although they are simple and more down to earth they don’t go deep enough. For example, how do characters get the materials they need to craft an item? Sure they can buy them. But what if they are not in a town? Or if they wonder what to do with the scraps they looted of a goblins body? How to handle potion ingredients? Herbalists need to get them from somewhere, so why shouldn’t a character think of harvesting them in the wild for “free”?

So my goal is, to stick to the core rules of XGE but expand them just enough to make them work for me and my players.


  1. Stay as close to the core rules as possible
  2. Hook into existing mechanics
  3. Keep it simple and easy for the players and the DM
  4. Provide answers to the questions above

Raw materials for mundane and magic items

In XGE items are seperated into three groups. Mundane items, Magic items and Potions. Let’s tackles the “material costs” for the groups Mundane items and Magic items.

XGE states that you need to spend x-amount of gold for raw materials in order to craft that item. In my system, raw materials is a new stackable item. It acts as a catch all term for all sorts of raw materials needed to craft any item. It’s just a 1:1 conversion from gold to raw materials.

How do characters (PCs) get those raw materials? They can buy, find or salvage them.

Buying is easy: They just buy them somewhere. To keep things simple, the economics of a particular area won’t affect the price. It might affect the availability though.

Finding is also rather simple: A goblin might drop 25 raw materials instead of 25 gold pieces.

Salvaging: A PC might loot a body and find a sword or leather armor. Assuming that the PC has the propper proficiencies and tools he can break the item down into its raw materials. However, he only get 10% of its base price worth. For example: A scimitar has a base price of 25 GP. After salvaging, the PC will get 2,5 raw materials out of it.

Since raw materials is a catch all item, we won’t care about “leather armor” providing more leather than metal. The PC could only salvages leather armor and craft some sort of metal armor, yes. I will sacrifice realism for simplicity here. It will probably even out at some point anyways.

The raw materials can also be used as the non-magical component needed to craft a magical item. Although, for magic items you need additional materials that are part of an adventure. By definition these materials are based on the campaign and need to be made up by the DM and tailored to the story. For that reason I won’t cover those in my system in much detail.

Crafting Time and Cost

After spending time and/or money to get the compontents to brew or craft, the PC needs to actually do the crafting or brewing. I used the time and costs from XGE as a baseline and tweaked it just a litte bit.

Which results in the following crafting times and costs:

Rarity Crafting Time Cost
Mundane 3 days 50% of base price
Common 1 workweek 50 gp
Uncommon 2 workweeks 200 gp
Rare 3 workweeks 2.000 gp
Very Rare 4 workweeks 20.000 gp
Legendary 5 workweeks 100.000 gp

These times and prices are halved for consumable items like arrows, or scrolls.

Raw ingredients for Potions

For potions things got a lot trickier for me. I tried hard to keep this system consistent. It took me days of bouncing ideas around with a friend of mine to come up with this. (Thanks buddy. ;))

I created another stackable item for potions. Raw ingredients. Its again a catch all item for all sorts of plants, fungi or monstrous body parts. Also I didn’t seperate healing potions from other potions as XGE does.

A PC can buy, find or harvest raw ingredients.

Buying is easy: They just buy them somewhere. To keep things simple, the economics of a particular area won’t affect the price. It might affect the availability though.

Finding is also rather simple: A goblin-herbalist might drop 25 raw ingredients instead of 25 gold pieces.

Harvesting: Harvesting raw ingredients was by far the most difficult part. Because plants are basicaly “free” to harvest in the wild. To put a price-tag on this activity I came up with expedition costs. The costs are based of the “potion of healing creation” table in XGE on page 130. However, I extented this to all potions as described below.

If the party is out in the wilderness they can harvest raw ingredients themselves. At least one party member needs to be proficient in either “nature”, “alchemist’s supplies” or the “herbalism kit” to harvest at all. For every completed 1 day of harvesting, the party can roll 1d100 and sum up the results. If a character is proficient in both, he can roll with advantage. The result determines the maximum possible amount of raw ingredients. The party still has expedition costs as high as the amount of raw ingredients they want to actually harvest and take home with them.

For a better use of the harvesting time though, a character might want to pay for hirelings, guards and their accomodation in order to be able to harvest the amount of raw ingredients needed. I put an example into the example section.

Brewing Time and Cost

To brew potions use the following brewing times and potion costs.

Rarity Brewing Time Potion Cost
Common 1 day 25 gp
Uncommon 2 days 100 gp
Rare 4 days 1.000 gp
Very Rare 8 days 10.000 gp
Legendary 16 days 50.000 gp

These prices are already halved for being a “consumable” item.


Some items are just to difficult to craft for a novice character. I tied the ability to craft certain items to the proficency bonus which can also be translated into levels.

Rarity Level Requirement Proficency Bonus
Common Level 1-4 +2
Uncommon Level 5-8 +3
Rare Level 9-12 +4
Very Rare Level 13-16 +5
Legendary Level 17-20 +6


Example 1 - Batch of 20 Arrows

Mary Jane is a Level 2 Rogue and proficient with woodcarver tools. She wants to craft a batch of 20 arrows.

Determining the cost

Arrows are a mundane but consumable item with a base cost of 1 gp for a batch of 20.

1 gp = 10 sp. 10 sp * 0,25 = 2,5 sp.

(0,25 is the sum of the 50% price reduction for mundane items and the 50% of consumable items. Reducing the cost by 75%.)

Determining the raw materials

Since the raw materials have a 1:1 gp exchange ratio. Mary Jane need 0,25 raw materials. Since she looted a goblin blacksmith yesterday for 12 raw materials. She can use a small amount of that loot to craft the arrows.

Determining the time

Crafting a mundane item takes 3 days. Since arrows are a consumable, this is halved and rounded down to 1 day. Some very small and easy to make items can be made during a long-rest.

Example 2 - +1 Studded Leather Armor

Big Joe is a Level 4 Barbarian and proficient with smiths tools. He wants to craft +1 Studded Leather Armor.

Determining the restrictions

Since +1 Armor is a rare item, Joe needs to be at least level 9 to craft the item. It’s to difficult for him. He then decides to craft normal studded leather armor.

Determining the cost

Studded Leather Armor is a mundane item with a base cost of 45 gp.

45 * 0,5 = 22,5 gp

Determining the raw materials

It’s not a consumable item, so 22,5 raw materials are needed.

He has 20 raw materials. He goes to the local blacksmith and buys 2,5 raw materials from him for 2,5 gp.

Determining the time

Crafting a mundane item takes 3 days. He asks the local blacksmith for help to try to half that time. The blacksmith however has too much to do right now. So, Joe has to invest 3 days into creating his armor.

Example 3 - Superior Healing Potion

Little Sue is a Level 13 Cleric and proficient with the herbalism kit. She wants to craft 3 Superior Healing Potions.

Determining the restrictions

A Superior Healing Potion is a rare item. As a Level 13 Cleric she can easily craft rare items.

Determining the cost

Three Superior Healing Potion costs 3.000 gp. This price is already halved if you use the table above.

Determining the raw materials

Since she bought and found 2.000 raw ingredients she would need to put together an expedition to harvest the last 1.000 raw ingredients. This would take two days. Since she needs those potions by tomorrow she decides to craft only two potions.

Sue would have had another problem. The town she’s in, only hosts about 300 people. She probably wouldn’t have a chance to put together a large expedition.

Determining the time

Crafting a rare potion takes two days. Sue is getting nervous. She crafts a single Greater Healing Potion since it takes only a single day to craft.

(On the upsite, she only has to spend 100 raw ingrededients. Sadly, Sue never made it back out of the dungeon. Rest in peace, Little Sue.)

Example 4 - +2 Rod of the Pact Keeper

Dark Luis is a Level 13 Warlock and proficient in arcana. He wants to craft a +2 Rod of the Pact Keeper.

Determining the restrictions

A +2 Rod of the Pact Keeper is a rare item. As a Level 13 Warlock he can easily craft rare items. However, he isn’t proficient with any tools to create the rod itself. But he can perform the ritual to magicaly arange the raw materials to a magical rod, due to his proficiency in arcana.

Determining the cost

A rare item costs 2.000 gp. No reductions apply here.

Determining the raw materials

Luis found 3.000 raw materials over the last couple of months. He has enough to craft the item. (He of cause needs 2.000)

However, he lacks the knowledge to craft the item. He spent’s some of his downtime (check XGE on this) to do some “research” in the main library. He finds notes about the ritual which state the need of a magical component. The warlock asks his patreon for guidance. The patreon gives the warlock a quest to find a specific bone devil that should have the component in question. It’s up to the warlock to figure out how to solve this quest. Let’s assume the warlock got the magical component after the quest.

Why a “bone devil”? First of all because it’s a CR 9 creature. XGE states that for rare items a creature of CR 9-12 needs to be part of the adventure. The type of creature was just my vision of a cool warlock quest. Could be anything though. (Yeah, and I know how wonky the CR rating is.)

The knowledge of the ritual could also come as a reward for another quest. Either to foreshadow the existence of an item the character might want in the future. Or maybe the character already found a special magical component but lacks the knowledge what to craft with it. A DM can play with these knobs as he sees fit.

Determining the time

Crafting a rare item takes two days. Since Luis now has all the materials and the knowledge for the ritual, he can start it and after two days of crafting he owns a magical item.

Example 5 - Harvesting

Fluffy Tuffy is a Level 10 Bard and proficient in nature. He needs some raw ingredients to brew a uncommon potion.

Determining the restrictions

As a Level 10 Bard he can craft a uncommon potion. However, even if he couldn’t - he always can go out and harvest raw ingredients.

Determining the cost

A uncommon potion costs around 100 gp.

Determining the raw materials

To brew a potion worth 100 gp he also needs 100 raw ingredients. He has the choice now to go out and harvest the ressources alone or hire a expedition to do so. The expedition is more time and cost efficient. But not all locations support larger expeditions.

Harvesting alone or the party

Fluffy Tuffy heads out alone for 1 day. This results in 1d100 rolls. He rolls a total of 53. This means, he could come home with a maximum of 53 raw ingredients. Unfortunately, he only has 30 gp left in his pocket. His one-man expedition is cut short and he only can collect 30 raw ingredients. He chooses to pay only 20 gp and comes home with 20 raw ingredients and has 10 gp left for other things.

Paying for an expedition

Paying for an expedition comes with the benefit of being more efficient. Hirelings can be found in most towns and cities. Their price doesn’t need to be negotiated. It is always tied to the maximum output they haul home. However, depending on the size of the settlement, there might not be enough hirelings for the desired expedition time.

If Tuffy organises a expedition for 7 days, that would allow him to roll 7d100. Let’s say for a total of 420. Since he hired some helping hands, 100% are added, resulting in 840 raw ingredients. He needs all the ressources. So he pays 840 gp to get everything hauled home.

The following guidelines apply:

  • Hirelings add 100% of the result for each full week hired. (1st week: roll + 100%, 2nd week: roll + 200% etc. up to a monthly maximum of +400%)
  • You can’t hire them for 1/2 week.
  • Hirelings can’t be hired for longer than 4 weeks. (Have a heart - they’ve got families too.)
  • This is a RP and adventure opportunity. Don’t gloss over it every time.

At least one party member needs to be with the hired expedition at all times.

Determining the time

Brewing the uncommon potion takes 1 day.


The biggest change is the representation of raw materials and raw ingredients as an item and the expedition costs. On paper this seems to work. I will put it in place in my Curse of Strahd game and test it with my players. Let’s see how it works at the table.


If they work as intended I might revise them with some other minor additions. Like:

  • Should a PC be able to create a sword in the wilderness? Does he have a “portable furnace”? Probably not.
  • How does selling items work with regards to profits for the chars?

Have a nice one!


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IT-Security consultant by day. InfoSec enthusiast and Dungeon-Master at night.