I’ve been thinking on and off this morning about how I can approach the smith concept in a way that makes sense for each of the Seven States. Actually, the synthesis idea does make things a little bit easier. Maybe, instead of creating something from whole cloth, the smith’s ability should be like enchantment, or enhancement, in that it adds properties to something that already exists.

That works with the idea of synthesis. Take the Guild Wars ritualist, for instance. They can infuse allies’ weapons with spiritual power to give them special abilities (increased damage, vampiric touch, knockdown, et cetera). The Fourth Edition artificer has similar powers that allow them to specifically enhance allies’ weapons and armor.

I think the main problem there, is the requisite items that must exist for the characters to be useful. If your allies don’t have weapons or armor for whatever reason, then your enhancements are useless. And useless isn’t good. Useless is bad. So, the questions becomes one of, “what is the smith actually enhancing?”

That actually brings me to the idea of Eberron’s grafts and symbiote creatures. Perhaps the mortal smith infuses a character’s equipment, whereas an elemental smith infuses a her allies’ bodies with earth, wind, or fire. An ethereal smith would synthesize a character’s spirit with those of his or her ancestors. And so on.

That’s probably the best course of action. Don’t think of the smith as dealing with tools directly. Remember that synthesis is with the character, not just their equipment. Then, what if we look at it this way, the mortal smith creates the tools to enhance his allies? The smith is about adding and enhancing his allies. Boy, oh boy, do I feel silly now.