This morning, a random question popped into my head: “how long would it take a 1st-level smith to craft an artifact using my skill system?”

It sounds like a legitimate question.

To answer this, I’ll have to examine a couple points — first, there’s the kind of bonus a 1st-level character is going to have for skill checks.

Link: Skills, Abilities, and Training

Since they’re 1st-level, they can’t possible have “Skill Focus,” since you don’t receive your first feat until 2nd level. Let’s assume the maximum possible bonus otherwise — training plus a racial modifier, for a total of +7. The average result of a d6 is 3.5, so we’re going to assume that the character gets a 10 each week.

Now, I mentioned in a previous post that task completion should be set the same way monster hit points are, and I think we’re going to assume that crafting an artifact is a 30th-level task. The average 30th-level monster has 264 hit points.

So, let’s break it down:
– Task Difficulty “30th level”
– Task Completion 264 “hit points”
– Character level 1st
– Skill bonus +7
– Skill check result 10.5 (average)
Time to complete: 25.1 weeks

Gaining one level and taking a hypothetical “Skill Focus” feat would improve the average time to about 20 weeks for crafting an “artifact.” But what does it mean?

Really, what does it mean?

For starters, that’s 20-26 weeks spent working on a single project — about half a year devoted to the creation of a single, potent magical item. It’s possible for even a low-level character to do, but it would consume the majority of their time.

Sure, they’d have time to eat, sleep, and perform basic functions necessary to life — but working on this item would be their “job.” They might be able to pull off a second job, but I think we’d need fatigue rules or something at that point.

And what about the item itself, when the character has completed their task? Can we really call it an artifact when all is said and done? Honestly, I don’t see why not — but how powerful an artifact can a 1st-level character create?

Probably a 1st-level artifact.

Okay, so let’s say we got up to some shenanigans, and there were feats or class features that could be used to artificially inflate a character’s level for the purpose of item creation — let’s say a 1st-level smith could hypothetically fashion a 5th-level item — well, then they might want to start adventuring, don’t you think?

Ultimately, I think I will set the bar higher for certain things like “artifact creation” — let’s say a hypothetical “40th-level” task for something like that — it only increases the “task goal” to like, 344. That increases the time spent working on an artifact to about 33 weeks for a 1st-level character — only a difference of about 2 months.