D&D 5e - Questionable Arcana - Crafting: Jeweler's Tools
Important Disclaimer: Although this crafting system leverages many existing 5e mechanics, the final product is completed home-brewed. Furthermore, some of the finer details are still being revised, and those changes will slowly be introduced into this document. However, the system as a whole is completely functional and ready to be used in any campaign. If nothing else I hope this document and its siblings can be used as a source of inspiration for whatever crafting system you decide to use.
Now that we have learned the ins and outs of down to earth craft of woodcarving, I think it is time that we move on to some of the finer things in life. That means today's look into the convoluted world of 5e crafting will feature an in depth discussion of the Jeweler's tools and how to use them. However, before we dig into the mechanical potential of these artisan's tools, I think it is important to step back and analyze what it is that a jeweler actually does.
Traditionally bench jewelers are artisans who use metals, gemstones, and other various materials to create adornments such as necklaces or bracelets. However, a large part of a typical jeweler's workday features additional tasks beyond the design and creation of their own accessories. Often times they are called in to repair or modify pieces of jewelry made by someone else. Other times they are asked to examine gemstones and jewelry in order to give a customer an appraisal.
Using this broader definition of what a jeweler is let's dig into some of the mechanical scenarios where use of the jeweler's tools might be used.
Unfortunately for jewelers their specialized set of crafting skills does not really allow them to lead the creation of any RAW armor and weapons. However, every weapon and armor in The Players Handbook could potentially be adorned with gemstones. This allows the jeweler to participate in the creation of functional artwork, such as a rapier with sapphires embedded in the hilt. Although these types of modifications would not increase the combat effectiveness of the rapier, they could potentially help a player impress a visiting dignitary, or attract the attention of a group of thieves looking for their next mark.
On the other hand, there are several items in the adventuring gear section that a jeweler could potentially lead the construction of. For starters the construction of any spellcasting focus besides a druidic focus could be led by a jeweler, provided they have access to the materials needed to create it. Furthermore they would easily be able to lead the construction of decorative adornments such as rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, or circlets. Finally virtually all items in the adventuring gear list can be embedded with gemstones and consequently treated as artwork.
Despite the mechanical differences between wearing and using magical jewelry vs armor and weapons, I would not create any additional mechanics around crafting magical jewelry. I believe that the base rules in both the Dungeon Master's Guide, and our Questionable Arcana Crafting System are perfectly adequate on their own. So in the spirit of keeping things simple I would recommend you just leave them as is.
Arguably the biggest strength of being a jeweler is the ability to participate in the creation of a wide variety of artwork. Although the list of items they can create on their own is relatively small, knowledge of the process of setting jewels into various materials allows a jeweler to contribute to virtually any piece of artwork.
The catch is that applying this expertise generally requires expensive materials in the form if gemstones. This means that there are some additional up-front costs to having a jeweler contribute to an artwork project. On top of the usual base cost detailed in the Questionable Arcana Artwork Crafting System, the jeweler must install the jewels themselves into the artwork. At minimum the jeweler must install 10 GP worth of gemstones per crafting session. The jeweler can either install a full gemstone worth at least 10 GP, or cut pieces of more valuable gemstones to meet the GP requirement.
Artwork Example: Malachite Signet Ring
A player proficient with the jeweler's tools decides that they want to make a signet ring, then install malachite gems along the outside of the ring.
On the first day the jeweler rolls to create as many signet rings as possible. Because a signet ring is a mundane item there is no ability check. The player rolls a 3 on their crafting progress check, resulting in 20 GP worth of crafting progress. Since mundane items require half of an item's value in material costs, the player spends 10 GP to create 4 signet rings valued at 5 GP each(Players Handbook 150).
The player then takes one signet ring, and spends 7 days adding full malachite gemstones to the ring in an artistic manner. The player is able to succeed their ability check on the first six days and they roll the following scores on their crafting progress roll: 3, 5, 2, 6, 6, and 4.
This means after 6 days the ring is worth 6*5(base value added) + 28*5(crafting progress rolls)+6*10(value of malachite gemstones) = 170 GP Artistic Value + 60 GP Gemstone Value = 230 Estimated Artwork Value.
On the 7th day the player must beat a difficulty check of 17(The material value of the gemstones is not included when calculating the artisan's tool ability check DC) to increase the value of the artwork, but even after using the crafting inspiration die their highest roll is an 11. This means that not only did the jeweler fail to improve the quality of the artwork, but they actually damaged the artwork. The malachite gemstone is not added to the artwork, and after rolling a 5 on the crafting progress roll a total of 5(base value added) + 5*5(crafting progress roll) = 30 GP is REMOVED from the estimated value of the artwork. This leaves the artwork at a value of 140 GP artistic value + 60 GP gemstone value = 200 GP Estimated Artwork Value.
Not wanting to press their luck any further, the player decides stash the artwork away to be sold later. The player then moves on to adding gems to the next of the 3 remaining signet rings.
The act of adding brilliant gemstones to a piece of art can have an inspirational effect on the jeweler, as well as other artists working on the artwork. As an added bonus, whenever a jeweler is working on a piece of artwork, they are given a crafting inspiration token for that day.
Crafting Inspiration Token
An artisan with a crafting inspiration token is able to use the token when rolling an artisan's tool ability check. Using the token grants themselves, or another player working on the same item advantage on the artisan's tool ability check. You can choose to use a token after the artisan makes its roll, but before the DM determines the check's outcome.
This ability to lift up the creative potential of other artisans makes jewelers a cornerstone of any artistic team.
The gemstones that are added to the item retain their full value regardless of the irregardless of the result of the artisan's kit ability check. This means that should a piece of artwork be destroyed, all gemstones can be recovered and reused in other projects.
Knowledge of Jewels
A jeweler's extensive experience with gemstones gives them and edge when it comes to identify and appraise gemstones. Anytime a character is either identifying or appraising a gemstone they are able to add their jeweler's tools proficiency bonus to any intelligence check made when trying to identify a gemstone. This may not be needed in some instances where the validity of the stone can be confirmed, but in special instances such as identifying counterfeit gemstones this bonus can be invaluable.
Optional Rule: If you usually use a different proficiency to identify gemstones such as Intelligence(Investigation), then the proficiency bonus is still added to the check on top of any other relevant proficiency bonuses.
The Jeweler's Tools is a strong tool-kit for the adventuring type. The prevalence of magical adornments makes the Jeweler's Tools an attractive choice for adventurers looking to craft or enchant their own finery. Also, the utility a jeweler adds to any artwork project gives the kit a nice edge over some of the more popular kits like the Smith's Tools or Alchemist's Supplies. Overall the Jewler's Tools is one of the most well rounded types of Artisan's tools available, and should be welcome in just about any party configuration.