To craft an item, you need three things: the right knowledge, the right tools and the right materials. But how do you know which materials to use for which recipe? And how do you gather them?

This chapter introduces materials, recipes, and nodes, and rules on how to use them in your campaign.


A crafting material is a generic resource that can be used in all forms of crafting—from brewing potions and forging weapons to building settlements. Materials are defined by three simple properties:

  1. Rarity: How common is this material in the world? The rarer the material, the more difficult it is to find, gather, and collect.
  2. Substance: What is this material made of?
  3. Element: What magical properties—if any—can this material enhance? Most materials have an elemental affinity, even if they themselves are not magical.

One "measure" of a material counts as a small item unless specified otherwise. Use the Material Properties table to create your own generic materials for your in-game crafting recipes.

A GM introduces a new craftable item to their game—the Sword of Elemental Rage. This magic item requires the following materials:

  • 2 × Redsteel bar (common, metal, fire).
  • 1 × Hellhound skin (uncommon, skin, fire).
  • 1 × Flame elemental core (rare, stone, fire).

Swapping Materials

When you craft an item from a recipe, you can oftentimes use a different set of materials to those listed—so long as the properties match. If you want to use materials with differing properties, the following applies:

  • Rarity: Materials you substitute must have an equal or higher rarity—you can't use materials of lesser rarity.
  • Substance: You can change the substance of a material if it makes sense for the item and can be justified.
  • Element: You can change the element of a material if it makes sense for the item and can be justified. If an item is strongly tied to an elemental theme, you may need to substitute the element of multiple materials.

Krazak has a salamander skin (rare, skin fire)—he can use this in place of hellhound skin.

Zane likes to use bone for his weapons—he replaces the redsteel bars with young red dragon bones (uncommon, bone, fire), crafting a bone sword instead of a steel sword.

Clanda wants to use a lighting elemental core (rare, stone, lightning) to craft a sword of elemental shock—however, she would also need to change the other materials to suit this new element.

Material Properties

d100 Type Description
01-16 Common You can find this almost anywhere in the world.
17-32 Uncommon You can find this almost anywhere, but it's hard to gather or get access to.
33-48 Rare This material is limited (by location, quantity, or time).
49-64 Very rare This material is limited (by location, quantity, or time) and is hard to gather or get access to.
65-80 Legendary A mythic material found in the most dangerous places of the world.
81-96 Unique There is only one instance of this material in the world.
01-07 Bone Bone taken from a once-living creature.
08-14 Ceramic A ceramic material—such as clay—commonly used to make earthenware, porcelain, and brick.
15-21 Fabric A fabric material—such as wool, cotton, tweed, silk, etc.
22-28 Flesh A chunk of flesh or organs taken from a once-living creature.
29-35 Fluid A liquid—such as blood, water, oil, etc.
36-42 Gas A gaseous substance.
43-49 Glass A transparent or translucent substance, usually made from sand.
50-56 Metal A metallic mineral or ore—iron, gold, steel, etc.
57-63 Otherworldly An indescribable, otherworldly substance.
64-70 Plant Material harvested from a plant—such as fibers, flowers, pollen, etc.
71-77 Skin Skin taken from a once-living creature.
78-84 Stone A hard form of rock commonly used for construction.
85-91 Wood A hard material gathered from trees.
01-10 Air Wind, sound, flexible, flighty.
11-20 Earth Earth, nature, stubborn, reliable.
21-30 Fire Flame, heat, passion, fury.
31-40 Force Magic, immaterial, detached, spectral.
41-50 Lightning Lightning, electricity, impulsive, energy.
51-60 Necrotic Darkness, decay, morbid, fatalistic.
61-70 None No discernable element.
71-80 Psychic Mind, supernatural, insightful, otherworldly.
81-90 Radiant Light, purify, calming, ordered.
91-00 Water Water, cold, tempestuous, chaotic.

Example Monstrous Materials

Name Properties
Aarakocra feather Uncommon, skin, air
Ancient red dragon blood Legendary, fluid, fire
Air elemental whisp Uncommon, gas, air
Beholder eye Very rare, flesh, psychic
Blighted needle Uncommon, plant, earth
Bugbear tooth Uncommon, bone, fire
Bulette scales Rare, skin, earth
Bullywug tongue Uncommon, flesh, water
Carrion Slime Uncommon, fluid, necrotic
Chimera liver Rare, flesh, fire
Chuul eye Rare, flesh, force
Cloaker skin Rare, skin, force
Dracolich bone Legendary, bone, necrotic
Gibbering tentacle Rare, otherworldly, psychic
Gorgon plate Rare, metal, necrotic
Gray ooze residue Uncommon, fluid, necrotic
Iron golem plating Very rare, metal, force
Illithid brain Very rare, flesh, psychic
Merfolk fin Uncommon, skin, water
Mimic tongue Uncommon, otherworldly, psychic
Modron cog Rare, metal, radiant
Mummy bandages Very rare, fabric, necrotic
Myconid spore Uncommon, plant, psychic
Pegasus feather Rare, skin, air
Peryton horn Rare, skin, air
Purple worm scale Legendary, skin, earth
Remorhaz stomach Very rare, flesh, necrotic
Roc heart Very rare, flesh, air
Sahuagin eye Uncommon, flesh, water
Salamander skin Rare, skin, fire
Treant branch Rare, wood, earth
Troll flesh Rare, flesh, earth
Umber hulk pincer Rare, bone, earth
Unicorn horn Rare, bone, radiant
Vampire fang Very rare, bone, necrotic
Wyvern toxin Very rare, fluid, necrotic


Recipes teach you how to craft materials into rewards. You can discover crafting recipes through experimentation, or be trained by a willing mentor—often for a price. A simple crafting recipe describes four things:

  1. Reward: What do you get once you craft this recipe?
  2. Crafting Materials: How many materials do you need and of what type for this reward?
  3. Time: How long will it take to craft this reward?
  4. Requirements: Are there any additional requirements?

To create your own crafting recipes for your game, follow these four steps:

1Choose a Reward

First, you need to choose the reward for crafting this recipe. A reward can be anything—a sword, a magical suit of armor, a house, a ship, a castle.

A fiendish warlock wants to craft a suit of Demon Armor—a very rare magic item—to appease their patron. After some consideration, the GM decides to create a new crafting recipe for their game...

2Pick some Materials

Next, choose a reward size from the Recipe Details table below to see how many crafting materials your recipe will need—bigger rewards need bigger quantities of material.

As a general rule of thumb, choose three different types of crafting material for your recipe: a primary (50%), a secondary (30%), and a tertiary (20%) material. Select material rarities, substances, and elements that best fit the type—and theme—of reward.

Recipe Materials

Reward Size Materials Description
Tiny 1-5 Smaller than a person.
Small 10 As big as a person.
Medium 100 As big as an elephant.
Large 1,000 As big as a house.
Huge 10,000 As big as a mansion.
Gargantuan 100,000 As big as a fort.
Astronomical 1,000,000+ As big as a castle.

As a full-body suit of plate for one person, this Demon Armor recipe requires 10 crafting materials. The GM splits these into three types:

  • 5 × Dark iron ore (uncommon, metal, fire).
  • 3 × Spellbinding oil (rare, fluid, force).
  • 2 x Barlgura heart (very rare, flesh, fire).

3Choose a Crafting Time

Now it's time to decide how long it takes to craft the reward. A recipe measures crafting time in days—how many days would it take one average person to craft this reward once they have gathered all the materials? Choose a crafting time from the Recipe Details table below.

Teamwork: Some rewards could take months, years, even centuries for one person to craft—a house, a castle, a ship, etc. For these long-term rewards, consider recruiting additional people to help with your crafting efforts.

Crafting Time

Time Scale Days Examples
Days 1-5 A potion, a meal, a painting.
Weeks 10 A sword, a grand feast.
Months 100 A suit of armor, a tiny house.
Years 1,000 A large house, a temple.
Decades 10,000 A mansion, a church.
Centuries 100,000 A fort, a cathedral.
Millennia 1,000,000+ A castle, a giant pyramid.

4Apply Restrictions

Finally, consider what restrictions (if any) this recipe may have—skills, tools, alignment, additional costs, etc.

And that's it—your recipe is complete! Now you can add it to your game for your players to starting gathering their crafting materials.

The GM decides that it takes 100 days to craft some Demon Armor. In addition, to finish their recipe, they add the following crafting restrictions:

  • Proficiencies: Arcana, Smith's tools.

Recipe: Demon Armor

  • Recipe
  • Reward 1 × Demon Armor
  • Crafting Time 100 days
  • Requirements Arcana, Smith's tools
Qty Material Properties
5 Dark iron ore Uncommon, metal, fire
3 Spellbinding oil Rare, fluid, force
2 Barlgura heart Very rare, flesh, fire


To gather a crafting material, you must first find a source. These are resource nodes and they come in all shapes and sizes—trees, mines, rivers, cities, creatures, quarries, etc.

To create a new resource node for your game, follow these three steps:

1Choose some Materials

First, choose the crafting materials that can be harvested from this resource node. A basic node will provide only one type of material, but some may hold two—or even three—different types.

To help support the crafting of demon armor, the GM introduces two new resource nodes to the game:

  1. Dark iron veins: These uncommon mining veins contain dark iron ore (uncommon, metal, fire) and coal (common, stone, necrotic).
  2. Dark iron golem: A new monster that—once defeated—can be stripped down for dark iron plating (rare, metal, fire).

2Set a Quantity

Next, pick a richness for your node—the richer the node, the more materials you can harvest before it runs dry.

Limited: Some nodes may contain a fixed number of specific materials—one heart, two animating cores, 2d6 ruby scales, etc. Assign these limits as appropriate.

Regeneration: Some nodes can renew their materials over time and restore their quantity—a farm grows new crops, fish thrive in a pond, trees grow new branches, etc.

If you expect a resource node to be a long-term factor in your game, consider adding a regeneration rate and speed to reflect this.

Node Richness

Richness Quantity Description
Exhausted 0 This node has run dry.
Meagre 1-5 A creature or basic resource.
Simple 10 A tree, a vein, a huge creature.
Rich 100 A giant tree, a gargantuan creature.
Plentiful 1,000 A small village, a cultivated farm.
Bountiful 10,000 As big as a fort.
Limitless 100,000 A city, a huge quarry.

The GM sets the following for their new nodes:

  1. A dark iron vein is a simple node with 10 materials. Only 1d4 of these materials are dark iron ore.
  2. A dark iron golem is a meagre node—it can only provide 1 material.

3Pick a Gathering Time

Choose a gathering time to see how long it takes to make one gathering attempt on this node.

Gathering Time

Time Scale Min. Time
Seconds 1 second
Minutes 1 minute
Hours 1 hour
Days 1 day
Weeks 1 week
Months 1 month
Years 1 year
Decades 10 years

4Set some Gathering Skills

Next, choose some gathering skills that would be appropriate for your node and a DC required (if any) to harvest material. Below are listed some example skills and how they may be used:

Common Gathering Skills

Skill Description
Animal Handling You harvest materials from animals.
Arcana You interact with the arcane.
Athletics You harvest materials with brute force.
Intimidation You bully and extort materials from a person or place.
Nature You harvest materials from plantlife.
Persuasion You charm and bargain materials from a person or place.
Religion You interact with the divine.

When you choose a skill, set a DC for the harvesting attempt: very easy (5), easy (10), medium (15), hard (20), very hard (25), or impossible (30). When a player spends the requisite amount of time gathering material, they may make a relevant ability check:

  • Critical Success: You harvest two measures of material.
  • Success: You harvest one measure of material.
  • Failure: You fail to gather anything.
  • Critical Failure: You fail to gather anything and the node loses two measures of material.

The GM decides that it takes 1 hour to make a mining attempt on a dark iron vein (Athletics, DC 15). It takes 1 day, however, to strip plating from a dark iron golem—this can be done using either Arcana or Athletics (DC 15).

5Apply Restrictions

Finally, consider what restrictions (if any) this node may require—skills, tools, knowledge, etc.

And that's it—your node is complete! Now you can add it to your game for your players to interact with and starting harvesting materials.

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