In WoW, although you really want to become more powerful, most of the game revolves around making money. Going into dungeons, doing quests, everything has some time of currency tied to it. Crafting becomes a great way to make money in the game. It becomes a fantastic way for a player to take a little bit of time each day to make some gear and post it on the auction house and get a few gold pieces.
Yesterday I cleared out my bank and sold all of the old bags which didn't sell at all around a year and a half ago. I had put up a significant number of 16 slot bags on the auction house for about 3g a piece and none of them would sell. Now, I am dropping those babies out for more than 10 G a piece. I think over the last couple of days I have sold about 20 bags in all. That is a serious ammount of cash, for, lets face it, almost no work at all.
But D&D is not about making money. Sure, players are concerned about their gold. They may be at it for the money, but that really isn't the goal of the game. D&D is about having fun and doing some role playing with your friends. Trying to turn crafting in D&D into something like crafting in WoW might take a lot of the fun out of the game, especially if you give the players a chance to sell all the stuff they make.
I really think though, there is a place for crafting skills in D&D 4e that go beyond the simple stuff you can get through backgrounds. I will be blunt. I hate that crafting gets tied into backgrounds so easily. It just seems too quick and too simple. I want more.
I have several ways to get this done.
- As I explained in an earlier post about Professions, at level 1, players can select a number of minor skills which are tied to Professions or Crafting.
- Players can use these skills to craft items which are level appropriate, spending time and effort in order to craft a weapon or item (though relatively little game time).
- Items that players craft CAN be sold, but not likely for 100% of the money you would see in one of the player's books.
However, using this type of system requires some work from the DM. It is up to the DM in this type of situation to limit the ammount of crafting that a player can do to a minimum. Perhaps doing a bit of crafting between sessions, or, doing a bit of crafting on the side, when the PC's return to their home city. As long as the game doesn't slow down, and the player doesn't get too rich through these means, I think that Crafting in 4e is perfectly acceptable.