Love thy crafters!

Date: 3/11/2012 at 10:15
From: Ithilcelu
To : Everyone
Subj: Love thy crafters!

There seems to be a large amount of confusion concerning what exactly goes into making a weapon, and what it takes to have a weapon of high quality. I've also noticed a lot of people will scoff at a really good weapon, and look at it as sub par, and that people aren't usually willing to pay a smith the cost of making a good weapon, let alone a fair price for one.
So! I thought maybe a little bit of a break down of what goes on when someone is making a weapon for you would be a really good idea!

The very first thing you have to do when you're a smith and you're going to make a weapon for someone is find out what they want exactly. Is the person looking for a really fast weapon, or do they want something that is so smoothly crafted that there's very little risk of missing their target, or are they more looking to have something they're going to bludgeon people with and they don't really care if it's fast or accurate cause they figure a couple of hits and their work is over anyways?

Once you know this, and you know what kinds of weapons the person actually knows how to use, it's time to start finding out what your customer wants aesthetically. Hopefully, they already know what they like and don't like cause if not, you're potentially looking at hours of talking to figure out what works for them when you could be like... fishing, or teaching younglings, or fishing, or sewing, or fishing...

Anywho! Now you've gone through the work of finding out exactly what weapon your customer wants made. The end result could be that you design something special just for them, or they could have picked one of any number of your private designs or something from what's publicly available.

For our example, we're going to play let's pretend that a sneaky, tiptoe through the shadows rogue asked me to make them the fastest sword I possibly could make with the commodities I have on hand in my vault.
Now, my vault is no normal vault. My vault is the biggest vault it's possible for a person to have and I've been stocking it for twenty two years. I don't keep anything in my vault but the highest quality commodities possible, and everything else goes into the city shop so I have room for the really good stuff. I want you to keep that information in the back of your head cause it's important to know for this.

After learning my customer's wants and tastes, and finding out he likes to sneak around in the shadows and stuff I have determined that a saber is the best bet for him, because sabers are naturally speedy. If I have two sets of fully identical commodities and I make a saber with one set and a longsword with the other set, the saber is going to be faster to swing.

My customer has picked out an elaborate gold plated saber engraved with flames, This specific sword requires 40 steel ingots, 5 gold bars, 3 silver bars and 2 blocks of wood. That is a whole lotta metal for one little sword.

Now it's time for me to go through my vault and find the ores and wood that will allow me to make the fastest possible sword. Now, if I didn't care how fast it was I could just VOUT 40 STEEL, VOUT 5 GOLD, VOUT 3 SILVER, and VOUT 2 WOOD. The thing is, I do care. I don't want to have a hodge podge of metal all mixed together. I want only the best metal possible for this sword. For that matter, I only want the best possible wood too!
To make certain I grab only the best, I have to do some time consuming work and sort through my commodities. There's a lot of ways to do this out there, and everyone has their preferences but I'm going to illustrate crafting a sword with the way that seems to make the most sense to people when I'm trying to teach them, cause well, if it works best for the people I've taught then it must be easier to grasp right?
It's slow going, because I'm going to go through bit by bit and be certain sure I get only the stuff that will give us the fastest sword.
First, I try to VOUT 2 WOOD WITH ELASTICITY >=99 I'm not expecting much, even with my vault, but I'm pleasantly surprised when I get one block of wood from this and I set it aside. Next, I do it all over again, but this time I try for greater or equal to 98 Eureka! I got exactly one more! Wood's done and I'm feeling good about this.

My next attempt is for silver. Well, silver isn't something I'd call elastic but it sure can be malleable so I look for the most malleable silver I have on hand and I VOUT 3 SILVER WITH MALLEABILITY >= 99. It's way slower going, but I eventually end up with three silver ores with malleabilities of 91, 89 and 84. Now, in truth, I try for a higher number than what I actually need and I'll explain why a little later on, but this gives you the basic idea of what's going on for now.

I go through this process for each commodity needed until I've got the very best ores available. Let's have a look at what I pulled out:


wood27763 wood27784
Overall Quality: 100 Overall Quality: 100
Elasticity: 99 Elasticity: 98
Workability: 1 Workability: 1
Hardness: 0 Hardness: 1

Here, we see that I've got my two blocks of wood. The first block has an overall quality rating of 100, that's the very best quality it's possible for someone to get, like... ever. The elasticity of this wood is rated at 99, that's great! It leaves only one rating point left for something else, and that fell into it's workability. A block of wood's workability determines how much precision it can contribute to the finished weapon. There's nothing left to this wood, so it has a hardness rating of 0. That is some soft wood! More to the point though, that means it won't contribute anything to the sword's ability to damage anything. That makes sense though, who ever heard of something squishy as a sponge being able to damage something?
My second block of wood also has an overall quality rating of 100, In this instance though, both it's workability and it's hardness have a 1 point rating. Still some really soft wood, but it'll contribute something to the final damage, even if it's just irritating a cut that's already there.

Moving on to my favorite metal ever cause it's so pretty and my wedding ring is made of it, Silver!


silver27798 silver27830 silver27820
Overall Quality: 97 Overall Quality: 96 Overall Quality: 87
Malleability: 91 Malleability: 89 Malleability: 84
Toughness: 6 Toughness: 2 Toughness: 1
Tensile Strength: 0 Tensile Strength: 5 Tensile Strength: 2

After sorting for a while, I've got my three ores. The overall quality on these are 97, 96, and 87 respectively. Let's have a look at the one with an overall quality of 97.
This ore has a malleability rating of 91, that leaves six points that are laying around somewhere else. In this case, they contribute to the silver's toughness. The toughness of a metal is just like the workability of wood, it determines how much precision the metal can contribute to the finished weapon. With all of the points allocated there's nothing left for tensile strength so this bit of ore won't be damaging anything if you hit someone with it while you're holding it in your hand. You'll have a really nice imprint of whatever part of them you hit though! Just gotta hope it's someone who won't mind that you're taking metal imprints of their body parts, cause I can't think of too many situations where people would be okay with that.

Oh hey! It's the stuff we spend to get all of the stuff we need to make the weapons! I wish we could buy this and then have it minted for use as coin, oh well, Maybe it's rose gold and the coin is made out of yellow gold, who knows!
So! Gold is a metal right? Right! But, for some really crazy reason we aren't going to sort it like we do other metals. Don't ask me why, cause I still haven't gotten a good answer out of Mr. Shordan. He just touches the side of his nose, what's that supposed to mean anyways?
Even though I can't tell you what crazy reason he has for insisting we look at gold as a non-metal, I can tell you how to sort out the bits you want.


gold27736 gold26361 gold27731
Overall Quality: 100 Overall Quality: 100 Overall Quality: 99
Elasticity: 99 Elasticity: 96 Elasticity: 99
Workability: 1 Workability: 4 Workability: 0
Hardness: 0 Hardness: 0 Hardness: 0

gold27665 gold27688
Overall Quality: 97 Overall Quality: 97
Elasticity: 97 Elasticity: 96
Workability: 0 Workability: 1
Hardness: 0 Hardness: 0

That didn't take too long, I had plenty of really good gold in stock so I just needed to sift through a few times. Now, just like we did with wood, we looked for gold that was really elastic. The very best bars were rated with 99 elasticity, one had an overall quality of 100 so it also had a little bit of workability, the other had an overall quality of 99 and that means that every bit of worth in that bar went fully into it being elastic.

Now we get to the part that took the very longest. We have to have 40 steel ingots. Because there were so very many I condensed the numbers for you all to look over them with a lot more ease and a lot less paper used. Remember, paper comes from trees, so don't be wasteful!
You'll notice I put things into 3 sections, those are partially for ease of reading, and partially because I couldn't fit all the 80's together on one line and make sure everyone would understand it without changing how they perceive the world, otherwise it'd be two sections the 80's and the 90's (well, with one 100 tossed in).

Now, how to read this. Each column is one steel ingot. Each row is whatever it is labeled as. So, drag your finger down the news-post column to see what an ingot's worth was. For example, the very first ingot listed had an overall quality of 100, it's malleability is what we wanted to have a high value and that 100 really gets you excited thinking you're going to have a lot of malleability right? Well, we don't have a lot, but it's still a good piece of metal for our purposes with a malleability of 79. After that, the remaining 21 points are split between toughness with a rating of 10 and tensile strength with a rating of 11. Remember, toughness is going to determine how precise your hits are and tensile strength affects how much damage is done.
Why don't you go ahead and look over the chart, get a really good idea of what sort of commodities were used for this sword and we'll meet up again when you're done!


Steel used:

Overall Quality: 100 | 98 | 97 | 96 | 95/95 | 95 | 94/94 | 93/93/93 | 92
Malleability: 79 | 80 | 80 | 79 | 80/80 | 79 | 80/80 | 80/80/80 | 80
Toughness: 10 | 12 | 5 | 9 | 12/ 5 | 3 | 7/ 4 | 12/ 4/ 2 | 1
Tensile Strength: 11 | 6 | 12 | 8 | 3/10 | 13 | 7/10 | 1/ 9/11 | 11

Overall Quality: 89/89/89/89/89/89 | 89/89/89 |
Malleability: 80/80/80/80/80/80 | 79/79/79 |
Toughness: 9/ 8/ 7/ 6/ 6/ 3 | 5/ 1/ 1 |
Tensile Strength: 0/ 1/ 2/ 3/ 3/ 6 | 5/ 9/ 9 |

Overall Quality: 88/88/88/88 | 88/88/88/88/88 | 87/87/87/87/87/87 | 86/86 | 80
Malleability: 80/80/80/80 | 79/79/79/79/79 | 80/80/80/80/80/80 | 80/80 | 80
Toughness: 8/ 7/ 5/ 5 | 7/ 7/ 6/ 6/ 5 | 7/ 5/ 5/ 4/ 4/ 3 | 6/ 4 | 0
Tensile Strength: 0/ 1/ 3/ 3 | 2/ 2/ 3/ 3/ 4 | 0/ 2/ 2/ 3/ 3/ 4 | 0/ 2 | 0

All done already? That was so much faster than the time it took for me to put all of that together, we won't touch on how long it took for me to decide which ores to use. What we will touch on though, is how I did that!
Remember back in the beginning when I said we'd get back to the idea of me pulling out more ore than I actually need? Now you get to find out why! So, looking at the chart you see that I've got ingots with malleability of either 80, or 79. All those numbers and the statistic we're actually concerned over doesn't have much in the way of variations, just 79 and 80. That's not the only thing that the steel contributes to the sword though, so we have to be mindful of the other stuff.
I went through and searched all the ores till I found the most malleable bits, and after I set those aside I realized there wasn't enough yet so I started sorting again. I knew that I needed 11 more bits of steel to make the sword and it was very possible that I might have more than 11 with a rating of 79.
We learned earlier that the overall quality is as important to what we're making as the specific trait we're looking for, so I took out all of my steel with a malleability rated at 79, and then picked out the very highest quality ingots from there. Once I did that, I put all of the left over ore back into my vault and counted out what was left. I had 8 ingots with a quality of 88, which means I had three too many ingots. How do you decide which ingots to use and which ones to put back?
Well, you put aside your 8 ingots that you have to decide on and you add up all of the toughness ratings for the rest of them, then you add up all the tensile strength ratings for them too. Well, once you're all done you look at those two numbers and say "Do I want a sword that has a secondary quality of being very precise, one that does a lot of damage. or that has fairly balanced precision and damage ratings? Once you've decided that, you pull out the ores that contribute to that number the least and put them away.

Now, finally, it's time to go to work at the forge. Making sure you have your design book at hand in case you need to check on any minor details, you get the forge nice and hot and set to work making the sword. Talk about sweaty work! I'm glad I'm a mage, cause I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't fill my water up as soon as I got thirsty but couldn't leave the forge just yet!

Phew! The physical labor is all over and now I'm holding an elaborate gold plated saber engraved with flames. This is a one-handed saber and if I take a good hard look at it I can rate it's ability to do damage at 68, its precision at 69 and its speed at 177. Well, the final sorting worked out just how I wanted it to, the damage and precision are really close to each other so they're nice and balanced but above everything else I have to keep in mind that the customer asked for the very fastest sword I could make with what I had on hand. I can heat that forge up again and temper the sword, focusing on making it an even faster weapon, so I do!
After tempering I check the sword over and determine it would have a damage rating of 67, it's precision would be 61, and it's speed is now 186!
This is an awesome sword for speed!
Now, I can already hear people grumbling that it's not fast enough or that they've seen better and so on and so forth. Yes, you have. I know you have because I know I'm not the only person who makes sure to have really good materials on hand and I know I'm not the only one who's made better swords than this.
I also know how much work and coin go into collecting the commodities needed to be able to make this sword. I can easily go through more than 100 bits of ore before I find 1 that is of a decent quality. Remember me saying how amazing my vault is? It's full of ores, I mean really really full. None of them go below a quality of 75, and I try to keep it where none are below 85 normally. A crafter can easily spend 40 gold or more just to make a sword like this, I know because I've studied the numbers as I've filled my vault over the years. Yes, it is possible for them to sell the dross to their city's commodity shop, but that is -always- at a substantial loss.

I hope that after reading this article, you all realize exactly how much work, and coin go into making the weapons that so many have taken for granted and that this has sparked an interest in some of you to start learning more about commodities and how they work. I'm always available in one way or another if you have questions, so please feel free to ask me and I'll do my best to help!

Your friendly neighborhood crafter,


Penned by my hand on the 7th of Yamiev, in the year 28.