IMPORTANT NOTICE: Although this crafting system leverages many existing mechanics published under the 5e SRD and OGL, the final product is completely home-brewed. The finer details of this system are still being revised, and those changes will slowly be introduced into this document. However, the system as a whole is totally functional and ready to be used in any campaign. Furthermore, the rules and concepts discussed are intended to work in-tandem with the expanded artisan's tools rules found in Xanathar's Guide to Everything. If nothing else I hope this document and its siblings can be used as a source of guidance and inspiration for whatever crafting system you decide to go with.
The Glassblower’s Tools At A Glance
RAW Cost: 30 GP
RAW Weight: 5 lbs
*Example Items: Block, Crimp, Tweezers, Jacks, Diamond Shears, Puffer, Paddle, Parchoffi, Taglia, Straight Shears
Crafting Restrictions: Access to a furnace or similar is required. Somewhat DM Dependent.
Mundane Item Crafting: Handful of relevant options that synergize well with Alchemists, Poisoners, and Brewers.
Magic Item Crafting: Handful of items. Some home-brew potential with armor.
Artwork Creation: Very good at creating artwork.
QA Artwork Bonus: +10 to roll modifier on the “Selling a Magic Item” table.
Structure Building: Able to assist in structure creation. Number of glassblowers on a project could be limited by DM.
Adventuring Utility: Able to identify properties of glass, and adds proficiency bonus to checks involving the manipulation of glass.
* These items are specific to the Questionable Arcana system. Other similar crafting systems may utilitize a different list of items.
Now that we’ve learned how carpenters and masons construct the frame of the building, it is time to fill the empty spaces they’ve left behind. That means it is time to bring in the glassblowers to create the glass panes and windows needed to finish building the building. As always before we dig into the D&D mechanics of the kit we will do a brief overview of the history and skills required for glassblowing in the real world. Once we have a solid understanding of what glassblowing is, we can take that knowledge and apply it to crafting in 5th edition.
In modern history there is evidence of glasswork as early as 3500 BC. However, the more advanced process of glassblowing did not rise to prominence until around 1st century BC during the rise of the Roman Empire. Once the craft had matured somewhat there were two primary methods of glassblowing that were used to construct most glasswork, Free-blowing, and Mold-Blowing.
Free-blowing was the pre-eminent form of glassblowing until 19th century AD. Free-blowing involves blowing short puffs of air into a molten portion of glass called a “gather” which has been spooled at one end of a blowpipe. This creates an elastic skin on the interior of the glass blob that matches the exterior skin caused by the removal of heat from the furnace. This allows the glassworker to quickly inflate the molten glass to a coherent blob that can be worked into the desired shape. As is inferred by the name, free-blowing allows for the creation of more unique glasswork. However, there is a decent risk of accidentally creating substandard work.
Mold-blowing attempted to solve the quality assurance issues of free-blowing by removing the human element from it as much as possible. This was done by having glassworkers inflate the molten glass blob into a wooden or metal mold. Once inflated the glasswork would take the shape of the mold, ultimately resulting in more consistent, but typically less nuanced pieces of glasswork.
In the early 20th century as automation become more and more prevalent, the majority of glasswork was created in factories. This resulted in a rapid increase of mass produced glasswork, however there were still many highly skilled artists who would use these factories to create limited runs of more detailed work. Over time technological advances resulted in improved designs for smaller furnaces, which led to the studio glass movement that is still proliferating to this day.
Blowing Hot Air(Into Glass)
For the sake of simplicity I recommend you allow all glassblowers to utilize all of the elements described above from the free-blowing, mold-blowing, and studio glass styles of glass-blowing. With this level of flexibility a player with proficiency in the glassblower’s tools can lead and contribute to a wide variety of projects.
However, glassblowing requires access to a stable source of extreme heat. This means that the player will need to locate a studio/workshop with access to a furnace, unless the DM gives the player a magical item that can fulfill the requirements on the road.
Questionable Arcana Item Crafting Rules At A Glance
Overview: The Questionable Arcana Crafting System is a homebrew set of rules that builds on the RAW crafting system. The goal of the system is to increase the rate that items are crafted while introducing an element of variability(aka dice rolling).
- A Lead Artisan - An artisan with the appropriate tool who can lead the crafting process.
- Crafting Materials - Materials to craft with. The items should be valued at 50% market value for mundane items and 100% market value for magical items.
- Means of Production - Any special equipment or location requirements such as a forge for blacksmiths.
- Instructions - Memorized instructions for mundane items or a written blueprint for magical items.
- Labor - Time and energy measured in 8 hour increments and proficiency dice rolls!
Crafting Capabilities Definitions
- LEAD - You can serve as the lead artisan when creating this item.
- ASSIST - You can work under a lead artisan to create this item.
- OPTIONAL - You could potentially create a non-RAW version of this item at the DM's discretion.
- N/A - You cannot use this toolkit to contribute to the creation of this item.
- SPECIAL - Special cases defined on a case by case basis.
Crafting GP Progression Formula
[PROGRESS IN GP] = 5 + (Proficiency_Dice_Roll * 5)
Below is a list of RAW items a glassblower could reasonably create:
|Adventuring Gear Crafting List|
|Arcane Focus, Crystal||10 gp||1 lb.||LEAD|
|Arcane Focus, Orb||20 gp||3 lb.||LEAD|
|Arcane Focus, Rod||10 gp||2 lb.||LEAD|
|Arcane Focus, Staff||5 gp||4 lb.||LEAD|
|Arcane Focus, Wand||10 gp||1 lb.||LEAD|
|Bottle, Glass||2 gp||2 lb.||LEAD|
|Flask or Tankard||2 cp||1 lb.||OPTIONAL|
|Hourglass||25 gp||1 lb.||LEAD|
|Jug or Pitcher||2 cp||4 lb.||OPTIONAL|
|Magnifying Glass||100 gp||—||LEAD|
|Mirror, Steel||5 gp||½ lb.||LEAD|
|Spyglass||1,000 gp||1 lb.||LEAD|
*Questionable As Written: The Spyglass
The Spyglass is one of those items in 5th edition that doesn’t quite add up right out of the box. While the ability to see twice as far into the distance is certainly useful, its usefulness falls short of the 1000 GP price tag in The Player’s Handbook. As a result this item is usually ignored unless it is found while adventuring or the party is already fabulously wealthy; at which point it is likely that they already have magical abilities that overshadow the spyglass’ usefulness.
To keep the item relevant I recommend cutting the cost of the item down to 100 GP. This makes the item attainable via crafting early on, and lowers the odds of the party simply trying to pawn off any spyglasses they find while adventuring.
Functionally the biggest advantage that a glassblower brings to the party is the ability to produce flasks and vials at a discount. As a result the glassblower’s tools synergize very well with the poisoner’s kit, alchemist’s supplies, and brewer’s supplies. There are many valuable liquids in D&D, and having the ability to cheaply store them can be a game-changer.
On the magic items front, there are a decent number of magical items that can be created with the glassblower’s tools:
|Magic Item Crafting List|
|Bowl of Commanding Water Elementals||Rare||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Brooch of Shielding||Uncommon||Wondrous Item||OPTIONAL|
|Candle of Invocation||Very Rare||Wondrous Item||OPTIONAL|
|Censer of Controlling Air Elementals||Rare||Wondrous Item||OPTIONAL|
|Crystal Ball||Rare||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Crystal Ball of Mind Reading||Legendary||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Crystal Ball of Telepathy||Legendary||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Crystal Ball of True Seeing||Legendary||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Decanter of Endless Water||Uncommon||Wondrous Item||OPTIONAL|
|Efreeti Bottle||Very Rare||Wondrous Item||OPTIONAL|
|Eversmoking Bottle||Uncommon||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Eyes of Charming||Uncommon||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Eyes of Minute Seeing||Uncommon||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Eyes of the Eagle||Uncommon||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Goggles of Night||Uncommon||Wondrous Item||ASSIST|
|Mirror of Life Trapping||Very Rare||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Rod of Absorption||Very Rare||Rod||OPTIONAL|
|Rod of Alertness||Very Rare||Rod||OPTIONAL|
|Rod of Lordly Might||Legendary||Rod||OPTIONAL|
|Rod of Rulership||Rare||Rod||OPTIONAL|
|Rod of Security||Very Rare||Rod||OPTIONAL|
As alluded to in the intro, glassblowers are also valuable in the structure creating process. The vast majority of buildings that are erected require at least one glassblower to create the building’s windows and panes. As a result a character with proficiency in the glassblower’s tools is able to contribute to virtually any building construction project that doesn’t already have an excessive number of glassblowers working on it.
One area that glassblowers fall short is in the production of weapons and armor. Unfortunately there are no RAW weapons or sets of armor that a glassblower could reasonably create. However, should the DM allow for home-brewed equipment such as elder scrolls style glass equipment, then the glassblower’s tools might allow you to at least contribute to the creation of these types of items.
The Takeaway: A glassblower can create a number of valuable items include arcane foci and containers that synergize well with any toolkit that creates fluids. They can also contribute to most construction projects, and maybe even the creation of some magical items at the DM’s discretion.
Although the glassblower is no slouch when it comes to crafting mundane items, where the toolkit really shines is in the artwork creation process. There are many noblemen and commoners alike looking for quality artwork to fill their homes, and those who have mastered the art of turning glass to art can stand to make a fair bit of coin while practicing their craft.
Like our other kits, when creating artwork I recommend using the Questionable Arcana Artwork System or something similar to determine the value of a player’s creations.
Questionable Arcana Artwork Crafting Rules At A Glance
Overview: The Questionable Arcana Artwork Crafting System is a homebrew set of rules that allows your players to create potentially valuable artwork. The goal of the system is to allow for crafting options beyond the defined RAW items. This is especially important for artistic toolkits such as the painter's supplies where RAW crafting options are limited.
- Obtain Means of Production - Obtain any special equipment or set up in a location that allows you to use the artisan's tools. This step does not apply to all kits. For example a smith needs a forge to create art, but a painter can create artwork anywhere.
- Roll Artisan's Tool Ability Check - A skill check that involves using the artisan's tool to create a piece of artwork. If you succeed the check add Crafting Progress Roll value to the estimated value of the artwork. If you fail the check no progress is made. If you fail the check by 5 or more you subtract the Crafting Progress Roll value from the estimated value of the artwork.
- GP Progression Roll - Roll your proficiency dice to determine how much value is added or subtracted to the estimated GP value of the artwork being created.
Artisan's Tool Ability Check Formula
[Ability Check DC]* = [Target Item's Current Estimated Value]** / 10
* Values are rounded down and the Max DC is 20
** Does not include the value of materials used to create the artwork. For example the value of any gemstones installed using a jeweler's tools are not used to calculate the ability check DC.
Crafting Progress Roll
[Target Item's Estimated Value] = [Target Item's Current Estimated Value] +/- ([Proficiency Dice Roll] x 5)
Important Disclaimer: The Questionable Arcana Artwork Crafting Rules and lists are not official material. The concepts and ideas provided by this write-up are simply suggestions. I happen to think they are good suggestions, but ultimately your table's DM has the final say when it comes to any and all artwork crafting rulings.
The core mechanics of creating artwork via glassblowing are the same as most other kits in our artwork system. Once a player has worked on a piece of artwork for 8 hours or more, they are able to roll their crafting progress check against the objects current artisan’s tool ability check.
One advantage that glass artwork has over other forms of artwork is that it can often fetch a higher price than other works of art. As a result when using the QA crafting system the seller has a +10 bonus to the d100 roll on the “Selling An Item” table.
The Takeaway: Glassblowers can create a wide variety of valuable pieces of artwork. They also have a bonus when negotiating the price of a work of art with a potential buyer.
Living In (And Breaking Into) Glass Houses
Although the glassblower has fewer adventuring options than say a carpenter, they still have a few interesting tricks at their disposal that could prove useful to the party on the road. A player who has proficiency in the glassblower’s tools has an innate knowledge of the various properties of glass. This knowledge gives them a leg up when investigating and manipulating glass throughout the environment.
For example should the party be called to investigate a break-in at the local tavern, a player with glassblower’s tools proficiency could more easily discern information from broken glass at the crime scene. They might be able to use their knowledge to determine which side a window was broken from, or even what method was used to break the window.
On the flip-side, a rogue looking to break into a tavern might benefit from a greater understanding of the properties of glass. Instead of breaking the window they might know an inventive way to quietly cut a hole in the window in the dead of night.
Recommended Rule: If one of the ability checks described above is already tied to an existing skill check such as sleight of hand, the player is able to add their glassblower’s tools proficiency on top any other proficiencies they have associated with the skill check.
The Takeaway: A player with glassblower’s tools proficiency has an edge when observing or manipulating glass.
A player can use their glassblower’s tools proficiency to contribute to any party they are a part of. Their ability to produce glass containers make them an alchemist’s and poisoner’s best friend. Furthermore, their ability to contribute to large construction projects can make them a critical asset in the early phases of empire building.
If you are looking to break(and possibly use) the mold a bit, then the glassblower’s tools are a strong crafting option to consider.
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