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 Mason’s Tools At A Glance
RAW Cost: 10 GP
RAW Weight: 8 lbs
*Items: trowel, mason’s hammer, blocking chisel, saw, level, line, brush
Crafting Restrictions: Requires a workshop.
Mundane Item Crafting: None
Magic Item Crafting: A select number of RAW magic items can be created.
Artwork Creation: Can create stone artwork such as statues.
QA Artwork Bonus: Artisan is grant a crafting inspiration dice that can be used on themselves or a crafting companion that is working on the same object during that crafting session.
Structure Building: One of the core toolkits used when creating structures.
Adventuring Utility: Can be granted a bonus when interacting with a stone object.
* These items are specific to the Questionable Arcana system. Other similar crafting systems may utilitize a different list of items.
Now that we have learned how to use the carpenter’s tools to assemble the frame of a building, it is time to lay the foundation. Constructing everything from tombs to towers requires a great deal of cooperation between various artisans such as woodcarvers, glassblowers, and carpenters. However, at the center of any large scale medieval construction team are the masons. No not those masons… today we are talking about how to use the mason’s tools to become a stonemason.
Getting Stoned – A History of Masonry
Masonry is an in-depth subject. Traditionally a medieval stonemason would serve a seven-year apprenticeship before they were officially considered a mason. During this apprenticeship they would learn the individual properties of different types of stone, the proper way to hew them, and ultimately how to build with them. Modern day apprenticeships for the most part still cover the same topics, however an apprenticeship now only takes 3 years due to improvements in education and technology.
Despite these changes, the core principles of masonry are largely unchanged over time. The process itself is centered around shaping rough pieces of rock into accurate geometrical shapes, then assembling and binding the blocks together to build structures. From these core principals stemmed a number of masonry roles, but the four roles I want to focus on are the quarryman, banker mason, fixer mason, and carver.
Quarrymen are the people who are responsible with extracting the stone from the ground. Once a stone has been removed, it is passed on to a banker mason for cutting and shaping.
Banker Masons operate out of a workshop and specialize in working stones into shapes required by individual construction projects. This usually involves shaping the stones into identically sized cubes, but they often needed to do some detailed carving to create chamfers, tracery windows, and detailed moulding.
Fixer Masons are tasked with taking the blocks provided by the Banker Masons and fixing them in place at the building site. This involves using lifting tackle to raise the blocks, and mortar/grout to hold the blocks in place.
Carvers are highly skilled individuals who often times operate outside of the usual building cycle. They are artists who use stone to create stone figures and statues prominently featured at many building sites.
Much like how we handled carpentry, rather than force the player choose one specialization I recommend you allow a player with mason’s tools proficiency to fulfill all four. Unless you are in a location based campaign featuring stronghold construction it is unlikely that a specialized mason will be able to frequently utilize their skills. However, with all roles at their disposal there should be plenty of opportunities for the toolkit to shine.
Mining and Crafting
Due to the size of the tools, size of the stones, and the time consuming nature of masonry; there is not a great deal that a player with mason’s tools proficiency can do while traveling. The main exception is that the player can use their quarryman’s expertise to enhance their ability to break stones, and excavate minerals. Should a player find themselves in a situation where they need to punch through stone, or pull gems from the earth, they can add their mason’s tools proficiency to their ability check to do so.
Recommended Rule: If one of the ability checks described above is already tied to an existing skill check such as athletics, the player is able to add their mason’s tools proficiency on top any other proficiencies they have associated with the skill check.
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)
On the crafting side of things, there aren’t any RAW weapons or armor that the mason’s tools can create, but if your DM allows you could potentially create some improvised stone equipment. You can also assist in the creation of a handful of adventuring gear items using the principals learned as a mason.
|Weapon Crafting List|
|Light Hammer||2 GP||2||OPTIONAL|
|Armor Crafting List|
|Adventuring Gear Crafting List|
|Block and Tackle||1 gp||5 lb.||ASSIST|
|Bucket||5 cp||2 lb.||OPTIONAL|
|Chalk (1 piece)||1 cp||—||LEAD|
|Jug or Pitcher||2 cp||4 lb.||OPTIONAL|
|Lamp||5 sp||1 lb.||ASSIST|
|Lantern, Bullseye||10 gp||2 lb.||ASSIST|
|Lantern, Hooded||5 gp||2 lb.||ASSIST|
|Pot, Iron||2 gp||10 lb.||OPTIONAL|
|Ram, Portable||4 gp||35 lb.||OPTIONAL|
|Spikes, Iron (10)||1 gp||5 lb.||OPTIONAL|
|Whetstone||1 cp||1 lb.||LEAD|
When it comes to crafting magic items the Mason’s Tools start to pick up the slack a bit. There are a decent number of gemstones and figurines that a mason could reasonably lead the creation of, and if you DM allows for stone weaponry then the list expands dramatically.
|Magic Item Crafting List|
|Berserker Axe – Handaxe||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Berserker Axe – Battleaxe||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Berserker Axe – Greataxe||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Berserker Axe – Halberd||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Bowl of Commanding Water Elementals||Rare||Wondrous Item||OPTIONAL|
|Brooch of Shielding||Uncommon||Wondrous Item||OPTIONAL|
|Candle of Invocation||Very Rare||Wondrous Item||OPTIONAL|
|Censer of Controlling Air Elementals||Rare||Wondrous Item||OPTIONAL|
|Dagger of Venom||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Elemental Gem||Uncommon||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Figurine of Wondrous Power – Bronze Griffon||Rare||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Figurine of Wondrous Power – Ebony Fly||Rare||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Figurine of Wondrous Power – Golden Lions||Rare||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Figurine of Wondrous Power – Ivory Goats||Rare||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Figurine of Wondrous Power – Marble Elephant||Rare||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Figurine of Wondrous Power – Obsidian Steed||Very Rare||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Figurine of Wondrous Power – Onyx Dog||Rare||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Figurine of Wondrous Power – Serpentine Owl||Rare||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Figurine of Wondrous Power – Silver Raven||Uncommon||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Gem of Brightness||Uncommon||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Gem of Seeing||Rare||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Giant Slayer – Handaxe||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Giant Slayer – Battleaxe||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Giant Slayer – Greataxe||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Giant Slayer – Halberd||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Instant Fortress||Rare||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Ioun Stone – Absorption||Very Rare||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Ioun Stone – Agility||Very Rare||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Ioun Stone – Awareness||Rare||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Ioun Stone – Fortitude||Very Rare||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Ioun Stone – Greater Absorption||Legendary||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Ioun Stone – Insight||Very Rare||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Ioun Stone – Intellect||Very Rare||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Ioun Stone – Leadership||Very Rare||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Ioun Stone – Mastery||Legendary||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Ioun Stone – Protection||Rare||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Ioun Stone – Regeneration||Legendary||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Ioun Stone – Reserve||Rare||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Ioun Stone – Strength||Very Rare||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Ioun Stone – Sustenance||Rare||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Javelin of Lightning||Uncommon||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Lantern of Revealing||Uncommon||Wondrous Item||ASSIST|
|Mace of Disruption||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Mace of Smiting||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Mace of Terror||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Necklace of Prayer Beads||Rare||Wondrous Item||ASSIST|
|Stone of Controlling Earth Elementals||Rare||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Stone of Good Luck (Luckstone)||Uncommon||Wondrous Item||LEAD|
|Vicious Weapon – Club||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Vicious Weapon – Dagger||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Vicious Weapon – Greatclub||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Vicious Weapon – Handaxe||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Vicious Weapon – Javelin||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Vicious Weapon – Light Hammer||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Vicious Weapon – Mace||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Vicious Weapon – Quarterstaff||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Vicious Weapon – Sickle||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Vicious Weapon – Spear||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Weapon +1 – Club||Uncommon||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Weapon +1 – Dagger||Uncommon||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Weapon +1 – Greatclub||Uncommon||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Weapon +1 – Handaxe||Uncommon||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Weapon +1 – Javelin||Uncommon||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Weapon +1 – Light Hammer||Uncommon||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Weapon +1 – Mace||Uncommon||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Weapon +1 – Quarterstaff||Uncommon||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Weapon +1 – Sickle||Uncommon||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Weapon +1 – Spear||Uncommon||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Weapon +2 – Club||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Weapon +2 – Dagger||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Weapon +2 – Greatclub||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Weapon +2 – Handaxe||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Weapon +2 – Javelin||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Weapon +2 – Light Hammer||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Weapon +2 – Mace||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Weapon +2 – Quarterstaff||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Weapon +2 – Sickle||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Weapon +2 – Spear||Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Weapon +3 – Club||Very Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Weapon +3 – Dagger||Very Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Weapon +3 – Greatclub||Very Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Weapon +3 – Handaxe||Very Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Weapon +3 – Javelin||Very Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Weapon +3 – Light Hammer||Very Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Weapon +3 – Mace||Very Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Weapon +3 – Quarterstaff||Very Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Weapon +3 – Sickle||Very Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
|Weapon +3 – Spear||Very Rare||Weapon||OPTIONAL|
Although the items on this list are useful, the odds of adventurers coming across these items are fairly low without some serious DM intervention. As a result a stonemason’s creative prowess is typically focused on the construction of structures and sculptures.
Despite functionally limitless types of buildings that can be created, the actual process of construction a building is actually pretty straight forward. Assuming you are using either the RAW crafting rules or Questionable Arcana Crafting System the complex process of creating a building becomes a simple matter of rolling GP progress until the building is complete. This process can be expedited by adding more workers to a project. For simplicity’s sake when crafting items you can assume the materials are 50% of the cost, and the other half of the costs are labor.
Using these figures let’s look at a couple of construction examples using the stronghold structure values found in the Dungeon Masters Guide on page 128. In the following examples masons will be the only artisan referenced, however in practice construction projects will also feature a variety of other artisans such as woodcarvers, carpenters, and glassblowers.
Construction Example: Trading Post
Construction Cost: 5,000 GP
Construction Time: 60 Days
Details: Using the Questionable Arcana Crafting system a level 3 NPC with proficiency in the Mason’s Tools will contribute an average of 12.5 GP/day to a construction project. This means that 6.667 masons working every single day on the project will complete it in the prescribed 60 days.
As we can see here, assuming an AVERAGE of 6-7 workers are working on the trading post every day, the construction will finish in the prescribed amount of time.
This system seems to pass the sniff test on this smaller structures, so let’s see how it fares on a bigger project.
Construction Example: Temple
Construction Cost: 50,000 GP
Construction Time: 400 Days
Details: Using the Questionable Arcana Crafting system a level 3 NPC with proficiency in the Mason’s Tools will contribute an average of 12.5 GP/day to a construction project. This means that 10 masons working every single day on the project will complete it in the prescribed 400 days.
The average number of workers in this example aren’t a great deal higher, but the timeline is extended considerably. Using what we have learned about the masonry this all stands to reason due to the fact that there are many different components and bottlenecks in the construction process. It can be assumed that there will be periods of relative inactivity combined with several “all hands on deck” moments where a large team of artisans is working simultaneously. With all of these in mind, an AVERAGE of 10 workers working every day over the course of 400 days to construct a temple is completely plausible.
Strike A Pose Then Strike The Stone… A Lot – Artwork Crafting
Apart from building structures, a player could potentially use the mason’s tools to create stone sculptures of various sizes. Although a player could get by creating small sculptures, where the art of masonry really shines is its ability to produce brilliants works of art over great lengths of time.
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.
If you are using the Questionable Arcana Artwork System, mason’s gain a crafting inspiration token whenever they are sculpting a work of art.
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 heightened level of inspiration gives a player with mason’s tools proficiency the ability to work on the same work of art almost indefinitely. As a result given a long enough time-line they can create incredibly valuable works of art that can fetch a great price.
Master of Stone – Adventuring Utility
Apart from their expertise on the crafting front, a mason is able to use their knowledge whilst adventuring as well. Parties are likely to come across many stone structures in their travels, and any-time a mason interacts with these structures they should be given a bonus.
For example, if the party is sifting through a pile of rubble to locate a known passage, the mason in the party would be able to add their proficiency bonus to the perception roll needed to notice where the cave in might have originated. Using this information the mason would then be able to notice that a certain area of the collapsed building has less rubble then it should, indicating that the missing rubble may have flowed down a tunnel in that direction.
In the event that the player has proficiency in the skill being used along-side the mason’s tool check, I recommend stacking the mason’s tool proficiency on top of the existing proficiency. Using the example above where a player is sifting through rubble this means that a level 5 player with 14 wisdom, proficiency in perception, and the mason’s tools would be granted a +8 bonus(+2 Ability Score Bonus, +3 Perception, +3 Mason’s Tools) to their perception check.
Although the Mason’s tools have limited functionality while adventuring, they are invaluable in campaigns that are focused around a single location. Mason’s can contribute to virtually all building construction, and their ability to sculpt beautiful works of art is second to none in the crafting world.
If time is a luxury your campaign can afford, it is hard to beat the nearly endless long-term productivity that the mason’s tools can provide.
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