Requesting assistance with concepts behind crafting LitRPG.

#1
I have noticed a trend in the crafting litrpg books I have read (by far my favorite subgenre)

The thing is, from the perspective of someone that LOVES handicrafts (I make jewelry, paint, create sculptures, and even do a bit of SCA armoring) I would imagine that the very FIRST thing I would do on entering an MMO is check out crafting. I figure there are lots of others just like me that would read the books.

If there were a manual mode available, of COURSE I would try it out as soon as physically possible. I mean, getting to use real life skills in a VR world is just cool as hell.

But in most of these books, usually, the MC is the ONLY one that crafts things 'the hard way', getting all sorts of bonuses for doing so and knowing what they do. The handwavium explanation is almost always "No one else has tried it yet".

I mean, I am no genius. I have a few accomplishments to my name (Getting the text colors changed in everquest because 'actions' and 'announcements' were both red, and my rogue ran around spamming "has pickpocketed YOU for 1 gold!". GM Brassie thought it was hilarious, even though she was getting spammed by angry players about how pickpocketing wasn't supposed to work on players. a new patch went in barely a month later turning emotes a different color) But the idea that NO ONE is a skilled enough crafter in real life and actually tries in-game not only flies in the face of common sense, but is also vaguely insulting.

Right now, my MC is able to do this because he is not a 'real' player, and players can only do things using automatic buttons, but it feels like a bit of a crowbar. Can anyone think of a better way to make the Crafter MC's ability special without assuming everyone else is too stupid  to craft manually, or kludging it with a weird system thing?


this especially applies to crafter NPC's. They have lived their whole lives learning the same skills that the MC knows, and yet when they work, and do things 'the hard way', their efforts end up being common items. Shouldn't the shops be filled with magnificent and special items created even by that 16 year old apprentice be a huge improvement over PC attempts? I mean, he was banging on an anvil while you were in high school. why is his best iron sword 'common' while yours is 'uncommon masterpiece +3 due to crafter diligence'?

Re: Requesting assistance with concepts behind crafting LitRPG.

#2
Right now I am sorta using a Cop-out with NPC's, since he is the only 'cultivator' in a land filled with regular mages, so he can produce enchantments by channeling essence into his stuff while crafting it, giving him an edge that only high-level pure enchanter NPC's can challenge.

But in book 3, he's heading down to 'wuxia land', where such things can be done as a matter of course, so I am going to need to find a better way of giving him an edge versus the locals. He's already physically pathetic, I don't need him to be magically pathetic as well.  Making his own stuff is a core concept, and I need a logical explanation of why he excels when in a land where NPC's can do the same thing.

Re: Requesting assistance with concepts behind crafting LitRPG.

#3
This isn't a problem unique to crafting characters. So many litrpg protags get bonuses for 'rare, special' behavior that is entirely ordinary and should be widespread. It's just a way to make them seem special to the reader.

I tend to lean into the unspecialness, and just go ahead and have everyone and their cousin have the special thing too. A core point of Trickster's Luck is that the rare glitched class is actually one of the most common because of its advantages.

But you could always add limitations to NPCs that players don't have. Most of the best gear in games is always player-crafted (or raid drops), not bought from shopkeepers. It wouldn't seem unreasonable.

Re: Requesting assistance with concepts behind crafting LitRPG.

#4
I haven't written this yet, and no guarantee I ever will.  But I have a concept for an isekai or reincarnation litRPG where the MC designs clothing which gives various magical bonuses that a regular tailor can't accomplish.  The reason for this is cultural: the natives have specialized into a system where magical bonuses are added to a base item by a runescribe.  Tailors instead focus on fabric shape, texture, color, temperature-regulation, durability, and fit on the particular customer.  The MC, having grown up with internet access and examples if clothing from at least 30 different cultures or time periods including haute coture and post modernism, starts with a very different idea of what's possible and what's normal.  She's interested in runescribing but not educated in it, so she feels her way to a more primitive approach.

Re: Requesting assistance with concepts behind crafting LitRPG.

#5

sunandshadow Wrote: I haven't written this yet, and no guarantee I ever will.  But I have a concept for an isekai or reincarnation litRPG where the MC designs clothing which gives various magical bonuses that a regular tailor can't accomplish.  The reason for this is cultural: the natives have specialized into a system where magical bonuses are added to a base item by a runescribe.  Tailors instead focus on fabric shape, texture, color, temperature-regulation, durability, and fit on the particular customer.  The MC, having grown up with internet access and examples if clothing from at least 30 different cultures or time periods including haute coture and post modernism, starts with a very different idea of what's possible and what's normal.  She's interested in runescribing but not educated in it, so she feels her way to a more primitive approach.


Smells like a fun book. Out of the Litrpg genre, only a few are 'crafting', I guess because it takes much more specialized knowledge than a history of gaming.

A lot of the ones I HAVE found are technically crafting, but more in the way that the protagonist advances instead of sharing what they actually do. Personally, that doesn't feel like Crafting LitRPG to me, but that's just an opinion since 'crafting' is not actually a tag (I think it should be, heck, Robison Crusoe and the Swiss Family Robinson are based entirely around the 'explaining crafting' model, and it could drastically improve most citybuilder books)

It actually makes me wonder if a character in a virtual world should have a 'creativity' stat. Heck, it makes more sense than wisdom and intelligence from a writer's point of view. You could build an entire book around some idjit that didn't know what to do so he dumped all of his freebie points into creativity and keeps progressing because his creativity lets him do things other people cannot.

Hmmm.

Actually, that might be a damned good premise for a LitRPG. Especially for an underrated crafting talent like painting or art. Miss uber creativity learns that by using armor as a makeshift canvas, she can add mad effects to 'painted' armor and weapons. Of course, the professionals scoff at doing something as terrible as painting a beautiful blade, thus her 'talent constriction' is built right into the assumptions of her peers.


It's like Chuck Norris and Santas Claus riding Mecha-Godzilla decorated like a Christmas tree. It would be so cool that time would have stopped, having nothing left to prove, and we wouldn't have to deal with 2022.

Re: Requesting assistance with concepts behind crafting LitRPG.

#7
You could make it something unsafe. 'Everybody knows it can be done, but relatively few people are dumb enough to actually do it.'

I ran that in a tabletop game to give the villains an edge. Everyone knew a mage could tattoo spell circles on their bodies, to significantly cut down on casting time. Everyone also knew it was a really bad idea, because tattoos distort over time, and a cut and a scar in the wrong place, cutting off that tattooed magic circuit? That person isn't casting anything again, ever, with any method. Unless they want to explode because of running raw unbridled power through a faulty circuit that happens to be etched into their skin. 

The notable exception were the races that molted. Notably the settings resident lizard people. The ones that used these methods were time-limited glass cannons that carefully planned their war campaigns around this. They'd be able to use the method as reliably as it ever got in the timeframe between the tattoos application and their next molt. After that molt, it was too distorted to use, so they were completely unable to cast a single spell, no matter how small, until two molts later when it had completely come off. 

You could do something like that. Have your character do something that is possible but unwise. Instead of it being inaccessible to other people, he's just a bit safer doing something dangerous. 

Re: Requesting assistance with concepts behind crafting LitRPG.

#8
Morning,


Quote:But in most of these books, usually, the MC is the ONLY one that crafts things 'the hard way', getting all sorts of bonuses for doing so and knowing what they do. The handwavium explanation is almost always "No one else has tried it yet".
In the most book the MC is the only one who can stuff. Period. 

I do think, if you go LitRPG, the newly arrived MC will be handicaped, because he does not know the thousand of years of accumulated wisdom. If there is a (cheat) way, the Locals will most have discovered it aeons ago, and would (ab)use it like hell. If the MC tries something "new" the Locals will (or at least should) shake their heads and point out the most convinient way to cheat the system. As for bonuses for doing stuff, I belive in: Don't Give Out Free Stuff. 
In we are talking GameLit, there is no "manual" way, just the "programed" way. You will not be able to do things, but only the "official" way. You found a bug, and abuse it? You will get banned, not revarded with free stuff.


Quote:It's like Chuck Norris 
Yeah, you can stop there. Doesn't get more awsome :)



Quote:It's like Chuck Norris and Santas Claus riding Mecha-Godzilla decorated like a Christmas tree.
But why would Chuck Norris decorate Mecha-Godzilla? He could just beat it into the right colour! Less hassle. 

Re: Requesting assistance with concepts behind crafting LitRPG.

#9
Lock it behind an undiscovered area or something. This way, there's a legit reason why it hasn't been done before + it's not a bug but an intended game mechanic. Your problem now then is explaining why that area is undiscovered. Another problem, but a way easier one to solve because it's actually pretty normal for games to have undiscovered areas for years that just get found by speedrunners, or when players hack it. You can use maybe a riddle or something, clues on the flavor text of items, a legend that NPCs talk about , etc. The point is, you'll put layers to cover the bullshit why it was your MC that discovered it, the more layers, the better, and the less it'll look like an asspull. 

This works not just on crafting but essentially any "cheat" that happens in progression fantasy. We all know it's a "cheat" in a literary sense, the goal is to cover it with tons of stuff to not make it obvious to the reader and break their immersion by the logic. 

Re: Requesting assistance with concepts behind crafting LitRPG.

#10
I think the only legitimate way to give the protagonist an edge is to set the series to start at the release of the RPG game.  While it's true people will try all kinds of crazy things to figure out the best way to do things, it's also true that at the beginning of the game people run around like headless chickens having no idea how to do anything.  

I used to play Tribalwars back when it was still on the first few servers.  I was able to dominate early on because there wasn't a guide on how to play yet. Even competitive players are often dependant on such things.  

Re: Requesting assistance with concepts behind crafting LitRPG.

#11
To answer the question on how he keeps up when it's commonplace you could use the same reason that knight's armor was so expensive, it's tailored to fit the knight in question. Likewise his gear isn't physically or magically superior, it's just that he can batman his way out of a problem via his crafting skills, a bag of holding to carry all of that stuff, and keeping track of what tools they've previously used so that when facing a new problem they don't get route with having to craft a new key for story lock. 

Re: Requesting assistance with concepts behind crafting LitRPG.

#12
Depends on how "the system" grants skills.

If you have some free skill points and use them to become a blacksmith, and then get the ability to perfectly make a hinge, but dropping more skill points into blacksmithing can add knifes, plows, and everything else then why would you experiment?  Sure you could make those from some coal a hammer and a chuck of iron, but it will take a lot of practice to make something and it won't be as good as the person using the system can with just a few skill points.  That is the system often is a cheat: it can use something a blacksmith can never do to make sure the result better.  The skill created hinge is smoother without oil because the system adds an extra boost to opening/closing that door.  The knife never needs to be sharp  (or even have a knife shape) as the system is cutting not the user.  In this world there is no point in doing things the manual way, the system is always going to outdo you, so the few people who do try don't get any reward (and may end up worse off as they are not collecting skill points )

The iseaki hero has one advantage: he knows something the system doesn't, once the system figure that thing out it can grant skills, but until then manual is the only way.  While in theory the regular people could do this, there are a lot of false starts.  Would we have advanced beyond Aristotle physics if he had had midevil technology?  The spindle - sinning wheel - whatever modern thread is made one needed a lot of advancements that wouldn't even be worth trying if the system can make better clothing even if the end result is better yet.

Re: Requesting assistance with concepts behind crafting LitRPG.

#13

hank Wrote: Depends on how "the system" grants skills.


In ny case, the isekai hero knows that the 'game' is fake. bracelets keep the locals docile and uncomprehending, and the 'visitors' bracelets take care of mundane tasks like crafting.
While locals do things the hard way, they are still granted 'skill levels' by the system. They almost always produce exactly their skill level.
The players just gather a couple of raw materials, play a mini-game, and that pile of leather scraps instantly becomes leather armor equal to their skill level or slightly higher if they do well at the game, or worse if they play badly.

The protagonist is incapable of using the system, either as a player or as a local, That's why he is one of the few folks that know it is fake. I am not going to give any spoilers as to why the 'game' exists, but it's a plot twist in the book. All the NPCs are real people, but the MC guessed that in chapter 2 so it's not a big plot reveal or anything.
As a result, when he does stuff the hard way, he can use tricks like taking his time or using better submaterials, well-known historical designs, or his own creativity to make stuff that the system assigns a value based on it's real worth rather than in-game creation level.

His interface is actually a wuxia-syle cultivation interface because he and his embodied subconscious designed it together. He is really there, but it's like someone designed a Linux shell to play wow... There are a ton of available exploits that are only capable because he is not tied into the system with a bracelet. And because it's a real world and not an actual game, out of sight of the bracelets means out of mind of the GM's.

Mostly I was worried about how to have the other players, the ones tied into the artificial 'system' actively compete with locals, and thus with the MC. other than the 'they make leather armor in under a minute with nothing but a hide, while it might take me a week and a fully stocked crafting bay to make, tons of real materials, preparation, soaking, stretching, boiling in wax, stitching on plates, forging the plates, riveting, studding, shaping, and fitting to make a set of masterwork armor. Oh, and then I get to enchant it.'

Of course, making the MC work his butt off is good for progression, but you kind of have to acknowledge that there are limits to how much shit 'players' will put up with. Those limits are very high, but they definitely exist.(farming kobolds for a week to spawn a boss that drops a sash that is only +1 stat better than one you can buy from a vendor comes to mind)

Re: Requesting assistance with concepts behind crafting LitRPG.

#14
Morning,

I do like the noting, that the System objectively measures your... everything and then quantifies it.
Meaning: if you have Skill Level 10 in [Blacksmithing] than its the objective quantification of what you can do. Not some arbitrary number floating in the void, but the absolute measurment of yourself. What you can make, how good it will be, and if you are even able to make it. There is no cheat and workaround. If you can do something, the System will measure you accordingly. 
There are two concepts:
1, The System assigns you an arbitrary number for your Skill, but you can work outside of the System and create a Mythic rarity item just by trying. The numbers are NOT a representation of your true skill and potential
2, the System assigns you an abolsolute number for your Skill, that represents your everything to create something. You can not work outside the System, because the System looks at your true potential and quantifies it. You will not be able to create a Mythic item just by trying, because the System knows your true skill and potential an quantifies it. Objectively. If you are objectively able to create a Mythical item, your Skill will show the potential with its level.

I hope its understandable.

Trying again, with an example.
1, Your Skill in [Blacksmithing] says you are Level 10. That means you can do this and that and whatnot, and besides gives you some Feats, Abilities and Perks. Despite that you can experiment so you can create stuff above your level
2, Your Skill in [Blacksmithing] says you are Level 10. Because you can do this and that and whatnot, and because you have some Feats, Abilities and Perks. You can experiment but you can not create stuff above your level. 

Objectivity vs Subjectivity.
I will go with the first

Re: Requesting assistance with concepts behind crafting LitRPG.

#15

Brian Wrote: Making his own stuff is a core concept, and I need a logical explanation of why he excels when in a land where NPC's can do the same thing.


It seems to me that anything from the world he is arriving into would, like you said, be better done by locals, so the only option is something he has that locals dont. Haust's example above is beautiful--carve magic circles into your skin is bad? Not if you're a molting lizard! So maybe some skillset or property that your character has by virtue of coming from somewhere else? 

Like that say by crossing the realms he gets a Pierce the Veil technique and sees nodal lines in raw materials that normally are invisible or only can be seen with great difficulty. This would solve the problem and might simultaneously serve built-in world building expansion with how you describe that uniquely accquired skill. 

Another example might be something about him as a human, like his sense of time, while these other much higher NPCs live for centuries, so their subjective time appreciation is warped, which leads to chosing solutions like incubating ore for 10 years to melt it just right rather than bang on it with a variety of equipment to get that done in a day, the character having to, by virtue of shorter lifespand,  NEED to find solutions that are quicker and make that work. 

Re: Requesting assistance with concepts behind crafting LitRPG.

#17

BR Wrote: Another example might be something about him as a human, like his sense of time, while these other much higher NPCs live for centuries, so their subjective time appreciation is warped, which leads to chosing solutions like incubating ore for 10 years to melt it just right rather than bang on it with a variety of equipment to get that done in a day, the character having to, by virtue of shorter lifespand,  NEED to find solutions that are quicker and make that work.

This is the direction I was headed. Like... In our world things like triphammers, arc welders and blowtorches are easy to find, and the basic principles behind them are not complicated. want a blowtorch? create a one-way valve attached to an aerosol fuel under pressure, ignite the end, and make sure the nozzle can take some heat. Triphammer? Use some steam to make a revolving wheel, connect one part of the wheel to a lever that leads to the hammer with a fulcrum in the middle, and Bang Bang Bang! you can do stuff incredibly fast, and far more detailed simple things than you can do with a hand-held hammer unless you are strong as an ogre.

Simple problems with low-tech solutions that have been around since the turn of the century, but was never considered before. After all, who would invent a blowtorch when a fire mage can do the same thing without burning fuels? Non-mages, of course, but with the expensive option, simpler solutions would go unexplored.

Bear in mind, handcrafted is always the best, but when it comes to material components of those handicrafts, shortcuts help. heck, even magical shortcuts that mimick modern shortcuts help, like using entropy mana to reduce the 'wait times' for tanning leather and stuff, or fire to make sure the temperature of the metal you are beating is perfect and stays that way for a while.

Re: Requesting assistance with concepts behind crafting LitRPG.

#18

Brian Wrote: Bear in mind, handcrafted is always the best, but when it comes to material components of those handicrafts, shortcuts help.


I wonder if its also not about specific techniques but mindsets surrounding workflow, like an exchangable parts--not to make any individual piece better or even more durable, but perhaps easier to fix (say with complex crossbows that often get jammed/damaged in battle). 

Or something like the assembly line, to make more of a product at higher volume for lower price--perhaps opening up a market that wasn't available or wasn't appreciated before. Say a society that only values craft geared to warrior or noble or other high-status people, but with 10x more members of the servant class, products geared to their needs and price range could perhaps generate even more profit