Here’s how to create a five-dot artifact as a starting character, without spending any white XP.
Craft is a massive, complex subsystem in Ex3. It may not be obvious at first that maxed-out stats and a full Craft excellency will barely get you a 50-50 chance of making even the most basic of artifacts. Creating a 5-dot artifact needs a lot of successes. It involves rolling an average of 22 successes on each of six rolls – and if you want reliability, you want to be able to get more than that when you need them. You need to pick your charms carefully.
First, choose Craft as your supernal ability, and set Craft (Artifacts) and one other Craft of your choice both at 5. (You’ll need Lore and Occult at 3+ as well.) Make sure you start with a craft attribute at 5 as well, probably Intelligence or Dexterity. And what the heck, take a specialty in crafting whatever you want to make most often.
You need the following charms. You could buy others, but they don’t generally seem worthwhile in terms of the number of successes they generate.
- Excellent Craft (free with any other Craft charm)
- Flawless Handiwork Method. For right now this is just a prerequisite, but see the note below.
- Supreme Masterwork Focus. Buy this twice to get the double-8s effect on your Superior projects.
- Experiential Conjuring of True Void. Since you have Craft Supernal, you get the upgraded version: +1 non-charm success and +6 non-charm dice.
- Unbroken Image Focus. Buy this so you can purchase non-charm successes. This charm is your insurance policy.
(I should note that you can actually get all of this stuff at Essence 2, if you want to pick a different Supernal ability and just hold off on artifacts for a while.)
You should also build up a really big store of gold craft points. Like at least a hundred and twenty to be safe. You’re going to need them. You can either do this the long way, with at least 20 major projects, or pick up a couple charms to help you along. Arete-Shifting Prana and Sublime Transference are a good call, as the latter of which allows you to shift silver points into gold points. You should also take an Intimacy like “Man do I ever love crafting things” because you get more silver and gold points when your project upholds an intimacy.
Here are the steps for the crafting process in gameplay, along with how much they’ll cost you:
- Gather ingredients (it’s sidequest time!) and draw up blueprints for your masterwork. Might as well define your blueprints as a major project and earn some gold points for it.
- Make yourself a superior crafting slot in some way: perhaps 10 silver points and another 3 gold, perhaps a couple of other Craft charms.
- When you are able to roll for completion (see time note below), spend 10 gold points as the rules require.
- Start with a dice pool of 29 + 1 success: 11 from your attribute, ability, and specialty, 2 from a stunt, 10 more from a full Excellency, and 6 more plus the success from Experiential Conjuring of the True Void. [14 motes, 4 gold points]
- Use Supreme Masterwork Focus to get double-8s on this roll. You will now get an average of about 21 successes on your roll. 1 of those is bonus, 14 of them are regular, and 6 are from the double-8s effect, which is important for the next charm. [5 motes, 1 willpower, 1 gold point]
- Use Unbroken Image Focus to buy successes. You can buy up to 15 more successes on average (14 rolled + 1 for Essence), and you should buy more early in case you roll poorly later. We’ll assume for simplicity you buy just the one that you’ll need on average to get up to 22 successes total. [3 motes, 1 gold point]
- You have now spent 22 motes, one willpower, and 16 gold points on this roll. As a starting Solar, this eats up only half of your mote pool. Wait the five hours until your essence regenerates, then repeat. Rest to regain willpower, then continue the next day. It’ll only take you three days to finish.
As mentioned, this eats up a lot of gold points. A minimum of 60 if you roll impossibly well; 96 on average, potentially more. You might want to get a couple Craft charms that help you pick these up faster, because running out means waiting until you can pick up more before you roll again – or worse yet, failing and wasting them all. If you can finish early, you’ll get ten gold points back per unused roll, so that helps a little bit.
A note on Flawless Handiwork Method: If you buy this a second time, it becomes much more worthwhile. You’ll get an extra +3 successes per roll from removing sixes, and +3 for the “cascading” tens. At that point it’s worth spending the motes on this charm. It won’t increase the amount you can get from Unbroken Image Focus, though, and the cascading effect is too unreliable to count on.
A note on time: Normally, you need to do downtime-type crafting for two years before rolling to complete a five-dot artifact. If you want to do this faster (YES), you should pick up Thousand-Forge Hands, which requires Craftsman Needs No Tools. Thousand-Forge Hands will allow you to start rolling after five months. If you only want to make a four-dot artifact, you can roll after five weeks. Plus, you also get to have Craftsman Needs No Tools, which you want anyway because it’s awesome and because it will help you stockpile tons upon tons of craft points.
Thanks to Lanaya, SoulGambit, Sanctaphrax, and TGUEIROS at the Onyx Path Exalted forums for helping to improve this!
Tomorrow: How to cast sorcery faster. Spoiler alert: it’s not gonna happen.