DMs Guild Review – Grimbuckle’s Guide to Smithing

Over 50 crafting recipes with unique ingredients for weapons and armor in the DMG.

A review copy of “Grimbuckle’s Guide to Smithing” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using my affiliate links and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: Dave Albin

As a Monster Hunter fan, I crave a worthy crafting system for magic weapons and armor. Unfortunately, Grimbuckle’s Guide to Smithing is disappointingly bare, with much of its content pasted from the Dungeon Master’s Guide.

To craft a magic item, you’ll need time, money, and a single special ingredient. The time and money depends on the rarity of the item. A Common item takes a week and 50 gp, while a Rare item takes 10 weeks and 2,000 gp. Are adventurers really spending weeks crafting items? We’ve got adventuring to do!

Things get silly when you try to craft Very Rare or even Legendary items, taking tens or hundreds of thousands of gold, and up to a year of work (!), not to mention the hilariously high-level monsters you’ll need to slay, from Liches and Balors, and even a Tarrasque.

But for most items the special ingredients are a bit more reasonable, with many flavored to make sense for the item. Frostbrand requires the tail of an ice devil. Dragon Slayer requires a dragon tooth. Nine Lives Stealer demands a rakshasa claw.

But that’s it when it comes to crafting and recipes. There are no skill checks or thresholds, no original items, no multi-step process or multiple ingredients, and no way to enhance or modify the final result.

smithing weapons

What’s worse is that most of the single special ingredients aren’t particularly interesting: go there, kill that, grab the monster’s loot, whether it’s a roc’s feather, a vampire’s fang, or a storm giant’s blood.

A few ingredients tease some more compelling scenarios. For example, the Mace of Terror requires a mace that has been regurgitated by a remorhaz, prompting the party to pull off a unique (and memorable) feat during the fight. An Oath Bow requires the blessing of planetar, the Vicious Weapon needs a spell from an archmage, and you’d have to convince a djinni to cast Major Image while crafting your Glamoured Studded Leather.

Those are more more interesting ideas, but it’s still mostly punting the work to DMs to actually craft these encounters and quests.

The same problem arises with the Crafting Complications table, the one interesting part of the crafting process. The d6 table features some fun story hooks spun out of crafting these items, such as someone stealing your tools, or a powerful noble demanding you sell them the item, but these one-sentence hooks still require a lot of work for the DM, leaving the supplement with little in the way of useful content.

Pros:

  • Over 50 crafting recipes for weapons and armor found in the Dungeon Master’s Guide.
  • Crafting complications (and a few recipes) suggest interesting quest hooks.

Cons:

  • No skill checks or actual crafting system beyond time and money.
  • Magic items are 90% pasted from the DMG and 10% recipe.
  • Who is Grimbuckle?

The Verdict: Crafting magic weapons from monster parts or lairs is a compelling idea, but Grimbuckle’s guide to Smithing fails to provide an adequately compelling monster hunting and crafting system beyond the barest recipes.

A review copy of “Grimbuckle’s Guide to Smithing” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using my affiliate links and pledging via Patreon.

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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