Guide to the Crafting of the Mundane and Magical
Because no one else has made one.
Crafting Rules For the Mundane
Craft rules follow the same rules in the PhB. You multiply the item's Craft DC with the Check result of the relevant Skill check. You can also increase the DC of the things you craft by 10 for increased speed. I will include common DC checks later on. The only exception to this rule I know of is building Siege engines, which have rules of their own in Heroes of Battle. Instead of SP, the check result is in GP, which really helps, all siege machines have a DC of 20. Masterwork siege engines cost twice as much.
Crafting Rules For the Magical
Crafting things using magic is faster though it still requires a good Craft Check to do along with the relevant raw materials. The spell fabricate makes a finished item after just one craft check. True creation can also create permenant items out of nothing, though at half the exp cost in gold coins, its usually better to just Fabricate it.
Enchanting or Magic Item Creation Rules
A character can make magic items as well as enchant weapons and armor at half the usual market cost and pays a set amount of XP depending on item. They can craft up to 1000 gold coins per day but certain feats and character classes speed this up, sometings halving the time.
Special Rules for Special Material Crafting
Materials such as Adamantine and Mithral add much to an objects price, usually multiplying its base price many folds. If such were the case, it would take months maybe years to contruct a very expensive suit of armor. My arguement is that since they remain functionally the same, the speed should not decrease so drastically. For example, if someone asks a person to craft a tin spoon, he could finish it in a day, but when he is asked to make a silver spoon it takes longer because of the material, which makes no sense. So instead, decrease your craft check while crafting an item made from a Special Material depending on the material to reflect the difficulty for a lower skilled craftsmen to make such an item. This should be based on the ratio of price with Adamantine being -5 and Mithral being -3. Other materials may be less or more depending on the complexity of forging the item or the hardness.
Shipwrighting or Vehicle building (Look for the Arms and Equipment Guide for a complete walkthrough)
The rules for creating vessels are rather hard to understand if you think too hard, but I think I've picked at it long enough to know enough. Basically any huge or larger vehicles are divided into 10 x 10 pieces called sections. So to create a vessel or repair it, one needs to simply get the raw materials and the proper tools. The rules are as follows. A cost to create a vehicle is half the market price. One needs as many unskilled laborers as the hardness of the material used to create the vessel. For example, a Mithral carriage would take 15 laborers and one skilled Carriagemaker to create while a ship takes only 5 laborers and a shipwright. The time it takes to build the ship is 125 gold coins per day if you simply have the proper tools and a good work place (Such as the basic dock), 250 gold coins if you have a well equipped facility (Such as an extended dock) and 500 gold coins per day if your build site is a drydock or other major ship facilities. There is no need to roll, just wait. The time it takes uses the item's base creation cost, not the market price, which really speeds things up.
To Hasten things (Crafting Mundane things)
There are a few means to speed up the incredibly long process of waiting. The first step is to remember that 1 real life day equals 3 Black March days. You can consider 2 in real life days to equal a Black March week. Aside from that setting specific rule, there are several others I have taken from many sources. Which generally improves one aspect of the process, such as improving the worksite, improving yourself, speeding up through magical means…etc Most of these listed only serve to improve your mundane craft check.
Improving your Workshop
From the Mighty Dwarven God Moradin to the humble Dwarf crafting swords at breakneck speeds, the Workplace is the essense of your craft. Without it, you do not have the nessisary tools to speed up the crafting time of your work. Here are several upgrades both mundane and magical along with their price. This is assumed you have a good size workplace and take note that some of it can only be used by dwarves. I personally think we should adapt it for use for races, though racial specific magic items are cheaper.
Forge of the Armorsmith - Dwarf Only
This magic forge grants a dwarf who uses it a +20 competence bonus on Craft (Armorsmith) checks while using the forge. You can increase the DC of the item by 20 for increased speed.
Strong conjuration; CL 18th; Craft Wondrous Item, fabricate, creator must be a dwarf with 20 ranks in Craft (armorsmithing) Price 10,000 gp.
Forge of the Weaponsmith - Dwarf Only (RoS)
The sister forge to the Forge of the Armorsmith, the Forge of the Weaponsmith does the same but replaces the +20 bonus to Craft (Armorsmith) with a +20 competence bonus to Craft (Weaponsmith).
Strong conjuration; CL 18th; Craft Wondrous Item, fabricate, creator must be a dwarf with 20 ranks in Craft (weaponsmith); Price 10,000 gp.
Forge of Sustenance - Dwarf Only (RoS)
A fantastic forge for the skilled dwarven craftsmen, this forge can be adapted for any type of Workplace or Forge. It allows the dwarf(ves) working insides to work theoretically indefinitely as they need not eat, sleep, drink or even breath while in here. This means you can work 24 hours a day instead of the usual 8 hours a day. So whenever you make a craft check, simply triple the result to represent a full 24 hours of work. Note that hirelings would realistically complain from such treatment and thus, you should hire 3 seperate groups each at 8 hours each.
Strong conjuration; CL 15th; Craft Wondrous Item, create food and water, regenerate, creator must be a dwarf Price 8,000 gp
Forge of Thautam - Dwarf Only (RoS)
A dwarf using this forge can create magic weapons and armor as if he had the Craft Magic Arms and Armor feat. I consider this pretty useful for non artificers who still like to craft. saves a feat.
Strong conjuration; CL 12th; Craft Wondrous Item, permanency, creator must be a dwarf; Price 15,000 gp.
Furnace of Flames: -Dwarf Only (RoS)
The Furnace of Flames basically allows a dwarf that uses it to emulate any spell with the fire descriptor, using his character level for his caster level. It doesn't help with anything else, such as crafting time, material and xp cost, minimum caster levels or creation feats.
Strong evocation; CL 12th; Craft Wondrous Item, fireball, flame blade, or flamestrike, creator must be a dwarf Price 20,000 gp.
Fancy Smithy/Fancy Workplace (Stronghold Builder's)
A basic mundane forge doesn't really help you create things, a good fancy and well equipped workplace is what you need. This building costs a modest 2,000 gp and boosts any craft skill check by +2 cicumstance bonus.
Costs: 2000 gp
Luxury Smithy/Fancy Smithy (Homebrew)
The greatest forge money can buy where price is exchanged for the pure quality of the work. Adamantine Coated anvils, magical furnace combined with only the highest quality equipment is used here. It grants a +4 Circumstance bonus to any Craft skill.
Costs: 10,500 gp
Hill Dwarves (PhB)
The core dwarf in most DnD games, the Hill Dwarves are famous as the greatest of the crafters. They gain a +2 Racial bonus to any Crat check associated with Stone or Metal.
Other Means both Magical and Mundane
Mastercraft Artisan Tools
This grants a solid +2 circumstance bonus to Craft checks. They are apparently universal though you probably need different Mwk Tools for different craft checks, those of Blacksmithing, Armorsmithing and Weaponsmithing use the same tools while Artistry requires excellent brushes and such.
Dwarvencraft Artisan Tools (Adapted from Races of Stone)
This is merely a presumption and something I created myself. Basically these artisan tools are made from the very masters of crafting themselves. They should endow some of the skills of the great craftsmen who created them through the sheer quality of the tools. Thus a circumstance bonus of +3.
Artificer Domain (SRD and Eberron Campaign Setting)
Those who take the Cleric class and take this feat gain a good +4 to any craft skill.
Craft Domain (Spell Compendium)
You get a Skill Focus Feat for any Craft skill such as Skill Focus Craft (Weaponsmith).
Spend a Feat to get a +3 bonus to any skill. Once only and Craft checks and the like require it to be a specific type, such as Craft (Shipbuilding).
Custom Made Magic Item
According the DMGs guidebook to making your own magic items, there are rules that give Magic items (A ring for example) a competence bonus to a specific skill. Using these rules, you could gain a good deal of competence bonus to your selected Craft skill. +5 would cost 2500 gp, +10 would cost 10,000gp +15 would cost 20,000 gp +20 would cost 40,000 gp
It is theoretically possible to aid another quite a number of times while crafting, expecially when undergroing particularly large projects such as building a siege engine. With a large enough workplace, it is possible for a lot of apprentice craftsmen to aid you in such a task. A rule of 5 apprentices per 20x20 workspace should be suitable, adding more space means adding more apprentices to a maximum of 15 apprentices for crafting. Some skills such as painting and sculpting is very hard to imagine recieving aid.
The Intelligence ability rules the ability modifier of Craft skills. Thus increasing your intelligence will proportionally improve your check, this is oddly why dedicated wizard crafters are better than dedicated fighter crafters in creating weapons. Thus things such as a Headband of Intellect helps but is generally very expensive. On the plus side, your increasing the DC of your wizard spells
Apprenticeship and Mentorship (Dungeon Master's Guide II)
Becoming the apprentice of a trained Craftsmen grants you a permenant +2 to Craft (any) and a -10% to raw materials (This applies to mundane and magical!) along with Appraise and Knowledge (Dungeoneering and Architecture) being class skills. It costs a feat and should only be taken by dedicated crafters since from level 1 to 4 you're under the tutorlage of said craftsman. Later on at level 5, you graduate and the bonuses are there forever. You can now switch the Apprentice feat for the Mentor feat and take one of your own. Whenever you level up, your apprentice levels up, when he hits level 5, he also graduates and can be treated as a cohort as if you had the Leadership feat. Whats more when you gain Mentorship, you gain +2 to Appraise, Craft (any), Knowledge (Dungeoneering and Architechture) and Profession (Any).
The sell Skill Enhancement boosts a person's skill by 2 (adding +1 for each 2 caster levels the caster has) up to a maximum of 12 at level 20. This spell while lasting only 10 minutes/level can be used on a weekly check since you theoretically cast it everyday you work and renew it.
To Hasten things (Magical item making or enchanting)
Maester Prestige Class (Complete Adventurer)
You can ask a specific DM to modify the Maester to suit any craft heavy religion (Such as Moradin Worshipers) or if you ask really nicely. These classes are the fastest magic enchanters around, halvling the total time in half (They enchant at a rate of 2,000 gold coins per day instead of 1,000 gold coins). You also start with a free bonus item creation feat.
Exceptional Artisan (Eberron Campaign Setting)
This reduces the time needed to craft any item (whether magical or mundane) by 25%. Which means you can enchant 1250 gold coins per day as opposed to 1000 gold coins per day as well as slashing craft times of any mundane items. This doesn't reduce the cost of the raw materials needed to craft anything. When stacked with the Maester class, you do 2500 gold coins per day.
Extraordinary Artisan (Eberron Campaign Setting)
This feat reduces the base price of raw materials needed to craft any item by 25%, which really saves on big projects. This doesn't slash the time at all, the above feat does that.
Legendary Artisan (Eberron Campaign Setting)
This feat reduces the cost of crafting and enchanting magic items by 25%, which is always a good thing.
Magical Artisan (Player's guide to Faerun)
Choose an item creation feat. Now any time you create any item associated with that feat, you pay only 75% the normal cost. Example, you want to enchant a masterwork fullplate to +1. This normally costs 1000 gold coins but now it only costs 750 gp. This stacks with the Extraordinary Artisan feat if both are allowed, so when creating the right item, the raw materials can be reduced to as much as 50% since they both reduce the base price of the item.
Useful spells on Finished products
Improves the hardness of an item by 1 for every 2 caster level. This improvement is permenant and doesn't affect the HP in any way. It can be added to most any item. If your DM loves to sunder things, this spell will help somewhat.