When the last grocery store closed its doors and the final mall followed the polar bear into extinction, people once again needed to produce their own food, medicine, and weapons. The Fallen Earth crafting system represents this self-sufficiency: Characters at all levels use Tradeskills to scavenge components and construct items for use, trade, or sale. The most dedicated craftsmen can improve their Tradeskills and produce the best gear available in the game.
Crafting involves three primary elements: Tradeskills, Knowledges, and Components.
Tradeskills define a character’s ability at crafting items in ten categories, which range from Armorcraft to Medicine and Weaponry. For example, characters with the Cooking Skill can prepare food that speeds up the recovery of hit points and stamina. Meanwhile, experts at Scavenging can comb through piles of junk and debris to find useful component materials—the higher the skill, the more likely they are to find the highest-quality items.
A Tradeskill improves with use, as long as you’re creating items that still challenge you. Advanced crafters get no skill boost from assembling simple items. All characters can work to improve any of the ten Tradeskills, but because it’s time consuming, most choose to specialize in only a handful.
While Tradeskills determine a character’s general crafting aptitude, Knowledges determine which items that character actually has the ability to craft immediately. Think of them as the crafter’s recipe book, a collection of items the character can create when given the proper components. Players with the Axe 1 Knowledge have recipes for a selection of axes, each with different stats. Meanwhile, a Clothing Knowledge, like T-Shirt, gives the player a colorful variety of shirts from which to choose.
Characters acquire Knowledges in four primary ways. They can visit trainers, who have a supply of books that teach Knowledges. They can find Knowledges in treasure books dropped by some creatures. And some special Knowledges are given as mission rewards. Characters can also conduct research to advance their ability in a Knowledge that they already have. For example, if a character has the Stewing 1 Cooking Knowledge, Stewing 2 is one of the recipes. Completing that recipe gives access to a new collection of palate-pleasing stews and soups.
Knowledges also have a built-in tier system of Improved and Advanced recipes that raise the quality of items their recipes produce. If a player has Improved Stewing 1, he or she can craft items useable by low-level characters but with stats comparable to a higher-level item. Advanced Stewing 1 gives a similar, but more pronounced, boost.
Tainted Meat, Scrap Copper, and Strong Antibiotics are just a few of the thousands of components available for harvest, scavenging, or just plain stealing. Most components come in four grades of quality, each one raising the level, value, and rarity of the one before. For example, the four grades of iron are Scrap Iron, Salvaged Iron, Average Iron, and Superior Iron.
Residents of the apocalypse come by their raw materials in a few different ways. Some choose to scavenge junkyards, freshly dug graves, and everything in between to find what they need. The higher their Scavenging Tradeskill, the better items they find. Those advanced in the Nature Tradeskill will be able to harvest raw materials from plants and dead animals. And masters of the Geology Skill can pull useful ores and coal directly from the mines scattered around the Grand Canyon Province.
Combat-oriented characters can win components from creature drops, which offer completed items that are far rarer a reward than raw materials. Finally, existing items can be broken down into raw materials that can then be made into new items.
Real-time system, in-game benefits
Once you have all the needed elements—components, recipe, and Tradeskill—it’s time to get crafting. Just select the recipe you want to make and you’re off. If you have all the needed components, construction begins immediately. The system takes care of itself, so all you do is click the item later to collect it. Crafting takes real time, though, depending on the size and complexity of the object. A simple food item might only take a few minutes, whereas a car takes several weeks to complete.
To make things easy, you can queue up a few items and let them assemble automatically while you run missions, fight bad guys, and so on. Recipes will complete themselves no matter what you’re doing, even if you log out of the game. But the only way to speed things along is to use a crafting workshop or gain special crafting abilities (apart from your Tradeskills). In fact, some very complex items require that characters stay in the workshop for the duration of the construction time.
Crafting has one more perk: Characters earn experience points (in addition to Tradeskill leveling) for any items crafted. The more complex the item, the more XP the character earns.
Now that you have all the information you need to survive the apocalypse, go craft! Society isn’t going to rebuild itself, you know.