This ability leads to reforge by allowing artisans to separate components. A handaxe becomes a handaxe head and haft, a dagger becomes a dagger blade and hilt, etc. This way they can work on the separate components.Salvage is an ability of the Artisans of the Western Coalition.
A good artisan knows that "waste not, want not" and learns how to make the most out of even broken or otherwise unserviceable equipment.
This ability allows an artisan to break an item down into its component parts such as blades, hilts, and hafts.
Usage: salvage <item> while in a workroom with the appropriate tools like a vice
This ability comes out of the conundrum I am facing with Elystole's sunsteel handaxe that I'm certain other players with equipment made out of rare materials also face: If our equipment is damaged and suffers a quality degradation, we're screwed. It's not like we can get more sunsteel, celestium, or whatever else, so there's an incentive there to not use our equipment. I first thought it might be nice if we had a special NPC come around every so often to restore our equipment for an obscene amount of riln, but then I thought, "Why? Wouldn't it be better to get our artisans involved?"Reforge is an ability of the Artisans of the Western Coalition
Perfectionist and frugal by nature, a highly skilled Artisan learns to reforge an unsatisfactory or damaged piece rather than go through the inefficient and wasteful process of smelting it.
This ability enables Artisans to redo an already finished piece without any material loss.
Usage: reforge <item> while in an appropriate workroom with the item on an anvil
So the idea is for an ability that sets artisans apart from other crafters, relieves some of the headache facing special materials and high-end forging in general, and keeps the economy player-focused. It directly addresses one of the odd quirks of forging on CLOK: If you smelt down a finished piece of equipment you get less metal than what is necessary to forge said equipment. I think I understand why such a system is in place as it keeps someone from forging the same tiny bar of copper for several hundred ranks, but it also has that unintended consequence of making rare materials just evaporate. That's why we can't just melt our old equipment down and redo it.
What's to keep someone from grinding skills by using reforge on the same dagger blade forever? Well, you could make it so that reforge just doesn't give skill increases. It isn't an ability you use while learning things; it is an ability you use while trying to make or re-make something for someone so that you can do it without ripping out your hair. Alternatively, you could make the prereqs high enough on reforge that by time an artisan gets it they've already put in their time forging a ton of nails so let's throw them a bone and not care if they grind that one dagger blade. I figured you'd need blacksmith mastery and salvage at a minimum, and at that point in an artisan's career it might make sense for them to focus more on making that one perfect blade than grinding out a barrel full of stock daggers. Isn't that why they are artisans and not your village blacksmith?
To recap: Reforge allows an artisan to remake an item, essentially redoing the quality rolls, without losing any material, but it doesn't allow them to change item type. It alleviates some of the stress of high-end forging (who didn't hear Ardor's running count of how many times he had to remake something to get that masterful suit of plate?) by allowing artisans to reuse materials, and it encourages players to use their awesome equipment without worrying that they're screwing themselves over. It keeps business flowing to the artisans since people will need to see them to have things reforged and the artisans can still make them pay out the nose for it. And since it still requires quite a lot of time and skill investment to qualify and use well (and may not grant skill increases), I don't think it unbalances the game at all. It just smooths out some of the rough edges to make things more fun.