In an effort to have Artisans to be more often requested for work, and the fact that often once someone reaches a certain point they stick with what equipment they have and don't need anything else... (unless they use leather of course)
How about a temporary buff that only Artisans can do? It would only be available to them, probably locked behind an ability and would require access to specific quality equipment only available from their main hub in Haiban.
I was thinking mostly in regards to weapons, maybe having access to a specific type of grindstone/material that allows them to sharpen/reinforce a weapon for a period of time before it requires more expert care. If something suitable can be thought of for armor though, sure. Maybe extra padding, temporary reinforcement that gets worn down...
I'd suggest having it last a certain number of uses, with each hit and either being parried by the enemy or parrying with the weapon taking up a use but having the enemy dodge not do so. I'd imagine the actual benefit either being a small range to attack, or damage, perhaps the result even being random...
For example, Artisan works on the blade but doesn't manage to do much with it, giving it only an extra 2% attack bonus for a while. Artisan gets the blade back after it has been worn away, and has a lot more luck this time and the blade has an extra 2% attack and 2% damage.
Definitely though, have the effect show up on a look of the item, and not be possible to redo the procedure until the original work has been "used up".
If you want to be cruel, possible ideas also include critical failure with the work to damage the item in question with results ranging from possible chance to lose quality (No one would use it) or in a more tame variation render the weapon unable to be worked on again until it has been used long enough akin to as if the procedure had been successful (With a penalty if you want to dig a dagger in).
Another possibility is allowing an upgrade to the item quality for a period of time instead of mixed bonuses. From Fine, to Exquisite, Exquisite to Master with either Master being unable to be upgraded or only receiving a small 1-2% bonus.
Artisans of the Western Coalition, specializing in resource-gathering and crafting.
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