made me think of something about the D&D magical item craft mechanic. I would have just posted this as a comment on that thread, but I think it's pretty much dead now, so here's my idea:
What if you created a new game value for spellcasters: call them "craft points" or whatever. Now, when the spellcaster crafts an item, the spellcaster still pays XP as normal; however, the spellcaster's new value (Craft Points) increases. Higher Craft points allow you to increase your "Craft level" or some such, essentially making characters better at crafting things somehow.
So, like, our friends Wizard A and Wizard B run through their typical scenario: at 999 xp, Wizard A spends all his time crafting and such, while Wizard B spends all his time drinking. After a month, they each kill a single kobold, which raises B a level, but not A (since he paid xp to craft);
However, now Wizard A has a new value which increased: He has become a better magical item crafter. The next item he crafts will require perhaps less time, or less expense; The XP cost will remain unchanged (as it is necessary for the mechanic to work), but the other necessary resources are lessened. Perhaps, at certain levels A becomes able to craft items while adventuring, without the need of a workshop; perhaps A becomes able to craft more powerful versions of the items he/she could make before.
On a side note, I'm visiting the folks for the Holidays, and the gaming store here happens to have a single copy of the Hero System 5th ed. core book on their shelf. It is HUGE o.0 (!) But I flipped through the pages, and overral, it seems like an interesting game system. I think I might buy it; I don't know. My group has been getting into Tri-Stat lately.
On a final side note, have you ever made a "side quest" type thing for a game you were running (perhaps a mini-adventure or a situation which sidetracks the PCs from their primary goals) and have the players ignore it or bypass it completely - perhaps because they did not recognize it as a game opportunity or something?
Case in point: in one game I ran, I had a very small situation planned for the PCs in the city they were about to travel away from. To "lure" them into the situation, I had a thief steal an item of value from them. I had full intentions of allowing them to catch the thief, if they persued at all, but they didn't. They pretty much just went "Oh that sucks," and went on (I think a little begruddled that I took their item away). This didn't ruin the game or anything, because the situation wasn't important, I'm just wondering how other people have handled this.