The Craftsman is a powerful Null user and the antagonist of both The Room Three and The Room VR: A Dark Matter. He is introduced in The Room Three, but there are small hints to his existence and influence in previous games. He is the mastermind behind Talisman, the company which created the safe from the original Room, along with a number of other apparatus throughout the series.
The Craftsman is an elderly man as shown by his wrinkly and saggy skin. He has pointy ears and a long, crooked nose. He is completely bald but does have faint eyebrows. Blue veins can be seen under his scalp. He wears a bandanna tucked into a white shirt as well as an eyepiece around his neck. He wears a green tunic over his shirt, a denim coat, brown gloves, regular trousers, and shoes. He very rarely appears in person and can mostly be seen in apparitions of teal smoke.
The Craftsman appears to be helpful to his victims but in reality is an extremely manipulative person and has gone to severe lengths to get what he wants. He seeks complete and sole control of the Null and will imprison those who he believes to have too much control over it. He has no moral qualms with using people to advance his own agenda and has imprisoned hundreds of souls to that end. Even when appearing to help his victims he writes with cynicism and riddles, praising only himself. He is not above fear, however, and spent his final moments cowering before the Null's tendrils.
Despite his skill in craftsmanship and relatively strong control over the Null, it is clear that he is not immune to its effects. In private, he questions his control over his creations, asking "Who pulls the strings of the puppetmaster?" when he finds boxes in Grey Holm that he does not remember building. He must also use doorway machines to get around Grey Holm, and admits that without them, he would become lost in the maze created by the Null.
Note: The chronology of these events is largely in theory as it is unclear when exactly they occurred in relation to each other.
The Craftsman's ancestral family home is Grey Holm. It is unknown what family the manor belonged to, or how many people lived there during The Craftsman's lifetime. However, judging by one certificate found in Grey Holm, it is possible that others besides The Craftsman were living there as late as 1890.
The earliest record of the company of Talisman comes from 1789, when it was established as a company selling medicinal tonics. In 1807, a new branch of Talisman was founded, manufacturing electrical machinery and other miscellaneous contraptions. Its base of operations was Guildford, England. The Craftsman says that the workshop in Grey Holm is where he began crafting his "masterworks" - presumably the especially intricate boxes that he would later use to trap his victims.
At some point in his career, The Craftsman learned of the Null and began pursuing knowledge and control of it. He titled himself The Craftsman and began approaching other individuals who knew of the Null in order to use them as stepping stones towards his own agenda. He took on countless disguises to infiltrate groups or organizations and intercept artifacts before they could be found. Over the years, The Craftsman appropriated many individuals for his own purposes, including A.S., Margaret Cox, and Simon Grayson. Margaret Cox and Simon Grayson were imprisoned in Grey Holm, while A.S. was led astray into the Null dimension.
Sometime around 1897, when the Protagonist followed A.S. into the Null dimension, The Craftsman makes a breakthrough in his search for the Null planet. However, his Null crystals began to run low on energy, and he needed a brilliant soul as a power source for his portal. He closely observed the Protagonist after their return from The Room Two, and was fascinated by their ability to resist the Null and escape. Judging them to have the powerful soul he required, he gave them an anonymous tip to seek out Grey Holm for answers. He then intercepted them on the train, using the Null to transport them to Grey Holm directly. To ensure that his goals were met, he put the Protagonist through a series of trials around the manor until he was certain they were the individual he needed. During The Room Three, he largely remained hidden away, communicating with the player solely through notes and guiding them through the different buildings on the island. Eventually, the Protagonist was able to assemble The Craftsman's Key and initiate the final ritual of the game.
This altercation ends differently depending on the player's actions. In the game’s main ending, the Imprisoned ending, The Craftsman successfully traps the player's soul and uses it to power his portal; whether or not it led to the source of the Null as he had hoped is unclear. In two alternate endings, Escape and Release, Grey Holm is destroyed, but The Craftsman survives. The Escape ending shows a journal entry from the Protagonist, expressing their newfound ability to move on from their experiences, and the Craftsman is not referenced. However, upon achieving the Release ending, the player receives a letter from the Craftsman admitting his own lack of trustworthiness but begging for their aid. It is not clear what happens to The Craftsman when the player achieves the Lost ending, as the Protagonist simply leaves The Craftsman behind with the rest of the world when they are teleported to the Null planet.
The Craftsman is not seen again until The Room VR: A Dark Matter, where he appears again as the game's antagonist. In 1908, he joined an Egyptian research party disguised as a porter in order to locate a specific Null temple. He found this temple and the font inside, and worked out how to use it to imprison souls in soul-trap artifacts. By the start of TRADM, he has captured hundreds of souls to power his machines and intends to make The Detective his next victim. He tricks The Detective into collecting three souls that The Craftsman had trapped, then using them to power the White Doorway. Afterwards, he intends to abandon The Detective in the Null dimension. Not long after, however, The Craftsman meets his doom when The Hedgewitch assists The Detective in bringing him back to the Egyptian Null temple, where he is subsequently swallowed by the Null's tendrils. After this, his own soul is trapped in an artifact, which is used by The Detective to free all of The Craftsman's victims.
The Craftsman can build any number of apparatus related to the Null and has given such devices away on multiple occasions. He is socially adept and can easily manipulate those affected by the Null to his will. He is calculating but not clever enough to solve every puzzle the Null throws at him, as he often cheats his way out using mechanisms and the souls of his victims.
"Every soul is unique, and so must be every trap that snares it. An altar of belief. A tome of answers. A crypt of terrors. For AS, his box full of demons. Knowledge. Power. Sight beyond sight. All lies. All just bait in the trap."
The Craftsman fostered A.S.'s initial research into the Null and looked back on him condescendingly after his death. He wrote about A.S. as if he knew the man better than A.S. knew himself. The safes and puzzle boxes found in The Room were crafted by Talisman, including the ones in the epilogue. It is therefore theorized that The Craftsman was directly involved with A.S.'s death, or at least the imprisonment of his soul in some way.
"If she will not rest in the prison I have built her, I shall build one deeper still."
The Craftsman fed Maggy several lies to start her investigations into the Null, then imprisoned her soul in a fortune-telling dummy in Grey Holm. His choices of prison for her and Simon Grayson seems to suggest an especial contempt for the two of them and their practices. Despite being disembodied, Maggy remained resentful enough to assist the Protagonist in thwarting The Craftsman's plans, even at the cost of her life. When The Craftsman caught on to her assistance, he repeatedly made attempts to seal her soul deeper in the machine, but was ultimately unable to keep her from interfering.
Like Margaret Cox, Simon Grayson was approached and manipulated by The Craftsman after daring to use the Null for his own purposes. Grayson incorporated the Null into his magic act, a fact which The Craftsman seems to look down upon, as he mockingly imprisoned Grayson in a paper theater hidden under billfolds of his own performances. In his promotional materials, Grayson is featured holding a Null shard, the same variety of artifact used to forge The Craftsman's Key. It is unknown whether The Craftsman provided Grayson with the pyramid in the first place, or whether he stole it from Grayson after imprisoning his soul.
"How much energy resides in that brilliant soul of theirs?"
The Craftsman debilitated about whether or not to use the player, as summoning them would use the last of his power, but labeled it a necessary risk. He expressed relief when he came to believe that the player fulfilled his requirements after all, and showed the player minimal respect and condescending gratitude throughout their interactions. It is unknown how The Craftsman feels about the player if his plans are thwarted. The player seems to be indifferent towards The Craftsman unless he begs for his help in the game's third ending.
The Archaeologist and The Reverend
The Craftsman regarded these men as fools and looked back on them condescendingly. They blindly believed his lies and accepted his help until their souls were captured by him. It is unknown how they felt about him after their souls were freed by The Detective.
"This last soul thinks her twigs and roots will let her dabble in worlds beyond our own. She has no idea what she is meddling with."
The Witch proved to be the only one of The Craftsman's victims who was never deceived by his lies. She hid this knowledge from him, and so he regarded her the same as he regarded the rest of his victims until his demise. He vastly underestimated her power, referring to her as "the hedgewitch" and believing her to be no more than a dabbler in the use of the Null. She despised him and called him a fool on several occasions.
- When The Craftsman created the fortune-telling machine to imprison Maggy, he misspelled her name as "Maggie". Since he is seen properly spelling her name as "Maggy" in one of his notes, proving that both he and the developers knew the correct spelling of her name, it can be presumed that this misspelling was done on purpose to insult her.
- The Craftsman, like most other characters in the game, is rendered through Full Motion Video (FMV) rather than 3D modeling. In The Room Three, he is played by Mark Hamilton, the game's design director and co-founder of Fireproof Games. Mark was required to wear a silicone mask in order to play the character; the ascot that The Craftsman wears is likely there to hide the edges of the mask. It is unknown who played The Craftsman in The Room VR: A Dark Matter.