When detect magic identifies a magic item's school of magic, this information refers to the school of the spell placed within the potion, scroll, or wand, or the prerequisite given for the item. The description of each item provides its aura strength and the school to which it belongs.
If more than one spell is given as a prerequisite, use the highest-level spell. If no spells are included in the prerequisites, use the following default guidelines.
To use a magic item, it must be activated, although sometimes activation simply means putting a ring on your finger. Some items, once donned, function constantly. In most cases, though, using an item requires a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity. By contrast, spell completion items are treated like spells in combat and do provoke attacks of opportunity.
Activating a magic item is a standard action unless the item description indicates otherwise. However, the casting time of a spell is the time required to activate the same power in an item, regardless of the type of magic item, unless the item description specifically states otherwise.
The four ways to activate magic items are described below:
Spell Completion: This is the activation method for scrolls. A scroll is a spell that is mostly finished. The preparation is done for the caster, so no preparation time is needed beforehand as with normal spellcasting. All that's left to do is perform the finishing parts of the spellcasting (the final gestures, words, and so on). To use a spell completion item safely, a character must be of high enough level in the right class to cast the spell already. If he can't already cast the spell, there's a chance he'll make a mistake. Activating a spell completion item is a standard action (or the spell's casting time, whichever is longer) and provokes attacks of opportunity exactly as casting a spell does.
Spell Trigger: Spell trigger activation is similar to spell completion, but it's even simpler. No gestures or spell finishing is needed, just a special knowledge of spellcasting that an appropriate character would know, and a single word that must be spoken. Spell trigger items can be used by anyone whose class can cast the corresponding spell. This is the case even for a character who can't actually cast spells, such as a 3rd-level paladin. The user must still determine what spell is stored in the item before she can activate it. Activating a spell trigger item is a standard action and does not provoke attacks of opportunity.
Command Word: If the activation is on command or if no activation method is suggested either in the magic item description or by the nature of the item, assume that a command word is needed to activate it. Command word activation means that a character speaks the word and the item activates. No other special knowledge is needed.
A command word can be a real word, but when this is the case, the holder of the item runs the risk of activating the item accidentally by speaking the word in normal conversation. More often, the command word is some nonsensical word, or a word or phrase from an ancient language. Activating a command word magic item is a standard action and does not provoke attacks of opportunity.
Sometimes the command word to activate an item is written right on the item. Occasionally, it might be hidden within a pattern or design engraved, carved, or built into the item, or the item might bear a clue to the command word.
The Knowledge (arcana) and Knowledge (history) skills might be useful in helping to identify command words or deciphering clues regarding them. A successful check against DC 30 is needed to come up with the word itself. If that check is failed, succeeding on a second check (DC 25) might provide some insight into a clue. The spells detect magic, identify, and analyze dweomer all reveal command words if the properties of the item are successfully identified.
Use Activated: This type of item simply has to be used in order to activate it. a character has to drink a potion, swing a sword, interpose a shield to deflect a blow in combat, look through a lens, sprinkle dust, wear a ring, or don a hat. Use activation is generally straightforward and self-explanatory.
Many use-activated items are objects that a character wears. Continually functioning items are practically always items that one wears. A few must simply be in the character's possession (meaning on his person). However, some items made for wearing must still be activated. Although this activation sometimes requires a command word (see above), usually it means mentally willing the activation to happen. The description of an item states whether a command word is needed in such a case.
Unless stated otherwise, activating a use-activated magic item is either a standard action or not an action at all and does not provoke attacks of opportunity, unless the use involves performing an action that provokes an attack of opportunity in itself. If the use of the item takes time before a magical effect occurs, then use activation is a standard action. If the item's activation is subsumed in its use and takes no extra time use, activation is not an action at all.
Use activation doesn't mean that if you use an item, you automatically know what it can do. You must know (or at least guess) what the item can do and then use the item in order to activate it, unless the benefit of the item comes automatically, such as from drinking a potion or swinging a sword.
When an article of magic clothing or jewelry is discovered, most of the time size shouldn't be an issue. Many magic garments are made to be easily adjustable, or they adjust themselves magically to the wearer. Size should not keep characters of various kinds from using magic items.
There may be rare exceptions, especially with race-specific items.
Armor and Weapon Sizes: Armor and weapons that are found at random have a 30% chance of being small (01–30), a 60% chance of being Medium (31–90), and a 10% chance of being any other size (91–100).
Picture created by, and used with permission of, Mike Beals;
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Many magic items need to be donned by a character who wants to employ them or benefit from their abilities. It's possible for a creature with a humanoid-shaped body to wear as many as 15 magic items at the same time. However, each of those items must be worn on (or over) a particular part of the body, known as a “slot.”
A humanoid-shaped body can be decked out in magic gear consisting of one item from each of the following groups, keyed to which slot on the body the item is worn.
Note: If you click on the image at right of a person showing the body slots, you can download a PDF that you can print and fill in yourself!
Armor: This slot is used for suits of armor that are worn.
Of course, a character may carry or possess as many items of the same type as he wishes. However, additional items beyond those in the slots listed above have no effect.
Some items can be worn or carried without taking up a slot on a character's body. The description of an item indicates when an item has this property.
The vast diversity among species of familiars and animal companions often makes it difficult to determine what kinds of magic items are suitable for certain creatures to wear. While wearable wondrous items typically resize themselves to fit a creature trying to wear them, the situation becomes a little more complicated if the creature simply lacks the requisite appendage or body part.
The following table presents all of the animal companions and familiars available to characters, divided into general categories that loosely define their body type as well as which magic item slots are available to them. Available slots followed by either “(saddle)” or “(horseshoes)” denote that creatures of that body type can only wear magic items in the appropriate slots as long as they are either saddles or horseshoes, respectively (for instance, a hoofed quadruped can wear a saddle of the sky-river, but not a belt of dwarvenkind).
Some creature body types are able to grasp and carry one object at a time in their paws, claws, or hands, including weapons, rods, wands, and staves, though they may not be able to use such items effectively (GM's discretion) and take penalties for nonproficiency as usual. These are indicated by "Yes" in the "Grasp/Carry" column in the table below.
Specific animals may be able to wear different types of items as specified in their original monster entry.
If you are using animal companions or familiars from another source, you can use the information in this table as a guideline for those creatures. Additionally, GMs may use this table as a guide to determine what kinds of magical gear non-humanoid monsters can wear and use. Note that the rules in this section are merely suggestions, and ultimately it is up to the GM to decide what kinds of animals can use particular types of magic items.
Magic items produce spells or spell-like effects. For a saving throw against a spell or spell-like effect from a magic item, the DC is 10 + the level of the spell or effect + the ability modifier of the minimum ability score needed to cast that level of spell.
Most item descriptions give saving throw DCs for various effects, particularly when the effect has no exact spell equivalent (making its level otherwise difficult to determine quickly).
A magic item doesn't need to make a saving throw unless it is unattended, it is specifically targeted by the effect, or its wielder rolls a natural 1 on his save. Magic items should always get a saving throw against spells that might deal damage to them—even against attacks from which a non-magical item would normally get no chance to save. Magic items use the same saving throw bonus for all saves, no matter what the type (Fortitude, Reflex, or Will). A magic item's saving throw bonus equals 2 + 1/2 its caster level (rounded down). The only exceptions to this are intelligent magic items, which make Will saves based on their own Wisdom scores.
Magic items, unless otherwise noted, take damage as non-magical items of the same sort. A damaged magic item continues to function, but if it is destroyed, all its magical power is lost. Magic items that take damage in excess of half their total hit points, but not more than their total hit points, gain the Broken condition, and might not function properly (see the Appendix).
Repairing a magic item requires material components equal to half the cost to create the item, and requires half the time. The make whole spell can also repair a damaged (or even a destroyed) magic items—if the caster is high enough level.
Magic items are valuable, and most major cities have at least one or two purveyors of magic items, from a simple potion merchant to a weapon smith that specializes in magic swords. Of course, not every item in this book is available in every town.
The following guidelines are presented to help GMs determine what items are available in a given community. These guidelines assume a setting with an average level of magic. Some cities might deviate wildly from these baselines, subject to GM discretion. The GM should keep a list of what items are available from each merchant and should replenish the stocks on occasion to represent new acquisitions.
The number and types of magic items available in a community depend upon its size. Each community has a base value associated with it (see Table: Available Magic Items (per Core Rulebook) or Table: Available Magic Items. There is a 75% chance that any item of that value or lower can be found for sale with little effort in that community. In addition, the community has a number of other items for sale. These items are randomly determined and are broken down by category (minor, medium, or major). After determining the number of items available in each category, refer to Table: Random Magic Item Generation to determine the type of each item (potion, scroll, ring, weapon, etc.) before moving on to the individual charts to determine the exact item. Reroll any items that fall below the community's base value.
If you are running a campaign with low magic, reduce the base value and the number of items in each community by half. Campaigns with little or no magic might not have magic items for sale at all. GMs running these sorts of campaigns should make some adjustments to the challenges faced by the characters due to their lack of magic gear.
Campaigns with an abundance of magic items might have communities with twice the listed base value and random items available. Alternatively, all communities might count as one size category larger for the purposes of what items are available. In a campaign with very common magic, all magic items might be available for purchase in a metropolis.
Nonmagical items and gear are generally available in a community of any size unless the item is particularly expensive, such as full plate, or made of an unusual material, such as an adamantine longsword. These items should follow the base value guidelines to determine their availability, subject to GM discretion.
Adding more magic to an existing item can be quite simple or very math-intensive. If the item's current and proposed abilities follow the normal pricing rules (particularly with weapons, armor, and shields), adding the new abilities is a matter of subtracting the old price from the new price and determining how many days of crafting it takes to make up the difference.
Example: Patrick's wizard decides to use his downtime to increase the armor bonus on his bracers of armor +1 to +3. The price difference between the two types of bracers is 8,000 gp, so Patrick's wizard must spend 8 days and 4,000 gp (half the 8,000 gp price difference) upgrading his bracers' magic. If he has fewer than 8 days before the next adventure, he'll need to finish his crafting while traveling or use accelerated crafting in town to speed up the process.
For most other items, GMs should use the multiple different abilities rule to determine the item's new price: increase the cost of the new ability by 50%, add that to the total price of the item to get the new price. Then subtract the old price from the new price to determine the difference, and determine how many days of crafting it takes to cover the difference.
Example: Lisa's paladin has horseshoes of a zephyr and wants to hire Patrick's wizard to add the powers of horseshoes of speed to her current horseshoes. Their GM, Jessica, decides that this is a suitable item and tells Lisa and Patrick they can proceed. The price of horseshoes of speed is 3,000 gp, increased by 50% for the multiple different abilities rule to 4,500 gp. Patrick's wizard must spend 5 days and Lisa's paladin must pay 2,250 gp (half the 4,500 gp price difference) to add the new property to the horseshoes, resulting in an item worth 10,500 gp (6,000 gp originally + 4,500 gp for the new property).
For specific magic armor and weapons, the price for the base item may be hard to determine, as some abilities may have been priced as plus-based properties and some as gp-based properties. Without knowing which is which, how to increase the price (using the plus-based table or flat gp addition) can't be determined. If this happens and nobody can agree on a fair price, it's best to not upgrade the item, or ask the GM for permission to pseudo-upgrade the item by swapping it for a different item with a price that can be calculated with the normal rules.
Example: Lisa's paladin has a holy avenger that she wants to upgrade with the flaming special ability. a holy avenger has a price of 120,630 gp, but when not in the hands of a paladin, it functions as a + 5 holy cold iron longsword , which has a price of 100,630 gp. The 20,000 gp difference in the prices of these two possible base weapons includes the sword's spell resistance, greater dispel magic once per round, and the limitation that the extra powers don't work for non-paladins. Jessica and Lisa talk about pricing ideas for a while, but can't figure out a fair way to price the upgrade. Lisa decides to upgrade her character's armor instead.
The multiple similar abilities rule is specifically for items that don't use a magic item slot (such as staves), and can't be used for items that do use a magic item slot. The existing staves all use this rule for pricing the cost of their spells. When adding abilities to these items, remember that they're priced with the highest-level spell at 100% of the normal cost, the next-highest at 75%, and all others at 50%, which means that adding a new spell that's between the lowest and highest spell level can alter the cost of the other abilities in the item. Increasing the number of charges required for an ability also affects the cost of that ability (see Creating Staves). Because staff pricing is so complex, a GM might want to forbid adding new abilities to staves, or limit new abilities to the lowest-level spell already present in the item.
Many items, particularly wands and staves, are limited in power by the number of charges they hold. Normally, charged items have 50 charges at most (10 for staves). If such an item is found as a random part of a treasure, roll d% and divide by 2 to determine the number of charges left (round down, minimum 1). If the item has a maximum number of charges other than 50, roll randomly to determine how many charges are left.
Prices listed are always for fully charged items. (When an item is created, it is fully charged.) For an item that's worthless when its charges run out (which is the case for almost all charged items), the value of the partially used item is proportional to the number of charges left. For an item that has usefulness in addition to its charges, only part of the item's value is based on the number of charges left.
The standard rules don't allow item creation feats to recharge charged items such as wands. This is because wands are the most cost-effective form of expendable spellcasting in the game (the minimum price is 15 gp per charge, as compared to a minimum price of 25 gp per use for a scroll or 50 gp per use for a potion). Allowing wand recharging devalues scrolls and potions in the game, especially as using a wand does not provoke attacks of opportunity. A wand's lower price increment would also mean that partially recharging the wand is easily done with a short downtime period (10 charges per day for a 2nd-level wand, 4 per day for a 3rd-level wand, and 2 per day for a 4th-level wand), making the wand even more useful and cost-effective.
A GM who wants to allow wand recharging can require a minimum of 25 charges added to the item to help offset this advantage, as it forces you to spend a larger amount of gold at once instead of smaller amounts more frequently.
The standard rules don't allow item creation feats to alter the physical nature of an item, its default size, its shape, or its magical properties. For example, there is no mechanism for using crafting feats to change a steel + 1 longsword into an adamantine + 1 longsword , a Large + 1 chain shirt into a Medium + 1 chain shirt , boots of speed into an amulet of speed , or a + 1 unholy longsword into a + 1 flaming shock longsword. Many GMs might decide that these kinds of transformations are impossible, beyond the scope of mortals, or not as cost-efficient as crafting a new item from scratch. Others might allow these sorts of transformations for free or a small surcharge. Keep in mind the following warnings.
Not all Item Slots Have Equal Value: This is true, even though it isn't expressed monetarily in the rules.
Some item slots are very common and are shared by many useful items (boots, belts, rings, and amulets in particular), while some slots are used by only a few items (such as body, chest, and eyes). Allowing a character to alter or craft an item for one of these underused slots is allowing the character to bypass built-in choices between popular items.
Some Abilities Are Assigned to Certain Slots: Some of the magic items in the standard rules are deliberately assigned to specific magic item slots for balance purposes, so that you have to make hard choices about what items to wear. In particular, the magic belts and circlets that give enhancement bonuses to ability scores are in this category—characters who want to enhance multiple physical or mental ability scores must pay extra for combination items like a belt of physical might or headband of mental prowess.
If there is a trend of all items of a particular type using a particular slot (such as items that grant physical ability score bonuses being belts or items that grant movement bonuses being boots), GMs should be hesitant to allow you to move those abilities to other slots; otherwise, they ignore these deliberate restrictions by cheaply spreading out these items over unused slots.
Classes Value Some Slots More Than Others: This is a combination of the two previous warnings. Because most belts enhance physical abilities, wizards rarely have need for standard belt items. This means a wizard can change an item that's useful to wizards into a belt and not have to worry about a future slot conflict by discovering a wizardly magic belt in a treasure hoard. Likewise, fighters have little use for most standard head items, so altering an existing fighter item to use the head slot means it has little risk of competition from found head slot items. GMs should consider carefully before allowing you to bypass these intentional, built-in item slot restrictions.
Respect Each Crafting Feat's Niche: You might be tempted to create rings that have charges like wands, or bracers with multiple charge-based effects like staves. A GM allowing this makes Craft Wondrous Item and Forge Ring even more versatile and powerful, and devalues Craft Staff and Craft Wand because those two feats can create only charged items.
Before allowing such an item, consider whether the reverse idea would be appropriate—if someone with Craft Wand can't make a wand of protection +1 that grants a deflection bonus like a ring of protection +1 , and if someone with Craft Staff can't make a handy haverstaff that stores items like a handy haversack, then Craft Wondrous Item and Forge Ring shouldn't be able to poach item types from the other feats.
GMs who wish to allow some of these sorts of alterations should consider using the original item as a talismanic component for the final item.
You can take advantage of the item creation rules to hand-craft most or all of your magic items. Because you've spent gp equal to only half the price of these items, you could end up with more gear than what the Character Wealth by Level table suggests for you. This is especially the case if you're a new character starting above 1st level or one with the versatile Craft Wondrous Item feat. With these advantages, you can carefully craft optimized gear rather than acquiring GM-selected gear over the course of a campaign. For example, a newly created 4th-level character should have about 6,000 gp worth of gear, but you can craft up to 12,000 gp worth of gear with that much gold, all of it taking place before the character enters the campaign, making the time-cost of crafting irrelevant.
Some GMs might be tempted to reduce the amount or value of the treasure you acquire to offset this and keep your overall wealth in line with the Character Wealth by Level table. Unfortunately, that has the net result of negating the main benefit of crafting magic items — in effect negating your choice of a feat. However, game balance for the default campaign experience expects you and all other PCs to be close to the listed wealth values, so the GM shouldn't just let you craft double the normal amount of gear. As a guideline, allowing a crafting PC to exceed the Character Wealth by Level guidelines by about 25% is fair, or even up to 50% if the PC has multiple crafting feats.
If you are creating items for other characters in the party, the increased wealth for the other characters should come out of your increased allotment. Not only does this prevent you from skewing the wealth by level for everyone in the party, but it encourages other characters to learn item creation feats.
Example: The Character Wealth by Level table states that an 8th-level character should have about 33,000 gp worth of items. Using the above 25% rule, Patrick's 8th-level wizard with Craft Wondrous Item is allowed an additional 8,250 gp worth of crafted wondrous items. If he uses his feat to craft items for the rest of the party, any excess value the other PCs have because of those items should count toward Patrick's additional 8,250 gp worth of crafted items.
The expectation in a standard campaign is that the PCs go on quests to fighting monsters and collect treasure. In other words, you aren't supposed to stay at home, work at day jobs, and earn wages instead of adventuring. The game mechanics reinforce this by only allowing you to sell items for half their normal price because it assumes selling them to an NPC shopkeeper, so even if you craft a bag of holding, you can't sell it yourself for full price because you don't have your own store to sell it in. This prevents you from profiting by crafting an item (and paying half the price to do so) and selling it for the full market price.
However, the downtime system allows you to build a business such as a tavern or even a magic shop, and earn money from that business while you're away adventuring. You might want to use an appropriate business to sell crafted items for more than half price, but the downtime system already accounts for using a building to generate money, as well as spending personal time helping run the business (see Run a Business). A typical magic shop earns about 3 gp per day, or perhaps 4–5 gp per day if a skilled owner PC directly participates in running the business. Because magic items are very expensive (with the most common potions costing 50 gp or more, far higher than what most commoners can afford), this income represents many days where the business sells nothing, followed by selling one or two high-priced items, which averages out to a few gp of profit per day. In other words, just because you can craft one + 1 longsword each day doesn't mean you're likely to sell one each day in your shop. The GM has two options for resolving this mercantile dilemma.
Use the Downtime System: This is the simplest solution, and assumes you are spending downtime running the business rather than crafting specific items.
Example: Patrick owns a magic shop and has 5 days free between adventures. Instead of crafting specific items for his own use, he uses that time on the run a business downtime activity, with the assumption that he is using his crafting feat to create minor magic items for customers to increase the money generated by his magic shop. Patrick doesn't have to specify what items he is creating, track inventory of completed items, or worry about interrupting his crafting — the details aren't important, just that he is using his skills to increase the profit of his business.
Alter Wealth By Level: Similar to using the item crafting rules to adjust wealth by level, this just applies a flat adjustment to your expected wealth. You don't even have to account for what specific items were crafted using this method.
Example: Rob's cleric has the Brew Potion feat and owns a magic shop. Jessica, the GM, allows him to exceed his wealth by level by 25%, and the extra doesn't all have to be in the form of potions — Rob's shop is selling potions, and he is using his profits to purchase other items for his character.
Each general type of magic item gets an overall description, followed by descriptions of specific items.
General descriptions include notes on activation, random generation, and other material. The AC, hardness, hit points, and break DC are given for typical examples of some magic items. The AC assumes that the item is unattended and includes a –5 penalty for the item's effective Dexterity of 0. If a creature holds the item, use the creature's Dexterity modifier in place of the –5 penalty.
Some individual items, notably those that just store spells, don't get full-blown descriptions. Reference the spell's description for details, modified by the form of the item (potion, scroll, wand, and so on). assume that the spell is cast at the minimum level required to cast it.
Items with full descriptions have their powers detailed, and each of the following topics is covered in notational form as part of its entry.
Aura: Most of the time, a detect magic spell reveals the school of magic associated with a magic item and the strength of the aura an item emits. This information (when applicable) is given at the beginning of the item's notational entry. See the detect magic spell description for details.
Caster Level (CL): The next item in a notational entry gives the caster level of the item, indicating its relative power. The caster level determines the item's saving throw bonus, as well as range or other level-dependent aspects of the powers of the item (if variable). It also determines the level that must be contended with should the item come under the effect of a dispel magic spell or similar situation.
For potions, scrolls, and wands, the creator can set the caster level of an item at any number high enough to cast the stored spell but not higher than her own caster level. For other magic items, the caster level is determined by the item itself.
Slot: Most magic items can only be utilized if worn or wielded in their proper slots. If the item is stowed or placed elsewhere, it does not function. If the slot lists “none,” the item must be held or otherwise carried to function.
Price: This is the cost, in gold pieces, to purchase the item, if it is available for sale. Generally speaking, magic items can be sold by PCs for half this value.
Weight: This is the weight of an item. When a weight figure is not given, the item has no weight worth noting (for purposes of determining how much of a load a character can carry).
Description: This section of a magic item describes the item's powers and abilities. Potions, scrolls, staves, and wands refer to various spells as part of their descriptions (see Spell Lists for details on these spells).
Construction: With the exception of artifacts, most magic items can be built by a spellcaster with the appropriate feats and prerequisites. This section describes those prerequisites.
Requirements: Certain requirements must be met in order for a character to create a magic item. These include feats, spells, and miscellaneous requirements such as level, alignment, and race or kind. The prerequisites for creation of an item are given immediately following the item's caster level.
A spell prerequisite may be provided by a character who has prepared the spell (or who knows the spell, in the case of a sorcerer or bard), or through the use of a spell completion or spell trigger magic item or a spell-like ability that produces the desired spell effect. For each day that passes in the creation process, the creator must expend one spell completion item or one charge from a spell trigger item if either of those objects is used to supply a prerequisite.
It is possible for more than one character to cooperate in the creation of an item, with each participant providing one or more of the prerequisites. In some cases, cooperation may even be necessary.
If two or more characters cooperate to create an item, they must agree among themselves who will be considered the creator for the purpose of determinations where the creator's level must be known.
Cost: This is the cost in gold pieces to create the item. Generally this cost is equal to half the price of an item, but additional material components might increase this number. the cost to create includes the costs derived from the base cost plus the costs of the components.
To create magic items, spellcasters use special feats which allow them to invest time and money in an item's creation. At the end of this process, the spellcaster must make a single skill check (usually Spellcraft, but sometimes another skill) to finish the item. If an item type has multiple possible skills, you choose which skill to make the check with. The DC to create a magic item is 5 + the caster level for the item. Failing this check means that the item does not function and the materials and time are wasted. Failing this check by 5 or more results in a cursed item.
Note that all items have prerequisites in their descriptions. These prerequisites must be met for the item to be created. Most of the time, they take the form of spells that must be known by the item's creator (although access through another magic item or spellcaster is allowed). The DC to create a magic item increases by 5 for each prerequisite the caster does not meet. The only exception to this is the requisite item creation feat, which is mandatory. In addition, you cannot create potions, spell-trigger, or spell-completion magic items without meeting its prerequisites.
While item creation costs are handled in detail below, note that normally the two primary factors are the caster level of the creator and the level of the spell or spells put into the item. A creator can create an item at a lower caster level than her own, but never lower than the minimum level needed to cast the needed spell. Using metamagic feats, a caster can place spells in items at a higher level than normal.
Magic supplies for items are always half of the base price in gp. For many items, the market price equals the base price. Armor, shields, weapons, and items with value independent of their magically enhanced properties add their item cost to the market price. The item cost does not influence the base price (which determines the cost of magic supplies), but it does increase the final market price.
In addition, some items cast or replicate spells with costly material components. For these items, the market price equals the base price plus an extra price for the spell component costs. The cost to create these items is the magic supplies cost plus the costs for the components. Descriptions of these items include an entry that gives the total cost of creating the item.
The creator also needs a fairly quiet, comfortable, and well-lit place in which to work. Any place suitable for preparing spells is suitable for making items. Creating an item requires 8 hours of work per 1,000 gp in the item's base price (or fraction thereof), with a minimum of at least 8 hours. Potions and scrolls are an exception to this rule; they can take as little as 2 hours to create (if their base price is 250 gp or less). Scrolls and potions whose base price is more than 250 gp, but less than 1,000 gp, take 8 hours to create, just like any other magic item. The character must spend the gold at the beginning of the construction process. Regardless of the time needed for construction, a caster can create no more than one magic item per day. This process can be accelerated to 4 hours of work per 1,000 gp in the item's base price (or fraction thereof) by increasing the DC to create the item by 5.
The caster can work for up to 8 hours each day. He cannot rush the process by working longer each day, but the days need not be consecutive, and the caster can use the rest of his time as he sees fit. If the caster is out adventuring, he can devote 4 hours each day to item creation, although he nets only 2 hours' worth of work. This time is not spent in one continuous period, but rather during lunch, morning preparation, and during watches at night. If time is dedicated to creation, it must be spent in uninterrupted 4-hour blocks. This work is generally done in a controlled environment, where distractions are at a minimum, such as a laboratory or shrine. Work that is performed in a distracting or dangerous environment nets only half the amount of progress (just as with the adventuring caster).
A character can work on only one item at a time. If a character starts work on a new item, all materials used on the under-construction item are wasted.
Some GMs may wish to use the following items not as direct hooks for their campaigns, but rather as inspiration for designing strange treasures that fit the adventures and interests of their campaigns' player characters. A treasure needn't be mechanically unique to have an interesting backstory or serve as the catalyst for an adventure. Standard items can be made unique without changing their mechanics by adding flavorful descriptions or backstories. Alternatively, making an item intelligent or cursed, combining two items into one, or adding an unusual power to an existing item are all perfectly good changes that can make items more memorable.
Consider the following suggestions for making the mundane exciting in your campaign.
Family Relic: Similar to providing a historical background for an item, creating a story that directly connects the item to one or more player characters in the game allows a GM to spin a fascinating story—possibly one that is directly connected to a story feat. For example, the tapestry that once hung over the throne of a PC's grandfather's castle may be the proof the group needs to recover to convince the land's subjects of that character's right to rule.
Haunted: A restless spirit haunts the item. This lingering spirit might be something that evokes sympathy from the PCs, such as a young child who died in a tragic way or a grandmother who was killed by her family so they could gain her fortune. Such spirits may be benevolent, allowing the characters to use the item without complication, but appearing upon the item's use, reminding the party of the object's brutal history and asking them to help grant the spirit peace. Alternatively, a nasty spirit could inhabit the item, in which case each use might require a battle of wills. In this case, the party might then seek the means to exorcise the spirit so that they could gain unfettered use of the item's powers.
Historical Significance: An item doesn't need to be magical to be valuable. A mundane sword wielded by a famous war hero or a suit of leather armor crafted by artisans of a long-lost civilization could provide adventure hooks involving the historical figures or cultures associated with the item. Historians and collectors alike would prize such items simply to study or own, and may send PCs on adventures to retrieve them. Bards in particular may be interested in tracking down such pieces, as the recovery could earn the lore masters prestige as procurers of museum-worthy items.
Intelligent: Give an item a spark of intelligence to make it more intriguing. Certainly the player characters are used to intelligent weapons, but what about an intelligent folding boat? Once an item is imbued with intelligence, its use can no longer be taken for granted, instead requiring a diplomatic encounter or battle of wills. Can the PCs convince the boat to unfold? If so, can they then persuade or cajole it to allow them aboard to make their journey? Using an intelligent item can prove problematic if the PCs don't appease it in some way—and woe to the adventurer to whom it takes a disliking.
Named: When you name an item, many players automatically think of it as something special. Proper names pique interest, and you may find players asking to research the named item at various libraries and taking notes about the discovered references. Admittedly, a name may just be a trick to interest the party in a relatively simple ring of protection +2, but referring to it as the Ring of the High Priest Caliban certainly makes the item more intriguing in the story. Your players will think fondly on their efforts to recover the item—even if it's no different from any other magical ring.
Adventure Prerequisite: Sometimes, finding an item is necessary before a larger adventure can commence. Though required, such an item may have no further importance beyond being necessary to achieve another goal. For example, suppose the PCs need to find the key to an otherwise impenetrable vault. The key, they learn, isn't a traditional key, but rather a +1 longsword lost somewhere in a massive jungle. The search for the sword thus becomes part of a larger campaign.
Cosmetic Variation: Who says every rod of rulership, cape of the mountebank, or flying carpet has to look exactly the same? Where's the fun in that? Sure, the item works the same as the other ones, but making a small variation, even if just a minor or superficial change, opens a tremendous host of possibilities for making treasure more wondrous.
Artisans take pride in their work, so infuse items with some of their creators' personalities! For example, a quirky, insect-loving mage may have created a feather token whose “bird” looks like a fly, mosquito, or pesky flying termite— there's no reason it has to specifically look like a bird.
Valuable Material: To make a fairly mundane item more prized, alter the materials used to craft it. For example, a rope of entanglement could be coveted because it's made of spun gold, or was woven from the thick locks of a golden-haired azata or the mane of a unicorn, rather than from the usual hemp fibers.
Sometimes, lack of funds or time make it impossible for a magic item crafter to create the desired item from scratch. Fortunately, it is possible to enhance or build upon an existing magic item. Only time, gold, and the various prerequisites required of the new ability to be added to the magic item restrict the type of additional powers one can place.
The cost to add additional abilities to an item is the same as if the item was not magical, less the value of the original item. Thus, a +1 longsword can be made into a +2 vorpal longsword, with the cost to create it being equal to that of a +2 vorpal sword minus the cost of a +1 longsword.
If the item is one that occupies a specific place on a character's body, the cost of adding any additional ability to that item increases by 50%. For example, if a character adds the power to confer invisibility to her ring of protection 2, the cost of adding this ability is the same as for creating a ring of invisibility multiplied by 1.5.
Many factors must be considered when determining the price of new magic items. The easiest way to come up with a price is to compare the new item to an item that is already priced, using that price as a guide. Otherwise, use the guidelines summarized on Table: Estimating Magic Item Gold Piece Values.
The correct way to price an item is by comparing its abilities to similar items (see Magic Item Gold Piece Values), and only if there are no similar items should you use the pricing formulas to determine an approximate price for the item. If you discover a loophole that allows an item to have an ability for a much lower price than is given for a comparable item, the GM should require using the price of the item, as that is the standard cost for such an effect. Most of these loopholes stem from trying to get unlimited uses per day of a spell effect from the "command word" or "use-activated or continuous" lines of Table: Estimating Magic Item Gold Piece Values.
Example: Rob's cleric wants to create a heavy mace with a continuous true strike ability, granting its wielder a +20 insight bonus on attack rolls. The formula for a continuous spell effect is spell level × caster level × 2,000 gp, for a total of 2,000 gp (spell level 1, caster level 1). Jessica, the GM, points out that a +5 enhancement bonus on a weapon costs 50,000 gp, and the +20 bonus from true strike is much better than the +5 bonus from standard weapon enhancement, and suggests a price of 200,000 gp for the mace. Rob agrees that using the formula in this way is unreasonable and decides to craft a +1 heavy mace using the standard weapon pricing rules instead.
Example: Patrick's wizard wants to create bracers with a continuous mage armor ability, granting the wearer a +4 armor bonus to AC. The formula indicates this would cost 2,000 gp (spell level 1, caster level 1). Jessica reminds him that bracers of armor +4 are priced at 16,000 gp and Patrick's bracers should have that price as well. Patrick agrees, and because he only has 2,000 gp to spend, he decides to spend 1,000 gp of that to craft bracers of armor +1 using the standard bracer prices.
Some new items are really existing magic items with a different weapon or armor type, such as a dagger of venom that is a rapier instead of a dagger or a lion's shield that's a wooden shield instead of a metal shield. For these items, just replace the price of the non-magical masterwork item with the cost of the new type of item. For example, a rapier of venom has a price of 8,320 gp instead of the dagger of venom's price of 8,302 gp.
If you need another character to supply one of an item's requirements (such as if you're a wizard creating an item with a divine spell), both you and the other character must be present for the entire duration of the crafting process. If the GM is using the downtime system, both you and the other character must use downtime at the same time for this purpose. Only you make the skill check to complete the item — or, if there is a chance of creating a cursed item, the GM makes the check in secret.
If the second character is providing a spell effect, that character's spell is expended for the day, just as if you were using one of your own spells for a requirement. If the second character is a hired NPC, you must pay for the NPC's spellcasting service for each day of the item creation.
Multiple Similar Abilities: For items with multiple similar abilities that don't take up space on a character's body, use the following formula: Calculate the price of the single most costly ability, then add 75% of the value of the next most costly ability, plus 1/2 the value of any other abilities.
Multiple Different Abilities: Abilities such as an attack roll bonus or saving throw bonus and a spell-like function are not similar, and their values are simply added together to determine the cost. For items that take up a space on a character's body, each additional power not only has no discount but instead has a 50% increase in price.
0-Level Spells: When multiplying spell levels to determine value, 0-level spells should be treated as 1/2 level.
Other Considerations: Once you have a cost figure, reduce that number if either of the following conditions applies:
Item Requires Skill to Use: Some items require a specific skill to get them to function. This factor should reduce the cost about 10%.
Item Requires Specific Class or Alignment to Use: Even more restrictive than requiring a skill, this limitation cuts the price by 30%.
Prices presented in the magic item descriptions (the gold piece value following the item's slot) are the market value, which is generally twice what it costs the creator to make the item.
Since different classes get access to certain spells at different levels, the prices for two characters to make the same item might actually be different. An item is only worth two times what the caster of the lowest possible level can make it for. Calculate the market price based on the lowest possible level caster, no matter who makes the item.
Not all items adhere to these formulas. First and foremost, these few formulas aren't enough to truly gauge the exact differences between items. The price of a magic item may be modified based on its actual worth. The formulas only provide a starting point. The pricing of scrolls assumes that, whenever possible, a wizard or cleric created it. Potions and wands follow the formulas exactly. Staves follow the formulas closely, and other items require at least some judgment calls.
To create magic armor, a character needs a heat source and some iron, wood, or leatherworking tools. He also needs a supply of materials, the most obvious being the armor or the pieces of the armor to be assembled. Armor to be made into magic armor must be masterwork armor, and the masterwork cost is added to the base price to determine final market value. Additional magic supply costs for the materials are subsumed in the cost for creating the magic armor—half the base price of the item.
Creating magic armor has a special prerequisite: The creator's caster level must be at least three times the enhancement bonus of the armor. If an item has both an enhancement bonus and a special ability, the higher of the two caster level requirements must be met. Magic armor or a magic shield must have at least a 1 enhancement bonus to have any armor or shield special abilities.
If spells are involved in the prerequisites for making the armor, the creator must have prepared the spells to be cast (or must know the spells, in the case of a sorcerer or bard) and must provide any material components or focuses the spells require. The act of working on the armor triggers the prepared spells, making them unavailable for casting during each day of the armor's creation. (That is, those spell slots are expended from the caster's currently prepared spells, just as if they had been cast.)
Creating some armor may entail other prerequisites beyond or other than spellcasting. See the individual descriptions for details.
Time Required Crafting magic armor requires one day for each 1,000 gp value of the base price.
Feat(s) Required: Craft Magic Arms and Armor.
To create a magic weapon, a character needs a heat source and some iron, wood, or leatherworking tools. She also needs a supply of materials, the most obvious being the weapon or the pieces of the weapon to be assembled. Only a masterwork weapon can become a magic weapon, and the masterwork cost is added to the total cost to determine final market value. Additional magic supplies costs for the materials are subsumed in the cost for creating the magic weapon—half the base price of the item based upon the item's total effective bonus.
Creating a magic weapon has a special prerequisite: The creator's caster level must be at least three times the enhancement bonus of the weapon. If an item has both an enhancement bonus and a special ability, the higher of the two caster level requirements must be met. A magic weapon must have at least a 1 enhancement bonus to have any melee or ranged special weapon abilities.
If spells are involved in the prerequisites for making the weapon, the creator must have prepared the spells to be cast (or must know the spells, in the case of a sorcerer or bard) but need not provide any material components or focuses the spells require. The act of working on the weapon triggers the prepared spells, making them unavailable for casting during each day of the weapon's creation. (That is, those spell slots are expended from the caster's currently prepared spells, just as if they had been cast.)
At the time of creation, the creator must decide if the weapon glows or not as a side-effect of the magic imbued within it. This decision does not affect the price or the creation time, but once the item is finished, the decision is binding.
Creating magic double-headed weapons is treated as creating two weapons when determining cost, time, and special abilities.
Creating some weapons may entail other prerequisites beyond or other than spellcasting. See the individual descriptions for details.
Time Required Crafting a magic weapon requires 1 day for each 1,000 gp value of the base price.
Feat(s) Required: Craft Magic Arms and Armor.
The creator of a potion needs a level working surface and at least a few containers in which to mix liquids, as well as a source of heat to boil the brew. In addition, he needs ingredients. The costs for materials and ingredients are subsumed in the cost for brewing the potion: 25 gp × the level of the spell × the level of the caster.
Material components are consumed when he begins working, but a focus is not. (a focus used in brewing a potion can be reused.) The act of brewing triggers the prepared spell, making it unavailable for casting until the character has rested and regained spells. (That is, that spell slot is expended from the caster's currently prepared spells, just as if it had been cast.)
Time Required Brewing a potion requires 1 day.
Feat(s) Required: Brew Potion.
To create a magic ring, a character needs a heat source. He also needs a supply of materials, the most obvious being a ring or the pieces of the ring to be assembled. The cost for the materials is subsumed in the cost for creating the ring. Ring costs are difficult to determine. Refer to Table: Estimating Magic Item Gold Piece Values and use the ring prices in the ring descriptions as a guideline. Creating a ring generally costs half the ring's market price.
Rings that duplicate spells with costly material components add in the value of 50 × the spell's component cost. Having a spell with a costly component as a prerequisite does not automatically incur this cost. The act of working on the ring triggers the prepared spells, making them unavailable for casting during each day of the ring's creation. (That is, those spell slots are expended from the caster's currently prepared spells, just as if they had been cast.)
Creating some rings may entail other prerequisites beyond or other than spellcasting. See the individual descriptions for details.
Time Required Forging a ring requires 1 day for each 1,000 gp of the base price.
Feat(s) Required: Forge Ring.
To create a magic rod, a character needs a supply of materials, the most obvious being a rod or the pieces of the rod to be assembled. The cost for the materials is subsumed in the cost for creating the rod. Rod costs are difficult to determine. Refer to Table: Estimating Magic Item Gold Piece Values and use the rod prices in the rod descriptions as a guideline. Creating a rod costs half the market value listed.
If spells are involved in the prerequisites for making the rod, the creator must have prepared the spells to be cast (or must know the spells, in the case of a sorcerer or bard) but need not provide any material components or focuses the spells require. The act of working on the rod triggers the prepared spells, making them unavailable for casting during each day of the rod's creation. (That is, those spell slots are expended from the caster's currently prepared spells, just as if they had been cast.)
Creating some rods may entail other prerequisites beyond or other than spellcasting. See the individual descriptions for details.
Time Required Crafting a rod requires 1 day for each 1,000 gp of the base price.
Feat(s) Required: Craft Rod.
To create a scroll, a character needs a supply of choice writing materials, the cost of which is subsumed in the cost for scribing the scroll: 12.5 gp × the level of the spell × the level of the caster.
All writing implements and materials used to scribe a scroll must be fresh and unused. A character must pay the full cost for scribing each spell scroll no matter how many times she previously has scribed the same spell.
The creator must have prepared the spell to be scribed (or must know the spell, in the case of a sorcerer or bard) and must provide any material component or focus the spell requires. A material component is consumed when she begins writing, but a focus is not. (A focus used in scribing a scroll can be reused.) The act of writing triggers the prepared spell, making it unavailable for casting until the character has rested and regained spells. (That is, that spell slot is expended from the caster's currently prepared spells, just as if it had been cast.)
Time Required Scribing a scroll requires 1 day per 1,000 gp of the base price. Although an individual scroll might contain more than one spell, each spell must be scribed as a separate effort, meaning that no more than 1 spell can be scribed in a day.
Feat(s) Required: Scribe Scroll.
To create a magic staff, a character needs a supply of materials, the most obvious being a staff or the pieces of the staff to be assembled.
The materials cost is subsumed in the cost of creation: 400 gp × the level of the highest-level spell × the level of the caster, plus 75% of the value of the next most costly ability (300 gp × the level of the spell × the level of the caster), plus 1/2 the value of any other abilities (200 gp × the level of the spell × the level of the caster). Staves are always fully charged (10 charges) when created.
If desired, a spell can be placed into the staff at less than the normal cost, but then activating that particular spell drains additional charges from the staff. Divide the cost of the spell by the number of charges it consumes to determine its final price. Note that this does not change the order in which the spells are priced (the highest level spell is still priced first, even if it requires more than one charge to activate). The caster level of all spells in a staff must be the same, and no staff can have a caster level of less than 8th, even if all the spells in the staff are low-level spells.
The creator must have prepared the spells to be stored (or must know the spells, in the case of a sorcerer or bard) and must provide any focus the spells require as well as material component costs sufficient to activate the spell 50 times (divide this amount by the number of charges one use of the spell expends). Material components are consumed when he begins working, but focuses are not. (A focus used in creating a staff can be reused.) The act of working on the staff triggers the prepared spells, making them unavailable for casting during each day of the staff's creation. (That is, those spell slots are expended from the caster's currently prepared spells, just as if they had been cast.)
Creating a few staves may entail other prerequisites beyond spellcasting. See the individual descriptions for details.
Time Required Crafting a staff requires 1 day for each 1,000 gp of the base price.
Feat(s) Required: Craft Staff.
To create a rune, a character needs a supply of arcane inks and scar-inducing irritants. The cost for the materials is subsumed in the cost for creating the rune. Rune costs are difficult to determine. Refer to Table: Estimating Magic Item Gold Piece Values use the item prices in the item descriptions as a guideline. Creating a rune costs half the market value listed.
If spells are involved in the prerequisites for making the rune, the creator must have prepared the spells to be cast (or must know the spells, in the case of a sorcerer or bard) but need not provide any material components or focuses the spells require. The act of working on the rune triggers the prepared spells, making them unavailable for casting during each day of the rune's creation. (That is, those spell slots are expended from the caster's currently prepared spells, just as if they had been cast.)
Creating some rune may entail other prerequisites beyond or other than spellcasting. See the individual descriptions for details.
Time Required Crafting a rune requires 1 day for each 1,000 gp of the base price.
Feat(s) Required: Inscribe Rune.
To create a magic wand, a character needs a small supply of materials, the most obvious being a baton or the pieces of the wand to be assembled. The cost for the materials is subsumed in the cost for creating the wand: 375 gp × the level of the spell × the level of the caster. Wands are always fully charged (50 charges) when created.
The creator must have prepared the spell to be stored (or must know the spell, in the case of a sorcerer or bard) and must provide any focuses the spell requires. Fifty of each needed material component are required (one for each charge). Material components are consumed when work begins, but focuses are not. A focus used in creating a wand can be reused. The act of working on the wand triggers the prepared spell, making it unavailable for casting during each day devoted to the wand's creation. (That is, that spell slot is expended from the caster's currently prepared spells, just as if it had been cast.)
Time Required Crafting a wand requires 1 day per each 1,000 gp of the base price.
Feat(s) Required: Craft Wand.
To create a wondrous item, a character usually needs some sort of equipment or tools to work on the item. She also needs a supply of materials, the most obvious being the item itself or the pieces of the item to be assembled. The cost for the materials is subsumed in the cost for creating the item. Wondrous item costs are difficult to determine. Refer to Table: Estimating Magic Item Gold Piece Values and use the item prices in the item descriptions as a guideline. Creating an item costs half the market value listed.
If spells are involved in the prerequisites for making the item, the creator must have prepared the spells to be cast (or must know the spells, in the case of a sorcerer or bard) but need not provide any material components or focuses the spells require. The act of working on the item triggers the prepared spells, making them unavailable for casting during each day of the item's creation. (That is, those spell slots are expended from the caster's currently prepared spells, just as if they had been cast.)
Creating some items may entail other prerequisites beyond or other than spellcasting. See the individual descriptions for details.