Adding New Abilities
Charges, Doses, and Multiple Uses
Purchasing Magic Items
Damaging & Repairing Magic Items
Saving Throws Against Magic Item Powers
Magic Items and Detect Magic
Using Magic Items
Size and Magic Items
Magic Items Slots (Animals and Slots)
Magic Item Descriptions
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.
|Armor and protection items||Abjuration|
|Weapons or offensive items||Evocation|
|Bonus to ability score, skill check, etc.||Transmutation|
|01–04||01–10||01–10||Armor and shields|
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).
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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.
Belts: This slot consists of belts and other items that can be worn around the waist.
Body: This slot consists of body wraps, cassocks, corsets, dusters, harnesses, robes, vestments and any other article of clothing that can be worn on the body.
Chest: This slot consists of jackets, mantels, shirts, vests and other items that can be worn around the torso or chest.
Eyes: This slot consists of goggles, lenses, monocles, spectacles, and other items that can be worn over the eyes.
Feet: This slot consists of boots, horseshoes, sandals, shoes, slippers, and other items that can be worn on the feet.
Hands: This slot consists of gauntlets, gloves, and other items that can worn on the hands.
Head: This slot consists of circlets, crowns, hats, helms, hoods, masks, and other items that can be worn on the head.
Headband: This slot consists of bands, headbands, laurels, phylacteries, and other non-head slot items that can be worn around the forehead.
Neck: This slot consists of amulets, brooches, medallions, necklaces, periapts, scarabs, and other items that can be worn around the neck or fastened to a cloak.
Ring (up to two): rings.
Shield: This slot is for carried shields.
Shoulders: This slot consists of capes, cloaks, cords, mantels, pauldrons, shawls, stoles, wings, and other items that can be worn on the shoulders.
Wrists: This slot consists of armbands, bracelets, bracers, gauntlets, manacles, shackles, vambraces, and other items that can worn over the wrists.
Slotless: Items not worn or carried in one of the above slots are called “slotless” items. Sometimes these items take the form of trinkets, like figurines of wondrous power. Other times they are larger items, such as the carpet of flying. Typically the possession of such an item is enough to gain its benefit, but sometimes one must manipulate and activate the item.
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.
|Body Type||Available Slots||Grasp/Carry||Animal Companions||Familiars|
|*Avian||Armor, belt, chest, eyes, head, headband, neck, ring, wrist||Yes||Archaeopteryx, axe beak, bustard, dimorphodon, dinosaur (pteranodon), dire bat, eagle, giant owl, giant raven, giant vulture, hawk, moa, ornithomimosaur, owl, quetzalcoatlus, roc, trumpeter swan||Archaeopteryx, arctic tern, bat, chicken, dodo, hawk, kakapo, osprey, owl, parrot, peafowl, penguin, ptarmigan, puffin, raven, rhamphorhynchus, snail kite, thrush, toucan|
|*Biped (claws/paws)||Armor, belt, chest, eyes, head, headband, neck, ring, shoulders, wrist||Yes||Allosaurus, ceratosaurus, chalicotherium, deinonychus, giganotosaurus, iguanodon, kangaroo, pachycephalosaurus, parasaurolophus, spinosaurus, therizinosaurus, troodon, tyrannosaurus, velociraptor||Compsognathus, wallaby|
|*Biped (hands)||All item slots||Yes||Ape, baboon, chimpanzee, devil monkey, megaprimatus||Monkey, tarsier|
|Piscine||Belt, chest (saddle), eyes||No||Anglerfish, armorfish, blue whale, dolphin, dunkleosteus, gar, giant seahorse, hammerhead shark, manta ray, narwhal, orca, plesiosaurus, shark, stingray, tylosaurus, walrus||Lamprey, popoto dolphin, pufferfish, seal|
|Quadruped (claws/paws)||Armor, belt (saddle), chest, eyes, head, headband, neck, shoulders, wrist||No||Badger, bear, capybara, cheetah, digmaul, dire polar bear, dire rat, dog, giant mole, giant porcupine, giant skunk, giant weasel, goblin dog, grizzly bear, hyena, leopard, lion, marsupial devil, marsupial lion, panda, polar bear, saber-toothed cat, thylacine, tiger, wolf, wolfdog, wolverine||Arctic fox, arctic hare, armadillo, cat, donkey rat, ermine, flying fox, flying squirrel, fox, hedgehog, jerboa, koala, lemming, margay, meerkat, mole, mongoose, otter, platypus, raccoon, rat, red panda, sloth, skunk, squirrel, weasel|
|Quadruped/Hexapod (feet)||Armor, belt (saddle), chest, eyes, head, headband, neck, shoulders, wrist||No||arsinoitherium, baluchitherium, camel, elephant, giant ant, giant mantis, giant wasp, hippopotamus, mammoth, mastodon, megatherium, rhinoceros, triceratops|
|Quadruped (hooves)||Armor, belt (saddle), chest, eyes, feet (horseshoes), head, headband, neck, shoulders||No||Antelope, aurochs, bison, boar, brontotherium, buffalo, cattle, elk, giraffe, horse, llama, megaloceros, moose, pony, ram, reindeer, stag, styracosaurus, yak, zebra||Goat, pig|
|Quadruped (squat-body)||Armor, eyes, headband, neck, shoulders, wrist||No||elasmosaurus, giant frog, giant snapping turtle, archelon, glyptodon||Snapping turtle, toad, turtle|
|Saurian||Armor, belt (saddle), chest, eyes, headband, neck||No||Alligator, crocodile, ankylosaurus, brachiosaurus, dimetrodon, stegosaurus, giant chameleon, giant gecko, megalania, monitor lizard||Dwarf caiman, lizard, marine iguana|
|Serpentine||Belt, eyes, headband||No||Basilosaurus, Constrictor snake, electric eel, gar, giant leech, giant moray eel, giant slug, reef snake, spitting cobra, titanoboa||Sea krait, viper|
|Unusual (Plant and Vermin)||belt, eyes||cameroceras, corpse-eater fungus, creeping puffball, eurypterid, giant ant, giant assassin bug, giant beetle, giant caterpillar, giant centipede, giant cockroach, giant crab, giant dragonfly, giant locust, giant mantis, giant mantis shrimp, giant mosquito, giant scorpion, giant solifugid, giant spider, giant squid, giant termite, giant wasp, giant whiptail centipede, gulper plant, hunting cactus, octopus, rash creeper, slithering sundew, snapping flytrap, sniper cactus, squid, web tyrant spider||blue-ringed octopus, butterfly, cockroach, creeper ivy, dweomer cap, flowering lattice, giant isopod, giant tardigrade, greensting scorpion, house centipede, ioun wyrd, king crab, leopard slug, moth, petrifern, ravenous tumbleweed, razor fern, sawleg locust, scarlet spider, shimmerwing dragonfly, spiny starfish, suture vine, trilobite, vampire squid|
|Verminous||Belt, eyes||No||Giant beetle, giant centipede, giant crab, giant scorpion, giant spider, octopus, squid||Blue-ringed octopus, giant isopod, greensting scorpion, house centipede, king crab|
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 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.
|Community Size||Base Value||Minor||Medium||Major|
|Thorp||50 gp||1d4 items||—||—|
|Hamlet||200 gp||1d6 items||—||—|
|Village||500 gp||2d4 items||1d4 items||—|
|Small town||1,000 gp||3d4 items||1d6 items||—|
|Large town||2,000 gp||3d4 items||2d4 items||1d4 items|
|Small city||4,000 gp||4d4 items||3d4 items||1d6 items|
|Large city||8,000 gp||4d4 items||3d4 items||2d4 items|
|Metropolis||16,000 gp||*||4d4 items||3d4 items|
|* In a metropolis, nearly all minor magic items are available.
** See also: Table: Available Magic Items per Settlements rules from the Gamemastery Guide.
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.
I looked over the magic item crafting rules and was unable to find an explicit statement on this question:
Does creating a magic item require the creator to be of the same or higher caster level of the item itself? This doesn’t seem to square with the CLs listed for specific magic items; for instance, a Belt of Giant Strength +2 has CL 8th, but the only spell required in its creation, bull’s strength, has a minimum caster level of 3.
Am I missing anything here?
Though the listed Caster Level for a pearl of power is 17th, that caster level is not part of the Requirements listing for that item. Therefore, the only caster level requirement for a pearl of power is the character has to be able to cast spells of the desired level. However, it makes sense that the minimum caster level of the pearl is the minimum caster level necessary to cast spells of that level–it would be strange for a 2nd-level pearl to be CL 1st. For example, a 3rd-level wizard with Craft Wondrous Item can create a 1st-level pearl, with a minimum caster level of 1. He can set the caster level to whatever he wants (assuming he can meet the crafting DC), though the pearl’s caster level has no effect on its powers (other than its ability to resist dispel magic). If he wants to make a 2nd-level pearl, the caster level has to be at least 3, as wizards can’t cast 2nd-level spells until they reach character level 3. He can even try to make a 3rd-level pearl, though the minimum caster level is 5, and he adds +5 to the DC because he doesn’t meet the “able to cast 3rd-level spells” requirement.
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.
|Ability bonus (enhancement)||Bonus squared x 1,000 gp||Belt of incredible dexterity 2|
|Armor bonus (enhancement)||Bonus squared x 1,000 gp||+1 chainmail|
|Bonus spell||Spell level squared x 1,000 gp||Pearl of power|
|AC bonus (deflection)||Bonus squared x 2,000 gp||Ring of protection +3|
|AC bonus (other)1||Bonus squared x 2,500 gp||Ioun stone (dusty rose prism)|
|Natural armor bonus (enhancement)||Bonus squared x 2,000 gp||Amulet of natural armor 1|
|Save bonus (resistance)||Bonus squared x 1,000 gp||Cloak of resistance 5|
|Save bonus (other)1||Bonus squared x 2,000 gp||Stone of good luck|
|Skill bonus (competence)||Bonus squared x 100 gp||Cloak of elvenkind|
|Spell resistance||10,000 gp per point over SR 12; SR 13 minimum||Mantle of spell resistance|
|Weapon bonus (enhancement)||Bonus squared x 2,000 gp||+1 longsword|
|Spell Effect||Base Price||Example|
|Single use, spell completion||Spell level x caster level x 25 gp||Scroll of haste|
|Single use, use-activated||Spell level x caster level x 50 gp||Potion of cure light wounds|
|50 charges, spell trigger||Spell level x caster level x 750 gp||Wand of fireball|
|Command word||Spell level x caster level x 1,800 gp||Cape of the mountebank|
|Use-activated or continuous||Spell level x caster level x 2,000 gp2||Lantern of revealing|
|Special||Base Price||Adjustment Example|
|Charges per day||Divide by (5 divided by charges per day)||Boots of teleportation|
|No space limitation3||Multiply entire cost by 2||Ioun stone|
|Multiple different abilities||Multiply lower item cost by 1.5||Helm of brilliance|
|Charged (50 charges)||1/2 unlimited use base price||Ring of the ram|
|Armor, shield, or weapon||Add cost of masterwork item||+1 composite longbow|
|Spell has material component cost||Add directly into price of item per charge 4||Wand of stoneskin|
Spell Level: A 0-level spell is half the value of a 1st-level spell for determining price.
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.
The myriad of threats that adventures face often go well beyond mere weapons, so many spellcasters trained in the use of armor seek to augment it with spells.
Any spellcaster with both Craft Magic Arms and Armor and either Scribe Scroll or Brew Potion can create spellscribed armor. A single suit of armor can be inscribed with a number of spells equal to its base armor bonus (not including its enhancement bonus).
For example, a suit of breastplate armor (which has a +6 armor bonus) can have up to six spells inscribed on it. If you are using the piecemeal armor rules, only a piece of armor that grants an armor bonus can be spellscribed.
The maximum level for spells contained in spellscribed armor depends on the type of armor being inscribed.
Light armor, a buckler, or a light shield can hold up to 3rdlevel spells; medium armor or a heavy shield can hold up to 6th-level spells; heavy armor or a tower shield can hold up to 9th-level spells.
An inscribed spell is a spell-completion item that only the wearer of spellscribed armor may activate, and only if he is proficient with the type of armor worn. The inscribed spell vanishes when activated. The inscribed spell must be visible to the wearer and must be touched as part of its activation. Otherwise, suits of spellscribed armor are treated as scrolls (except that using them doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity) and use the rules for spell-completion items.
The process to create spellscribed armor requires access to expensive etching and scribing materials worth an amount of gold pieces equal to the inscribed spell’s level × the creator’s caster level × 100 (plus the price of any expensive material components).
Spells inscribed on armor can be dispelled as if they were separate magic items (treat them as scrolls), wholly independent of the suit of armor on which they are etched.
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.
|Spell Level||Cleric, Druid, Wizard||Sorcerer||Bard||Paladin, Ranger*|
|0||25 gp||25 gp||25 gp||—|
|1st||50 gp||50 gp||50 gp||50 gp|
|2nd||300 gp||400 gp||400 gp||400 gp|
|3rd||750 gp||900 gp||1,050 gp||1,050 gp|
|* Caster level is equal to class level –3.
Prices assume that the potion was made at the minimum caster level. The cost to create a potion is half the base price.
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.
|Spell Level||Cleric, Druid, Wizard||Sorcerer||Bard||Paladin, Ranger*|
|0||12 gp 5 sp||12 gp 5 sp||12 gp 5 sp||—|
|1st||25 gp||25 gp||25 gp||25 gp|
|2nd||150 gp||200 gp||200 gp||200 gp|
|3rd||375 gp||450 gp||525 gp||525 gp|
|4th||700 gp||800 gp||1,000 gp||1,000 gp|
|5th||1,125 gp||1,250||gp 1,625 gp||—|
|6th||1,650 gp||1,800||gp 2,400 gp||—|
|7th||2,275 gp||2,450 gp||—||—|
|8th||3,000 gp||3,200 gp||—||—|
|9th||3,825 gp||4,050 gp||—||—|
|* Caster level is equal to class level –3.
Prices assume that the scroll was made at the minimum caster level. The cost to create a scroll is half the base price.
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. Market value is double this creation cost. 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.
|Spell Level||Cleric, Druid, Wizard||Sorcerer||Bard||Paladin, Ranger*|
|0||375 gp||375 gp||375 gp||—|
|1st||750 gp||750 gp||750 gp||750 gp|
|2nd||4,500 gp||6,000 gp||6,000 gp||6,000 gp|
|3rd||11,250 gp||13,500 gp||15,750 gp||15,750 gp|
|4th||21,000 gp||24,000 gp||30,000 gp||30,000 gp|
|* Caster level is equal to class level –3.
Prices assume that the wand was made at the minimum caster level. The cost to create a wand is half the base price.
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.
Time Required Crafting a wondrous item requires 1 day for each 1,000 gp of the base price.
Feat(s) Required: Craft Wondrous Item.
In folklore, a major part of any magic item’s mystique is the tale of its creation. With the dynamic magic item creation system, the crafting of magic items becomes a quick but interesting story in which the whole party can participate. Items created in this way have unusual properties that lend them character and remind the PCs of the choices they made during item creation.
Along with adding flavor to the crafting of magic items, this system changes the average cost of magic item creation to be variable—generally more expensive for a single creator, and possibly less expensive for a group that works together. The standard system for the creation of magic items leads to automatic successes during crafting, and given enough days of downtime, it can lead to a wild power imbalance between PCs who opt into the crafting system and all other characters. The system presented here encourages characters to work together to play out the story of the item’s creation while also adding unique touches to the resulting item.
For groups that prefer a more in-depth experience, replace the required skill checks below with roleplaying scenes.
The magic item creation system in this section divides the creation of magic items (other than potions and scrolls) into a series of challenges that the creators try to overcome. These challenges represent either setbacks or opportunities in the course of the creation process. The first and final challenges in the process are the same for every item: preparing the vessel and completing the item.
Between those steps, the characters face a number of random challenges based on the total market price of the item. The process includes one additional challenge per 5,000 gp in the item’s market price (minimum 1), though the GM could increase or decrease the number. Having more challenges means it’s more likely that an item will have unexpected properties, for good or ill. It also makes the item’s creation more expensive or time consuming on average for less skilled characters, and conversely the process will likely be cheaper and faster for a highly skilled party.
Each challenge the PCs face represents a setback or opportunity in the magic item creation process. This system assumes that the PCs involved are gathering exotic ingredients, searching through the notes of others who have crafted similar items, and dealing with unexpected mystical variables. It allows the entire party to participate, so anyone who wishes to help counts as a creator, and only one creator needs to have the required item creation feat.
Each challenge presents two tasks. One creator can choose a single task to attempt, or two creators can each choose to do a different task. This choice of tasks to attempt must be made before rolling any associated checks. Creators can’t take 10 or 20 (even with bardic knowledge or skill mastery) or benefit from aid another on item creation tasks.
Some tasks don’t require checks, but present other conditions for success. If a creator takes on such a task, it must be completed before attempting a task that involves a check.
If the creators decide to attempt both tasks for a given challenge, each task must be attempted by a different creator. For instance, when faced with a sesquipedalian elucidation challenge, a wizard might pull out his dictionary and attempt a Linguistics check, while a rogue might choose to make up her own big words and attempt a Use Magic Device check. The number of tasks attempted and their success or failure determines the outcome of the challenge, as detailed below.
|One Task Attempted||Both Tasks Attempted||Challenge Result|
|—||Succeed at both||Critical success|
|Succeed||Succeed at one and fail the other by less than 5||Success|
|Fail||Succeed at one and fail the other by 5 or more||Failure|
|—||Fail both||Critical failure|
The stat block for a challenge includes a short description and the following sections.
Tasks: These are the options a creator can choose from when trying to complete the challenge. They contain only short titles, and the GM should interpret the specifics in an interesting way that makes sense based on the story.
Results: These entries cover the consequences of success or failure. Use the results from only one category; a critical success doesn’t also give the benefits of a normal success, and a critical failure doesn’t also impose the effects of a normal failure.
The default cost for item creation with this method is 85% of the item’s market value. Various challenges can raise and lower this amount. A party encountering and critically succeeding at a large number of challenges can likely bring the cost below 50%.
You must purchase weapons, armor, and other items that require masterwork or ingredient components separately to begin the process. Subtract those costs from the item’s market value for the purposes of all cost calculations (though not for the purposes of the required creation time or number of challenges encountered).
Before attempting the first challenge, the PCs purchase the initial materials by spending 25% of the item’s market price. As part of the final challenge, the PCs must pay the remaining amount, accounting for any adjustments.
The PCs can abandon an item at any time. They don’t have to pay the remaining amount, but they can’t use the materials from one attempt on another item.
The default amount of time it takes to create an item with this system is the same as in the normal item creation rules. The process can’t be accelerated by increasing check DCs as with the normal rules.
Space the challenges out evenly. For instance, having four challenges for a 10,000 gp item (two base, two random) means having a challenge at the beginning, another after 3 days of work, the third challenge 7 days in, and the final on day 10.
The first challenge, preparing the vessel, sets some base statistics for the new magic item. Further challenges can cause adjustments to the magic item. The GM can create her own challenges, and should consider the DCs of the challenge’s tasks when deciding adjustments. Challenges with lower DCs should typically have benefits that merely avoid negative adjustments, while challenges with higher DCs should be more likely to add beneficial adjustments.
Cost: Challenges that adjust the cost increase or decrease the crafting cost by increments of 5% of the final market price. The cost can go over 100%, meaning the item would cost more to make than its market price. The final cost can never be lower than the initial 25% investment; the characters can’t get a refund of that expenditure.
Time: Challenges may add or subtract the number of remaining days of work required to create the item. When this happens, adjust the timing of challenges accordingly. The total number of days of work can never decrease below 1, nor can it decrease below the number of days the characters have already spent crafting the item. For example, if on day 3 of a 5-day process a successful challenge decreases the time by 1 day, the final challenge will happen on day 4 instead. But if the result says to decrease the time by 3 days, the PC is instead able to attempt the final challenge immediately.
Perks, Quirks, and Flaws: A challenge may add a beneficial perk, a somewhat neutral quirk, or a detrimental flaw to the item (see pages 187–191). These three types of adjustments give an item a distinct flavor that sets it apart from others of its kind. The GM should secretly roll for perks, quirks, and flaws as they occur, rerolling duplicate or contradictory results. Detect magic and identify typically don’t reveal an item’s perks, quirks, and flaws; analyze dweomer does, though only once the item is complete.
Destruction: A few challenges can, if critically failed, destroy the in-progress item, which costs the PCs their current investment. Such challenges come with enticing benefits for critically succeeding, making them potentially worth the risk.
The following two challenges bookend the dynamic magic item creation process. Preparing the vessel is always the first challenge, and completing the item is always last.
You must create or prepare an item to handle the magic you intend to instill within it.
Critical Success You have a superlative and efficient vessel. Set the base cost at 75% of the market price, and set the item’s creation time to 1 day per 2,000 gp of the item’s market price.
Success You have a satisfactory vessel. Set the base cost at 85% of the market price, and set the item’s creation time to 1 day per 1,000 gp of the item’s market price.
Failure You have a flawed vessel. Set the base cost at 100% of the market price, set the item’s creation time to 1 day per 500 gp of the item’s market price, and add one flaw.
Critical Failure The vessel is destroyed.
You put the finishing touches on the item.
Improvise Use Magic Device DC 15 + item’s caster level
Provide the Requirements Meet all the item’s prerequisites
Critical Success You complete the item with a masterful flourish. Reduce the item’s cost by 10%.
Success You have completed the item.
Failure The item is destroyed.
Critical Failure —
The Gamemaster should roll on the table below to determine which challenges the player characters face while making the item. Alternatively, the GM can instead choose a particular challenge based on the circumstances of the campaign.
|37–40||Historic stumbling block|
|49–52||Ingredients develop quasi-sentience|
|57–60||Ley line convergence|
The item’s components have mutated, and so has your item, evolving in strange new ways.
Analyze Mutation Knowledge (dungeoneering) DC 25
Critical Success Mutation proves helpful. 1 perk.
Success Mutation proves harmless. 1 quirk.
Failure Mutation proves harmful. 1 flaw.
Critical Failure Mutation spirals out of control. Item switches to a random item of the same type or slot, but of lesser value. If none exists, the item is instead destroyed; you lose 25% of the item’s market price and must start over.
One or more elements of your item’s design are particularly difficult to execute.
Blueprint and Plan Knowledge (engineering) DC 25
Critical Success Challenge exceeded. –1 day, –10% cost.
Success Challenge overcome. No adjustment.
Failure Construction proved costly. +2 days, +5% cost.
Critical Failure Construction botched. +15% cost, 1 flaw.
Two respected sources disagree vehemently on the next step in the process.
Critical Success Best of both worlds. –3 days, –5% cost.
Success Contradiction resolved. No adjustment.
Failure Misstep. +3 days, +5% cost.
Critical Failure Worst of both worlds. +7 days, +10% cost.
You’re having trouble figuring out where to find the information you need across multiple volumes.
Follow the Footnotes Linguistics DC 20
Critical Success Perfect coordination. –3 days, –5% cost.
Success Excellent notes. –1 day.
Failure Lost in paperwork. +3 days.
Critical Failure Series of missteps. +3 days, 1 flaw.
An unwanted interloper shows up while you’re trying to work, making it challenging to concentrate.
Critical Success Unexpected helpfulness. –1 day, –5% cost.
Success Short chat. No adjustment.
Failure Distracted. +1 day, 1 quirk.
Critical Failure Offended visitor interferes. +2 days, +5% cost, 1 flaw.
In order to create the item, you need to harness a particular raw emotion.
Critical Success Power from emotional surge. –5% cost, 1 perk.
Success Harnessed emotions. No adjustment.
Failure Tepid emotions. +1 day, +5% cost, 1 quirk.
Critical Failure Interference from opposing emotions. +3 days, +10% cost, 1 flaw.
A sudden surge of energy builds up within your item, threatening to damage or destroy it.
Critical Success Overload leveraged. –2 days, –10% cost, 1 perk.
Success Overload diverted. 1 quirk.
Failure Expensive damage. +7 days, +15% cost.
Critical Failure Eldritch explosion. Item destroyed. Creators take 1d6 points of damage per caster level of the item.
A shady figure approaches you with an offer that would make completing your item faster and cheaper.
Discern True Worth Sense Motive DC 20
Critical Success It actually worked! –1 day, –5% cost, 1 quirk.
Success Avoid mischief. No adjustment.
Failure Not exactly as advertised. –1 day, –5% cost, 2 flaws.
Critical Failure Completely duped. +1 day, +5% cost, 2 flaws.
Some of the most important components of your item are extremely fragile.
Critical Success Flawless components. –10% cost.
Success Undamaged components. No adjustment.
Failure Damaged components. +1 day, +5% cost.
Critical Failure Item destroyed. Lose 25% of the item’s market price and start over.
Your creation techniques have run across a challenging difficulty experienced by many past crafters.
Learn from History Knowledge (history) DC 25
Critical Success An amazing workaround overcomes the issue. –3 days, –5% cost.
Success Stumble avoided. –1 day.
Failure Doomed to repeat the same mistake. +3 days, +10% cost.
Critical Failure Misapplied techniques result in disaster. +7 days, +10% cost, 1 flaw.
One or more of the necessary ingredients is flagrantly illegal, and needs to be acquired through criminal means.
Entreat the Black Market Knowledge (local) DC 25
Smuggle It Yourself Sleight of Hand DC 30
Critical Success Sell surplus to a fence. –10% cost.
Success Found just enough. No adjustment.
Failure Failed procurement. +5 days, +5% cost, 1 quirk.
Critical Failure Arrested and fined. +15% cost, creator attempting smuggling is arrested and sentenced to jail time or escapes custody and is on the run.
Critical ingredients were infested by an exotic rot or colony of vermin, rendering them unusable.
Procure Inexpensive Replacements Appraise DC 25
Purge the Infestation Heal DC 30
Critical Success Seller’s market. –5% cost.
Success Crisis averted. No adjustment.
Failure Gouged on prices. +10% cost.
Critical Failure Infestation spreads into item. +5% cost, 1 quirk, 1 flaw.
Somehow, one or more of your item’s components have developed a limited intelligence.
Coax Ingredients to Greater Performance Handle Animal DC 30
Critical Success Item proceeds as normal but becomes an intelligent item of your alignment, and it likes you.
Success Ingredients work with you. 1 perk if you coaxed the ingredients; –5% cost if you coerced the ingredients.
Failure Ingredients rebel against you and escape or sabotage the item. +15% cost, 1 flaw.
Critical Failure Item proceeds as normal but becomes an intelligent item of a contrary alignment, and it hates you.
Your item’s creation draws the attention of a wandering spirit with some affinity for the item.
Exorcise Spirit Knowledge (religion) DC 25
Critical Success Spirit’s release. –3 days, –5% cost, 1 perk.
Success No adjustment for exorcising the spirit; –1 day, –5% cost, 1 quirk for seeking the spirit’s aid.
Failure Spirit’s interference. +3 days, +5% cost, 1 quirk.
Critical Failure Spirit’s wrath. Item is cursed.
The item’s creation is dependent on the energy of intersecting ley lines or of another magical location.
Find the Perfect Spot Knowledge (geography) DC 25
Critical Success Auspicious convergence. –2 days, 1 perk.
Success Satisfactory location. No adjustment.
Failure Misaligned location. +3 days, 1 quirk.
Critical Failure Deleterious convergence. +10% cost, 1 flaw.
The magical auras of several components thrum with a strange resonance whenever they are near each other.
Critical Success Resonant power revealed. –1 day, 1 perk.
Success Resonance limited. 1 quirk.
Failure Resonance interferes. +1 day, +5% cost, 1 quirk.
Critical Failure Out of control! +3 days, +10% cost, 1 flaw.
You realize that your item’s creation is influenced by planar convergences or other peculiarities.
Consult a Planar Orrery Knowledge (planes) DC 25
Critical Success Perfectly aligned. –3 days, –5% cost, 1 perk.
Success Well aligned. –1 day.
Failure Poorly aligned. +1 day, 1 quirk, 1 flaw.
Critical Failure Catastrophically aligned. +3 days, +5% cost, 1 flaw.
You uncovered a reference that a rare book located in a large library will help with the item’s creation.
Check the Card Catalog Linguistics DC 20
Scan the Shelves Perception DC 30
Critical Success Expedient search. –3 days.
Success Found it! –1 day.
Failure Lengthy search. +3 days.
Critical Failure Huge delays and fees. +10 days, +5% cost.
You suddenly realize that you don’t have enough stock of an important ingredient.
Improvise a Substitution Craft (alchemy) DC 30
Search for More Survival DC 25
Critical Success Amazing combination. –5% cost, 1 perk.
Success Sufficient components. No adjustment.
Failure Missing component. +10% cost.
Critical Failure Terrible mix. +5% cost, 1 flaw.
Your item requires a king’s hair, a prince’s kiss, or some other participation from high-ranking nobility.
Exploit Noble Ties Knowledge (nobility) DC 25
Critical Success Regal synergy. 1 perk.
Success No adjustment for noble ties; 1 quirk for falsified ingredients.
Failure Introduced impurities. 1 flaw.
Critical Failure Impurities and ostracism. +3 days, 1 flaw, creator attempting to exploit noble ties is ostracized at court.
The instructions for your next component are nearly impossible to understand due to abstruse language.
Critical Success Master of erudition. –3 days, –5% cost.
Success Instructions elucidated. –1 day.
Failure Nonplussed. +3 days, +5% cost.
Critical Failure Confounded. +7 days, +10% cost.
Partway through the creation process, you notice a flaw in the item’s physical design.
Disassemble and Adjust Disable Device DC 30
Critical Success Surprising benefits. +1 day, –10% cost, 1 perk.
Success Meticulousness pays off. +1 day, –5% cost.
Failure Insurmountable flaw. +3 days, +5% cost, 1 flaw.
Critical Failure Item destroyed in disassembly. Lose 25% of the item’s market price and start over.
You are struck with a sudden stroke of brilliance and alter the creation process.
Critical Success Incredible breakthrough. –2 days, –5% cost, 1 perk.
Success Breakthrough. 1 perk for improved item; –2 days for improved methodology.
Failure False lead. +1 day, 1 quirk.
Critical Failure Terrible idea. +2 days, +5% cost, 1 flaw.
To generate a class-specific challenge, determine which of the following challenges applies to at least one creator working on the item and pick one randomly from among those options. If none of these applies, choose a fitting challenge from the previous section (such as illegal ingredients for a rogue or rare reference for a wizard).
Crisis of faith Divine spellcaster with a patron deity
Sign from the gods Divine spellcaster with a patron deity
During the creation process, you experience ill omens from your patron deity that make you question your very faith.
Critical Success Perseverance pays off. 1 perk.
Success Crisis overcome. No adjustment.
Failure Shaken faith. +1 day, +5% cost, 1 quirk.
Critical Failure Patron’s ire. +3 days, +10% cost, 1 flaw.
Something within you emerges at an inopportune time and threatens the item’s creation.
Critical Success Instability exploited. –5% cost, 1 quirk.
Success Instability avoided. No adjustment.
Failure Erratic item. +5% cost, 1 quirk.
Critical Failure Unstable item. +5% cost, 1 quirk, 1 flaw.
During a stage of the item’s creation in a natural setting, there’s an unexpected natural disaster.
Critical Success Shaped by the disaster’s power. –10% cost, 1 quirk, 1 perk.
Success Danger avoided. 1 quirk for harnessing the power; no adjustment for precautions.
Failure Damaging disaster. +7 days, +10% cost.
Critical Failure Disastrous consequences. Item destroyed. Lose 25% of the item’s market price and start over. Creators take 1d6 points of damage per item’s caster level of an energy type appropriate to the disaster.
During a stage of the item’s creation in a natural setting, a rare wonder of nature reveals itself.
Critical Success Wondrous boon. –10% cost, 1 perk.
Success Inspiring wonder. –5% cost, 1 quirk.
Failure Ephemeral wonder. +1 day, 1 quirk.
Critical Failure Distracting wonder. +7 days, +5% cost, 1 quirk.
Otherworldly beings are tampering with your item’s creation in an attempt to assist you.
Critical Success Incredible Aid. –6 days, –10% cost, 1 quirk.
Success Effective Aid. –3 days, –5% cost, 1 quirk.
Failure Ineffective Aid. 1 quirk.
Critical Failure Disaster. +3 days, +10% cost, 1 quirk, 1 flaw.
Otherworldly beings are meddling with your item’s creation, whether from near or afar.
Critical Success Otherworldly repairs. –3 days, –10% cost, 1 quirk.
Success Inconsequential interference. No adjustment.
Failure Unrelenting interference. +5% cost, 1 quirk.
Critical Failure Severe interference. +3 days, +5% cost, 1 quirk, 1 flaw.
A surge of beneficial power springs up from unknown depths within you.
Critical Success Incredible surge. –3 days, –5% cost, 1 perk.
Success Surging boost. –1 day, –5% cost.
Failure Squandered surge. 1 quirk.
Critical Failure Overload. +5% cost, 1 quirk, 1 flaw.
During the creation process, you receive signs that indicate your patron’s favor.
Donate to the Faith Donate 5% of the item’s market price or more to the patron’s interests
Critical Success Divine intervention. Halve the remaining number of days, 1 perk.
Success Favor’s blessing. 1 perk.
Failure Ingratitude’s comeuppance. 1 flaw.
Critical Failure —
Perks are beneficial adjustments to an item, often gained from critical success at a challenge. The strongest perks tend to have the highest numbers on the table below. Reroll duplicates and perks that don’t fit the item. Feel free to invent your own perks or apply an appropriate perk without rolling.
1 Creator must have levels in a divine spellcasting class and have a patron deity.
2 Item must be one that delivers effects upon touch, such as a staff or a wand.
3 Item must be a weapon.
4 Item must be a weapon, armor, or an activated item.
5 Item must be activated by a command word.
Draconic: Determine a random type of chromatic or metallic dragon. The item has a sheen in the color of that dragon’s scales, and grants its bearer 3 points of energy resistance against the damage type that dragon’s breath weapon deals.
Durable: The item has twice as many hit points as it normally would.
Eager: The item always wants to be worn or held by its owner. The owner can draw an eager weapon or handheld item as a swift action, don eager armor in half the time, and don any other eager item as a swift action, though it takes twice as long as normal to remove eager armor and 1 full round to remove or stow any other eager item. The DC to disarm or steal an eager item increases by 5.
Egoistic: All of the bearer’s feats and class features that affect a specific weapon or weapon group change to affect the egoistic weapon’s type or group as long as she possesses the weapon. If the bearer can specify more than one type or group, she can choose which weapon or group she retains and which switch to the egoistic weapon’s type or group.
Energetic: The item deals 1 additional point of damage of an energy type randomly determined upon creation. This damage isn’t multiplied on a critical hit.
Energy-Kissed: The item is immune to a random type of energy, but doesn’t grant this immunity to its bearer.
Exemplar: The item is a perfect example of its kind, granting advantages against similar items. Exemplar weapons grant a +1 AC bonus against other weapons of that type (such as longswords), armors grant a +1 bonus on attack rolls against enemies wearing that type of armor (such as breastplates), and activated items grant a +1 bonus on saving throws against other items of that exact function (so a staff of fire would grant its benefit against other staves of fire, but not against any other staves).
Faithful: The item’s caster level is treated as 1 higher when its effects benefit the faithful of its creator’s patron deity or when used against worshipers of one faith hated by that deity (selected by the creator if the patron hates multiple faiths). The item also gains a +1 bonus on damage rolls against hated worshipers. If more than one creator qualifies, the creators must choose one of their patrons.
Healthful: The bearer of this item regains 1 additional hit point from any magical effect that causes her to regain hit points.
Impervious: The item’s hardness is 5 higher than usual.
Inscribed: The item’s bearer can spend a full-round action to inscribe a hidden message up to 25 words long on the item’s surface. This message remains invisible until either the next time a creature holds the item or a specific passphrase is spoken. Inscribing a new message erases the previous one.
Lightweight: The item weighs half as much as normal.
Lucky: Each day, there’s a 50% chance the item grants its bearer a +1 luck bonus on a random type of saving throw for that day.
Lunar: While exposed to moonlight, this item causes any enemy adjacent to the bearer to take a –1 penalty on saving throws against sleep and similar effects.
Mindlinked: The item is linked to the owner, who can command it mentally. The action cost is the same, but it doesn’t make noise and the activation is purely mental.
Potent: The item’s caster level is 1 higher than intended.
Resizing: This item automatically resizes itself to match the size of its bearer. The size change takes 1 minute.
Sacred: The item glows with the image of its creator’s holy or unholy symbol, counting as a holy or unholy symbol for all purposes. If more than one creator qualifies, the creators choose one of their patrons’ holy or unholy symbols.
Shielding: This item negates the first magic missile directed at it or its bearer each day. If a caster directs multiple missiles at the bearer simultaneously, reduce the number of missiles that strike the bearer by one.
Skillful: The item grants a +1 competence bonus on checks with a random skill.
Solar: While exposed to sunlight, this item causes an enemy adjacent to the bearer to become dazzled for as long as the two remain adjacent.
Spying: The item transmits sensory information to its owner, as if it were the sensor for a clairaudience/clairvoyance spell. The owner must concentrate on receiving this information instead of her own visual or auditory information as a standard action to gain this benefit, and the effect becomes inert while she isn’t concentrating. Determine randomly upon the item’s creation whether the item relays visual or auditory information.
Tentacled Touch: As the aberrant quirk, but the tentacles can extend, allowing the item to deliver any touch effects with an additional 5 feet of reach. This does not increase the weapon reach of a magic weapon.
Unassuming: The item registers as though it were non-magical, as though affected by a magic aura spell.
Quirks are oddities that make an item unusual in a way that’s generally neither positive nor negative, or may be a little of both. The more beneficial or double-edged quirks are higher on the following table. Feel free to invent your own quirks or apply an appropriate quirk without rolling.
* Must be an activated item.
Aberrant: The item has eyes, maws, and tentacles, though this has no additional effect.
Bass: The bearer’s voice deepens an octave.
Bloodthirsty: The item shakes slightly whenever blood is spilled within 20 feet of it.
Color-Altering: The color of the bearer’s eyes, hair, or skin changes when she carries or wears the item.
Convergent: The item is connected to another plane, bringing its bearer into telepathic contact with an otherworldly entity. The entity can communicate with the bearer to serve its own ends. Choose an appropriate entity or choose randomly from among outsider subtypes. The entity shouldn’t be a being that can cause harm to the bearer through telepathic contact, such as a star-spawn of Cthulhu.
Decorous: The item activates only if the user says “please” and ceases function for 1 hour if the user doesn’t thank it afterward.
Dirty: The item is always covered in dirt or mud, no matter how often it is washed or cleaned.
Flaw: Roll on the table of flaws instead.
Giant-Eared: The item’s bearer’s ears increase to five times their original length.
Glittering: The item leaves a trail of glowing, magical motes as it moves. They dissipate after 1 round. This effect can be activated or deactivated with a command word.
Infested: The item is infested with vermin or other Fine creatures that do not interfere with its operation or harm the bearer.
Junky: The item looks extremely old, worn, rusted, or otherwise of low quality, hiding its true power.
Levitating: This item always floats slightly above the ground when laid down, dropped, or otherwise unattended.
Loyal: The item offers a perk (determined randomly upon creation) when used by one of its creators, but it presents a flaw (determined randomly upon creation) for all other users.
Magnificent: The item looks extremely powerful and valuable, even if it isn’t.
Molting: Scaled skin covers this item, and the item occasionally sheds the skin and grows a new one.
Mood Coloration: The item changes colors to reflect the mood of the bearer. Each item has its own mapping of colors to emotions, but someone with knowledge of the item’s quirk and its mapping who can see the color change gains a +2 circumstance bonus on Sense Motive checks against the bearer.
Noisy: The item makes an odd though not particularly loud noise when in use, such as a mace that squeaks when it’s swung.
Nose-Enlarging: The bearer’s nose becomes five times longer than usual.
Perk: Roll on the table of perks instead.
Racially Attuned: The item’s bearer counts as the race of one of the item’s creators (determined randomly upon creation) as well as her own.
Slimy: The item is covered in putrid slime, which seeps out to cover the bearer as well. The bearer gains a +5 circumstance bonus on Escape Artist checks, on combat maneuver checks to break grapples, and to CMD against grapples (these bonuses do not stack with grease or other similar effects), but takes a –2 penalty on Acrobatics, Disable Device, and Disguise checks, as well as on Diplomacy and Handle Animal checks except against creatures that aren’t bothered by putrid slime.
Soprano: The bearer’s voice rises by an octave.
Spiritbound: The item’s reality is imprinted onto its intended owner (creator’s choice), such that the item simply doesn’t exist outside of that owner’s possession.
The item can’t be lost or stolen, and it also can’t be sold or transferred.
Unpredictable: When activating the item, roll 1d6. On a 1 or 2, the DC and caster level of all the item’s effects are treated as 1 lower for this activation; on a 3 or 4, there is no adjustment; and on a 5 or 6, the DC and caster level of all the item’s effects are treated as 1 higher for this activation. If this puts the item below the minimum caster level for the intended effect, the activation fails but any charge or daily use is still consumed.
Unusually Colored: The item is an odd color for an item of its type, such as a sword that is bright pink.
Verdant: Leaves, moss, and vines cover the item, and leaves sprout from the targets of the item’s effects.
Wet: The item and bearer are constantly soaking wet. This imposes a –1 penalty on saves against environmental cold, cold effects, and electricity effects, but grants a +1 bonus on saves against environmental heat, fire effects, and catching on fire.
Flaws are adjustments to an item that are detrimental in nature. Most are similar to curses, but not nearly as damaging or restrictive to the bearer. Whenever a challenge would add a flaw to an item, roll on the following table. In general, the more harmful flaws have higher numbers on the table. Reroll duplicates and flaws that do not fit the item. Feel free to invent your own flaws or simply choose an appropriate one.
Accumulating Flaws: The more flaws the item has, the more likely it is to become cursed. For each flaw beyond the first, add a cumulative +5 modifier to the d% roll until the item gains a curse (after which the +5 modifiers no longer apply). When you decide to create a new flaw or choose an appropriate one rather than rolling, you should still roll first to determine whether the item gains a curse instead.
1 Item must be a weapon.
2 Creator must have levels in a divine spellcasting class and have a patron deity.
3 Item must be a held item.
Addictive: The owner does not want to give up the item under any circumstances, and suffers the effects of severe addiction when denied access to the item.
Allergic: The item is especially sensitive to the presence of a particular type of creature, and ceases all magical functions whenever it is within 30 feet of such a creature. To determine the creature type, roll randomly or choose an appropriate type on the ranger’s favored enemy list.
Anomalous: The item is instead another random magic item of the same type or slot and the same or similar cost as the intended item.
Backlashing: When attacking with or activating the item, the user takes 1d6 points of damage from magical energy backlash.
Cursed: The item gains a curse. Roll to determine the curse, or choose an appropriate curse.
Energy Weakened: The item is particularly vulnerable to one random energy type. That energy type ignores the item’s hardness and deals double damage to the item (but not to the item’s bearer). Determine the energy type randomly, or choose one thematically tied to the challenge that caused the item to have the weakness.
Enticing: Others covet the item and seek to possess it. Upon touching or examining the item, any creature that does not possess the item must succeed at a DC 20 Will save or covet the item, seeking to gain it by whatever means is most expedient and advantageous, though it need not do so immediately. After one attempt to gain the item (or a successful save), a creature is immune to the item’s enticing effect for 24 hours.
Extremely Infested: As the infested quirk, but the vermin or other creatures crawl over the bearer, requiring her to succeed at concentration checks (DC = 15 + the spell’s level) to cast spells or use other abilities that require concentration.
Faerie-Lit: The bearer is constantly surrounded by colorful light, as if affected by a faerie fire spell.
Fragile: The item has half as many hit points as normal.
Gluttonous: The bearer must gorge upon 10 times as much food as normal or suffer the effects of starvation, ignoring effects that reduce the amount of food required (such as ring of sustenance).
Heavy: The item weighs twice as much as normal.
Obedient: The bearer takes a –2 penalty on all Will saves against effects that exercise mental control. This includes all mind-affecting charm or compulsion effects, as well as any effect the GM deems appropriate.
Paranoid: The bearer no longer trusts anyone and must attempt saving throws against all abilities and spells but her own, even those that are harmless.
Proud: The bearer can’t grant or gain any benefit from the aid another action.
Pungent: The item emits a foul and obvious odor. No mundane means can remove the stench, which overcomes even magical effects such as negate aroma.
Singing: The item constantly sings in a loud belting soprano or tenor. Silence and other such spells can suppress the sound as normal.
Slippery: The creature holding the item must succeed at a DC 15 Reflex save each round or drop the item.
Slothful: The bearer must rest for 12 hours each day to gain the benefits of a full night’s rest, ignoring effects that reduce the amount of sleep needed (such as ring of sustenance). This can affect the bearer’s ability to prepare spells or regain spell slots.
Uncivilized: The item doesn’t function in any area that would count as urban terrain.
Vulnerable: The item has a hardness that is 5 lower than usual (to a minimum of 0).
Wrathful: In combat, the bearer’s mind is clouded by rage, and she must succeed at a DC 20 Will save to use any ability that can’t be used during a barbarian rage. This doesn’t allow a barbarian to use those abilities when she is in a rage.
Zealous: The item functions only for worshipers of the creator’s patron deity. If more than one creator qualifies, roll randomly between their patron deities.
Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook. Copyright 2009, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: Jason Bulmahn, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Equipment (OGL) © 2012, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors: Dennis Baker, Jesse Benner, Benjamin Bruck, Ross Byers, Brian J. Cortijo, Ryan Costello, Mike Ferguson, Matt Goetz, Jim Groves, Tracy Hurley, Matt James, Jonathan H. Keith, Michael Kenway, Hal MacLean, Jason Nelson, Tork Shaw, Owen KC Stephens, Russ Taylor, and numerous RPG Superstar contributors