Crafting Magic Implements

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When all you have is a hammer, all your problems look like nails.

Calculating Cost

To determine the cost of a magic implement, you must add up the following:

  • The cost of the non-magical base item
  • The cost of any dweomermetal used in the implement's construction
  • The cost of the enhancement bonus
  • The cost of the sum of all magic properties
Enhancement Bonus or Magic Properties Cost
+1 2,300
+2 10,000
+3 25,000
+4 56,000
+5 180,000
+6 (epic) 755,000
+7 (epic) 2,300,000
+8 (epic) 7,200,000
+9 (epic) 22,050,000

An Implement is a unique physical object which is wielded in combat by Alchemists, Bards, Druids, Sorcerers or Wizards. Implements are distinctive items, things that are idiomatic, such as a jade hair-pin a Sorceress whips out of her hair to focus her spells, or a mighty longsword wielded by a grey-bearded mage while he banishes terrible monsters.

Implements are symbols of the wielder's attitude towards the world. As such, they are very personal, and should be chosen carefully. For example, a dagger as an implement suggests that the magic-user is violent, and seeks conflict. Similarly, a shield as an implement implies the wielder seeks shelter and security. A wand suggests the wielder is a wielder of (typically offensive) magic, while a book might suggest that the arcanist is interested in the study and knowledge of the nature of magic.

There are no restrictions on what can be selected as an implement except for the following:

  • The implement must be an inanimate object.
  • The implement should be symbolic of how the caster wishes to interact with the world around her.

Note that each caster can choose how their implement symbolizes them, describing how it fits their personality however they wish. You are not locked into the fact that daggers are symbols of violence. You may decide that a dagger, in your case, symbolizes an ability to cut through problems, or to remain dangerous while appearing small. While others may interpret your implement using more traditional symbolism, it is more important that you believe in the symbolism you have chosen for yourself. As a magic user, the world cannot define you; you define the world.

Only Alchemists, Bards, Druids, Sorcerers or Wizards may use Implements. An implement can be any object that can be held in one or both hands, that the character wishes to designate as their iconic tool of power and destruction.

Basic implements provide no benefit, but can be enchanted with Enhancement bonuses and magic properties.

The caster level or effective caster level required to make a Magic Implement is double the implement's absolute bonus (see below). Thus, it requires a second level creator to make a +1 Implement, fourth level to make a +2, etc. As always, caster level can either be a character's 'native' caster level if they actually cast spells, or their Effective Caster Level they gain from having the Creator feat and ranks in either Divinity, Naturalism, Reason, Spellcraft, Spycraft or Warfare. Note that even spell casters have to have the Creator feat to make magic items.

Allowed Enchantments

A magic implement is enhanced to cause spells to strike more accurately and deliver more damage. Magic implements have three types of improvements that may be applied to them:

Implement Enhancement Bonus

You can enchant an implement with an enhancement bonus, which is added to all to-hit rolls required by any spell or spell-like ability you perform. As long as the spell or spell-like ability requires a to-hit roll, the enhancement bonus is also added to the damage of the spell effect against those targets which required a to-hit roll (but not any additional targets which are affected without the need for a to-hit roll). Implement enhancement bonuses do not apply to spells or spell-like abilities when the spell does not require a to-hit roll, nor do they apply to supernatural or extraordinary abilities, nor do they apply to melee or ranged weapon attacks.

Heroic tier characters (characters from level 1 to level 20) can wield an implement with an enhancement bonus up to +5. Epic tier characters (characters level 21 to level 35) can wield an implement with an enhancement bonus up to +9.

Any attempt to wield an implement more magically enchanted than your level allows results in the character taking a non-proficiency penalty with the implement (-4 to attack rolls), and the possibility of even more dire consequences (such as insanity, or being dominated by the implement's own magical will).

At level 36 and higher (apotheosis) all restrictions on enhancement bonuses are lifted, at which point the implement may be enchanted with the highest implement enhancement bonus that the character can afford.

Magic Implement Properties

Magic Implement Properties are additional traits, bonuses or effects the magic implement grants or performs on top of the normal functionality of that implement. Magic implement properties each have a cost associated with them that is measured in pluses similar to the implement's enhancement bonus. The cost of a magic implement is determined by adding the pluses listed for each magic implement property to its base magic enhancement bonus. This is called the implement's Absolute Bonus (see below for details). The Absolute Bonus is used to determine the cost of the implement.

Implements must have at least a +1 enhancement bonus before any magic implement properties may be added to them. The limit to the total value of all implement properties that may be added to as implement is +5 pluses worth of properties for characters level 20 or below (heroic tier), or +9 pluses-worth of properties for characters levels 21 to 35 (epic tier). At level 36 and higher all restrictions are lifted, and an implement may be enchanted in any way the character can afford and the referee will allow.

Upgrading and Changing Magic Weapon Properties

Enhancement bonuses cannot be removed from a magic implement once applied, but the enhancement bonus can be increased.

Magic implement properties can be removed from a magic implement, replaced with altogether new properties, or upgraded to a higher version of the existing magic implement property (when applicable). The cost to do so is the difference in cost between the old Absolute Bonus and the new Absolute Bonus. However, if the Absolute Bonus goes down, there is no refund of money unless you can convince the craftsman performing the alterations why he should actually pay you for the privilege of doing that work. Performing magic implement property swaps and upgrades takes one full day of work per point of change in the Absolute Bonus, with a minimum of 1 full day. Even if this work isn't performed by a player, the player must wait for the alterations to be performed, and they cannot make use of the implement while the craftsman is working on it.

A magic implement which is altered in such a way as to violate the limitations of the campaign level will inflict a non-proficiency penalty on the wielder, or worse.

Dweomermetals

As with weapons and armor, implements can be made from fantastic materials as well, such as the classic mithril and adamantine. In all cases, only ONE material may be used in the construction of a single implement, even after the Apotheosis at level 36.

Special Rule: Absolute Bonus

By adding together the plus values of the Enhancement Bonus and Magical Properties of an implement, you determine the implement's Absolute Bonus. For example, a +2 Keen Orb has a +3 Absolute Bonus, which is the sum of the +2 enhancement bonus and the +1 cost of the Keen property. Dweomermetals do not alter the Absolute Bonus of an implement, though they do alter the cost. The Absolute Bonus + the special material costs (if any) + the cost of the non-magical version of the implement itself = the total magic item cost of the implement. The maximum possible Absolute Bonus of any magic implement, weapon, armor or shield is +18, though the maximum allowed in a given campaign varies by the campaign's current player level (as described above). At level 36, all restrictions are lifted, and implements, weapons, armors and shields may be enchanted in any way the characters can afford.

Restricted Enchantments

Magic Implements cannot have any other magical enchantments placed on them besides the implement enhancement bonus, implement magic properties and dweomermetals. If an implement is also being utilized as a weapon, the weapon can be enchanted as a weapon with enhancement bonuses and magic properties, though these enchantments do not provide any benefits to the implement when it is being used as an implement. For the sake of heading off questions, a list of what is NOT allowed is provided below.

Other Magic Implement Considerations

Much in the same way that a shield with shield spikes can be enchanted one way as a shield and another way as a weapon, an implement can be enchanted one way as an implement and another way as a weapon or shield. It is even possible to make a shield with shield spikes your implement, and enchant it three ways (as an implement, as a shield and as a weapon). Each 'stack' of enchantments are purchased and maintained independently, and have no effect on the enchantments of the other 'stack'. Each 'stack' will have its own Absolute Bonus, and the cost of the implement is the sum of each stack's costs.

If the implement is made with a dweomermetal, this cost is only paid once for the object, even if it can also be used as a weapon or shield. It gains the benefits granted by the dweomermetal only for the type of object it is being used as at the time. That is, if a dweomermetal offers one kind of bonus to shields, and a different kind of bonus to implements, it only grants the respective bonus when the implement is actually being used as a shield or implement. It does not grant both bonuses simultaneously. Furthermore, the cost of a dweomermetal for an implement which is also a weapon and/or a shield is always the highest cost of the dweomermetal for these possible uses.

Characters wishing to have their implements serve double-use must be proficient in whatever weapon or shield they are choosing, or they will take a non-proficiency penalty to their actions while attempting to use it for anything other than an implement.

Furthermore, implements which are double-use only grant the benefits of one or the other of their stacks in any given round. Namely, if the implement is used as a weapon, it may not be used as an implement until the next round (identical to the way a shield, when used for a shield bash, stops granting its shield bonus to AC until the start of the character's next turn).

An implement is wielded, drawn, sheathed and stowed just like a weapon. An Implement must be wielded in at least one hand to gain the benefits it provides.

Weapons that are made into implements retain their mundane weapon properties, if any, when used as a weapon, but when used as an implement, these properties grant no benefit to the implement. Thus, a heavy whip has inclusive reach when used as a weapon, but would not grant the implement the ability to deliver touch attacks with reach (unless the character has a feat or ability which specifically allows that).

If a shield is designated as an implement, it is important to note that, in any round the implement is used as an implement, the shield bonus to AC (and any enhancement bonuses to the shield AC, magic shield properties, etc.) do not get applied to the character's defenses until the start of his next turn.

Example: A Druid could have a ivory-horned rod as an Implement. Rods are always light maces in addition to their rod powers. The Druid could then enchant the rod as an implement and use it to add bonuses to-hit and damage with any magic-based touch attacks (melee or ranged) he makes. Separately, he can enchant it as a weapon and use it in melee combat to threaten enemies, grant flanks and defend himself, and he can enchant or upgrade the rod itself as a third stack of abilities. If he wishes to spend the money, he can enchant it all three ways. Even if he enchants the rod as both a magical implement, a magic rod and a magic weapon, he may only use it as one of these things each round, losing any benefits the other stacks might provide until the start of his next turn.

Replacing an Implement

If a caster's Implement is lost or destroyed, it must be replaced. You cannot buy a replacement Implement 'off the shelf', since each implement is a unique item. Note that an Implement is intended to be the 'signature' item for a character. The Lightning Rod of Ruin is a specific thing, and if it is destroyed, recreating it takes some time.

To replace an Implement requires the normal amount of time to craft a custom item, plus 1 additional day per 5 caster levels of the implement (round up). This additional time is necessary for the caster to reattune herself to the new implement.

Class-specific Implement Rules

Alchemists, Druids and Sorcerers

Alchemists, Druids and Sorcerers may declare any wield-able object to be their Implement.

Wielding their Implement in one or two hands allows them to focus their magical energies more efficiently. While wielding an Implement, all to-hit rolls made for magical touch attacks (melee or ranged), derived from spells, or class abilities, gain a +1 enhancement bonus to to-hit rolls.

Wizards

Wizards may, if they wish, designate their Bonded Object (if they have one) as their Implement as well. If they designate their Bonded object as their Implement, it must be an object which is wielded, IE, a Ring or an Amulet may not be used unless it is held/wielded in the hand (i.e. taking up the use of that hand).

Bards

Bards may designate their Instruments as their Implement, or they may choose a separate item. If it is a separate item, it is enchanted as normal using the rules above. If their Instrument is used as their Implement, they may wield the implement without needing to draw it, even if the instrument requires two hands to play. However, playing the instrument (to initiate or sustain a performance stance) would preclude the use of the instrument as an implement, with the notable exception of Harmony.

Normally, using your implement as its base object instead of as an implement means it cannot also be used as an implement during the same round. However, Harmony requires that a performance be ongoing in order to use it. Therefore, if their implement is also their instrument, using Harmony does not interrupt their performance, and they may apply the bonuses granted by their implement to their Harmony attack.