Magic Item Crafting Rules
- 1 Magic Item Pricing
- 2 Who Can Create Magic Items?
- 3 Pre-Built Magic Items
- 4 Upgrading Existing Items
- 5 Custom Magic Items
- 5.1 Table: Enchants By Slot
- 5.2 Magic Item Creation
- 5.3 Magic Item Caster Level
- 5.4 Creation Requirements
- 5.5 Magic Item Creation Cost
- 5.6 Making the Creation Check
- 5.7 Magic Item Slots
- 5.8 Available Enchantments For Magic Items
- 5.9 Restricted Enchantments For Magic Items
- 5.10 Magic Item Gold Piece Values
- 5.11 Synergy and Discord
- 5.12 Miscellaneous Cost Modifiers
- 5.13 Stacking Bonuses
- 5.14 Cooperative Crafting
Magic Item Pricing
If you want to buy an item that isn't listed on the Epic Path page (such as something listed on d20pfsrd), you must first get GM approval for the item. If it is approved, use the following pricing model, based on the caster level of the item.
- Any item which grants armor class costs double the listed value for its caster level.
- Any item which grants a bonus to-hit costs quadruple the listed value for its caster level.
- Any slotless item costs triple the listed value for its caster level.
- You cannot buy any item from another site/source that already exists on the Epic Path page.
All of this is a stop-gap until the magic items on the Epic Path page have been built up to the point where we can safely say you cannot buy anything from other sites/sources.
Who Can Create Magic Items?
In Epic Path, any character who has the skills, talents, and resources may create magic items.
- The Paladin praying before an altar, literally sweating blood from the force of her faithful devotion? She's making that amulet with her Divinity.
- The Fighter crisping at an anvil as he welds honest steel to dragon claws in a fire fueled by an elemental? He can use his Warfare for this job.
- The Ranger standing in a forgotten grotto, singing as she weaves a cloak out of dryad hair and assassin-vines? She's using Naturalism.
- The Rogue hiding in a bell tower, stealing chimes from the Great Bell to power her new Chime of Opening? That's Spycraft she's using to steal that magic.
- The Monk meditating under a waterfall, infusing his Gauntlets with the pounding might of the plunging river? He's using his Reason to capture that power.
- And yes, that Wizard casting spells in his tower as he labors over dusty tomes of lore? He's using boring old Spellcraft to get the job done.
They're ALL making things, and there's nothing any more or less magical about any of these methods of production.
Pre-Built Magic Items
Numerous pre-built magic items exist in Pathfinder, and all of those items are available, with GM review and approval, in Epic Path. The costs for these magic items is the same as that listed in Pathfinder. Examples of pre-built items include Boots of Striding and Springing, Rod of Maximize Spell and the Staff of the Magi.
While the rules below may allow players to construct items which are identical to the abilities and effects of the pre-built items, these rules should never be the basis for an argument that a pre-built item's retail price is incorrect. Even if it is. If you feel like it is overpriced, nothing stops you from getting the Creator feat and building it yourself. However, asking an NPC to craft a 'knock-off' version of a pre-built item with a corrected price will not work (although a very simple workaround would be to add another ability to the item to make it unique). This strongly suggests that the merchant's guild occasionally embarks on a little price-fixing.
In other cases, the listed price for a pre-built item will be lower than the cost of creating a custom magic item yourself. In this case, the listed retail price is still correct, and you can still buy the item for that price.
However, if you decide to further customize the item, such as adding a second enchantment to it), you have to calculate the entire cost of it as though you were building it from scratch. If the pre-built item costs less than the custom item version, you have to pay the difference of these costs, in addition to the cost of whatever new enchantment you want to add to it. If the pre-built item has an existing enchantment on it which is not normally possible to create via the magic item creation rules, then the pre-built item's retail price is used as the base cost for the item.
It is not possible to combine the enchantments of two different pre-built items into a single item, except by building the items as custom items. If the two desired pre-built items have enchantments on them which are not normally available via the magic item creation rules, then you can't even create a custom item that replicates their effects. Either buy the pre-built items to get their special enchantments or make do without. (And if you're unlucky enough that both items require the same magic item slot, you'll just have to choose your favorite one.)
Remember that all pre-built magic items must be approved by the GM before they are permitted in your game world.
Upgrading Existing Items
It is certainly true that getting a new, shiny item is a thrill. Many players greatly enjoy getting or making brand new magic items. There are also players who like their existing items. They have built back-story into an item, and it is now a part of the lore of their character. A classic example is the heirloom sword, passed down for generations, that the character has sworn to use. Sadly, that +2 Scimitar with the fancy engraving that was so awesome and overpowered at level 4, is seeming a little...under-performing at level 14. Is the story-builder player just out of luck, stuck with an increasingly weaker weapon as they continue their career?
Of course not!
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. If you wish to devote the resources to it, that family heirloom can become a sky-splitting artifact of blinding power. Indeed, GM's should encourage this sort of behavior! Storied items are fun!
Simply put, you never lose value by enhancing an existing item. Calculate the cost of the item as it will exist when you upgrade it. From that, subtract the cost of the item as it exists now. The difference is the cost of the upgrade.
For example: A +1 longsword can be made into a +2 holy longsword, with the cost to create it being equal to that of a +2 holy sword minus the cost of a +1 longsword.
Of course, no magic item may be imbued with an enchantment type that is not permitted in that slot. For example, only shields can be enchanted with Magic Shield Property enchantments. See the Enchants By Slot table, below, for details.
Furthermore, adding enchantments to an item that are outside of the item's theme of powers will cost extra. This is to reward the creation of thematically interesting items and punish the creation of hodgepodge items. See the Synergy and Discord section for details.
Custom Magic Items
Table: Enchants By Slot
|Slot||Ability Scores||Alt Move Types||Alt Senses||Armor Enhance Bonus||Maneuver Offense||Maneuver Defense||Damage Resist||Deflect AC||Dweomer- metals||Energy Resist||Incr'd Move||Armor Magic Prop's||Shield Magic Prop's||Melee Magic Prop's||Natural AC||Saving Throws||Shield Enhance Bonus||Skill Bonuses||Spell Effects||Spell Resist||Weapon Enhance Bonus|
Magic Item Creation
In general, it is assumed that players will find that adventuring, killing monsters and stealing their loot will be more lucrative than sitting in a sweltering smithy for weeks on end trying to make that perfect item for themselves. As a result, GM's should encourage players to create magic items using the rules described here, and then buy them from craftsmen, artisans and enchanters in the various cities and towns of the world. All of the prices listed in these rules assume that the players are paying market price for their items.
Even if the item is truly strange, and such a one-off oddball piece of crafting that no one would ever offer it for general sale, there are always craftsmen in town willing to take special orders to create whatever the adventurers need. (Whatever it takes to get the psychopathic murder-hobos out of the village and out patrolling the ogre-infested forest nearby. That princess isn't going to save herself, obviously.) That said, items that GM's feel wouldn't be wanted by other adventurers should not be available on some shop's back bookshelf. Instead, it should take some time for a craftsman to make. Use the rules here to determine how long it takes, but meanwhile the adventurers can go about their business, checking back in a week or two to pick up their shiny new Hat of the Antelope, or whatever.
Of course, some players just don't want honest, hard-working townsfolk to earn a living for themselves, and would rather save some money by making magic items for themselves. Sure, they'll waste weeks of their own time, as well as that of their loyal party, frittering away their days toiling over a workbench while the barbarian blows all his hard-earned gold on booze and, um, other recreations. What could go wrong? If your party demands to make their own stuff, with their own hands, these rules can also be used to determine the costs and time required for that, as well.
Magic Item Caster Level
- Every magic item has a caster level (CL). This is the minimum caster level required to create the item. In Epic Path, a character with the Creator feat has an effective caster level equal to the number of ranks in their bailiwick skill.
- If you are attempting to create a custom magic item (one which does not already have a pre-defined caster level), you must determine the caster level yourself, or ask the GM to establish one.
- Items which have more than one enchantment on them use the enchantment with the highest caster level as the base, and add +3 to the caster level for each additional enchantment being added.
- You may not always know the exact CL of the item you are attempting to create. In such a case, only the GM knows the true CL.
- All items have requirements in their descriptions. These requirements 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 requirement the creator does not meet. The only exception to this is the Creator feat, which is mandatory. In addition, you cannot create potions, spell-trigger, or spell-completion magic items without meeting its prerequisites. Note that due to this requirement, it is much easier for a spellcaster to make these items, as seeking substitutes for a potion takes just as long as seeking a substitute for a mighty sword.
- It should be stated clearly that the prerequisites are NOT set in stone. Substitutions are allowed and encouraged. Instead of a scroll of fireball to empower an item with magic, a barbarian might go and get breathed on by a red dragon while holding it. Instead of a Jump spell, a Monk might leap off a cliff while wearing the item to be empowered. Creativity is allowed and encouraged. In only the most prosaic of cases should hiring an NPC to cast a spell be the preferred method. How boring such a solution is.
- Using the metamagic feat Heighten Spell (or the metamagic rod, if you have one), it is also possible to place spells in items at a higher level than normal. The primary reason to do this is to make the saving throw DC higher, though this is only really applicable to offensive spells. Note that this obviously increases the item's caster level.
Magic Item Creation Cost
- The cost to make an item yourself with the Creator feat is half of the cost to purchase the same item on the market. This cost represents the material costs of building the item. Whether the magic item creation check succeeds or fails, these materials are always used up in the creation process and cannot be recovered. The cost of a workshop and its tools are not part of the cost of item creation.
- Some items cast or replicate spells with costly material components. The cost of the spell components must be factored into the overall cost of the enchantment, as described in the Spell Effects page. (Spoiler: The spell component cost varies depending on how many times per day the spell effect can be used.)
Making the Creation Check
- To create magic items, characters must have the Creator feat. No exceptions! The Creator feat represents the innate talent required to handle magic and infuse it into an object, allowing a character to invest time and money in an item's creation.
- The base number of days required to create a magic item are 2 days + 1 day per caster level of the item.
- You also need an appropriate place in which to work. The nature of such a place can vary wildly. A noisy pugilarium full of hard-training warriors might be ideal for a Brawler to work on his new amulet of natural armor, but it's probably not going to be a good place for a Sorcerer to get anything done.
- For users of Spellcraft, any place suitable for preparing spells is suitable for making items. Warfare works best in forges and smithies and training halls; rough, rude places of strife. Spycraft works best in hidden spyholes full of small secretive nooks and hidden tools. Naturalism works great in grottoes and caves and glades, anywhere the Nascent Seed is strong and vital. Divinity works well in temples and crypts and ossuaries, anywhere the sense of the Divine is strong. Reason works best in libraries and meditation halls, dojos and saunas, places where quiet thought is enhanced.
- If the workspace is considered a poor fit for the item being created, the time required is doubled.
- If the workspace is inconsistent, or the item is being moved around between creation days (such as attempting to create an item while journeying overland), the required time is doubled again.
- Each day of crafting requires 8 hours of work, with no more than 1 hour of interruptions (not counting food and rest breaks). If you are unable to work 8 hours in a given day, the entire day's efforts are wasted, and not counted toward your progress.
- The days spent creating a magic item need not be consecutive. Partially finished magic items stored in a safe fashion will keep indefinitely. Since magic items in progress keep indefinitely, you may schedule time to work on one as you wish.
- Once you have determined the total number of days required to craft the magic item, you must craft the item for half this amount of time before you may make a skill check to determine the item's success or failure.
- At the midway point of the item's creation, the GM makes a single bailiwick skill check (Divinity, Naturalism, Reason, Spellcraft, Spycraft or Warfare) on your behalf to determine the efficiency of your crafting process.
- If the bailiwick skill check result is less than an Easy DC for the CL of the magic item, or you roll a natural 1 on the die, the magic item creation process fails, and the material costs are wasted.
- If the bailiwick skill check result is at least an Easy DC for the CL of the magic item, but less than the Average DC, a cursed version of the item is created. (see cursed items, below).
- If the bailiwick skill check result is at least an Average DC for the CL of the magic item, but less than a Challenging DC, the required time to complete the magic item is unchanged. Once you complete the remaining days of crafting, the magic item is successfully created.
- If the bailiwick skill check result is at least a Challenging DC for the CL of the magic item, but less than the Hard DC, the required time to complete the magic item is reduced by 1 day OR 10%, whichever is better. Once you complete the remaining days of crafting, the magic item is successfully created.
- If the bailiwick skill check result is at least a Hard DC for the CL of the magic item, but less than the Impossible DC, the required time to complete the magic item is reduced by 3 days OR 25%, whichever is better. Once you complete the remaining days of crafting, the magic item is successfully created.
- If the bailiwick skill check result is at least an Impossible DC for the CL of the magic item, the required time to complete the magic item is reduced by 5 intervals OR 50%, whichever is better.
- No magic item can ever be created in less than 1 full day of crafting. The exceptions to this are consumable items and ammunition.
Some items can be treated as two different kinds of magic items, and enchanted once for each 'slot' they represent. The most common example is a double weapon, which occupies the 'main hand' and 'off-hand' slots. Each end of a double weapon must be enchanted separately, and each end is treated as a separate weapon as regards to properties, etc. In NO case do any abilities ever stack! Adding Defending to both ends of a staff does NOT allow you to stack twice the AC. Ever.
Somewhat more rare are suits of armor and shields with spikes. Spiked armor and shields can be enchanted twice, once as a suit of armor, and once as a weapon (the spikes). Full price must be paid for all enchantments. Note that, again, in NO cases do any abilities ever stack! Placing the same enchantments on your shield spikes as the ones on your weapon or armor spikes provides the benefit of the enchantment only once. Also, as a note, some magic weapon properties, such as the Defending magic item property, require you to use your shield or armor as a weapon to gain its benefit of the property.
Some GM's might consider ruling that when using the shield or armor spikes as a weapon, you lose the actual shield or armor bonuses until the start of your next turn, just as if you used your shield for a shield bash. GM's should only really do this if the shield or armor is being used as a weapon very frequently (like more than once per encounter). If it's only a rare case, it's way too much paperwork to ask a player to subtract all their armor or shield bonuses from everything. Remember that these spiked shields or spiked armors cost as much to enchant as a magic weapon and a magic shield (or a magic weapon and magic armor), so the character has already paid a fair market value for being able to use the item as both a weapon and as a shield (or armor).
Magic Item Slots
Most 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, plus another wielded in each hand for a total of 17 magic items. 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.
- This is the slot used for wielded melee weapons, ranged weapons, thrown weapons, rods, staves, wands or holy symbols. Depending on the item, it is possible to wield more than one of these items, assuming you have enough hands free to do so. Some of these items require two hands (such as magic bows). The bonuses provided by these items nearly always require an attack to activate. If a weapon or item is wielded in the same hand that a shield is being worn, the shield's bonus is lost on any round in which the wielded weapon or item is used.
- This slot is used for suits of armor that are worn. It is worn over top of any chest-slot item, but underneath any body-slot item.
- This slot consists of belts and other items that can be worn around the waist.
- This slot consists of cassocks, coats/overcoats, harnesses, robes, vestments and any other article of clothing that can over the top of armor and/or chest-slot item.
- This slot consists of shirts, corsets, body wraps, bandages, and other items that can be worn tightly against the torso or chest, under armor and/or body-slot item.
- This slot consists of goggles, lenses, monocles, spectacles, masks and other items that can be worn over the eyes.
- This slot consists of boots, footwraps, sandals, shoes, slippers, and other items that can be worn on the feet.
- This slot consists of gauntlets, gloves, and other items that can worn on the hands.
- This slot consists of circlets, crowns, hats, helms, hoods and other items that can be worn on the head.
- This slot consists of bands, headbands, laurels, phylacteries, and other non-head slot items that can be worn around the forehead.
- 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.
- This slot is for carried shields. Note that a carried shield uses the same slot as a wielded weapon, and while it is possible to 'stack' these items, there are penalties for doing so, including the loss of all bonuses provided by the shield in any round that the wielded weapon sharing the shield's hand is used to attack. This also occurs if the shield is used as a weapon, using shield bash.
- This slot consists of capes, cloaks, cords, mantels, pauldrons, shawls, stoles, wings, and other items that can be worn on the shoulders.
- This slot consists of armbands, bracelets, bracers, gauntlets, manacles, shackles, vambraces, and other items that can worn over the wrists.
- 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/or activate the item.
- Consumable magic items are slotless, but have no effect until consumed. These items include potions, scrolls, alchemical creations and ammunition.
Each of these items must be wielded, worn, or consumed, depending on the item, in order to gain their benefits. If an item is worn, it takes up one of the body's magic item slots and no additional items of the same slot may be worn there. If it is wielded, it takes up one or two hands.
Magic rings, boots, hats, cloaks and basically "everything else" that isn't a weapon, armor, shield, rod, staff, wand or consumable magic item is considered a wondrous item. For those of you who need a tramp stamp, tattoo, rune or other weird atypical magic item, those are all treated like slotless wondrous items; simply follow the rules for creating a slotless wondrous item, and you can proudly proclaim your sexual availability to the world.
Magic items in each slot may only be enchanted with specific bonus types, to prevent stacking absurdities. For example, magic shields always use an enhancement to the Shield AC of the shield, and never any other kind of AC bonus (deflection, dodge, etc.). The specific bonus types allowed for each item type are described on the item type pages.
Of course, a character may carry or possess as many items of the same type as he wishes. However, only one item may be worn in a particular body slot, and additional items of the same body slot type grant no benefits to the character unless they swap out the other item first.
The exception to this rule is slotless items, which can be worn or carried without taking up a slot on a character's body. The description of an item indicates when it has this property.
Available Enchantments For Magic Items
The possible enchantments you can put onto an item are always restricted by the item type. For example, weapons cannot be enchanted with spell effects or AC bonuses. However, pre-built items can occasionally break this rule, assuming your GM is okay with that. Furthermore, bonus types of the same type, as always, do not stack, so having multiple items that provide the same bonus isn't actually advantageous.
The most common type of enchantment is a spell effect, which provides a huge variety of possible abilities for magic items. Although spell effects cannot be applied to weapons, shields or armor, they can be applied to nearly all other magic item slots. Creators should pay close attention to the bonus types provided by the spell effects (if applicable) to avoid stacking violations.
This list is a comprehensive overview of what is possible with magic item creation. Refer to the page for the specific body slot to determine which of these enchantments are available for that particular item type.
- Ability Scores
- Magic items can be enchanted to provide a permanent bonus to one or more ability scores. It is also possible to enchant an item to provide a bonus to one or more ability scores only under specific circumstances (such as 'while underwater', or 'when Raging'), or when using the ability score for specific actions (such as "when calculating encumbrance" or "when performing a disarm action").
- Alternate Movement Types
- An item can be enchanted to grant one or more additional movement types, such as flying, burrowing or climbing.
- Alternate Senses
- An item can be enchanted to grant one or more additional types of senses, or enhance an existing sense to greater efficacy.
- Armor Enhancement Bonus
- Armor can be enchanted with an enhancement bonus that improves your Armor bonus to AC. This enhancement bonus stacks with the armor's existing armor bonus to AC.
- Maneuver Offense
- A magic item can be enchanted to provide an enhancement bonus to Maneuver Offense rolls for all maneuvers. It is also possible to enchant an item to provide a bonus to Maneuver Offense rolls for one or more specific maneuvers (such as Reposition or Bull Rush). It is also possible to limit the use of the Maneuver Offense bonus to specific circumstances (for example, the first round of combat, surprise rounds, etc.)
- Maneuver Defense
- A magic item can be enchanted to provide an enhancement bonus to Maneuver Defense for all maneuvers. It is also possible to enchant an item to provide a bonus to Maneuver Defense to resist only one or a few specific maneuvers (such as "trip" or "disarm"). It is also possible to limit the use of the Maneuver Defense bonus to specific circumstances (for example, "while underwater" or "against giants").
- Damage Resistance (DR)
- An item can be enchanted to provide an enhancement bonus to Damage Resistance. This can be DR against all physical damage types (DR x/-), or resistance which is vulnerable against a specific type of physical damage (for example, DR x/bludgeoning).
- Deflection AC
- Magic items can be enchanted to provide an Deflection bonus to your AC. The classic example of this is the Ring of Protection.
- Some items can be crafted from a magical dweomermetal or special material which grants the item certain benefits. Note that no item may ever be constructed of more than one dweomermetal or special material.
- Energy Resistance (ER)
- An item can be enchanted to provide an enhancement bonus to Energy Resistance. This can be ER against all energy damage types (ER x/-), or resistance against one or more specific energy types (for example, ER x/Fire).
- Increased Movement
- An item can be enchanted to increase your speed with one of your movement types, though typically this will be your base walking speed. You can increase your speed with any movement type or several movement types. Adding speed to a movement type you don't already have does not grant you that movement type (but see "Alternate Movement Types").
- Magic Armor Properties
- Armor can be enchanted to include one or more magic armor properties. Magic properties increase the cost of the item as though its enhancement bonus were higher by the amount listed for the property.
- Magic Shield Properties
- Shields can be enchanted to include one or more magic shield properties. Magic properties increase the cost of the item as though its enhancement bonus were higher by the amount listed for the property.
- Melee Magic Properties
- Weapons can be enchanted to include one or more magic weapon properties. Magic properties increase the cost of the item as though its enhancement bonus were higher by the amount listed for the property.
- Natural AC
- Magic items can be enchanted to provide an enhancement bonus to your Natural Armor. The classic example of this is the Amulet of Natural Armor.
- Saving Throws
- Magic items can be enchanted to provide a permanent resistance bonus to one or more saving throws. It is also possible to enchant an item to provide a bonus to one or more saving throws only under specific circumstances (such as 'while already afflicted with a status condition'), or when making the saving throw against specific effects (such as "when saving against fear" or "when resisting illusions").
- Shield Enhancement Bonus
- Shields (and rarely, an item held in the off-hand which isn't a shield) can be enchanted to provide an enhancement bonus to Shield AC. This enhancement bonus stacks with a shield's existing shield bonus to AC.
- Skill Bonuses
- Magic items can be enchanted to provide a competence bonus to one or more skills. Note that competence bonuses do not stack with other competence bonuses. It is also possible to enchant an item to provide a bonus to one or more skills only under specific circumstances (such as 'while underwater', or 'when Raging'), or when using the skill for specific actions (such as "when walking on a slippery surface" or "when speaking to someone of the opposite sex").
- Spell Effects
- Most item slots can be enchanted with the effects of one or more spells.
- Spell Resistance
- An item can be enchanted to grant spell resistance. Note that spell resistance is always on unless you turn it off (which is a standard action, and another standard action to turn it back on), and while on, even beneficial spells, such as healing, must be resisted. Note that spell resistance can never be modified to occur only under certain circumstances or against a limited set of spells.
- Weapon Enhancement Bonus
- Weapons can be enchanted to add a bonus to to-hit and damage rolls, via an enhancement bonus.
Restricted Enchantments For Magic Items
A number of effects are simply not available with magic item creation. This is largely to ensure some semblance of game balance. This list is not a comprehensive list of everything dis-allowed, and GMs may also add some items from the permitted list for their particular campaign. Note that many of these effects can be achieved by finding a spell effect which grants the ability, a magic weapon or armor property, or by finding a pre-built item which grants it.
- Ability Damage
- Items cannot be enchanted to inflict ability damage, except through a spell effect.
- Base Attack Bonus (BAB)
- Items cannot be enchanted to increase your BAB, though weapons can be enchanted to boost to-hit rolls (see Weapon Enhancement Bonus).
- Caster Level Checks
- Magic items cannot be enchanted to improve your caster level checks.
- Circumstance Bonuses
- Magic items cannot be enchanted to provide circumstance bonuses to anything except skills, since circumstance bonuses stack with themselves.
- Class-Specific Abilities
- Magic items cannot be enchanted to replicate the effects of class-specific abilities, either of your own class or another class. This includes class-specific bonuses, such as a fighter's Combat Edge, dice-based abilities, such as a rogue's Sneak Attack or a ranger's Quarry Pool, class-specific talents, such as the alchemist's Discoveries, or the fighter's Combat Tactics, or class-specific abilities, such as a barbarian's Rage ability. Furthermore, magic items cannot be enchanted to boost the effects of these abilities, even temporarily or situationally.
- Dodge AC
- Magic items cannot be enchanted to provide a Dodge bonus to AC, since Dodge bonuses stack with themselves.
- Elemental Damage
- Weapons and items cannot be converted to elemental damage types, except through the use of magic weapon properties or a spell effect.
- Feats or their benefits cannot be added to magic items.
- Hit Points
- A magic item cannot be enchanted to provide additional hit points, even situationally, except through a spell effect.
- Magic items cannot be enchanted to improve a character's initiative. On the upside, the Improved Initiative feat has been changed to be pretty awesome.
- Other Classes' Class Features
- Magic items cannot be used to grant you the abilities of another class.
- Racial Abilities
- Magic items cannot replicate or improve racial abilities, either for your own race, or some other race.
- Ranged Damage
- A weapon or item which normally only deals damage via melee cannot be enchanted to deal ranged damage instead.
- A weapon or item cannot be enchanted to have increased reach, except through the use of magic weapon properties or a spell effect.
- Skill Ranks
- A magic item cannot be enchanted to grant you ranks in one or more skills. Magic items can certainly be enchanted to grant you a BONUS to skills, but not ranks. In particular, no magic item may ever allow your ranks in a skill to exceed your level.
- Spell Save DC
- Magic items cannot be enchanted to increase the save DC of your spells.
- Status Conditions
- Items cannot be enchanted to inflict status conditions, except through a spell effect.
- Temporary Hit Points
- A magic item cannot be enchanted to provide (or increase the value of) temporary hit points, except through a spell effect.
- Touch Attacks
- A weapon or item cannot be enchanted to perform touch attacks instead of standard attacks.
- Traits or their benefits cannot be added to magic items.
Magic Item Gold Piece Values
Magic items have always had a certain mystery to them. Yes, there are comprehensive rules below for creating literally hundreds or thousands of items, but those rules should never get in the way of creativity. If a referee wants to put a cool item into her game, she can certainly do so, no matter how 'off the beaten path' that item is.
But then, the players will inevitably get tired of the shiny toy at some point and want to sell it.
How much is it worth?
Answering that question is fairly easy if you follow the guidelines below. But for many items, the GM is going to simply assign a value. This has a solid basis in reality: Many items are 'collector's items', and such things are, simply put, worth what someone will pay for them.
Assuming the item is a custom one, and is not TOO strange, the easiest way to come up with a price is to compare the new item to a reasonably similar item that is already priced, and use that price as a guide. For example, suppose the game includes a magical crowbar that will open windows. A handy thing, certainly. But if you compare the price to a Chime of Opening, the magical crowbar is obviously not as useful as the chime is. So the referee would be fully justified in saying that the magic crowbar that opens windows is worth half what a Chime of Opening is worth. Almost any item, no matter how fanciful, can usually be given a reasonable price using this method.
If, on the other hand, you like a little more certainty in your game, you can use the rules and tables below. But remember one thing: ALWAYS assess any item for relative merit. Players will want to use every technique and method they can to make their characters better. It is the referee's job to make sure that things stay in balance. Maintaining balance with custom items is quite difficult, so it is recommended that referees use the rules laid out below for the large majority of their magic item rewards.
As stated above, the correct way to price an item is ALWAYS by comparing its abilities to similar items, and only if there are no similar items should you use the pricing formulas to determine an approximate price for the item.
It is inevitable that players will discover loopholes that allows an item to have an ability for a much lower price than is given for a comparable item. In all such cases, the GM should require using the price of the more expensive item as a minimum guideline, as that is the standard cost for such an effect.
- Example: Rob's cleric wants to create a heavy mace with a continuous true strike ability as a continuous spell effect, granting its wielder a +20 insight bonus on attack rolls. Holy mackerel! The formula for a continuous spell effect is spell level x caster level x 2,000 gp, for a total of 2,000 gp (spell level 1, caster level 1). +20 to-hit for a meager 2000 gold? To put it mildly, this is an effect that would break the game completely, and is so good that if the GM allows it for one player, ALL the players will want it as well. Consulting the Weapon Enhancement chart below, we see that a +5 enhancement bonus on a weapon costs 50,000 gp, and the +20 bonus from true strike is actually BETTER than the chart goes, even for Epic levels. A +18 enhancement costs 23 million gold, and a +20 enhancement would more than likely be somewhere around 70 million gold. Obviously this puts the idea of permanent True Strike out of reach for the player, and rightly so! Using the standard weapon enhancement rules, Rob buys a far more reasonable +1 mace.
- 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). Checking the Armor table shows 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.
These examples are extreme, but illustrate the pitfalls that GM's must be on the lookout for. At the same time, the GM should be careful to allow the players plenty of avenues for creativity. Don't strangle the life out of a game by outlawing all the fun, cool, wacky ideas that players come up with.
Last, there is a special case, where a player really likes a magic item's effects, but not how it looks. Some new items are really existing magic items with a different weapon or armor type, such as a dagger of venom that is a greatsword 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 item with the cost of the new type of item. For example, a greatsword of venom has a price of 8,050 gp instead of the dagger of venom's price of 8,002 gp. And honestly, a greatsword of venom? That's cool!
Synergy and Discord
Magic items can have multiple enchantments applied to them, but unless there is a blatant thematic similarity to the combination of enchantments, the cost of the magic item is greatly increased. Magic items with a strong, consistent theme of enchantments receive a Synergy discount to their price, while magic items with multiple dissimilar enchantments get a Discord multiplier applied to their cost.
For items whose magical abilities are synergistic and similar, 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 50% the value of any other abilities. This discount rewards items which are thematic and have abilities which cultivate that theme.
- Upgrading an item with multiple similar abilities: If an item gained the "multiple similar abilities" cost discount at creation, the cost to upgrade individual properties of that item post-creation is the full (non-discounted) cost of the upgrade. Upgrades never gain the benefit of the "multiple similar abilities" discount.
Adding new properties to such an item may cause the item to lose its Synergy discount, if the new property doesn't align with the item's theme. In such a case, the total item cost is recalculated to account for all of the cost penalties of a Discordant item (see below). This means adding a disparate ability to a well-themed item can be catastrophically expensive, as even the thematically consistent properties lose their Synergy discount and gain the 1.5x Discord cost penalty.
Abilities such as an attack roll bonus or saving throw bonus and a spell-like function are not similar. The most expensive ability on the item is priced at its normal cost, but all of the additional different abilities cost 1.5 times their normal cost. The final item cost is the sum of all of these costs.
- Upgrading an item with multiple different abilities: If the item has taken the "multiple different abilities" cost multiplier of 1.5x, it is still possible to enhance one or more of those properties individually post-creation. The cost to do so is calculated as normal, subtracting the cost of any existing lower-level version of the property being upgraded, and the final cost is multiplied by 1.5. Note that when creating a complex magic item with multiple different properties, the most expensive property is NOT multiplied by 1.5x, only the secondary properties. However, when upgrading any property on such an item, the cost is ALWAYS multiplied by 1.5x, even for the most expensive property. (This is to avoid confusing situations where the most expensive property changes several times over the item's life.)
In general, GM's should really make players work hard for a synergy bonus. An item which provides a bonus to multiple skills should only receive the Synergy bonus if the chosen skills are thematically similar. On the flipside, GM's are encouraged to reward creative efforts, such as when an item has a great name that unites the theme. For example, an item that grants a Charisma bonus, allows the use of the Alter Self spell three times per day and also grants a bonus to the wearer's Bluff skill doesn't sound thematic until the player names it Masquerade. Suddenly, all the pieces fit together, and maybe this item deserves a synergy bonus.
Miscellaneous Cost Modifiers
Players will sometimes try to negotiate lower prices for their custom magic items by suggesting that the item carry a strange limitation. For example, "only usable by Paladins" or even "Only usable by someone of Chaotic alignment". In nearly all cases, the player isn't going to create a restriction that actually reduces his character's ability to use the item. As such, the GM shouldn't reduce the cost for the item.
If however the player suggests a limitation that actually prohibits use of the magic item for their own character for some percentage of the time, GM's should consider reducing the cost of the item by the approximate percent of time the item will be useless. However, this needs to be balanced out by the actual practical application of the limitation. For example, an item that only functions during daytime is a genuine limitation. But most PC's operate during the day and sleep at night, so the actual usefulness of the item, while hampered, isn't hampered by 50%. Instead, maybe the GM feels it only hampers the character around 20% of the time that it would actually matter, and thus deserves a 20% cost discount.
With the exception of dodge bonuses to AC, bonuses from multiple sources which use the same bonus type (e.g. enhancement, item, morale, etc.) do not stack with each other. Similarly, you may not create custom magic items which evade this rule by providing the same magical benefit, such as a bonus to Intelligence, but use a different bonus type. This is strictly against the rules as it will break the game.
Note also that dodge bonus to AC is not one of the permissible bonus types you can enchant into an item.
Example: Jojo the alchemist has a Headband of Vast Intelligence, which provides him a +4 enhancement bonus to his Intelligence ability score. He wants to build a custom magic item called "Inventor's Goggles" which gives a +4 insight bonus to Intelligence. Sounds like a great idea, but it is against the rules. Sorry, Jojo!
If you need another character to supply one of an item's requirements (e.g. a wizard creating an item with a divine spell requirement might request the assistance of his party's paladin), both you and the other character must be present for the entire duration of the crafting process. If neither character has the Cooperative Crafting feat, the assistance of the second character provides no benefit other than fulfilling the spell requirement of the item's creation.
Only one person involved in a magic item's creation needs to have a 'good' skill for the item. A Barbarian can use her Naturalism skill to help a Fighter make a cloak that shape-shifts him into the form of a boar, and their progress will not be divided by three. Similarly, the Fighter can use his well-equipped foundry workshop to make that cloak with no loss in time, since only one of them needs a 'good' working environment to avoid the time penalty.
In general, the person who is going to keep and use the item (or offer it for sale to NPC's) makes 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 person who is going to keep and use the item has a lower skill than one of the people assisting, then it is allowed for the person with the highest skill to make the roll and allow the others to assist them. In all cases, if there is a chance for a cursed item, the GM makes the roll in secret. You never know if you got a cursed item until you try it out....
If a second player character is providing a spell to fulfill one of the prerequisites of item creation, that character's spell is expended for each day of the creation process, just as if you were using one of your own spells for a requirement. Note that if you are substituting for a spell effect, you generally only have to supply the substituted material once, with GM approval. Getting breathed upon by a dragon a dozen times in a row is reeeaally unpleasant.
NPC's can be hired to fulfill a spell prerequisite. If you do so, you must pay for the NPC's spell casting service for each day of the item creation. Note that NPC's will rarely if ever have the Cooperative Crafting feat.
If at least one of the characters involved in the item creation has the Cooperative Crafting feat, they are allowed to use the Aid Another action during the crafting process to provide a +2 untyped bonus on any Craft, Divinity, Naturalism, Reason, Spellcraft, Spycraft or Warfare checks related to the making of the item, and their assistance doubles the number of hours of progress made each day. Note that multiple people with the Creator feat and Cooperative Crafting can assist in creating a magic item. In such cases, each person with the Cooperative Crafting feat may use the Aid Another action to add a +2 untyped bonus to the creation roll, and adds another multiple to the amount of progress made each day.
- Example: Two Creators work on an item together. One has a 'good' skill for the item (Spycraft used to make a crystal ball, for example) and one of them has a 'good' place to work (a quiet sylvan grove for a Druid's Naturalism.). They would normally gain eight hours of progress per day of work, but since they are both working and the Druid has the Cooperative Crafting feat, they make sixteen hours of progress each day, and the final creation roll gains a +2. If three Creators work together and any of them have a 'good' skill and any of them have a 'good' work place, they make 24 hours of progress for each day of work, and at least two of them have the Cooperative Crafting feat, the final roll is at +4. Any number of player characters may aid another using Cooperative Crafting. I mean, they paid a feat for the privilege!
No matter how many creators work together, no item can be made in less than three days.