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[ DMs Only ]
DATE: June 29, 2001

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Magic Items FAQ, Part 2

I had something else in mind entirely for this week. However, it seems that the last FAQ did not adequately discuss every last issue of magic item construction (go figure). So, I've created a second part. These questions are far more specific than last time's, but that's good --some of these specific inquiries actually ask larger questions that need answering.

 

Copyright. 2001. The Unseelie Court --JD Sparks

Thanks to Tom Jackson, Nathan Sugioka, and others for questions -- and in a couple of cases, the answers. (Some people are smarter than they think: They answer themselves in the phrasing of their questions.)

If I create a wand of a 1st-level spell that performs as a 1st-level caster, the 750 gp cost means that the process will take only one day (1 day/1,000 gp, minimum 1 day). However, I cannot cast 50 such spells in a day....

A belt of strength requires caster level 10, and the gauntlets of ogre power require caster level 6. Can you explain why this inconsistency exists?

Why does the circlet of persuasion give the effects of +4 Charisma but not actually grant +4 Charisma?
Would an item that grants a +1 bonus only to a given ability score require a lower caster level than those that add +2?
Can you provide some guidelines for determining prerequisites of non-standard items?
How do you determine the cost and prereqs for making an item that includes a feat or featlike power (ring of evasion, weapon of mighty cleaving).
Why is it that the standard items that include featlike powers do not require the creator to possess said feat?
If a character puts on a feat-empowered item with prerequisites, and that character does not meet one or more of those prerequisites, does he or she gain the benefit of the feat?
Why do ioun stones require no spell prerequisites?
Does this mean that any item can be created without spell prerequisites if the caster level is bumped up a few notches?
Is there any rule that would prevent a creator with Craft Wonderous Item from creating a helm of dexterity instead of gloves of dexterity, or boots of charisma instead of a cloak of charisma?
Since a caster with the Create Wondrous Item feat can create items that perform the same function as potions, wands, rods, and staffs, why would anyone, under standard book rules, ever take anything other than the Create Wondrous Items feat?
You mention in your first FAQ that a character can, in fact, create a magic item without actually knowing the spell necessary to create it...
Let's say a druid, alone and unaided, with the Craft Wand feat has a scroll of shield and wants to make a wand of shield usable as a level 1 caster....
If you do use a wand or similar device for creating a magic item, I would assume that the level at which the item is created is the caster level of the wand, not that of the caster. Is this correct?
Could a rogue with lots of Use Magic Item ability and the right feat use a wand to create a wondrous item?
How many times do the spells used to create the magic item actually need to be cast? What if you are using an item to cast the spell?

If I create a wand of a 1st-level spell that performs as a 1st-level caster, the 750 gp cost means that the process will take only one day (1 day/1,000 gp, minimum 1 day). However, I cannot cast 50 such spells in a day. How is it that I am able to put 50 charges into the wand, essentially allowing me to cast the spell 50 times, without casting the spell 50 times as part of the creation process?

Because you don't actually cast the spell 50 times. You cast it once per day during the creation process. If there is a costly component, however -- including an XP cost -- you need to expend those components as if you were casting the spell 50 times.

A belt of strength requires caster level 10, and the gauntlets of ogre power require caster level 6. Can you explain why this inconsistency exists?

Reread Part 1 of this FAQ. Caster level is not a requirement. It's just the most common level that item is made at (in this case, because of the price). The prereq here is bull's strength, so the normal minimum caster level for both items is 3.

Why does the circlet of persuasion give the effects of +4 Charisma but not actually grant +4 Charisma?

To keep the price down, since it doesn't give all the effects of +4 Charisma (like more spells, if you're a sorcerer).

Would an item that grants a +1 bonus only to a given ability score require a lower caster level than those that add +2?

You shouldn't have things that grant a "+ odd number" to an ability score. The reason for this is that a +2 or +4 always means something (your bonus increases to a +1 or a +2 no matter what your score). A "+ odd number" only means something if you have an odd score. Not only is that weird ("This belt makes me stronger when I wear it, but not you."), it also makes it too tempting to min-max with such an item.

Can you provide some guidelines for determining prerequisites of non-standard items?

Mostly, it's just doing what seems about right, as far as flavor and level go.For example, if you have a powerful item that deals with cold, make cone of cold a prereq. If it's not all that powerful, use sleet storm.

Don't be afraid to really stretch to get your prereqs. If you have an item that covers the user in chitinous spines, use barkskin. It's close enough.

If there just isn't an immediately appropriate spell, consider using something like permanency, limited wish, a feat, skill ranks, or, if you must, a creator level.

How do you determine the cost and prereqs for making an item that includes a feat or featlike power (ring of evasion, weapon of mighty cleaving).

There is no standard for this. Not all feats or level abilities (like evasion) are equal. Use the existing items as guidelines.

Why is it that the standard items that include featlike powers do not require the creator to possess said feat? Why is it that items imbued with skill bonuses (cloak/boots of elvenkind, gauntlets of swimming and climbing) do not require that the creator have some ranks in the skill being enhanced?

Uh, I guess it's just a matter of personal preference. It seemed that forcing the creator to have the feat or skill usually screwed the player who wants to make the item for himself. This would be a fine, balanced house rule to add the feats and skills (probably at least 10 ranks of the skill) to the prerequisites for such items.

If a character puts on a feat-empowered item with prerequisites, and that character does not meet one or more of those prerequisites, does he or she gain the benefit of the feat?

Yes.

Why do ioun stones require no spell prerequisites?

They probably should. I make mistakes too.

If the answer to the above question is because the caster level is so high, does this mean that any item can be created without spell prerequisites if the caster level is bumped up a few notches? (Compare belt of strength +2 at level 8 to ioun stone granting +2 Strength).

Remember that caster level is not a prerequisite. I wouldn't allow someone to ignore standard prereqs by "buying" the caster level up. It goes against the intended flavor of the whole process. (It probably won't break the game, however, and it would make the sorcerer a much better magic item artisan).

Is there any rule that would prevent a creator with Craft Wonderous Item from creating a helm of dexterity instead of gloves of dexterity, or boots of charisma instead of a cloak of charisma?

No. I recommend, however, that you try to keep it intuitive, to maintain a certain fantasy feel. A hat of running or shoes of intelligence just don't seem right.

Since a caster with the Create Wondrous Item feat can create items that perform the same function as potions, wands, rods, and staffs (ointment of cure light wounds -- a la Keoghtom's -- instead of potion of cure light wounds, stone of lightning bolt instead of wand of lighting bolt, etc.) why would anyone, under standard book rules, ever take anything other than the Create Wondrous Items feat?

Here's where the DM's fiat comes in. The general rule is that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck. If a player wants to make an item using Craft Wondrous Item, but it's really more appropriate to a ring or a wand (in the DM's opinion), the DM should rule that it must be the item that he feels is most appropriate.

If a DM wants to be flexible, he should go the other way. Allow a cleric to make her holy symbol into a wand using Craft Wand, or a sword into a staff using Craft Staff. I know there are lots of wondrous items in the DMG that serve as bad examples, because they really should be a wand, a potion, or a rod. Mea culpa.

You mention in your first FAQ that a character can, in fact, create a magic item without actually knowing the spell necessary to create it -- the character must simply have some method of casting the spell in question. The DMG specifically states that you do, in fact have to prepare the spell (or know it, in the case of sorcerers/bards); in each section on magic item creation (pp. 244-246), it states. Am I misreading this?

Yes, you are. Check out the DMG on page 178 under prerequisites. It's an obscure, out-of-the-way rule.

The DMG (p. 178) says "...a spell prerequisite may be provided .... through the use of a spell completion or spell trigger magic item..." Let's say a druid, alone and unaided, with the Craft Wand feat has a scroll of shield and wants to make a wand of shield usable as a level 1 caster. The item is 750 gp and therefore takes one day to create. Can the druid use the scroll to fulfill the spell prerequisite in such a case?

No. A druid can't use a scroll of shield. A wizard, however, could.

If you do use a wand or similar device for creating a magic item, I would assume that the level at which the item is created is the caster level of the wand, not that of the caster. Is this correct?

Yes, unless it is one of those items where level itself is listed in the prerequisites, like magic weapons, certain potions, bracers of armor, etc. Then, you use either the level of the item or the level of the actual creator, whichever is lower.

Could a rogue with lots of Use Magic Item ability and the right feat use a wand to create a wondrous item?

No. The item creation feats require that you be of a certain caster level. A rogue has no caster level.

How many times do the spells used to create the magic item actually need to be cast? What if you are using an item to cast the spell?

Spells must be cast once during each day of creation. Creation time is usually 1 day/1,000 gp value of the finished item. This is true no matter how you get the spell. If you're using scrolls, you have to have a scroll for each day of the creation process.

If a 10th-level sorcerer who does not have the spell mage armor wanted to create +5 bracers of armor using a wand of mage armor, this would cost 12,500 gp plus 25 charges from a 10th-level wand of mage armor, plus 1,000 XP. In terms of gp value, those charges would equate to 3,750 extra gp (1st-level spell x 10th-level caster x 750 gp x 1/2 [using only half the charges of the item]). Not too bad.

Consider, however, a sorcerer desiring to create a ring of major element resistance using a wand. The item is 24,000 gp, so the caster would need to spend 12,000 gp, plus 24 days of work, plus 960 XP, plus 24 charges from a wand of protection from elements, cast at 7th level (the minimum level requirement). These 24 charges would cost 7,560 gp equivalent. (Again, this assumes 24/50ths the value of a fully charged wand.) Very expensive, and not very efficient -- certainly not too cost-effective. Efficiency isn't necessarily the point. If you want to be efficient, use the spells you can cast.

* All material quoted from the Dungeon Master's Guide is ©2000 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

 
Unless stated otherwise, all content � 2001 Monte Cook. All rights reserved.
 
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