Magic Item Creation

The following are the rules from the Pathfinder Core Rulebook. Any changes to these rules will show the traditional core rule using strikethrough, with the replacement house rule in colored text.

Magic Item Creation

The following section applies to all magic items except potions and scrolls (see that section below).

To create magic items, spellcasters use special feats which allow them to invest time and money in an item’s creation.

Step 1: Opening the Enchantment

At the beginning of this process, the spellcaster must make a skill check (usually Spellcraft, but sometimes another skill) to open the item for enchantment. If an item type has multiple possible skills, you choose which skill to make the check with. The DC to open a magic item for enchantment is 5 + the caster level for the item. Failing this check means that the spellcaster was unable to open the enchantment, and may not attempt to open the item again for 24 hours. You may not take 10 or 20 on checks when opening magic items for enchantment. Once the item has been opened for enchantment, proceed to step 2. The process of opening the enchantment takes one hour, and is included in the first eight hours of the regular time requirements.

Step 2: Imbuing the Item

At the end of this process step, the spellcaster must make a single skill check (usually Spellcraft, but sometimes another skill) to finish Imbue the item. If an item type has multiple possible skills, you choose which skill to make the check with. The DC to create imbue 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, or rolling a natural one, results in a cursed item (see Cursed Items for more information). If the result of rolling a one would still succeed, the result is merely a failure, and not a cursed item. You may not take 10 or 20 on skill checks when enchanting magic items. This is the portion of creating the magic item that uses the standard gp costs and time requirements as detailed below.

Step 3: Closing the Enchantment

When the enchantment step is completed, the item’s enchantment must be closed. The spellcaster must make a skill check (usually Spellcraft, but sometimes another skill) to close the item’s enchantment. If an item type has multiple possible skills, you choose which skill to make the check with. The DC to close the enchantment on a magic item is 5 + the caster level for the item. Failing this check means that the enchantment breaks and the item does not function and the materials and time are wasted. If this check is a critical failure, the release of magical energies results in a mishap, determined by the DM. It is possible to have accidentally created a cursed item, only to have it explode upon a critical failure while attempting to close the 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 . The DC to create a magic item increases by +5 for each prerequisite the caster does not meet. The only exception%{color:Mediumvioletred}s% to this is are the requisite item creation feat, and the caster level which is are both mandatory. In addition, you cannot create spell- trigger and spell-completion magic items without meeting their spell prerequisites, but if you don’t know the spells required you can substitute creature components (see Creature Components below).

While item creation costs are handled in detail below on the PRD, here, 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, as long as it fulfills any other requirements, such as having a forge for making magical arms and armor. 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. The money spent reflects the composite components to used to physically craft the item (or to have it crafted for the character), the components required by any spells cast during the enchanting of the item, and any rare ingredients which are required when imbuing the item during step 2, including Creature Components (see below). 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 +10.

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, although there may be consequences, 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, but will generally not have the clean, safe environment – nor the facilities required to create any item other than scrolls, or potions that have a base price is 250 gp or less. This time is not spent in one continuous period, but rather during lunch, morning preparation, and during watches at night. Potions must be brewed in one continuous span of time. Otherwise, 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).

For every day that a character sets aside his project to take care of other tasks, or every day he splits up his 4 hours while adventuring, he receives a -1 penalty to the check to close the enchantment in Step 3. This reflects the vulnerability of an item with an open enchantment.

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.


Creature Components

If you don’t know a specific spell required as a prerequisite to enchant your item, you can substitute a creature’s components.

A creature’s components may be substituted as a spell requirement only if they meet the following criteria:

  • The creature has the spell required as a spell-like ability.
  • The creature has abilities related to the spell required – at the DM’s discretion. In this case, the CR of the creature must be equal to or greater than the spell’s level.
  • You must specify the exact spell you wish to emulate before harvesting the component.
  • A creature can only be harvested for a single spell requirement for the creation of a single magic item. In other words, one beastie will provide the creature component for only one magic item, despite its relative size.

Some examples of Creature Components:

  • Cloak of Displacement: Cloak crafted from the hide of the Displacer Beast;
  • Flame Burst Weapon: Ingot from the elemental plane of fire used in the forge when crafting the weapon;
  • Winged Boots: Feathers from a flying magical beast such as a Pegasus or Griffin.

A Creature Component does not have to be the material from which the item was crafted, it may be used in either the crafting or imbuing procedure. The player can suggest a component, but the DM has the final say on what ingredients are needed. The cost of Creature Component ingredients are included in the base cost for the item, but because of their rarity, may not be readily available and may need to be sought for or captured. Obtaining a Creature Component will usually involve an adventure of some sort; either tracking down a creature, performing a service for a Wizard who already has the component, or the like. Occasionally, a character may come across a rare component during the course of adventure, which he will then use to create a magic item. For example, a Bulette attacks an adventuring party while on a mission. After they defeat the creature, the party wizard convinces the strong fighters to cart the heavy shell back to their base of operations, in the hopes of using it as a power component to create magical armor for the party’s fighters. The feasibility of such an endeavor is again up to the DM.

Harvesting creature components requires a Survival check DC 10 + creature’s CR and 10 minutes per size category starting at tiny; this process must be started within 10 minutes of the creature’s death (unless a gentle repose spell is cast on the creature within that 10 minute period). You also gain a +2 bonus to harvest the component if you have 5 ranks of the creature’s related knowledge skill.

Retries are not allowed and you cannot take 10 or 20.


Adding New Abilities

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.

To add an enchantment, the caster must follow the three steps outlined above: Opening, Imbuing, and Closing the enchantment. The DCs and all conditions are exactly as described except that a failed attempt to open an enchantment means the caster may not try to open the enchantment until he gains another level in his spellcasting class. The only exception to this restriction is if the person who is trying to add a new ability is the same person who originally created the item, in which case he may try again the next day. Additionally, failing to Imbue or Close the item can cause it to become cursed, destroyed, or incurring a mishap, using the same procedures as in Steps 2 and 3 above.

Finally, if the item was originally created by the caster who is adding an ability, the rolls to Open and Close the enchantment gain a competence bonus of +5


Recharging Magic Items

It is possible to recharge certain magic items. Use the standard rules for recharging a staff.

Recharging Spell-Trigger Items

A character may recharge an existing wand or charged wondrous items that have spell-triggers by using the craft item rules above to increase the number of charges in the item.

The procedure is exactly like adding a new ability (Opening the enchantment, Imbuing the item, and re-closing the enchantment). The only difference is the cost and time it takes to recharge the item. All prerequisites again must be met (or the penalties outlined above occur), and there is a similar risk of failure, curse, or mishap.

%{color:Mediumvioletred}*Cost*: Divide the item’s market price by the number of maximum charges it can hold (eg. 50 charges for wands) to determine the price per charge. Multiple the price per charge by the number of charges the character is adding to determine the total cost of improvements for the item; determine time, and gp expenditure normally based on the improvements cost.

The character must add exactly enough charges to make it fully-charged.

The character does not receive a discount for recharging the item (the cost per charge for recharging is exactly the same as if she were creating a new charged item of similar type).

Finally, if the item was originally created by the caster who is adding charges, the rolls to Open, Imbue and Close the enchantment gain a competence bonus of +5

Potions and Scrolls

Use the standard rules for creating potions and scrolls. The only restriction is that the potion must be created in one session. You may not brew part of the potion in the morning, then pack it up, spend the day on a journey, then come back to finish it later that night after you have been adventuring all day. That is just silly.

The rest of the standard rules on creating magic items apply.

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Magic Item Creation

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