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Item creation with other consideration


Rules Questions


I have been DMing my first pathfinders game without much trouble until recently.

My players have gotten to the point that they are creating magical items and it has raised several questions.

In the item creation entry, under “other considerations” it lists a two ways to lower the cost of an item by giving it some restrictions.

Currently my player wants to create a item to give him a boost to his spellcraft skill. Most certainly this is to make it easier for him to create items in the future.

With an bonus of +7 this gives him a maket value of 4 900 Gp, and a creation cost of 2450 Gp.

Adding the following restrictions,

5 ranks of spellcraft required for use, -10 %
Usable only by a Sorcerer, -30 %
Total reduction -40 %

At first glance this does not sit well with me. Can you place a skill restriction on an item that add a bonus to the same skill? Does the total reduction get applied to the market price? Or the Construction price? I have read on some posts that these reductions only apply to the Mark Price in regards to the sale of magical items and have no bearing on the construction of the item.

I’ve reviewed other skill boosting items and there is always a spell involved, that in some way gives a bonus to the related skill or end use desired. I have not been able to find one for a bonus to spellcraft. Is there one that could apply? If not I do not know if this item should be allowed. I know that this item is being created solely to allow the player to make items in the future easier.

Liberty's Edge

Its important to note that the bonus to the skill would actually be a bonus to skill rolls, not to the skill itself.

As to the spell being needed, I'd probably say he'd have to research a spell for that purpose or else take +5 dc to make the item (ignoring the prerequisite spell).

That aside, be warned, crafting magic items is VERY powerful and should be allowed in the game with care.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Don't grant restriction bonuses from restrictions that are not restrictions at all.

In short unless it impacts on the CHARACTER'S use of the item, it's not a restriction. You must stand fast on this.

And I'll say this rule. You MUST MUST be absolutely strict when it comes to magic items.

And don't allow custom magic items AT ALL until you become more cognizant of how the various elements impact the game. Custom magic items are the death of many a game because the GM wasn't strict enough.

Marathon Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Don't let players use those restrictions. If he's making it for himself, and he happens to meet the "restrictions", they aren't restrictions at all.

Star Voter 2014

The item creation rules are intended for the GM to say "I want a custom item which does X" and then figure out a price for it. They are not intended for players to go "I want an item which does X, which is exactly the best thing for me, even though it doesn't exist normally."

Doesn't mean they can't be used that way, but they're not intended for it.

In this case, you have three reasonable choices:
1) No custom items, period.
2) Deny this item because there isn't a spell to construct it.
3) Permit it, but start applying the -40% discount to all caster NPC's gear, such that the NPC gets more bang for his buck and the party gets less use from it. Warn the player that you'll do this.

Personally, I consider all the listed magic items in the book to be equivalent to formulas for magic items. A PC can create anything that's listed, without checking with me (provided they meet the prereqs). As a GM, I can create more formulas, which the PCs can then create, but unless I create one, they can't make it. That's choice #1.

One of the Paizo people responded to a question once about creating stat boosting items with an odd stat boost. Their answer was basically "for 50% of the population, it's no different than the cheaper +even one. For the other 50%, it's no different than the more expensive +even one. So half the time it's overpriced, half the time it's underpriced, and a PC is always going to go with the cheapest possible route. So rather than having belts which in-game go 'this belt that makes you stronger works better for some people than others', we just only permitted the +even ones". Keep this philosophy in mind when allowing your players to design their own items.


Bobson wrote:

The item creation rules are intended for the GM to say "I want a custom item which does X" and then figure out a price for it. They are not intended for players to go "I want an item which does X, which is exactly the best thing for me, even though it doesn't exist normally."

Doesn't mean they can't be used that way, but they're not intended for it.

In this case, you have three reasonable choices:
1) No custom items, period.
2) Deny this item because there isn't a spell to construct it.
3) Permit it, but start applying the -40% discount to all caster NPC's gear, such that the NPC gets more bang for his buck and the party gets less use from it. Warn the player that you'll do this.

Personally, I consider all the listed magic items in the book to be equivalent to formulas for magic items. A PC can create anything that's listed, without checking with me (provided they meet the prereqs). As a GM, I can create more formulas, which the PCs can then create, but unless I create one, they can't make it. That's choice #1.

One of the Paizo people responded to a question once about creating stat boosting items with an odd stat boost. Their answer was basically "for 50% of the population, it's no different than the cheaper +even one. For the other 50%, it's no different than the more expensive +even one. So half the time it's overpriced, half the time it's underpriced, and a PC is always going to go with the cheapest possible route. So rather than having belts which in-game go 'this belt that makes you stronger works better for some people than others', we just only permitted the +even ones". Keep this philosophy in mind when allowing your players to design their own items.

I don't like #3. In-universe solutions for table-top problems has a big potential to poison the relationship at the table, as well as ruining verisimilitude.

In this case, the easy solution to the dodge is to not apply the cost benefits of the bogus restrictions, the issue from THIS item is solved within THIS item and all else proceeds.

Marathon Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Just a note, magic items do not need spells. They are the usual way to make an item, but not the only.

There are a few magic items that just need ranks in knowledge skills.

Star Voter 2014

Chobemaster wrote:

I don't like #3. In-universe solutions for table-top problems has a big potential to poison the relationship at the table, as well as ruining verisimilitude.

In this case, the easy solution to the dodge is to not apply the cost benefits of the bogus restrictions, the issue from THIS item is solved within THIS item and all else proceeds.

I agree that #3 is the worst choice. But often pointing out what doing something will mean is a good way to make a player take a step back and reconsider. Someone just posted on the gravity bow item thread about their counter to a ring of constant true strike: "Sure, I'll allow it. But NPCs will sometimes carry them too. Can you get your AC up enough to avoid their +20 to hit?"

You don't have to have every NPC suddenly using the same cheese that the players are using. But the threat of pointing out that it works both ways (and then actually using it on occasion), will hopefully cause reconsideration of whether it's really worth it to open that can of worms...


If a player in my game wanted to do this, I'd apply the reduction to the resale value but keep the crafting cost the same.

It still might be worth doing, if you were worried about your item falling into the wrong hands, for instance.


Natamanchuk wrote:


Currently my player wants to create a item to give him a boost to his spellcraft skill. Most certainly this is to make it easier for him to create items in the future.

With an bonus of +7 this gives him a maket value of 4 900 Gp, and a creation cost of 2450 Gp.

Do note, that the maximum bonus a skill boosting item can give is +5. In 3.5 +6 and higher needed epic levels. In PF I don`t think they exist at all.

Liberty's Edge

Knight Magenta wrote:
Natamanchuk wrote:


Currently my player wants to create a item to give him a boost to his spellcraft skill. Most certainly this is to make it easier for him to create items in the future.

With an bonus of +7 this gives him a maket value of 4 900 Gp, and a creation cost of 2450 Gp.

Do note, that the maximum bonus a skill boosting item can give is +5. In 3.5 +6 and higher needed epic levels. In PF I don`t think they exist at all.

This is incorrect.

Greater Slick wrote:
As slick, except it grants a +15 competence bonus on Escape Artist checks


ShadowcatX wrote:


This is incorrect.

Hmm... You may be right. I can't find where I saw that limit. Though I think slick is a bad example because it is much more limited.

I'd still be careful with items higher than +5. Can you imagine someone having a +15 bonus to bluff, stealth, or perception? Pretty much any opposed skill roll gets destroyed if you have no cap.


Knight Magenta wrote:
Can you imagine someone having a +15 bonus to bluff, stealth, or perception?

A +15 bonus to Stealth, you say?

The Exchange

hogarth wrote:

If a player in my game wanted to do this, I'd apply the reduction to the resale value but keep the crafting cost the same.

It still might be worth doing, if you were worried about your item falling into the wrong hands, for instance.

i agree with this 100%. otherwise there is no penalty to the item creation this reduction is mainly to stop the wrong type of character from recieveing loot you are intending for a specific character. for instance maybe your rogue is having alot of trouble hitting but you like having him around because he is very useful out of combat. so you throw an encounter where a dagger drops that is a +3 dagger (at low levels this is an OMG item) but it has the restriction of only working for a character with 3/4 bab. now the rogue has something to make use of but he cant turn around and sell it for full value. the restriction should really be a dm only option.

my item of unlimited power costs 500 gold because only characters from my home town with the name of bob can use it. very specific very cheap. of course this is a drastic over exaggeration but the point stands making items only u can use should still cost the same as an item of its ability.


I’ve chosen to do the following.

For the Contacts of Spellcraft. I’ve allowed the -10% reductions in cost based on the restriction that Knowledge Arcane requires 7 ranks(or however many ranks matching the bonus requested for spellcraft.)

I’ve rejected the -30% reduction in cost, because I can’t find any way for this to be implemented by a player in a meaningful way that actually works as a restriction.

As for a spell base, having one makes sense to me and it is comparable to most of the other skill boosting items out there. In this case I have allowed my player to use Fox’s Cunning. It’s of suitable low level that it does not have much of an impact on his ability to create the item but it helps it make sense to me.

I have applied a similar stance on this player’s other proposed creations.

I have to say, I love the pathfinder’s system in general. What I have seen of item creation thus far is that it can and most likely will become a much more important and commonplace part of adventuring. Especially compared to 3.5. As such it has become a more powerful tool for the PCs, one that I don’t think they should be deprived of. Only heavily scrutinized.

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