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Ability Bonus (enhancement)


Suggestions/House Rules/Homebrew

Silver Crusade

When creating a magic item that gives an enhancement bonus to an ability score the base price is listed on p.550 of the CRB as:-

'Bonus squared x 1000gp'

The only examples in the book (belt of strength etc.) are +2, +4 and +6.

In our regular campaign our wizard is about to level up to 3rd and wants to take the feat Create Wondrous Item, and he's saying he can create a belt which gives a +1 enhancement bonus to Str, which would be worth 1000gp, according to the formula.

I told him that this items must give an enhancement bonus which is an even number. When he challenged me to show him the rule which says so, I couldn't find it.

I'm sure I've seen a rule like this, but where? Did I imagine the whole thing?


Disregarding any actual rule that may or may not exist, why would you stop him from doing it?

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

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There is no written rule against it, but there is a reason that odd bonus items don't exist. An even enhancement bonus works equally well for all wearers - the wearer of a +2 Dex belt gets the same +1 bonus to all Dex based rolls regardless of his initial Dexterity score. A wearer of a hypothetical +1 Dex belt either gets a +1 bonus to Dex based rolls (if his Dex is odd) or doesn't (if even) - so the belt doesn't have a consistent effect. Basically, Mr. Odd Dex is getting the same bonus as the +2 belt for cheaper. I'm personally not a big fan of letting players get cheaper magic items by putting in "restrictions" or "nerfs" that don't actually make the item less effective for the PC using it.

So, they don't exist because they break in-game verisimilitude, and they encourage min/maxing. If that sort of stuff doesn't bother you, by all means allow them in your game. They won't really break anything. I'd be hesitant about ever letting him sell such an item later, as it may or may not do anything for the NPC buying it depending on whether or not the NPC has an odd stat.

Edit: For his "show me the rule that I can't" statement, all custom items must be approved by the GM. By default, Craft Wondrous Items lets you make the items listed in the book. Anything else the player comes up with must go through GM approval, and I recommend a default setting of "no, but let's see how we can make it work."


There is no rule that it has to be an even number, but since it is not an official item it falls into the realm of GM Fiat as a custom item. In short the GM has to decide if he wants to allow the item or not.


In terms of rules, a +1 dex item is completely fine.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Odd-bonus ability score bonuses are deliberately not in the game.

It's one of those unwritten rules, much like "anything over 200,000 gp is an artifact" and "you can only ride a creature one size category larger than you".

A good reason to not do it is because it's worth different things to different people. For someone with 15 Dex, a +3 Dex belt is worth the same as a +4 belt. For someone with 14 Dex, it's worth the same as a +2 belt.


I've been majorly ninja'd, so I'll just say that I would allow an odd belt of giant strength, even though it helps some people more than others. Yeah he's gaming the system on ability scores, and Str is probably a test case for the Int item that he plans to make next (since either his Int is odd now, or it will be at 4th); but what it does is let him spend his cash on ability-enhancing items sooner than otherwise, and there are a lot of other things that a wizard could do with that money.

Maybe I'm an optimist, but I'd expect it to balance itself out in the long run. Also, ryric makes a good point about the resale value; I'd tell your player up front that he can only sell it for half of what he'd expect -- 250 gp for an odd belt of giant strength +1 -- since only half of potential customers would get the full benefit. (Economics doesn't actually work like that, but it's good enough for a game.)


Cheapy wrote:

Odd-bonus ability score bonuses are deliberately not in the game.

It's one of those unwritten rules, much like "anything over 200,000 gp is an artifact" and "you can only ride a creature one size category larger than you".

A good reason to not do it is because it's worth different things to different people. For someone with 15 Dex, a +3 Dex belt is worth the same as a +4 belt. For someone with 14 Dex, it's worth the same as a +2 belt.

And the smell of cheese...

EDIT FOR SNIDE COMMENT: Actually there is an item which will give you a +1 stat boost so you should should use that as the base line of the price of the custom item as per guidelines of custom items.

Tome of +1 *whateveryouwant* costs 27,500gps

WHOOPS!!

He's making it for himself? How many odd stats has the PC got?
And if you allow it expect every PC in your game always to start with odd stats all over... Its a min/max cheese monkey wet dream and allowing it will be something as a GM you will eventually regret.

Before allowing any custom item in the game think of the worse cheesiest way unbalancing way to abuse it and base its price and availability on that rather than an abstract rule.


Hell yeah there is a rule against it.

Rule 0.

For good reasons pointed out above.


I could see banning it for a one off or short campaign, but if you're going 10 levels or more it will become an item that will eventually become useless and replaced.


Ciaran Barnes wrote:
I could see banning it for a one off or short campaign, but if you're going 10 levels or more it will become an item that will eventually become useless and replaced.

Allowing a +1 ability enhancer also opens the door for future +3 and +5 ability enhancers.


Just like the tomes and manuals as have already been mentioned.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Buri wrote:
Just like the tomes and manuals as have already been mentioned.

Actaully, a +1 enhancement bonus item that was permanently used up and could never be upgraded or sold, but just replaced with a better version, might be okay. Interesting idea.

Would have to make it 2000/18000/50000 for unslotted +1/+3/+5 though, as I'm not sure how one would make a slotted item that couldn't be replaced. So now we have an item that only cheaper at +1, and upgrading to +3 and/or selling it later isn't an issue. It's enhancement so it doesn't stack with other enhancement bonuses. Call it a lesser tome or something. This seems balanced to me at first glance.


Buri wrote:
Just like the tomes and manuals as have already been mentioned.

Tomes and manuals are very different, for one simple reason: Their cost scales linearly (a +5 tome costs exactly five times what a +1 tome costs). So there's no inherent cost-saving benefit to odd-score tomes and manuals.


Like I said the best way IMO is to look how it can be cheesed and abused.

Build a 15pt or 20pt buy PC on the understanding that the friendly PC wizard can make these items on the cheap. See how you can max out your PC with minimal point buy. Once the cat is out of the bag you bet its going to claw and spit hard if as a GM you try and put it back in.

There is a good reason why there are no cheap +1 items officially. You gotta ask yourself why....


And? All that shows is they don't follow the pricing grid as it doesn't allow for inherent bonus types. If anything else came along that provided a +6 inherent bonus those books wouldn't provide any additional benefit so they're not really that special.

The point is made: odd ability bonuses are legit.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Buri wrote:

And? All that shows is they don't follow the pricing grid as it doesn't allow for inherent bonus types. If anything else came along that provided a +6 inherent bonus those books wouldn't provide any additional benefit so they're not really that special.

The point is made: odd ability bonuses are legit.

Except that +6 inherent bonuses are explicitly disallowed:

PRD wrote:

Note: An inherent bonus may not exceed +5 for a single ability score, and inherent bonuses to a particular ability score do not stack, so only the best one applies.

And I do believe that the tomes etc are priced from the table; they are based off of 1-5 charge use-activated wish items.

You are the first person I've ever heard that thinks there is "nothing special" about inherent bonuses. Undispelable permanent bonuses that stack with everything else? Yes please.


That's only from how wish works. There's nothing special about the bonus type of inherent. Its just another type of bonus. And fine, if I had a +1 book and somehow got a +2 effect somewhere else I still only have a +2. That's how they're really not that special.

Silver Crusade

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Cheapy wrote:

Odd-bonus ability score bonuses are deliberately not in the game.

It's one of those unwritten rules, much like "anything over 200,000 gp is an artifact" and "you can only ride a creature one size category larger than you".

A good reason to not do it is because it's worth different things to different people. For someone with 15 Dex, a +3 Dex belt is worth the same as a +4 belt. For someone with 14 Dex, it's worth the same as a +2 belt.

Cheapy, thankyou for the link. I made the mistake of clicking on it, then reading the entire 231 post thread! That's two hours of my life I'll never get back!

So, no rules quote then? I'd swear I saw somewhere a rule about it only being even numbers, and it maxing out at +6 for non-epic items, but without a rules quote it's a bit shaky.

The nearest I've got is p.234 of the Magic Item Compendium for 3.5. This is a table which makes clear how to price incremental increases to worn items which improve AC, resistance bonus to saves, natural armour bonuses, ability bonuses, etc.

e.g. Cloaks of Resistance are priced at:-
+1=1000gp
+2=4000gp
+3=9000gp
+4=16000gp
+5=25000gp
because the formula for pricing this bonus is (bonus squared)x 1000gp

But the table on p.234 is to aid those improving an already enchanted item, so this table says:-
+1=1000gp
+1 to +2=3000gp
+2 to +3=5000gp
+3 to +4=7000gp
+4 to +5=9000gp

Get the idea? Good!

Now my point is this: in all cases of items that give enhancement bonuses to abilities the table says:-
+2=4000gp
+2 to +4=12000gp
+4 to +6=20000gp

You see? There are no mentions of +1, +3 or +5 as even possibilities!

Pathfinder is supposed to be backwards compatible with 3.5. Do you guys think this is convincing?


There's no rules quote (according to the rules such items are perfectly fine).

However, the post Cheapy linked to (if you had only read that single post!) was by Sean K Reynolds (one of the Paizo designers), who said odd-score ability enhancement items are deliberately not in the game.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Since I once had a horse in this race, I figured I'd chime in with a more direct quote of the data I analyzed from that very lengthy thread:

Old Investigative Data

I still, however, do not see this "HUGE OH MY GODS GAME BREAKING" imbalance that most people assume it would create. In the end, I see this more as opinion than having strong factual mathematical data that truly turns this item into an "imbalance". The character enhancement progression curve maintains the same shape either way, only truly changing the rounding at irregular sample rates (since there are only 20 levels worth of wealth and enhancements to choose from).

All in all, the GM arbitrates this and decides if this item can be created. Happy gaming!


Matt Bray wrote:

You see? There are no mentions of +1, +3 or +5 as even possibilities!

Pathfinder is supposed to be backwards compatible with 3.5. Do you guys think this is convincing?

No. An omission is not a forbiddance. Odd numbers were left out on purpose, but you can still allow them if you want to. (Or not, whatever.)


Any item not specifically in the core book is up to the GM*.

*Yeah I know all items are up to the GM, but I am sure you get my point.

The rules don't forbid any magic item at all. Your imagination, and the GM are the only barriers. That however does not mean that anything one can imagine should be created.

OP it is up to you.

Shadow Lodge

PRD wrote:

Some spells and abilities increase your ability scores. Ability score increases with a duration of 1 day or less give only temporary bonuses. For every two points of increase to a single ability, apply a +1 bonus to the skills and statistics listed with the relevant ability.

Permanent Bonuses
Ability bonuses with a duration greater than 1 day actually increase the relevant ability score after 24 hours. Modify all skills and statistics related to that ability. This might cause you to gain skill points, hit points, and other bonuses. These bonuses should be noted separately in case they are removed.

As I understand it, magical bonuses to ability scores do not change the relevant bonuses unless they are even numbers (just list ability damage). Thats how I would rule as a Gm anyways.


Seriphim84 wrote:
PRD wrote:

Some spells and abilities increase your ability scores. Ability score increases with a duration of 1 day or less give only temporary bonuses. For every two points of increase to a single ability, apply a +1 bonus to the skills and statistics listed with the relevant ability.

Permanent Bonuses
Ability bonuses with a duration greater than 1 day actually increase the relevant ability score after 24 hours. Modify all skills and statistics related to that ability. This might cause you to gain skill points, hit points, and other bonuses. These bonuses should be noted separately in case they are removed.
As I understand it, magical bonuses to ability scores do not change the relevant bonuses unless they are even numbers (just list ability damage). Thats how I would rule as a Gm anyways.

The bonus itself does not determine the modifier. The actual score itself does so if I have a +15, and the GM allows me a +1 item to give me a +16 my modifier is a +3. It does not matter how I got to that +16 as long as I get there.

Shadow Lodge

That is not correct. the PRD quote shows that's incorrect. Same with damage, going from 16-15 con does not make me loose any hit points.


Seriphim84 wrote:
That is not correct. the PRD quote shows that's incorrect. Same with damage, going from 16-15 con does not make me loose any hit points.

What is not correct?

If you are saying the total modifier is not determined by the actual score then I am correct. The front of the book shows how the score are connect to the modifier. Go to "Getting Started" and then look for the paragraph label "Abilities and Spellcasters". There is table showing you which ability scores are connected to which modifiers. There is no rule saying you must go up by 2 in order to make that 16 count as a +3.

That quote you have says nothing about only adding an even number being allowed to raise a score either. It is only saying that if you add an even number the score goes up. That is because any time you add 2, or any other even number, the modifier will increase.

As for you going from a 16 to a 15 that would drop your hit points.
A 14-15 is a +2 modifier
A 16-17 is a +3 modifier.

If you use lose the qualifying score then you lose the modifier to anything it is attached to. You can't just drop down to a +2 and pretend it is a +3.

The formula for Hit points is XdY+con modifier+other modifier such as the toughness feat.

X is the number of die. Y is the value of the die such as a D6 or D8.

Quote:


Determine Bonuses

Each ability, after changes made because of race, has a modifier ranging from –5 to +5. <--{This is for character creation purposes}

Table: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells shows the modifier for each score. The modifier is the number you apply to the die roll when your character tries to do something related to that ability. You also use the modifier with some numbers that aren't die rolls. A positive modifier is called a bonus, and a negative modifier is called a penalty. The table also shows bonus spells, which you'll need to know about if your character is a spellcaster.Table: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells shows the modifier for each score. The modifier is the number you apply to the die roll when your character tries to do something related to that ability. You also use the modifier with some numbers that aren't die rolls. A positive modifier is called a bonus, and a negative modifier is called a penalty. The table also shows bonus spells, which you'll need to know about if your character is a spellcaster.

If the modifier is the number you apply then you must apply the modifier.


concerro: I could be wrong, but I think he's suggesting that bonuses to ability scores should be handled the same way as ability damage (ie: only multiples of +2/-2 have an effect).

Taking 1 point of Constitution damage, for instance, doesn't affect your character at all.

There would have to be an exception for inherent bonuses, though.


It affects your character if your total score is 15 instead of 16*. Now if you are using ability damage your score would not be lowered so you would need a -2, but if your score is lowered which is what ability drain does then you have a 15(+2), and you lose Hit Points.

*I bring this up because he specifically said dropping to a 15 would not make him lose HP.

He is also forgetting that a permanent bonus actually changes your ability score.

Quote:
Permanent Bonuses: Ability bonuses with a duration greater than 1 day actually increase the relevant ability score after 24 hours. Modify all skills and statistics related to that ability. This might cause you to gain skill points, hit points, and other bonuses. These bonuses should be noted separately in case they are removed.

That is why adding only a +1 can change the modifier. The modifier goes off of your actual score. I can see he copied this section in his other post, but he only read the first part.


ryric wrote:
Buri wrote:

And? All that shows is they don't follow the pricing grid as it doesn't allow for inherent bonus types. If anything else came along that provided a +6 inherent bonus those books wouldn't provide any additional benefit so they're not really that special.

The point is made: odd ability bonuses are legit.

Except that +6 inherent bonuses are explicitly disallowed:

PRD wrote:

Note: An inherent bonus may not exceed +5 for a single ability score, and inherent bonuses to a particular ability score do not stack, so only the best one applies.

And I do believe that the tomes etc are priced from the table; they are based off of 1-5 charge use-activated wish items.

You are the first person I've ever heard that thinks there is "nothing special" about inherent bonuses. Undispelable permanent bonuses that stack with everything else? Yes please.

Btw, from the abyssal sorcerer bloodline:

Quote:
Strength of the Abyss (Ex): At 9th level, you gain a +2 inherent bonus to your Strength. This bonus increases to +4 at 13th level, and to +6 at 17th level.


I do not have an opinion if this is for Pathfinder Society.

For a regular home game with friends however, it is perfectly acceptable to have some leniency. Let him spend his money on creating a +1 item. Trust me, it will not unbalance your game. If for some reason it becomes a problem, magic items are incredibly easy to take away from players. Like taking candy from a baby :)

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