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Determining whether an enchantment will take a +# slot, or be 'free'


Rules Questions


I'm a Fighter thinking about magic items, and there's a spell I saw that I'd LOVE on my primary weapon, but that there's no existing enchantment for. Is there any rule of thumb written down for determining whether it will use one of the limited +# enchantment slots, of which you only have 5 if you want your weapon to be +5, or whether it will be one of the ones that only costs money, time, and spell slots?

A LOT of armor enchantments seem to be the latter, but there's not a whole lot of weapon enchantments that are.

If there's no rule of thumb, maybe I can just get an opinion. I'm thinking of Versatile Weapon, to overcome Damage Reduction on enemies. If it was an activateable ability where you could choose any one of the listed types, would it be a +#, or one of the 'free' ones? If it was a +#, how big would the # be? +1, +2, +3? I can't imagine it being any bigger than +3, considering the stuff that's sitting at +4 & 5, but I could MAYBE see it as a +3, although I'd be more prone to calling it a +2 - or even a +1, I just don't want to go up to my DM and be greedy, so that'll depend on what you guys think.

Thanks for the help!


Are you talking about just getting through damage type DR, like piercing/slashing/bludgeoning? If so, that would be a subset of what the transformative enchantment ability, so maybe a 5000gp weapon ability or something.

If you're talking about getting through ANY DR, like material and alignment, that's a whole 'nother thing, and much more powerful.

Certainly I wouldn't give it a +3 bonus, because a +4 weapon (including the beginning +1 enchantment) can already punch through most of those DRs.

On the other hand, punching through 'DR15/silver and good' with the equivalent of a +2 weapon seems a bit too easy.


Versatile Weapon transforms the physical properties of the weapon, and allows it to punch through any one of the following (chosen on casting/activation) DRs: Bludgeoning, Cold Iron, Piercing, Silver, or Slashing

It does this without changing what damage type your weapon actually deals or is made of, so Keen still works if you switch to Bludgeoning, unlike the Transformative enchantment, and you still have the extra hit points from Adamantine or whatever your weapon is made of when you've got it set to Cold Iron or Silver.


I would say either a +1, or 8-10k.


_Ozy_ wrote:
I would say either a +1, or 8-10k.

Thanks for the help - I hope my DM goes for 8-10k!


There is a reason that there is not enchant for that, it would be confusing and too powerful, there costs for enchanting weapons with non standard materials to consider. There are enchants that already do similar effects like Gray Flame or Holy. One cheap enchant to avoid all DR is to easy. If you really want to use that spell, pick up UMD and then maybe a UMD item.

This would be similar to the true strike items people bring up, if it is to good and item creation rules would make it insanely cheap that it is probably broken and not available. Or, if the item is priced so well and the benefit is so good that every character would have it as a must have item, it does not exist.


Rhaleroad wrote:

There is a reason that there is not enchant for that, it would be confusing and too powerful, there costs for enchanting weapons with non standard materials to consider. There are enchants that already do similar effects like Gray Flame or Holy. One cheap enchant to avoid all DR is to easy. If you really want to use that spell, pick up UMD and then maybe a UMD item.

This would be similar to the true strike items people bring up, if it is to good and item creation rules would make it insanely cheap that it is probably broken and not available. Or, if the item is priced so well and the benefit is so good that every character would have it as a must have item, it does not exist.

Ah. Okay, fair enough. Oh well.


There's no hard-and-fast rule I'm aware of for deciding whether something is money or a magical bonus, but money-only effects tend to be... I want to say either a physical part of the armor, or something that's generally not too powerful and tends to be more situation-specific?

As examples, the Glamered property is useful for hiding armor and going into social situations, but that's pretty narrow in its need, and probably not worth a limited +1 (or more) enchantment compared to other options. Jousting is just a moderate skill bonus, and Poison Resistant is a limited bonus on saving throws.

Shadow Lodge

Rhaleroad wrote:

There is a reason that there is not enchant for that, it would be confusing and too powerful, there costs for enchanting weapons with non standard materials to consider. There are enchants that already do similar effects like Gray Flame or Holy. One cheap enchant to avoid all DR is to easy. If you really want to use that spell, pick up UMD and then maybe a UMD item.

This would be similar to the true strike items people bring up, if it is to good and item creation rules would make it insanely cheap that it is probably broken and not available. Or, if the item is priced so well and the benefit is so good that every character would have it as a must have item, it does not exist.

I don't think it's too good to exist. It doesn't overcome DR/adamantine, /alignment, /epic, or /-. I'd rather have a +3 weapon (overcomes cold iron and silver) than a +1 weapon that can overcome cold iron, silver, slashing, bludgeoning, or piercing DR types, especially if the second weapon takes a standard action to activate.

So it's definitely worth less than a +2 equivalent property or +16,000gp.

I think _Ozy_ is right that +1 or 8-10K is appropriate. If balance is a concern then the +1 is a steeper cost as it remains relevant as you level.

Interestingly, an Intelligent weapon could gain the ability to cast a 3rd level spell like Versatile Weapon once per day for +6000gp, or three times per day for +18000gp; it would use its own action to do so.


A +3 transformative adamantine weapon with four oils of align weapon (one of each flavour) should take care of most of your problems.


Yeah, but you can't benefit from Weapon Focus or any of the other weapon-specific Feats if you use Transformative. I'm thinking of just taking the Weapon Versatility feat, that'll allow me to switch my weapon from Slashing to Bludgeoning or Piercing on the fly. Problem is, while the enchantment allows you to still benefit from Keen or the like when you switch to Bludgeoning or other types that would render things invalid, I don't think the Feat does - which is why I was thinking of the enchantment to begin with.


your a fighter just take the feat. done

weapon versatility.


Then you just need a +3 weapon to cover the silver/cold iron DR.


Cool, thanks guys. Will do!

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