Why would anyone craft a Tome or Manual for profit?


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The profit margin for Tomes and Manuals is 4.5% vs. the 50% profit margin of most items. Weeks of work for very little potential profit doesn't make sense unless there is a particular purpose for the item, in which case the item would likely be used as soon as it is finished. It seems unlikely that adventurers are selling them regularly, so it's unclear what the source of these books would be if purchased from magic shops.

This leads me to 4 questions:

1. Why would anyone craft Tomes or Manuals except for immediate use?

2. Logically, should these items be found in loot or available to purchase?

3. Would any crafter take on a contract to make a tome or manual for the list price?

4. Should the availability of these books be impacted by these factors?


I figure that tomes and manuals are the product of dedicated academics and theorists who are motivated by truth or beauty or something other than money. I figure the price of these things is in part reflected by the rarity of the intersection of both the inclination and the means to do this.

My personal canon is that when the magic disappears from a book, it finds its way into another book (that is not in the possession of the party) rather than disappearing. So some of them are spontaneously created.


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Why would anybody create any magic item for profit, when there's next to nobody with enough reason, much less money, to buy them?


For profit? I'm not sure. You would probably make one for a friend or when commissioned to do so, as crafting lets you make one well before you could cast that number of wishes.

Thinking about that - maybe for advertising or bragging rights. "You can cast a couple of wishes? I can make a book which has the effect of four! Nyaah!"


Zhayne wrote:
Why would anybody create any magic item for profit, when there's next to nobody with enough reason, much less money, to buy them?

The profit from a +2 belt would be equal to over 6 months of wages for some of the highest earners on the hirelings table (Scribe and experienced lawyer). Given the number of mid to high level soldiers, there should be enough trade to keep crafters in business.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
My personal canon is that when the magic disappears from a book, it finds its way into another book (that is not in the possession of the party) rather than disappearing. So some of them are spontaneously created.

That is some really good flavor and it adds logic to these items. I like it a lot.


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I don't usually add them to random loot. If they show up, I reroll.

When they do show up, it's always because there's some story behind their being made.
Common story, as a quest reward for some king. Knights, heros etc are granted the book as their reward for completing some quest the king needed done. They failed/died/etc so the reward was never granted.
Another one is that they were created by divine will. IE some cleric gets a vision command to create one and keep it safe "until the one destined for it arrives", which is, of course, one of the PC's when they show up.


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Zhayne wrote:
Why would anybody create any magic item for profit, when there's next to nobody with enough reason, much less money, to buy them?

Any NPC above level 3 is contractually obliged to buy a bunch of magic items in order to maintain CR and appropriate loot-per-encounter values.

For example, any good Lawyer is expected wear a circlet of persuasion, carry an elixir of truth, own a potion of heroism, etc.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Zhayne wrote:
Why would anybody create any magic item for profit, when there's next to nobody with enough reason, much less money, to buy them?

Any NPC above level 3 is contractually obliged to buy a bunch of magic items in order to maintain CR and appropriate loot-per-encounter values.

For example, any good Lawyer is expected wear a circlet of persuasion, carry an elixir of truth, own a potion of heroism, etc.

And if you want to create tougher encounters. Create npc's with tomes. And then have them use the tomes.


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I can think of a reason for the higher level books but not the lower ones. To give somebody a +5 inherent bonus to a stat, you have to cast 5 Wish spells in immediate succession. Some wizards might be capable of crafting a +5 book but not of casting 5 Wish spells in direct succession.

Of course, I suppose that such a Wizard might find it more practical to scribe scrolls for however many Wish spells he would otherwise fall short.


I would say that they wouldn't be made for profit, but rather by groups that intend to empower enough individuals that it might actually create problems for them to use planar binding, etc. to get enough Wish SLAs in play or that have a ratio that favors crafting over binders, somehow.

Possibly for plans intended to come to fruition in the future, and thus the ability to stockpile enhancements is more valuable.

Bias against outsiders or binding might also play a factor in some cases.

Being a tangible object, and one that even someone who is already enhanced could find some use for, makes a Tome a more impressive prize to offer than getting to spend part of your afternoon with the court planar binder.

That said, I also like the idea that once used they teleport around like Decks of Many Things, which would offer the alternative explanation that it's largely a whole bunch of relics from the ancients that just keep changing hands with new ones only rarely entering into circulation.

Gallant Armor wrote:

2. Logically, should these items be found in loot or available to purchase?

3. Would any crafter take on a contract to make a tome or manual for the list price?

4. Should the availability of these books be impacted by these factors?

Should you let your players waste money when they haven't spotted the superior solution to a problem? Ultimately you're the only one who can decide if that's going to be your GMing philosophy.

Have you altered the game to eliminate all alternatives?


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How are you arriving at the 50% profit margin? You can only sell usable items for 50% of retail, and it typically costs 50% of the retail to craft an item, so for most magic items, there's no margin. There are a few items that have a small benefit, but I don't recall which ones.

Or, are you referring to setting up a shop to sell magic items in Kingmaker or similar?


After a considerably long and tedious look at the creation of magic items, the main reason to make a Tome or Manual to boost stats is it can be done by someone with access to the "create wondrous items" feat long before it could be done by someone that can cast wish. If the character was created to make magic items, they could accomplish this feat at 3rd level as long as they had the gold or magic resources to do so. And if they used magic resources the profits increase dramatically to nearly 50%.

Gallant Armor wrote:

This leads me to 4 questions:

1. Why would anyone craft Tomes or Manuals except for immediate use?

2. Logically, should these items be found in loot or available to purchase?

3. Would any crafter take on a contract to make a tome or manual for the list price?

4. Should the availability of these books be impacted by these factors?

1. A lot of these items are assumed to be created spontaneously from books located in highly magical areas for long periods of time. Others from divine or demonic origin. And as I said above, lower level casters can make them.

2. Logically, any item can be found in loot. A GM can always make an excuse for anything to be there, including insanity.

Magic item stores on the other hand...they make no sense. If you have a single item in your store worth over 100,000 gp what kind of security does your store have to prevent theft? Who buys them? After you get to a "reasonable" price level magic items really should be in the hands of exceptional NPCs or custom order only. The entire idea that a magic shop would stock a wide range of ready made magic items is mind boggling. Unless it is being run by extra planar beings that enjoy the chaos this brings.

3. As long as you assume that they can use the downtime rules to create "magic resources" they yes, they should. For the creator it would be the usual profit margin. Stores might balk a bit at it though since its lower profit for them.

4. You'll have to come up with your own answer.


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Your math still doesn't work. It costs 50% to create the item using craft wondrous items, you sell it back to a shop at 50%. There's no profit.


I figure the sale price of manuals and tomes is to reflect - someone found one in a collection, realized what it was, and decided they wanted the money more than the stats. I mean, if you're a dealer of art and antiques you don't need +5 Strength probably.


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We're presuming this is a full time crafter/shopkeeper, I think.

And isn't it technically a 100% profit margin if I craft something for 1000gp and sell it for 2000gp?

(Of course, overheads for a theft-proof magic shop are probably pretty high.)


taks wrote:

How are you arriving at the 50% profit margin? You can only sell usable items for 50% of retail, and it typically costs 50% of the retail to craft an item, so for most magic items, there's no margin. There are a few items that have a small benefit, but I don't recall which ones.

Or, are you referring to setting up a shop to sell magic items in Kingmaker or similar?

For the 50% profit margin I was referring to crafting magic items to be sold at magic shops, not necessarily PCs. If such crafters exist, their profit would be some portion of the total profit for the item.

The point was to illustrate that there would be almost no profit in crafting a Tome/Manual vs. other items meaning that all such items would likely be created with a specific purpose in mind, not to sell on the open market. Since they are consumable items and more likely to be used than sold, they should be exceedingly rare to find in a shop.


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NPC merchants reverse the economics that prevent PCs from selling such books at a profit. In this case, the profit margin is low, but it is still there for such NPCs. Of course, with such a narrow profit margin, they would probably make such items only as special orders.


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So, like in a kingdom building scenario like I mentioned? If so, I wouldn't allow the PCs to have access to any of their profits other than what the general kingdom rules allowed anyway. Of course, that's beside the point...

Looking at it in terms of WBL, you craft something instead of buying it to increase your wealth, i.e., "profit." Yeah, I wouldn't see a real benefit to crafting an item that costs almost as much to build as it does to buy. You're doing it mostly because there aren't many shops that will contain such an item anyway. Using standard economy rules, 75% availability for items under base value, and I don't know of any settlement that has a base value that high. The only real way to get a tome is to stumble across one, or craft one.


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Gallant Armor wrote:

For the 50% profit margin I was referring to crafting magic items to be sold at magic shops, not necessarily PCs. If such crafters exist, their profit would be some portion of the total profit for the item.

The point was to illustrate that there would be almost no profit in crafting a Tome/Manual vs. other items meaning that all such items would likely be created with a specific purpose in mind, not to sell on the open market. Since they are consumable items and more likely to be used than sold, they should be exceedingly rare to find in a shop.

Yeah, I gotcha.


Matthew Downie wrote:

We're presuming this is a full time crafter/shopkeeper, I think.

And isn't it technically a 100% profit margin if I craft something for 1000gp and sell it for 2000gp?

(Of course, overheads for a theft-proof magic shop are probably pretty high.)

Profit margin = (income-costs)/income

So if I make/buy an item for 1000 gp and sell it in my shop for 2000 gp:
(2000-1000)/2000=50%


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In that regard, what is the highest base value of any settlement? Absalom, maybe?


David knott 242 wrote:

NPC merchants reverse the economics that prevent PCs from selling such books at a profit. In this case, the profit margin is low, but it is still there for such NPCs. Of course, with such a narrow profit margin, they would probably make such items only as special orders.

It seems unlikely that many crafters would take on a special order for the regular sell price unless they have absolutely no business coming in. A 2,500 GP item would have the same profit as a tome or manual and take far less time to craft.


Never try and apply real world logic to D&D economics.

They are made first and foremost to be game mechanics, not realistic economic models.


Meirril wrote:

After a considerably long and tedious look at the creation of magic items, the main reason to make a Tome or Manual to boost stats is it can be done by someone with access to the "create wondrous items" feat long before it could be done by someone that can cast wish. If the character was created to make magic items, they could accomplish this feat at 3rd level as long as they had the gold or magic resources to do so. And if they used magic resources the profits increase dramatically to nearly 50%.

Gallant Armor wrote:

This leads me to 4 questions:

1. Why would anyone craft Tomes or Manuals except for immediate use?

2. Logically, should these items be found in loot or available to purchase?

3. Would any crafter take on a contract to make a tome or manual for the list price?

4. Should the availability of these books be impacted by these factors?

1. A lot of these items are assumed to be created spontaneously from books located in highly magical areas for long periods of time. Others from divine or demonic origin. And as I said above, lower level casters can make them.

2. Logically, any item can be found in loot. A GM can always make an excuse for anything to be there, including insanity.

Magic item stores on the other hand...they make no sense. If you have a single item in your store worth over 100,000 gp what kind of security does your store have to prevent theft? Who buys them? After you get to a "reasonable" price level magic items really should be in the hands of exceptional NPCs or custom order only. The entire idea that a magic shop would stock a wide range of ready made magic items is mind boggling. Unless it is being run by extra planar beings that enjoy the chaos this brings.

3. As long as you assume that they can use the downtime rules to create "magic resources" they yes, they should. For the creator it would be the usual profit margin. Stores might balk a bit at it though since its lower profit for them.

4. You'll have to come up with your...

1. The spontaneous generation idea seems to be quite popular and I think it's a great way of explaining away the logic of the items being readily available.

2. Most games I play in abandon the purchase limit rules by mid to late level as it becomes tedious trying to get the items you need. If you follow the rules I think it makes more sense with what is available, but even then for most NPCs the gold from 1 or 2 low level magic items would be life changing making those shops a huge target.

3. PCs crafting for other PCs makes perfect sense, I was referring to NPCs crafting for PCs which wouldn't make sense at the listed purchase price.


Omnius wrote:

Never try and apply real world logic to D&D economics.

They are made first and foremost to be game mechanics, not realistic economic models.

That's a good point. Having no difference in price of new and used goods is another good example of this.


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Omnius wrote:

Never try and apply real world logic to D&D economics.

They are made first and foremost to be game mechanics, not realistic economic models.

Even as limited as the rules are, they still break the game once you get to upper levels.

While I don't play PFS, if I'm not mistaken, once you have the appropriate ability, you can buy whatever you want and equip your character with it. Granted, you aren't past 12th level in general, which doesn't put your purchase power past any of the major cities. Running an AP, you'll get to 17th level (typically), which means 410,000 GP. Everybody in the party will have a +6 ability gizmo (maybe more than one), and likely +8 to AC via other items, if they can buy anything they want. Tough balance.

I'm still trying to figure out how I will handle this for my 2 latest APs (CoCT and Ironfang). Wealth killed Giantslayer for us, IMO. The final battle took only a couple rounds.


I was writing a whole lot of useless stuff before realizing you were talking from PC perspective.

Anyway, following the magic item creation and craft wondrous item rules you only need to cast Wish/Miracle once and 131.500 GPs. While using the '5 consecutive Wish/Miracle' service is ((17*9*10)*5)+(25.000*5)= 126.530

Isn't it odd? One can argue that the PC paids that extra ~5.000GPs for the sake of benefiting the inherent +5 at 17th level without external help.

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You don't count the cost of costly material components when figuring the crafting time of items that have them:

PRD wrote:


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.

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.

(emphasis mine)

Since the base price of even a +5 tome is only 12,500 gp, a caster can make one in 7-13 days depending on whether they can accelerate their crafting or not.

Because the expensive components don't figure into the crafting time, all items have roughly the same "per day" profit margin, depending only on the "loose change" of whatever fraction of 1000gp comprises the last day of crafting.

So basically there's no reason an NPC crafter would be less inclined to make a tome or manual then they would a level 4 pearl of power, as long as the commissioning character provides the expensive component cost up front.


taks wrote:

Even as limited as the rules are, they still break the game once you get to upper levels.

While I don't play PFS, if I'm not mistaken, once you have the appropriate ability, you can buy whatever you want and equip your character with it. Granted, you aren't past 12th level in general, which doesn't put your purchase power past any of the major cities. Running an AP, you'll get to 17th level (typically), which means 410,000 GP. Everybody in the party will have a +6 ability gizmo (maybe more than one), and likely +8 to AC via other items, if they can buy anything they want. Tough balance.

I'm still trying to figure out how I will handle this for my 2 latest APs (CoCT and Ironfang). Wealth killed Giantslayer for us, IMO. The final battle took only a couple rounds.

Tough to balance?

The CR system assumes the PCs have these things. AC in particular.

HP and AB scale inherently with level. Damage and especially AC don't really. Appropriately leveled magic items are what's supposed to get your damage output and AC where the CR system expects it to be. At a level where you're expected to have a +2 to hit from your magic sword, you're also expected to have at least three out of a +2 ring of deflection, +2 armor, +2 shield, and +2 natural armor.


ryric wrote:

You don't count the cost of costly material components when figuring the crafting time of items that have them:

PRD wrote:


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.

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.

(emphasis mine)

Since the base price of even a +5 tome is only 12,500 gp, a caster can make one in 7-13 days depending on whether they can accelerate their crafting or not.

Because the expensive components don't figure into the crafting time, all items have roughly the same "per day" profit margin, depending only on the "loose change" of whatever fraction of 1000gp comprises the last day of crafting.

So basically there's no reason an NPC crafter would be less inclined to make a tome or manual then they would a level 4 pearl of power, as long as the commissioning character provides the expensive component cost up front.

That is wild, I never knew that rule. I will make use of that in the future.

Edit: misread ryric's post.

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Omnius wrote:


Tough to balance?

The CR system assumes the PCs have these things. AC in particular.

HP and AB scale inherently with level. Damage and especially AC don't really. Appropriately leveled magic items are what's supposed to get your damage output and AC where the CR system expects it to be. At a level where you're expected to have a +2 to hit from your magic sword, you're also expected to have at least three out of a +2 ring of deflection, +2 armor, +2 shield, and +2 natural armor.

But I would say that assumption stops at the +2-+3 range. Metropolis base value is 16k gp, and that allows +4 stat items, +4 cloaks, +3 armor, +2 weapons, and +2 rings/amulets. Everything higher than that needs to be found/commissioned/crafted. I've run several high level Pathfinder campaigns and I find the balance works just fine with this availability. Easy access to bigger stuff leads to unneeded number inflation at teen levels.


ryric wrote:
Easy access to bigger stuff leads to unneeded number inflation at teen levels.

Unless of course the "hack" employed by the party is just to delegate "crafting the big number stuff" to each other, in which case it's probably better to just let them get what they want more naturally.

I mean, I'd rather put +6 belts/headbands for sale rather than having someone feel obligated to take Craft Wondrous Item so the entire party can get them early.


It's best not to think too hard about the 3.x economy.


I always assume that NPC magic item crafters have the traits "hedge magician" or "spark of creation" so that way they make even more money

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
ryric wrote:
Easy access to bigger stuff leads to unneeded number inflation at teen levels.

Unless of course the "hack" employed by the party is just to delegate "crafting the big number stuff" to each other, in which case it's probably better to just let them get what they want more naturally.

I mean, I'd rather put +6 belts/headbands for sale rather than having someone feel obligated to take Craft Wondrous Item so the entire party can get them early.

Eh, if you feel the desire to limit that as GM, it's easy to limit party downtime. Personally, I don't like hard downtime limits but I will throw out "nebulous plotting" as a reason for players to self-limit. While you're sitting there crafting the bad guy's plans are proceeding unopposed. Take as long as you want, just let me know how long it is.

In my experience, parties often take CWI anyway just for half price cloaks, stat items, haversacks, and amulets.


I know I must be missing something...

Craft Wondrous Item wrote:
If spells are involved in the prerequisites for making the item, the creator must have prepared the spells to be cast (or must know the spells, in the case of a sorcerer or bard) but need not provide any material components or focuses the spells require.

So the 25,000gp cost of the wish spell for a Manual to increase a Attribute is not needed to make the item.

Magic Item Creation wrote:
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 (although access through another magic item or spellcaster is allowed). The DC to create a magic item increases by +5 for each prerequisite the caster does not meet. The only exception to this is the requisite item creation feat, which is mandatory. In addition, you cannot create potions, spell-trigger, or spell-completion magic items without meeting their spell prerequisites.

So the crafter dose not need to know the wish spell. Just harder to create. (DC of 27)

Master Craftsmen wrote:
Ranks in your chosen skill count as your caster level for the purposes of qualifying for the Craft Magic Arms and Armor and Craft Wondrous Item feats

So a 5th level NPC Expert Scribe with the Master Craftsman Feat could create a Manual.

Cyclops Helm wrote:
Once per day as an immediate action, the wearer can choose the result of the die roll instead of rolling her next attack roll, saving throw, skill check, or ability check

So a skill check could be chosen to be a 20.

All put together, a 5th level non Caster with an Intelligence of 14, using a Cyclops Helm, could make a +1 Manual in 27 days. For 1,250gp. And sell it for 13,750gp.

Liberty's Edge

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Just goes to show that Pathfinder rules are for combat simulation, not economic simulation.


Dr Styx wrote:

I know I must be missing something...

Craft Wondrous Item wrote:
If spells are involved in the prerequisites for making the item, the creator must have prepared the spells to be cast (or must know the spells, in the case of a sorcerer or bard) but need not provide any material components or focuses the spells require.
So the 25,000gp cost of the wish spell for a Manual to increase a Attribute is not needed to make the item.
Magic Item Creation wrote:
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.

In the case of the Tomes, they're Replicating the effects of a Wish (or multiple Wishes as appropriate.)

ETA: And to support this:

Tome of Clear Thoughts wrote:

CONSTRUCTION REQUIREMENTS

Craft Wondrous Item, miracle or wish; Cost 26,250 gp (+1), 52,500 gp (+2), 78,750 gp (+3), 105,000 gp (+4), 131,250 gp (+5)


Gallant Armor wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:

We're presuming this is a full time crafter/shopkeeper, I think.

And isn't it technically a 100% profit margin if I craft something for 1000gp and sell it for 2000gp?

(Of course, overheads for a theft-proof magic shop are probably pretty high.)

Profit margin = (income-costs)/income

So if I make/buy an item for 1000 gp and sell it in my shop for 2000 gp:
(2000-1000)/2000=50%

PCs sell items for half their value. So if you craft it for .5(x) and then sell it for .5(x) where x = the market price of the item then your profit margin is 0. You break even.


The idea though seems to be not from the PC side but for NPC shopkeepers, who craft for 1/2 and sell for full.


Albeit with costs from taxes, rents, theft prevention & the occasional theft that gets past those anyway, etc.


PCs can run a franchise of Ye Olde Magic Shoppe LLC if they wish.


Some profit is better then none. Just because you dont make as much of a return on one item as you do others thats no reason not to offer that item to customers. Not only that but customer loyalty is something to keep in mind, not everyone is the extremely frugal pinch every penny type. Treat people well and they will more then likely keep coming back to you when they need things.

That aside supply and demand is another thing to keep in mind. If you keep making magic swords that you get a huge return on eventually everyones going to have a magic sword. Your demand for them drops, and thus so must prices if you want to keep selling them.

Also a focus on magic swords because of their huge return means you arent providing for all those people that dont want magic swords. What about the person who prefers axes or maces? What about your spellcasters who want magic robes or jewelry? How about the universally useful flying carpet?

There are a lot of factors why someone would make any magic item for profit.


taks wrote:
Your math still doesn't work. It costs 50% to create the item using craft wondrous items, you sell it back to a shop at 50%. There's no profit.

Ok, remember that part where I say you use the downtime rules and you create the item using "Magic Resources"? That is where the profit comes from.

Organizations, businesses, and PCs attempting to "work" in a town can earn various resources. Among those resources the most expensive and useful is "Magic Resource" which can be used to create magic items, cast magic spells, and in general get magic done. When you earn a "Magic Resource" you have to spend 50gp to get 100gp worth of resource.

So now you have a generic non-monetary doubling of value. How do you turn that into cash? Make a magic item and sell it! Depending on skill a competent wizard should be able to earn 2 magic resources per day from their own efforts. More if they have an organization or business they own that generates them. Still for this example I'll assume its just the wizard doing this and generating 1,000gp worth of Magic Resources in 5 days. That is enough to make a +1 sword to sell every 6 days and generate a profit of 500gp from selling it at "half value".

Downtime rules are great, aren't they? No, they aren't but there it is. A way to make money from enchanting. With a sufficient investment you could have enough NPCs working for you that you'll be able to make enough magic resources per day as you can enchant.

And this is why you do not use downtime rules as is in any campaign. Nobody wants a wizard that begs the party for a "few more days" to make money.


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Omnius wrote:

Tough to balance?

The CR system assumes the PCs have these things. AC in particular.

HP and AB scale inherently with level. Damage and especially AC don't really. Appropriately leveled magic items are what's supposed to get your damage output and AC where the CR system expects it to be. At a level where you're expected to have a +2 to hit from your magic sword, you're also expected to have at least three out of a +2 ring of deflection, +2 armor, +2 shield, and +2 natural armor.

I know this.

APs are a different beast. In general, the APs aren't balanced based on you buying whatever you want, and the majority of encounters are APL or below as well. Besides the fact that your wealth is likely 50% greater than WBL in the first place, the party is carrying around a large chunk of it in the form of gold or gems because they have nothing to buy other than what exists in the regional stores in the first place. There aren't typically any +6 gizmos (occasionally there's a +4/+4), and the economy rules prevent them as a standard purchasable item because the base values are never as high as 36,000 GP. If they're in a remote area, base values under 10,000 GP are pretty normal.

That is, if you follow the economy rules. I do, which makes it a tough balance. Do I let them buy whatever they want, and walk all over the AP, or do I limit them? Just beginning my 3rd and 4th APs, I'm still not sure how I want to proceed. Admittedly, Ironfang Invasion will be easier because they have no one to trade with.


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Meirril wrote:


Ok, remember that part where I say you use the downtime rules and you create the item using "Magic Resources"? That is where the profit comes from.

I got that: see my comment above. Thanks for the clarification either way.


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Windcaler wrote:

Some profit is better then none. Just because you dont make as much of a return on one item as you do others thats no reason not to offer that item to customers. Not only that but customer loyalty is something to keep in mind, not everyone is the extremely frugal pinch every penny type. Treat people well and they will more then likely keep coming back to you when they need things.

That aside supply and demand is another thing to keep in mind. If you keep making magic swords that you get a huge return on eventually everyones going to have a magic sword. Your demand for them drops, and thus so must prices if you want to keep selling them.

Also a focus on magic swords because of their huge return means you arent providing for all those people that dont want magic swords. What about the person who prefers axes or maces? What about your spellcasters who want magic robes or jewelry? How about the universally useful flying carpet?

There are a lot of factors why someone would make any magic item for profit.

Actual businesses have products they call "loss leaders." These are products they actually LOSE money on in order to get people into their stores (or however they buy) looking at other products. I can see savvy merchants carrying around a few tomes to get the high-level characters in-house hoping they'll buy up additional stuff that carries a better margin.


I would assume nearly everything except low-level potions, wands & scrolls would be made by commission only.

Even a potion of Cure Light Wounds would be beyond the means of the majority, who would likely receive any magical healing from their local priest or hedge witch.


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Zhayne wrote:
Why would anybody create any magic item for profit, when there's next to nobody with enough reason, much less money, to buy them?

I am sure there is a comfortable market for +1 swords. Mostly to sell to noble brats that want to show off. I assume that is the bulk of profit for most wizards (of course, that also assumes that most wizards just settle into comfortable lives as minor craftsmen and academics once they hit level 5 or so).

Anyway- I just assume that normally, items like this are created under occult ritual rules rather than through normal crafting rules (the crafting rules are there for people that want to force the issue). This is my internal justification at least.

Under this assumption, it would be an accidental event due to some grand circumstances- such as a swordsmaster dying of illness who attempts to pour his entire body of knowledge and technique in order to pass it on. His near mad devotion, combined with his strong foundation, could be burned in order to cause a magical crafting effect.

I like this kind of explanation for item crafting in general- it allows for there to be a wide number of magical items in a setting without everything being boiled down to "a rich bored guy hired a high level wizard". Instead, this is often just a spontaneous magical event, and the wizards learned how to do craft by figuring out how to reliably replicate the circumstances that lead to the item's creation.

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