Magic Item Creation and Caster Level


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Caster level obviously is used to set the spellcraft DC for magic item creation. It also seems to indicate that it is the minimum caster level required to create the item. I have 2 questions:

1. is this correct? You need to be a 12 lvl caster in order to make Feather Token?
2. Can this be overcome like other requirements? I.e. increasing the dc by 5?

It seems silly to require a 12th lvl caster to make a 50gp item.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

personally i do not think the caster level listed at the top of the entry has anything to do with the requirements for crafting them. Otherwise it would not make sense that some items specifically state their is a specific caster level requirement in their entry. Why wouldnt that just be at the top? I think those are there to give a caster level for generic found or purchased items and not when crafting one yourself. In that case i think you can set the caster level as low as would still allow you to craft the item (not bellow the requirements for the spells or the feats).

There is however some debate on this issue, and i do not remember an official response as of yet.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

At the beginning of the magic items section, where they're explaining the format of the entries, it says that the caster level is required to create the item. Whether or not this is an error, I couldn't say; there's nothing about it in the actual item creation section.

Personally, I've ruled that the CL only sets the check DC during creation, but RAW (however questionable) is that you have to be that level.

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Caster level is only a prerequisite for creating the item IF the caster level is LISTED in the Requirements section of the item (for an example, see amulet of mighty fists).

The text on page 460 is a little unclear and probably is derived from the (wrong) SRD text taken from the (wrong) DMG 3.0 magic item introduction (where Monte wrote it correctly, then someone changed it to something wrong and that's how it got published, and fixed in the errata for 3.0, and then 3.5 was written by updating the original 3.0 Word documents, which didn't incorporate the 3.0 errata, and thus went to print with wrong information again). Anyway, caster level is NOT a prereq unless the item's Requirement section specifically lists a caster level.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Anyway, caster level is NOT a prereq unless the item's Requirement section specifically lists a caster level.

Any sense for if/when an official errata might be produced? I've certainly been on one side of this specific argument before. It's hard to distinguish between:

a) The rules are different from 3.5 intentionally

and

b) The rules are different from 3.5 unintentionally

For the most part, I try to forget 3.5 interpretations when reading PF to avoid bias and only go by what's on the page.

In this case, I can see level now being a prereq since you can bypass prereqs by adding +5 to the craft DC, but I have no idea if that is really intended.

Another recent example is has positive energy changed in how it affects incorporeal undead? The PF rules indicate it may have, although almost everyone who voiced an opinion thought the PF rules were unintentionally changed. That's a tough argument to pitch to a DM though. But the rules are wrong!

Having an official errata/FAQ to clear up some of these things would be awesome.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Sean - thank you so much for popping in with that info. I had suspected something like that due to where that text is located, but as FarmerBob said, it's really impossible to be sure without direct verification!

Scarab Sages

Sean K Reynolds wrote:

Caster level is only a prerequisite for creating the item IF the caster level is LISTED in the Requirements section of the item (for an example, see amulet of mighty fists).

The text on page 460 is a little unclear and probably is derived from the (wrong) SRD text taken from the (wrong) DMG 3.0 magic item introduction (where Monte wrote it correctly, then someone changed it to something wrong and that's how it got published, and fixed in the errata for 3.0, and then 3.5 was written by updating the original 3.0 Word documents, which didn't incorporate the 3.0 errata, and thus went to print with wrong information again). Anyway, caster level is NOT a prereq unless the item's Requirement section specifically lists a caster level.

<3

I've been trying to explain this for ages when its come up. I'd love to see some official errata that included this ruling. :)

Contributor

41 people marked this as FAQ candidate. Answered in the FAQ. 2 people marked this as a favorite.

{Any sense for if/when an official errata might be produced?}

I've mentioned it to Jason as of now.

{In this case, I can see level now being a prereq since you can bypass prereqs by adding +5 to the craft DC, but I have no idea if that is really intended.}

Like I said, Caster Level is not a prereq for creating an item unless it's actually listed in the Requirements line. For example, there's no reason why a 1st-level pearl of power requires a 17th-level caster (and the Requirements line only specifies that you have to be able to cast the spell level in question).

{Another recent example is has positive energy changed in how it affects incorporeal undead? The PF rules indicate it may have, although almost everyone who voiced an opinion thought the PF rules were unintentionally changed. That's a tough argument to pitch to a DM though. [i]But the rules are wrong!}

Has Jason weighed in on a thread about this? Can you provide me a link to a thread where people are asking this question so I can point him at it?


2 people marked this as FAQ candidate.
Sean K Reynolds wrote:

{Another recent example is has positive energy changed in how it affects incorporeal undead? The PF rules indicate it may have, although almost everyone who voiced an opinion thought the PF rules were unintentionally changed. That's a tough argument to pitch to a DM though. [i]But the rules are wrong!}

Has Jason weighed in on a thread about this? Can you provide me a link to a thread where people are asking this question so I can point him at it?

No, he hasn't yet. This is the thread.

Thanks!


2 people marked this as FAQ candidate. Staff response: no reply required.

I am bumping this back to the front page.

This answer really needs to go into the FAQ; it seems that people ask this once or twice every week.

Please click the FAQ link on Mr. Reynolds' post just two posts above this one.

Scarab Sages

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Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Like I said, Caster Level is not a prereq for creating an item unless it's actually listed in the Requirements line. For example, there's no reason why a 1st-level pearl of power requires a 17th-level caster (and the Requirements line only specifies that you have to be able to cast the spell level in question).

I believe I understand the rule; that wondrous items can be created at any level that is legal to cast the relevant spells.

Given that; why is the pearl of power listed at a blanket caster level 17?
Surely that only applies to those pearls that grant extra 9th-level spells?
And even then, only if the creator were a cleric/druid/wizard?
Would a sorceror creating a 'spell-level 9' POP, for his own use, have to create it at caster level 18?*

*[EDIT: I get that the RAW have to assume items are created by the most efficient method possible. Just take it as read that you'd add +1 caster level to any arcane item made by a sorceror]

Would this whole POP issue be cleared up by amending the caster level line to show the different levels of the 9 different strengths (the same way scaling strengths of stat-booster belts have multiple entries)?

Eg: Pearl of Power level 1 (caster level 1),
Pearl of Power level 2 (caster level 3),
Pearl of Power level 3 (caster level 5), etc**

**We won't go into the long-running (35-year?) confusion caused by using the term 'level' so egregiously...


Snorter wrote:

Would this whole POP issue be cleared up by amending the caster level line to show the different levels of the 9 different strengths (the same way scaling strengths of stat-booster belts have multiple entries)?

Eg: Pearl of Power level 1 (caster level 1),
Pearl of Power level 2 (caster level 3),
Pearl of Power level 3 (caster level 5), etc**

I have seen several posters on this board say they houserule it exactly like that. I would too. I don't see a downside.


Snorter wrote:

I believe I understand the rule; that wondrous items can be created at any level that is legal to cast the relevant spells.

No, you can make an item at lower level than that as well - but if the spells aren't actually provided, the DC goes up by +5 each. This can make it *quite* difficult, but not impossible.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Sorry for bumping this one up, but as this is the thread that I believe was the catalyst for Sean's FAQ answer in regards to the CL for a Pearl of Power, I am going to bring my issue up here.

I have read over Sean's FAQ, and where I am clear that CL is not a requirement, I am having an issue on what you can truly set your CL at for crafting Wonderous Items.

In the SRD (I can't find the phrase in the Core Rulebook) it says:

For potions, scrolls, and wands, the creator can set the caster level of an item at any number high enough to cast the stored spell but not higher than her own caster level. For other magic items, the caster level is determined by the item itself.

However in Sean's FAQ in regards to the Pearl of Power it says:

For example, a 3rd-level wizard with Craft Wondrous Item can create a 1st-level pearl, with a minimum caster level of 1. He can set the caster level to whatever he wants (assuming he can meet the crafting DC), though the pearl's caster level has no effect on its powers (other than its ability to resist dispel magic).

Now is the SRD (or book) wrong where it says you can only adjust the CL for potions, scrolls and wands (up to your level)? Or is it like what Sean's FAQ indicates (in his example with Pearl of Power) where you can also do so with Wonderous Items?

I ask, because if I am let's say a 17th level Wizard and I am crafting a Wonderous Item with a CL of 9th (like Bag of Holding), I would much rather craft it at my level of 17, so it is better protected against Dispel Magic, than be forced to craft it at a 9 CL. But as the SRD indicates with anything besides scrolls, potions and wands, you have to set the CL at the item's CL.

Which is it?

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For many items, the CL provides no benefit except resistance to dispel attempts. A bag of holding is an example of this... its powers aren't based on CL. Thus, the wiz17 could make his bag at CL 9th (the default), CL17th (his own CL), or anything in between. I probably wouldn't let him make it at CL 1st, as secret chest requires CL 9th and the item is based on that, but if he really wanted to I supposed I'd let him. None of these choices affect the price, cost, time, or craft DC in any way, because the CL doesn't affect the item's abilities.

For other items, the CL does actually play a role in the item's effects--a generic necklace of fireballs has a default CL of 10th because two varieties include fireball-beads that deal 10d6 damage (just like a CL 10th fireball does). If you wanted to make a type VI or VII necklace (which have fireballs of this power), you should *require* the crafter set the CL to 10th. However, if you're just making a type I necklace (max 5d6 fireball), there's no reason you couldn't just set the item's CL to 5th because it doesn't need to be more than that. And if you're a wiz20 and wanted to be a weirdo and make a type I necklace that's CL 20th, you could, but unless you're paying the extra gold for this increase to change the d6s of the item, that CL is basically irrelevant and I wouldn't have it effect the crafting DC.

For the pearl of power, I agree that in an ideal situation, each type of pearl would have its own CL listed (based on the min level to actually cast that sort of spell), and likewise each type of necklace of fireballs would have its own CL. And while the pearl sort of straddles the line between category 1 (CL is irrelevant because a CL 20th 1st-level pearl isn't any better at recalling spells than a CL 1st 1st-level pearl) and category 2 (in that the spell level of the pearl implies a minimum CL), in terms of its cost, price, and time, the CL difference for a pearl of the same spell level is essentially irrelevant and would almost never be a factor in any campaign (only if someone is specifically trying to temporarily nullify the powers of a pearl, which I've *never* seen happen). It shouldn't be harder to craft the "better" high-CL 1st-level pearl because it isn't really any better than the low-CL 1st-level pearl.

So if the question is, "should a CL 17th 1st-level pearl have a higher crafting DC than a CL 1st 1st-level pearl?" then the answer is "no, because the difference between the two is essentially negligible." Both cost 1000gp, both recall a 1st-level spell. Likewise with a bag of holding... the CL doesn't affect its abilities, so a wiz17 could set the CL to 17th if he wanted to, without changing the crafting DC at all.

Asking the same question about something where the CL *does* matter (like a wand of fireball), I would make the crafting check higher, because that CL actually reflects a significant change in the item's power. A wiz5 trying to make a CL 10th wand of fireball doesn't have the prerequisite to cast a 10d6 fireball, so him trying to make a wand of that should be harder than making a 5d6 wand... and this is reflected in the cost of the item (a 10d6 wand costs more than a 5d6 wand). It *should* be harder for that wizard to make the better wand because the wand really is better than the other wand.

TLDR:
1 )If giving the item a better CL doesn't really make the item better, don't make it harder for the crafter (by increasing the crafting DC) for that increase in CL, any more than you'd make it harder if they want a blue magical cloak instead of a red magical cloak.
2) If giving the item a better CL doesn't really make the item better, let the crafter create it at their own CL instead of the default.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Thanks so much for the detailed answer, Sean. Really cleared up a lot. I think I am going to have to be saving this post for my DM so he knows what is going on. Besides the post I brought up, magic item creation is very muddy, IMO.

The book unfortunately is not really all too clear, what I have issues is in the areas where it says "the caster must do" or "have x spell", where a "unless he adds a +5 to the DC" at the end would make it a world clearer. I can see my DM reading the 'must' and 'cannot' at certain parts and not allowing the +5 DC for them.

But at least it is very clear on setting a CL for items.

And just to let you know, I know you had indicated creating items at a higher CL should not make a difference if it does not make the item more powerful. However, one of the reasons I brought the whole thing up is I have run into situations in our games where my Wonderous Items have been dispelled. So yes, crafting it a higher level can be a factor in our campaigns, even though it may not necessarily make the item more powerful.


it still confuses me. Like a cloak of Endure Elemants by a 5th level wizard is a DC 5 + 5= 10 yes? then he can drop the DC by using lower caster level of 5 + 3 = 8. A DC 8 cloak of endure elements that only cost 1000 gp too.

Is that right. Have i got that correct?

I feel like my players who are doing crafting are getting it very easy. THere is no chance for them to fail their crafting attempts at all.

SInce it uses Spellcraft or Craft (type) they go for spellcraft which is maxed out. so a 5 level wizard could not fail to craft a cloak of endure elements at all. with a spell craft of 10.

is that right????

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gordbond wrote:
I feel like my players who are doing crafting are getting it very easy. THere is no chance for them to fail their crafting attempts at all.

That is intentional--as long as they're picking items for which they meet all the prereqs, they should have no chance of failure.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Sean, are you able to ‘take 10’ for crafting magic items?


Hobbun wrote:
Sean, are you able to ‘take 10’ for crafting magic items?

If take 10 was possible, how do you create a cursed item?

A cursed item need a fail of 5 or more of the spellcraft check needed to create a magic item.
And you can only take 10 if you have no distraction or threats... and creating a magic item isn't a "routine task".
So, not possible to take 10.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Defraeter wrote:

If take 10 was possible, how do you create a cursed item?

A cursed item need a fail of 5 or more of the spellcraft check needed to create a magic item.
And you can only take 10 if you have no distraction or threats... and creating a magic item isn't a "routine task".
So, not possible to take 10.

I would really like to see you prove this statement.

SKR: One can upgrade items (such as making a +1 longsword into a +3 longsword) by paying the difference in cost and time, while making the item creation checks over again, right?

So would it be safe to assume that all of the gear created by a spellcaster would share his highest caster level (with the exception of scrolls, potions, and similar items whose cost is based on caster level)?

After all, if increasing the caster level of an item during item creation takes no extra time and costs no extra gold in most cases, doesn't it stand to reason that every time the spellcaster leveled he would instantaneously boost all his items to his caster level?

It would certainly make record keeping much easier. No overlapping auras for detect magic, no more looking up an item's caster level whenever somebody casts a detect spell or dispel effect.

If this IS allowed via the rules, would he have to make another item creation check at the new higher DC to avoid turning his pre-existing item into a cursed item?

Actually, that's a good question on its own. CAN you turn an existing magic item into a cursed item by botching the upgrade process?


Ravingdork wrote:
I would really like to see you prove this statement.

the proof.... because it's funny????

When you have no need to replace requirements, the DC check of the spellcraft to create is "easy" and it's deliberately.
When you have some risks to make something really bad, it's no more a routine. So if you push your luck, there are risks of backlash...

And, more important, it's a real (and sadistic) pleasure for a GM to throw the dice hidden for players when they take risks on magic items and say to them with a big smile: "It's ok, your magic item SEEMS to work correctly!"


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Defraeter wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
I would really like to see you prove this statement.

the proof.... because it's funny????

When you have no need to replace requirements, the DC check of the spellcraft to create is "easy" and it's deliberately.
When you have some risks to make something really bad, it's no more a routine. So if you push your luck, there are risks of backlash...

So you are one of those people who would call for an acrobatics check for a running jump over a 10-foot wide chasm "because there is risk involved" despite the fact that most anyone can make it by taking 10?

Sorry, but it doesn't work that way. Otherwise, you would never be able to take 10 to climb a wall.

Just because there is a risk of tripping after tying my shoes doesn't mean I can't take a 10 to tie my shoes. Very mundane.

Same applies to magic item crafting. The check is really there for those who try and over extend themselves (perhaps by trying to cover for too many prequisites) or are relatively low-level/inexperienced.

It would make sense for a low-level hedge mage to accidentally create a cursed item. An experienced mage, powerful wizard, or archmage on the other hand should NEVER fail and end up with a cursed item (unless he wanted to of course).

SKR even confirmed that these checks were meant to be easy.


Ravingdork wrote:
Defraeter wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
I would really like to see you prove this statement.

the proof.... because it's funny????

When you have no need to replace requirements, the DC check of the spellcraft to create is "easy" and it's deliberately.
When you have some risks to make something really bad, it's no more a routine. So if you push your luck, there are risks of backlash...

So you are one of those people who would call for an acrobatics check for a running jump over a 10-foot wide chasm "because there is risk involved" despite the fact that most anyone can make it by taking 10?

Yes, that's the rules...

My players groan... but they have many ways or powers to do that, and so all that is on their sheet is useful.
And it's the same for my monsters... i have recently a monster-wizard who fall from a balcony and receive like a floorcloth... After my players joked about my pathetic villains! ;)

Without taking 10, it's with no risks at high level to create magic item... if you have prerequisites.
I must reward those who invest in skills too...

Liberty's Edge

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Defraeter wrote:


If take 10 was possible, how do you create a cursed item?
A cursed item need a fail of 5 or more of the spellcraft check needed to create a magic item.

By missing the check by 5 or more. You know, Take 10 wouldn't get you to the required DC, you stretch a bit...roll...come up short. Fail by 5 or more doesn't mean "result of less than 5."

Defraeter wrote:

And you can only take 10 if you have no distraction or threats... and creating a magic item isn't a "routine task".

So, not possible to take 10.

Routine doesn't mean "impossible to fail." You can't take 20 if failure would result in a negative consequence. This restriction doesn't apply to Take 10. You're making no distinction.

Routine, rather, means, by applying your skill at a reasonably and unhurried pace.

Distraction and threat basically mean "in combat" for all practical purposes.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Defraeter wrote:


So, not possible to take 10.

I was going to bother and answer with quotes on rules on why I feel ‘take 10’ should be allowed in this situation, but did not bother when I read subsequent posts by yourself and found out your answer of “So, not possible to take 10” was based on your own homebrew rules and just to take fun against his players.

But thanks anyways.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Defraeter wrote:
Yes, that's the rules...

Except that it's not. Risk is not a factor when taking 10. Distractions are. Threats are. Risk is not. That's only a factor when taking 20, which taking 10 is not.

It doesn't matter how deep the chasm is, or that you would surely die if you fell down it. If it is only 5 or 10 feet across, most anyone should be able to jump across it safely without even trying (by taking 10).

The same applies to item creation.

If you want to argue your house rules and interpretations for other reasons, I think you would have stronger footing.

Defraeter wrote:

Without taking 10, it's with no risks at high level to create magic item... if you have prerequisites.

I must reward those who invest in skills too...

Did you not read my post above? Taking 10 allows powerful spellcasters to always succeed, and weak ones to fail (and make cursed items) when they overextend themselves and try to make items that are beyond them (as it should be). Cursed item creation should be rare, lest they would be all over the freaking place.

Dark Archive

Ravingdork wrote:

...

Except that it's not. Risk is not a factor when taking 10. Distractions are. Threats are. Risk is not. That's only a factor when taking 20, which taking 10 is not.

It doesn't matter how deep the chasm is, or that you would surely die if you fell down it. If it is only 5 or 10 feet across, most anyone should be able to jump it without even trying (by taking 10).

Just to note for clarity. This is true as long as you are not in combat. Trying to jump that chasm while in combat, better make that dice roll! :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Happler wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:

...

Except that it's not. Risk is not a factor when taking 10. Distractions are. Threats are. Risk is not. That's only a factor when taking 20, which taking 10 is not.

It doesn't matter how deep the chasm is, or that you would surely die if you fell down it. If it is only 5 or 10 feet across, most anyone should be able to jump it without even trying (by taking 10).

Just to note for clarity. This is true as long as you are not in combat. Trying to jump that chasm while in combat, better make that dice roll! :)

Yep. Probably should have mentioned that. :P


what about the cost?

do you only pay for HALF the base price of the item?

and then you can pay half again if you use a lower level spell (ie 5th level wizard who can cast a 1st level spell at 1st level instead of 5th)

Liberty's Edge

gordbond wrote:

what about the cost?

do you only pay for HALF the base price of the item?

and then you can pay half again if you use a lower level spell (ie 5th level wizard who can cast a 1st level spell at 1st level instead of 5th)

The creator pays half of the base cost of the item. I think it follows easily from what SKR has said that the cost is the same if the CL has no material impact on the effectiveness (such as bag of holding, using his example). If the CL changes the effectiveness of the item, then the cost should change to reflect it. That goes for both the base cost and the 1/2 cost paid by the creator.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I know with my DM, he feels uncomfortable allowing unique items (not out of the books) to be made. Unsure on the balancing factor.

And that is fine for me, as I am happy with a lot of the magic items out of the books already. If I am inspired by something, I may bring it up to my DM and see what he says.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Okay, so caster level is still not a prerequisite for item crafting. Why exactly is this then still stated in the magic items section of the APG? >.<

And, personally, I also feel that taking 10 on magic item crafting is a cop-out. With the take 10 mechanic allowed, cursed items should only be created on purpose, not accidentally. Which feels against the spirit of the game.

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Hobbun wrote:
Sean, are you able to ‘take 10’ for crafting magic items?

Yes, as long as you're not distracted or in immediate danger.

Ravingdork wrote:
SKR: One can upgrade items (such as making a +1 longsword into a +3 longsword) by paying the difference in cost and time, while making the item creation checks over again, right?

Of course.

Ravingdork wrote:
So would it be safe to assume that all of the gear created by a spellcaster would share his highest caster level (with the exception of scrolls, potions, and similar items whose cost is based on caster level)?

If you really wanted to, yes.

Ravingdork wrote:
After all, if increasing the caster level of an item during item creation takes no extra time and costs no extra gold in most cases, doesn't it stand to reason that every time the spellcaster leveled he would instantaneously boost all his items to his caster level?

I wouldn't let him *instantly* do it, that's pretty cheesy. I'd probably set the minimum time for each to something like a number of hours equal to CL increase (thus, 1 hour per item, assuming you do this every level).

Ravingdork wrote:
It would certainly make record keeping much easier. No overlapping auras for detect magic, no more looking up an item's caster level whenever somebody casts a detect spell or dispel effect.

True.

Ravingdork wrote:
If this IS allowed via the rules, would he have to make another item creation check at the new higher DC to avoid turning his pre-existing item into a cursed item?

That would be an interesting way to avoid cheesing. Fortunately, the character probably can just take 10 on the roll and not have to worry about it for most items....

Ravingdork wrote:
Actually, that's a good question on its own. CAN you turn an existing magic item into a cursed item by botching the upgrade process?

Certainly. Wiz5 takes a +1 longsword and tries to turn it into a holy avenger and fails horribly, the result is a cursed sword....

magnuskn wrote:
Okay, so caster level is still not a prerequisite for item crafting. Why exactly is this then still stated in the magic items section of the APG? >.<

Because I didn't see that before it went to print. :p You'll notice there's a FAQ item about this.

magnuskn wrote:
And, personally, I also feel that taking 10 on magic item crafting is a cop-out. With the take 10 mechanic allowed, cursed items should only be created on purpose, not accidentally. Which feels against the spirit of the game.

"And, personally, I also feel that taking 10 on jumping is a cop-out. With the take 10 mechanic allowed, people would only fall into pits on purpose, not accidentally. Which feels against the spirit of the game."

The take 10 mechanic is in the game to prevent characters from being punished by the randomness of a d20 roll on a task that should be routine. You don't fail 1/20 times trying to tie your shoes (Use Rope, if the skill still existed), or to recognize an old digital watch on the street is a piece of junk and not a Rolex (Appraise), or to not insult your boss each morning instead of saying "hello" (Diplomacy), or to use your key to start your car (Disable Device), or to take off a tight sweater (Escape Artist), or remember what street you live on (Knowledge [local]), notice that it's raining outside (Perception), realize that the crazy hobo with a knife is threatening you (Sense Motive), or swim across a kiddie pool (Swim). All of these are easy, routine tasks that you should be able to perform automatically as long as you're not rushed, distracted, or threatened.

I can do a 6 ft standing broad jump over and over again and I'm not athletic; a master mathematician can do difficult calculus problems without trouble; a skilled item crafter can make an easy magic item without trouble. Take a second, focus on the task, and you'll succeed... even though the true randomness of the d20 says you should roll a 1 5% of the time.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
gordbond wrote:
I feel like my players who are doing crafting are getting it very easy. THere is no chance for them to fail their crafting attempts at all.
That is intentional--as long as they're picking items for which they meet all the prereqs, they should have no chance of failure.

I'm curious, though I'm sure this has been hashed out elsewhere (apologies):

When I first addledly read through the Core Rulebook at lightning speed (in an attempt to understand what was going on in order to make a level 13 character for Iron Player in the next thirty minutes), I came across the rules there and, without doing analysis of the numbers, got the flawed impression that those failure chances were in there to balance out the fact that crafting items no longer costs XP.

When I had more time to peruse, I came to the same conclusion from your post--in fact the addition of the roll was purely a boost to the crafter, as there is probably no chance of failure for items for which you have the prereqs, and now you can at least try items for which you don't.

This leaves me curious--am I missing another balancing factor that has been added, or does crafting now give the PCs (given a GM who likes to have breaks in the action) essentially the ability to get twice as much gear from gold and to switch out the items they discovered in the forgotten tomb for any other item of equal value without risk (by selling for half, then crafting for double)?


Rogue Eidolon wrote:

This leaves me curious--am I missing another balancing factor that has been added, or does crafting now give the PCs (given a GM who likes to have breaks in the action) essentially the ability to get twice as much gear from gold and to switch out the items they discovered in the forgotten tomb for any other item of equal value without risk (by selling for half, then crafting for double)?

Getting twice the gold (by crafting for half) only works if a character has taken ALL the craft item feats. If A character is willing (and able) to spend that many feats, then they're going to need the magic items boost because they're going to be seriously lacking in ability.

It does allow the "conversion" option, but remember that each type of item needs its own feat. Personally, I have no problem with this. They spent a feat, or multiple feats, so they enjoy some benefit. It also makes DMing easier since he or she no longer needs to specifically include items for a specific character or class in a treasure trove. You still can, of course, but you don't have to.

The crafting feats seem overpowered to many, but they really aren't. At least, not in my experience.

Contributor

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The Craft DCs are not intended to compensate for the dropping of the XP cost mechanic.


I think some DMs resist the idea that you should be able to take 10 on crafting checks because they want to punish PCs for crafting magic items. The fact that the PC gets the items "for half price" seems unfair and overpowering to some of them, and others just dislike that crafting gives PCs more control over what magic items they have.

Maybe those DMs want crafting to be a challenge that forces characters to "earn" their "50% discount" on magic items. Of course characters who keep items found in treasure hoards are often getting a similar discount on them (compared to selling them to buy an item they actually want). That's often great for folks who want magic swords and armor but not so good for folks who want amulets of mighty fists.

The fact that the rule has been printed wrong about 4 times now actually borders on funny. It seems almost like a little quasit that sneaks into each edition invisibly to sow chaos and dissent. The repeated errors in the official rulebooks have probably instilled a sense that the errata is a "change" to make crafting easier. Whenever there's change somebody will resist it (some might say that's one reason many of us are playing Pathfinder instead of 4e...)


Mynameisjake wrote:
Rogue Eidolon wrote:

This leaves me curious--am I missing another balancing factor that has been added, or does crafting now give the PCs (given a GM who likes to have breaks in the action) essentially the ability to get twice as much gear from gold and to switch out the items they discovered in the forgotten tomb for any other item of equal value without risk (by selling for half, then crafting for double)?

Getting twice the gold (by crafting for half) only works if a character has taken ALL the craft item feats. If A character is willing (and able) to spend that many feats, then they're going to need the magic items boost because they're going to be seriously lacking in ability.

It does allow the "conversion" option, but remember that each type of item needs its own feat. Personally, I have no problem with this. They spent a feat, or multiple feats, so they enjoy some benefit. It also makes DMing easier since he or she no longer needs to specifically include items for a specific character or class in a treasure trove. You still can, of course, but you don't have to.

The crafting feats seem overpowered to many, but they really aren't. At least, not in my experience.

In my experience, if you have one character willing to take Craft Wondrous Item and another willing to take Craft Arms and Armour, then for the cost of those two feats spread between the two PCs, they cover 90% of gold spent in magic items (wands and such are still purchased frequently but are less expensive purchases).

Quote:
The Craft DCs are not intended to compensate for the dropping of the XP cost mechanic.

Yes, that much I knew. I imagine that means there is intended to be no such compensation elsewhere. Well, houseruling something back in is easy enough, so no worries here, I just like to hear what's going on with decisions and was just curious on the design perspective. Was crafting magic items considered a weak option? Or was it mainly for simplicity's sake? Both seem good enough reasons for me in most game settings (mine has some wealth distribution optimisers, including a fellow whose PC told another PC in character that by spending his money on something cool and shiny rather than optimal on a world-saving mission, it was an 'evil act' since that increased the chance the world would be destroyed, so we needed a mechanic to curb that tendency).

My Group's Houserule:
Our group has essentially houseruled back in my initial misconception. DCs for crafting are set such that they will pretty much never be achieved without rolling at least a 6. A 25% failure rate (some of which are cursed) balances pretty closely with 3.5 assuming, as PF does in other conversions away from XP costs, that 1 XP cost in 3.5 is equivalent to 5 GP cost. Now instead of losing 1/25 market price in XP (equivalent to 1/5th market price in GP) and spending 70%, you instead using the formula for geometric series a/(1-r) with 50% base price as 'a' and 25% failure rate as r, you spend about 66.6%. So it's cheaper than before on average, but particularly due to the risk of getting nothing, there's still a reason to keep that gear you found in the dungeon even if you have a craft feat.


Rogue Eidolon wrote:


In my experience, if you have one character willing to take Craft Wondrous Item and another willing to take Craft Arms and Armour, then for the cost of those two feats spread between the two PCs, they cover 90% of gold spent in magic items (wands and such are still purchased frequently but are less expensive purchases).

This works ONLY if the majority of treasure is in the form of trade goods and/or cash. My experience has been that most troves contain a mojority of their wealth in items. Since items are sold for half, which coincidentally is the cost to enchant new ones, the main benefit is that players get to customize their inventory. This is hardly a game breaker, esp. considering the feat and opportunity costs. YMMV.


Devilkiller wrote:

I think some DMs resist the idea that you should be able to take 10 on crafting checks because they want to punish PCs for crafting magic items. The fact that the PC gets the items "for half price" seems unfair and overpowering to some of them, and others just dislike that crafting gives PCs more control over what magic items they have.

Maybe those DMs want crafting to be a challenge that forces characters to "earn" their "50% discount" on magic items. Of course characters who keep items found in treasure hoards are often getting a similar discount on them (compared to selling them to buy an item they actually want). That's often great for folks who want magic swords and armor but not so good for folks who want amulets of mighty fists.

The fact that the rule has been printed wrong about 4 times now actually borders on funny. It seems almost like a little quasit that sneaks into each edition invisibly to sow chaos and dissent. The repeated errors in the official rulebooks have probably instilled a sense that the errata is a "change" to make crafting easier. Whenever there's change somebody will resist it (some might say that's one reason many of us are playing Pathfinder instead of 4e...)

The thing of it for me is (and this may not be a factor in other games)--in 3.5 and Pathfinder, 50% off happens to be both the discount for crafting and the sell price of items. I'm happy for the crafters to get a nice discount (even a big discount) as long as it isn't a discount all the way to the sale price with no balancing factor. In 3.5, that factor was XP. When you have a player whose characters tend to be, in character, vocal optimisers / utilitarians, it's hard to argue against selling off the gear you found in dungeon for the gear of equal value scoured from the list of items that is most optimised for you, even if you have players and GMs who would have a light preference to have slightly quirky items around to remind them of their adventures so far. You may be surprised, but the player who most pushes optimisation also likes the houserule I've written above--he says it makes him feel like there are two viable options so he isn't pressured to argue for converting all the items and crafting.

Of course, I'm not suggesting other groups would want to play this way too--this is just what works for us, and I hope it might work for others who have this concern without penalising crafters too much.

As an aside to something you mentioned--even if you don't let the crafter take 10, under the standard Core Rulebook rules, if they are Int-based, they will still quickly reach the point where they succeed on any roll of the d20, so I'm guessing that the GMs who have that houserule probably aren't being as harsh as it might seem.


Mynameisjake wrote:
Rogue Eidolon wrote:


In my experience, if you have one character willing to take Craft Wondrous Item and another willing to take Craft Arms and Armour, then for the cost of those two feats spread between the two PCs, they cover 90% of gold spent in magic items (wands and such are still purchased frequently but are less expensive purchases).

This works ONLY if the majority of treasure is in the form of trade goods and/or cash. My experience has been that most troves contain a mojority of their wealth in items. Since items are sold for half, which coincidentally is the cost to enchant new ones, the main benefit is that players get to customize their inventory. This is hardly a game breaker, esp. considering the feat and opportunity costs. YMMV.

Hey Jake,

I'm sorry if the internet might have distorted my intentions--it's hard to carry tone here. I think Pathfinder is awesome, and I've tried to be careful with how I phrase things if you look back over my posts, I hope I haven't said anything to imply I'm here to say that crafting in Pathfinder is a 'gamebreaker' or 'broken' or anything like that. Granted, the forums are full of people who think this or that is 'broken', so it's understandable that you might come in sort of expecting that.

I'm merely observing that our group finds the second part you mention a little bit...sad (by second I mean selling and then crafting from the proceeds--I agree that most wealth is found in items). We like customising our items. We do it a lot. But what we don't like (and this is just our own intangible game experience) is the ability to customise the inventory without losing anything for the privilege. In my experience, even if you don't have crafting, a good number of items will still be sold for half and used to buy new items that fit more with the party's style. This shows something that is probably clear to us all--that the GP value of an item cannot and should not be an absolute measure of its utility in the game to a given party. Selling and then crafting (given the downtime to do it, of course), is essentially allowing all items to be converted to the items of maximal utility for that given cost without paying something in return. The question is, how much utility did you gain? The answer is--probably a lot, actually, since empirically, parties are very willing to sell their gear for half and buy something else in the absence of crafting feats--if it is something that they would have sold anyway, and if the PCs were acting as rational agents in wanting to sell the items, then the utility gain from crafting was at least 100%. Even if it is something they would not have sold without crafting because it was intrinsically quite useful (just not as useful as the best choice), the choice to sell and craft is still optimal (in the presence of downtime). If you have some small tax on the conversion (in our case, a 25% fail rate), you now have a dilemma rather than an obvious choice: "Can we find a use for this item we looted from the dragon's hoard? It isn't exactly the top of our wish list, but it's a powerful item, so we should only try to convert it to another item if we are sure we can't put it to good use." And just like with the scenario with no crafting, of course, people often still make the call to take the chance. But now, they're a lot more likely to keep those items that are quite useful but not the most optimal item possible. Our group likes that effect, and I know others might not.

Sorry for the long explanation--I wanted to try to express what I was saying so you could see where I'm coming from.

~RE (a happy Paizo customer who probably likes to work out in-game math and game theory too much ^_^)


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Rogue,

I understand where you are coming from, but I really don't feel having that freedom is unbalancing to the game. I mean you are giving up a feat slot (or slots) to have that freedom. You may not feel that is a lot to give up, but for me, that is losing two known spells (Expanded Arcana), Greater Spell Focus or another feat I would rather be taking.

I actually feel taking the item creation feats are worth it now. Where you may have felt the XP balanced it out, I felt it was way too limiting. I have always liked the idea of crafting, in any game, but there was no way I was going to burn experience points to make an item and fall behind the rest of my party to do so. So therefore, I never even thought about taking one.

But now, I am planning on taking two of them. Remember, even though it is half off, it isn't free by any means in crafting items. I know with my DM, he has always been very stingy on money and follows the treasure tables for PCs (for the most part). Therefore, money is not easy to come by.

So yes, I can see your point if money is easier to come by in a campaign, but that has never been the case for us.


Rogue Eidolon wrote:


Hey Jake,

I'm sorry if the internet might have distorted my intentions--it's hard to carry tone here. I think Pathfinder is awesome, and I've tried to be careful with how I phrase things if you look back over my posts, I hope I haven't said anything to imply I'm here to say that crafting in Pathfinder is a 'gamebreaker' or 'broken' or anything like that. Granted, the forums are full of people who think this or that is 'broken', so it's understandable that you might come in sort of expecting that.

Hey, R.E.

No worries. You didn't come off poorly or aggressive, sorry if my wording implied such.

And I could easily play under your houserule, if I were in your game. It's perfectly reasonable.

One of the reasons I tend to weigh in of "crafting" threads is that, in my experience, having players with a wide variety of craft skills actually makes my job (as DM) easier. I can customize my opponents (and NPCs) without worrying about whether the items are what the players are going to want or not. This frees up my creativity to make truly unique opponents/treasure troves, without worrying about showing favoritism or forgetfulness. I don't have "magic shops," so the players need some way to get what they want without me selecting it for them.

I can still toss in the occasional "I think this is neat" item, but the players ultimately get to decide how useful it really is.

In the interests of full disclosure, I will point out that I use a modified WBL system that only permits the character with the feat to get items at half-price, everyone else just gets to "swap" items. If I were using the RAW, where everyone in the party could get items for half, assuming a large enough source of cash, then my opinion might be different. Even then, tho, getting full benefit for everyone usually requires the DM to be willing to give large amounts of fungibles, instead of items, so even then, the DM really controls how much crafting can be done.

Good luck with your Game,

J


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I was looking in my Core Rulebook in the Magic Item creation area, and I still cannot find this quote that is in the SRD:

SRD wrote:
For potions, scrolls, and wands, the creator can set the caster level of an item at any number high enough to cast the stored spell but not higher than her own caster level. For other magic items, the caster level is determined by the item itself.

Can anyone point out what page number, and maybe even what part of the page it is on? I could very well be reading right over it, I just can't find it.

Thanks.

Oh, and another question. This is one for the DMs. As we know, not knowing the spell and not being high enough level to cast the spell each add a +5 DC. Would you count that as a +10 basically then, if the creator is too low level?

As for example, if my Sorceror is only 15th level and I want to craft a Tome of Clear Thought, which requires a Wish or Miracle. Since I am too low of level to cast Wish, and the spell is not on my spell list, it would be a +10? I only ask because you can’t have one +5 modifier without the other.

And final question, would you allow the +5 to DC for “does not know spell” to encompass spells not on their spell list, as well? Again, the example with the Sorceror, could I make a Stone of Good Luck (requires the spell Divine Favor) with applying the +5 to DC, even though it is a Cleric/Inquisitor/Paladin spell?

Liberty's Edge

Hobbun wrote:

I was looking in my Core Rulebook in the Magic Item creation area, and I still cannot find this quote that is in the SRD:

SRD wrote:
For potions, scrolls, and wands, the creator can set the caster level of an item at any number high enough to cast the stored spell but not higher than her own caster level. For other magic items, the caster level is determined by the item itself.
Can anyone point out what page number, and maybe even what part of the page it is on? I could very well be reading right over it, I just can't find it.

Page 460, last paragraph of the section subtitled "Caster Level (CL)." Note that in 1st/2nd printing, there is also an errata you need to add to remove the last sentence.

I'll post on the other matter later.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Ah, ok, so it isn’t actually under ‘Magic Item Creation’, but before it. That’s why I couldn’t find it. Also, I just picked up a 3rd printing, so that last line should be gone.

Thanks!

Liberty's Edge

Hobbun wrote:

Oh, and another question. This is one for the DMs. As we know, not knowing the spell and not being high enough level to cast the spell each add a +5 DC. Would you count that as a +10 basically then, if the creator is too low level?

As for example, if my Sorceror is only 15th level and I want to craft a Tome of Clear Thought, which requires a Wish or Miracle. Since I am too low of level to cast Wish, and the spell is not on my spell list, it would be a +10? I only ask because you can’t have one +5 modifier without the other.

And final question, would you allow the +5 to DC for “does not know spell” to encompass spells not on their spell list, as well? Again, the example with the Sorceror, could I make a Stone of Good Luck (requires the spell Divine Favor) with applying the +5 to DC, even though it is a Cleric/Inquisitor/Paladin spell?

I'm not sure where you're getting the +5 DC for not being "high enough level to cast the spell." The spell is a prereq and is +5 if you don't have it. Some items have a CL or character level requirement; if you fail that, it is +5. If both are listed as prereqs, and you fail both, it is +10. Merely being too low of a level to cast a given spell is not in itself failing a prereq.

However, I think SKR's long post in this thread from Sept 22 is very key to the entire concept of what the Spellcraft should attempt to encompass. One aspect of it is that it provides guidelines, and effectively a mandate, for GMs to take responsibility for setting minimum CLs for items when it is appropriate, which then changes the Spellcraft DC.

In the case of the tome of clear thought, this mandate suggests to me that I need to set a CL higher than CL3. The item effectively replicates an effect that otherwise requires a 9th level spell. CL17 starts to sound right to me. This is me applying my judgement, and if needed, I would work it out with my players if we disagree.

*******************************

We have an dramatic change in the nature of the rules here, and I don't think the consequences are fully understood. In 3.5, the XP cost didn't matter too much. What did matter was the prerequisite to cast the spell. While there was a mechanism to bypass this via scrolls, the escallating cost of a scroll per day quickly made no sense to the crafter, and served as a check.

In PF, the Spellcraft check, with related curse/loss effects, replaces that check. The Spellcraft check should be a non-issue if the item is routine for the caster (via take 10), and should provide siginficant risk if the item is well outside his capabilities. The two elements of risk are the missing prereqs and the CL.

The missing prereqs are pretty straight forward. Each one changes DC by 5. Mechanically, a 3rd level wizard with max ranks and an 18 Int can blow off a prereq with no risk for low level items. Ok...that's cool...for wizards magic items are their thing. With Magical Aptitude and Skill Focus (spellcraft), that 3rd level wizard is now looking at Spellcraft of +15(+3 ranks, +3 class, +4 Int, +5 feats); this specialist can now blow off two prereqs for CL5 items or one prereq for CL10 items.

The spell item descriptions were not designed to take this sytem into account. GMs are gonna have to that Ol' GM thing and make some decisions that are good for their game.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Howie23 wrote:


I'm not sure where you're getting the +5 DC for not being "high enough level to cast the spell." The spell is a prereq and is +5 if you don't have it. Some items have a CL or character level requirement; if you fail that, it is +5. If both are listed as prereqs, and you fail both, it is +10. Merely being too low of a level to cast a given spell is not in itself failing a prereq.

Yes, you are correct. Not sure where I started thinking CL was a prereq. and would force that +5 DC modifier. Sean even indicated in his Pearl of Power FAQ and earlier post that CL is not a prerequisite. My bad.

Howie23 wrote:

We have an dramatic change in the nature of the rules here, and I don't think the consequences are fully understood. In 3.5, the XP cost didn't matter too much. What did matter was the prerequisite to cast the spell. While there was a mechanism to bypass this via scrolls, the escallating cost of a scroll per day quickly made no sense to the crafter, and served as a check.

In PF, the Spellcraft check, with related curse/loss effects, replaces that check. The Spellcraft check should be a non-issue if the item is routine for the caster (via take 10), and should provide siginficant risk if the item is well outside his capabilities. The two elements of risk are the missing prereqs and the CL.

The missing prereqs are pretty straight forward. Each one changes DC by 5. Mechanically, a 3rd level wizard with max ranks and an 18 Int can blow off a prereq with no risk for low level items. Ok...that's cool...for wizards magic items are their thing. With Magical Aptitude and Skill Focus (spellcraft), that 3rd level wizard is now looking at Spellcraft of +15(+3 ranks, +3 class, +4 Int, +5 feats); this specialist can now blow off two prereqs for CL5 items or one prereq for CL10 items.

The spell item descriptions were not designed to take this sytem into account. GMs are gonna have to that Ol' GM thing and make some decisions that are good for their game.

I'll be honest, I am not sure what point you are trying to make, here. That the rules are unbalanced the way they are designed, so DMs will need to make adjustments for what is best for their campaigns?

Sean did say he wanted magic item creation checks to be pretty easy, so I don't feel it is unbalanced, myself. The large balancing factor is taking the feat(s) and the money spent. Having to spend the XP (from 3.5) made taking the creation feats and making magic items unplayable, IMO, as you would be falling further and further behind other party members if you actually wanted to put your creation feats to use.

Liberty's Edge

Hobbun wrote:
I'll be honest, I am not sure what point you are trying to make, here. That the rules are unbalanced the way they are designed, so DMs will need to make adjustments for what is best for their campaigns?

Sorry if I was being unclear. The point I'm trying to make is that a rule has been tacked onto an existing system that wasn't built for it. The net result is that it creates significant imbalances in the game system, IMHO. Yes, GMs will need to make adjustments if the result is outside the scope of what they want their game to look like.

Hobbun wrote:
Sean did say he wanted magic item creation checks to be pretty easy, so I don't feel it is unbalanced, myself. The large balancing factor is taking the feat(s) and the money spent. Having to spend the XP (from 3.5) made taking the creation feats and making magic items unplayable, IMO, as you would be falling further and further behind other party members if you actually wanted to put your creation feats to use.

I understand Sean's explanation to say that that the skill check for MIC should be easy...when the creator is not stretching (emphasis mine). I don't understand him to be saying it should be easy to create an item to replicate an effect that would take a spell from a character 10 or more levels higher than the creator.

Our experience in terms of what balance means, and how it plays out in games, is very different. The small amount of XP was generally a non-issue. In Living Greyhawk, for example, it actually turned out to be just the reverse of a balancing factor.

In RAW games, the loss of XP was very small in actual practice. Example: a 3.5 7th level wizard might expect to have about 20k worth of gear. If he made all of that, he would have spent a total of 800xp (20000/25). That's ONE encounter at his level (which would generally result in 3600xp for 4 characters). If taking the perspective that his 20k investment should net 40k equipment, it would be 2 encounters at his level, and would give him the equipment recommended for a 9th level character in exchange. In practice, players JUMPED at the chance to use MIC whenever possible. In addition, many games in 3.5 allow homerule systems to distribute the cost of the XP to other characters than the creator.

The gold spent is NOT a balancing factor. What would you use that gold for otherwise? To buy magic items. At twice the price that you can make them for. In a game where the GM isn't controlling this factor (such as happened in Living Greyhawk), this is a reverse of a balancing factor, even without the XP element. If the GM is controlling for it from a wealth perspective, the result is merely PC as magic mart.

Yes, the cost of the feat(s) is a balancing factor. That is a qualitative statement, not a quantitative one. Does it balance completely? One way to tell is whether players feel the feat is a must have. I'd estimate that 95% of the wizards that I see (notice present tense) in 3.5 have CWI. One reason is to have more control over their equipment in non-magic mart games. The other is because it often results in economic optimization.

Hobbun, lest this come off wrong, I'm finding your contributions to be tremendously valuable in developing not only my understanding of what the rules in this area are, as well as how they impact the game.

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