'On Command' magic items

Rules Questions

Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

Hey all,
Several magic items in the Core Rulebook refer to their means of activation as 'on command', e.g. rope of climbing, boots of levitation, winged boots, etc. However, pg 458, which talks about how magic items are activated still leaves me confused in one area of 'on command' items.

Is this a silent action? For example, if a party is trying to be compeletely silent, or is under the effects of a silence spell, or is underwater and unable to speak, can they trigger 'on command' items? Other items specifically state when a command word is required (broom of flying, carpet of flying) so I don't think a verbal word needs to be spoken for 'on command' items to function, but I wanted to get the opinions of others...thoughts, anyone?

Good gaming to all,


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

‘On Command’ is usually meant as in a command word, so yes, there is something actually said. Here is the rule on command words:

SRD wrote:

Command Word: If no activation method is suggested either in the magic item description or by the nature of the item, assume that a command word is needed to activate it. Command word activation means that a character speaks the word and the item activates. No other special knowledge is needed.

A command word can be a real word, but when this is the case, the holder of the item runs the risk of activating the item accidentally by speaking the word in normal conversation. More often, the command word is some seemingly nonsensical word, or a word or phrase from an ancient language no longer in common use. Activating a command word magic item is a standard action and does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

Now, and it’s up to your GM, but as long as you say the word clearly, I am sure you could whisper the command word when activating it. It won’t be completely silent, but would add a DC modifier for the Perception check for others to hear.

Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

I guess what I'm wondering is...is there any verbal part to activating an 'on command' item at all? Whispered or not, could you activate a rope of climbing underwater or while silenced. The carpet and the broom both specifically mention command words so, no, they would not work. But what about 'on command' items?

Or, in other words, could the command be purely mental and not verbal at all? If this isn't the case wouldn't the item descriptions refer to command words instead of on command?

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