Magic Item Creation


Rules Questions


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

Herein is my understanding of how the magic item creation system works. I know a lot of you folks don't believe the system works this way, but so far this is what I've taken from the text.

I've done quite a few searches on this issue. I've found precious little in the RAW to compel me to believe otherwise. This is not to say that it doesn't exist, only that I have not found it.

***

"MAGIC ITEM CREATION:

Note that all items have prerequisites in their descriptions.

***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 items without meeting its prerequisites."

The context of this paragraph tells us what prerequisites may be ignored by adding 5 to the DC of the creation. Specifically, it is talking about the prerequisites in the construction area of the item's description.

1. All items have prerequisites.
2. Those prerequisites (the ones in the item's description) must be met.
3. If they're not met (the prerequisites in the item's description) then the DC is increased by 5 for each not met.

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)."

1. This tells us that the caster level is only one of those prerequisites IF it is listed in the requirement section of the item (meaning in the construction area).

The Magic Item Creation text continues in a new paragraph.

"While item creation costs are handled in detail below, note that normally the two primary factors are the caster level of the creator and the level of the spell or spells put into the item. A creator can create an item at a lower caster level than her own, but never lower than the minimum level needed to cast the needed spell. Using metamagic feats, a caster can place spells in items at a higher level than normal."

I see zero provision for ignoring this if the minimum caster level is not included in the construction area of the item. As Sean K. Reynolds wrote, it is not a prerequisite of the item when it is not listed in the construction area. Instead, it is a fact of creation per the base rules -- the minimum caster level can never be lower than the minimum level needed to cast the needed spell. Granted, you don't have to have the spell, but you have to be high enough level to cast it.

Since the minimum caster level needed is not a prerequisite it can not be avoided with a +5 to the DC.

I am aware of no method that allows the caster to set the caster level at a higher level than their own. So, I am aware of no method that allows a caster to create an item with a minimum caster level (due to the level of the spell the item creation is based around) higher than their current level.

Of course, this is not an issue if the minimum caster level is listed in the prerequisite section of the item . . . it is then easily avoided by adding +5 to the DC of the creation.

Of course, if there is a rule that allows the caster to set a caster level higher than their own then this concern is alleviated. In that case the caster could meet the minimum caster level of the item without actually meeting the minimum caster level of the item.

I am not saying that the magic item creation rules definitely work this way. There could easily be a quote somewhere in opposition to what I'm saying. However, I haven't seen any compelling evidence otherwise. The closest I've seen is people cherry picking the bit about avoiding prerequisites out of context, and assuming that prerequisites mean more than what is listed in the item's construction area.

***

Regarding magic weapons and armor: this issue is heavily debated, and there is no general consensus. I would say that a large percentage of the gaming community feels that this issue is, at best, ambiguous. What's more, the staff at Paizo has failed to respond to this oft asked question for at least a couple of years now. At least it seems so from what my searches have garnered.

Consider this: the DC needed to make a +1 sword would be the same as making a +5 sword.

DC = 5 or 10 (depending on whether you take the value listed on page 548 or 112) + 1 (caster level of the item; since you can lower the CL to the minimum spell level needed you dump it to one) + 5 (for not meeting the "special" prereq) = 11 or 16

A level one wizard, with enough money, can craft either of these swords by taking ten, regardless of the 5 or 10 plug needed to build the DC.

That's ridiculous, it doesn't even sound right.

What makes a lot more sense is that the weapon's special prerequisite is reflected as the minimum caster level needed to construct the item. That makes the DC's different at least. And, assuming a caster can't elevate the CL of an item past their own level, it forces the caster to wait until a reasonably appropriate time in his or her career to begin trying to work on more and more complicated items.


Looks close Jo, It would take a minimum of a 5th level caster to magic a magic sword, and to make it +5 he would need to hit a pretty high DC.

Below I have given a couple of examples of how I think it works. I tend to prefer the Base of 10 vs 5 just because it seems to work a better for balance.

Example:
I have a third Level Wizard whom has a Spell Craft of 11 and the craft Wondrous Item Feat. I want to make a Rope of Climbing! However I don't have a spell book due to a recent fire. This would be the process.

Note for my examples i'm going with the Base skill check of 10.


    [1] Make sure that the creator has a caster level. Yes I do
    [2] Determine what feat the item being created falls under. Craft Wondrous Item
    [3] Make sure the creator has the feat. Yes I do
    [4] Determine how the item is activated. Command Word Activation
    [5] Look at the items Requirements. Animate rope
    [6] Are the requirements met? No I'm missing the Animate Rope Spell
    [7] Is one of the requirements that are not met a spell? Yes
    [8] Is the item Activated by either Spell Trigger or Spell Completion. No
    [9] For each requirement not met add 5 to the DC.
    [10] Determine the highest level spell needed to make the item. Lv 1
    [11] Can the creator cast that spell if he had it? Yes
    [12] Determine the Total DC for making the Item. 10+3+5=18 (Base 10 + Item CL 3 + Requirements Missed 5)
    [13] What is the Book Value of the Item. 3000
    [14] Determine the cost to the creator. 1500 (1/2 book price)
    [15] Determine the amount of time. 3 Days (1 day per 1000 gp value).
    [16] Make roll or take 10. I have a skill of 11 I just take 10.
    [17] Remove gold from character, and add a Rope of Climbing to your character sheet.

Lets look at another example
My Wizard has gone up a couple of levels he is now quite powerful at level 5. He has picked up Craft Magic Arms and Armor (a minimum caster level of 5 for this feat). He has also gotten a new spell book. My spell craft total is now 13. (20 INT, 5 Ranks, +3 In Class Skill)
I've decided I would like a magic +2 Quarterstaff.


    [1] Make sure that the creator has a caster level. Yes I do
    [2] Determine what feat the item being created falls under. Craft Magic Arms and Armor
    [3] Make sure the creator has the feat. Yes I do
    [4] Determine how the item is activated. Use Activated (+2 Enchantment)
    [5] Look at the items Requirements. CL 6th.
    [6] Are the requirements met? No I'm missing the Caster Level 6
    [7] Is one of the requirements that are not met a spell? No
    [8] Is the item Activated by either Spell Trigger or Spell Completion. No
    [9] For each requirement not met add 5 to the DC.
    [10] Determine the highest level spell needed to make the item. None
    [11] Can the creator cast that spell if he had it? Yes
    [12] Determine the Total DC for making the Item. 10+6+5=21 (Base 10 + Item CL 6 + Requirements Missed 5)
    [13] What is the Book Value of the Item. 8300 GP
    [14] Determine the cost to the creator. 4150 (1/2 book price)
    [15] Determine the amount of time. 8 Days (1 day per 1000 gp value).
    [16] Make roll or take 10. I have a skill of 13 I take 10.
    [17] Remove gold from character, and add a Quarterstaff +2 to your character sheet.

Remember the CL of the item is added to the base as well as the missing prerequisites. For Armor and Weapons the CL is 3 times the bonus.

As noted above a Level 1 Wizard can not make a +5 sword as he must have Craft Arms and Armor Feat, so he must be a minimum of 5th level even to try. On top of that the DC to Create the +5 Weapon would be Base 10 + CL 15 + 5 = 30, even if one went with the idea of the base being 5 that's a 25 DC the caster would need to be 6th level and more than likely 7+ to do it with a take 10, if he could afford it, which he should never be able to do at those levels.

I guess I'm not seeing the problem?


mcgreeno wrote:

[12] Determine the Total DC for making the Item. 10+3+5=18 (Base 10 + Item CL 3 + Requirements Missed 5)

Hmm... where is the base of 10 coming from here?

Under Magic Item Creation in the prd, first paragraph, it says:
Quote:
The DC to create a magic item is 5 + the caster level for the item

Was there a errata somewhere that didn't get incorporated into the prd?


EvilMinion wrote:
mcgreeno wrote:

[12] Determine the Total DC for making the Item. 10+3+5=18 (Base 10 + Item CL 3 + Requirements Missed 5)

Hmm... where is the base of 10 coming from here?

Under Magic Item Creation in the prd, first paragraph, it says:
Quote:
The DC to create a magic item is 5 + the caster level for the item

Was there a errata somewhere that didn't get incorporated into the prd?

Nope there is just two rules in the PRD that set the base at different numbers.

Item Creation Feats, Skill Check

Item Creation Feats, Skill Check:

Successfully creating a magic item requires a Spellcraft check with a DC equal to 10 + the item's caster level. Alternatively, you can use an associated Craft or Profession skill to attempt this check instead, depending upon the item being crafted. See Magic Item Creation for more details on which Craft and Profession checks may be substituted in this manner. The DC of this check can increase if the crafter is rushed or does not meet all of the prerequisites. A failed check ruins the materials used, while a check that fails by 5 or more results in a cursed item. See Magic Items for more details.


Magic Item Creation, 1st paragraph

Magic Item Creation, Paragraph One:

To create magic items, spellcasters use special feats which allow them to invest time and money in an item's creation. At the end of this process, the spellcaster must make a single skill check (usually Spellcraft, but sometimes another skill) to finish the item. If an item type has multiple possible skills, you choose which skill to make the check with. The DC to create a magic item is 5 + the caster level for the item. Failing this check means that the item does not function and the materials and time are wasted. Failing this check by 5 or more results in a cursed item (see Cursed Items for more information).

Thus the RAW for the base is up in the air either it is 5 or 10. After 3 years of the game being in print, and 3 years of folks asking for a fix the guys at Pathfinder are still at a loss as to what to do..Poor guys such a hard decision.

Personally I find the base of 10 to be the most balanced option, and I say that as a player and a ST.

The next area of conflict comes into the second part of the formula.

Base plus the Items caster level.

The Caster Level can be changed by the creator for Wands, Scrolls, and Potions. However it seems that the rule is so vague that folks are saying it can be changed for every item, not just folks but a few developers.

Personally again I believe that using the Caster Level that is printed for the Item works really well to keep things balanced. If you allows the caster level to change the the DC's can get so low as to not even be worth rolling. I don't find that balanced so I choose to go with the Caster Level as written is added to the DC.

The last point of contention of these really badly written rules. Is the prerequisite being replaced by a +5 for each one the creator does not have. I tend to take that as is.

So I use the Following formula Base 10 + Item Caster Level as written unless it is a Potion, Wand, or Scroll + 5 per missing requirement (note you must have the spell memorized or on a scroll for Spell Trigger or Spell Completion items) = DC

Long formula but it seems to balance really well that way, yes a crater can get a hold of some items a few levels early but he pays for it with a large percentage of his gold.

It ends up with a few different options for items. Lets say a Magic Long sword +5 like in Jo's example

My way
10+15+5=DC 30 (Base 10 + Minimum Caster Level 15, Requirements +5)

The way Jo is not liking
5+0+5= DC 10 (Base 5 + Minimum Caster Level 0 + Requirements not met 5)

Both of the above are RAW. However I think for game balance my way is a pretty safe bet. I think the way that Jo is rebuking needs to be rebuked.

So I hope I answered your question.


Mr. Green wrote:

Nope there is just two rules in the PRD that set the base at different numbers.

Item Creation Feats, Skill Check

Magic Item Creation, 1st paragraph

Wow, never noticed the bit under the feats being different.

Can't believe they've not clarified that obvious discrepancy after all this time.
Though you're probably right, in that the 10 base is a reasonable enough number to use.


Jason Bulmahn (lead designer)has said the correct DC is 5, not 10.

Link

So we've had a semi-official answer since 2009. Its just never made it into the FAQ or eratta...


I guess the only real way to solve this is for one to judge what they fill comfortable with in there own game.

As for developer comments, there a dime a dozen. If he said it 3 years ago and it still has not been corrected, well it probably is not true.

One way to look at this is mathematically and mechanically.

We have 3 power levels with wondrous magic items

Minor:
Minor Items range in price from 50 GP to 7,500

Medium
Medium Items range in price from 8,000 to 27,500

Major
Major Items range in price from 28,000 to 200,000

However with weapons and Armor we have 10 Categories
Weapons range in prices from 2,000 to 200,000
Armor range in prices from 1,000 to 100,000

The trouble here is figuring out what Level character should be to have access to what gear.


Mr. Green wrote:


The trouble here is figuring out what Level character should be to have access to what gear.

there may be a good way to figure this out. the NPC wealth guidelines give what amount of wealth should be allocated where, at least up to 159K

it may be able to extrapolate a progression


Jeraa wrote:

Jason Bulmahn (lead designer)has said the correct DC is 5, not 10.

Link

So we've had a semi-official answer since 2009. Its just never made it into the FAQ or eratta...

I guess he's still looking into it.

***

Honestly though guys, I am beyond confused.

Below is a message I posted recently in an old thread, but I figure I'll repost it here since some folks are taking a moment to look at this thread, which I greatly, beyond belief, appreciate.

Below, I've quoted gordbond who made a post confessing his confusion after Sean Reynolds made a post that left me realizing I'm more confused than I thought.

gordbond wrote:

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????

The above was somewhat answered by Sean Reynolds in that very thread. Sean did only select a part of it to quote when he answered though.

Here is Sean's answer:

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.

That's giving me the impression that a caster can lower the CL of the item they are crafting, and that the lowered CL will impact the magic item creation DC, as suggested by gordbond in his example.

However, it isn't an outright yes.

Gordbond's post was made because he was confused by an earlier post of Sean's. I admit to being equally confused.

Here is Sean's original post, found in that thread:

Sean K Reynolds wrote:


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.

Note, Sean says in this quote that changing the CL does not affect the craft DC in any way.

I am confused by this.

The caster can change the CL of the item being made. The example 17th level wizard can make the Bag of Holding at CL 9, or CL 17, or anything in between.

The craft DC is based on: 5(or 10) + the item's CL. If the caster makes the bag at CL 17 then the craft DC does go up.

I assume Sean is saying that the Craft DC should stay at the default level in a situation like this because the only benefit of having a higher CL is increased resistance to dispel attempts.

What about a level 9 wizard? Can a level 9 wizard increase the CL to 17? It sounds like the answer is no because the level 17 wizard was limited to raising the CL to 17.

But if that's the case does that mean that a level 8 wizard can't craft the bag? Because even if the level 8 wizard can make the DC, and even if the CL isn't a prerequisite the level 8 wizard can't make an item with a higher CL than 8?

But a 3rd level wizard can make a Pearl of Power at CL 5 by taking a +5 to his DC to do so? I get that a 3rd level wizard can do this from this section of the magic item faq:

"He can even try to make a 3rd-level pearl, though the minimum caster level is 5, and he adds +5 to the DC because he doesn't meet the "able to cast 3rd-level spells" requirement."

Absolutely none of this is making a lick of sense to me, seriously. It may just be the headache I have right now, but I'm having a major major disconnect.


Well Jo, as the rules are written, and as the developers muck things up we the players have only a few choices.

I chose to augment the rules in such a way as I feel meet both the fun of creating magic items at your level, the challenge and chance to create items beyond your level and give a good sense of what I precieve as balanced.

Another Options is fall back to the 3.5 Rules for magic item creation, use the Faqs from the predecessor of this system sense they did not change a thing other than to mess it up worse than it already was.

The truth is simple, folks have been wanting a Magic Item Creation Rules sense 1st edition. They finally got around to it in 3.0, however they are a work in progress.

Magic Item Creation adds fun to the game, allows the PC's to do something very logical that they should be able to do and allows for new items..

As a side not of the 969 Magic Items in the SRD 678 of them do not take up slots, and no I'm not counting potions, scrolls, or wands in the figure.

66% of all magic items are not Weapons, Armor, Shields, Shoulder, Wrist, Head, Neck, Foot, Hand, Ring, Wand, Staff, Rod, etc..

And only 9 Items take up the wrist slot, 19 for the shoulders, and there are only 10 magical shields....

Something is wrong with the world There are 60 Rings however..lol

Grand Lodge

mcgreeno wrote:


... snip ...

Lets look at another example
My Wizard has gone up a couple of levels he is now quite powerful at level 5. He has picked up Craft Magic Arms and Armor (a minimum caster level of 5 for this feat). He has also gotten a new spell book. My spell craft total is now 13. (20 INT, 5 Ranks, +3 In Class Skill)
I've decided I would like a magic +2 Quarterstaff.


    [1] Make sure that the creator has a caster level. Yes I do
    [2] Determine what feat the item being created falls under. Craft Magic Arms and Armor
    [3] Make sure the creator has the feat. Yes I do
    [4] Determine how the item is activated. Use Activated (+2 Enchantment)
    [5] Look at the items Requirements. CL 6th.
    [6] Are the requirements met? No I'm missing the Caster Level 6
    [7] Is one of the requirements that are not met a spell? No
    [8] Is the item Activated by either Spell Trigger or Spell Completion. No
    [9] For each requirement not met add 5 to the DC.
    [10] Determine the highest level spell needed to make the item. None
    [11] Can the creator cast that spell if he had it? Yes
    [12] Determine the Total DC for making the Item. 10+6+5=21 (Base 10 + Item CL 6 + Requirements Missed 5)
    [13] What is the Book Value of the Item. 8300 GP
    [14] Determine the cost to the creator. 4150 (1/2 book price)
    [15] Determine the amount of time. 8 Days (1 day per 1000 gp value).
    [16] Make roll or take 10. I have a skill of 13 I take 10.
    [17] Remove gold from character, and add a Quarterstaff +2 to your character sheet.

Remember the CL of the item is added to the base as well as the missing prerequisites. For Armor and Weapons the CL is 3 times the bonus.

As noted above a Level 1 Wizard can not make a +5 sword as he must have Craft Arms and Armor Feat, so he must be a minimum of 5th level even to try. On top of that the DC to Create the +5 Weapon would be Base 10 + CL 15 + 5 = 30, even if one went with the idea of the base being 5 that's a 25 DC the caster would need to be 6th level and more than likely 7+ to do it with a take 10, if he could afford it, which he should never be able to do at those levels.

... snip ...

This does not seem correct.

Reading the Magic Item Creation section on pg 549 of the Core book tells us:

"A creator can create an item at a lower caster level than her own, but never lower than the minimum level needed to cast the needed spell."

Reading it literally one might attempt to skirt the intent, but it is obvious that the rule intends to allow only those who are the proper caster level (in the case of manufacturing armor and weapons). Otherwise there would be no reason to place a minimum caster level at all.

If the DM was feeling generous, he could agree to this, of course, but then it could be a logical extension to say that the penalties were applicable for every level missing from the required CL of a magic item. After all, level 14 IS required before one can have level 15, level 13 IS required before one can have level 14, etc. and so on. Doing the math for a 5th level character attempting to make a +5 weapon.. and assuming a base 10 as above.. one gets:

10+15+5(6)+5(7)+5(8)+5(9)+5(10)+5(11)+5(12)+5(13)+5(14)+5(15) = 75

So an impossibility of a low level character making a powerful magic item is proven to be... impossible

but this is just my 2cp anyway


Your know I used to run it just like that in 3.5...lol It was a player who made me read in a different light. But yes I think it works well in that method as well. I also know GMs whom still use that approach..

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