"Continuous" magic item activation?


Rules Questions


Using boots of levitation as an example, do you have to deactivate the every 7 minutes (based on the levitate spell and cl, though im not sure of the exact time)?

Its not really an issue if you're conscious, but could you levitate the go to sleep?


My dm seems to think there's a timer is why I ask. I disagree, but frankly it's not that big of a deal. I just want second opinions.

Scarab Sages

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The way the item is worded, I'd say your GM's interpretation has merit.

Boots of Levitation wrote:
On command, these boots allow the wearer to levitate as if she had cast levitate on herself.

Bold mine.

It doesn't sound like an actual continuous effect to me.


I have always read it as the boots allow levitation at will, with no timer. The "as if she had cast levitate", in my opinion, means that the levitation follows the mechanics of the spell, not that the boots actually cast levitate on the wearer.

What happens if the wearer is knocked unconscious or falls asleep is anyone's guess. My guess is that the GM is reacting to the suggestion that someone can wear the boots, levitate to safety and then go to sleep.

I suppose if that sort of use was creating a problem, I might look at a timer or some other technique to keep someone from sleeping up in the air. But there are many other ways to deal with a levitating sleeping person that I would probably turn to before making an arbitrary ruling about someone's boots of levitation.

Scarab Sages

That's a fair interpretation too, especially since you can "reactivate" it as (or slightly before) it expires, and basically keep it going as long as you want. That way just reduces the bookkeeping. 8^)

Personally, I'd probably run it that way too, but they way it's worded, I'd say the OP's GM's interpretation is just as valid.


If the GM feels it enhances his game for you to spend an action every 7 minutes to reactivate your boots, I guess that's his right.

I can't see how that would ever meaningfully affect anything, though.


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I have to agree with Arazyr on this one.

My reading of it is you use a standard action to activate the boots which effectively casts levitate on the wearer. This lasts for the duration of the spell (in this case 3 minutes since the duration of levitate is 1 minute per level and the CL of the boots is 3rd). At the end of that time the spell effect would end, but since there is no limit to times per day the boots can be used, the wearer could simply command the boots again (using a standard action) to extend the levitation effect.

Just my 2 cp.

Shadow Lodge

My understanding:

Continuous effects function constantly with no action needed to maintain the effect. An example would be a minor cloak of displacement.

At-will on command effects have a timer.

In many situations you don't really need to worry about the timer since you can re-activate just before the duration runs out, but if a character was actually asleep or unconscious they wouldn't be able to re-activate it. Many GMs would be lenient with this, but yours is entirely within his rights to enforce it.


Thanks all.


FilmGuy wrote:

My reading of it is you use a standard action to activate the boots which effectively casts levitate on the wearer. This lasts for the duration of the spell (in this case 3 minutes since the duration of levitate is 1 minute per level and the CL of the boots is 3rd). At the end of that time the spell effect would end, but since there is no limit to times per day the boots can be used, the wearer could simply command the boots again (using a standard action) to extend the levitation effect.

Just my 2 cp.

I would use the spell duration and weight limits according to the spell.

I would set the caster level to the level of the character wearing the boots, rather than the boots' caster level of 3. Simply because the boots say, "these boots allow the wearer to levitate as if she had cast levitate on herself".

Bold mine.

If you cast levitate on yourself use your own caster level.


Pathfinder Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I believe the phrase "as if she had cast X on herself" has been clarified previously to mean the actual effect of the spell (i.e. the spell description) and not the actual spell mechanics (school, components, casting time, range, duration, save, etc) unless otherwise specified in the item description. Otherwise, you run into various piecemeal approaches that contradict the actual rules in certain places.

For example, Wondrous Item activations state: "If the activation is on command or 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 words require a standard action (which the spell itself also requires). However, if the same spell required a full round action that would contradict the item creation rules and in turn be a piecemeal approach.

Boots of levitation therefore requires a conscious, standard action by the wearer to activate; but once activate, the duration is set to "continuous" (as there is no duration set in the description).

However, the item creation rules are actually guidelines. And like others have said, it's not unreasonable for the GM to put limitations on items that begin to hamper the game. I prefer to come up with other creative ways (rather than new rules) in order threaten intelligent or strategic players; but YMMV.

Sczarni

"as if she had cast levitate" means it has a duration. As per the spell. Continuous use items are things like "headband of vast intelligence." You wear it and it gives a benefit the ENTIRE TIME it is worn. The Boots are use-activated (specifically Command Word activated), not continuous. They are, however, an unlimited use item (you can do it "at will"). But yeh, every so often you have to roll UMD (if needed) to re-use the item, per the spell's duration.

Price breakdown:

SL2, CL4 x1800, unlimited charges (100 times material cost = 0 + 2x base cost), 1min/lvl multiplier (x2) = 57,600 gp.

Honestly, it is only 7500 gp because someone didn't follow the formula and considered levitate to be a pretty "useless" spell. Take any other 2nd level spell and make it "at will" and the cost will be closer to the real calculated cost. (Or as I tell my players all the time, "no, you can't have a "true strike at will pair of boots for less than 7500 gp!"")


It rarely matters. This comes up a lot with ring of invisibility--if you're trying to stay hidden for an extended period (or even sleep!), having to blurt out the command word every few minutes makes that pretty difficult. The pricing for an at-will item doesn't take into account whether it must be periodically reactivated, so it's up to the text--and, failing that, the GM.

In any case, the GM is free to change the rules for a particular item. Having a ring of invisibility that doesn't require activation at all--a truly continuous effect--would be very useful in some situations and irritating in others. Ditto the boots of levitation. But the difference wouldn't change the price of the item at all (unless the GM says otherwise).

Sczarni

Addendum on the "USE ACTIVATED" - sometimes it is command word. Sometimes it is just willing it to work. Since the Boots says "command" in the description, it can be implied that they are command word activated unlimited use user-activated items. Page 458 describes the differences. But they are definitely not continuous, since they aren't always making you levitate.


blahpers wrote:
for a particular item. Having a ring of invisibility that doesn't require activation at all--a truly continuous effect--would be very useful in some situations and irritating in others. Ditto the boots of levitation. But the difference wouldn't change the price of the item at all (unless the GM says otherwise).

Actually, yes it does. Continuous-use items have an additional multiplier on item cost that command-word or use-activated items don't.

Quote:
2 If a continuous item has an effect based on a spell with a duration measured in rounds, multiply the cost by 4. If the duration of the spell is 1 minute/level, multiply the cost by 2, and if the duration is 10 minutes/level, multiply the cost by 1.5. If the spell has a 24-hour duration or greater, divide the cost in half.

So at the very least, a continuous-use Ring of Invisibility costs double what the normal Ring of Invisibility costs. The same would apply to a pair of continuous-use Boots of Levitation. (Really, it costs more than that. Command-activated and continuous-use items have different pricing formulas.)

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