Player upset over cursed item; what to do?


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

To my knowledge none of my players read these forums, not that they would tell me if they did. Why would they give up what little power over the GM they might have?

Petty Alchemy wrote:

I agree that you didn't do anything wrong, but you could've done it far better, or at least friendlier.

For one thing, it seems to me a strange split that he had enough control over his cohort to pick her spells, but not enough to roll her crafting checks.

The fact that he didn't finish picking the Witch's spells before asking for her to craft this item sends a pretty clear message: He has little interest in the details of casters/crafting. If you're going to roll dice for his cohort, you probably should've built picked its spells as well.

He basically put out a job on Craiglist "Wanted: Witch who doesn't mind getting her hands dirty. Required skills: Crafting magic items, especially belts of physical perfection."

My preferred ways of handling Leadership is allowing the player to pick an NPC they've met, or make an outline of the sort of character they want, rather than having them build PC #2. It sounds like you kinda share the same thoughts.

And even though that stuff didn't happen, the witch probably could've thought "Man, my pirate boss is giving me a ton of money for this project that I KNOW will flop. I should tell him to hold onto his money so I can research the proper spells first, or things might get unpleasant in our professional relationship."

I actually had to press him to pick his spells. Initially, he asked me to do it. I told him that I don't make peoples' characters for them and that if he was too busy, we could work it out later (and we did).

And it was his character. He even went so far as to say his character's organization, The Red Mantis Assassins, had sent her along specifically to help his character succeed in his missions.

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If it was his character, he should've done all of her rolls. But at that point your stance was: "What's more, it isn't even his character that is crafting the item, it's an NPC. "

Have you revised your opinion since? :P


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Petty Alchemy wrote:

For one thing, it seems to me a strange split that he had enough control over his cohort to pick her spells, but not enough to roll her crafting checks.

If you're going to roll dice for his cohort, you probably should've built picked its spells as well.

It is perfectly acceptable for the DM to make a roll when the outcome should be unknown to the character. He did the correct thing. Just like a player shouldn't necessary know the results of their check when they search for traps until they actually try to pass the area or object they search or when making an Appraise check.

"Oh, I rolled a 1 and you tell me this stone is worth 2 gp? I think I'll get a second opinion."

Since there is a chance of failing and creating a cursed item, and that it requires testing or double-checking to uncover that the item is cursed, it is perfectly acceptable to have that roll done by the DM.

The fact that it was a cohort makes no difference, it would be the same if it were the PC himself, at best the player can ask for a Take 10 roll to circumvent the check, but that in no way guarantees either success or the inability to end up with a cursed item, unless the player is using his specific knowledge of game rules to determine DC vs. skill modifiers against a failure by 5 or more.


I don't see why he can't just pawn it off on someone who doesn't know any better. I f@~~ed up crafting a portable hole for an NPC a few sessions ago (it became a devouring hole, OOPS!) and lied to him about misunderstanding his instructions. I told him I'd get his money back and make the item he desired. Next time we came into port I found a magic shop and pawned it off to the first vendor who had the money for it.

Though, I suppose a Bluff check of 33 has its perks. Using Suggestion to have them roofy themselves at a bar later's also a good way of covering your tracks XD


Fappy wrote:

I don't see why he can't just pawn it off on someone who doesn't know any better. I f&#+ed up crafting a portable hole for an NPC a few sessions ago (it became a devouring hole, OOPS!) and lied to him about misunderstanding his instructions. I told him I'd get his money back and make the item he desired. Next time we came into port I found a magic shop and pawned it off to the first vendor who had the money for it.

Though, I suppose a Bluff check of 33 has its perks. Using Suggestion to have them roofy themselves at a bar later's also a good way of covering your tracks XD

It's the attitude of the GM clashing with the attitude of the player.


Ravingdork wrote:
Helic wrote:
When there's a good chance that a player will lose thousands of gp on a single die roll, perhaps it is best to allow that player to make the die roll himself.
Why should he have had a chance to roll it? It's obviously a GM roll, otherwise a cursed item would always be known to the player making it (which clearly is not the intent of the rules). What's more, it isn't even his character that is crafting the item, it's an NPC.

Right, an NPC. Not a mindless zombie who automatically obeys.

So, highly intelligent Witch is given a task she is not fully equipped to do (doesn't have the required spells) and stands exactly ZERO chance of success (as you have confirmed), mindlessly tries anyways, wasting thousands of her boss' gold because he said so and she must mindlessly obey.

What?

Obviously he's handing off crafting to someone 'better qualified' than himself, so why is the better qualified person not doing their job properly?

There's a good distance between 'not knowing if you can succeed' and 'knowing you're out of your league'. People should be able to estimate their chances of success assuming they are actually reasonably skilled (which the Witch is).

Anyway, back to my original premise; rolling for item creation should not be a GM prerogative. Yes, the item may end up cursed, but people know that and will double check regardless (assuming half a brain), so the point is moot. If a cursed item is made, they will know it, one way or another. More importantly, there are thousands and thousands of gold pieces being wagered on a single die roll. You let the player roll it so that the GM is "in no way, shape or form" responsible for when the die roll turns up BADLY.

It seems that your player is mad at you because you rolled badly (not that you could roll good enough in the first place). Somewhat irrationally, he blames you. If you had let him make the die roll, he would have less cause to blame you (though he probably would still blame you for letting the NPC try something with zero chance of success).

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That's beside the point, which is that it's not clear if the cohort is the PC's character #2 or his NPC.

But if it were the point (and I'm tempted to bite) and you're afraid of metagaming, you could easily have a conditional statement: "After this item is done, it's going to be tested first by magic, then worn as a test by me/the witch/volunteer. If no problem is found then, I'm wearing it constantly."

Same for traps. "I have a serious suspicion of this door being trapped. Even if I can't find any traps I know that might be more indicative of a personal failure than a safety of opening the door. I'm standing back even if I don't find anything."

Same for appraise (though personally I wouldn't even roll it if my character is bad at it. Some DMs love to have this skill come up maybe twice in a campaign and punish people for not taking it by making them price it at 10% value and sell it easily for nothing, rather than accidentally price it at 200% value and being turned away/bargained with). "I don't know anything about fine art, but this picture looks valuable. I'm going to take it to a trusted expert before I try to sell it, but I may as well try to ballpark it (or not)."


A certain amount of metagaming is acceptable so long as it smooths things along (including player/GM relations). I wouldn't even bother trying to make an item unless I could take 10 and autosucceed (crafting or magic item creation).

Let the crazy NPC Wizards make the cursed items that litter the world. When that much is on the line, if a player insists on trying, let him know his odds...or you end up in the very situation Ravingdork is in.


Ravingdork wrote:
Heck, he's even playing an evil pirate. He could totally sell it to some poor sap and get his gold back. . .

This seems like a perfectly generous solution to me. He gets all of his money back? No blood, no foul.

What does the player want you to do?

Spoiler:
I'm still thinking of the original question, "What to do?" I don't particularly care who rolled the die, who should or shouldn't be playing with whom, who feels entitled, the effects of crafting cohorts on party WBL, or who has mommy issues.

Sovereign Court

Ravingdork wrote:


I don't know about unintelligent, but I do worry he feels entitled. I'm an extremely generous GM for the most part and I fear I've spoiled him and the others. He also has a history of rages. This is not the first thread involving him, and this is also not the first time he's rage quit IN THIS CAMPAIGN.

For all I know, he's just lying to get a rise out of me again. He's done that before too.

That swayed me. Usually, my gut is to say that the GM is at least partially at fault. Rules should have been explained better, the process should have been more open, etc. In my experience, most conflict in gaming stems from not understanding the rules/inconsistency in applying the rules.

However, if he does this a lot, then let him leave. I've played with people like this and GMed for people like this. He frustrates you, he's frustrating the rest of the group, and he's turning what's supposed to be a fun activity into a source of stress. If he's rage quit this campaign several times, tell him to get out. He obviously isn't serious about leaving or he would have left already. Either he starts to behave or he leaves, you win either way.

Gaming should be fun. Drama should stay on the table.

Shadow Lodge

I would go the softball route, at least once. I would probably end the conversation with something along the lines of "...you big baby", in a teasing manner just to communicate that you're bending the rules in his favor. Going forward I would prompt with "are you sure about that - remember the belt" enough times to work it into a cautionary tale/running joke.

But ignoring it works, too.

It all depends on your PoV. Are you looking for "I did as much as I was willing to do" or "I did nothing wrong"?


The dude just needs to get over it. It is a game first and foremost. As a GM, I feel you were in the right.
Not that you did purposely, but I love throwing in a cursed item every now and then. I'm running a home brew of the Serpents Skull adventure and after defeating the cannibal camp, my PC's found what they thought was a ring of sustenance, but was a really a cannibals ring. The sorcerer in my group grabbed it and put it on as soon as it was found. After the seven days, he started feeling the effects. I let him try to cut it off, but he failed his will save and reflex save, thus cutting off the wrong finger. He eventually had his fellow PC's hold his hands and cut the finger off. I was close to telling him that the ring reappeared on another finger, but I figured he had been through enough trauma.


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You know funny thing is if the player were to calmly and politely stat his dissatisfaction and ask for (not demand) some sort of do-over I'd be a lot more inclined to consider it.

But when he throws a tantrum and threatens to ragequit that's where I dig in my feet. Let them get away with that once and they know they can just do it again if need be.

Not acceptable.

- Torger


Ravingdork wrote:
He did not ask, no. I would have happily told him had he done so.
Ravingdork wrote:
I guess I want to know if you guys think I ambushed him in some way or otherwise wasn't fair/didn't give him a chance.

The line I quoted above sounds a little bit like "gotcha" GMing.

E.g. "You didn't ask if the floor was made out of lava, so I didn't tell you. So you're dead" (Hyperbole intended.) :-)


As someone stated, minimum caster level that coud be crafted at was 3, the higehr level is an example of somethign found what it will USUALLY be at.

Target numer is CL 3 (min to cast the prerequisite spells), +5 (standard enchanting rules) +15 does not have any of the spells so 23.

I'd be pissed to since the witch could have just taken 10 for a guaranteed success and as a "very inteligent crafter" would know that.

Best solution, tell the player you screwed up on the crafting rules and she made the belt.

Liberty's Edge

n00bxqb wrote:
Heymitch wrote:
If the item was made at CL 3 without prerequisites (Spellcraft DC 23), and the witch took 10 with her Spellcraft check, she would have automatically succeeded...

I don't think that's how it works ...

CRB pg. 460 wrote:

Caster Level (CL): The next item in a notational entrygives the caster level of the item, indicating its relative power. The caster level determines the item’s saving throw bonus, as well as range or other level-dependent aspects of the powers of the item (if variable). It also determines the level that must be contended with should the item come under the effect of a dispel magic spell or similar situation.

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.

This is from the Official FAQ for the Core Rule Book:

Quote:

Pearl of Power: What is the caster level required to create this item?

Though the listed Caster Level for a pearl of power is 17th, that caster level is not part of the Requirements listing for that item. Therefore, the only caster level requirement for a pearl of power is the character has to be able to cast spells of the desired level.

However, it makes sense that the minimum caster level of the pearl is the minimum caster level necessary to cast spells of that level--it would be strange for a 2nd-level pearl to be CL 1st.

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). If he wants to make a 2nd-level pearl, the caster level has to be at least 3, as wizards can't cast 2nd-level spells until they reach character level 3. 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.

—Sean K Reynolds, 08/18/10

That would seem to imply that you can make a Wondrous Item at a Caster Level lower than that listed in the CRB.

Sovereign Court

Ravingdork wrote:

Ascalaphus wrote:


No, you quoted a passage about scrolls/wands/potions, which have a specific rule. But you should look at the general rules for crafting magic items, because those are the ones that apply...
...which is something we are NOT going to debate here. Make a new thread if you want to switch topics.

Well, a +13 DC because the GM misunderstood a rule, and then rules that you can't possibly succeed - that's pretty relevant.

Liberty's Edge

The Witch NPC should have taken 10, and auto-succeeded in making a Belt of Physical Perfection +2 at CL 3.

Your player is guilty of reacting immaturely to your misapplying the magic item creation rules to ensure his guaranteed failure instead of his guaranteed success.

You could either back down and give him his belt (after all, you were wrong), or you could stand your ground and "win".


Ravingdork, this conversation has gotten to the point where everyone is just repeating what has already been said.

We need his side of the story!

Tell him to come to this thread. We want to hear it!

Contributor

Ravingdork wrote:

Been talking to another roleplaying friend who apparently tried to console the troubled player. He says he mentioned the idea of pawning the item off on some sap (losing nothing but time) to which he apparently got a "that's not the point" kind of response.

I don't think a refund is going to help here.

You need to sit down with the player and sell it straight. If he's playing a witch, he wouldn't expect you to know exactly how each and every one of his spells and hexes works. That's not your responsibility; its his. Likewise, it isn't your responsibility to sit down and walk him through every aspect of crafting magic items. That's a huge chapter, and if you're going to create a character that focuses on crafting (even if its just a cohort) you need to be familiar with the rules for doing so.

Use this analogy: It would be like reading about how great the gunslinger is at dealing damage but not bothering to read the gun rules, and then flipping out with his firearm is destroyed when it misfires while broken. Its not a GM conspiracy, its written in the rules for any player to read.

I would personally tell my player that he needs to familiarize himself with the DCs of the items he is trying to create. There is a reason that a wizard is better at crafting than a witch. Inform him that if he has a wizard / cleric / whatever in his party, the character's allies can provide the spells necessary to craft magic items; this was a rule introduced in Ultimate Campaign. If the player isn't going to let a poor roll on his part go, I would either offer to have him make a new cohort (maybe the witch leaves in disgrace or embarrassment) or simply ask the player if he's in the campaign for the wrong reasons. It might be time for his ship to sail. (LoL Skulls and Shackles pun!)

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Heymitch wrote:

The Witch NPC should have taken 10, and auto-succeeded in making a Belt of Physical Perfection +2 at CL 3.

Your player is guilty of reacting immaturely to your misapplying the magic item creation rules to ensure his guaranteed failure instead of his guaranteed success.

You could either back down and give him his belt (after all, you were wrong), or you could stand your ground and "win".

This is not the dispute. The player is not upset about any alleged misapplication of rules. He is upset for entirely different reasons. And yes, he is being incredibly immature and/or manipulative.

Indeed, determining that a simple numbers error occurred might resolve this specific situation. However, the underlying issues will remain. The tantrum-prone player will get his belt, but will now be rewarded for being a baby.

If the player had approached Ravingdork in a mature, respectful manner, this would not have been a stressful situation that spawned an advice thread on how to deal with this raging player.

Spoiler:
I'm in a mean mood, but I would punish this player in game for their terrible behavior (yep, I'm not being nice here, sorry). I'd say that the shy witch had a terrible fear of the evil pirate's famous rage. She had been warned that this pirate would fire her (or kill her) at even the slightest provocation, or if anything went somewhat amiss. Fearing this ragequitting temper tantrum so much, the witch's hands shook nervously when she tried to craft the belt. Losing confidence in her abilities, she rushed and botched the job. If this pirate's attitude and demeanor had been more respectful, she could easily have crafted this belt in a less stressful environment.

Liberty's Edge

Khazrandir wrote:
I'm in a mean mood, but I would punish this player in game for their terrible behavior (yep, I'm not being nice here, sorry). I'd say that the shy witch had a terrible fear of the evil pirate's famous rage. She had been warned that this pirate would fire her (or kill her) at even the slightest provocation, or if anything went somewhat amiss. Fearing this ragequitting temper tantrum so much, the witch's hands shook nervously when she tried to craft the belt. Losing confidence in her abilities, she rushed and botched the job. If this pirate's attitude and demeanor had been more respectful, she could easily have crafted this belt in a less stressful environment.

I guess I'm not seeing that as improving the situation.


You know, most DM’s simply ban crafting feats for Cohorts*. In fact, I suggested this very thing to you some time ago. Wouldn’t this have been easier? In fact, just retcon this. “Hey Bob, I understand why you are upset, still, those are the rules. But here’s what I am gonna do. You lost no gold. But I am banning Crafting feats for Cohorts, etc. Pick another feat. So, this never happened.”

* Brew potion aside, maybe Scribe.


In my opinion it's all about managing expectations. The way I understand it, the player was tricked into risking his money and time by poor GMing. It was revealed that he isn't interested in poring over books to choose his own spells. He just wants to play without memorizing / learning all the rules and options.

Having had a player like that before I can say that from his point of view he should have known that (1) there was a chance of failure and (2) that the roll you were forcing was in fact possible. And most importantly (3) he doesn't feel that he should have to figure it out on his own i.e. you should have told him.

IMO, if he had the information he felt he should have had, he wouldn't have taken the risk. Most players won't even attempt to craft an item without guaranteed success. Saying that you hinted (*wink* *wink*) at things is NOT the same as flat out telling a player that it won't work or that it only has a 5% chance of success.

It is his opinion that you should have told him that he was making a mistake. I think it is good form to do so. I would do the same as if a player were going to accidentally trigger an AoO from an enemy because he forgot the enemy had reach. Let him know the problem, don't make him ask.

If knowing the risks he still wanted to make the attempt, then it is on him.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Knowing how your own feats work is the players responsibility at our table. If a player needs help understanding something complicated like crafting, he or she can ask for it. For a cohort, it should still be the players responsibility. There's a bit of debate over the DC of the item in question above, but honestly the player should have checked the DC and worked through exactly that debate before crafting started. Your player should never have had his cohort begin crafting without an explicit understanding of the crafting project.

That said, crafting rules are hard and that's a LOT of money. I can understand a player being upset.

The other issue is if a character knows when they're in over their head in the crafting process or not. I think a character should be aware that they are taking a risk on such a difficult process when there's such a huge chance of failure.

In general, I don't like to give my players explicit numbers they need to succeed on for skill checks, but I will give them a general estimate, like 'You don't think you can make the 30 foot jump' or 'You can probably make the climb eventually. You doubt you'll fall, anyway.'

Maybe the cohort should have talked to the main PC and tell them they 'Don't think I can hack it, boss, sorry.' Unless there's an in character reason they wouldn't tell the PC? Like they thought they'd be fired or dumped or abandoned by the PC if they didn't follow orders?

My advice is to let the cohort re-use half of the materials wasted making the cursed item as a compromise in the misunderstanding, and have the player read and understand the crafting rules before their cohorts next crafting project. Your player does seem to be having a bit of a snit, which certainly isn't behavior to reward, so letting the other half of the cash be wasted is still a consequence.


Helic wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Helic wrote:
When there's a good chance that a player will lose thousands of gp on a single die roll, perhaps it is best to allow that player to make the die roll himself.
Why should he have had a chance to roll it? It's obviously a GM roll, otherwise a cursed item would always be known to the player making it (which clearly is not the intent of the rules). What's more, it isn't even his character that is crafting the item, it's an NPC.

Right, an NPC. Not a mindless zombie who automatically obeys.

So, highly intelligent Witch is given a task she is not fully equipped to do (doesn't have the required spells) and stands exactly ZERO chance of success (as you have confirmed), mindlessly tries anyways, wasting thousands of her boss' gold because he said so and she must mindlessly obey.

What?

Obviously he's handing off crafting to someone 'better qualified' than himself, so why is the better qualified person not doing their job properly?

There's a good distance between 'not knowing if you can succeed' and 'knowing you're out of your league'. People should be able to estimate their chances of success assuming they are actually reasonably skilled (which the Witch is).

Anyway, back to my original premise; rolling for item creation should not be a GM prerogative. Yes, the item may end up cursed, but people know that and will double check regardless (assuming half a brain), so the point is moot. If a cursed item is made, they will know it, one way or another. More importantly, there are thousands and thousands of gold pieces being wagered on a single die roll. You let the player roll it so that the GM is "in no way, shape or form" responsible for when the die roll turns up BADLY.

It seems that your player is mad at you because you rolled badly (not that you could roll good enough in the first place). Somewhat irrationally, he blames you. If you had let him make the die roll, he would have less cause to blame you (though he probably would still blame you...

Because in real life people never bite off more than they can chew or just plain FUBAR it. He is lucky he found out BEFORE he accepted the cursed object and perhaps had to deal with the curse.

Now granted the OP missed a perfect opportunity to turn this into a adventure. Heck perhaps she even did it on purpose! She is a frigging Witch! What a cool start for a reoccurring villain!

As a DM you grab at EVERY chance to turn the boring into exciting and dangerous!


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

You cannot arbitrarily lower the caster level to most magical items (excluding spell completion and spell trigger items). Doing so creates a new item and would have a dramatic effect on its cost and, if based on a spell, its abilities.

I know this to be true. It was one of the firs things I attempted when I joined these forums and the designers said "no."

James Jacobs wrote:

Caster levels for items cannot be changed, as a general rule, unless they're things like wands or scrolls or other spell trigger or spell completion items.

You could theoretically increase the caster level for a wondrous item or other magic item, but that'd need GM approval and would increase the base cost of the item as appropriate.

Simply rolling well on your craft check won't let you end-run around these rules. Caster level is not determined by your check's result.

Relevant link

Torger Miltenberger wrote:

You know funny thing is if the player were to calmly and politely stat his dissatisfaction and ask for (not demand) some sort of do-over I'd be a lot more inclined to consider it.

But when he throws a tantrum and threatens to ragequit that's where I dig in my feet. Let them get away with that once and they know they can just do it again if need be.

Not acceptable.

- Torger

This pretty much sums up how I feel on the matter.

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Goldenfrog wrote:
Now granted the OP missed a perfect opportunity to turn this into a adventure. Heck perhaps she even did it on purpose! She is a frigging Witch! What a cool start for a reoccurring villain!

+1 I love it when my feats turn my gold into coal then become recurring villains.

One time I took Improved Sunder and the DM decided that the master that taught it to my fighter did so by breaking his magic sword.

Edit for back on topic: Yeah I don't think anyone is saying the player's reaction was a good one but it's definitely an understandable one. It's up to you guys to forgive each other or not, we on the forums can only talk about the in-game situation.


Ravingdork wrote:

You cannot arbitrarily lower the caster level to most magical items (excluding spell completion and spell trigger items). Doing so creates a new item and would have a dramatic effect on its cost and, if based on a spell, its abilities.

I know this to be true. It was one of the firs things I attempted when I joined these forums and the designers said "no."

Funnily enough, it seems they've done a 180 on that. See the pearl of power FAQ.

FAQ wrote:

Pearl of Power: What is the caster level required to create this item?

Though the listed Caster Level for a pearl of power is 17th, that caster level is not part of the Requirements listing for that item. Therefore, the only caster level requirement for a pearl of power is the character has to be able to cast spells of the desired level.

However, it makes sense that the minimum caster level of the pearl is the minimum caster level necessary to cast spells of that level--it would be strange for a 2nd-level pearl to be CL 1st.

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). If he wants to make a 2nd-level pearl, the caster level has to be at least 3, as wizards can't cast 2nd-level spells until they reach character level 3. 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.

—Sean K Reynolds, 08/18/10

Note how CL is not a requirement in the belt of physical perfection too. So same logic, you should be able to make it at CL3.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

A discussion on whether or not you need to be 17th-level to craft a pearl of power has ZERO bearing on whether or not you can change an item's default caster level.


The rules also say that Crafting by cohorts will not increase WBL.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
A discussion on whether or not you need to be 17th-level to craft a pearl of power has ZERO bearing on whether or not you can change an item's default caster level.

Agreed. Saying that it doesn't make sense for a Pearl of Power for level 1 spells to have a CL of 17 is not the same as saying all wondrous items should have a CL equal to the lowest CL required to cast component spells. What SKR was saying is that for Pearls of Power specifically, the CL should be adjusted to the power of spells it can grant. Applying this to all wondrous items is, in my mind, twisting his words in a manner he did not originally intend (not that I claim to know his intentions).


Give him a do-over, RD.

I assume he's a friend. No game is worth a friendship.

No game is worth a friendship.

Just refund his money, remind him of the rules, and tell him to be mindful next time he wants to make something. Let him tell you about it after each session, and work out the percentages with him if he's unsure. Ask another player for help if you want some.

Let him make the roll in front of you if he likes. Work with him as much as possible.

We all have faults. Let it slide, chalk it up to temporary insanity, and try and move on.


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TheRedArmy wrote:

Give him a do-over, RD.

I assume he's a friend. No game is worth a friendship.

No game is worth a friendship.

Just refund his money, remind him of the rules, and tell him to be mindful next time he wants to make something. Let him tell you about it after each session, and work out the percentages with him if he's unsure. Ask another player for help if you want some.

Let him make the roll in front of you if he likes. Work with him as much as possible.

We all have faults. Let it slide, chalk it up to temporary insanity, and try and move on.

The real question is, given all of his previous outbursts and tantrums, is it worth keeping him as a friend?


Ravingdork wrote:
I don't know about unintelligent, but I do worry he feels entitled. I'm an extremely generous GM for the most part and I fear I've spoiled him and the others. He also has a history of rages. This is not the first thread involving him, and this is also not the first time he's rage quit IN THIS CAMPAIGN.

I've played with people like that, and it's not worth it in the long run, and never ends well. It's not a true friendship.

Protip: invite him over, alone, for a calm sit-down discussion about the whole situation. Make sure the window shades are drawn. Carve him up, debone him, and use one of your Witch NPCs "Cook People" Hexes on him.

Bury his bones in the basement and tell everyone he "moved away suddenly." Serve tasty snacks(tm) at the next gaming session. Replace him in the campaign with a bot.


Personally, I agree that you can't pick the CL on wonderous items (with the exception of pearls of power). The FAQ could use an extra line stating that it is for pearls of power only, not precedent setting for all wondrous items.


Odraude wrote:
TheRedArmy wrote:

Give him a do-over, RD.

I assume he's a friend. No game is worth a friendship.

No game is worth a friendship.

Just refund his money, remind him of the rules, and tell him to be mindful next time he wants to make something. Let him tell you about it after each session, and work out the percentages with him if he's unsure. Ask another player for help if you want some.

Let him make the roll in front of you if he likes. Work with him as much as possible.

We all have faults. Let it slide, chalk it up to temporary insanity, and try and move on.

The real question is, given all of his previous outbursts and tantrums, is it worth keeping him as a friend?

I think that if it's getting this serious, and you are asking this question, it's time to not play D&D together. If you enjoy his company otherwise, and it's just D&D that's the problem, don't game together. If he's not really a friend...well, that's harder, I think.

Liberty's Edge

Ravingdork wrote:
A discussion on whether or not you need to be 17th-level to craft a pearl of power has ZERO bearing on whether or not you can change an item's default caster level.
FAQ wrote:
For example, a 3rd-level wizard with Craft Wondrous Item can create a 1st-level pearl, with a minimum caster level of 1.

I'd say that the line that explicitly states that you can create a 1st-level Pearl of Power with a Caster Level of 1 has some bearing on "whether or not you can change an item's default caster level."

Liberty's Edge

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Scaevola77 wrote:
What SKR was saying is that for Pearls of Power specifically, the CL should be adjusted to the power of spells it can grant. Applying this to all wondrous items is, in my mind, twisting his words in a manner he did not originally intend (not that I claim to know his intentions).
FAQ wrote:
Though the listed Caster Level for a pearl of power is 17th, that caster level is not part of the Requirements listing for that item. Therefore, the only caster level requirement for a pearl of power is the character has to be able to cast spells of the desired level.

"caster level is not part of the Requirements listing for that item..."

For a Belt of Physical Perfection, CL 16th is not part of the Requirements listing for that item.

The Requirements for a Belt of Physical Perfection are listed at the bottom of the description under "Construction Requirements", and do not include a minimum caster level. The requirements are Craft Wondrous Item, Bear's Endurance, Bull's Strength, Cat's Grace (and only Craft Wondrous Item is a hard requirement...the others can be bypassed by adding +5 each to the Spellcraft DC).

Liberty's Edge

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Tarantula wrote:
Personally, I agree that you can't pick the CL on wonderous items (with the exception of pearls of power). The FAQ could use an extra line stating that it is for pearls of power only, not precedent setting for all wondrous items.

Except for this...

According to the errata: "Page 460 - In the Magic Items Description section, under Caster Level, delete the last sentence of the second paragraph."

The sentence they're telling you to delete is this one: "For other magic items, the caster level is determined by the item itself."

They specifically removed the line that indicated that caster level is determined by the item. "Other magic items" in the above sentence refers to anything that is not a potion, scroll, or wand.

There's no ambiguity. You just have to read the errata.


RD, I haven't read any of the threads about this player's previous behaviour, and accept that he may just be trying to manipulate the situation to his advantage. I also think you're an incredibly generous DM in general given the number of cool characters that come out of your games - and the fact that you're allowing both Leadership and Craft-bot cohorts.

But I have to say it's not really cool to let a player have a cohort spend time and resources on a crafting attempt where the best result possible was wasted money. Either the cohort should point out in character that she can't do what he wants or he should have been told out of character that his cohort doesn't have what it takes to make the item he wants.


It seems that the player was expected to have all the knowledge his PC/NPC would have in game. This is silly. People play characters with higher stats/skills than they have IRL, that's kinda the point of the game. If you were to turn the table and allow the player to use his knowledge of the bestiary without making the appropriate knowledge check that would be metagaming. This is DM metagaming. The player should have been aware that the check was impossible before committing to the action.

It also seems as the rule errata on this matter is in the players favor. SKR trumps JJ in rules comments, and official rules errata supersede all if you claim to play by RAW. It would seem your were wrong on both aspects of this problem; giving your player every right to be upset. Rage quit is still out of line though...


Cool, so now I can craft major artifacts by reducing their caster level to 1!

I agree with those who say you should have warned (or had the witch warn) the player that the belt was too difficult.


Tarantula wrote:

According to the errata: "Page 460 - In the Magic Items Description section, under Caster Level, delete the last sentence of the second paragraph."

The sentence they're telling you to delete is this one: "For other magic items, the caster level is determined by the item itself."

They specifically removed the line that indicated that caster level is determined by the item. "Other magic items" in the above sentence refers to anything that is not a potion, scroll, or wand.

Here's that paragraph from an earlier version of the rulebook:

"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.
In this case, the creator’s caster level must be as high as
the item’s caster level (and prerequisites may effectively put a
higher minimum on the creator’s level)."

I think you've got one where the errata has already been applied. The third sentence is the one that was removed, not the second. Which means you cannot reduce the belt of physical perfection to caster level 3.


Mr. Dork, you're still being so mean!

My thoughts:

I think if I were in your shoes I'd probably have had the Witch protest being asked to do something so impossible. Occasionally as a DM I've also pointed out ideas that the characters should know are really, really stupid. In a real sense, the characters are going to understand the reality better than players on occasion. It does seem that either his character or the Witch should have known better. Personally, I tried to head off massive wastes of effort at the pass when they are likely to only result in people being very unhappy. (That doesn't mean I don't let players screw up or waste effort and get poor results, however).

As for discussions on whether someone trained in something is going to know how difficult a task is, the answer is almost always "yes, to a reasonable degree". People with no ranks in something...they might well have no idea.

Maybe I missed it, but has the player calmed down? Sometimes people overreact in the moment (which can last a while), and later can more calmly discuss it. Not ideal behavior, but eh, we must be willing to debase ourselves when dealing with human "civilizations" -- at least a bit.

I am curious if this was a significant amount of resources on the player's part (time, money, etc), or if they are just unhappy things didn't go well. I feel a bit like mistakes were made on both sides, though more on the player's side (given his overreaction at the very least).


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Drachasor: I do not know if he has calmed as we have not spoken since.

At the time of the crafting attempt, it was fully half of the character's fluid wealth. We had just split treasure in the party from several successful voyages in Skull and Shackles. The money was his culmination of nearly four play sessions (the other half was spent on other magical items which he got just fine).


It can be hard to tell what is going on in someone's head, let alone someone you haven't even met. So unlike a lot of people here, I'm not sure of the best way to handle it.

It's possible that he just had a brain fart and made a really stupid mistake. Now he's upset is angry you didn't point out how stupid he was being. Yeah, you tried to hint, but sometimes even the sledgehammer "hints" are go right over a player's head. Selective Obliviousness at work (you may TV Trope that).

Or it's possible he's being manipulative. Maybe he has Borderline Personality Disorder. Maybe he's a psychopath (though that's not the modern term). Maybe he's just a whiny jerk. Or maybe he just had a really bad day.

Eh, my personal philosophy is to figure how to make everyone happy now, even if it potentially allows some mildly exploitative behavior (e.g. give the benefit of the doubt). Then I adjust my programming to ensure such situations happen far more rarely in the future (it's an iterative process). So like I said in the other thread, I lean towards giving the money back, but using the old result if he just tries to repeat the same things with essentially the same inputs (though I'd warn him that doing it again has the same high chance of failure).

PS. I hope you got my reference to your thread on the WotC Star Wars boards.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

TheRedArmy wrote:

Give him a do-over, RD.

I assume he's a friend. No game is worth a friendship.

No game is worth a friendship.

Just refund his money, remind him of the rules, and tell him to be mindful next time he wants to make something. Let him tell you about it after each session, and work out the percentages with him if he's unsure. Ask another player for help if you want some.

Let him make the roll in front of you if he likes. Work with him as much as possible.

We all have faults. Let it slide, chalk it up to temporary insanity, and try and move on.

Why is it RD's responsibility to coddle this player to "save a friendship"? We're talking about a person throwing a temper tantrum and threatening to ragequit multiple times in the same campaign. If a friendship is at stake, it's due to the immature behavior of the player, not RD's actions as a GM.

If this player is going to leave a campaign over half the cost of a magical belt, that's his fault. If he's going to let this loss of game wealth influence his friendships, then he's not a great friend. RD has been generous in-game, has gone to great lengths to understand this player's grievances, and is actively trying to resolve this issue. Friendships go two ways, and when only one person is acting with respect, it's not a friendship.

The advice that RD should just give this player everything he is whining about may stop the baby from crying for the time being. However, it won't lead to a greater understanding between these two friends, and it will reinforce this negative behavior. A real solution will often involve both sides giving in a little bit, a discussion where friends learn about where each person is coming from, and perhaps apologies for where individuals may have acted poorly or hurt each other's feelings.


Khazrandir, I agree with that last paragraph for the Most part. Maybe RD should say "enough" to the guy.

If so...that's a decision only he can make. but the table is not the place to do it. As a DM, making everyone at the table happy, including yourself, is priority one. When you are in game mode, it's important to know the bounds. When it goes outside the game, it's time to back off and take a break.

And when it's between a game and a friend? When it's someone I want to keep in my life and happy, regardless of how they may treat me? That makes it am easy call.


I think even with the errata the rules are pretty clear: for spells-in-a-can, you only need to have the caster level high enough to cast the spell. But for more complex items, you cannot make it that simple.

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