Pricing Abusive Magic Items


Rules Questions


So I realize before the magic item creation formulas you need to try to price using an existing magic item as a base. This solves some problems:

Doodad of Constant Mage Armor = 16,000gp (Bracers of Mage Armor +4)
Ring of Fast Healing 3 = 300,000gp (See epic magic items)
Bracer of Constant Shield Spell = 16,000gp + broach of shielding

But there's some I need some help pricing for equivalency. (Assume all items below are at will/constant no special requirements to use, like spell trigger)

- Gloves of Magic Missile Each Round = ??
- As above but 9th level version
- Gloves of Fire Orb each round (I mainly want a comparison for auto hit vs ranged touch attack)
- Sword of Permanent True Strike
- Bag of Infinite Summon Monster I (3 rounds version vs 10 round)
- Cape of Unlimited Command
- Produce Flame Gloves
- Protection from Evil Vest
- Cure Light Wounds at Will
- Ring of Ill Omen at Will
- Boots of unlimited Expeditious Retreat

I find the largest issue is with the low level spells, particularly 1st level, as you can produce some insane effects for cheap.

As an aside, I wish one of the official sites did put up example pricing for some of these more contentious items. It's not like I'll be the first or last to ask about unlimited magic missile, cure light wounds or true strike.

Any help is appreciated! Thanks!

Sovereign Court

In general, I would argue that if it targets an enemy, the formula are probably ok, because of action economy. So a glove of magic missile at will isn't that big a deal, because by the time you can afford one, 1d4+1 damage, even with no save simply isn't that abusable. Similarly for the other in-combat spelsl that take an action to use. The only thing particularly worrisome is for things with out of combat use, since then the action isn't worrisome, or if your trying to make it continuous rather than at will. So:

Magic missile, summon monster I (it's low enough level that they don't have spell like abilities), command (which will allow a save DC 11, so no big deal), produce flame (standard action to activate, grants 1 attack), and ill omen should all just follow basic rules (CL*SL*2000)

The more complicated ones.
For true Strike, I'd say if it's really use activated (ie, a standard action that grants true strike) I'd say double the cost for being a spell that's normally only on a squishy caster list, and otherwise allow. If the wielder just wants a constant +20 to hit, tell them to get an epic +20 weapon.

Summon Monster only allow for the low level: the high level ones have spell like abilities that will break the game if allowed at will (especially healing).

Protection from evil again, if it's actually takes a standard action to activate, it's probably fine (duration of 1 minute remember). If it's continuous, price it as cloak of resistance +2, ring of protection +2, some sort of extra for the mind control (maybe 20k?), with a modest discount for being vs. evil only (20% maybe).

Cure light wounds at will price like a ring of fast healing (ie, epic), since it basically means out of combat everyone has full hit points.

Hope that helps, this is what I'd do.


Most of the direct damage items aren't terribly OP. They're basically another weapon and for the most part can be priced similarly.

Also, no item is broken for every level. What may be broken at level 3 probably won't be at level 13. Magic missile's auto-hit is nice, but the damage won't be so impressive after a few levels. Even with a higher level version it'll eventually fall behind.

CLW, for example, is always useful, but it's also something the party nearly always has available anyway. So compare what they would use anyway (wands, potions, etc.) and use that as a starting point.

Now that's my general answer. You've put this in the Rules forum, so I won't go in to my houserules, but this will probably get moved as the mods don't consider any custom items to be rules questions.


True Strike is already covered either in the Core or the Ultimate Campaign, I don't remember which. Maybe both. I think infinite curing was also covered. If not, I'm sure there are a few dev comments around here in the archives about why that will never be acceptable in this game system.

For the rest, GralphidB provided a very good answer.

Or, just don't allow it. Never let anyone make items like these that have more charges than a wand (hint, insist that they make wands). As a GM, I would never allow most of these. If I did allow them, there would be other limits, like, the item might have infinite charges but it also has a 1 hour recharge, or can only be used 2/day or 3/day (like metamagic rods), etc.

And finally, check out the 3rd party stuff for Apeiron Staves (Super Genius), a great little .pdf that has an excellent take on unlimited magic.

Here is a thread introducing the idea and even touching on the infinite healing issue.


MagiMaster wrote:

Most of the direct damage items aren't terribly OP. They're basically another weapon and for the most part can be priced similarly.

Also, no item is broken for every level. What may be broken at level 3 probably won't be at level 13. Magic missile's auto-hit is nice, but the damage won't be so impressive after a few levels. Even with a higher level version it'll eventually fall behind.

The auto hit seems to be more than just a little nice. Plus combined with the fact it's medium range, and a force effect. Which is resisted only slightly less often than physical attacks.

This negates a lot of encounters. Enemies at range, enemies flying, ghostly creatures, harsh tactical modifiers to miss, and ridiculously high AC (even from dodge/deflection)

For example, compare it to a firearm. There's no miss chance, the range is way longer, there's no backfire chance, and ammo is not an issue (nor is it's price), no proficiency needed, fire every round. This would far outclass even the 4,000 gp firearms.

I'm trying to find any other items of equivalency.

At cost, it would very VERY reasonable to equip every party members with some class specific "Pew Pew Gloves" becoming their swiss army weapon.

4000gp just seems far too low.


I don't think I said what price to price it at. Personally I think the price of a lot of custom items are fine at the table prices but for those that aren't the final price is a GM/campaign specific issue so I couldn't really give much general advice.

Also, magic missile does a lot less damage than most any other ranged weapon and can't benefit from most damage increasing feats. Again, which is more important depends a lot on what you'd be fighting.


Player Hand book page 550 = Table 15-19

Use-activated or continuous = Spell level x caster level x 2000 (note 2)

Note 2 = If a continuous item has an effect based n 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.

Also note, wealth by level. Even if they spend 1/2 of there total wealth on one magic item, this will also space out how long before they can afford said magic item.

.....................................................................

Also, note the Caster level. Most magic item are made at minum caster level which determines there ability. Here is a list, of magic missle by caster level to get extra hits.

1 x 1 x 2000 x 4 = 8,000 market (4,000 creation). You get 1d4+1 damage missile weapon, 110 range, hit target. = Wealth by level ( can create at 5th level or buy at 6th level with 1/2 his funds going toward 1 magic item ).

1 x 3rd level x 2000 x 4 = 24,000 market (12,000 creation). You get 1d4+1 damage missile weapon, 130 range, hit up to 2 target (no two of which can be more than 15'feet apart). = Wealth by level ( can create at 8th level or buy at 10th level with 1/2 his funds going toward 1 magic item).

1 x 5th level x 2000 x 4 = 40,000 market (20,000 creation). You get 1d4+1 damage missile weapon, 150 range, hit up to 3 target (no two of which can be more than 15'feet apart). = Wealth by level ( can create at 9th level or buy at 11th level with 1/2 his funds going toward 1 magic item).

1 x 7th level x 2000 x 4 = 56,000 market (28,000 creation). You get 1d4+1 damage missile weapon, 170 range, hit up to 4 target (no two of which can be more than 15'feet apart). = Wealth by level ( can create at 10th level or buy at 13th level with 1/2 his funds going toward 1 magic item).

1 x 9th level x 2000 x 4 = 72,000 market (36,000 creation). You get 1d4+1 damage missle weapon, 190 range, hit up to 5 target (no two of which can be more than 15'feet apart). = Wealth by level ( can create at 11th level or buy at 14th level with 1/2 his funds going toward 1 magic item).

...................................................................

True Strike = Is a problem spell for magic item's, that i will agree with you on.

Best solution, make a gentleman agreement with your players that they do not use this spell on magic item. In return, you will not place this spell on every monster weapon, that will be used against them.


Thanks DM_Blake, I will check some of that stuff out. I couldn't find the true strike infinite stuff though, is there a synopsis somewhere?

The magic missile stuff just doesn't seem to compare still though.
More-over when you power it up to 9th level, it isn't that insanely expensive either.

Would you rather a

+1 sling of Unlimited ammo, Seeking and Second Chance (128,000gp)
vs
Gloves of infinite magic missiles (4000gp)

Or would a king buy his elite ranged troops a Double hackbut (4000gp)
over those gloves?

It's simply when you make these things ok, it completely devalues a lot of other things. Yes with the weapons you can get bonuses to stack, but you can also simply add on a couple levels a lot cheaper for the magic missile item and not depend on your stats at all.

It's been noted that auto hit on a melee weapon (with truestrike) is pretty uber, but the cost of auto hitting at range would be even more than the cost of auto hitting in melee. It's far less dangerous.

DM_Blake wrote:

True Strike is already covered either in the Core or the Ultimate Campaign, I don't remember which. Maybe both. I think infinite curing was also covered. If not, I'm sure there are a few dev comments around here in the archives about why that will never be acceptable in this game system.

For the rest, GralphidB provided a very good answer.

Or, just don't allow it. Never let anyone make items like these that have more charges than a wand (hint, insist that they make wands). As a GM, I would never allow most of these. If I did allow them, there would be other limits, like, the item might have infinite charges but it also has a 1 hour recharge, or can only be used 2/day or 3/day (like metamagic rods), etc.

And finally, check out the 3rd party stuff for Apeiron Staves (Super Genius), a great little .pdf that has an excellent take on unlimited magic.

Here is a thread introducing the idea and even touching on the infinite healing issue.

Liberty's Edge

Really, there are just some things you don't want magic items to do. Permanent true strike is one of them. I'd say the same thing for permanent shield and infinite healing. You may theoretically be able to come up with a price for them, but really the game is not set up for that.


Ok, so based on extant items, here's my estimations:

LostMystic wrote:
- Gloves of Magic Missile Each Round = ??

It's closest to a wand of Magic Missile, and a wand costs 15 x spell level x caster level per charge to make. Ok, the formula for this should be easy then:

15 x 1 x 1 x infinite = Infinite gold

LostMystic wrote:
- As above but 9th level version

15 x 1 x 9 x infinite = Infinite gold

LostMystic wrote:
- Gloves of Fire Orb each round (I mainly want a comparison for auto hit vs ranged touch attack)

Fire Orb isn't a spell that I'm aware of. If you mean Flaming Sphere, then:

15 x 2 x 3 x infinite = Infinite gold

LostMystic wrote:
- Sword of Permanent True Strike

True Strike grants a +20 Insight bonus to hit. Insight bonuses are about 2.5 times more expensive than what "typical" bonuses are worth, so for an attack bonus (without a damage bonus), that's:

Bonus squared x 2500 = 1,000,000 gp for a +20 Insight bonus to hit

LostMystic wrote:
- Bag of Infinite Summon Monster I (3 rounds version vs 10 round)

15 x 1 x 3 x Infinite vs. 15 x 1 x 10 x Infinite

LostMystic wrote:
- Cape of Unlimited Command

15 x 1 x 1 x Infinite

LostMystic wrote:
- Produce Flame Gloves

I think I made my joking point already.

LostMystic wrote:
- Protection from Evil Vest

This would be a Wayfinder with a Clear Spindle Ioun Stone in it plus a limited Ring of Protection +2 and Cloak of Resistance +2 all in an unusual slot. Since it's so limited in scope and doesn't give you the ability to not eat, I'd just total the value of those things, rather than multiplying and whatnot.

So, 4000 + 250 + 8000 + 4000 = ~16,250 gp

LostMystic wrote:

- Cure Light Wounds at Will

- Ring of Ill Omen at Will

Infinite, as above

LostMystic wrote:
- Boots of unlimited Expeditious Retreat

I don't think this one would be a huge deal. We have Boots of Striding and Springing that give a +5 skill bonus and a +10 speed bonus, so we should be able to extrapolate the cost from there. We know the skill bonus costs 2500gp base. That leaves 3000gp for the speed. Since that's the second property, it costs 50% more, thus leaving 2000 left for the +10 speed effect.

Now, normally, bonuses are bonus squared times something. If we really took 10 squared, we'd get 100, which would mean the multiplier is x 20.

By the first interpretation, your boots of +30 enhancement bonus to speed cost 30 squared (900) x 20 = 18,000 gp.

LostMystic wrote:
As an aside, I wish one of the official sites did put up example pricing for some of these more contentious items. It's not like I'll be the first or last to ask about unlimited magic missile, cure light wounds or true strike.

You are not. However, I think the writers must have too much faith in their audience, because I guarantee you they are thinking, "Why should we waste our breath with this? Surely every GM is smart enough to realize these sorts of items should not be made and are beyond the scope of our current system."

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
LostMystic wrote:


The magic missile stuff just doesn't seem to compare still though.
More-over when you power it up to 9th level, it isn't that insanely expensive either.

Would you rather a

+1 sling of Unlimited ammo, Seeking and Second Chance (128,000gp)
vs
Gloves of infinite magic missiles (4000gp)

Or would a king buy his elite ranged troops a Double hackbut (4000gp)
over those gloves?

It's simply when you make these things ok, it completely devalues a lot of other things. Yes with the weapons you can get bonuses to stack, but you can also simply add on a couple levels a lot cheaper for the magic missile item and not depend on your stats at all.

It's simply when you make these things ok, it completely devalues a lot of other things. Yes with the weapons you can get bonuses to stack, but you can also simply add on a couple levels a lot cheaper for the magic missile item and not depend on your stats at all.

It's been noted that auto hit on a melee weapon (with truestrike) is pretty uber, but the cost of auto hitting at range would be even more than the cost of auto hitting in melee. It's far less dangerous.

Make it a bow (if you can afford a 128.000 gp item you can afford bracers if archery.

The bow can make multiple attacks, negate any concealment, do 1d8+1 plus feats of damage, can reach up to 1100 ft.

vs.
gloves
1d4+1 damage that can be negated by a shield spell or a 1.500 gp brooch of shielding and can reach up to 110 ft.

vs

double hackbut
range up to 250 ft, damage 2d12, potential x4 critical.

Combat situation:
the enemy cavalry move at 500' from your lines. They are 2nd level warriors
The archer fire
Hackbut: don't
Magic missile guys don't

Cavalry run x 3 and get within 350'
The archer fire
Hackbut: don't
Magic missile guys don't and ready an action to attack the cavalry as soon as they are in range

Cavalry do another run x 3 and get within 100'
The archer fire
Hackbut: don't and ready an action to attack the cavalry as soon as they within a 1 range multiplier for maximum effect, if they have the point blank feat, they fire at 30'
Magic missile guys use they ready action and do 4d+1 damage. None of the Warrior 2 fall.

Cavalry do another charge and impact
The archer fire
Hackbut: fire against touch AC, vs charging cavalry. Do an average of 13 hp of damage with each hit, 14 if they have point blank shot. Every hit stagger or drop a 2nd level warrior with con 13-. Used by war 2 with point blank shot they hit with 6+
Magic missile guys fire again and do 4d+1 damage. total damage 2d4+2, average 7 hp. None of the Warrior 2 fall.

End result:
the archer has probably killed several enemies each round, but even killing 5 of them each round he wouldn't have a big impact on a mass battlefield.
The hackbuts, depending on the situation, can have broken the charge. For maximum effect you pair them with pikemans that move and interpose themselves between the charging cavalry and the hackbuts, like they did in RL.
The magic missiles mans get the point part of a cavalry charge.

I would buy the hackbuts for the Royal guard.

Naturally if we are speaking of a skirmish into the woods things change. But there the archer guy rule.

- * -

That said, generally official items that cast an instantaneous spell can't do that an unlimited number of times. They can do it 5 times a day.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Some quote by SKR:

Sean K Reynolds wrote:


Roshan wrote:


Okay, that's nice. I'd still like my question answered. Why, if it's such a big balance issue have you not have included a 6 word statement to the magic item creation. "No odd numbered temporary magic items."

There's lots of stuff we don't say in the magic item creation section, including "you can't create at an-will true strike item for 2,000 gp.

Quote:
Is it against the rules (published not implied) that I cannot have an odd numbered magic item.
It's not explicitly forbidden by the rules, but that doesn't mean you should allow it. The game also doesn't say that dead characters can't take actions...

BTW, there is a FAQ now that say that the odd numbered stat boosting items aren't allowed.

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
In the same sense that you should never put a handgun in the hands of a 5 year old child, I say "you shouldn't put a true strike item in your game." Yes, if you know your 5yo very well and know he or she can handle it responsibly, that's up to you, but rather than adding that caveat every single time this comes up (and I've addressed it many, many times), it's easier and simpler to say "don't do it, it's dangerous."
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Gilfalas wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Just don't do it.

Sean, while I have until now agreed 100% with your posts I am going to have to discent here.

While I agree that anything with True Strike should be handled like an armed nuclear device, a competent GM can add in properly limited items which allow true strike uses that will in no way break their games.
I say do it, but make sure it is extremely limited or requires extremly hard to get and/or expensive special ingredients to make, if you think such an item is good in your game.

Then why, in the 11-year history of D&D 3E and Pathfinder, has a reasonable multi-use not-spell-trigger-or-limited-charges true strike item never appeared in an official Wizards or Paizo product?

Because the designers realize that giving combat-oriented characters routine and easy access to a +20 attack bonus is a big, big problem, and pricing an unlimited-use version of that spell pushes well beyond the 200,000 gp maximum value for most wondrous items.

That said, do what you want in your campaign.

And Ultimate Campaign:

PRD wrote:

Pricing New Items

The correct way to price an item is by comparing its abilities to similar items (see Magic Item Gold Piece Values), and only if there are no similar items should you use the pricing formulas to determine an approximate price for the item. If you discover a loophole that allows an item to have an ability for a much lower price than is given for a comparable item in the Core Rulebook, the GM should require using the price of the Core Rulebook item, as that is the standard cost for such an effect. Most of these loopholes stem from trying to get unlimited uses per day of a spell effect from "command word" or "use-activated or continuous" descriptions.


UC wrote:
Example: Rob's cleric wants to create a heavy mace with a continuous true strike ability, granting its wielder a +20 insight bonus on attack rolls. The formula for a continuous spell effect is spell level × caster level × 2,000 gp, for a total of 2,000 gp (spell level 1, caster level 1). Jessica, the GM, points out that a +5 enhancement bonus on a weapon costs 50,000 gp, and the +20 bonus from true strike is much better than the +5 bonus from standard weapon enhancement, and suggests a price of 200,000 gp for the mace. Rob agrees that using the formula in this way is unreasonable and decides to craft a +1 heavy mace using the standard weapon pricing rules instead.


It should be pointed out that all those examples are in reference to a continuous true strike ability. Something that requires a standard action to use, especially if it has a charge limit, would be significantly less overpowered. Now, what price, if any, it'd go for depends on your campaign and GM.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Pricing Abusive Magic Items All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.