Minor Magical Special Effects

Rules Questions

Sovereign Court

One of my players is playing a swashbuckler and they want to have a hat enchanted so that when they take it off with a flourish (like when bowing/saluting before a duel or the like), it creates a flurry of rose petals because apparently this is Ouran Host Club. I kid, it's a wonderful bit of characterization which I always approve of, HOWEVER!

Silent image can obviously do that, but it kind of seems like overkill to me to use a 1st-level spell for such a minor effect. However the closest option among 0-level spells would certainly be prestidigitation which states that objects it creates look "crude and artificial" and if you're the sort of person who wants a hanafubuki every time you sweep off your hat, you're probably going to want exquisite rose petals.

Now, obviously, Rule #0 if nothing else means that there are plenty of solutions to this. I could house rule that the effect is within prestidigitation's capabilities or I could create a 0-level illusion spell that only creates minor special effect-type illusions, and so on, but I wanted to see what you guys had to say on the subject. Where, exactly, do you draw the line on prestidigitation's utility?

Dark Archive

I would most definitely allow it for that, and I know there are some 3pp that add 0th level spells that do something similar to what you're looking for(though their names escape me at the moment). If the game doesn't allow 3pp I tend to allow prestidigitation to do this. Although you will see if you look at magical items that many list spells that do something similar(or could do something similar in tandem if multiple) but don't actually do what the item does. I would say it would be a 300 GP item(but also count it as magical finery for blending in at a court, so he can wear whatever he wants but be considered fashionable for having such an awesome hat)

Like Helcack said, magical items don't necessarily have to strictly replicate the spells they use as prerequisites. Having prestidigitation as the prerequisite spell for it seems perfectly appropriate, even if you have it create the finest rose petals. :)

What difference does it make, unless you're trying to use the custom magic item rules to build the price.

Major Image should do just fine. It can create the image of swirling, falling rose petals, generate the scent of the flowers. Perhaps invoke a slight chill around him. Maybe even generates one of those funky iconic anime sounds that plays.

It only activates when he removes his hat with a flourish. It has no mechanical benefit to the character other than a little flair.

As a GM you might give him some circumstance bonuses to diplomacy or the like, but that'd be about it.

I say give it to him for 1000 gp.

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Magical items don't necessarily follow the rules of their spell prerequisites. Make the prerequisite prestidigitation, silent image, or whatever else feels thematically appropriate to you, then have the rose petals be as realistic as you like (mimicking major image even).

An item like this can cost whatever you want it to cost. I'd peg it somewhere between 50gp to 250gp as it's just an expensive novelty for the wealthy.

I agree with Ravingdork that 1000gp is too much. Since it has no mechanical benefit, make it pretty cheap. It's a hamstringed version of prestidigitation.

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

I'd call it a VERY depowered version of Trail of the Rose. I'd price it about the same as Raving Dork, tending toward the cheaper end, based more along the lines of Sleeves of Many Garments. If you want the petals and scent to persist for more than a round or two, I'd take a different approach. In that case have the hat dispense actual rose petals that it stores in an extra-dimensional space. However, this would require replentishment.

1000 was just a ballpark number that's relatively low. Not cheap at low levels, but by level 6/7 not very significant.

I could also get behind somewhere between 250-500 gp. 50gp seems too low in my opinion.

But I definitely agree that spell prerequisite don't matter in this case as you're not trying to get it to cast a spell with each activation (rather you're getting a very specific novelty effect).

You could imagine that with every flourish of a hat suddenly:
Sakura blossom fall to the ground all around the wearer
They swirl around him as they fall to the ground, caught in a slight breeze. There is a slight chill in the air, reminiscent of springtime. Two paper lanterns float behind, as the sweet smell of cherry blossoms fills the air.

I can't think of appropriate sound effect for this. There's like some tingling sound from an anime that I have in mind, but I don't know what it is or how to describe it.

Sovereign Court

That's a good point about spell prerequisites generally only having passing similarities to the magic item's actual effect. Now that you mention it, some small Diplomacy bonus or something wouldn't be a bad idea although that probably would require some other 1st-level spell requirement (perhaps charm person or something - again, spells not necessarily replicating their effects). How does something like a +2 bonus to Charisma-based skill checks for 1 minute after using the hat sound? Given that using the hat would probably be a move action that provokes an attack of opportunity and the effect would only apply to skills and for a limited time, it doesn't seem too powerful an effect. But then, I'm not very good at figuring out balance (I used to think the monk class was over-powered because it had scaling unarmed strike damage and so many more features than other classes).

I'll bring this up with the player. As for price, given that Sleeves of Many Garments is only 100 gp and actually has an effect that could conceivably grant mechanical benefits (a quick way of making inattentive observers think they haven't seen you before or something, for example), I'd have a hard time justifying a cost much more than that as long as the hat is just producing this visual effect. Of course, if it ends up getting a more concrete mechanical effect the price would have to go up, but for now, 100 gp sounds like the high side of reasonable.

You could instead think of it as an extremely limited conjuration (creation) effect along the lines of create food and water or such, but having no mechanical (or nutritional) benefit and with the conjured petals only last one round or so before vanishing (or some more flashy effect). This would be slightly more useful than an illusion, but frankly I'd be delighted with players trying to figure out clever ways to use real rose petals that only last a round that I'd allow it on the cheap just to see them try!

Sovereign Court

Yeah, that was one of the things that made me want to use prestidigitation over silent image since it actually creates the flowers which would then stick around for up to an hour (according to the spell effect). The idea of it being used in an inn at some point and then getting the innkeeper all upset because of the mess amused me. Yes, they'll disappear on their own, but only after an hour. Although, as you say, I'm sure that they'd try to figure out an actual use for the petals that would make a shorter time frame amusing as well.

Dark Archive

Enhanced Diplomacy is a 0 level spell that gives +2 on diplomacy checks, so you could just have it cast that on him whenever he takes off his hat. I would still price it around 300 GP to buy, and 150 GP to make(as it is functioning kind of like a magical version of a masterwork diplomacy tool that applies to all diplomacy checks which is very good)


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