Can Specific Armor and Weapons Be Made of Special Materials in PFS?


Pathfinder Society

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5/5

The Rules forum suggests that this is a question that needs to be resolved by the GM. A number of PFS General Discussion threads have asked for a ruling, but I was not able to find one from campaign leadership. There were several references to How to Upgrade Your Gear in PFS, but the relevant discussions there deal with upgrading items that are specified as made of particular materials in their descriptions (such as celestial armor being described as being made of silver or gold in the CRB and not being able to make armor of those materials, leaving no upgrade path).

My question is, if the description of a specific magic armor or weapon does not list the material of which it is made, can it be constructed using a special material? For example, could a character commission a set of equestrian plate made of dragonhide? Is it possible to purchase mithral plate armor of the deep? Could a frost brand be made of adamantine?

In reviewing past discussions of this question, one of the objections to allowing special materials to be used to make specific armor and weapons was that it would be difficult to calculate the new cost of the item, but I would think that it would simply require adding the standard special material cost for any other armor or weapon of the same type to the listed price of the specific item. If the special material cost includes the masterwork component, then the cost for making a masterwork item of the same time can be subtracted.

If there is a ruling on this issue, I suggest that it be added to the Campaign Clarifications. Thank you.

Dark Archive 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, United Kingdom—England—Coventry aka terry_t_uk

My understanding is No. You cannot purchase named weapons and/or armour made from special materials (unless the description already specifies it is made from a special material).

5/5

Thanks - do you by any chance have a reference?

The Exchange 5/5

Adding special materials to named magic weapons and armor would fall under custom crafting, which isn't a legal option in PFS.

5/5 Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka Pirate Rob

The answer is no.

PFS FAQ wrote:


Can I Upgrade a Named Magic Item?
Named magic items—including specific armor and specific weapons—are not upgradeable. Non-magic specific armor and specific weapons may be upgraded normally. Magic armor and weapons may be upgraded to named versions if they are the same basic material and shape as, and meet but do not exceed the enhancement bonuses of the named versions. Wondrous items whose names include a +X value (such as bracers of armor, headband of vast intelligence, amulet of might fists, etc.) may also be upgraded following the rules for upgrading magical items on page 19 of the Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play.

Upgraded versions of named magic items may appear on Chronicle sheets.

Intelligent magic items are not available for purchase unless they appear on a Chronicle sheet or are provided as part of a class or archetype (such as the black blade magus archetype).

posted October 2011 |

No need to add to campaign clarifications, it's been in the FAQ since 2011.

5/5

Vinyc Kettlebek wrote:
Adding special materials to named magic weapons and armor would fall under custom crafting, which isn't a legal option in PFS.

Thanks for your response. My understanding of the rules regarding custom crafting is that you cannot change the slot an item uses or combine different items into a single item (except, of course, for such items as are documented in a chronicle). It is acceptable in PFS to craft arms and armor out of the special materials approved for use in the campaign and official posts have been clear that when the description of a specific armor or weapon declares the material of which the item is made, that cannot be altered. However, my question is about when the item description does not specify a material, can the character choose the material?

In particular, for example, are druids banned from using any specific plate armor because the default material is assumed to be steel and dragonhide is not an option? I am looking for something official. If you have a reference I would very much appreciate it.

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Agent, Kentucky—Lexington

You can't modify named items in PFS.


Pete Winz wrote:


In particular, for example, are druids banned from using any specific plate armor because the default material is assumed to be steel and dragonhide is not an option? I am looking for something official. If you have a reference I would very much appreciate it.

Universal armor and weapon rules... default material is standard metal unless the armor SPECIFICALLY names something else.

So unfortunately, metal armor of any type is out for you. Mithral is just as banned an armor as ordinary steel as far as Druids are concerned.

Also keep in mind that unless the armor contains the "Wild" property it is completely useless in wildshape no matter what it is made of.

5/5

Pirate Rob wrote:

The answer is no.

<snipped quote regarding item upgrades>

No need to add to campaign clarifications, it's been in the FAQ since 2011.

Thank you for your response. The upgrade rules discuss upgrades to items when the material is specified in the item description, but they say nothing regarding items for which no material is specified. That is what I am asking to be clarified. Have you seen any other relevant posts?

Dark Archive 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, United Kingdom—England—Coventry aka terry_t_uk

I'm sure I have seen something about this recently but I can't remember where. My search-fu is proving to be poor this morning. However, this question has been discussed several times and it is generaaly agreed that named items cannot be made from special materials (unless the description states otherwise).

Is this yet another thing thst needs to be added to the FAQ or Campaign Clarifications ?

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Pete Winz wrote:
Pirate Rob wrote:

The answer is no.

<snipped quote regarding item upgrades>

No need to add to campaign clarifications, it's been in the FAQ since 2011.

Thank you for your response. The upgrade rules discuss upgrades to items when the material is specified in the item description, but they say nothing regarding items for which no material is specified. That is what I am asking to be clarified. Have you seen any other relevant posts?

There is no meaningful difference between these two ideas.

If you can find an Adamantine Frost Band in print, and it's legal via Additional Resources, then you're free to purchase it.

But until that happens, such a weapon would be a custom magic item.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Terry Thambipillai wrote:
I'm sure I have seen something about this recently but I can't remember where. My search-fu is proving to be poor this morning.

This question was just asked a few weeks ago.

5/5

Thanks to everyone who took time to respond. I was hoping for an official statement, especially given the number of times this has come up without an official response. In the interim, I will assume that a named item for which the base material is not specified should be assumed to be made of the default material for a standard item of that type.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

There is an official stance. It's the FAQ that was quoted up thread (and the thread that's Stickied at the top of the Forum).

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Agent, Kentucky—Lexington

I'm not really sure why this doesn't seem official.

You can't make different versions of named items.

If you tell someone you have a Shatterspike, they don't ask "what material" because you have a normal steel material shatterspike.

5/5

The FAQ makes no mention of what to do when the construction material is not specified in the item description. I was asking whether this meant that the construction material could be considered to be open or if we should assume that a particular material is used even when one is not specified. Obviously, most everyone posting here believes that the material should be assumed to be what would be considered "standard" for the item. I was hoping that campaign management would make a definitive statement since this issue has come up numerous times without such a official ruling. Thanks to everyone for taking their time to respond.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Why do you not feel that the FAQ is "official"?

That's one reason why we have FAQs. So Campaign Leadership doesn't need to spend their time replying to everyone's questions.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I realize you see a difference. My reply earlier was that it is not a meaningful difference.

5/5

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I understand that the FAQ is "official," I just don't read it the same way you do and I think that the difference in the way we each read it is meaningful, or I wouldn't ask the question. Because it has been raised a number of times since the FAQ release, I think that others have had the same question I did. Because the consensus on the Rules forum is that it is subject to GM decision, I was hoping that it could be clarified by PFS leadership. Thanks.

5/5

Honestly, it'd be nice to have it firmly clarified. My -1 actually has a silver Trident of Warning (went +1 -> +2 -> Warning before rules were clarified). He doesn't really use it, so not much of an issue, but *shrug* it'd nice to know for sure.

I do agree with Nefreet, et al, that it's probably not legal.

Edit: Oh, actually I just remembered, alchemical silver is the exception to this, since: "Silver, Alchemical: A complex process involving metallurgy and alchemy can bond silver to a weapon made of steel" I think at one point I *wanted* it to be illegal so I could re-use the gold :)

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Agent, Kentucky—Lexington

So if two players have a Shatterspike, how do you say which one has a different material if you can't change the price or the name?

If we take your position, then you get Adamantine for free because you can't change the price.


James Risner wrote:

So if two players have a Shatterspike, how do you say which one has a different material if you can't change the price or the name?

If we take your position, then you get Adamantine for free because you can't change the price.

Fact is named items either have their own designated special material... i.e. celestial plate, elven chainmail, or use the standard metal or wood default as appropriate.

Changing a named item makes it a custom creation, and all custom creations are banned in PFS, no exceptions.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Celestial Plate isn't even legal by itself ^_^

The Concordance Venture-Agent, Utah—Logan aka ShieldLawrence

I see the FAQ and I can't see which part is preventing me from having a special material on a named magic item. Upgrades are a specific game mechanic found in the magic item creation rules. Special Materials are never referred to as "upgrades" as far as I can find.

1/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Christian Cannell wrote:

I see the FAQ and I can't see which part is preventing me from having a special material on a named magic item. Upgrades are a specific game mechanic found in the magic item creation rules. Special Materials are never referred to as "upgrades" as far as I can find.

For some reason the idea of making a magic item (for example) out of a superior material seems to SCREAM 'upgrade' to me?

EDIT: Also, be sure to leave a tip in the jar for the Necromancers Guild.

The Concordance Venture-Agent, Utah—Logan aka ShieldLawrence

Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
Christian Cannell wrote:

I see the FAQ and I can't see which part is preventing me from having a special material on a named magic item. Upgrades are a specific game mechanic found in the magic item creation rules. Special Materials are never referred to as "upgrades" as far as I can find.

For some reason the idea of making a magic item (for example) out of a superior material seems to SCREAM 'upgrade' to me?

EDIT: Also, be sure to leave a tip in the jar for the Necromancers Guild.

Special Materials are decided when the base item is created. An item isn't "upgraded" into a material, it starts its existence that way.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


EDIT: Also, be sure to leave a tip in the jar for the Necromancers Guild.

You really. Really. need to specify coinage when you're talking about that tip jar.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Given the lengthy discussion with then-Campaign Coordinator Mike Brock in the "How to Upgrade your Gear in PFS" thread that's Stickied at the top of the Forum regarding the inability to create Celestial Armor made of Mithral, I'ma say "No" to this again (but from a different, new perspective!).

That thread also goes on to discuss that if you're making an item from scratch with the intent to upgrade it to a named item, then it must be of the same material as the finished product.

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Agent, Kentucky—Lexington

Like some subjects, some people read rules to not prohibit them unless the developers call them out by name saying no.

Scarab Sages

James Risner wrote:
You can't modify named items in PFS.

Just a heads up, the FAQ above says MAGIC specific weapons and armor CANNOT be upgraded.

It also says NON-MAGIC specific weapons and armor CAN be upgraded.

So, some named items can be modified in PFS.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

True. "Dwarven Plate" and "Mithral Shirt" can be upgraded, but that's not what the Thread Necromancer here is looking for.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Regarding the FAQ, it really doesn't address if special materials can be applied. I think this was covered elsewhere.

James Risner wrote:

So if two players have a Shatterspike, how do you say which one has a different material if you can't change the price or the name?

If we take your position, then you get Adamantine for free because you can't change the price.

I've been told that we are supposed to adjust the price (if the material determines price by weight) if you have a small named magic weapon for your small character. Doesn't seem like custom crafting to me. Likewise, increasing cost for a Large version.

If a named weapon doesn't mention materials, and you are upgrading an existing non-specific item that meets the requirements to be upgraded to a specific magic item, I think you could have some special material there. I'd still treat that material as a seperate cost, since it isn't mentioned in the named item.

But the FAQ doesn't address this, either way. Really wish the weapons would all list their base materials. Would also be nice if ther was some note regarding the size of named weapons.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

2 people marked this as a favorite.

As far as I understand, for (magical) named items, you can only buy them exactly as they're in the book, with no modification of any kind.

Shadow Lodge

the issue the Necro is having is that "upgrading isn't the same thing as Creating or Visa Versa"

I spent several hours last night Trying to correct him that the Process of creating a Magic Item IS a series of Upgrades

Base Item is a MW <Insert Item Here> THEN you apply the enchantment
- or in other words -
you upgrade the base Item Into the magic Item

as soon as the Base Item is of a Material that the Named Item is not it is no longer an option to create

the end result was "its Too Risky to sell a GM on anyways"

I gave up

there was a silver lining to the conversation tho but thats a discussion for another thread

The Concordance Venture-Agent, Utah—Logan aka ShieldLawrence

@Wraith235 Thanks for your time and consideration on this topic.

So with the creation rules I can tell that for weapons and armor it's out because you are definitely taking a MW [insert item here] that is then used in the creation/upgrade process. The FAQ mentions you can only upgrade if same material, so those two categories are out.

Less clear are some of the other types of magic items which may not need to be an existing item before creation/upgrading. Darkleaf Handy Haversacks and such.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Wraith235 wrote:

the Process of creating a Magic Item IS a series of Upgrades

Base Item is a MW <Insert Item Here> THEN you apply the enchantment

Indeed. That is the process as laid out in the Stickied thread at the top of the Forum.

You can upgrade a set of Mithral Fullplate to Mithral Fullplate of Speed, for example, but you couldn't do the same thing starting with Steel, Adamantine or any other material.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Christian Cannell wrote:
Less clear are some of the other types of magic items which may not need to be an existing item before creation/upgrading. Darkleaf Handy Haversacks and such.

This discussion was also had in that thread (though I don't fault you for not having read it).

It doesn't matter if it's a weapon, armor or wondrous item. The same principle holds true.

Nothing stops you from describing your cloak of resistance as "Constructed from the softest griffon down", but you couldn't gain the mechanical benefits of Griffon Mane as a material (for example).

Scarab Sages

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
As far as I understand, for (magical) named items, you can only buy them exactly as they're in the book, with no modification of any kind.

2 issues there.

First, almost none of the Named Magic items list any size for the weapon. A player can ASSUME based on the weight, but it's just an assumption (and one that hugely nerfs any non-medium users of named weapons).

Second, as explained in the FAQ, if you have an existing, non-specific magic item, you can upgrade it to a similar named specific magic item. For example +1 Banded Mail could be upgraded to Banded Mail of luck. I'm not creating a new item or getting a discount buying one, I'm upgrading an existing non-named item to a named item.

Banded mail of luck is also a named item that doesn't list any materials. If my +1 Banded Mail is made of Mithril, am I able to upgrade it into Banded Mail of Luck, as described above? And if so, what material is the upgraded item made of?

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Murdock Mudeater wrote:
If my +1 Banded Mail is made of Mithril, am I able to upgrade it into Banded Mail of Luck

No, as already stated multiple times.

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Agent, Kentucky—Lexington

Murdock, as I see it no.

No, you may not take your mithril bandedmail and make a mithril bAnded mail of luck.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

There is a Boon on a Chronicle that allows you to do something similar, though.


Why is this the OP's hard?

All items are first created from a material. If the specific magic item in the book does not mention a special material, then it is made from the normal material (i.e. steel, wood, etc.) for the item. This is the default position.

If you can reconstruct the specific item using the general rules, then you can build the specific item to order. Otherwise, there is no "commissioning" of special items.

Scarab Sages 5/5

Christian Cannell wrote:
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
Christian Cannell wrote:

I see the FAQ and I can't see which part is preventing me from having a special material on a named magic item. Upgrades are a specific game mechanic found in the magic item creation rules. Special Materials are never referred to as "upgrades" as far as I can find.

For some reason the idea of making a magic item (for example) out of a superior material seems to SCREAM 'upgrade' to me?

EDIT: Also, be sure to leave a tip in the jar for the Necromancers Guild.

Special Materials are decided when the base item is created. An item isn't "upgraded" into a material, it starts its existence that way.

Ok, sure, I'll buy that, but what makes you think you can change named items to anything but exactly what they are? Cause otherwise you'd have the sticky wicket of someone making celestial armor adamantine.

The Concordance Venture-Agent, Utah—Logan aka ShieldLawrence

Tallow wrote:
Christian Cannell wrote:
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
Christian Cannell wrote:

I see the FAQ and I can't see which part is preventing me from having a special material on a named magic item. Upgrades are a specific game mechanic found in the magic item creation rules. Special Materials are never referred to as "upgrades" as far as I can find.

For some reason the idea of making a magic item (for example) out of a superior material seems to SCREAM 'upgrade' to me?

EDIT: Also, be sure to leave a tip in the jar for the Necromancers Guild.

Special Materials are decided when the base item is created. An item isn't "upgraded" into a material, it starts its existence that way.
Ok, sure, I'll buy that, but what makes you think you can change named items to anything but exactly what they are? Cause otherwise you'd have the sticky wicket of someone making celestial armor adamantine.

Outside of PFS?

Special Materials wrote:
Weapons and armor can be crafted using materials that possess innate special properties.
Magic Items: Armor wrote:
A suit of armor or a shield may be made of an unusual material. Roll d%: 01–95 indicates that the item is of a standard sort, and 96–100 indicates that it is made of a special material (see Chapter 6).

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Agent, Kentucky—Lexington

None of that says Adams tune celestial armor is a thing.

The Concordance Venture-Agent, Utah—Logan aka ShieldLawrence

Is Celestial Armor an armor? Yes.

Can Armor be crafted using Adamantine? Yes.

And then the creation rules explicitly say you could use other materials:

Magic Item Creation wrote:
Some new items are really existing magic items with a different weapon or armor type, such as a dagger of venom that is a rapier instead of a dagger or a lion's shield that's a wooden shield instead of a metal shield. For these items, just replace the price of the nonmagical masterwork item with the cost of the new type of item. For example, a rapier of venom has a price of 8,320 gp instead of the dagger of venom's price of 8,302 gp.

So yeah, you can definitely do it outside of PFS.

1/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Tallow wrote:


Ok, sure, I'll buy that, but what makes you think you can change named items to anything but exactly what they are? Cause otherwise you'd have the sticky wicket of someone making celestial armor adamantine.

Adamantine is bad enough, but what about rarer materials that folks may get access to, like noqual and other things?

My 'head canon' is that 'the magic only works for this particular construction with this particular material and it's been proven for millenia that this is how it is done. Otherwise, the Runelords would have had adamantine robes...

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

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Creating magic items is a process that occasionally makes the item in question explode. Who wants to experiment with the thing that gives you leprosy?

".. Anyone? Beuler.....?

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Agent, Kentucky—Lexington

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Christian Cannell wrote:

Is Celestial Armor an armor? Yes.

Can Armor be crafted using Adamantine? Yes.

So yeah, you can definitely do it outside of PFS.

Only in games where GM share your view, which I as a GM do not share and a number of other don't including the PFS administrators.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Christian Cannell wrote:

Is Celestial Armor an armor? Yes.

Can Armor be crafted using Adamantine? Yes.

And then the creation rules explicitly say you could use other materials:

Magic Item Creation wrote:
Some new items are really existing magic items with a different weapon or armor type, such as a dagger of venom that is a rapier instead of a dagger or a lion's shield that's a wooden shield instead of a metal shield. For these items, just replace the price of the nonmagical masterwork item with the cost of the new type of item. For example, a rapier of venom has a price of 8,320 gp instead of the dagger of venom's price of 8,302 gp.
So yeah, you can definitely do it outside of PFS.

How much is Celestial Armor made of Steel?

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