Newbie to magic item creation. Would like someone to check my math.

Rules Questions

Here's the way it seems to be: crafting a magic item has a DC of 5 + the caster level you want it to be. As a Witch with 20 INT, even without trait bonuses or skill ranks or anything like that, I get a bonus of 8 + skill ranks to Spellcraft, simply because it is a class skill. And this skill can be used for every kind of magic item creation. From what I can tell, that means I can just make magic items of my caster level without even rolling, because even a 1 is 4 higher then I need.

Adding onto that, as best I can tell, you can Take 10 on item crafting skill checks, because you're not rushed or distracted. This brings me up to a guaranteed 18 + skill ranks. Ignoring a pre-req increases the DC by a measly 5, so I can ignore up to three pre-reqs and still make any item. (not that I can do spell-trigger things like Potions or Wands without the key spell, but that's obvious) I can also attempt to make an item of caster level 19 as long as I meet the pre-reqs, and I still can't possibly fail, even at level 1 with just 1 skill rank. (the FAQ here suggests this is possible)

Is it really this easy to craft magic items?

(I do know you still need the relevant crafting feats and such. But as a level 1 Witch, I can already brew potions, and if I can scare up the coin for it somehow, I could make a CL 19 potion of a 1st level spell, if all my math is right.)

AntipodeF wrote:
I could make a CL 19 potion of a 1st level spell, if all my math is right.)

I can't find where the rules explicitly come right out and say that you can't make an item of a CL higher than your own CL, but I'm pretty sure you can't.

"...note that normally the two primary factors are the caster level of the creator and the level of the spell or spells put into the item. A creator can create an item at a lower caster level than her own, but never lower than the minimum level needed to cast the needed spell. Using metamagic feats, a caster can place spells in items at a higher level than normal."

To me, that says pretty strongly that you can't be a 1st level caster and create a CL 19 magic item. The most you could do at 1st level would be 1st level. At 2nd level, you could choose to make a cheaper item by giving it CL 1, but it doesn't work the other way.

There is a school of thought, of course, that says that anything not explicitly forbidden must be permissible, but it seems a stretch to go from "caster level of creator" to "you can fake any caster level you want".

EDIT: As far as "taking 10" goes, you might expect variation from GM to GM. It makes sense to me that one can take 10, but I can see where another GM might not agree.

In answer to your main question, yes, it is that easy to create magic items--in theory. In practice, in a campaign, I've found that often (not all the time) there isn't enough downtime to just sit around cranking out magic items. Most of the time, events drive adventurers to adventure. So, while the one-in-a-day magic items are easy enough to make, the really big ticket items that take a week or more of crafting generally don't get made.

This, of course, will vary from campaign to campaign and GM to GM.

Ignoring the CL required to make the item it's not the same as making the magic item with CL higher than yours. Remember that you still need the spell (can be yours, casted by another character, or casted from another source) to brew the potion.

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Quote:

Caster Level (CL): The next item in a notational entry gives 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.

So you can't create a CL 19 potion if you are only CL 1.

That being said, you can make other magic items with a caster level higher than yours. Caster level requirements are something that can be ignored. Since the only time you would need to ignore that prerequisite (by adding to the DC to craft the item) is when the item would have a higher caster level than you, it must be possible to make magic items with higher caster levels than your own.

Thanks, Jeraa! I knew that was in there somewhere!

 RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Also, yes it is supposed to be easy for a dedicated crafter to make magic items. Try playing a 7 Intelligence Cha/Wis caster with not max ranks in Spellcraft and suddenly things are a lot less certain.

ryric wrote:
Also, yes it is supposed to be easy for a dedicated crafter to make magic items. Try playing a 7 Intelligence Cha/Wis caster with not max ranks in Spellcraft and suddenly things are a lot less certain.

I wouldn't call my witch a "dedicated crafter" though. As an INT-based caster, having 20 INT and max ranks in Spellcraft is just a good idea. Past that, it's only a few measly feats. If you want to be a one-stop shopping for all your magic item needs, then yeah, it starts getting tricky, but my own party will probably be set for life if I just take Brew Potion (via the Cauldron hex) Craft Magic Arms and Armor, and possibly Craft Wondrous Item. I could get Craft Wand and Scribe Scroll, but the Witch spell list isn't really suited to this stuff, and there aren't many casters in my party anyway.

But I digress. Questions asked, questions answered. Should've figured I couldn't do a CL 19 potion, that would be a bit silly. : P

Thanks for the help!

AntipodeF wrote:
I could make a CL 19 potion of a 1st level spell

I was reading this as being CL 19, crafting a potion containing a 1st level spell. Which is possible, such as Cure Light Wounds, but the maximum bonus you would get is a +5. That same Cure Light Wounds potion can be used to damage an undead creature. If the undead creature used Spell Resistance (which Cure Light Wounds does have to overcome), then that 1st level potion would get to use the CL 19 to overcome the Spell Resistance.

AntipodeF wrote:
ryric wrote:
Also, yes it is supposed to be easy for a dedicated crafter to make magic items. Try playing a 7 Intelligence Cha/Wis caster with not max ranks in Spellcraft and suddenly things are a lot less certain.

I wouldn't call my witch a "dedicated crafter" though. As an INT-based caster, having 20 INT and max ranks in Spellcraft is just a good idea. Past that, it's only a few measly feats. If you want to be a one-stop shopping for all your magic item needs, then yeah, it starts getting tricky, but my own party will probably be set for life if I just take Brew Potion (via the Cauldron hex) Craft Magic Arms and Armor, and possibly Craft Wondrous Item. I could get Craft Wand and Scribe Scroll, but the Witch spell list isn't really suited to this stuff, and there aren't many casters in my party anyway.

But I digress. Questions asked, questions answered. Should've figured I couldn't do a CL 19 potion, that would be a bit silly. : P

Thanks for the help!

From a practicality standpoint, you'll get far more mileage from Craft Wondrous Item than Craft Arms & Armor.

Most characters need one set of armor and one weapon (occasionally two) enchanted, and thereafter upgraded, over the course of their careers. (Some characters will barely need either one, such as wizards or sorcerers.)

Compare that to every character wanting stat enhancing items, save bonus cloaks, AC enhancing rings/amulets/bracers/etc, and so forth.

Getting a suit of armor up to effective +10 and a matching +10 weapon costs 300K to purchase. That is only 1/3 of the expected wealth by level for a 20th level character. The majority of the rest (for most classes) will be in Wondrous Items.

Sure, the magic weapons and armor are more flashy, but the economics make crafting wondrous items more impactful on the party's budget.

Saldiven wrote:

...

Sure, the magic weapons and armor are more flashy, but the economics make crafting wondrous items more impactful on the party's budget.

Of course, if another caster already has Craft Wondrous Items...

Ah, right. Forgot about all those goodies, heh... the wonders of playing low level all the dang time. Still, I don't wanna skimp on the arms and armor. The whole party is martial or half-martial, except for me. They'll appreciate getting chanted weapons at half cost, I'm sure.

But yeah, getting headbands of mind and belts of body at half cost is already worth a feat, not to mention pearls of power for myself and cloaks of resistence. Glad I asked the experts.

Thanks for that. Saves me the trouble making a new topic just to say "what crafting feats should I take?" : P

The major issue with item creation is time: Taking a day per 1,000g of retail price (or even half that while rush crafting) adds up really fast when you start making anything of significance.

Some campaigns will give you plenty of time to craft, while others may not...

AntipodeF wrote:

Ah, right. Forgot about all those goodies, heh... the wonders of playing low level all the dang time. Still, I don't wanna skimp on the arms and armor. The whole party is martial or half-martial, except for me. They'll appreciate getting chanted weapons at half cost, I'm sure.

But yeah, getting headbands of mind and belts of body at half cost is already worth a feat, not to mention pearls of power for myself and cloaks of resistence. Glad I asked the experts.

Thanks for that. Saves me the trouble making a new topic just to say "what crafting feats should I take?" : P

Keep an eye on them too. If you notice one sinking a lot of skill points into Craft (weapon) or (armour) or (bow), they might be angling to do at least a little arms and/or armour enchanting themselves. Which leaves you not needing to worry about such mundane things as glowy swords when you can focus on making an armoured flying vehicle.

Jeraa wrote:
That being said, you can make other magic items with a caster level higher than yours. Caster level requirements are something that can be ignored. Since the only time you would need to ignore that prerequisite (by adding to the DC to craft the item) is when the item would have a higher caster level than you, it must be possible to make magic items with higher caster levels than your own.

Please note that the CL of an item is not a prerequisite. If you see an entry in the prerequisite line of "caster level 9", then there is a CL requirement. Golems usually have CL requirements. This requirement can be bypassed with a +5 DC on the crafting check.

As to spellcraft being needed, it is not a limit on crafting, since you can Take-10. Since the DC is 5+CL, and you usually craft things with CL <= yours, you can omit one prerequisite and still easily make it if you put ranks into spellcraft.

Spellcraft has much more important uses: identifying spells/items, and learning spells.

My current character is laboring under a houserule of not using spellcraft to craft, but craft skills only. As he dumped int, his single rank in a craft skill gets him an effective +2. Another house rule is no take-10. Still, a masterwork tool adds +2, and a spell adds +5. With a minimum of 10, he can hit quite a few DCs.

/cevah