Not Allowing Item Creations Feats?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


So I'm brain storming a setting where the knowledge on how to make magic items has been lost (with the possible exception of Scribe Scroll and Brew Potion). Any items that exist will found in ruins/dungeons or traded by people who make a living finding magic items (ie. adventurers).

However, I'm aware that straight up banning an entire category of feats is extreme. So I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts, advice, or alternative ideas.


Doesn't sound extreme to me. Sounds like a perfectly reasonable reason not to allow those feats.

Just like if there are no elves in your game, telling players they can't play one probably makes sense.

As for whether the secret of making a few items can be discovered with effort and adventure, it definitely shouldn't be "My level 3 feat is Craft Wondrous Item, so now the ancient, long-lost secrets of creating every one of those items now exists in your game."


A compromise I have tinkered with was requiring each item to have a known "blueprint" before it could be made. This would require research, study of an existing identical item, or such.


People often ban the entire class of "item creation feats" because they can effectively allow you to double your wealth, which causes more balance issues than almost every other feat.

But the blueprint idea is a good one too. Something like this is basically how PF2 does it- you can't make something without having the formula to create it. Do a lite version of the PF2 rarity system where certain formulas are just generally available but other ones can't necessarily be found (without questing for them, or perhaps at all.)


It really depends on how rare the magic items are going to be. Pathfinder kind of assumes that if you go to a large enough of a city that inexpensive magic items can just be found. Typical items like cloaks of resistance are easy to find. Powerful (i.e. expensive) magic items are less available, but if the adventurer can afford it the item can be made. With some of those items taking several months to create.

If magic is similarly available in your campaign, then you don't really need to alter the way items work in your campaign. You've just said players can't make items, and that NPCs probably have to go through extra steps you won't really bore the players with.

But if magic items really are rare, as in once you get to the mid levels (8th-12th) you'll probably only find an occasional magic items in a dungeon, instead of the more typical every other encounter includes creatures that use several magic items, then you might want to consider alternative rules created for such campaigns. Like Innate item bonuses, automatic bonus progression, and scaling magic items. You want to carefully consider which of these you would want to include in your campaign. It might be find using all three, or just using one. Depending on if you choose to use any of these it could change the flavor of your game significantly.


I agree with the general sentiment of the thread. I also like the idea of needing a particular formula or blueprint for crafting a given item. Could possibly put a further control on it by making the known blueprints under control of various groups of crafters, whether it is a single individual, a family, clan, guild etc. or some combination of these groups.


The alternative rules for Auto Bonus Progression solve the problem Pathfinders assumption of certain items being available. This would work well with what you are going for.

I would probably add wands to the list of what can be created. Basically allow low powered consumable items to be able to made, but no powerful or permanent items. This way any magic items are special. This will keep the basic balance of the game intact, but make the setting a little more interesting.


I don't think it would be a huge loss if most item creation feats were lost to history. They can easily select metamagic feats instead.

You may wish to reduce the amount of downtime the players get though. Its not like they will have a whole lot of things they can craft.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

The item creation feats were a surprisingly massive change to the system when 3e D&D introduced them and their presence and expectation of being able to convert found items efficiently significantly changed how players interacted with magic items.

I heartily endorse keeping them out of a game. You might want to spend a bit more time and effort, however, making sure you sprinkle about items well-suited to the PCs in return.

Liberty's Edge

Perhaps Merchant Divine/Arcane houses closely guard the secrets, requiring for your game A feat chain such as from Agents of Evil before they can take a Craft Feat or if a PC tries to be from a Merchant Family, only learn the crafting feat of the Family in question (I'd throw Scrolls and Potions into this as well, since Cleric's don't start with Scribe Scroll)

Scarab Sages

I did something very similar for a game. Magic item creation feats had been all but lost because some time ago because of a significant magical calamity. Magic items that existed before that event still functioned, but afterwards it was impossible to create new magic items (or to teleport any distance greater than a dimension door). It just wouldn't work. Before the event, magic had been everywhere so there were plenty of ruins to go delving through for the party.

It worked out pretty well, with a steady supply of old relics for magic gear. Of course, the eventual plot of the campaign revealed that the source of the problem was a great magical barrier encircling the entire planet. When the party brought the barrier down, it was once again possible to create magical items.

But then they learned why the barrier had been created in the first place - as a way to protect it from an inter-planar war that had been ravaging worlds left and right. And the planet just happened to be in a key strategic location.

Anyways, an alternative would be to remove crafting as feats, allow anyone to be able to do it, but also remove the crafting discount entirely.


Mysterious Stranger wrote:

The alternative rules for Auto Bonus Progression solve the problem Pathfinders assumption of certain items being available. This would work well with what you are going for.

Automatic Bonus Progression works well with some classes/class features and poorly with others, and thus it only works for some groups.


Bill Dunn wrote:

The item creation feats were a surprisingly massive change to the system when 3e D&D introduced them and their presence and expectation of being able to convert found items efficiently significantly changed how players interacted with magic items.

I heartily endorse keeping them out of a game. You might want to spend a bit more time and effort, however, making sure you sprinkle about items well-suited to the PCs in return.

Before 3E any caster could create magic items. The upsurge in players crafting magic items wasn't from feats introduced to create magic items, but rather from magic items consuming gold instead of XP. Nobody made potions, wands, or consumable magic items back then because you'd find lots of them and they cost you xp to make. If you made a lot of consumables you fell behind other players and you had nothing to show for it. At least if you made a really cool magic item you knew that you might be behind a level but it was all for that item. For the larger items characters would even refuse to level up so they would have enough xp to create the item.

Also if you maxed out your level you would still continue adventuring without changing class so you could gather xp to make items. Having a really good set of equipment was worth as much as adding a second or even third class. Of course you also had the mess that was multi-classing vs dual class. Then all the racial limits. Old D&D was a mess.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Meirril wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:

The item creation feats were a surprisingly massive change to the system when 3e D&D introduced them and their presence and expectation of being able to convert found items efficiently significantly changed how players interacted with magic items.

I heartily endorse keeping them out of a game. You might want to spend a bit more time and effort, however, making sure you sprinkle about items well-suited to the PCs in return.

Before 3E any caster could create magic items. The upsurge in players crafting magic items wasn't from feats introduced to create magic items, but rather from magic items consuming gold instead of XP. Nobody made potions, wands, or consumable magic items back then because you'd find lots of them and they cost you xp to make. If you made a lot of consumables you fell behind other players and you had nothing to show for it. At least if you made a really cool magic item you knew that you might be behind a level but it was all for that item. For the larger items characters would even refuse to level up so they would have enough xp to create the item.

I think you're mistaking 3e for pre-3e. Magic item creation was fuzzily defined before with all sorts of fancy, DM-based requirements in materials (should the DM choose to push that). It was fuzzy enough that relatively few players bothered to craft magic items. Plus it generally required higher levels.

It was 3e's item creation feats that cost XPs, though gold was usually a far greater limiting factor. The fixed and stable system, plus the general ease of getting the feats at lower levels, led to a sea-change in dealing with magic items.


I've recently started banning item creation and crafting feats from some of my games. Some players just try to break the game with those feats and there are times that I don't want to deal with it.

If you don't want crafting in your game, just make sure everyone is aware ahead of time and you will be fine.


There is no problem with not allowing those crafting so long as all are aware ahead of time so they do not waste resources.

I played AD&D2e since around 1983. I never made the switch over to 3e, 3.5, etc. But then, I stopped playing in 1988 or so and only recently came to RPG's with PF. So I came from the bias (AD&D2e) that magic items creation was reserved to 12+ level or so wizards. And what wizard becomes 12+ level with the goal of being a magic-item factory?

I embraced the PF way of doing it, but still find it hard to wrap my mind around a fighter that can craft Celestial Armor or a Sword of the Planes with an investment of only a single trait, a single feat, and putting ranks in Spellcraft.

So like many, I houserule crafting.


Overlord52 wrote:

So I'm brain storming a setting where the knowledge on how to make magic items has been lost (with the possible exception of Scribe Scroll and Brew Potion). Any items that exist will found in ruins/dungeons or traded by people who make a living finding magic items (ie. adventurers).

However, I'm aware that straight up banning an entire category of feats is extreme. So I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts, advice, or alternative ideas.

For my games I removed the crafting feats, but this is because I allow for crafting without feats (but there is no reduced cost in creation vs purchasing at the market). This was purely a balance on power because crafting feats can unbalance a party if downtime is not tightly controlled. And rather than doing that I just tell my players you can craft it yourself without feats, but not cost savings. The benfit in self crafting is that you don't have to find the item you want on sale in the market.

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