Can you use fabricate to make bigger and smaller gems?


Rules Questions

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Scarab Sages

This idea was mentioned in another thread of mine and I'm wondering if it would actually work. Can you use the fabricate spell to combine or split gemstones into higher and lower value ones? That is if you have 3 diamonds worth 5,000 GP and 1 diamond worth 10,000 GP can you use fabricate to turn them into a single gemstone worth 25,000 GP that you can use to cast wish? Similarly if you have a diamond worth 30,000 GP can you use fabricate to turn it into a diamond worth 25,000 GP for wish and a second diamond worth 5,000 GP to avoid overspending on the spell?

I don't see anything in the rules or spell that would prevent this but I might be missing something elsewhere in the rules.


School transmutation; Level sorcerer/wizard 5

Casting Time see text

Components V, S, M (the original material, which costs the same amount as the raw materials required to craft the item to be created

Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)

Target up to 10 cu. ft./level; see text

Duration instantaneous

Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

You convert material of one sort into a product that is of the same material. Creatures or magic items cannot be created or transmuted by the fabricate spell. The quality of items made by this spell is commensurate with the quality of material used as the basis for the new fabrication. If you work with a mineral, the target is reduced to 1 cubic foot per level instead of 10 cubic feet.

You must make an appropriate Craft check to fabricate articles requiring a high degree of craftsmanship.

Casting requires 1 round per 10 cubic feet of material to be affected by the spell.

Fabricate specifies that it creates items that can be crafted. It also states that you have to make an appropriate craft check to create articles requires a high degree of craftsmanship. I don’t know of any craft skill that allows you to combine gems outside of Diablo III. So RAW it does not look like you could use it to combine gems. On the other hand craft gemcutting does allow you to split a larger gem into multiple smaller gems, so that is not a problem.

People seem to think that fabricate allows you to create anything you want simply by casting the spell. That is not what fabricate does. What the spell does is allow you to create something you can already create a lot quicker than you normally could. Since craft can be used untrained you have a chance of creating the item you want as long as you can make the appropriate craft check even if you have no ranks in the appropriate craft skill. Craft being an INT based skill means that most wizards high enough to cast fabricate will not have difficulty creating ordinary items. High quality items are going to be more difficult and run the risk of wasting the raw material.

What Fabricate does allow you to do is to rapidly create items. For example a wizard could use fabricate to create weapon or armor at the rate of 1 cubic foot per round, assuming they are working with metal. If they are working with wood they would be able to create at a rate of 10 cubic feet per round. It would require a craft weapon or craft armor check based on what was being created.

Liberty's Edge

To add to what Mysterious Stranger said, Fabricate, if we follow the RAW of the spell, "convert material of one sort into a product that is of the same material".
Verbatim it will turn 1 kind of material into 1 type of finished product so that it will turn steel into a sword blade, but it will not turn wood, leather, and steel into a finished sword.
Plenty of examples where it does more than that, including the spell text, where it says that you can turn a mineral into a refined form. Iron ore isn't pure iron.
Most GM allows the making of a complex item made of multiple materials.

About making gems, as it is possible to make artificial gems, I think it is possible to make them with Fabricate if you can hit a DC high enough. The problem is that without modern machinery the number probably is around DC 60 or so, with it increasing with the size of the gem.

Only after WW II becomes possible to produce the first true diamonds artificially. Before and only from the very late XIX century, it was possible to produce spinels, a form with a lesser value.

For sure you can't "glue together" pieces of lesser gems to make a larger one without hitting a high DC number.


from a value perspective Crafting mundane items usually starts with 1/3 the value of the finished product in raw materials.
From a volume perspective Fabricate does not create mass but uses what is on hand as the spell target.
One has to assume the straps, buckles, pins and such which are not of the same material as the targeted material have to be supplied by the caster/crafter. So that is stuff that is glossed over and left to the home GM to work out.
In review as a home GM I think it's possible to recut A gem into a finer gem or refine a large crystal into a better gem IF the GM believes the caster/crafter craft skill can accomplish that. As it only targets one type of material it is likely going to be one shot item creation. I don't think it is a problem to turn 3 100 gp gems into 1 500 gp gem, but the skill check has to be made. As a home GM I'd limit the value creation to twice the NPC spell casting cost.

Liberty's Edge

Note that the caster can't take 10 with the crafting check, as he is casting a spell, i. e. doing a distracting activity while making it. You need a good skill level to be sure to make the check.


If you are creating an item that requires multiple materials, you should include those as part of the material component. So, if you are making armor you need to include the leather and cloth as part of the raw material. The spell basically allows you to transform raw materials into the finished product instantaneously without needed any tools or equipment.

While it is possible to create artificial gems, they usually do not have the same value as naturally occurring gems. That means they would probably not be suitable for use as material components in a spell. It takes a long time to form a gem and that is probably the reason they are used in spells. While the gem is being formed it is also absorbing magical energy that is what the spell really needs.

Creating gems also seems like something that would be considered a profession instead of a craft. Fabricate specifically calls out that you need to make a craft check.


Mysterious Stranger wrote:
If you are creating ...

I'll assume your comments are home GM advice


Referring specifically to the OP's question, for anything that has intrinsic value already, like say gold or a gemstone, I would let them change the form factor without changing the value (convert 25kgp of diamond dust into a 25kgp diamond or vice versa). What you don't want is players taking a bunch of gold or other loot they found and literally just turning it into more loot by making a gem crusted statue. There's also reason to believe that it's by design that treasure items are worth just the component material part's value (such as when you pry the gems off statue's eyes and it's still worth the same in total).

Basically if they aren't making a craft check, don't let them make more or less value than they already have. Otherwise just use the craft rules.

Liberty's Edge

AwesomenessDog wrote:


Basically if they aren't making a craft check, don't let them make more or less value than they already have. Otherwise just use the craft rules.

Maybe you mean something different, but, using the craft rules a PC can take 1.000 gp of gold, craft a gold statue (making the appropriate check), and sell it for 3,000 gp.

It will cost a good number of skills in Craft jewelry (or whatever skill you feel is appropriate) but, barring failing the check by 5 or more, they will never lose money.

Assuming that making a copy of a famous statue or of a common model of a religious icon (nothing that requires you to be an artist, stuff that only requires you to be a good artisan) requires making a masterwork item, the DC is only 20.
5 ranks, class skill, wizard, so good intelligence. A bonus of +13 to the skill check is the norm at level 7. You only need one of the spell giving a bonus to the roll and you don't have any risk of failure.

AwesomenessDog wrote:
There's also reason to believe that it's by design that treasure items are worth just the component material part's value (such as when you pry the gems off statue's eyes and it's still worth the same in total).

I haven't noticed any adventure where the loot is valued that way. Generally, you have the value of the loot that you can take away, sometimes the value of a large item as a whole and the value of the easily removed pieces, but I have never seen an item described as:

"A 6' statue worth 10,000 gp with 2 eyes of ruby (worth 1,000 gp each). If the eyes are removed the statue is worth 8,000 gp."
Normally it is something like:
"A 6' statue worth 10,000 gp with 2 eyes of ruby (worth 1,000 gp each)."

Scarab Sages

AwesomenessDog wrote:

Referring specifically to the OP's question, for anything that has intrinsic value already, like say gold or a gemstone, I would let them change the form factor without changing the value (convert 25kgp of diamond dust into a 25kgp diamond or vice versa). What you don't want is players taking a bunch of gold or other loot they found and literally just turning it into more loot by making a gem crusted statue. There's also reason to believe that it's by design that treasure items are worth just the component material part's value (such as when you pry the gems off statue's eyes and it's still worth the same in total).

Basically if they aren't making a craft check, don't let them make more or less value than they already have. Otherwise just use the craft rules.

This is what the question was about specifically an equal exchange so if you have 3 100 gp gems of the same type you can combine them into a 300 gp gem (more carats) or split a 300 GP gem into 2 150 GP ones. Dealing with value increase would be craft jewelery (according to ultimate equipment) to turn an unworked gem into a worked one (unworked gems are worth 1/2 the value) or taking a gem and gold to make a gold necklace.

Arts a tricky subject as mentioned above a 10,000 GP statue with its ruby eyes removed is probably still worth pretty close to 10,000 gp because of the beauty of the statue, it'd probably be worth 10,000 GP with any other deep red stones or even glass as the eyes yet the rubies are worth 1,000 GP each. Of course then you get into worth it to who a collector, fence, random joe on the street but as I said many of these things are simplified for convenience of play. Of course there are exceptions as in Baldurs gate where a sculptor worked themselves to death (literally) crafting a statue of an elven queen they saw but two very specific emeralds were needed to replicate her eyes in the statue and losing them probably would drop its value both because they're such an integral part of the statue and their own inherent value.


Diego Rossi wrote:
AwesomenessDog wrote:


Basically if they aren't making a craft check, don't let them make more or less value than they already have. Otherwise just use the craft rules.

Maybe you mean something different, but, using the craft rules a PC can take 1.000 gp of gold, craft a gold statue (making the appropriate check), and sell it for 3,000 gp.

It will cost a good number of skills in Craft jewelry (or whatever skill you feel is appropriate) but, barring failing the check by 5 or more, they will never lose money.

Assuming that making a copy of a famous statue or of a common model of a religious icon (nothing that requires you to be an artist, stuff that only requires you to be a good artisan) requires making a masterwork item, the DC is only 20.
5 ranks, class skill, wizard, so good intelligence. A bonus of +13 to the skill check is the norm at level 7. You only need one of the spell giving a bonus to the roll and you don't have any risk of failure.

AwesomenessDog wrote:
There's also reason to believe that it's by design that treasure items are worth just the component material part's value (such as when you pry the gems off statue's eyes and it's still worth the same in total).

I haven't noticed any adventure where the loot is valued that way. Generally, you have the value of the loot that you can take away, sometimes the value of a large item as a whole and the value of the easily removed pieces, but I have never seen an item described as:

"A 6' statue worth 10,000 gp with 2 eyes of ruby (worth 1,000 gp each). If the eyes are removed the statue is worth 8,000 gp."
Normally it is something like:
"A 6' statue worth 10,000 gp with 2 eyes of ruby (worth 1,000 gp each)."

Mummy's Mask includes a ton of these "pry the eyes of a statue, scrape gold leaf from the casket instead of transport it out, and even has a giant black scorpion that was gilded with gold which is as valuable intact as it is if you just scrap the gold apparently. Art items and crafting still isn't the point of the OP's question, so I specifically avoided the back and forth into the other half of the fabricate spell over just molding existing materials "of equal value" into something else as an essentially higher level "any material shape".

But since I am now having the crafting discussion, there's two problems: the issue of "art [items] being worth 3x whatever materials you put in" and "materials that already have specific intrinsic value (gems, precious metals, etc.) changing in overall value as part of the craft." The craft skill implies you are using raw, mostly valueless materials, and the resulting equivalent for the valuable materials is that you go from gold/silver vein to actual gold/silver, or an uncut gem to an actual gem. Once you've done that, the items are already as valuable as they are going to be for their size/weight, arranging them in different fashions shouldn't change their value save for personal value judgements of opinion (e.g. I might pay 100gp for this piece of art, but this other guy doesn't like it really and might only pay for its "value" of 50gp). Then we get to the first problem, where art and art items are just worth a simple calculation of what you put in's value. If I want to make a painting more valuable, just use more paint, it doesn't matter how I arrange them because there is no DC calculation for how "good" the painting is.


The closest spell that does what you want is "Masterwork Transformation". Its a 2nd level spell that transforms a non-masterwork weapon/armor/tool into its masterwork equivalent. It has a duration of instantaneous, so its very lasting and can't be dispelled. The material component for the spell is magical reagents worth the difference between the masterwork item and the normal item.

I think the spell is a good starting point for what you want to be able to do.


I don't think it's meant to, but the spell conserves value not volume. It requires a skill check for high craftsmanship items, but doesn't specify that there must be a way to craft the item manually, only that it be made of the same material used. The skill required to crush and wet screen clay down to a rough unprocessed diamond is negligible, so probably doesn't require much of a skill check. You should be able to make a table from a bundle of sticks even though there's no means by which to do so without magic.

It's a silly spell that needs fixing or agreements not to exploit the spell. Giving it labor hours per level is probably not a bad way to go if you don't want people merging sticks into logs, having the item revert to a prior form if someone tries to craft with it would keep it from being pumped for value.


For most valuable things, value is volume. Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Copper each weight 1lb for every 50 coins of their value. Gemstones are theoretically mergeable by value as well, and while there aren't any weights for gemstones, it seems to be implied that the biggest deciding factor for their value (both before and after cutting) is simply size; whether or not it's 1:1 that a 25kgp diamond would be grinded down into dust of equal weight and also worth a total 25kgp as well is uncertain but easily reasonable.

Then there's the actual crafting (for your example of turning sticks into a table) which actually does let you up to triple your value. Which means you'd probably need a lot of sticks to be worth that table, and likely a lot more sticks than you would need wood by weight to make it.


Personally, I think fabricate creates a product that you can craft that uses the material. So I can see you cutting gems into higher quality versions that are smaller. But not merging them into a large lump. Same way you cannot just merge a couple pieces of wood into a log, but you can still make some dowels or planks.

For example you could convert some rough gems worth X into cut gems worth Y. But you couldn't convert cut gems into roughs or larger gems.

* P.S. I could see someone that knows how to turn carbon into diamond using the spell to make diamonds with a high DC. But if they don't know the DC would be impossible.


ErichAD wrote:

I don't think it's meant to, but the spell conserves value not volume. It requires a skill check for high craftsmanship items, but doesn't specify that there must be a way to craft the item manually, only that it be made of the same material used.

Components V, S, M (the original material, which costs the same amount as the raw materials required to craft the item to be created.

The spell does actually specify under components that you are crafting an item. If you cannot craft the item you cannot set the cost of the material component. How much is the cost of the raw materials required to craft something that cannot be crafted?

Scarab Sages

Mysterious Stranger wrote:
ErichAD wrote:

I don't think it's meant to, but the spell conserves value not volume. It requires a skill check for high craftsmanship items, but doesn't specify that there must be a way to craft the item manually, only that it be made of the same material used.

Components V, S, M (the original material, which costs the same amount as the raw materials required to craft the item to be created.

The spell does actually specify under components that you are crafting an item. If you cannot craft the item you cannot set the cost of the material component. How much is the cost of the raw materials required to craft something that cannot be crafted?

Well I was thinking 1:1 e.g to get a 25k diamond you need 25k worth of diamonds to combine.


Diamonds as spell components are such an abstract concept that I think I'd allow it. Trying to apply logic to it is a waste of time. Could you cut a 25,000gp diamond into five 5,000gp diamonds? In our world, no. In our world, small diamonds are cheap, and diamond dust is trivially cheap. To carry 1000gp of diamond dust, you'd need to drag a heavy sack of it around. But that doesn't really work as a game mechanic.

The most practical way to handle it is to treat diamonds as a fungible commodity like gold.


I read it the same way as Senko. The material component has to be the same material and same value of the end product. Highlighting the tail end of the sentence doesn't make much sense to me.

Matthew's solution would work pretty well.


I disagree that the final product would have the same value as raw products is usually cheaper than a finished one. But I will agree you cannot use the spell to multiply material value outside of refining.

For diamond dust the reason why it is so inexpensive IRL compared to gems is because of the artistic value of gem grade diamond (also the diamond cartel using forced scarcity and tons of marketting). But it doesn't seem like that is considered by the rules, so you could say that the price in game is directly correlated unless there is a rule or table I am forgetting.


Matthew Downie wrote:

Diamonds as spell components are such an abstract concept that I think I'd allow it. Trying to apply logic to it is a waste of time. Could you cut a 25,000gp diamond into five 5,000gp diamonds? In our world, no. In our world, small diamonds are cheap, and diamond dust is trivially cheap. To carry 1000gp of diamond dust, you'd need to drag a heavy sack of it around. But that doesn't really work as a game mechanic.

The most practical way to handle it is to treat diamonds as a fungible commodity like gold.

My group has always treated expensive reagents/material components essentially as flavor. You want to cast wish? Spend 25,000 gp were not wasting time searching markets to find one and we're going to assume you've done it during your downtime.

By the same token then, using fabricate to fuse together these items from constituent parts is just fine by me as long as your not asking for the value to be higher than what you used to create it.


I think we are occasionally and without realizing it getting away from "mechanical generalized definition of value" and into "subjective value" where sure we might be able to find someone who will pay 30k for this "25k" diamond and someone else who won't even pay 20k for incidental reasons like the cut being unappealing to them, but a merchant who "knows his salt (read diamonds and quartz in this context)" will always be able to pinpoint that it's a diamond that is worth 25k. This is the same 25k that applies to the crafting formula and to the fabricate spell.

Diamonds still were the most valuable gemstone even before the modern artificial inflation, but there also wasn't nearly as much effort put into finding them because they weren't needed for other things besides jewelry like optics systems and computers. 25k gp vs potentially several k gp of other gems like sapphire, emerald, ruby, etc. makes enough sense, especially when you get into the exponential cost of increasing size and purity. Diamond dust on the otherhand, aside from magical uses, is only good for cutting and polishing other diamonds, indicating that the dust is both intrinsically less valuable than modern dust (again ignoring the magical uses), but might also be more tightly controlled which should counteract that loss of mundane value. Now add in that you need probably a lot of diamond dust for many different spells, and this mostly waste product probably does keep up with the value of a diamond, pound for pound.

I do think it makes sense to actually track how many of these super expensive gems people are carrying, because you might not always be in a metropolis where you can just walk into a store and find one for sale, but it also is supposed to occlude other things that you *do* carry away on an adventure because you have to have already spent the money from your WBL to just have the opportunity to cast a wish/miracle/true resurrection.

There is also the simple fact that magic doesn't care about value changing and market shifting forces. Even if gold rains from the sky, a cloak of protection +1 still costs 500gp to make (see gold is magic). Even if diamonds rain from the sky and nobody is willing to pay 25kgp for some of the most valuable of these diamonds, it still takes a "25kgp diamond" to cast a wish spell. Maybe all the mages casting wish and miracle and reviving all their dead party members with abandon will stabilize the market, but without a rule that tells us anything beyond value, and the fabricate referring specifically to value, you should be able to mold equal value into equal value.


Great, now I'm picturing a world were both mortal fragility, and access to resurrection spells, increase with the prevalence of diamonds.


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When I asked the question how much does the raw material of an object that cannot be crafted is worth, I was not talking specifically about a gem. What I meant is if you cannot craft an item at it is impossible to set the cost of the raw materials needed to do something that you cannot do. For example, how much would the material to craft the square root of a negative number be.

I don’t think that you can use fabricate by itself to create larger gems. Another thing to consider is that the value of a gem is mostly due to it being cut and polished. A raw gemstone is actually less valuable than a rough gem that has not been cut. The more difficult the cut the more valuable the gem is. This is something that Fabricate can do.

Fabricate by itself may not be enough to allow you to create massive gems, but there is one thing that could work. Gems are basically rocks so transmute rock to mud will work on them as long as they have not already been cut. Take all your rough gems and put them into a metal container and cast transmute rock to mud on them, and then dispel the spell. This will leave you with a single large rough gemstone. Now use Fabricate to turn the larger rough stone into an actual valuable gem.


You can't have negative items so your example is irrelevant. Value is still something nebulous (see my previous above post), technically the uncut gemstone is actually worth more than the cut gemstone as it has all the material that the cut gemstone has and some waste dust which of course also has its own value. It's not as useful, because nobody wants an uncut diamond as the headstone of their crown, but as far as raw material goes, it should certainly be worth more than enough to count for the the spell to make the cut version.

The only thing left at that point is "does diamond dust (or other smaller already cut/processed diamonds) count as a raw material, which it should, as they would be raw resources for a piece of jewelry. Then it just becomes a matter does diamond dust equal the value of a cut/processed diamond of equal weight/mass? But most crafting implies that you have more raw material mass than the final product mass, e.g. making a table will create waste bark, fillings, sawdust, etc. that of course are not part of the final functioning table.

If we allow diamond dust to be converted into a gem of equal value and vice versa, thus not changing the amount total material in either form, that implies that the diamond (dust) is not valued by cut or by quality, but by the size of the gem/amount of dust itself. (Sure there's still ways to mess up the cut and ruin the materials, but the fabricate spell assumes that isn't the case.)

Also, as Hank Shraeder has put so eloquently, "they're minerals, not rocks". Rocks are a combination of many minerals, but a solid diamond is a single mineral and not a rock. It's highly dubious that this is an intended use of the Transmute Rocks Not Minerals to Mud spell, even by the simple opening text. Now, if you were to also say allow a wall of solid iron/steel to be turned into mud by the spell, maybe you have a point, as again, diamond is just solid, crystalized carbon.


Mysterious Stranger wrote:
I don’t think that you can use fabricate by itself to create larger gems. Another thing to consider is that the value of a gem is mostly due to it being cut and polished. A raw gemstone is actually less valuable than a rough gem that has not been cut. The more difficult the cut the more valuable the gem is. This is something that Fabricate can do.

This is how I'd run it

Scarab Sages

Mysterious Stranger wrote:

When I asked the question how much does the raw material of an object that cannot be crafted is worth, I was not talking specifically about a gem. What I meant is if you cannot craft an item at it is impossible to set the cost of the raw materials needed to do something that you cannot do. For example, how much would the material to craft the square root of a negative number be.

I don’t think that you can use fabricate by itself to create larger gems. Another thing to consider is that the value of a gem is mostly due to it being cut and polished. A raw gemstone is actually less valuable than a rough gem that has not been cut. The more difficult the cut the more valuable the gem is. This is something that Fabricate can do.

Fabricate by itself may not be enough to allow you to create massive gems, but there is one thing that could work. Gems are basically rocks so transmute rock to mud will work on them as long as they have not already been cut. Take all your rough gems and put them into a metal container and cast transmute rock to mud on them, and then dispel the spell. This will leave you with a single large rough gemstone. Now use Fabricate to turn the larger rough stone into an actual valuable gem.

According to ultimate equipment a raw gem is worth exactly 1/2 its worked value which has no rules to account for 25k gems to begin with. The most valuable are only worth 2,500 + (2d4 * 500) or 6,500 GP.


Yeah they probably didn't add in the speculative market and thank goodness. That way lies a broken and beaten wealth by level table.

Scarab Sages

Temperans wrote:
Yeah they probably didn't add in the speculative market and thank goodness. That way lies a broken and beaten wealth by level table.

I'm less concerned with speculative market than that having gems cap out at such low levels causes issues with finding suitable ones for a lot of spells. You as GM you have to mentally choose to add every gem for high level use rather than being able to roll them randomly.

Even mid-level or low level spells can be problematic animate dead requires an onyx gem worth at least 25 GP per HD of undead. Onyx gems on the table cap out at 65 GP or 2.6 HD yet you can control up to 4 HD per caster level. So either the GM conciously adds a gem worth more to the treasure, you house rule its 1 25+ GP gem for each hd i.e. 2 hd = 2 gems or you summon a lot of 2 HD undead as that's the most expensive gem you have. Using this table a 1st level wizard would have at best 2 gems to summon 2 2 hd undead rather than being able to summon a single undead with 4 hd.


If a GM is going to use expensive material components in his game, they should be reasonably easy to acquire. Making a player jump through extra hoops to obtain expansive material components besides paying the cost is a dick move by the GM. I am not saying that a 25,000 GP gem is going to be available at every small village, but the players should not have to travel halfway across the world to find it.

The fact that gems are a fairly common expensive material component is going to probably make them cost more. Until modern times the only reason for gems was decorative. They served no useful purpose and the market for them was limited to those that were willing to pay for them. That is not the case in a world where they are a source of magical power. This has some interesting implications for the value and availability of gems.

Gems in a world where they are a source of magic power become a strategic resource. Because the greater demand for gems it will lead to increased mining operations to obtain them. This would normally decrease the value of gems, but due to the increased demand their value will actually be higher. So, the 25,000 GP diamond in Golarion is going to be a lot smaller than it would have been in historical earth, but at the same time it is going to be more common. The 25 GP Onyx is probably a lot smaller than people imagine, but also easier to obtain for those that have the money. This means wearing gems as decorations have even more social implications. The gem incrusted crown becomes an even more extravagant statement of wealth.

Liberty's Edge

Mysterious Stranger wrote:

Making a player jump through extra hoops to obtain expansive material components besides paying the cost is a dick move by the GM.

Making an adventure of getting a special and rare component. There are whole chapters about that in published novels, and it is something that is suggested in several places in Paizo manuals. I wouldn't consider it "a dick move".


Every casting of wish/miracle shouldn't be locked behind a side quest. By the time you're planning to cast spells of that level you *should* be able to just freely greater teleport to Absalom in your downtime, pick up any number of 25kgp diamonds, teleport back. It also shouldn't be so easy as "just carry around 25kgp not even in diamond form," and it just disappears whenever you want to cast the wish because that takes away the "I prepared for this" element of expensive material components. I think having to already have the same amount of wealth in one form and then using a spell that molds equal value dust into the the gem or vice versa is perfectly fine in the middle of those two extremes.


Wait who said that just because a spell is of your level that makes it easy to cast?

The whole point of needing rare materials is that the spell is rare to cast because you need said material. Getting to higher level while helpful to getting those material does not mean you can just purchase them off the shelves at any time you want.

Scarab Sages

Mysterious Stranger wrote:

If a GM is going to use expensive material components in his game, they should be reasonably easy to acquire. Making a player jump through extra hoops to obtain expansive material components besides paying the cost is a dick move by the GM. I am not saying that a 25,000 GP gem is going to be available at every small village, but the players should not have to travel halfway across the world to find it.

The fact that gems are a fairly common expensive material component is going to probably make them cost more. Until modern times the only reason for gems was decorative. They served no useful purpose and the market for them was limited to those that were willing to pay for them. That is not the case in a world where they are a source of magical power. This has some interesting implications for the value and availability of gems.

Gems in a world where they are a source of magic power become a strategic resource. Because the greater demand for gems it will lead to increased mining operations to obtain them. This would normally decrease the value of gems, but due to the increased demand their value will actually be higher. So, the 25,000 GP diamond in Golarion is going to be a lot smaller than it would have been in historical earth, but at the same time it is going to be more common. The 25 GP Onyx is probably a lot smaller than people imagine, but also easier to obtain for those that have the money. This means wearing gems as decorations have even more social implications. The gem incrusted crown becomes an even more extravagant statement of wealth.

The other implication is that they're a consumed resource i.e. a 25k diamond used in wish is gone whereas in our world gems generally don't dissapear when they enter the common market. Not unless they're recut into a smaller form.

Liberty's Edge

We are moving from "how the rules work" to "what kind of world you want to depict in your games".

Originally Wish had the added cost of aging the caster (7 years for a human, with an increase in the cost depending on the caster's lifespan), in 3.5 it had a 5,000 xp cost. Pathfinder has nerfed the effect of the Wish spell and changed the cost to a 25.000 gp diamond.

So, yes, Pathfinder Wish can be considered a "common spell" if you want to use it to cast lower-level spells with ease.
Personally, I still prefer to consider it the apex of the 9th level spells, together with Miracle, and limit the ability to cast it, while let it be a bit more powerful.


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Having to pay out 25,000 GP each time you cast the spell is going to place some limits on casting it. That works out to be about 2-5 percent of the suggested wealth of a character capable of casting a wish. That is the cost of some magic staves.

Pathfinder has a default setting and the rules for the most part assume that setting. The GM does not need to use that setting and is free to use any setting they want. But when the setting differs from the default setting those changes do become relevant to rule discussions.

In a setting like Golarion there are more sources of gems than earth has access to. Even in modern times we are basically limited to relatively close to the surface of our own planet. We don’t have entire civilizations deep underground. We also don’t have the ability to travel to other planets in our solar system. And we don’t have the ability to travel to the elemental plane of earth. All of those things are possible in Golarion. Most of them are not common, but there are still people who can accomplish them.


Temperans wrote:

Wait who said that just because a spell is of your level that makes it easy to cast?

The whole point of needing rare materials is that the spell is rare to cast because you need said material. Getting to higher level while helpful to getting those material does not mean you can just purchase them off the shelves at any time you want.

If a city your in has a base value of 25kgp or higher, by RAW you can within a day find a shop that has one of these in stock 75% of the time, refreshing every week. This already accounts for other people wanting the item and thus buying other stock, leaving you with the chance of getting just one (note it's highly unlikely in this time period you would be allowed to buy more than one as guilds, including the pathfinder society, were designed to prevent people from buying all of a resource, gaining a short term monopoly, and one that thus negatively affects other's livelihoods and incomes).

To be honest, I'm of the opposite view of Diego as far as difficulty to cast "wish/miracle", absolutely casting wish just for inherent stat bonuses or massive effects like essentially cloning a spell, or even the miracle use of "mass resurrection" should take the 25kgp diamond and thus be a big decision to make. However, the more common use of wish, to simply cast any other spell you don't know/have prepared of lower levels should be free for wish as it is miracle (save any other material components), especially when we have the shadow enchantment/conjuration/evocation/transmutation line of spells already.

That said, I understand why you lost 7 years of life in previous editions when spells we're meant to be literal evocations of monster abilities, such as timeless genies that wouldn't care about losing 7 years of their life, because again, they're timeless.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I've linked this before regarding concerns of magic spell component cost. I think its fun.
Fiat magic reagents


Kasoh wrote:

I've linked this before regarding concerns of magic spell component cost. I think its fun.

Fiat magic reagents

It's maybe interesting to explore in blog post, but as I put earlier (and as the blog sorta scratches at), commodity prices aren't and weren't as flexible as they were now, and even then, the game assumes they specifically don't. Basically, the fact that you need a specific gem worth whatever "25kgp diamond" is actually worth and the fact that every time someone buys that gem for that exact purpose, it is essentially taken away from the economy, *is* enough to lock in the price point whenever there are surges in supply or demand.


RPG games don’t have and should not have realistic rules for the economy. Unless you want to play papers and paycheck there are no rules for things like supply and demand and inflation. The rules are designed to be fairly simple and to allow for some really basic economic activity. It is purposely kept abstract to keep from bogging down the game with details that no one really cares about.

Since this thread is in the rule's forum, I would like to point out that the rules for material components do not require that you pay a specific amount. Every spell that I have seen with an expensive material lists the material component as “worth x amount of gp”.

When the book stats that the material component is a gem that cost 25,000 GP that is no different than saying you took 9 HP from being hit with a sword. That figure is a game mechanic that the actual character does not know or care about. What the actual character is going to be looking for is things like size, quality and purity of the gem. They may also be concerned with things we have no way to measure. Ars Magica used the term raw Vim to measure magical energy and had its own set of measurements for it.

Liberty's Edge

I recall a computer RPG tried to depict that kind of economic cycle. The best way to make money was to buy all the rubies from the merchants, then sell them all in one go at the highest price possible, then buy them back, all in one go, at the lowest price possible. The only limit to the money you were capable to make was the weekly cap on the money available to the merchants. :D

Scarab Sages

Mysterious Stranger wrote:

RPG games don’t have and should not have realistic rules for the economy. Unless you want to play papers and paycheck there are no rules for things like supply and demand and inflation. The rules are designed to be fairly simple and to allow for some really basic economic activity. It is purposely kept abstract to keep from bogging down the game with details that no one really cares about.

Since this thread is in the rule's forum, I would like to point out that the rules for material components do not require that you pay a specific amount. Every spell that I have seen with an expensive material lists the material component as “worth x amount of gp”.

When the book stats that the material component is a gem that cost 25,000 GP that is no different than saying you took 9 HP from being hit with a sword. That figure is a game mechanic that the actual character does not know or care about. What the actual character is going to be looking for is things like size, quality and purity of the gem. They may also be concerned with things we have no way to measure. Ars Magica used the term raw Vim to measure magical energy and had its own set of measurements for it.

I mention that in another thread Colour, Clarity and Carat as well as what they'd mean to a mage. In fact I think that was part of what prompted this thread as it was there another suggested using fabricate for combining gems and I was wondering if it'd work in the rules.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mysterious Stranger wrote:

When the book stats that the material component is a gem that cost 25,000 GP that is no different than saying you took 9 HP from being hit with a sword. That figure is a game mechanic that the actual character does not know or care about. What the actual character is going to be looking for is things like size, quality and purity of the gem. They may also be concerned with things we have no way to measure. Ars Magica used the term raw Vim to measure magical energy and had its own set of measurements for it.

But, if the spell only works when you spend at least 25k on it, no matter how great the other gems you try is, eventually you're going to realize that the gem has to cost at least 25k gp. Because the rules and the in game experience follow along with one another.


My entire point is that it does not matter how much you spend on something. There is often a big difference between what you pay and what something is worth. Sometimes you pay more and sometimes you pay less. Sometimes you don’t pay anything at all. When you find a 25k gem in a dragons treasure hoard there is no reason you cannot use it as a material component for a wish despite the fact that you paid nothing.

Most of the time in a game you simply pay the list cost because playing papers and paychecks is bearing as crap. The listed cost for material components is a game mechanic designed to minimize minute details of things most players have no interest in. If the GM and players want to bring that level on detail to their game go for it. Personally I would have no interest in playing in such a game. The game purposely abstracts certain things to make it more fun. This is one of those things.

Scarab Sages

Kasoh wrote:
Mysterious Stranger wrote:

When the book stats that the material component is a gem that cost 25,000 GP that is no different than saying you took 9 HP from being hit with a sword. That figure is a game mechanic that the actual character does not know or care about. What the actual character is going to be looking for is things like size, quality and purity of the gem. They may also be concerned with things we have no way to measure. Ars Magica used the term raw Vim to measure magical energy and had its own set of measurements for it.

But, if the spell only works when you spend at least 25k on it, no matter how great the other gems you try is, eventually you're going to realize that the gem has to cost at least 25k gp. Because the rules and the in game experience follow along with one another.

That's the whole problem though. Consider the following . . .

Scenario 1
Tim the Bard sees a 5 GP diamond in the market which he buys. He then pops into a couple of bars spreading the story about his remarkable find in the bazar of a rare diamond he bought for only 5 GP when its easily worth 17 thousand, double if you recut it so there's now a bunch of people who believe his diamonds worth 17 - 34 thousand gold. He then sells it to Ella the rogue for 25 thousand who sells it back to him for 25 thousand. He sells it to Rogar the warpriest for 25 thousand who sells it back to him for 25 thousand. He then sells it to me for 25 thousand and I use it for wish.

How much is the gem worth the original 5 GP, the 17 to 35 thousand a bunch of people without appraise skills would pay for it or the 25 thousand every member of our party paid for it, in one case several times?

Scenario 2
I see a gem for sale in the market for 5 GP that I recognize (high appraise) as a rare white diamond cut in the Apokai style that focuses on retaining the gems material over beauty. I know it’s worth easily 50,000 if recut in a more appealing modern style. I buy it for 5 GP and use it in wish.

Is it worth the 5 GP everyone else thought or the 50,000 I think it could potentially get with some recutting or the 25 thousand ultimate equipment says it'd be worth (If "worked" it'd be worth 50 thousand GP therefore as this is essentially unworked it’s worth half that)?

Scenario 3
I use Gate and interplanetary teleport to go to the dr who planet where gems are worthless as they're literally lying around all over the place and you can just pick up a bunch of them off the ground. I pick up a couple of diamonds and teleport to the planet Varoon where they're so scarce royalty would pay hundreds of thousands for a diamond that on Golarion is worth 5 GP. I use the diamonds to cast wish.

Are my diamonds worthless because they're so common where I got them or are they worth hundreds of thousands of Gold because of where I used them? What happens when I leave Varoon and return to Golarion is my wish invalidated because the diamond I used would now be worth only 928 GP?

Scenario 4
I buy a Diamond in Osiria for 26,000 GP the GM decides a few sessions later because of a treasure horde the party found and sold the market price drops to 24,000 GP as people are less interested in it.

Is my diamond worth the 26,000 GP I paid or the 24,000 I'll now get if I sell?

Even in real life with mass communication and generally agreed on values a gem's price is not truly objective but subjective. See the fact the diamond companies limit supply to avoid price deflation. In a world like Golarion gem prices would fluctuate even more as people buy, sell and use them and what you get in Osiria is not the same you'd get in Garundi. Yet the game mechanics is that a gem is a flat X price from the moment you find it to the moment you use or sell it. It’s simply a representation of value in the same way GP are or that HP is representation of how much combat a play can see before being injured/killed. It’s why some GMs prefer to treat HP as luck points before you get hit or blows that whittle hit points away as being a scratch or other minor injury.

In a more realistic and for most less fun game the GP would have different "values" in different countries depending on size, weight of gold and other factors but it doesn't. A GP is the exact same GP in Cheliax, Absalom, Garundi, Osiria and even other worlds or remote lost lands. Similarly, a gem is a representation of X value to the players rather than requiring people to track supply and demand models based on all the economic factors which determine a gems actual "value". Just look at Painite it was priceless for years as there were only 3 gems found and none had been sold on the open market, then they found either the original sites or other sources and its value dropped markedly (although it’s still worth 50 to 60 thousand US per carat due to rarity).

What we're arguing is that 25k GP diamond used in wish is an abstract representation of "value" to simplify and make gameplay more fun for the general audience. It doesn't matter if the value is "gem" a 25k GP diamond, "gold pieces" money gained from selling the diamond, "different gem" ground down into diamond dust or "abstract" powering a wish. For the players its just a represenation of an agreed upon value to make playing the game simpler and avoid such things as "Yes this diamond is worth 60,000 gold pieces but you see this flaw here. If you used this diamond for wish it'd shatter into half a dozen pieces under the magical pressure before the spell activated."

For most players and gms a 25k diamond is a 25k diamond and they don't even bother with what colour it is much less descriptions like . . .

Diamond 1: This diamond the size of your thumbnail is a brilliant blood red and when held up to the light becomes semi-transparent almost liquid in appearance. It has been painstakingly cut in the shape of a heart. It's worth 25 thousand gold.

Diamond 2: This colourless diamond the size of your head has several visible flaws and rough jagged edges marring its beauty. It's worth 25 thousand gold pieces.

Both diamonds are "25,000 GP diamonds" but they're very different in nature and I at least would far prefer to use one over the other in a spell that will destroy it which would also affect their value to me.


What I am saying is the 25,000 gp value is a game abstraction that allows the PLAYER to purchase an appropriate gem for the spell. The character will be looking for specific qualities in the gem based on the requirements of the spell. The game does not spell out exactly what those qualities are any more than it specifies how much you bleed when you take x amount of damage.

Scenario 1 the gem is not going to work to power a wish as it does not possess the qualities needed. If it did its “worth” would be more

Scenario 2 the gem will probably work for a spell component. I would be using spell craft instead of appraise to determine its suitability.

Scenario 3 assuming you choose an appropriate gem it will work as a material component.

Scenario 4 assuming the gem was suitable for a wish it still is even though the market value of the gem has gone down. The market value is not a game abstraction so changes in that do not affect the “worth” of the gem. It may affect how much you can sell it for but has no bearing on the suitability of its use to power a wish.


Mysterious Stranger wrote:

When the book stats that the material component is a gem that cost 25,000 GP that is no different than saying you took 9 HP from being hit with a sword. That figure is a game mechanic that the actual character does not know or care about. What the actual character is going to be looking for is things like size, quality and purity of the gem. They may also be concerned with things we have no way to measure. Ars Magica used the term raw Vim to measure magical energy and had its own set of measurements for it.

Again, I disagree that you should just be able to carry around however much gold you want as just undefined material components. Even if you're in a major city, you still need to have decided you had the component before you were ambushed or went to a "dungeon" location within the city of your own accord. You're supposed to set aside the gold for those specific uses still, but spending a spell to mold it on the fly when you realize you need one of the other and have the opposite should be fine.

Scarab Sages

Mysterious Stranger wrote:

What I am saying is the 25,000 gp value is a game abstraction that allows the PLAYER to purchase an appropriate gem for the spell. The character will be looking for specific qualities in the gem based on the requirements of the spell. The game does not spell out exactly what those qualities are any more than it specifies how much you bleed when you take x amount of damage.

Scenario 1 the gem is not going to work to power a wish as it does not possess the qualities needed. If it did its “worth” would be more

Scenario 2 the gem will probably work for a spell component. I would be using spell craft instead of appraise to determine its suitability.

Scenario 3 assuming you choose an appropriate gem it will work as a material component.

Scenario 4 assuming the gem was suitable for a wish it still is even though the market value of the gem has gone down. The market value is not a game abstraction so changes in that do not affect the “worth” of the gem. It may affect how much you can sell it for but has no bearing on the suitability of its use to power a wish.

I actually agree with you I was giving those examples to show that just saying "25k gp diamond" is a mechanics choice not an actual representation of the real world nature. As I said in my other thread I treat it as a simplified guide to choosing colour (this spell needs a ruby while that needs a sapphire even though they're the same mineral with different impurities), clarity (are there any imperfecations that would cause the gem to shatter) and carat (is the gem big enough to handle the amount of magic going into/through it). My examples were to show just saying its a gem worth 25,000 GP isn't enough by itself from that perspective especially as a player could be tricked into spending 25,000 GP on a diamond that isn't worth it.


AwesomenessDog wrote:
Mysterious Stranger wrote:

When the book stats that the material component is a gem that cost 25,000 GP that is no different than saying you took 9 HP from being hit with a sword. That figure is a game mechanic that the actual character does not know or care about. What the actual character is going to be looking for is things like size, quality and purity of the gem. They may also be concerned with things we have no way to measure. Ars Magica used the term raw Vim to measure magical energy and had its own set of measurements for it.

Again, I disagree that you should just be able to carry around however much gold you want as just undefined material components. Even if you're in a major city, you still need to have decided you had the component before you were ambushed or went to a "dungeon" location within the city of your own accord. You're supposed to set aside the gold for those specific uses still, but spending a spell to mold it on the fly when you realize you need one of the other and have the opposite should be fine.

You misunderstood what I am saying. I never stated you could carry around a lump of gold and use that in place of a gem. What I am saying is that when you acquire a suitable gem it will always be a suitable gem. It does not matter how you acquire the gem you could find it steal it purchase it, or acquire it through any other method you want. The actual cost of the gem is not relevant. If you manage to swindle a merchant and buy the gem at half cost it still works. If you get taken to the cleaners and buy a lesser gem for an inflated cost it does not work even if you spent 1,000,000 gp on it.

The 25,000 gp value is information for the player and the GM not the characters. Most players do not enjoy getting into extremely tedious negotiation over every single gp and this type of stuff is commonly hand waved.


Ah, yep, misunderstood. Though that does also remind me that there are ways for players to actually have to pay more (or rarely less) for those gems in a settlement due to settlement modifiers and qualities that basically make the cost of everything go up or down by certain percentages. Basically, show up to a place that doesn't like you and has the racially intolerant quality for your gem purchasing.

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