I was under the impression that magic item creator can set the cl to whatever he wants, with minimum caster level being the one needed to cast spells in the prerequisite of the magic item.
I remember reading older forum threads where the consensus were that you can set the caster level yourself, but in some newer threads it doesn't seem to be the case.
A wizard wants to craft a belt of physical perfection +2.
He only knows bull's strength spell from the spells listed in construction requirements.
Normal DC to craft would be: 5 + 16 (listed item cl) + 10 (5 for each missing spell in the requirement) = 31
Can he lower the item cl to 3 since all required spells are 2nd level (so it needs minimal caster level of 3) ?
The DC would then be: 5 + 3 + 10 = 18
Relevant faq entry:
"Does creating a magic item require the creator to be of the same or higher caster level of the item itself? This doesn’t seem to square with the CLs listed for specific magic items; for instance, a belt of giant strength +2 has CL 8th, but the only spell required in its creation, bull’s strength, has a minimum caster level of 3.
Am I missing anything here?
Though the listed Caster Level for a pearl of power is 17th, that caster level is not part of the Requirements listing for that item. Therefore, the only caster level requirement for a pearl of power is the character has to be able to cast spells of the desired level. However, it makes sense that the minimum caster level of the pearl is the minimum caster level necessary to cast spells of that level–it would be strange for a 2nd-level pearl to be CL 1st. For example, a 3rd-level wizard with Craft Wondrous Item can create a 1st-level pearl, with a minimum caster level of 1. He can set the caster level to whatever he wants (assuming he can meet the crafting DC), though the pearl’s caster level has no effect on its powers (other than its ability to resist dispel magic). If he wants to make a 2nd-level pearl, the caster level has to be at least 3, as wizards can’t cast 2nd-level spells until they reach character level 3. He can even try to make a 3rd-level pearl, though the minimum caster level is 5, and he adds +5 to the DC because he doesn’t meet the “able to cast 3rd-level spells” requirement."
I don't think the magic item crafting rules are perfect, so I'd allow some exceptions. Give me a good reason and I might allow it.
I'd allow you to craft a belt of physical perfection +2 at a CL of 3. Mind you, magic items with a higher caster levels gets some protection (saving throws of 2 + 1/2 CL), so it'd be worth it to craft it at higher levels.
For things like pearls of power, I would require that you have at least the minimum caster level to cast a spell of that level. I wouldn't allow you to craft a pearl of power above your ability.
I don't think you are missing anything, but I reorganized crafting substantially for my game so I may be missing something.
Base DC is 15+CL. You do not need a feat to craft, but cannot ignore any other requirements, nor can you upgrade items created by other people. If you have the correct item creation feat, your base Crafting DC is 5+CL and you can upgrade items made by other people. You also need the correct ICF if you want to attempt to make any sort of artefact.
If we are getting into house rules, then I'll mention mine.
I have only 2 magic item creation feats: Consumables and Permanent.
Consumables are scrolls, potions, wands, staves, and some miscellaneous magic items. Most are single use or have finite charges. The rare few that can be recharged are not easily recharged.
Permanent are arms and armor, rings, rods, and wondrous magic items. They are lasting magic items. If that have charges, they are often easy to recharge (many restore their charges automatically each day).
Its possible for a magic item to have qualities of both. In which case, you need both feats to craft.