Change To Magic Item Crafting

Magic Crafting

Hammering away to prepare the sword for enchanting.

Pathfinder has changed in many ways from the OGL roots it started from, but one thing that hasn’t changed much is how magic item creation is done. While the system works, it doesn’t really allow for true customization and it isn’t very realistic. One of my complaints about it is that you need to spend a feat for each type of magic item you want to create, and because each type is vastly more or less powerful then the others, there really is only one or two feats that are worth the cost. Feats are a limited resource, and if you want to be able to craft rods or staffs you are going to be spending a feat to craft maybe two or three items. On the other hand, Scribe Scroll will be used a great deal and Craft Wondrous Item has nearly unlimited possibilities.

There is also a lack of actual use of the Craft skills. Yes, you can use Craft: Weapons for magical weapons, or Craft: Carpentry for wands, but Spellcraft can be used for everything. Additionally, the magic item creation rules have their own unique timeline. Because of the obvious choice of just using Spellcraft, and the unique timeline, the rules for magic item creation ignores the Craft skills and their mechanics completely. It makes sense to have both of them working together in some way, instead of making them almost mutually exclusive.

My house rules make adaptations that allow for someone to be more versatile in item creation, but still limited if they want to craft a broad range of items. It solves the issue that Craft Wondrous Item is a catch all and the best option. In fact, my house rule removes all of the craft feats and combines them into one. The house rule also puts more emphasis on skills, adds one additional step, and allows the entire party to assist you if you desire.

Like I said above, I combine all of the craft feats into one, Craft Magical Item. I don’t completely remove the craft feats because there is a balance to having item creation require a feat. Feats are powerful, and it makes sense that you are giving up one to be able to control and customize your gear. If you can’t craft items, you are left to the mercy of the dungeons and markets where the more expensive the item is the harder it is to find. But, if you can craft without the heavy cost of a feat, then you are able to make an impact on the power level and wealth of your party without spending anything more then gold. Of course, having all of the items fall under one  feat means great versatility for a low price. Without adding any other changes there really isn’t anything balancing or holding someone back from creating everything they want. This is where the skills come in.

Normally, the only skill you need for item creation is Spellcraft. With weapons and armor it is suggested that you use Craft: Weapons and Craft: Armor skills, but you could get away with Spellcraft if it was higher. In my system, the Craft skills are far more important. You at least need access to them to be able to make magic items. Craft: Calligraphy would be needed for scrolls, Craft: Carpentry for wands, and Craft: jewelry for rings. Also, instead of making one skill check to create an item, you make two. One to create the physical item and one to enchant it.

So here is how it works:

(Taken and adapted from d20pfsrd.com)

To create magic items, spellcasters use the Craft Magic Item feat, which allows them to invest time and money in an item’s creation and the Craft skills to create the item. Before and item can be enchanted, it needs to be created with the appropriate Craft Check. The needed Craft skill or skills to make the item is listed in its requirements. The DC to create the item is 15 + the caster level of the magic item to be created. The market value of the item for purposes of creating it with the Craft skill is one tenth the cost of the magical item the spellcaster is attempting to create. The cost of the item is part of the finial base price, and is not an additional expense like weapons, armor, or costly material components. At the end of this process, the spellcaster must make a single Spellcraft check to finish the item. The DC to enchant a magic item is 5 + the caster level for the item. Failing this check means that the item does not function and the materials and time are wasted. Failing this check by 5 or more results in a cursed item. The spellcaster may have assistance with the required Craft skill, calling upon someone who does have the needed skill if they do not, but the spellcaster must give aid in the process and be involved with the crafting. The item cannot be bought from the market, nor can the spellcaster hire someone to do the work  without his assistance. The exceptions to this are weapons and armor, which can be bought or found. In those cases, the needed Craft skill is used to prepare and adapt the item for enchanting.

Note that all items have prerequisites in their descriptions. These prerequisites must be met for the item to be created. Most of the time, they take the form of spells that must be known by the item’s creator (although access through another magic item or spellcaster is allowed). The DC to create a magic item increases by 5 for each prerequisite the caster does not meet. The only exceptions to this are the requisite Craft Magic Item feat, which is mandatory for the spellcaster to know, and the craft skill needed to create the item to be enchanted. In addition, you cannot create potions, spell-trigger, or spell-completion magic items without meeting its prerequisites.

While item creation costs are handled in detail below, 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.

Magic supplies for items are always half of the base price in gp. For many items, the market price equals the base price. Armor, shields, weapons, and items with value independent of their magically enhanced properties add their item cost to the market price. The item cost does not influence the base price (which determines the cost of magic supplies), but it does increase the final market price.

In addition, some items cast or replicate spells with costly material components. For these items, the market price equals the base price plus an extra price for the spell component costs. The cost to create these items is the magic supplies cost plus the costs for the components. Descriptions of these items include an entry that gives the total cost of creating the item.

The creator also needs a fairly quiet, comfortable, and well-lit place in which to work. Any place suitable for preparing spells is suitable for making items. Once and item has been created with the Craft skill, enchanting an item requires 8 hours of work per 1,000 gp in the item’s base price (or fraction thereof), with a minimum of at least 8 hours. Potions and scrolls are an exception to this rule; they can take as little as 2 hours to create (if their base price is 250 gp or less). Scrolls and potions whose base price is more than 250 gp, but less than 1,000 gp, take 8 hours to create, just like any other magic item. The character must spend the gold at the beginning of the construction process. Regardless of the time needed for construction, a caster can create no more than one magic item per day. This process can be accelerated to 4 hours of work per 1,000 gp in the item’s base price (or fraction thereof) by increasing the DC to create the item by 5.

The caster can work for up to 8 hours each day. He cannot rush the process by working longer each day, but the days need not be consecutive, and the caster can use the rest of his time as he sees fit. If the caster is out adventuring, he can devote 4 hours each day to item creation, although he nets only 2 hours’ worth of work. This time is not spent in one continuous period, but rather during lunch, morning preparation, and during watches at night. If time is dedicated to creation, it must be spent in uninterrupted 4-hour blocks. This work is generally done in a controlled environment, where distractions are at a minimum, such as a laboratory or shrine. Work that is performed in a distracting or dangerous environment nets only half the amount of progress (just as with the adventuring caster).

A character can work on only one item at a time. If a character starts work on a new item, all materials used on the under-construction item are wasted.

Also, here is the feat Craft Magic Item

You can create magic items of all kinds and types.

Prerequisite: Caster level 3rd.

Benefit: You can create a wide variety of magic items. Crafting a magic item takes 1 day for each 1,000 gp in its price. To create a magic item, you must use up raw materials costing half of its base price.

You can also mend a broken magic item if it is one that you could make. Doing so costs half the raw materials and half the time it would take to craft that item.

See magic item creation rules for more information.

Now, clearly this isn’t a polished house rule, and I must admit I haven’t fully tested it. I would love to hear your thoughts, and even your experiences if you have tested it out. Once I have used these rules I will go ahead and let everyone know what changes will be made, but until that time, play test away!
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About TCHubler

Growing up, I have always had an active imagination and a desire to create fantasy worlds. When I was 12, I found my opportunity in a local game store when I bought one of the last AD&D box sets to ever be released. My brother and I took it home and soon I was sharing my new found hobby with friends. From there it has been journey of imagination and creation as I either ran a game or played one. Most of my games have completely self written, and by the time I became hooked on the Pathfinder RPG I was writing rules material for my games.

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