Username Password
   or Create an Account
HomeForumsFAQArticlesReviewsDownloadsLinksTop 20Feedback
 Features
 
Greyhawk Wiki

 
Canonfire :: View topic - Pathfinder Magic Item Creation System....Some Thoughts
Pathfinder Magic Item Creation System....Some Thoughts

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Canonfire Forum Index -> Greyhawk- D&D 3.0e/3.5e/d20/Pathfinder
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Cebrion
Black Hand of Oblivion
Black Hand of Oblivion


Joined: Feb 16, 2003
Posts: 3721
Location: So. Cal

PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 5:13 am    Post subject: Pathfinder Magic Item Creation System....Some Thoughts Reply with quote

After a first bout at PCs using the Pathfinder magic item creation system, I have found that it is...just...well...horrible. It is not that it is too detailed or not detailed enough, nor that it is too difficult to create a magic item. the problem is it is UTTERLY EASY to create a magic item; namely by PCs being able to sidestep too many things.

* Don't have the right item creation feat to make an item? You just need a buddy with the item creation feat you need to create the item you want.

* Related to the above, are you a cleric who wants to make a wand of cure serious wounds, but you do not even have the Craft Wand feat? Your wizard friend can make the wand for you by using their Craft Wand feat. But, wizard's can't make wands of healing you say? Not a problem, because you the cleric only need to be involved in way of providing the clerical magic- it is the wizard who is does all of the heavy lifting in creating a wand of healing…somehow.

* Still related to the above…do you also have a Spellcraft check that is horribly low? If you get a buddy to use their item creation feat to make the item, their Spellcraft check is used instead of yours.

* Want to create a magic item with a persistent magical effect (i.e. a non-spell completion effect) based upon a spell/magical effect/class ability that you do not even know/can use? Not a problem at all. Just take a +5 DC penalty per feature you don't know, but that you want to create in the item, and the jobs a good’un!

* Want to make an item that requires the creator be of a certain alignment, but you are not of the right alignment? Not a problem. Just ignore that restriction by taking a +5 DC penalty on your creation roll.

* Are you a dwarf that really wants to make some boots of elvenkind… or an elf that really wants to make a dwarven thrower...but you are not of the correct race to do so? Not a problem (sigh). Just take a +5 DC penalty to your item creation roll, and blah, blurgh, hack, hurl, chum...

* Think it's hard to create magic items? Au contraire, mon frère. With an item creation DC of 5+ caster level, any PC of average Intelligence (10-11) and having Spellcraft ranks equal to their level (don't forget that +3 class skill bonus!), will succeed in creating a magic item on a 2+. And there will be no chance of creating a cursed item so long as they do not purposely leave out any requirements, such that they impose one or more +5 DC creation penalties on their chances.

This isn’t even slow-pitch magic item creation- it’s T-ball magic item creation. Anyways, I put together an example that really shows what a character with any sort of skill can do:

Hodor the cleric wants to create a staff of healing. Though Hodor the 11th level cleric (who has 5 ranks in Spellcraft and the Intelligence of a very small stone (Spellcraft skill check total of +4 (Hodor!) is not what anyone would call a genius, he is somehow extremely wise, and knows that creating this staff would be a real challenge for him; even more so as he doesn’t even have the Craft Staff feat! Therefore, he turns to his 11th level wizard buddy Baby Gandalf (who does have the Craft Staff feat) to make the staff for him. As the wizard is now going to be the actual creator of the item (Hodor the lackwit is only supplying the spells for the effects), he will be using his own 11 ranks of Spellcraft, his class skill bonus of +3, his 22 Intelligence bonus of +6, his +4 Spellcraft bonus from the Magical Aptitude Feat, and his +6 Skill Focus: Spellcraft bonus for a total bonus of +30. As a staff of healing only has a caster of 8th, the Spellcraft skill check to successfully make the staff is equal to 5+ the staff’s spell level of 8, or 13 total. Baby Gandalf chuckles to himself. “Yes, Hodor. I can make the staff for you.”

Better still, Baby Gandalf is so awesome that he can actually make permanent, non-spell trigger magic items with divine magical effects on them, mimic weird powers, or even the unique class abilities of other classes. As per his Spellcraft check total above, Baby Gandalf can ignore up to six requirements, and will succeed on the following rolls: ignore six requirements- 16+ (11 or less = cursed item), ignore five requirements- 11+ (6 or less = cursed item), ignore four requirements- 6+ (1 = cursed item), ignore three requirements- 2+, ignore two requirements- 2+, ignore one requirement- 2+. That's to make items which he has no knowledge of the spells, powers, or abilities of.

As it is, if a character has invested in maximum Spellcraft ranks, they will successfully create a magic item on roll of 2+, as they also will get their +3 class bonus on the roll. The only thing that will keep such a character from succeeding on a 2+ is if they have an Intelligence score of 9 or less, in which case there will be a negative modifier of some kind. Then the DC to craft the magic item could be as high as 6+! GASP! Yes, this is all just a bit too easy to accomplish. All you have to do is have the money. Lo and behold, the whole group of PCs kicks in to pay for a magic item to be made, and there it is on a roll of 2+. Sound a bit too easy? I hope so. Therefore, I have decided to institute some changes:

Pathfinder Magic Item Creation Rules Alterations

    * A character who uses arcane magic, and has the requisite item creation feat, can create magic items with arcane functions. They may be aided by others who know/have the ability to use similar arcane spells or powers, even if the helper does not have the requisite item creation feat (i.e. apprentices can help their masters).

    * A character who uses divine magic, and has the requisite item creation feat, can create magic items with divine functions. They may be aided by others who know/have the ability to use similar divine spells or powers, even if the helper does not have the requisite item creation feat (i.e. acolytes can help higher level clerics).

    * A character who uses both arcane magic and divine magic, and has the requisite item creation feat, can create magic items with a combination of both arcane and divine functions. Alternately, such items can be made by two characters- one who uses arcane magic; the other divine magic- working together, so long as both of them have the requisite item creation feat (i.e they both know how to make the type of item in question, and so can fully pool their talents to create something beyond the scope of what either can achieve individually). Each caster may be aided by one helper who knows/has the ability to use similar arcane/divine spells or powers, even if the helper does not have the requisite item creation feat (i.e. apprentices/acolytes can help higher level clerics).

    * A magic item cannot be given a particular function unless the creator has the ability to use a spell or power that mimics that function. Ignore the +5 DC references, as no character will allowed to "pull magic that they have no knowledge of out of their butt", or make items that use magic of a completely different type (i.e. "magic they don't know/can't use").

    * The DC for creating magic items = 15 + item caster level.

    * Proper assistance will gain a non-cumulative +2 bonus on creation checks, and reduce the time (but not the cost) to create items by 10%.

    * At least one special ingredient/method must be used in the creation of any magic item (no bonus is gained for this, as it is a basic requirement). For example, the wand material for a wand of fireballs could be made out of metal forged in fire (brass is the metal of choice), or carved from the bone of a creature with the Fire type.

    * Using additional special ingredients/methods (beyond the first) will give a +1 to +5 cumulative bonus on the creation check per additional special ingredient/method used.

    * Creating an item at a place of power (a confluence of ley lines, non-material plane, high altar, etc.) appropriate to the item/magic being used will result in a further +1 to +5 bonus (the more power the place has, the greater the bonus), at the DM's discretion.

    * A failed creation check "taints" the item being enchanted, but doesn't ruin it completely (unless it is a potion or scroll). All other material costs are wasted, but "tainted" items can be restored to a usable state by spending half of their original cost.


If you managed to get through all of that, please offer your thoughts on the Pathfinder magic item creation system, and my alterations to it.
_________________
- Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -


Last edited by Cebrion on Tue Jan 20, 2015 1:02 am; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Dark_Lord_Galen
Paladin
Paladin


Joined: Sep 07, 2011
Posts: 827
Location: Houston Texas

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ROFLMAO Laughing Laughing Laughing
Oh Great Purple Wielder... welcome to a 3.5 rules set...

This (and many other pieces) are why I use old 1e Spell research and magic Item creation within 3.5 (or in pathfinder's case 3.75). The only modifications I really make are modifying for the expansive range of PC levels from the old edition to the new, the varieties of magic items that can now be created, and the various sub-types of magic I utilize within our campaign.

To me this is comparable to the CR tables they are poorly conceived and broken at mid to upper levels and are for a DM that can't determine what a good "balanced challenge" looks like.

For myself, I defer to nearly 30 years experience ... just IMO Evil Grin

As to your modifications,,, they at least attempt to rectify the shortsightedness of the collective 3.xxx "rule" set.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
A-Baneful-Backfire
Journeyman Greytalker


Joined: Jun 24, 2008
Posts: 121

PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I offer the following as another possible solution.

My group took the opposite direction. After years of playing 3.5 as if it was 1st or 2nd ed., which we had all played, we started discovering 3.x was really quite different (and as mentioned the CR system is broken at mid to high level).

We chose to open the flood gates on magic item creation. We felt the real limiting factor was going to be the experience cost, time to create, and durability of the item. (We actually expanded the ability of a generalist wizard to craft magic items with house rules - so there would be a reason to be a generalist wizard instead of prestige class/specialist/domain wizard, etc.).

Control over item creation has been as follows:

Campaign Pace: The Big Bad is not going to wait for the party to perfect itself or its gear. There are a certain number of encounters between 1st and 20th level (or whenever the DM decides to capstone the campaign). There can be some spare encounters - for those who need to regain a level due to a death and some item creation. But overall, Iuz, Xaene, Kyuss, whoever, has their own timeline. A 14th level character (or party) who should be 20th, but put all their experience into crafting items still looses. The machinations of a Big Bad can seem a bit like railroading the party so there is always -

Sunder: It its easy to make magic items in 3.x, and we realized it is also easy to destroy magic items in 3.x. Wands, staves, even most worn and unattended items can be sundered - and they usually have terrible hardness and hit point values, especially the cloth ones (sundering a carpet of flying when the party is using it is hilarious - for the DM). PC's don't sunder because they want the treasure, NPC's have more important, Oerth-destroying objectives and have no problem targeting the party's fancy stuff. Ranged sunder helps get things under control in a hurry. Also don't forget disarm can be used on worn items and held items that are not weapons (staves, etc.). Giants are awesome at sundering - don't forget that when DMing Against the Giants - and working in the ranged sunder feat for their boulders.

Theft: When the party wealth amount goes beyond what is appropriate for their level, its time for even higher level thieves to target them - the PCs have become easy marks. If the party is 10th level and has the wealth of a 13th level group, then they draw the attention of 13-16th or higher level "treasure seekers." Especially in the City of Greyhawk. (One point we missed for years was the Use Magic Device skill - rogues really do have access to the spell lists of everyone in the game to help them steal and keep stuff). Can't be used as often as sundering, but adds flavor.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Cebrion
Black Hand of Oblivion
Black Hand of Oblivion


Joined: Feb 16, 2003
Posts: 3721
Location: So. Cal

PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 1:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No thanks. I'd rather resort to something that makes magic the special, not exactly common thing that it is than to being "that DM".

"Dude. Your guy has waaay too much magic stuff now. You better start drinking all those potions or something, or you know what will happen. Don't bring that storm down on all of us, bro." Laughing
_________________
- Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
A-Baneful-Backfire
Journeyman Greytalker


Joined: Jun 24, 2008
Posts: 121

PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think its being "that DM" when 1) sunder is a creature's "thing" as indicated by the feats, size and strength score in its published description - giants being a perfect example 2) its the party's choice to transform their experience into easily movable and precious objects and 3) having a campaign path or thread that may require some level of reaction by the players.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Cebrion
Black Hand of Oblivion
Black Hand of Oblivion


Joined: Feb 16, 2003
Posts: 3721
Location: So. Cal

PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2015 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1) Of course, but do you put monsters with these abilities against the PCs "just because". If yes, then you are "that DM". Then there is the whole "I'm stealing yer stuff, 'just because'." bit, which is definitely being "that DM". PCs merely having items shouldn't elicit such a response, only flaunting such items should.

2) Somehow, people think this thread is about the 3.5E magic item creation system. It isn't. Read the title. Otherwise, I didn't realize that 3.5E XP are of such little worth, or so heavy, that PCs have been transforming them into more valuable, and easily portable, magic items. Laughing

3) Not sure what you are saying here.
_________________
- Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
A-Baneful-Backfire
Journeyman Greytalker


Joined: Jun 24, 2008
Posts: 121

PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2015 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1) Targeting the party for a theft (admittedly not very often) is not being "that DM." If it is, then may I ask how you get the players to take the threat of being targeted for larceny seriously in a "City of Thieves." How do you establish the dangers and risks of being in such a place, if the players understand their gear is safe? When the party hangs out crafting items to values beyond that typical for characters of their level, aren't they in fact "flaunting?"

2) Your right, Pathfinder does not require the expenditure of XP's on item creation. Yet it is still not being "that DM" when the players turn their time and treasure into magic items, and the DM decides there are others in the campaign world who think they have a better use for such things, especially the magical one, which some might call "precious." Just ask Sauron about what others did to his ring.

3) The point was that events in the campaign may preclude or at least lead to a disadvantage to the party if ignored for the sake of item creation. Its not being "that DM" to provide consequences for the decision of the PCs to craft rather than adventure.

My responses were to illustrate addition methods of limiting the consequences of item creation, instead of limiting the item creation rules (whichever rules you use).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Cebrion
Black Hand of Oblivion
Black Hand of Oblivion


Joined: Feb 16, 2003
Posts: 3721
Location: So. Cal

PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2015 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A-Baneful-Backfire wrote:
1) Targeting the party for a theft (admittedly not very often) is not being "that DM." If it is, then may I ask how you get the players to take the threat of being targeted for larceny seriously in a "City of Thieves." How do you establish the dangers and risks of being in such a place, if the players understand their gear is safe? When the party hangs out crafting items to values beyond that typical for characters of their level, aren't they in fact "flaunting?"

If you were a thief, would your target be the most heavily armed group of people you could find who would also have access to a locate object spell, or might it instead be the most wealthy looking yet vulnerable target who does not? Pretty rhetorical question, thus easy to explain why PCs are not getting robed all over the place. If they were, you'd see a lot of Thieves Guilds getting obliterated. Thieves are generally not completely stupid, thus it is easy to reason why PCs are not getting robbed all the time in The City of Thieves. It's not like adventures bring, and spend, tons of cash in The City of Thieves either. Start robbing them blind, and strangely enough, adventurers will suddenly taking down the Thieves Guild in The City of Thieves...or they just stop going there. Might as well take your tons of cash to cities where you won't get robbed. Yes, it is very easy to reason why PCs won't get robbed all the time, even in The City of Thieves, unless its minor larceny like pickpocketing. That happens all the time, even to PCs.

A-Baneful-Backfire wrote:
2) Your right, Pathfinder does not require the expenditure of XP's on item creation. Yet it is still not being "that DM" when the players turn their time and treasure into magic items, and the DM decides there are others in the campaign world who think they have a better use for such things, especially the magical one, which some might call "precious." Just ask Sauron about what others did to his ring.

It is not about the possibility; only the reason for it. There is a big difference between nefarious entities wanting to steal the PCs stuff and role-playing it, and having "unknown entities" auto-steal the PCs stuff and disappear, thus removing it from the campaign because the DM wanted it gone. The former is a sensible and possible occurrence, the latter is being "that DM". The reason for doing anything goes to point 3) as well.
_________________
- Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
A-Baneful-Backfire
Journeyman Greytalker


Joined: Jun 24, 2008
Posts: 121

PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2015 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thieves do choose easy marks, but also marks that are worth their time. The 16th level thief NPC (rogue or whatever his class) isn't going to waste time picking the pockets of the local blacksmith (unless he just wants to stay in practice). For him, a 10th level party stands out if they crafted enough magic items to resemble a 13th or so level group. The party made themselves into the low hanging fruit, the best score for less risk than the standard 13th level set of targets. The party may be powerful - but thieves' guilds have powerful friends and allies of their own.

As the party approaches the capstone level for the campaign, and become singularly powerful, this stops being plausible. But until then, the party should understand there are people out there who like nice things and are more powerful/sneakier/etc, then they are. They may want to take precautions, precautions that may use up some of the resources they would otherwise have devoted to crafting (like paying protection, getting in good with the guild, etc. - you know - role-playing).

Having the campaign and NPCs react to the actions of the PC is not being "that DM." "That DM" is inconsistent in how he reacts to the player's actions. "That DM" has his NPCs do what the PC's did, but suffer none of the consequences he foists upon the players. Consistency is the difference. If the PC's are often hooked into "recover the Bauble of Doom from the Abandoned Tower before the Big Bad's minions" or "find the Big Bad's minion and recover/destroy his Bauble of Doom he just crafted/recovered" its logical that the Big Bad is telling his henchmen to "find the Party and recover/destroy the Baubles of Hope they just recovered/crafted."

Your suggestion aims to restrain the variety and frequency of crafted items by restraining the abilities of the PCs (and presumably the NPCs) to craft them in the first place. My suggestions were to indicate that a similar constraint could be achieved without reining in the PC's crafting options.

None of my suggestions need be applied inconsistently between PC's, NPC's or other campaign elements. Sunder is something the party can do if it chooses. My group is well acquainted with the fact very few published NPC's are provided a decent back-up weapon. They know one of the easier ways to debuff the enemy with the "big glowing sword" may be to sunder/disarm the weapon, rather then keep chopping away at the enemy's mountain of hit points. "That DM" would be the one who provides irrational numbers of spare weapons for the NPCs - or a second "big glowing sword."

Campaign pacing may be a matter of DM fiat - or not. I have the fortune of being a player where the Big Bad's timeline was randomly determined at the start ... we rolled "poorly" and its rather interesting and tense to be behind schedule. It is also fixed by the amount of resources recovered by the party as they advance, and what they may need to do with those resources. Again, the number of encounters and resources recovered between 1st and the capstone level helps prevent inconsistent treatment, and is not indicative of being "that DM."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Cebrion
Black Hand of Oblivion
Black Hand of Oblivion


Joined: Feb 16, 2003
Posts: 3721
Location: So. Cal

PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now you see, that is the problem. When you have to strong arm things so obviously into place because the whole system is broken to the point that it is the very thing that causes the problem, it wasn't developed well in the first place. Let's just say that the Pathfinder magic item creation rules favor a world where people are pooping out magic items. They probably hand them out to five year-olds on their name day.

The wealth per level thing doesn't bother me, other than it is there as some sort of hard rule and not presented as the guideline for novice DMs that it should be, and only be. That is pretty bad, and as it is supposed to apply not only to PCs, but NPCs as well, it does lead me to the question...what do you do with the great nobility? They have vaults full of wealth/magic items at their disposal. Whadd'ya gonna do, steal/smash all their stuff too, bro? The rules say you have to. Razz Wink

We are of different minds. You apparently want orc bards/clerics/wizards/sorcerers to be able to craft dwarven hammers of throwing and boots of elvenkind, arcane spell casters able to make divine magic items, and divine spell casters able to make arcane magic items. I do not, because it is the stupidest thing I have ever encountered in a game system purporting to be based on D&D rules of any kind. I do not wish to have magic items, or practically any type, able to made with literally no effort at all, because Greyhawk is not world where magic items should be as easy to make as an omelette. "Watch out for the tricky bit where you have to fold it over. Ooo, there ya go! Now you have a magic item!" No thank you. Laughing I am very much against the idea of "turning it loose", as doing so is entirely unsuitable for Greyhawk. Xanth, where everyone and everything is magic? Sure, craft to your hearts' content. Greyhawk? Hell no.

By the way, I should mention what started this all. What started it was the very first bout of magic item creation. The very first time it came into play, I immediately noticed how easily it could get out of hand. Not at 10th level, not at 16th level, not at 20th level, not at even 7th level, but at 3rd level when a character can craft permanent magic items which they do not even meet the qualifications for (because the rules specially allow for most qualifications to be bypassed). It could even happen at 1st level, where you can have a wizard brewing potions of cure light wounds, even though they have no knowledge of or ability to use divine magic, just by adding +5 to the Spellcraft check (that would have a total DC of 11 by the way, for a character who can be +9 on their Spellcraft check without even trying).

I wish I couldn't easily be so critical of the system, but it is just...bad. To put in requirements for something so important as creating magic items, followed by a simple means of subverting them, is just outright horrible. A suggested re-write, which would serve the Pathfinder system well, would be to write magic item creation rules that can be scaled to suit the level of magic one wished to have in their campaign. Done well, that would involve more than just a simple scaling of the base DC to create a magic item. But hey, this is their first offering out of the gate, and improvements can be made, but it will probably be some time before we see Pathfinder 2nd Edition. Don't think that I am completely unsatisfied though, as I do like many, many things about Pathfinder. There are really only three or four areas that bug me.
_________________
- Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
A-Baneful-Backfire
Journeyman Greytalker


Joined: Jun 24, 2008
Posts: 121

PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are correct in your observation that 3.x/Pathfinder decreases the special nature of magic items, bringing them down to the level of "magical gear." They are easy come - easy go, as the rules have been written. Their significance to story telling disappears because they can be reproduced.

When I wish to attach narrative significance to a magic item, I tend to make it an artifact - no matter how weak the item is in terms of rules. This means that as even the most minor of artifacts it can't be readily destroyed, it will work in an anti-magic field, and more importantly for story telling, it can't be reproduced. In an anti-magic field, even just a +1 padded club minor artifact can suddenly be surprisingly useful against a monster with DR/magic, while the party crafted vorpal wonder sword is just a pointy piece of metal.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Canonfire Forum Index -> Greyhawk- D&D 3.0e/3.5e/d20/Pathfinder All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Page 1 of 1

Jump to:  

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Canonfire phpBB2 theme by Jakob Persson (http://www.eddingschronicles.com).
Powered by phpBB © 2001 phpBB Group
All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Stone textures by Patty Herford
Ported for PHP-Nuke by nukemods.com
Forums ©


Canonfire! is a production of the Thursday Group in assocation with GREYtalk and Canonfire! Enterprises

Contact the Webmaster.  Long Live Spidasa!

PHP-Nuke Copyright © 2005 by Francisco Burzi. This is free software, and you may redistribute it under the GPL. PHP-Nuke comes with absolutely no warranty, for details, see the license.
Page Generation: 0.29 Seconds