Friday, June 29, 2007

Gauntlets of the Sun's Falconer - Minor Wondrous Items

Gauntlet of the Morning Gyre: This brass gauntlet has a spiral design inscribed on the broad plate that guards the forearm, set with a brilliant topaz at it's center. There is a hawk engraved on the back of hand.

Once per day, the wearer can use it to summon a celestial hawk made of solid light, translucent with a brilliant red crest, as if they had just cast summon monster I, except that the hawk remains for 10 rounds.

If the character who owns the gauntlet slays an evil outsider, and sacrifices 80 of their own experience points, the Guantlet of the Morning Gyre becomes a Gauntlet of the Lambant Gyre.

Weak Conjuration; CL 10th; Craft Wondrous Item, summon monster I; Cost 400 gp.

Gauntlet of the Lambant Gyre: This brass gauntlet has a spiral design inscribed on the broad plate that guards the forearm, set with a brilliant star topaz at it's center. There is a hawk engraved on the back of hand.

Once per day, the wearer can use it to summon a celestial hawk made of solid light, translucent with a brilliant red crest, as if they had just cast summon monster I, except that the hawk remains for 10 rounds. The hawk is enhanced as if by the Augment Summoning feat.

If the character who owns the gauntlet slays an air elemental or evil outsider, burns 1,000 gp worth of rare herbs in a ceremony, and sacrifices 200 of their own experience points, the Gauntlet of the Lambant Gyre becomes a Gauntlet of the Lucent Gyre.

Weak Conjuration; CL 10th; Craft Wondrous Item, summon monster I; Cost 800 gp.

Gauntlet of the Lucent Gyre: This brass gauntlet has a spiral design inscribed on the broad plate that guards the forearm, set with a brilliant orange and yellow flameberyl at it's center. There is a hawk engraved on the back of hand.

Once per day, the wearer can use it to summon a cast of 1d4+1 celestial hawks made of solid light, translucent with a brilliant red crest, as if they had just cast summon monster III, except that the hawks remain for 10 rounds. The hawks are enhanced as if by the Augment Summoning feat.

If the character who owns the gauntlet slays an air elemental or evil outsider, burns 600 gp worth or rare herbs in a ceremony, and sacrifices 1200 of their own experience points, the Gauntlet of the Lucent Gyre becomes a Gauntlet of the Splendid Gyre.

Weak Conjuration; CL 10th; Craft Wondrous Item, summon monster I; Cost 2,800 gp.

Gauntlet of the Splendid Gyre: This brass gauntlet has a spiral design inscribed on the broad plate that guards the forearm, set with a brilliant fire opal at it's center. There is a hawk engraved on the back of hand.

Once per day, the wearer can use it to summon a cast of 5 celestial hawks made of solid light, translucent with a brilliant red crest, as if they had just cast summon monster I, except that the hawk remains for 10 rounds. The hawks are enhanced as if by the Augment Summoning feat.

Moderate Conjuration; CL 10th; Craft Wondrous Item, Maximize Spell, summon monster IIII; Cost 4,000 gp.

Maths (Looooong):

This family of magic items sort of illustrates why the magic pricing set up does no justice to low power effects.

The cost of the base item is, for a summon monster I once per day: 1*1*2000/5 = 400

Add in the augmentation. I count it as a first level spell: 1*1*2000/5 = 400 gp.

The caveat here is that the base item summons a hawk that lasts one round. Big whoop, right?

So what's the cost otherwise? Well, it goes up by approximately 400 gp per round, so that a hawk that lasts 10 rounds is 4,000 gp (which characters won't have until ___ level). Even a hawk that lasts three measly rounds is 1200 gp, an award suitable for a fourth level character, when one measly celestial hawk is starting to look... measly. My answer was to artificially inflate the duration of the hawk to one minute: until it dies (which will happen quicker and quicker as the character's level increases) or the combat is over.

When you start on multiple hawks, the pricing really breaks down. Summoning a cast of 1d4+1 hawks is a third level spell, summon monster 3. 3*5*2000 = 30,000. /5 for once per day is 6,000 gp. Wow. For 2-5 CR 1/4 creatures. yeek.

How do you even evaluate that? You probably won't have a 6,000 gp magic item until at least _____ level, where 2-5 celestial hawks are just not compelling. So I compared it to a tan bag of tricks, also 6,000 gp. With the tan bag, you can summon up to 10 4 to 8 creatures per week.

Definately not as good.

So what's the solution? Well if one augmented celestial hawk is worth 800 gp, two is probably worth 1600, five are probably worth, at most, five times that. Not 7.5 (6000/800 = 7.5 times the value of one celestial hawk). So I valued the Gauntlet Lucent at 800 gp per certain augmented hawk (at least two), plus half value for the maybe hawks. 800+800+400+400+400 = 2,800 gp. 800*5 for splendid, instead of 6*11*2000/5 = 26,400 for a maximized summon monster three. Much more reasonable.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Book of Questions: Medium Wondrous Item

Book of Questions: This thin spellbook sized tome has a hinged cover made of gold plated lead. Inside are 20 pages of beaten mithril, each with the symbol of a plane: the four elemental and 16 aligned planes. The runes glow with the energy of their plane: the rune for the plane of fire crackles with flame, the rune for hades gives off a dull gray light.

A user can open the book to the run of a given plane, speak the name of a creature on that plane, and compel them to answer four questions through the rune. This works just like Contact Other Plane. The user's mind is blasted by the powerful planar energies evoked, and they must save to avoid an intelligence/charisma decrease.

If any creature attempts to use the book a second time in one day, they automatically suffer intelligence/charisma decrease, as if they had failed an intelligence check while casting Contact Other Plane.

For several days after using the book, questioners will see ripples in the air and ground around them, as if something massive is moving just under the skin of reality.

Strong divination; CL 9th; Craft Wondrous Item, Contact Other Plane; Cost 18,000 gp

Treasure Value: 15th

Math: 5th level spell once per day: 5*9*2000/5 = 18,000

Monday, June 25, 2007

Last week got busy. I think I can manage three this week, though. Hang in!

Dried Hag Orchid - Minor Wondrous Item

Hag Orchids: These flowers, although they often grow on the same bush, never have the same patterns. They sport some of the most varied and eleborate patterns in nature, including ordered geometric shapes and patterns, faces, and colors impossible to duplicate naturally. They grow in places that are saturated with the energies of the Kakosphere.

A fresh hag orchid is a spell trigger magic item that can be used to cast a prestidigitation cantrip by someone who has that spell on their list. The flower withers to dust afterwards.

A propely dried and prepared hag orchid is a spell trigger item that can be used to create a random magical effect.

When activated by someone who has prestidigitation, or any spell with a chaotic type, on their spell list, a dried hag orchid generates an effect just as if a rod of wonder were activated.

Dried hag orchids are fragile. This means that anytime someone carrying a dried hag orchid fails a save that would effect his equipment, hag orchids are destroyed first. All hag orchids on an individual are destroyed if this is the case.

A fresh Hag Orchid can bring up to 75 gp at market. Up to a hundred can be growing in a single patch, depending on the size of the source of chaos they are feeding on.

Weak enchantment; CL 10th; Brew Potion, Craft (Alchemy) 13+, prestidigitation, creator must be chaotic; Price 300 gp.

Treasure Value: 1st
NPC Gear: 1st

Note: You can use any random magic effect table instead of the Rod of Wonder table in the DMG. There is a link to some compiled lists here.

Math: Rod of wonder/40 for single use effect.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Dusts of Metamagic - Minor Wondrous Items

Dust of Empowerment: This metallic, grainy powder, when used in the casting of a spell, extends the casting time of that spell to one round (if it is shorter than one round) and allows the caster to cast the spell as if he applied the Empower Spell feat to it.

Weak transmutation; CL 5th; Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, Empower Spell feat, spellcaster level 3rd+; Price: 400 gp.

NPC Gear: 1st
Treasure Value: 2nd

Dust of Enlargement: This sandy, gritty powder, when used in the casting of a spell, extends the casting time of that spell to one round (if it is shorter than one round) and allows the caster to cast the spell as if he applied the Enlarge Spell feat to it.

Weak transmutation; CL 3rd; Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, Enlarge Spell feat, spellcaster level 3rd+; Price: 100 gp.

NPC Gear: 1st
Treasure Value: 1st

Dust of Extension: This fine, silty powder, when used in the casting of a spell, extends the casting time of that spell to one round (if it is shorter than one round) and allows the caster to cast the spell as if he applied the Extend Spell feat to it.

Weak transmutation; CL 3rd; Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, Extend Spell feat, spellcaster level 3rd+; Market Price: 100 gp.

NPC Gear: 1st
Treasure Value: 1st


Dust of Maximizing
: This soft, ashy powder, when used in the casting of a spell, extends the casting time of that spell to one round (if it is shorter than one round) and allows the caster to cast the spell as if he applied the Maximize Spell feat to it.

Weak transmutation; CL 7th; Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, Maximize Spell feat, spellcaster level 7th+; Market Price: 900 gp, Weight: -.

NPC Gear: 2nd
Treasure Value: 3rd

Math:

I created these for a different campaign, many years ago, before the advent of Unearthed Arcana. The formula I used was: the number of spell slots the fear raised the spell level by, squared, multiplied by 100. I figured that this was a pretty good way to capture the power level of the feat for a single use item.

Unearthed Arcana uses a different formula for "power components." As near as I could tell it was something like: (value of a scroll of the spell as if cast from the modified spell slot)-(value of a scroll of the spell). This would mean that, for instance, the value of a maximized summon monster 5 ((8*15)*25)-(5*9)*25) or 1,875 gp)would be far more expensive that dust of maximizing.

Unfortunately, crafting a seperate price for each item would be a pain in the butt. More importantly, would you pay nearly two thousand gold for a gaurantee of two more mephits? Me neither. How about 825 gp for 27.5 extra hit points of damage? That's what you'd paying for a maximized fireball power component (considering you couldn't even use it until 11th level, anyways.

One pinch of dust of maximization is a second level treasure. Does that mean that second level wizards are going to blast foes apart by doing a maximized magic missle as opposed to a regular one? Only if they spend their treasure on nothing else. Go wild with that extra hit point and a half.

Best of all, they make great expendable treasure for NPCs.

I believe that the Dusts of Metamagic are balanced, cost vs. their limited use, situational efficacy, and increased casting time. Comments welcome.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Happy Birfday to Us!

Hi!

I was going to post yesterday, because, if you check the June 2006 link in the archives, you'll see that the first post was June 13th. That's my birthday, too? Isn't that sweet?

So here's where I pander shamelessly. If you like this blog, recomend us to someone you know. I would love to see more people visiting the blog, and, as always, appreciate comments.

Thanks loads,

Lawrence

Earth’s Mantle - Minor and Major Wondrous Items

Earth’s Mantle: These heavy cold weather cloaks are sewn of earth colored panels, red, ochre, brown, and black, that resemble the strata adventurers often see in desert and mountain-scapes, and in the crevases of the underdark.

A wearer feels more solid, as if they have the mass of rock. They gain a +1 bonus to Fort saves, a +4 bonus to their intimidation checks, and earth mastery +1, which means they get a +1 to hit and damage rolls made against any opponent if both of them are touching the ground.

Weak transmutation; CL 3; Create wondrous item, bull’s strength; Cost 5,850 gp.

NPC Gear: 9th
Treasure Value: 11th

Math:

+1 limited skill save = 1*1*300, half again for multiple different = 450
+6 skill = 4*4*100 = 1,600, half again for multiple different = 2,400
broad, limited +1 bonus = 3,000 (+1 combat bonus, added to all combat rolls *2, moderate limitation by context *.75)


Earth’s Mantle, Greater
: These heavy cold weather cloaks are sewn of earth colored panels, red, ochre, brown, and black, that resemble the strata adventures often see in desert and mountain-scapes, and in cracks in the underdark.

A wearer feels more solid, as if they have the mass of rock. They gain a +2 bonus to Fort saves, a +2 natural armor class bonus, a +6 bonus to their intimidation checks, and earth mastery +2, which means they get a +2 to hit and damage rolls made against any opponent if both of them are touching the ground. They also have a -1 modifier to their dexterity score as long as they are wearing the cloak.

Strong transmutation; CL 4; Create wondrous item, bull’s strength, barkskin or stoneskin; 24,200 gp

NPC Gear: 15th
Treasure Value: 16th

Math:

+2 limited skill save = 2*2*300, half again for multiple different = 1,800
+6 skill = 6*6*100, half again for multiple different = 5,400
+2 natural armor bonus = 2*2*2000, half again for multiple different = 6,000
broad, limited +2 bonus = 12,000 (+1 combat bonus, added to all combat rolls *2, moderate limitation by context *.75)
-1 dex = 1*1*1000 = -1,000

Monday, June 11, 2007

Sword Breaking Armor - Armor Bonus

Sword Breaking Armor: Any metal armor can have this magical property. When a target wearing armor with this quality is attacked but missed because of a critical roll (a one), the weapon being used in the attack breaks if it is non-magical.

Magical weapons break on a critical miss only if their total modified to hit roll was ten or less than the roll they needed to hit their opponent’s armor class.

Moderate abjuration; CL 6th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, stoneskin; Price: +1 bonus.

NPC Gear: +1 Sword Breaking Breast Plate (4,350 gp), 8th
Treasure Value: +1 Sword Breaking Breast Plate (4,350 gp), 9th

Math:

Why a +1 bonus? Because its cool, but it's not that cool.

The reasoning is that, while the effect is spectacular, it only happens 5% of the time. Much like a Flaming Burst weapon quality, except it never does damage. It will inconvenience some mooks, and nerf a few bad guys, but dragons fail saves against polymorph all the time.

The 10 or less shim is in there for magical weapons mostly to protect PCs and Big Bads. If o a PCs prize holy sword breaks, tell them to suck it up and go on a quest to mend it. If your big bad's weapon breaks in the first round, fudge. I don't care if it sounds fair: the PC has a chance to shine every week. The big bad you worked so hard on? ONCE. Sometimes its more fun to be a little unfair.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Stitchcloak - Minor Wondrous Item

Stitchcloak: These ugly leather cloaks are often poorly cured, and made of mottled leathers stitched together in scabrous, thick seamed patterns. Made from the skins of animals, humanoids, and lizard folk killed by kobolds, they are sized for a small humanoid. Once made, a stichcloak is blessed by kobold clerics to make wounds inflicted by the wearer more terrible.

When worn, a stichcloak bestows a +1 divine bonus to the damage of all bladed melee weapons used by the wearer.

Weak evocation; CL 3rd; Craft wondrous item, divine favor; Cost 750 gp.

NPC Gear: 2nd
Treasure Value: 3rd

Math: a masterwork +1 to hit is worth 300 gp (roughly one quarter of a +1 magical bonus). I fudged the numbers around until they looked right because: the stichcloak adds its damage bonus to all bladed melee weapons, and it stacks. So a 150% increase seems right? Double for increased efficacy, another 50% for stackability?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Box of Lending - Varied Wondrous Item

Box of Lending: The cover of this heavy wooden box, which has an inner volume of one and a half feet long by nine inches wide by eight inches deep, is carved with a scene of several humanoid creatures in fellowship or revelry. The scene changes from box to box. In fact, powerful boxes are identified by the design motifs on their sides, because the design on the top changes from owner to owner.

The box allows its owner to transfer the powers of any magical item which is designed to grant its abilities by being worn. When a magical item is placed inside the box, the benefits of wearing such a magic item can be transferred to a creature not wearing the item, regardless of his distance from the box. For instance, a thief king could put a cloak of resistance +1 in the box, and grant the resistance bonus to his most loyal footpad.

The powers of a single item cannot be granted to more than one individual. The creature being granted the power must have a slot free that could use the item granting the ability. For instance, the footpad cannot also be wearing a cape of the mountebank. Items that need command words, actions, or concentration to activate them are useless, because neither the owner of the box or the creature granted the power can activate the item from outside the box.

It requires a ten minute ritual, and a piece of the recipient’s hair, nails, or skin to grant the abilities of a magic item in the box. The owner of the box may switch the abilities of any item in the box to another creature using the same ritual.

When a creature has been granted the powers of an item in the box, her face appears amongst the revellers on the top.

Strong transmutation; CL 10; Craft Wondrous Item, any other item creation feat except scribe scroll or brew potion, mage’s disjunction; 1 item box 2000 gp, 2 item box 8000 gp, 3 item box 18,000 gp, 4 item box 32,000 gp, 5 item box 50,000 gp, 6 item box 72,000 gp, 7 item box 98,000 gp, 8 item box 128,000 gp, 9 item box 162,000 gp, 10 item box 200,000 gp.

NPC Gear: 1 item box, 5th
Treasure Value: 1 item box, 6th

Math: number of items the box can hold, squared, *2000

Note: this item is a set piece. It's value to a PC or NPC is so variable that I would hesitate to include it as part of the value of an NPC's gear.

A box might be useful to give interesting or uniform powers to the various lieutenants of a major villain. A fire giant chieftan could put a ring of fire resistance in the box to give his ogre or troll lieutenant's fire resistance. Likewise a ring of couterspells, or a cloak of displacement.

If a foe is granted abilities from a magic item valued at 50% more than his normal gear, add one to his CR. 100% more than his normal gear, add two to his CR. And so on. For instance a 10th level dwarvish ranger, with normal gear, and the benefits of a cloak of displacement, is probably a little tougher to defeat.

PCs with companions might find it useful, also.

Monday, June 04, 2007

I am technically still on vacation, driving through Pennsylvania. In my hubris, I thought I could keep up my posting schedule from the road, but for one reason or another I have not had internet since last Monday.

I'll post three times this week to make up the gap.

Roses of Lilthim Il Mater - Special Material

Roses of Lilthim Il Mater: These magical rose bushes produce velvety blooms so deep red that they are almost black. They bloom prolifically and their petals fall easily, so that the ground around a bush is covered with crushed, dried rose petals that give off a heady scent. The roses are a gift of the fallen angel-saint Lilthim to her cult, and used as part of a sacrament called the Sanguinary Token.

Anyone with Craft (Alchemy) or Knowledge (Religion) can make a check (DC 16) after examining the Roses of Lilthim to realize that the powerful magical blooms can be used to charm or enhance charisma. A single blossom can be dried turned into a dust that will create a hypnotismspell on anyone targeted. The save difficulty is 11 for one dose. Each additional dose adds +1 to the DC to save against this effect.

The petals and perfume of enough roses can permanently raise an individual’s Charisma score by +1. This is an inherent bonus.

A bush produces enough roses in it's yearly bloom for forty doses of hypnotism powder, or one Charisma bonus.

A single bush in full bloom can be considered to be a 1,000 gp treasure. Successfully transporting and transplanting a bush requires a DC 25 Knowledge (Nature) check, and requires the Bush to make a DC 15 Fort save. It has a +2 Fort save. A live bush can be sold for 5,000 gp.

Lilthim Hypnotism powder: 25 gp per dose.

Treasure Value: Bush in bloom , transported bush
NPC Gear: Bush in bloom , transported bush

Math (long and dull):

A +1 ability score bonus is worth 1,000 gp. 1*1*1000. Being inherent probably makes it worth more, but hell. It's only +1.

The hypnotism dust is worth 1*1*50 gp, half for limited range (only one character) = 25 gp. One thousand divided by 25 is 1,000.

The effects are mutually exclusive, so I didn't add anything for multiple abilities. Plus, neither effect is exactly easy to use. They require processing.

The effect of the bush should probably make the cost something like 50,000 gp, because multiplying by fifty seems to be short hand for an "unlimited" resource (see making permanent magic items out of spells with XP or expensive component costs), but for the following caveats:

It is largely immobile.

It has a year's turnaround time to produce a new crop of effects (not useful in your average campaign, I'd suggest).

And the effects are relatively useless for characters who could afford 50,000, or even half that much.

So, I let the immobility set the price, valuing it at the value of a treasure of the level of a character who could reasonably move it. The DC is 25. Your average character would need to be at least 11th level to have a greater than 25% chance to move the bush successfully (knowledge nature of +14 would mean a roll of 9 or greater would move the plant (50%), and the plant would fail its Fort save 65% of the time anyway).

Skill checks and saves are relatively easy to boost, which means moving the bush is by no means impossible for lower level PCs. If PCs use resources in the way of spells to move it, more power to them. That's the definition of an encounter. If they use cash resources (potions or scrolls) that's called an investment.

It would be very hard for an adventurer to make a cash crop out of Lilthim's gift.