Thursday, August 30, 2007

Voracious Barding - Armor Quality

Voracious Barding: Voracious is a quality that can be added to any medium or large barding. It often involves a thin layer of mithril plating, and the helmet is carved with runes of transformative power. The teeth of dire predators are often used as spike-like decorations.

Voracious barding has two qualities. First, any suit of voracious barding will alter its shape so that it can fit any medium or large quadruped.

Second, once per day, as a spell like ability, a command word uttered within 30 feet of the armor will trigger a magic fang spell. This spell will default to the wearer's primary attack.

Weak transformation; CL 3rd; Craft Magic Arms and Armor; magic fang; Cost +360 gp.

NPC Gear Value: 1st
Treasure Value: 2nd


1*1*1,800 gp for first level spell like ability, command word activated, once per day.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Brand - weapon quality

Branding: This weapon glows with a dull red heat when unsheated, not enough to light an area, but enough to give you away in the dark. If touched, the metal of the blade or head is hot enough to cause minor burns, but combat amplifies the blade's heat until it becomes more destuctive. A branding weapon does +1d3 heat damage when it strikes in combat.

The branding quality can be added to any metal weapon that is masterwork or magical. If added to a flaming or flaming burst weapon, it bumps the dice of damage cause up by one size (+1d8 or flaming, +2d6 for flaming burst).

Magical energy can be harnessed in similar ways to create different weapons: the Frostbite, which does cold damage, the Sparking, which does lightning damage, the Sharpsong, which does sonic damage, and the Caustic, which does acid damage.

Weak evocation; CL 3rd; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, burning hands; Cost +1,000 gp.

NPC Gear: Branding Masterwork Scythe (1,318 gp) 4th
Treasure Value: Branding Masterwork Scythe (1,318 gp) 5th

Math: Approximately half a weapon bonus. The math or half steps in scaling is a pain in a but, and in truth, after the initial effect is applied, an enhancement this trivial doesn't scale. So I priced it as +1,000 gp.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Scythe of Xygwym - Specific Charged Weapon

The Scythe of Xygwym: The warrior priestess Xygwym was taught how to make these scythes by the 13 death gods of Ghaemyn.

When the wielder of this masterwork scythe hums the names of at least five of the death gods in rapid succession, a charge is drained, and the scythe becomes a +3 weapon for ten minutes. When she ends this command by shrieking: “You belong to them now!”, she can drain five charges from the scythe and make it a +3 wounding weapon.

A newly forged Scythe of Xygwym starts with 50 charges.

Moderate transmutation; Caster level 15th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, magic weapon, cause moderate wounds; Cost 9,318 gp.

NPC Gear
: 11th
Treasure Value: 12th


A +3 charged weapon bonus = 3*3*1000, plus the value of a masterwork scythe

Charged Magical Weapons

A friend of mine asked how I’d do charges weapons.

I’ve seen a couple of different methods used on various newsgroups, but none that really stick.

I figure there’re two approaches.

As per RAW, a continuous or use activated spell effect item has a multiplier of spell level times caster level times 2000.

A continuous use weapon has a multiplier of bonus times bonus times 2000.

A command word spell effect item has a multiplier of multiplier of spell level times caster level times 1,800. One assumes that the 20% reduction in cost is due to the restrictions using a command word places on using the item: for instance, must be able to speak, which several things, like silence, paralysis, etc., can mitigate. Plus, it’s just not always actvie. It needs to be started up, as it were.

You would assume that if a magic sword required a command word to activate, it would have a multiplier of bonus times bonus times 1,800.

The base price of a spell trigger item with 50 charges is spell level times caster level times 750. The difference between a spell trigger item and a command word item is only knowledge of a spell list.

Knowledge of a spell list could be considered an “other consideration”: required specific class or alignment, because spell lists are a function of class.

A magic weapon really shouldn’t require a specific class to use. Unless you really want it to.**

Theoretically, needing a specific class or alignment to use an item makes that item cheaper. So, if a spell trigger item became a command word item, that would increase the base cost by 30%. Adding 30% to a multiplier of 750 makes 975, which would require some sloppy math. Lets round that up to 1,000 gp.

So the cost for a charged magic weapon that requires a command word to use and has fifty charges should be something like: bonus squared times 1,000.

A +1 charged sword would be 1*1*1000 = 1,000 gp (975 sloppy math)
A +2 charged sword would be 2*2*1000 = 4,000 gp (3,900 sloppy math)
A +2 flaming charged sword would be 3*3*1000 = 9,000 gp (8775 sloppy math)
A +2 holy charged sword would be 4*4*1000 = 16,000
A +3 shocking burst charged sword would be 5*5*1000 = 25,000
A +2 brilliant charged sword would be 6*6*1000 = 36,000

Add the base cost of a masterwork weapon.

Let’s compare the price of this to making it an actual wand.

A wand of magic weapon would cost 1*1*750 or 750 gp +30% = 975

A wand of greater magic weapon would cost:

3*5*750 = for +1= 11,250, +30% = 14,625
3*8*750 = for +2 = 18,000, +30% = 23,400
3*12*750 = for +3 = 27,000, +30% = 35,100
3*16*750 = for +4 = 36,000, +30% = 46,800
3*20*750 = for +5 = 45,000, +30% = 58,500

With no way to scale beyond that, RAW.

And, you should add the cost of a masterwork weapon to that, if you’re combining wand with sword.

That gets way out of control. At every level, using greater magic weapon as a wand, the bonus you get costs way more than for a charged item. At lower levels, it’s 3-7 times as much. So, obviously, putting greater magic weapon into a wand it pointless.

Would a charged magic weapon be overpowered? After all, you’d paying half the price for the same bonus.

RAW, a 18th level NPC would be carrying around a regular +4 sword, which is about one quarter of the total value of his treasure.

Assuming the same ratio, an NPC shouldn’t have a +4 charged weapon until they were 16th level (16,000 gp would be less than ¼ of 77,000 gp)

A PC could expect to find a +4 charged sword as a treasure at level 14. She could expect to find a normal +4 sword as a treasure at level 17.

+1 to hit and damage three levels earlier?

If a character used one charge per combat, 13 charges per level, a fully charged weapon would last almost 4 levels.

So, what, in a 20 level campaign, you’d have to buy or get five charged weapons, say at 2, 6, 10, 14, and 18. They would probably be one of each, lets say 55,000 gp total over the course of the campaign.

A typical character would spend just 48,000 on getting a regular +5 sword. He’d probably get it at 4th level (facing 6-7th level challenged). Then he’d upgrade it by paying the difference in steps to 50,000.

And, of course, “found” charged swords might not have their full fifty charges, which means they wouldn’t last reliably as long, which means that they’d “cost” more.

So it looks to me like you would have PCs with magic weapons earlier, but that they would cost a tiny bit more if you relied on disposable (charged) weapons.

Would this spoil permanent magic weapons? Not necessarily. First of all, the extra gold spent on charged weapons (7,000 gp plus) would be almost enough to equip a character with a +2 armor bonus. Cheaper is better. Plus, activating a charged weapon could be quashed by silence spells, which wouldn’t happen with a normal magic weapon.

Second, you could metagame. For instance, charged weapons can’t have bonus abilities, like flaming or bane. Personally, I think that would be dull.

What I like better is making the weapons moderately scalable. For instance, you could give the characters a charged +2 great ax. When a barbarian uses it in battle, screaming his tribal war cry, it burns one charge and becomes a +2 weapon for 10 minutes. If the barbarian screams the name of his god while using his battle cry, the axe burns two charges and becomes a +2 flaming battle ax. If he is wounded before the axe is activated, he can burn four charges and it becomes a +2 flaming battle ax, bane versus trolls.

This largely works because the bumps from +2 to +5 are about double in price, so doubling the charge cost should add a +1 bonus to the weapon. This doesn’t work so well for +1 weapons: the bump from +1 to +2 is quadruple cost. At low levels, you’d get a lot of bang for your buck turning a +1 weapon into a +2 weapon with one extra charge. At high levels, who cares about a measly +1 bonus.

This would mean that the weapon would have variable usability, and tend to use up charges faster, making it even more expensive. It would be interesting, fun, and tactical… but stable, permanent magic items would be much cheaper, which trumps everything.

Also, while writing this little essay I realized that I’d priced every staff on this blog wrong. I was using the numbers in the Craft Staff section, for the cost of creating the staff. Not the final cost. So I went back and redid them.

Ehm. Sheepish grin.

** Although, theoretically, you could say that to use a weapon well, it requires the character have levels in fighter. That isn’t really in the spirit of the RAW, however.
Today's post is another charged weapon. The post below it is an article about how I decided to price them as such.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

So, hey. How about that 4e thing?

No, really. How about it. I've probably got 4 or 5 regular readers. Anybody planning on swapping over? I'm wondering if Rosy Rod has a future as a crunch blog.

In other news: cheap magic items, until I run out. Five weeks?

Grunhilde’s Mace - Specific Magical Weapon

Grunhilde’s Mace: This masterwork heavy mace burns one charge and becomes a +1 weapon for ten minutes when the name of its creator, Grunhilde, is invoked. When the name of Grunhilde is combined with her diety, Thor, and 3 charges are spent, it becomes a +1 thundering weapon.

“Grunhilde didnae die in vain, you trollish boilpickers!”


“Grunhilde died for the Glory of Thor!”

A newly forged Grunhilde’s Mace has 50 charges.

Weak transmutation; Caster level 5th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, magic weapon, wind wall; Cost 1,312 gp.

NPC Gear
: 4th
Treasure Value: 5th

Treasure Value:

+1 charged weapon: 1*1*1,000 (See charged weapon article below), plus the value of a masterwork weapon.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Expulsive Lamps - Minor and Moderate Wondrous Items

Expulsive Lamp - These brass oil lamps always look shiny and new. They usually are very plain, allowing their users to fool observers into thinking they are lighting an ordinary lamp. Devastating sneak attacks have been launched by a seemingly nervous attendant lighting a explusive lamp. It isn't until one turns over the base or the lid, or looks on the inside surface of the handle, that they will see the runes that evoke fire.

Filling and lighting an expulsive lamp is a full round action. The first time a lamp is filled and lit in a day, it will vent a cone of flame at the end of the full round. Most lamps vent a 10 foot cone that does 3d6 damage. Some vent a 20 foot cone that does 6d6 damage, or a 30 foot cone that does 9d6 damage. The rarest vents a 40 foot cone that does 12d6 damage.

Because of its plain nature, an expulsive lamp can be lit as a surprise action. This always requires a successful bluff check. Lamp users gain a +2 circumstance bonus on their bluff attempts if they have a good reason to light a lamp (for instance, it is dark and there are no other light sources).

After they use their cone attack, an explusive lamp burns oil at half the normal rate, ie, one pint per 2 hours.

Some expulsive lamps can be used twice or three times in each day. In each case, the first two or three filling trigger the expulsion. The lamp cannot be used as a normal lamp until all of its uses of expulsion are triggered.

Weak to moderate evocation; CL 5th; Craft wondrous item, fireball; Cost 800 gp (3 dice, 1/day), 1,600 gp (3 dice, 2/day), 2,400 gp (3 dice, 3/day), 3,600 (6 dice, 1/day), 5,400 (9 dice, 1/day), 7,200 (6 dice, 2/day or 12 dice 1/day), 10,800 (6 dice, 3/day or 9 dice, 2/day), 14,400 (12 dice, 3/day), 16,200 (9 dice, 3/day), 21,600 (12 dice, 3/day)

NPC Gear: 2nd (3 dice, 1/day)
Treasure Value: 3rd (3 dice, 1/day)


For the lowest damage, the cost is derived from burning hands: 1*4*2000, divided by 5 for one use per day (or 5/# of uses per day), divided by half for multiple limitations.

The rest are created as per permanent fireball magic items, divided by half for multiple limitations.

Multiple limitations include: limited ability to place the affect (in most cases), limited area of effect versus fireball (in most cases), and using a full round action to light.

Less valuable than fireball: cannot place spread as efficiently, smaller cones do not cover similar area to fireball, full round action, requires resources.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Eye of the Stars - Major Wondrous Item (minor artifact)

The Eye of the Stars: This perfectly round ball of crystal is translucent, but as black as the night sky. Floating in the darkness of the ball are twinkling motes of white light, and seven steady colored lights. Looking into this darkened orb is like looking out a window onto the night sky.

This crystal ball, in addition to allowing scrying, allows the user to see into another plane while thinking of the question. Although they choose the plane, they do not choose the scene. The crystal ball searches for an individual that might be able to answer the question. When it settles on an entity, the user may ask questions as if using a contact other planes spell. There are no limits to this effect, but the usual risks and chances apply to asking questions through the Eye of the Stars.

Strong Divination; CL 10th; Craft wondrous item, scrying, contact other plane; Cost 132,000 gp

NPC Gear: 21st
Treasure Value: 22nd

math: Crystal ball plus 5*9*2000 gp

Friday, August 10, 2007

Petiarcana and Petigrande Staves - Staff

Petiarcana Staff: These small staves, two feet long and made of white wood, wound with purple leather, shod with gold and capped with crystal, were used by the hosts of the stars in battle with the legions of the shards.

They have multiple abilities, like staves. Unlike staves, their caster level is fixed as stated. They normally have fifty charges.

The wielder of a petiarcana staff can cast the following:

Ray of Frost as a first level caster (1 charge)
Burning Hands as a first level caster (2 charges)
Magic Missile as a third level caster (use 3 charges)

Minor evocation; CL 12th; Craft Staff, ray of frost, burning hands, magic missile; Cost 1032 gp (20 per charge).

NPC Gear: 3rd
Treasure Value: 4th


375*.5*1 = 187.5
562.5*1*1 = 562.5 *.5 for 2 charges = 281.25
750*1*3 = 2250 = *.25 for three charges = 562.5

Total = 1031 gp

Petigrande Staff: These staves, about three feet long, with runes carved onto luminescent bone, shod in mithril and capped with the claw of a dragon, were used by the officers of the hosts of the stars in battle with the legions of the shards.

They have multiple abilities, like staves. Unlike regular staves, their caster level is fixed as stated. They normally have fifty charges.

The wielder of a petigrande staff can cast the following:

Magic Missile as a 5th level caster (1 charge)
Scorching Ray as a 7th level caster (2 charges)
Cone of Cold as a 9th level caster (use 3 charges)

Moderate Evocation; CL 12th; Craft Staff, magic missle, scorching ray, cone of cold; Cost 14,250 gp (284 per charge)

NPC Gear: 14th
Treasure Value: 13th


Magic Missile at 5th: 1*5*375 = 1875
Scorching Ray at 7th: 2*7*562.5 = 7,875 *.5 for 2 charges = 3,937.5
Cone of Cold at 9th: 5*9*750 = 33,750 *.25 for 3 charges 8,437.5

Total = 14,250 gp

Monday, August 06, 2007

Crown of Holy Fire - Minor Wondrous Item

Crown of Holy Fire : This ring white and gold flames feels hot to the touch, but does no damage. When picked up by a good cleric and placed on his head, it adds power to his turning attempts.

Once per day, when used in turn attempt, the Crown of Holy Fire grants a +1 to +5 bonus to all rolls associated with that turning attempt. Roll d10 and divide by two (round up) to determine what the bonus is during any given attempt.

Weak evocation; CL 15th; Craft wondrous item, ability to channel positive energy; Cost 2,200 gp.

NPC Gear: 6th
Treasure Value: 7th


Base value is 2,200: average of value of a once per day turning bonus, +1 to +5.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Goblet of Bile - Medium Wondrous Item

Goblet of Bile: This squat stone goblet is made of dark green stone with black intrusions, polished to a silky veneer and carved with capering, vomiting frogs and nonsense rhymes in abyssal. Any liquid poured into this goblet instantly becomes a foul smelling greenish slime. Magical liquids must make a save each round (DC 19) to prevent this transformation. If any living creature voluntarily drinks from this goblet, they will take 6d6 acid damage as a flood of acidic slime rushes into their mouth, down their throat, and distends their belly.

Twice per week, with at least one day in between summonings, the goblet's bearer can pour the liquid on the ground and repeat one of the nonsense lyrics on the goblet. The slime that pours onto the ground will become an ooze. The bearer of the goblet can command the ooze to attack targets. Roll percentile to determine the type: 01-50 Gelatinous Cube, 51-80 Gray Ooze, 81-95 Ochre Jelly, 96-00 Black Pudding. The ooze will last for 11 rounds.

If 00 is rolled, then a Elder Black Pudding is summoned, and the goblet's bearer has no control over it, and in fact will be targeted by the elder pudding if at all possible.

Moderate evocation and evil; CL 13th; Craft Wondrous Item, Monster summoning 7, Control Water; Cost 15,520.

NPC Gear: 13th
Treasure: 14th


Black Pudding: .05 *(7*13*2000) = 9,100 * .5 for multiple similiar = 4,550
Gray Ooze: .2 * (6*11*2000)= 26,400 * .5 for multiple similar = 13,200
Ochre Jelly .15 * (6*11*2000) = 19,800 .75 for multiple similar = 14,850
Gelatinous Cube .5 *(5*9*2000) =45,000

Total = 77,600
/5 for once per day = 15,520

Dividing it more for being usable once per week would give it a ridiculously low price.

A once per day summon monster 5 item would be worth (5*9*2000)/5. 18,000.
A once per day summon monster 5 item would be worth(6*11*2000)/5. 26,400.

Comparing it to a tan bag of tricks, which summons 40-80 Hit Dice of normal animals a week, probably about 60, mostly around the 4th to 5th level summoning range, it looks like you are getting about 1/6th the hit dice at +50% the power level. 15,520 seems a smidge too high for once a week, so I bumped it up to twice a week.

The other abilities are all curses. Although curses are generally given cost in the DMG, none of the curses here are particularly abusable. They are flavor. Any magical liquid that you want to be integral to plot should be given a high caster level in order to avoid the PCs destroying it too easily.