Creating Magical Items - how useful is a sample?

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Clusterking
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Joined: 2018-01-14 21:06
Creating Magical Items - how useful is a sample?

A spellcasting character reaches level 9, and has a Sword +1, Luck Blade for a sample - how useful is that?
Can a Mage re-create it even though they aren't level 11 so can't yet perform Rituals like Wish?
Can a Spellsword re-create it even though they can never get to level 11 to perform Rituals?
Can a Bladedancer re-create it even though Wish can never be on their class-list?
Can they create a multi-charge version even though the sample is on it's last charge?
Can they create a multi-charge version one charge at a time, like they could via Rituals?
Can they create a multi-charge version with one research roll, like they can with other non-ritual spell effects?
Does each effect require its own research roll, and does it make a fully-functional (normal) Sword +1 after the first one?
Is it a Wishless luck-blade remnant (with save bonus) after the second roll?
Or does working from a sample complete the whole project with only one research roll, despite multi-effects?

Similarly, can a one-charge wand sample only produce one-charge wands?

In general, what variety of projects does a single sample enable?

GMJoe
Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu BackerACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Backer
Joined: 2013-01-04 12:56

A spellcasting character reaches level 9, and has a Sword +1, Luck Blade for a sample - how useful is that?

-Clusterking

I'm not an autarch, but let's find out!

Can a Mage re-create it even though they aren't level 11 so can't yet perform Rituals like Wish?

-Clusterking

Yes. According to page 117 of the core rules, "Starting at 5th level, spellcasters may begin to scribe scrolls and brew potions. At 9th level, they may begin to make other types of magic items, such as rods, rings, swords, and other items" and "In order to create a magic item, the spellcaster must know the spell(s) that replicate the magic item’s effect, or must find a sample or formula of the item." A level 9 mage with access to a luck blade to use as a sample meets both requirements - and there are no other requirements given. For that matter, a level 5 mage with a formula for a Potion of Longevity could create one, even though Longevity is a seventh-level divine ritual.

Can a Spellsword re-create it even though they can never get to level 11 to perform Rituals?

-Clusterking

Yes. As noted above, having a sample means you don't need to know the spells that replicate the item's effect. As there's no need to learn the spell, there's no need to be a high enough level to cast said spell.

Can a Bladedancer re-create it even though Wish can never be on their class-list?

-Clusterking

Yes. Again, having a sample means there's no need to learn the spell, so not being able to learn the spell is not a concern. (This is important, since it means that mages can produce potions of healing even though they can't learn Cure Light Wounds.)

Can they create a multi-charge version even though the sample is on it's last charge?

-Clusterking

I think so? In this useful thread, Alex mentioned that charged magic items are assumed to be created with full charges.

Also, it seems to me that the maximum charge of an item would be a part of its design, so that even if your sample was at less than its maximum charge, you'd be able to use it as a guide to creating a fully-charged version.

In any case, when your level is high enough for you to create charged magical items, you can afford to pay henchmen to carry your stuff for you. There's not much difference between one fully-charged wand and two half-charged wands, at that point.

Can they create a multi-charge version one charge at a time, like they could via Rituals?

-Clusterking

Maybe. It's not clear whether it's possible to create a partly-charged version of a charged item from a sample.

That said... As per page 118, multiple magical effects can be imbued into a single magic item by handling each magical effect separately, as if it was a separate enchantment. Since sequentially laying multiple enchantments on a single item is explicitly possible, and requires no additional special rules, I can't see any obvious reason why this method should not be used to add charges to a magical item one at a time... And that'd provide a fairly simple and elegant mechanic for recharging charged items, as well.

Can they create a multi-charge version with one research roll, like they can with other non-ritual spell effects?

-Clusterking

Yes. Nothing explicitly forbids it, and it makes sense: Ritual spells are spells, and aside from the special rules on page 119, fuction as other spells do. As such, making a charged magic item that uses ritual spells is no different to making a magic item that uses non-ritual spells.

Does each effect require its own research roll, and does it make a fully-functional (normal) Sword +1 after the first one?

-Clusterking

Yes to the first part, according to page 118: "If the weapon or armor is enchanted with spell-like effects, the spell-like effects are enchanted separately using the cost and time for charged or permanent effects."

As to whether the sword is a fully-functional Sword +1 after the first roll, that depends on which enchantment you lay on the sword first: The +1 weapon enchantment, the wish-granting enchantment, or the +1 luck bonus.

Is it a Wishless luck-blade remnant (with save bonus) after the second roll?

-Clusterking

Again, this depends entirely on the order in which you lay the enchantments.

Or does working from a sample complete the whole project with only one research roll, despite multi-effects?

-Clusterking

Nothing in the rules suggests that having a sample changes the number of research rolls required.

Similarly, can a one-charge wand sample only produce one-charge wands?

-Clusterking

As mentioned above, I doubt it.

In general, what variety of projects does a single sample enable?

-Clusterking

I don't understand this last question.

Clusterking
Clusterking's picture
Joined: 2018-01-14 21:06

Great responses there, GMJoe.

This dovetails nicely with the Commisioning Magic Items rules at page 227 implying a base rate of 7000gp a month corresponding to a level 9 character's cost. A level 9 caster can mass-produce anything given a sample. The difficult and expensive work is creating a new thing prevously unseen.

My last question above summarises all the above questions so was answered by you. The implication is that the single luck-blade sample allows creating full luck blades, normal sword +1s, save-bonus swords, wishless luck-blade remnants, swords with just wishes in any number, and any other permutations.

For the sake of completion, I should ask if a Luck-blade sample that has had all of it's wishes expended can still be used as a sample for any permutations above featuring wishes?

Page 117 says a Bladedancer cannot create a bow +1, since she isn't eligible to use it. Does a sample allow her to bypass this restriction? If not, I'd expect a Martial Training Proficiency (option 2) would.

GMJoe
Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu BackerACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Backer
Joined: 2013-01-04 12:56

For the sake of completion, I should ask if a Luck-blade sample that has had all of it's wishes expended can still be used as a sample for any permutations above featuring wishes?

-Clusterking

The rules don't say whether a fully-discharged magic item can be used as a sample. I imagine not, since otherwise discharged wands would be valuable instead of junk. Again, though, I'm not an Autarch.

Page 117 says a Bladedancer cannot create a bow +1, since she isn't eligible to use it. Does a sample allow her to bypass this restriction? If not, I'd expect a Martial Training Proficiency (option 2) would.

-Clusterking

A sample wouldn't allow her to bypass the restriction, no. "Bypassing the limits of what your class can craft" isn't one of the listed benefits of having a sample. (That said, the divine crafting restriction isn't particularly arduous: A ninth-level divine spellcaster can create any magic item that her class allows her to personally use, which includes nearly every potion and miscilaneous magic item in existence. Excluding weapons and armour she can't use, the only things a divine spellcaster can't make are wands, scrolls of spells not on her class list, and a handful of wizard-only rods and staves.)

As for whether Martial Training would allow a divine spellcaster to craft new types of weapon... Maybe? The text is "A divine spellcaster may make any item his class is eligible to use," and as the example you quote clarifies, the bladedancer class isn't eligible to use a bow, even though it has martial training on its class proficiency list. I suspect that means Martial Training doesn't help, but I could easily imagine a GM ruling otherwise; the ability to create a single extra kind of relatively-common magic weapon is hardly game breaking.