I’ve been thinking about the original post, and wanted to turn it into a bigger system. The intent of this system remains to produce fewer powerful magic items, to create a downtime-heavy system, to keep players from having a precisely optimized gear loadout, and to bind items more to natural results of superior craft. However, I’ve added back in some more achievable ways for PCs to make items.
Read the original post first for context.
Base Cost to Craft DC
For items that don’t cleanly map to + equivalents, here’s a chart to figure out the craft DC for a particular item. Unlike the note in the original post, this is using quite high DCs with the assumption that you’ll be playing in a game where a dedicated level 20 character could reasonably have a +50 (+23 from ranks, +6 skill focus, +5 ability, +10 magic, and +6 from Aid Another), with certain crafters scraping together even higher bonuses for even more powerful items. If this isn’t true in your game, but you still want high-end items to be available, bring down the DCs accordingly.
Find the highest DC where the item’s base cost is equal to or greater than the entry (e.g., an Onyx Dog Figurine of Wondrous Power is 15,500 GP, which means it’s still DC 30 because it’s not quite 16,000 GP).
There are obviously a lot of Wondrous Items that have a cost below 4,000, and it’s up to the GM whether 30 is the minimum DC, or whether those can be crafted at DC 20.
Item Creation Feats
The feats and crafting system for consumable items (scrolls, potions, and wands) works normally.
The other crafting feats for permanent items do two things:
- If an item is one of your cultural items, if you have the appropriate creation feat you can choose to lower the item’s creation DC by 10. Note that this will make it take longer to craft, as you have a smaller multiplier for the week’s work, so probably shouldn’t be done when you can meet the DC easily.
- If an item is not one of your cultural items, the feat allows you to learn to make it. You must assist someone who can already make the item (either a member of the culture or someone else with the feat that’s learned it) in the creation of an example of the item. You must be present for the full crafting and be taking the Aid Another action. You cannot reduce the DC of the item once you’ve learned it.
Powering Up Items
Since items output by this system tend to be personal, you might still want to have the additional of simple pluses to be something that can happen from heroic deeds, one-off magical events, or just as a natural result of characters leveling. They don’t necessarily gain new special powers in this state, but just increase in + value so players don’t feel the need to constantly retire their works of major craft.