Magic Item Creation (3.5e Variant Rule)

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Magic Item Creation Variant[edit]


The point of this rule is not to "fix" magic item creation. Instead it is to completely replace it with a different concept.

It is rather strange with the normal rules that any wizard can take some time and automatically be able to know how to craft a +4 cloak of charisma. The instructions must automatically be accessible in every local library it seems. This variant offers an alternate idea: blueprints. It also tries to create less a gap in the lower level item costs (2nd level spell should not cost 6 times as much as a first level, when a 4th level costs less than 2 times as much as a 5th level).


In the world, it is conceivable to think that magic item crafters would specialize in a particular set of items (rather than craft any possible item ever created). To make this possible, these rules offer blueprints.

A blueprint gives all the necessary instructions to create an item. Some mage guilds and magic universities collect and sell blueprints. Otherwise they must be invented.


In order to invent a blueprint, a character must have some time and gold ready. Blueprints cost twice the base cost of the item to invent, and twice the amount of time to create. Using the blueprint, the character will be able to create items of that type. If the item has multiple different grades, then a character can use the blueprint to create items of all the lower grades as well. Also if they want an existing blueprint to work for higher grades, they can subtract the time and gold they have already invested from the cost of the new blueprint they wish to create.

  • Scrolls do not require blueprints.
  • Potions cost 1/10 the time and money of normal blueprint creation (not upgrading)
  • Wands cost 1/4 the time and money of normal blueprint creation
  • Staves cost 1/2 the time and money of normal blueprint creation

For Example: If Trimlor the level 5 wizard wanted to create a wand of magic missile (5th level caster), first he would have to create a blueprint for a wand of magic missile (5th level caster). This blueprint would also allow him to make wands of magic missile for caster levels lower than 5th.

Upgrading a Blueprint[edit]

A character may spend half the base cost of the item, and half the time in order to upgrade a blueprint. An upgraded blueprint costs 10% less gold and 15% less experience to create. A blueprint may be upgraded up to 5 times, each upgrade costing an extra half the base cost in time and gold.

For Example: If Trimlor decides to upgrade his wand of magic missile (5th level caster) blueprint twice, it would cost him half the base price of the item in time and gold the first time, and the full base price in time and gold the second time. This would give him a 20% discount on the gold cost of the item and a 30% discount on the experience cost of the item for all future creations of the wand (or lower caster level versions).

Magic Item Costs[edit]

Given that blueprints can significantly increase the cost of an item, this system also attempts to balance out the cost increases at low spell levels.

Caster Level[edit]

For some items, increase the caster level does little more than duration. It is silly to think that a wand of mage armor (2nd caster level) costs twice as much as its 1st caster level counterpart.

For this reason, caster level can divide items into different categories:

  • Type 1: Increases only range of the spell (ray of frost) or caster level for purposes of the item being dispelled (magic armor), +1%
  • Type 2: Increases duration of a spell and possibly range (mage hand), +2%
  • Type 3: Has damage or an effect that scales at a lower rate than 1/caster level (magic missile), +5%
  • Type 4: Has damage or an effect that scales directly with caster level (fireball), +10%

When determining the cost of an item (see later), you use only how many increases of each type are appropriate.

For Example: If you make a wand of fireball (20th level caster), it comes with 5 automatic caster levels (lowest it can be cast at), as well as 5 Type 4 increases and 10 Type 1 increases.


The base price for any item is derived from (then multiplied by item type multipliers):

2 ^ (Spell Level - 1)

You can compare this to the old multipliers using this table:

Spell Level Old Base Multiplier New Base Multiplier
0 1/2 1/2
1 1 1
2 6 2
3 15 4
4 28 8
5 45 16
6 66 32
7 91 64
8 120 128
9 153 256

After level 9, the multiplier should increase by 128 for each spell level.

Other than base cost based on the spell level and caster level increases, use the standard item creation rules.

Example Items[edit]

Suppose we wanted to make a Wand of Magic Missile using these rules:

1st level caster: 2 ^ 0 x 750 gp = 750 gp (same as normal) 3rd level caster: 2 ^ 0 x 750 gp x 10% = 825 gp (2,250 gp old price) 5th level caster: 2 ^ 0 x 750 gp x 20% = 900 gp (3,750 gp old price) 7th level caster: 2 ^ 0 x 750 gp x 30% = 975 gp (5,250 gp old price) 9th level caster: 2 ^ 0 x 750 gp x 40% = 1050 gp (6,750 gp old price)

Suppose we wanted to make a Staff of Life:

  • The minimum caster level is 13, which means we will have to bump heal up by 2 caster levels.
  • Heal has an increase each level, so it costs 20% more to increase heal by 2 levels.
  • Ressurection costs 10,000 gp in material components but it costs 5 charges so that is 100,000 gp total

Cost = 2 ^ 7 x 375/5 + 0.75 x 375 x 2 ^ 6 x 20% + 100,000 gp = 9,600 + 21,600 + 100,000 = 131,200 gp

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