Magical Trinkets

Magical Trinkets

Richard Earlom - A Blacksmith's Shop
Compared to high-level characters, low-level ones are poor, and the rewards for their efforts meager. Slaying that ogre might have been a great challenge for an intrepid group of 2nd-level adventurers, but its treasure hoard isn’t anything to write home about—coins, an acid flask, some semi-precious gems, and another scroll of cure light wounds. The excitement of a gleaming enchanted blade or a magic cloak is levels away. Though the Pathfinder core rules don’t contain many nonconsumable magic items priced for low-level rewards, the magic item creation rules provide some flexibility to address this issue.

Skill bonus items are a good bargain at a low bonus. Magic items that provide a competence bonus to a skill are priced at the bonus squared × 100 gp. For a low-level character, even a small bonus can make a difference. The cost can be further reduced by applying the rule that an item requires a specific skill to function, further reducing the skill price by 10%.

Those 0-level, 1st-level, and 2nd-level spell effects are also reasonably priced when limited by charges per day. While a command word activated item of a 2nd-level spell at caster level 3 would be worth 10,800 gp, if that item has only one charge per day, it is priced at 2,160 gp. Combined with a minor skill bonus to provide a permanent magical effect, a one use per day magic item can be an interesting and useful tool in the right player’s hands. Don’t forget that the second ability costs 50% more than it normally would, but using a +1 skill bonus as a second ability is still only 150 gp.

The rules also suggest that an item’s final price should be reduced by 30% if the item requires a specific alignment or class to function. While applying this rule for player-created items designed to suit that player seems to go against the spirit of the rule, it is less of a concern for gamemasters.

These are some examples of magic items designed using the Pathfinder core rules that all come in at under 2,000 gp.

Bruiser Belt
Aura faint transmutation; CL 1st
Slot belt; Price 510 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, enlarge person; Cost 255 gp

Once per day as a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity, the wearer can shout the command word to activate the effects of an enlarge person spell on herself for 1 minute. The wearer also gets a continuous +1 competence bonus to Intimidate checks.

Fleet Boots
Aura faint transmutation; CL 1st
Slot boots; Price 940 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, expeditious retreat; Cost 470 gp

Once per day as a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity, the wearer can speak the command word to activate the effects of an expeditious retreat spell on herself for 1 minute. The wearer also gets a continuous +2 competence bonus to Acrobatics checks.

Helm of Valor
Aura faint enchantment; CL 3rd
Slot head; Price 1,662 gp; Weight 3 lbs.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, aid; Cost 831 gp.

Once per day as a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity, the wearer can speak the command word to activate the effects of an aid spell (caster level 3) on herself for 3 minutes. This ability only functions if the wearer is lawful good. The wearer also gets a continuous +1 competence bonus to Sense Motive checks.

Master Weaponsmith’s Hammer
Aura faint transmutation; CL 1st
Slot —; Price 1,440 gp; Weight 2 lbs.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, mending; Cost 720 gp

This hammer provides a +2 competence bonus to Craft (Weaponsmith) checks. When used to repair weapons with the broken condition, it restores 1d4 damage per ten minutes of work on a successful Craft check. It can also repair the broken condition of magic weapons with a caster level equal to or less than the user’s character level.

Pouch of Magic Stones
Aura faint transmutation; CL 1st
Slot —; Price 1,200 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, magic stone; Cost 600 gp

This leather pouch holds up to ten stones or sling bullets. The first ten stones or bullets retrieved from the pouch each day are imbued with the effect of a magic stone spell.

Princeling’s Circlet
Aura faint enchantment; CL 1st
Slot head; Price 870 gp; Weight
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, command; Cost 435 gp

Twice per day as a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity, the wearer can issue a command (DC 11) as if cast by a 1st-level caster. The wearer also gets a continuous +1 competence bonus to Diplomacy checks.

7 thoughts on “Magical Trinkets”

  1. Morgan Boehringer

    This article is gold! Not only does it eloquently and very simply explain the guidelines of magic creation, it also provides very logical reasoning for the article itself, and reasons for why these trinkets are sorely needed – nice “lil loot” for the PCs’ would-be heroes, and easy rewards for the GM to create and hand out.
    Then, to cap it all off, after the design chit-chat, we have sparkling, glittering examples!!! I was really hoping for some examples and my hope was met! I was even worried when I read “under 2000gp” – I was hoping for [i]really[/i] cheap – and again you delivered.
    Great work James!

    My only problem with the samples are the names are still a bit too flashy. It’s weird, but I’d almost not give them a “magic” name at all, just let the investigative PC know that a particular item seems to have a faint aura and that it’s obviously very well made… I guess the desired reskinning can happen either side of the screen…

  2. As to the names – I quite like some of them. Princeling’s Circlet, for example, seems perfectly suited to this class of ‘mini’ wondrous items.

  3. Wonderful stuff. I always hated the fact that the only magic you’d ever end up with at 1st-3rd levels was usually potions, scrolls, and maybe a +1 weapon or wand with a few charges left. Items like these put a little more spark in the hoard and let characters shine as journeymen. Thank you very much.

  4. These games provide the gamers together with the
    potential for earning an extremely substantial jackpot prize in just one shot, nevertheless
    it often takes an incredibly long-time and natural chance to allow them to accomplish this goldmine.

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