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"A wand has 50 charges when created—each charge allows the use of the wand's spell one time. [...] If the wand has a material component cost, it is added to the base price and cost to create once for each charge (50 × material component cost)"

This sounds very much so as if by RAW there's no reliable way to get a hold of a wand with say 5 charges for a tenth of the price. Is that done intentionally?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

The base prices for magic items that create spell effects are 50 gp for potions, 25 gp for scrolls, and 15 gp per charge for wands (times spell and caster level). The price is highest for potions, which anyone can use. Scrolls, which require casting ability, cost only half as much. Wands are even cheaper, even though they're somewhat easier to use than scrolls. You're effectively getting a bulk discount for buying 50 uses at a time. Allowing characters to create undercharged wands would make scrolls pointless.

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I'm unsure about PF, but in 3.5 the DMG makes it clear that a DM should feel free to drop partially-used wands and staves, discounting the effective value of the drop by a flat 1:1 percent. –  BESW Jun 2 '13 at 9:15
I accepted the answer because by RAW that seems to be the case. However, I'm not quite satisfied with the explanation for RAI. 5, 10 or 25 uses is still bulk. And due to wands being easier to handle I'd even be willing to pay scroll price. Try fitting a scroll in that wrist sheath... :-D Imagine a wand of resurrection. The ingredients would be ridiculously expensive. While a wand with just a few uses (still significantly more than a scroll, and at the cost of a feat for making wands, rather than the free scroll scribing that all wizards get). –  Julix Jun 2 '13 at 9:27
@BESW Correct, treasures and spoils of battle often include partially-used wands, and in those cases the value is pro-rated for simplicity's sake. They just don't want players cheesing the system by making wands that way. Hypothetically, you could develop a system where a single spell-trigger charge costs 30 gp, and fifty charges cost 15 gp each, with a sliding scale in between – I imagine the designers just didn't want to deal with the detail you'd need to make it fair. –  Bradd Szonye Jun 2 '13 at 9:35
@Julix In the future, you may find it useful to avoid accepting an answer for at least a day. It encourages more people to provide answers. –  BESW Jun 2 '13 at 9:40
@Julix If you're thinking what I think you're thinking, a partially used wand won't get you a discount on the material cost of the spell, since you can't make a partially used wand. But that's moot, since no-one can make a wand of permanency in any case. –  SevenSidedDie Jun 2 '13 at 9:48
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