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Most magical items of any significant power will take far longer than one day to create. Given the crafting rate of 1 day per 1,000 gold, it seems unlikely there will be any serious balance concerns with allowing multiple inexpensive items in a single day, and it seems equally unlikely that a powerful cleric could not create potions of Stabilize at a much higher rate.

Is there some balance concern behind this rule, or can it be safely house ruled away? Alternatively, is there a particular narrative reason?

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4 Answers 4

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I think it's just to ensure that PCs can only craft items during downtime.

It forces you to take a full day out to craft small items. The one day minimum helps prevent weird cases like:

  • Three scrolls taking the same time to scribe as one scroll
  • Crafting twenty feather tokens in one day
  • Scribing an unused spell into a scroll before you go to sleep, just to avoid wasting it
  • Crafting an item casually in an hour, without taking a full day of downtime

Other than that, there are no major balance issues. The amount of downtime isn't specified in the rules so crafting isn't strongly balanced against it as a limited resource. You're still spending your own gold to craft the items. I think your house rule would be reasonable.

Remember also that you're already limited by the number of spells you can cast per day: you have to cast each item's prerequisite spell once each day while crafting. To craft five feather tokens, you'd have to prepare major creation five times (or hire someone else who can, or cast from scrolls, or raise the item creation DC).

Edit: Another reason is to simplify item creation time down to increments of whole days.

Originally in D&D 3.5, you couldn't craft items while adventuring and even small items took a full 8 hour day. Pathfinder eased those requirements, but kept the 1/day limit. One benefit is that it divides item creation into whole days, which is simpler than tracking individual hours. It's not overpowered, just a restriction Pathfinder inherited from D&D 3.5.

You can remove the 1/day limit if you're willing to handle the extra complexity.

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Well, three cheap scrolls should take less time than one expensive one in my opinion. Twenty feather tokens would be wildly impractical if possible at all. Scribing a scroll to avoid wasting a spell charge seems like a great idea to me, and again they can only do it if the scroll is relatively cheap. I don't think the party should have to take a day off for the cleric to brew a potion of Stabilize, let alone an entire week to brew seven. That seems exactly like something that should be crafted casually. –  Eric B Aug 14 '13 at 21:29
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The rules actually allow you to craft while adventuring, just not a lot. Also: they allow you to create a minor scroll or potion in a mere couple hours, though you're still limited to one per day. d20pfsrd.com/magic-items#TOC-Magic-Item-Creation –  Jacob Proffitt Aug 14 '13 at 21:38
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3.5 allowed crafting while adventuring: Creating Magic Items: “The caster works for 8 hours each day [but] the caster can use the rest of his time as he sees fit.” (emphasis mine) The rules do say “the creator also needs a fairly quiet, comfortable, and well-lit place in which to work,” but then says that “any place suitable for preparing spells is suitable for making items,” so a spellcaster presumably has access to that while adventuring, even if it is just camp. So a lot of your premise is inaccurate. –  KRyan Jan 18 at 23:44

I think it might be in order to prevent a caster from using cheap scrolls and/or potions to extend their spells per day. Every day spent crafting would give you essentially 4 extra spells without the limitation. Yeah, those spells would be expended for the current day, but they persist forever after that and give you an easy way to stockpile your spell loadout. So the reason is probably to prevent stockpiling a ridiculous number of spells and effectively removing the spells per day limitation (for lower level spells, anyway).

Personally, I'd lean towards house-ruling it away provided that your campaign doesn't have a ton of downtime. Those potions/scrolls that can be created for cheap (1st level potions, 1st and 2nd level scrolls) are limited enough on their own and I think the expense will catch up before the benefits are fully realized—at least in most campaigns. If your campaign has a lot of downtime, though, I'd be more wary...

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Seems like my original answer was well off-base, here's a re-vamp.

it seems unlikely there will be any serious balance concerns with allowing multiple inexpensive items in a single day and it seems equally unlikely that a powerful cleric could not create potions of Stabilize at a much higher rate

So you can create potions of Stabilize at a much higher rate. Here's the write-up on Magic Item creation.

Potions and scrolls are an exception to this rule; they can take as little as 2 hours to create (if their base price is 250 gp or less)

Potions of stabilize cost 25gp, so you could make 4 / day at 2 hours each. What about potions that cost more than 250gp? They have that base covered too.

Scrolls and potions whose base price is more than 250 gp, but less than 1,000 gp, take 8 hours to create, just like any other magic item.

So there's only one corner case here. What about general magic items that cost less than 1000gp?

To start, there are very few items under 1000gp that are not potions or scrolls. They are basically all ammo or really minor magic items.

Can you mass produce ammo or unguents of minor spell? Probably, there is a gap here in the rules.

Is there some balance concern behind this rule, or can it be safely house ruled away?

As long as you keep people under 1k / day, you probably won't break the game. That stated, there are a few ways to house rule here.

I think the safest is to extend the "scroll/potion" rule to minor items as well. So I can create up to 250gp in ammo in a single 2 hour time span. But I would limit it to "5 of one thing", rather than "5 things totaling".

Note the relevant addition for crafting while adventuring:

If the caster is out adventuring, he can devote 4 hours each day to item creation, although he nets only 2 hours' worth of work.

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It takes 1 day per 1,000 gold an item is worth to make anything, so this answer really doesn't make any sense to me. The question is specifically meant to be about magic items worth less than 1,000 gold. –  Eric B Aug 14 '13 at 19:22
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I think you missed the point of the question... The asker doesn't want to increase the rate of GP total per day, just allow multiple items under that total to be crafted. Besides that, you sell at half price anyways. Soo.... –  dlras2 Aug 14 '13 at 19:24
    
Dan, I've re-written the answer, I was honestly tripped up by the "potion" part which already had an explicit rules exception. –  Gates VP Aug 15 '13 at 21:21

As a seasoned GM, I would recommend thinking long and hard about altering this rule.

Maybe your game is in a high level magic environment, with easy and prolific access to magic items. If it is, altering the rule might not be dangerous.

However, if magic is less than common, think what effects making multiple items per day can have on your world economy and game. If your players can make multiple items a day, then an NPC can do the same. In a world where anyone can buy lvl 1 and 2 buffing potions from a cleric or scrolls from a wizard's spell list, you make NPCs very powerful at low levels. Rogues who can buy locate object and knock scrolls, as well as illusion or enchantment scrolls to allow them to slip in and out of an area, make no object safe from a thieves fingers. Toughs that can easily be buffed with bulls strength, bears endurance, and mage armor, are tough to take on at early levels. Players that can spend a day doubling their money by investing in making magic items then selling for twice their cost, have little reason to leave town except for supplies. As well, allowing them to make large amounts of money early, would allow them access to items above their general level, making encounters far easier for them. The xp price exists to help keep players in check, but the cost for low level items is so cheap, a fortune can be made at the xp cost of a single adventure.

Certainly the limit in magic items created per day can be eliminated. The consequences would have to be planned for, or a way of limiting abuses instituted. You know your players will see the benefits quickly and strive to capitalize on them.

In the end, it is about having fun. If the change will result in fun for you and your players, then I see no reason not to go ahead and do it.

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