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I'm particularly curious about armor, rings, and weapons. I'm new to Pathfinder but I was under the impression that anyone could wear magic armor or use a magic weapon.

The caster level on each armor and weapon make me wonder if you need to be schooled in that type of magic though.

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Does reading the actual Magic Item section of the rules in the Core Rulebook leave confusion? Because it explains who can use what item, what that CL is there for, etc. – mxyzplk Nov 30 '14 at 4:29

It affects the Spellcraft DC required to make the magic item, and the caster level the item uses when it is under magical attack, for example if someone casts dispel magic on the item. The spellcaster of dispel magic must make a Caster Level check, that is 1d20 + their own Caster Level, and beat a DC of 11 + the item’s Caster Level, in order to temporarily suppress the magic of the item.

Some items also mimic spell effects, for example a sword that, when swung, casts doom on the target. The caster level of the doom effect would be the same as the caster level of the item.

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So the caster level actually has nothing to do with making the item. Caster level sets the DC of the item, but does not impose any requirement on the creator's caster level. Especially when you consider that non-casters can create magical items. ( – Gates VP May 11 '14 at 7:41
@GatesVP Partially true; you don’t need to have the same caster level to make the item, but you must succeed on a Spellcraft check equal to DC 5 + Caster Level in the usual case. The non-caster-magic-item-creation thing is a special, limited case that doesn’t really come into play here. – KRyan May 11 '14 at 14:04

Caster Level is intended to give a rough indication of the power of magic in the item. From the PRD -

Caster Level (CL): The next item in a notational entry gives the caster level of the item, indicating its relative power. The caster level determines the item's saving throw bonus, as well as range or other level-dependent aspects of the powers of the item (if variable). It also determines the level that must be contended with should the item come under the effect of a dispel magic spell or similar situation.

There are many other game mechanics that interact with this caster level, such as Detect Magic, or a Spellcraft check to identify an item's properties, or creating magic items.

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protected by Brian Ballsun-Stanton Nov 30 '14 at 3:42

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