For 10,000 gp an intelligent magic item can possess an item power that says, "Item can change shape into one other form of the same size." Is there more information about this item power elsewhere? Specifically, what are the limits of this item power? For example, could an +1 intelligent warhammer that possesses this item power assume the form of a common cat?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! Take the tour. I edited this question so as to better fit the site's guidelines. I hope that's okay. A great first question, by the way. Have fun and enjoy your stay. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jun 13 '17 at 2:53

It has always been my understanding that this would be a different object. So your +1 intelligent warhammer would change into a +1 intelligent longsword or a something similar. I never understood this rule to mean the weapon can change to a living being.

Then again, with magic, a lot of things may happen...

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A cat's okay, but you'll have to figure out the specifics

The limits of this power are that it is only one single form of the same size, and that it's probably intended to function like a Pathfinder polymorph effect (although the description does not actually state this limit). So, yes, you could certainly create a warhammer that can assume the form of a common cat (or certain wyrmling dragons or a stubby Garl Glittergold).

Whatever form you select, however, is the only alternative form the item can assume (unless it possesses multiple copies of the relevant ability) and what assume the form of actually entails mechanically is fairly limiting if the form is to be narratively convincing and the transformation is subject to polymorph-subschool-like restrictions. Specifically, if the ability functions like a polymorph effect:

  • The item gets a +10 untyped disguise bonus to pass as what it is disguised as.
  • The item gets all the movement modes and speeds of the form it assumes (and gains the ability to breathe while underwater or underground if the form has a swim or burrow speed, respectively, but continues not to need to breathe, and continues to be unable to breathe when not underwater or underground)
  • The item gains the natural attacks of the creature, including proficiency with those attacks.
  • If the item's form is an animal, magical beast, elemental, vermin, plant, or dragon, it's gear (like, scabbards and stuff) melds with it when it changes, otherwise the gear changes to fit the new form.
  • The item may gain some of the form-based extraordinary abilities of the new form at GM discretion, and loses its own form-dependent supernatural and extraordinary abilities (The only form-based ability most magic items possess is their hardness.)
  • That's it!

This means that any form with extensive supernatural abilities or special senses or anything like that would not possess most of the features you would associate with the form, and those with powerful extraordinary abilities may be unconvincing as well if your GM does not allow the abilities to function.

If you don't apply the polymorph restriction to the ability, then there is very little guidance as to what happens. Generally, because of the exceptions called out by the polymorph school, you would "gain all the abilities and powers of the creature" but, whatever you think that means, it will be a very complicated affair, and probably have to be decided on a case by case basis.

So, long story short: Yes, you can pick a cat as the alternate form for an intelligent item, but the extent to which that form is convincingly cat-like will vary widely from campaign to campaign.

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Considering the additional cost of the ability:

\begin{array}{|c|c|c|}\hline \mbox{Item Power}& \mbox{Base Price Modifier} \\\hline \mbox{Item can change shape into one other form of the same size} & \mbox{+10,000 gp} \\\hline \end{array}

I would say this ability was supposed to work like the Transformative weapon special ability, which has the same listed price (10,000 gp), but doesn't consume enhancement bonuses (equivalent to a +2 ability).

A transformative weapon alters its shape at its wielder’s command, becoming any other melee weapon of the same general shape and handedness.

Though, despite the similar cost, it makes no reference to Transformative and i wouldnt put the same limitations on it, just make the magic item behave similarly: transform into another weapon of the same size (small/medium/large).

The ability to transform into anything is fairly powerful, and a magic item that can do that even once per day would cost roughly 48,000 gp. As such, simply costing an extra 10,000 gp should not justify a magic sword being able to transform into a humanoid creature.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That the intelligent weapon can whimsically opt to use or not use the item power change shape rather than the item power being under the wielder's control could be a mitigating factor in the decreased cost, though. Probably not an 80% price cut, but a price cut nonetheless. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jun 13 '17 at 18:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan The only restriction i see is that the spell range would be personal (the caster being the item) instead of one creature/object, but the price difference is still significant. The owner can force the item to use it's power with a will check vs the item's ego, but ultimatelly, the item uses the ability, not the owner. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Jun 13 '17 at 18:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ How do we weight that against at-will transformation, though? \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Jun 13 '17 at 18:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure one can weigh that when losing the battle of wills means the rebellious magic intelligent warhammer changes form in the adventurer's grap, in the middle of the crowded marketplace, into a toddler screaming Help! I'm being kidnapped! \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jun 13 '17 at 18:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ erm. transformative is any weapon, this is one specific thing. Like, polymorph any object is to this what at-will polymorph is to alternate shape. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Jun 16 '17 at 5:35

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