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How are the cost calculated for an item which has a metamagic spell in it?

Example:

  • Jump is a level 1 wizard spell and can be cast by a level 1 wizard.
  • The metamagic feat quicken says "A quickened spell uses up a spell slot four levels higher than the spell’s actual level."
  • A 9th level wizard can cast a quickened level 1 Jump.
  • The cost formula for a item is normally: spell grade × caster level × 2000.

So the caster level has to be at least 9. Is the spell grade now 1 (18,000gp) or 5 (90,000gp)?

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The spell counts as the level of the slot necessary to cast it.

This has been answered (indirectly) on this FAQ item:

Metamagic: At what spell level does the spell count for concentration DCs, magus spell recall, or a pearl of power?

The spell counts as the level of the spell slot necessary to cast it.

For example, an empowered burning hands uses a 3rd-level spell slot, counts as a 3rd-level spell for making concentration checks, counts as a 3rd-level spell for a magus's spell recall or a pearl of power.

In general, use the (normal, lower) spell level or the (higher) spell slot level, whichever is more of a disadvantage for the caster. The advantages of the metamagic feat are spelled out in the Benefits section of the feat, and the increased spell slot level is a disadvantage.

Heighten Spell is really the only metamagic feat that makes using a higher-level spell slot an advantage instead of a disadvantage.

This means that a 1st level spell that is quickened to 5th level is now a 5th level spell for calculating magic item creation costs. In your example, the spell level is 5, which means the final price of your item will be 90,000gp.

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Treat a spell in a magic item that's modified by a metamagic feat as if the spell's spell level were actually higher

Magic Item Creation says, in part, that

While item creation costs are handled in detail below, note that normally the two primary factors are the caster level of the creator and the level of the spell or spells put into the item. A creator can create an item at a lower caster level than her own, but never lower than the minimum level needed to cast the needed spell. Using metamagic feats, a caster can place spells in items at a higher level than normal.

(Emphasis mine.) Certainly this rule could have used at least one example of its application right there, but we'll have to content ourselves with published examples that are close, like the major crown of blasting, a wondrous item that uses the 3rd-level spell searing light modified by the feat Maximize Spell (so occupying a 6th-level spell slot and mandating a minimum caster level of 11). While the major crown's text says it's made at caster level 17 (just like the D&D 3.5's similar major circlet), the major crown's math says—when the major crown's reverse-engineered—that the major crown's actually priced as if its caster level were 11, and that caster level 11 also conveniently jibes with the damage dealt by the crown's effect.

(Note that Pathfinder's antecedent Dungeons & Dragons 3.5—from which this rule comes—makes how to apply this rule clearer with, for example, its table of random wands that's also on Dungeon Master's Guide 246.)

So what Magic Item Creation means is, for example, when estimating the gp value of a typical continuous or use activated wondrous item when using Table: Estimating Magic Item Gold Piece Values, the game wants the estimated base price for the magic item to be the spell level modified by the metamagic feat × minimum caster level needed to cast that modified spell × 2,000 gp. Keep in mind, though, that few published magic items employ such modified spells, so getting the GM to approve such custom items may be a challenge.


Note: The GM—not the player or the PC—typically determines a magic item's gp value by first comparing it to existing items then the table. You might also be interested in this question.

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