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Dreaming dreams of stacking Enlarge Person, as most people who play martial characters do, and a friend pointed out Expansion due to the augmentation offered:

If you spend 6 additional power points, this power increases your size by two size categories instead of one.

This led me to thinking: this would be a brilliant psionic item, but I can't find much information for if this is possible.

Question: Can a Psionic Item be created with the effect of an Augmented Psionic Power, without any further requirements of spending Power Points?

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A magic item that already does what you're trying to do is the psychoactive skin skin of proteus that allows the wearer to use continuously the psionic power metamorphosis that, among other options, allows a Medium creature to become Huge.

The skin of proteus has a price of 84,000 gp and doesn't occupy a body slot, but only one psychoactive skin can be active at a time, other worn psychoactive skins being rendered inert by the active skin.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! Take the tour! Thank you for a great suggestion that solves the asker's problem. I edited this answer so that it had links and explained in more detail what the item's effect is; I hope that's okay. Thank you for contributing and for helping strangers! \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Apr 19 '18 at 19:26
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The rules for this are scattered all over the place: some of the rules are in the general psionic item rules, some of the rules are in the rules for crafting certain psionic items, some of the rules are in the individual descriptions of psionic items. I am trying to gather all of them in one place.

Psionic Tattoos

Psionic tattoos (which function like the psionic version of potions) simply don’t say anything about augmentation at all. There are just no rules for it.

But since psionic tattoos are one-time-use items, they wouldn’t be very good for this purpose anyway.

Power Stones

Power stones (psionic analogue to scrolls) can definitely be created as augmented versions, per the power command activation rules:

Powers stored in power completion items are usually not augmented, because the manifester level of such an item is assumed to be the minimum necessary to manifest the stored power. However, an item’s description may specify otherwise (some power stones have manifester levels higher than the minimum required to manifest the stored power, and are then assumed to be augmented as well).

But like scrolls, they’re a one-time-use item, so that’s not super helpful.

Dorjes

Dorjes (wands) can definitely be augmented, per creating dorjes:

If an augmentable power is incorporated into a dorje at a higher manifester level than the minimum level required to manifest the power, each discharge of the power from the dorje is augmented to the limit of that higher manifester level.

Note that the description of dorjes adds another caveat:

The manifester level of a dorje cannot be more than five higher than the minimum manifester level to use the power it contains.

Why, I don’t know. But it matters here: the minimum manifester level for expansion is 1st, so +5 only gets us ML 6th—too low to augment it to 7 power points (1 base + 6 augmentation) in order to get the two-size-categories version of it.

Psicrowns

Psicrowns (staves) have two different sets of rules. According to the power trigger activation rules, they are automatically augmented every time when created with a higher manifester level, but only for damage-dealing powers.

Powers stored in power trigger items are not augmented. Such powers are assumed to be stored in the item at the minimum manifester level necessary to manifest the power. However, certain items may specify a higher manifester level than necessary. If such an item holds a power that deals hit point damage, the power is assumed to be augmented to the maximum allowed by the power and the manifester level.

Note that dorjes also use power-trigger activation; they just have a special statement in the creation rules for augmentation that covers non-damage-dealing powers as well.

The rules for psicrowns themselves however also have this rule under activation:

Powers activated from a psicrown can be augmented with additional power points from the psicrown itself, so long as the total number of power points spent does not exceed the user’s manifester level.

These two rules seem to be kind of... unaware of one another. They don’t entirely conflict; the former rule only applies to damage-dealing powers, and require the item itself to have a higher manifester level, while the latter rule applies to all powers and rely on the user’s manifester level. Still, a weird situation.

Again, though, this does not help us unless you are already a manifester anyway, since building it into the price doesn’t help with non-damage-dealing powers, and augmenting it manually requires having ML 7th ourselves.

Universal items

For universal items (wondrous items) that use the command-thought and use-activated activation methods, things are murkier.

Powers stored in command thought items are usually not augmented, because the manifester level of such an item is assumed to be the minimum possible to manifest the stored power.

Powers stored in use-activated items are usually not augmented, because the manifester level of such an item is assumed to be the minimum possible to manifest the stored power.

Here we have “usually not” but “because the manifester level [...] is assumed to be the minimum possible.” What happens if that assumption doesn’t hold? Unlike the other items, we don’t have a rule saying that in such cases they’re assumed to be augmented.

The rules for psionic items’ saving throw DC offers a little more:

Some psionic items take advantage of the fact that powers can be augmented to increase their saving throw DCs. These items are special and have their cost to create and market price calculated using the manifester’s level instead of the power’s level.

But that doesn’t help us figure out 1. if we can augment things for reasons other than save DC, or 2. what it should cost if we do.

Personal approach

Personally, my inclination would be to consider augmented powers as higher-level powers for the purposes of figuring out the cost of crafting an item of them. Items are generally priced according to \$L_{power} \times L_{manifester} \times f\$, where \$f\$ is some factor based on the type of item and other modifiers. Augmentation requires a higher manifester level (\$L_{manifester}\$), but it also improves the power in ways beyond just having a higher manifester level, and the same way that a manifester has to pay power points for that better effect, so too should someone buying an item of that effect have to pay more. So I would consider the power level (\$L_{power}\$) to be 1 higher for every 2 power points spent augmenting it.

After all, when you augment a 1st-level power like expansion with 6 additional power points, it costs 7 power points in total—the same as a 4th-level power.

So for example, I would price an at-will command-thought universal item of augmented expansion as costing \$4 \times 7 \times 1\,800\text{ gp} = 50\,400\text{ gp}\$, where \$1\,800\text{ gp}\$ is the factor given for at-will command-word items on Table: Estimating Magic Item Gold Piece Values.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd have to argue against the push to a fourth level power within a strict interpretation of the rules based on pricing for Spell DC boosted wands, given that there are actual ability level changes in the form of meta-psionic effects that are roughly equivalent to meta-magics and do change the base level to access the ability where augments are immediately available just not affordable. \$\endgroup\$ – user40081 Oct 31 '17 at 15:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ash Strict interpretation of what rules? There are no rules for this. That’s what the whole top of my answer is about. And psionics and magic are different, precisely in the case of augmentation. Augmentation is basically built-in metamagic. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Oct 31 '17 at 15:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Like I said the rules governing augmented Spell DCs in spell completion items like wands, actually read the comment before getting on your high horse. To quote the SRD "use-activated items are usually not augmented, because the manifester level of such an item [would change]", not the power level the manifester level. Oops ignore the bit about Meta-psionics slightly off base there. \$\endgroup\$ – user40081 Oct 31 '17 at 16:24
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Yes such items can be created, it's the equivalent of building magic items at a higher caster level than the minimum (the "caster level" component of the item cost needs to be sufficient to spend the augmentation points) and costs proportionally so they're not cheap but many augments are worth the extra price. Augments that shift the basic duration can actually result in cheaper final build costs for permanent items at the right price.

For the example under discussion a basic item of expansion would usually be a Universal (read Wondrous) Item using the Command Word structure with a cost of Power Level 1 x Manifester Level 1 x 1800 gp for a total of 1800 gp. The double size increase augmented item would be Power Level 1 x Manifester Level 7 (7 point cost for the augmented power) x 1800 gp for a total of 12,600 gp. Alternately it could be worth it to create a similar item that was Use-activated or Continuous which would cost Power Level 1 x Manifester Level 1 x 2000 gp x duration factor 2 a 4000 gp item. The two point augment to 10min/level would not be a worthwhile investment in this case as the new price would be Power Level 1 x Manifester Level 3 (3 point cost for the augmented power) x 2000 gp x duration factor 1.5 making it a 9000 gp item. Some higher level powers can be augmented to 24 hour durations for 2 points which is worthwhile given an equation like (example only) Power Level 4 x Manifester Level 7 x 2000 gp x duration factor 1.5 84,000 gp versus Power Level 4 x Manifester Level 9 x 2000 gp x duration factor 0.5, 36,000 gp, (I have actually planned to build higher level items based on this augment, but I can't read the writing on the old planning sheet and I never had the Manifester Level to actually do the job since it was a much higher level ability than the math here).

This does assume magic/psionic transparency because I've never played without that but the calculations for item creation are the same when using psionics or magic regardless of transparency.

The only caution I would add is that the augmented item will not by default allow the user any option as to the size the item attempts to make them. The item is a (insert item type here) of Size Augmented Expansion not a (insert item type here) of Basic or Size Augmented Expansion. Huge size is often awkward even when you can actually fit into the space you attempt to expand into, I've had a couple of characters who used Expansion and ran into the "If insufficient room is available for the desired growth, you attain the maximum possible size and can make a Strength check (using your increased Strength score) to burst any enclosures in the process. If you fail, you are constrained without harm by the materials enclosing you—you cannot crush yourself to death by increasing your size." clause on dungeon crawls and have also ended up have to cancel the effect and use the power afresh because while the large spaces of some buildings could accommodate a huge character the corridors between were impossible to negotiate.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Oct 31 '17 at 19:53

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