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I am trying to deconstruct the Robe of Bones(RoB) magic item so that I can construct a personalized version for my necromancer. Why use the default undead in it when I could instead have one with my very own.

However, the item is proving to be very resistant to break apart in terms of pricing as its ability does not appear in the estimating magic item table or under the craft wondrous item rules.

So the RoB contains 22 HD arcoss 12 undead. Material items and focuses are not needed in order to create wondrous items. I cant decide if undead technically count as either for the robe, because you would expect them to be needed in order to craft it.

My character is going to have the required crafting feats and spells. What I want to do is have a Robe of Bones which I can customize. Figure out some way or cost of adding new undead to the robe (removing is easy, just peel off). The undead in the robe would follow the normal rules for control depending on how they were controlled before being added to the robe, so duration control could have expired. The robe simply gives me an easier way of keeping them with me instead of having them follow or needing extra-dimensional spaces (however I am planning on having a portable hole of undead).

So my question is, what price would it be to add an undead to a robe? Would this price increase if it became a slotless item? How many undead or HD should a robe be allowed to carry as its maximum? Does the size of the undead affect the price or number a robe could carry? Can these undead be added with equipment (such as arms and armor) and would that affect price?

I expect to be adding already animated undead, so the price of onyx, a corpse, and casting of the spell are already taken care of, but mentioning how this affects the final item would be nice.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @linksassin I disagree because the base robe of bones is a body slot item, so if you made the item slotless, it should cost twice as much to put on an undead. Now if the item was one price, and attaching undead another, then it wouldnt matter. As it stands, the two are basically one. \$\endgroup\$ – Fering Mar 20 at 1:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ I asked that question since I'm actually interested in the answer. See: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/143516/… \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin Mar 20 at 1:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm confused by "Material items and focuses are not needed in order to create wondrous items." I believe this is incorrect because you have to expend uses of spell completion/spell trigger items if you're using them as a stand-in for the prerequisites (of course, it only increases the DC by 5 to not use the spell... so IDK? maybe this is another question entirely) \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Mar 20 at 12:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso I did say I was having problems deconstructing this item for a reason, lol. It doesnt seem to follow any of the common crafting things so I am completely lost in how to approach this. \$\endgroup\$ – Fering Mar 20 at 13:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fair enough, I'm giving it my best stab. I do think Material components calculate into it (whether or not you 'cast' the spell) but if I'm wrong hopefully another user can divine how this item is set up \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Mar 20 at 13:31
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The Robe of Bones calculates it's final price assuming those creatures can only be used once, not allowing you to recharge the robe's capacity of bringing creatures to combat. As such, it is priced very low compared to a magic item that would allow you to "store for later" an existing creature.

I would use the Apport Animal spell as the comparison, not the robe of bones. It allows you to "store" an animal for later teleportation to your location. The spell it is based on, Apport Object, has several small limitations, but increasing it's spell level by 1 to remove some of them should be enough, such as being able to use on an undead instead of an animal, or having them actually be stored in an interdimensional space while "stored" in the magic item, instead of being restricted to be within a few dozen feets away from you.

That would make this Apport Undead a 4th level spell, available at a minimum caster level of 7th. For a magic item that would allow you to cast this at-will (no charge or daily limitations), this would cost 50,400 gp (4 * 7 * 1800 gp). If you want this available only once per day, the cost would be 10,080 gp (divided by 5). If you want this to have 50 charges (like a wand), the cost would be 25,200 gp (divided by half). And so on, using the table for Estimating Magic Item Prices to adjust the price as the GM sees necessary.

So my question is, what price would it be to add an undead to a robe?

That would be part of the spell's activation. Once the ability is activated, the creature is stored in the robe and may be recalled at a later time using a Swift Action.

Would this price increase if it became a slotless item?

The magic item would cost double of whatever price it should cost if it was slotted, as noted under the table for Estimating Magic Item Prices.

How many undead or HD should a robe be allowed to carry as its maximum?

The spell itself doesn't have a limit, but each cast may only store a single creature. So that would depend on how many charges (total or per day) you want the item to have.

Does the size of the undead affect the price or number a robe could carry?

Yes, it should affect. The skeleton template does not adjust the creature's HD, but the zombie template does (due to zombies being tougher to kill). But here, the spell merely stores the creature, it doesn't creature a new one, the cost of creating the creature were handled by whatever spell or effect created it.

Can these undead be added with equipment (such as arms and armor) and would that affect price?

Yes, it should. Adding powers or spells which require additional materials should always be included in the final price. Since that would indeed make the creatures stronger, it should also cost more. But again, you are not creating anything, but merely storing and retrieving an existing creature.

Keep in mind that first, you must work with your GM for a new spell to be created for this item magic, using the Spell Research rules if necessary. This spell would work similarly to a summoner's Marker's Call ability, which uses Dimension Door as a reference, also a 4th level spell.

Otherwise, the only magic item that does something similar to what you described would be the Zombie Skin Shield (2,159 gp), which doesn't allow you to "store" undeads, but recharge it's single zombie it may summon by expending the corpse of a single dead humanoid to recharge the shield.

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TL;DR Talk to your GM about 3.5 content, but it's probably 1200g (600g crafted) per 12 HD of creatures added to the robe, or 900g (300g crafted) if you're not counting the Onyx material component cost in the Creation.

The cost for making it slotless is that all costs are doubled, so 1200/600g becomes 2400/1200g and 900/300g becomes 1200/600g.


Applying the Estimated Magic Item ... Values table backward from 2400g:

First, we'll remove "Spell has material component cost" by removing the 25g per HD that Animate Dead costs. Looking at each patch's related creature HD:

  • Human skeleton (1 HD)
  • Wolf skeleton (2 HD)
  • Heavy horse skeleton (2 HD)
  • Fast goblin zombie (2 HD)
  • "Tough"* human zombie (2 HD)
  • Plague ogre zombie (6 HD)
  • Total: 15 HD (30 because there are 2 of each patch)

We can see that 30 HD worth of Animate Dead is 750g in Animate Dead material costs.

Using the most common item cost calculations, we can assume

1650g remaining divided by CL 6 is 275g.

275g divided by Spell Level 3 is 91.6g.

91.6g as a multiplier does not seem to correspond to any of the price levels in the Estimated Magic Item Gold Piece Values table.

  • Spell Completion would be 25g
  • Single Use/Use-Activated would be 50g
  • 12/50 charges of Spell trigger would be 750g/50 * 12 = 180g
  • 12/50 charges of a Charged Command Word item would be 900g/50 * 12 = 216g

Looking at D&D 3.5 Robe of Bones (on which this item was based) we start to see why the price is wrong. Using the same magic item cost principles we'll note that the 3.5 version has only 12 (x2 for 24) HD of Undead. This supports a line of reasoning I presented before before I properly calculated the amount of HD in the Pathfinder iteration of this item.

Removing the 600g in material components, the remaining 1800g divides neatly by 3 and 6 to a total of 100g, the cost of casting Animate Dead twice per Use Activated-Single use value rules.


Logically, for every 1200g in costs, we can have a "Robe of Bones"-esque Wondrous Item that summons any 12 HD of undead (Custom Magic Item pricing for 1 cast of Animate Dead). All costs, including material components, are doubled if this item is Slotless.


*It seems this is just a typo and uses the standard Zombie statblock

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Plague ogre zombie (4 HD). Correction, large zombies have +2 HD. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Mar 20 at 21:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, goblin zombies are +1 HD, just like the human zombies. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Mar 20 at 21:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ recalculating \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Mar 20 at 23:33

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