In pathfinder, the rules for magic item creation state that one must make a skill check at the end of the crafting process:

At the end of this process, the spellcaster must make a single skill check (usually Spellcraft, but sometimes another skill) to finish the item.

Since this is just a single skill check at the end it seems like one can just have someone cast things such as Guidance and Fox’s Cunning right before ending the craft to increase their bonus for the skill check.

It seems a bit nonsensical that you spend days crafting an item and then boost your skill just for the last minute to influence your success in making the item properly. However, I couldn't find anything against using temporary bonuses for this skill check so it seems like this is possible.

Did I miss something or can you really use temporary boosts to your skill just before finishing crafting a magic item to influence the crafting check?


1 Answer 1


Yes, they can

There is nothing in the rules against it. It's only that feeling that all GMs get that creating magic items feels too easy. Well, there is any good reason for players to fail to create their own magic items and waste their Wealth by Level?

To create a magic item, you must spend at least half of its price as material components, meaning that you have to sell stuff to create stuff. Items, magic or not, are usually sold at 50% of their price. Meaning that to create another +1 weapon (2,000 gp), you must first sell enough loot to make 1,000 gp, which should be worth the same total of 2,000 gp. So, while it feels like they are getting what they want too easy, they are just making sure that they get something that benefits them instead of whatever loot the adventure gave them, not affecting their total wealth at all.

Anyway, casters may still cast all of their spells while creating a magic item, this is evidenced in the fact that the spells used on the item must be prepared (or known) during the process and cast every day during the process, not forbidding them to cast other spells, only that they have fewer spell slots available that day.

If spells are involved in the prerequisites for making the item, the creator must have prepared the spells to be cast (or must know the spells, in the case of a sorcerer or bard) but need not provide any material components or focuses the spells require. The act of working on the item triggers the prepared spells, making them unavailable for casting during each day of the item’s creation. (That is, those spell slots are expended from the caster’s currently prepared spells, just as if they had been cast.)

So, depending on their level and the number of spells available after spending the slots needed to craft the item, they must have enough slots left to be able to prepare those buff spells they want. If they have the slots, then they could buff themselves before making the check. Otherwise, asking for another character to buff them at the end of the process is still a valid option.

However, you do have a point that this doesn't sound right. What I ask my players, and this is a house rule of mine that I know some GMs also use a similar method, is to ask for those buff spells (or abilities) to be used every day during the process. So, if they do need those spell slots later that day during the crafting process, they won't be available. This effectively add another spell to the requirements, but they will get a small bonus to meet the DC they couldn't otherwise.

This should only be an issue if they cannot meet the crafting DC by taking 10 without such spells. Keep in mind that you may Take-10 on those checks, as officially clarified a few years ago.

I also know that some GMs will ask for such spells to last at least 8 hours, which is the daily time spent on creating magic items, so they can benefit from it. This sounds a little too harsh and there is only way I know this could work, by combining Crafter's Fortune with Master Craftsman. So, it is kind of a house rule forbidding buffs to create magic items in practice.

Ultimatelly, if the flavor behind the process doesn't sound right, just change the flavor of it. For example, make it so that this test is the final rune inscription into the item, as the finishing touch to complete a ritual. Similar to how the act of casting a spell is only the last part of a small ritual that you prepared earlier that day.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I feel like Crafter's Fortune lasting as long as it does kind of suggests that you need a long duration spell for it to count... but I can't find anything backing either side (yet... I hope to post an opposing answer tonight or tomorrow) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 22, 2019 at 15:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ It seems quite ridiculous for a spell with a one minute duration to be able to work with a process that takes multiple hours to complete...i would NOT be allowing Guidance to work with crafting, magic items or otherwise, unless there was some way of keeping it applied for a longer term. \$\endgroup\$
    – YogoZuno
    Commented Jul 22, 2019 at 21:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ It sounds far more ridiculous, personally, to fail a magic item creation spellcraft check. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Commented Jul 22, 2019 at 21:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ And you can apply it for long term, simply hire someone to cast it every 6 seconds. Usually another PC can provide that. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Commented Jul 22, 2019 at 21:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for providing the link to taking 10 on Spellcraft checks for casting. Note that your answer assumes that the buffs used at the end are constantly available throughout the process - what if they are not but the crafter has saved up a potion of Fox's Cunning and a potion of Guidance for the last minute of the job? Still meets RAW, but harder to justify with an in-game explanation. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 23, 2019 at 1:17

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