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I'm playing as a currently 4th level wizard with the cantrip message. In pretty much any situation where any of the other party members go ahead alone, to scout or the like, or in situations where being quiet is necessary, I always tell the DM that I'm pinging the other party members with message once each minute to check in on them. While I'm certain this is allowed RAW, it feels a little bit cheesy, and I'd like to craft a magic item which allows the other party members to cast message by themselves during our next downtime.

How could you design such an item using the rules from Xanathar's and the DMG? What rarity would it be? How much would it cost to craft? Ideally it would not require attunement, and would not be very limited in uses.

Seeing as this just replicates an ability I already have, I don't imagine the DM would take much issue with it, as long as the costs are reasonable.

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Ask your DM, they'll need to homebrew this

Unfortunately, I don't think we can help guide you here. Whether or not your DM allows crafting or allows players to come up with their own magical items is something that is independent and determined by each DM. This is also a homebrew item and not something existing that can utilize some optional rules.

There are just too many questions that we can't answer here. Only your DM can determine if they allow crafting, if those things are available, if the magic item is reasonable, all of that your particular DM is going to have to determine - including what costs associated with crafting them may be. Xanathar's does cover some optional rules and guidance on downtime and crafting of magical items, but those are purely optional and dependent on the DM to approve and use.

However, those rules still assume non-homebrew magic items. A DM would still need to homebrew this, and we don't homebrew for people here (but we definitely can assess a homebrew!)

Problems in design

I did want to add a couple notes on your design needs/thoughts. Message itself is still limited by a range of 120'. In my games, when the scouts go ahead, they are generally further ahead than that as within 120' may still be visible by those you don't want to be seen by.

Something your DM will need to consider is that granting these magic items to allow the party to all communicate in this way is basically providing a free partial feat. The common methodology to allow a creature to cast a cantrip that normally couldn't is via the Magic Initiate feat which grants two cantrips and 1 1st level spell. Creating a magic items that gives everyone this cantrip needs a determination if that balances their game.

You're not replicating something you already do

Currently, in order for communication to work, you need to spend an action casting message. It's entirely on your action/turn. These homebrew items would allow your compatriots to initiate communication - which is not something you are currently doing.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm quite sure my DM would be fine with it, as we've discussed crafting before. He is not terribly experienced DMing(he's the least experienced DM in the group) however, and I'm sure he'd appreciate a sensible suggestion about how to go about this. I could come up with it myself, but I'm sure someone here has a better idea about it than I do. \$\endgroup\$ – Hugh O'Mahony Sep 2 at 18:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HughO'Mahony Quite sure isn't the same as the DM asking here directly. You are making an assumption, and while it may be correct, it's still an assumption. But at the end of the day, this item needs to be homebrewed and that's between your DM and to build (but we can help assess once built.) \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Sep 2 at 18:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ It could work like the earrings in Critical Role do. \$\endgroup\$ – NeutralVax Sep 2 at 22:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NeutralVax That is one of many options :) But it's still up to the DM if they want that or something like that. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Sep 2 at 22:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NeutralVax not quite the same as the VM earings. They have a range of 60' and can be used as a free action, but certainly inspired by them. \$\endgroup\$ – Hugh O'Mahony Sep 3 at 10:09
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Since there are not any items that explicitly replicate this effect, you will need to determine the rarity and whether its status as a major or minor item. Per the DMG in the section on Magic Items, you will need to find a formula in-game that details the arcane steps to create such an item. Your DM may require you to quest for it, or it may be found through downtime activities.

Chris Starnes' answer on another post about how to determine whether an item is major or minor will help you determine which end of the monetary spectrum the item falls under. If the item can cast Message an unlimited number of times, it would be considered a major item, otherwise it would be a minor item. If casting Message is the only additional effect the item has, it would likely fall under the Uncommon rarity (though your DM has final say in the matter).

Once your DM is satisfied with the item's proposed rarity, effects, and construction requirements, you can estimate a price using the ranges in the XGE tables. Minor items tend to go toward the lower end of the spectrum, while major items lean toward the higher end. After all this is in place, then you may begin construction on the item.

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You should start by looking at the sending stone item, as discussed in this question. This uncommon magic item lets the user cast sending once per day. As described, each stone only communicates with one other stone -- so your wizard could hold one stone for each other party member, and the stones could just be used as a backup in case someone needs to contact the group suddenly. Or you could ask your DM to homebrew you a set of more than two sending stones that can contact each other.

The base sending stones item is uncommon; the question I linked tells us that it would cost 101-500gp, but that the Sane Magic Item Prices guide thinks it should cost 2000gp. Your modified version will probably cost more, especially if you want multiple charges per day.

As others have noted, your message spell does not do what you think it does -- it only works within 120ft and only on creatures you can point at.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure what gave you the impression that I don't know what message does, I'm entirely clear about its range and abilities. It does specifically note you can point at creatures you know that you can't see also. I don't want to make these items for myself, I want to make them for my fellow party members, so that they can initiate conversations, particularly with each other, and my character doesn't need to constantly ping them so they can reply, and so I don't have to act as an intermediary. I mostly want it to make RP less clunky. \$\endgroup\$ – Hugh O'Mahony Sep 5 at 9:21
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From the DMG's description of the Helm Of Telepathy:

While wearing this helm, you can use an action to cast the detect thoughts spell (save DC 13) from it. As long as you maintain concentration on the spell, you can use a bonus action to send a telepathic message to a creature you are focused on.

According to the optional downtime rules in Xanathar's Guide to Everything, it would cost 200 gp to create the helm of telepathy, per the "Crafting an Item" downtime activity option (p. 128-129). Alternately, it would cost 1d6 x 100 gp to buy, according to the "Buying a Magic Item" downtime activity option (p. 126).

If you use the DMG rules, then the Helm (Uncommon) would have the following minimum requirements to create (Plus the requirements each day while crafting):

  • Cost: 500 gp
  • Caster Level 3rd
  • Days required: 20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Message has a range of 120 feet and goes through walls, Detect Thoughts require you to be able to see somebody within 30 feet, so this doesn't really help nearly as much. \$\endgroup\$ – Theik Sep 2 at 14:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ You may also want to note that Xanathar's is not citing an official rule, but an optional. It would also be helpful to better understand why you think the Helm of Telepathy is equivalent to something that lets you cast message at will. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Sep 2 at 22:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TheGreatJava page 126-129. \$\endgroup\$ – SkyPaul Sep 2 at 23:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ The item description you quoted doesn't match the official one. I've edited the answer to quote the proper description, and edited in the cited source you mentioned in the comments. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Sep 3 at 8:01

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