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I've been running a Pathfinder 1e game for several years now, for a group of very inventive players that come from all sorts of walks of life. This situation is from the game session that happened over the weekend.


One of my players set up to create a (honestly, rather amazing) special forge for their character.

This character is a 17th level Gestalt Sorcerer/Witch, with a heavy arcane blacksmith theme to it. She recently gained the favor of the patron of her family (a mighty red dragon), and was rewarded with an entire volcano for her services.

She decided to turn said volcano into a place to create magic items, as some sort of dedicated, magical forge. Her plan is for the place to provide several assistants made of lava, that would copy the spellcaster movements, spells, and enchantments.

Those assistants would be able to forge, smith, and work with metal and magic with the same proficiency the user of the forge would. They wouldn't improve one's abilities to create anything - instead, they would multiply the output of said spellcaster, provided they have enough materials to make the entire batch. So, for example, if one mage would create a set of five [Flaming Longswords +1], they would still need to provide the needed materials and costs to make the five individual swords - but they would be able to finish it in the same time they would take to make a single one. The forge would save time, not costs.

The forge itself would provide the magical energy to fuel the several copies of the spells that are needed to create several magical items at once by tapping into the leylines of the planet. This process is already defined in the setting's fiction as possible, as one of the races actually uses this as a form of sustenance for their addiction to magic.

The rules for creating magic items are, despite their shortcomings, there. They exist, and as such they can be used as guidelines whenever the DM needs an idea or two to create custom magic items.

That said, I've found nothing regarding creating magical places. Those exist in the fiction in abundance - an island enchanted to change places from time to time, a mage's tower with several magical effects to boost its owner magical abilities, a magical city-tree that grows forever and grants the people that planted it immortality, floating magical cities, and so on. Those are usually made - again, in fiction - by regular spellcasters with enough time, material, and power to do so. Those aren't epic mages with three dozens of levels - they are people on their 15ths and 17th levels, far below godly status but still with a good share of power in their hands.

Sure, one could always create a magical place by treating it as a collection of several magical items, but this doesn't make justice to the uniqueness those places usually have, nor the magnitude of the effects they usually hold. Thus, it is very hard to eyeball what would be needed to to make such an endeavor possible.


My problem:

Is there a set of rules that could be used for guidelines to create magical places?

I would prefer Pathfinder 1e material, but D&D 3.X/4e/5e is also acceptable. I would prefer to avoid untested homebrew, but if you have something you tried on your table and it worked, that would also be acceptable.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Not going to be able to get around to doing an answer today, but quintessence mastery (second part) might be a nice idea for those who do have time. \$\endgroup\$ – william porter Nov 4 at 13:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ RE: The forge servants "would multiply the output of said spellcaster, provided they have enough materials to make the entire batch." To be clear, there'd be no cost reduction? For example, the PC would provide raw materials for 2 crystal balls. Then, when the PC creates 1 crystal ball, the forge servants would simultaneously create another. Is that accurate? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Nov 4 at 16:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Yes, that's the plan. The only thing the forge would save would be time. \$\endgroup\$ – T. Sar - Reinstate Monica Nov 4 at 16:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Is there a reason you are distinguishing between items and places? E.g. why do these lava servants need to be part of the place instead of a set of funky items? \$\endgroup\$ – fectin - free Monica Nov 4 at 17:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ Hmm. Upon rereading this, I'm not sure what kind of answer would be appropriate: Is an answer to explain how this effect can be justified using existing material? Is an answer to evaluate this location's potential game impact? Is an answer to offer a list of resources for creating magical locations? Or is an answer to create (i.e. market price, prerequisites) this magical location using existing materials? All, I think, can be done (some with greater ease than others), but covering all three in one answer seems like a novella. (If it's just a list of resources, though, this may be shopping!) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Nov 4 at 19:31
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For your real question: just give it to her.

You already like the concept, you already want to do that, you already have the mechanical and story parts, and you already know there isn’t any magical-places system to fit this in. There is no need to create or discover such a system, then use it to back into an answer you already have.


For your general speculation on why Pathfinder and D&D 3.x don’t have unbounded, roll-your-own-artifact effects available at relatively low levels: because it isn’t that kind of game.

D&D and derivatives are games that fundamentally grew out of adventures where you kick down dungeon doors, murder or sneak past everything inside, and stuff loot in giant sacks. As a system, they handle small-unit/SWAT tactics well, and everything else poorly. I have a lot of fun in the space it handles poorly (necromantic industrial revolutions? Yes please!), but they break really fast.

I am not convinced that it is possible to have a balanced game that both (1) uses rules, and (2) allows for powerful, arbitrary magical effects. Probably the closest system I’ve seen to what you are looking for is Exalted 2E’s manses, but Exalted simply does not care about balance: the core game assumes you are playing one of the most personally puissant entities in existence, so it doesn’t even matter if your house makes you immortal.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your time and your answer. Those are good points overall. I'll give some thought to them and I'll come back to this answer later. I'll take a look at how Exalted handle things - it sounded interesting, and I think I have the book somewhere on my RPG shelf. \$\endgroup\$ – T. Sar - Reinstate Monica Nov 4 at 19:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @T.Sar-ReinstateMonica you’re looking for “Books of Sorcery, vol 3: Oadenol’s Codex”, chapter 2. \$\endgroup\$ – fectin - free Monica Nov 4 at 19:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you! I'll look out for those! \$\endgroup\$ – T. Sar - Reinstate Monica Nov 4 at 19:31
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5e: Teleportation Circle:

You can create a permanent teleportation circle by casting this spell in the same location every day for one year. You need not use the circle to teleport when you cast the spell in this way.

Private Sanctum:

Casting this spell on the same spot every day for a year makes this effect permanent.

5e seems to suggest that just pouring a ton of magic into a place would cause it to act as a well of magic that powers itself.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @T.Sar-ReinstateMonica yes, you're right. I forgot the last passage on your question. My apologies, Jesse! \$\endgroup\$ – Vylix Nov 4 at 18:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is this answer about D&D 5e? The question is about Pathfinder 1e \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Nov 5 at 2:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso The asker specifically mentioned that content from D&D including 5e is acceptable. \$\endgroup\$ – Kamil Drakari Nov 5 at 4:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah. I missed that part at the end. disregard \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Nov 5 at 5:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ More 5e place-related spells with a possibility of permanence by repetition: Forbiddance, Guards and Wards, Mighty Fortress, Temple of the Gods. \$\endgroup\$ – aschepler Nov 5 at 5:33

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