I would like to ask my DM if it is possible to craft a Continuous Cloud of Knives (Player's Handbook II) Ring, but it could be a little awkward in certain situations, a swarm of knives orbiting around you is unlikely to help in social interactions. Is it possible to voluntarily suppress the effect of the spell?

Should I just opt for the Use-Activated item?

Cloud of Knives


Level: Cleric 2, Sorcerer 2, Wizard 2,

Components: V, S, M,

Casting Time: 1 standard action

Range: Personal Target: You

Duration: 1 round/level

You conjure a cloud of sharp knives around you. The knives float in the air around your upper body, pointing in the direction you look.

Each round as a free action at the beginning of your turn, you can release one of these knives at any target within 30 feet that you can see. This is a ranged attack that uses an attack bonus equal to your caster level + your key ability modifier. Each successful hit deals 1d6 points of damage +1 per three caster levels (maximum +5) and threatens a critical hit on a roll of 19-20. Damage reduction applies to knife attacks from this spell. The knives are treated as magic for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. Material Component: A knife.

Optional Material Component: Using a silvered dagger (22 gp) in the casting of this spell allows the knives to overcome damage reduction as if they were both magic and silver, but the knives deal 1 less point of damage.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't have the book right now, I'll answer later, but were you thinking in toggling the knives on/off or just unlimited casting? \$\endgroup\$ – MrTakeru May 15 at 11:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ My understanding of "use-activated" is that it applies to items that trigger their effect when you use them in some way. I'm not sure how you would apply that to a ring (other than just putting it on and taking it off, which is how a continuous effect on it would already work by default). \$\endgroup\$ – John Montgomery May 15 at 21:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JohnMontgomery I believe your understanding is correct. A magic shovel that, when employed as a digging tool, digs magically big holes is use-activated. A magic ring that, when thrown at a creature, automatically expands to entrap the target is use-activated. A piece of clothing isn't typically use-activated because it's just worn (the wearer doesn't do anything with the clothing even if he does things while wearing the clothing), so those should usually be command word or continuous magic items. Maybe a new question should be posed to clarify further? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan May 15 at 21:44

The 2nd-level Sor/Wiz spell cloud of knives [conj] (Player's Handbook II 107) mentions nothing in its description about the caster being able to suppress its effect voluntarily. It even lacks a bracketed D after its duration, so it isn't dismissible. Thus ending the spell early—even if the spell's generated by a magic item—typically requires dispelling the spell with a dispel magic effect. The spell typically can't be voluntarily suppressed unless, for example, there's a nearby area of antimagic for the subject to walk into. Usually just waiting for the spell's 1 round/level duration to expire is easiest.

On the other hand, an original continuous magic item that incorporates the spell cloud of knives—to my imagination, anyway—would create a cloud of knives effect around the item's wearer or bearer as long as the item's worn or carried. Thus it seems to me that the easiest way to end the effect would be to simply remove or drop the item. For a ring, this DM would likely rule that this takes a move action, and, when complete, the ring is in (not on) the former wearer's hand.

If the actual effect that's desired is more complicated—along the lines of "I never want to remove my magic items; to do so will lead to my death, imprisonment, or worse"—, consider submitting to the DM the following custom magic item:

ring of cloud of knives: This gold ring causes the wearer to be surrounded continually by the effect of a cloud of knives spell. The wearer can take a purely mental free action either to decativate or to restart this effect.

(Ignoring the second sentence, this description uses the language similar to the ring of freedom of movement.) Were a player to submit this original magic item to this DM, I'd compute the market price according to Table 7–33: Estimating Magic Item Gold Piece Values (Dungeon Master's Guide 285). Then, in light of that second sentence, I'd adjust the custom item's base market price from its computed price of 48,000 gp (2,000 gp base ×2 spell level ×3 minimum caster level ×4 for a spell with a duration measured in rounds) upward by 2,000 to 7,000 gp depending on the campaign. (I'd argue that the ability to voluntarily deactivate the effect mentally is more valuable among the rich and powerful in fantasy ersatz Renaissance Italy than it would be on the front lines of the Heaven–Hell War in an ultra-high fantasy setting, for example.)

However, there is an alternative. Consider submitting to the DM the ring of blinking (230) (27,000 gp; 0 lbs.) but change the name (and spells, obviously) to a ring of extended cloud of knives. Yes, the wearer will have to reactivate the item every 14 rounds, but it remains a command word-activated item with a 3rd-level spell effect. (Okay, technically a 2nd-level spell effect modified to 3rd-level, but still.). The two items become approximately equivalent, making comparing them easier on the DM. And to "suppress" the cloud of knives effect created by activating the ring of extended cloud of knives the wearer need only wait at most less than a 90 second for the effect's duration to expire. (To be clear, magic items can be created to incorporate metamagic effects—see here ("Using metamagic feats, a caster can place spells in items at a higher level than normal" (282)) and this Pathfinder answer here that's the same for 3.5.)

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You need to create a custom item with the rules on the DMG

To create a custom Magic Item you need to check first with your DM if it's ok or not to do it. If he gives you the OK, the estimated price of the item is as follows, being X dependand on the type of magic item you are crerating.

Price = Spell Level * Caster Level * X Gold Pieces

The minimum spell slot for casting Cloud of Knives is 2, and the minimum caster level is 3, so if you want to keep it cheap you will multiply 6 for the magic number X.

Now you have two choices. The first one is creating a Command word item, in which case you multiply the price by 1.800 gp (around 10.800 gp). This means however that you need to cast the spell every 3 turns.

The other one is creating (as you already suggest) a Use-Activated item with the same cost as a Continuous one. This is notably more expensive, as you need to multiply the price by 2.000 gp and then by another 4 as the duration of the spell is determined in rounds, which gives you around 48.000 gp.

If you want to turn it on/off as a free action, the Ring of Force Shield (DMG pg.232) has an additional estimated cost of +500 gp, probably because of the free mental action. Also, you can cheese the price by giving it prerrequisites (like class or alignment) to reduce it around 30%, but it's not something you should really abuse and is better to talk with the DM to adjust the price.

Edit: You can also reduce the cost by crafting the item yourself (or any of your buddies) by half, and an aditional 25% with the feat Extraordinary Artisan from the Eberron Campaign Setting.

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