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Our group is playing a 15th-level adventure. I usually allow them to create custom magic items that are within reason, and so far that had been fine with the regular Wealth-by-Level (WBL) rules. However, I got into a pickle trying to put a price on a new item for a player.

This player has a character themed around piracy, a Sorceress that's also a pirate captain with her own ship, crew, and all. The item in question is a pair of stockings that goes as follows:

Captain's Stockings of Treasure Finding

This black pair of silken stockings grant the wearer the ability to detect valuables in a wide area around them. On command, those stockings emit a pulse that reveals the location of all unattended treasure in a 120 ft radius, including those buried at up to 60 ft underground. Only items worth 100gp or more can be detected this way. Treasure chests, bags of gold and similar containers holding valuables are considered a single item for the purposes of this ability.

An item like this one doesn't seem that bad at face value, but it seems to me after talking with that player that her intention is to increase the amount of wealth the group can recover from adventures, so they can play with a wider variety of fancier items. I'm not against this, but it feels wrong to me to put a price (or even ask for an item slot!) for something that is not a power increase to her character, but instead a rebalance of the WBL.

I'm tempted to just hand this to her as a slotless item, but I'm not sure if this is the right move.

How can I handle putting a price on this? Should I put a price on this to being with?


If relevant, consider she has all the appropriate feats and spells to create this.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Somewhat related. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 15, 2022 at 12:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ Not an answer - I have no idea what the price of this item would be, but I think you're looking at this wrong. This is/should not rebalance the WBL. This is a way to "hide" treasure in completely inconvenient places, let the party find it and feel smart, and make sure they do find all the treasure. That is, they shouldn't find more treasure this way, just the correct amount. You're basically using DM trickery to let the party member feel smart/successful for having and using this item. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tal
    Jun 15, 2022 at 14:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ You're thinking of, essentially, giving the PC another sense. How does the group deal with existing additional senses, like at-will uses of detect magic and detect evil? That is, do they scan everything for evil and magic all the time, or do they only scan for that stuff when it's dramatically appropriate that they do so? \$\endgroup\$ Jun 17, 2022 at 20:22

2 Answers 2

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Use the Rod of Metal and Mineral Detection as a benchmark

The Rod of Metal and Mineral Detection does something very similar, considering most treasure consists of valuable metals (gold, silver, platinum). It only has a radius of 30 feet, no slot cost, and a Price of 10,500 gp.

If you want to keept the large radius, the volume covered for finding treasure is a lot larger (about 64 times larger). This should make it a lot more valuable for finding treasure. But how much is hard to say. Likely not 64 times.

I'd countersuggest to use the stockings, but keep them to a 30 foot radius, like the rod. Then you can safely reskin the rod with a slight power upgrade for finding all kinds of treasure, not just masses of metal.

Wealth per level also translates into power, as you can buy magic items with the treasure in Pathfinder. And hidden treasure is often overlooked (at least in our group), so having this will very likely increase party wealth, and at high levels pay back for its cost/value fast -- at 15th, you are looking at 240,000 gp per character and level, so for a party of four, if they even find 1% more treasure with this, it already has paid back its cost.

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The WBL is mostly useless.

I did a lot of research on those last few days, including checking up with my local gaming groups what they do with they do on those situations. One of them (Diego, many thanks!) was surprisingly insightful:

The WBL is made for balancing, right? Thing is, balance on Pathfinder is already kinda bonkers, so unless everyone is playing the same class, trying to balance power by handing out the same amount of gold won't do any good. I say: drop the WBL table entirely and go with whatever power-level feels right for your table. If your group wants an overpowered power trip and you're fine with it, why the hell not? I mean, it isn't as if an extra +5 sword will do any good bringing a fighter closer to a wizard in power anyway...

Going in the specifics of my problem, the suggestion I ended up using was to hand out the Stockings as-is to the player. This allowed me to hide treasure in absurd places on the following dungeon run, which made the group ask themselves if the previous dungeons didn't have treasure hidden in such manner.

Now they are doing a 180º turn and going back to the previous temples, dungeons, and evil lairs to check up for more treasure. Mind you, I'm not complaining - revisiting old dungeons can be a fun experience, so we're going with it.

Regarding the WBL, I'm on the process of making some big changes on how this group will deal with money. They want to play with a larger variety of items and to try out builds often with their characters without having to commit to a single one, corner-case item. More so, they want to try weirder or overly specific treasure, so... let's give it a shot.

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