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I'm looking for a way to effectively poke-ball vehicles and golems for easy access at all times and portability. Poke-ball is not a metaphor here, that's exactly the result I'm expecting: standard action > heavy gear stands before me; standard action > heavy gear is gone.

Background: as it turns out, I'm playing in setting that is full of technology left by previous civilization, and everyone fights over it. Golems, Automatons, this kind of stuff.

Conditions: preferably the solution should work pre-level 10. GP available as per Wealth by Level table (custom crafted prices so X * 50% * 70%). RAW, all official content, no matter how obscure.

I considered:

I also considered:

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Golems and vehicles are already portable: Golems can be ordered to walk wherever you want them to go, and vehicles are so portable that they make other things portable. As such, it's unclear what problem you're trying to solve, so I'll vote to close this question as unclear. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Jan 5 at 23:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Portable as in "snap my finger and it shows up". Walking golem is by no means portable. As for vehicles they need fuel. And it costs. I need my vehicle where I need it without any transportation costs or time for that matter. Then there's teleporting around the battlefield and let's say, dropping golem behind enemy lines and teleporting back to safety. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nec Xelos
    Commented Jan 6 at 0:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ What resources are available (caster level, GP, etc.)? Also, can you expand on what "easy access" means - for many scenarios, a Bag of Holding is plenty accessible, but it seems like you're looking for more. \$\endgroup\$
    – minnmass
    Commented Jan 6 at 1:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Edited as per request. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nec Xelos
    Commented Jan 6 at 3:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NecXelos It sounds like you want to be able to carry your golem concealed on your person or to be able to transport it instantly to your location from distant places. If so, that's an important constraint that should be included in the question. Without it, "just command the golem to approach you whenever you snap your fingers" is an entirely valid answer, and I doubt that's what you want. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Jan 6 at 3:51

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tl;dr: I think there's a strong argument to be made that making a sizable golem, automaton, vehicle, etc. into a poke-ball format could cost as little as 6,700 gp per item (if you want it constantly available) or possibly even a bit less if you're okay on per-day (or even per-week) uses. The Wealth by Level table indicates that a 10th level character should have about 62,200 gp worth of wealth, so having a couple of these poke-ball-esque golems should be do-able - especially if there's a crafter on hand to craft the upgrade.

... you may which to invest in a Portable Hole to have a safe place to store your newly-acquired golem while you upgrade it, though (at 20k gp, well within the wealth-by-level of a 10th level character and doubly-so for a 10th-level party).

How I got there:

I don't have a specific item, but there are a couple of standard items based on Instant Summons that suggest such a thing should be at least possible. As a caveat: Instant Summons only works on objects, so the spell itself doesn't work on golems or automatons (it should work on vehicles, though); items based on the spell may well avoid that limit (though, as Nobody the Hobgoblin's answer points out, Call Construct is custom-built to avoid that limitation; it is a bit spendier, though).

First is the Bookplate of Recall; it only works on a book - and only once per day at that, but it's also only 1k gp. The second is Folding Plate, which does take up two magic item slots (kinda: it alternates between taking the neck or armor slot), but the cost is just 12,650 GP and it includes a complete suit of +1 full plate in that price - it also doesn't have any limit on the number of times it could be used per day.

Instant Summons is a 7th level spell with a costly material component (a 1k gp sapphire). By the magic item price guidelines, a 1/day command word activated item of Instant Summons should cost (7th level spell * 13th level wizard * 1,800 gp) = 163,800 gp before factoring in the material component. The two standard magic items that I've found which explicitly use that spell for their base effect are rather significantly less expensive than that, however. The bookplate is, again, 1k gp, and it seems that the "folding" part of the folding plate is (12,650 - 1,500 (full plate) - 250 (masterwork) - 1000 (+1 enhancement)) = 9,900 gp.

An other standard item that comes immediately to mind is, of course, the Handy Haversack (itself based on the spell Secret Chest; that same 1/day command-word item should, by the guidelines, run about (5th level spell * 9th level wizard * 1,800) = 81,000 gp plus the cost of the chest, which should be at least another 5,050 gp). The haversack, along with the other items based on that spell (mostly variants on the bag of holding), suggests that the pricing guidelines are incorrect for that utility spell.

But, I think the winner just might be the Folding Boat - a 7,200 gp magic item that starts out as a small box (12x6x6 inches) but can be turned into a 24-foot-long ship with a command word. The larger ship appears, at first blush, to be comparable to a Ship's Boat, which costs 500 gp; if that's the case, the "folding" part would seem to be worth about 6,700 gp. Sure, there's technically an argument that it should take 2 standard actions to open one up (one to toss it to the ground, and another to speak the command word), but this GM thinks that's a bit heavy-handed.

Related is the Safecamp Wagon, which is similar to the Folding Boat but built around a wagon rather than a boat. It's less expensive at just 3k, and may provide a additional utility in some scenarios. This GM could be convinced that its existence points to a sliding scale of price for poke-ball-ing a golem or similar based on utility, but I don't have any immediate ideas as to how I'd normalize that (off the top of my head, probably something based on the CR or HD of the golem and the size of the vehicle).

Honorable Mentions

Treasure Stitching is an interesting base. As written, it takes a full round for the item to become unstitched, but at least there isn't a costly material component. However: golems (and automatons) aren't objects, so the spell may or may not work as a base for a custom item in your GM's world.

Basing a custom item around Shrink Item may still work: several of the standard items that use it (eg., the Instant Bridge, Pirate Queen's Tricorn, and possibly Field Scrivener's Desk) allow for items that are rather larger than 2 cubic feet per caster level. Shrink Item itself wouldn't work on a golem, but an item based on it mightn't have that limit.

A major caveat:

All of the above said: I don't think there's a "standard" magic item that does exactly what you're looking for, so I think you're going to have to home-brew whatever you come up with. Being able to instantly summon a golem - or a bunch of golems - at any time will have a dramatic effect on the game: it'll affect the ... "flavor", for want of a better term (eg., Pokemon vs. Lord of the Rings - neither is inherently better than the other, but they're definitely different), and the flow (at a minimum, combat will tend to be slower, since there are more creatures on the board). And, of course, spending money on poke-ball-ing golems means not spending money on other gear.

As a GM, I would probably want either 1 summoned golem at a time during combat or I would want each PC to have their own. More creatures tends to slow combat, but each PC having a golem means that each player more easily gets roughly-even focus time. As a GM, I would absolutely not want a party to summon dozens of golems: that way lies painfully slow combat and nightmarish encounter design. Which is to say: I wouldn't be shocked if the GM puts other limits than gold on the number of poke-ball-esque summonable creatures.

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There are several options, especially for construct creatures, but none that fit all your paramaters perfectly at the same time (under caster level 10, single action to undo, works on creatures and objects both, tons of material and large items). So you might want to mix and match, depending on what item you have, and how important immediate access is to you.

Portable Hole

Depending on the size of your golem, a portable hole might work. It has no weight limit. The actual physical dimensions of a golem are smaller than the space it needs in combat, so it could fit in, at least the smaller types. It however is too small for anything but the smallest vehicles (you maybe could put in a bike or something similar lengthwise).

When opened fully, a portable hole is 6 feet in diameter, but it can be folded up to be as small as a pocket handkerchief. When spread upon any surface, it causes an extradimensional space 10 feet deep to come into being. This hole can be picked up from inside or out by simply taking hold of the edges of the cloth and folding it up. Either way, the entrance disappears, but anything inside the hole remains, traveling with the item.

Call Construct

Made exactly for this purpose in case of constructs like golems. The downsides are that it is a higher level option as a level 8 spell. There is no weight limit.

This spell functions as instant summons, except it can only summon a construct you control. For constructs such as golems that are immune to magic, the value of the specially inscribed sapphire must be at least 5,000 gp. For other constructs, a 1,000 gp sapphire suffices.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Amazing suggestions. Just want to point out that crafting item CL is irrelevant, it translates to just +5 crafting difficulty which is nothing. On level 6 I was easily crafting items with 3 unmet conditions. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nec Xelos
    Commented Jan 6 at 16:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Thanks for pointing that out - I had not considered it. This makes baleful polymorph not a good solution unless anyone knows of a good way to change the creature type (and I do not), so I removed that option for now. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 6 at 19:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ The call construct spell's casting time is ten minutes, but that's the time required to cast the spell on the construct so that you can summon it later not the time required to summon the construct. The spell is based on instant summons, and like instant summons it requires you to cast the spell on the target in advance and gives you to the ability to summon that target later by crushing the gemstone and saying a command word; the spell doesn't specify how long it takes to smash a gem and say a word, but I imagine most GMs would rule it's a standard action or close to it. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Jan 6 at 23:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NecXelos The CL for a portable hole here is doubly irrelevant because CL for that item isn't prerequisite like it is with, for example, an ioun stone (see also here). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 7 at 15:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I remvoved the CL reference. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 8 at 13:28

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