I started getting back into D&D edition 3.5 a few weeks ago as a DM. I do not like the generalizations in which are written into the magical item creation. I am trying to make a more specific standardization for what items are needed to infuse items with magical properties. While searching the web, I have found plants and trees with magical/mundane properties. Craft Herbalism and Nature together could discern this. Craft Arcana and Appraising could discern Gems and jewelry. Craft Alchemy could guide you how to mix components for potions scrolls and other items. If you took Profession or Craft Taxidermy, then you could harvest hides, body parts from creatures to use in magical item creation. I know that many think this may be a waste of time, but I am trying to bring a new flavor to my party. I am trying to bring freshness to long time players. A little research and quests they will be able to figure out how to properly create and use magical properties of items. As a DM, I will keep the balance between a party with too much power and too little.

Does anyone have similar rules? Maybe a guide to where I can increase my magical item properties list.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure this question fits the rules of the site. Generally, if you're hoping for a pile of answers that gives you a lot of things to read through, the question goes against our "no lists" rule. We're different than a forum or other discussion site; we specialise in solving specific problems with one best answer that isn't just a matter of opinion. I gave it a new title so it wasn't just "DAE do this? How?" which is inviting a discussion/list. Is there any way you can narrow this down to ask for something more specific, instead of just "everything"? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 2 '14 at 18:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ possible duplicate of How to make spell components relevant again? \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Apr 2 '14 at 18:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ related to What is the point of a spell component pouch? \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Apr 2 '14 at 18:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for random opinionated discussion - answer or take it to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Jan 30 '15 at 1:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Putting this on hold for the moment - can you refine what your question is? "Any similar rules to anything about making magical items with stuff" is a bit broad, can you pull out your question and provide requirements for what you'd see as a best answer? \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Jan 30 '15 at 2:00

The general idea that you have is an interesting one, I would caution you to not make it too complicated for players. The point of getting a magic item creation feat is to make it easier to get just the right magic item that you want. If your component rules make it more difficult to craft a magic item than it is to buy it or commission it, then the player who took the magic item creation feat will feel cheated. I think the basics that you have in the question are pretty solid, but I'd suggest doing one or more of the following:

Drop XP costs for crafting

In AD&D, crafting magic items gave you xp, rather than costing it, because making magic items was a big deal, and often involved quests or puzzles (as Dakeyras' excellent answer points out). If you're going to require players to do a little component hunting in order to make magic items, I'd suggest dropping the xp cost. As long as you don't give players extremely large amounts of time to craft many items, removing xp costs isn't going to unbalance anything.

Only have components matter sometimes

One option is to have a general idea of what components are required for crafting, but to assume that players have easy access to the materials most of the time. The default assumption of the 3.5 magical crafting rules is that you can easily get most magical crafting components as long as you're in a city large enough for it to make sense. To give an example: Say potions require pure spring water as a primary component. This is automatically factored into the cost of materials in most situations; players can buy some pure spring water separately if they want to brew potions in the field, but usually it doesn't have to come up.

Suddenly, the only source of spring water for miles around is fouled, and the players can no longer make potions until they deal with whatever is fouling it, or find another source. This way, the specific component is the focus of an adventure, rather than just something else the players need to do bookkeeping on.

Give players mechanical advantages for paying attention to specific components

To return to the last example, say potions require pure spring water. If a potion-making player notices this and brings some extra spring water with him in the wilderness, maybe he can make a knowledge or survival check to brew a potion in the wilderness. By giving the player a capability he normally wouldn't have - namely, making magic items without having to buy the components - you encourage your players to care about this extra bit of lore through the mechanics.

In my experience, D&D 3.5 players tend to care the most about things that give them advantages or abilities, and if you can make your alternate component system work such that it's help them to care about it, it's more likely to be well-received.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Me and my group are mostly closer to 40 than 30 so we like a good story. I tend to charge lots of gold if parties want to buy MI. If they find a way to create themselves then it will be cheaper and probably better than store bought. \$\endgroup\$ – DM911 Apr 3 '14 at 19:47

You could borrow from an earlier edition of D&D. In AD&D 2e, to make magic items you had to first get the recipe, which was quite difficult (searching ancient tombs, tracking down a sage and convincing them to answer your questions) or you could research it if you were a Wizard or Priest. Then you'd have to find the materials, and then go through a long and difficult enchanting process fraught with dangers and chances for things to go wrong.

Often, the recipe would be similar to a riddle rather than just a list of ingredients. An example given in the DMG for a magic rope is 'courage of a thief', which could involve getting a thief to use it when stealing a king's crown or something of that nature.

The main difference is that in 2nd edition and earlier, magic items are more 'epic' rather than expected as in 3e and later. This meant each recipe is custom-made by the DM, and the expectation is that several sessions are taken in the crafting of a single item. On the other hand, the relative power of the item is often stronger, since it was a significant power boost above and beyond the characters' normal abilities.

If you do implement this, I think it could make for a really memorable experience, but you need to be careful that you don't make your players spend several sessions questing every time they want a Dagger +1, especially at high levels where items are necessary to maintain game balance, or a semblance of it at least. I'd personally use it for the biggest, best items the players want - especially if they're unusual requests - and let them use a simpler approach for more vanilla items.

(The rules for magic item creation I've referenced are in the 2nd edition DMG and Complete Wizard)

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    \$\begingroup\$ That is what I am shooting for. I want the PCs items to have meaning, not just something that found in a dungeon. I also read somewhere that if my PCs get a weapon, armor or item Master craft quality and then enchanted, they can increase the plus bonus and possibly change or increase special abilities of the weapon, armor or item. \$\endgroup\$ – DM911 Apr 3 '14 at 19:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DM911 All magical items made by players in D&D 3.x via RAW need a base Masterwork item that is made into a magic item via certain feats, depending on the item type made. The plus bonus has nothing to do with the base item quality. Sadly, imo, 3.x moved away from Magic Items being unique and special, and they became an expected power amplifier for parties of a certain level and thus subject to a whole host of rules as to what they could and couldn't do, and how much it would cost to make a certain item or add a certain effect. \$\endgroup\$ – Dakeyras Apr 3 '14 at 19:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Expanding on what Dakeyras said, 2e's method of making magic item crafting a quest in itself worked because it was generally the easiest and safest way to obtain specific magic items. 3.5e lets you buy them' If you want "quest-crafting" to be a thing in your campaign, you may have to make it cheaper than buying magic items, or perhaps just reduce the number of "magic item emporia" in your setting. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Nov 4 '15 at 23:14

I would suggest trying the "Legendary Material" Variant that I created for my tables. It's simple, but need some criativity from part of the master and the players.

It is a 3-step process, and it goes like this:

Step 1: Research

The players research a library, buy a scroll from a wanderer, found the schematichs in a stash. Somehow, they are handled a hint on how to give a property to an item.

Extremely grateful for being saved from the giant ants, the Old Sage gave you guys a scroll containing an ancient ritual to imbue the Power of Ice on the blade of a sword.


The king gives you access to the journal of his father, so you can investigate the origins > of the evil that lurk the land. While you were reading the journal, you learn that his father created his Holy Sword by taking his blade to an Angel that lives at the top of the Mountain of The Fallen.

Put that "recipe" in a real, paper notebook, and hand it to the party, detailing how they put those powers in their weapons. You can use things like "A branch from the holy tree of the country XYZ", a "drop of blood given of free will from a Iffrit", or even no materials at all, but a place and a time - "Present your blade to the gods on the full moon of the fourth month of a even year".

That way, you can control exactly what powers they will have, insert tons of fluff in your campaing and break totally that ideia that "money = power" that D&D tends to give.

Step 2: The Quest for the Item Property

Let the characters embark on a subquest for they holy blades or their flamming spears. Let them hunt the Golden-Horned Minotaur for it's unique horns, let them kill the Queen Wasp for her miraculous honey, let them defeat the Monster Garden Gnome of Doom for... hm... his ceramic hat. Drive them into a quest and make it HARD. Make them feel connected to getting that item enchanted. Make the item feel Special.

Step 3: The Discovery of New Powers

And... then, do something really special for them. When they finish the subquest, make them emerge with not only a holy blade/club/belt/spear/underwear, but whatever they may get during the way and a whole new set of unexpected powers to the item they went to imbue.

Make creating an item something hard, an adventure on itself, and your players will get really happy when they finally put all the pieces together. Then let them use they new powerfull item, and let them have fun!

You don´t need to get stuck with the Magic Item properties. Create yourself new, interesting things. Create powerfull itens with strange drawbacks, or itens that happen to change powers depending on the situation.

Even better, let the players try things. Let them loose to try things by trial and error, and if you think that some mambo-jambo they tried seens worth of a magical property, give it to them. You don´t need to "rulify" it too much. The more you incentive the players to do things by thenselves, more interesting the game tends to become.

Also, I wouldn´t recommend tying skills in that way. Skill points are a scarce source, so unless you pretend to give players more skill points per level, there´s a good chance that craft skills will be ignored. A good way for that to work however is granting everybody a few "Special Skill Points" every level, up and above the normal skill points, that could be used only on Craft, Knowledge or Profession. That way players will spend points on those things, and you don´t incurr the risk of getting into a Skill-Based Dead-end.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I love what you wrote. I have a priest of Mystra that is LN and loves reading about magic, learning about magic and creating new magic. I am going to try and give him manuals with instructions on magic that most would see as evil, but if used with a little creativity can seem to work with a good party. Also, I am using the crafts and profession to develop methods of knowledge enabling and guiding him towards magic item creation. \$\endgroup\$ – DM911 Apr 3 '14 at 19:45

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