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I'm reading this table of magic item gold cost formulae, and I'm having a very difficult time understanding it. How do the listings in the "Special" table interact with the listings in the "Spell Effect" table?

For example, under "Charged (50 charges)" it says "1/2 unlimited use base price", but has no listing for any "unlimited use base price".

Or for example, "Charges per day" works out such that if you have 5 charges per day, the item's cost is unmodified. If I combined "Charges per day" from the special table with "50 charges, spell trigger" from the Spell Effect table, would I get an item that has 50 charges, but recovers five each day at no extra cost? That doesn't seem right.

I get the impression that not all of these effects are meant to interact with one another. Could someone explain which ones are intended to interact with each other?

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    \$\begingroup\$ actually, i think if you took both charges and charges per day, you'd be able to use it a total of 50 times, and maximum X times per day, \$\endgroup\$ – Mouhgouda Dec 23 '14 at 12:37
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You are using the table wrong.

The table assumes you have a magic item in mind and are trying to determine the cost. It is a not a table that you should be grabbing lines from to combine to form magic items.

That said, the entries:

  • Single use, spell completion
  • Single use, use-activated
  • 50 charges, spell trigger

do not normally interact with (and if they do, they do not do a good job estimating actual price):

  • Charges per day
  • Charged (50 charges)

The first set are intended to price out single use or limited use items that eventually cease to exist or become inert like potions, scrolls, and wands.

The second set are there help determine costs for magic items that continue to exist forever until destroyed such as staffs and wondrous items.

Remember, the table is only there to estimate the cost of a magic item. It is not completely accurate and you should usually consult similar magic items for their price.

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Most of the abilities on the table will work together.

To use your specific example the item below would have 50 Charges but would only be able to be used once a day:

Spell Effect:Charged(50 Charges)
Spell: Magic Missle
Caster level: 1 Special: 1 Charge per day.

Cost would be calculated as below.

(spell level)1*(Caster level)1*750=750

You would then divide as per the charges per day section which is 5 divided by the charges per day which is only 1.

750/(5/1)=150

With these effects you would have a wand of magic missile that is only usable once per day but only costs 150 gold.

To answer your question about unlimited use base price. The unlimited use would be something with the spell effect of Command Word or Continuous.

Normally such items would not have a limit but would gain a use limit of 50 Charges. I would interpret this as Command Word items using a charge for each activation while Continuous items would consume a charge each day they are worn or used.

The limited use would half the price of the item but give it a finite life hence the price being halved.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I think using the table to estimate that kind of wand causes it to come out way to low. If you replace magic missle with cure light wounds, you get a wand that costs 3x the cost of 1 potion, but provides 50 charges..... \$\endgroup\$ – Colin D Dec 23 '14 at 14:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ True. The DM should be the person using the table though so if he/she does not want to allow such a cheap option they shouldn't add it. If a player asks then they can allow or ban it. \$\endgroup\$ – Aaron Dec 23 '14 at 14:46
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The listings under "Special" interact with all the other listings pretty consistently in general.

One exception is that charges per day and 50-charge items do not interact and can't sanely be combined without some additional work; per the notes above and below, the guidelines don't explain everything, but rely on the DM's knowledge of general similarities between items. There are no items in PF that have 50 charges and regain charges per day on their own, to my knowledge, so pricing a custom item that does that by blind application of the guidelines will likely end in nonsense.

For example, under "Charged (50 charges)" it says "1/2 unlimited use base price", but has no listing for any "unlimited use base price".

Sure it does, lots of them. All effects are unlimited unless otherwise noted, so 2 out of 5 Spell Effect listings, along with all the other Effect listings, are unlimited-use base prices. You have to know which one you're working with first, of course. But basically, "Special" is applied later

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