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So I ran into a discussion about creating a sword that cast shocking grasp whenever it hit at Caster Level 5 which would bring the cost of the item up to 10,000 gp (5 x 1 x 2000). I know that though my own experience with magic item creation the rules shouldn't work like this but when I went hunting for something to support my stance in the books I couldn't find anything.

Is there anyone stopping someone from making an item like this?

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2 Answers 2

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The PF SRD gives examples of this exact situation.

The correct way to price an item is by comparing its abilities to similar items (see Magic Item Gold Piece Values), and only if there are no similar items should you use the pricing formulas to determine an approximate price for the item. If you discover a loophole that allows an item to have an ability for a much lower price than is given for a comparable item, the GM should require using the price of the item, as that is the standard cost for such an effect. Most of these loopholes stem from trying to get unlimited uses per day of a spell effect from the "command word" or "use-activated or continuous" lines of Table: Estimating Magic Item Gold Piece Values.

Example: Rob's cleric wants to create a heavy mace with a continuous true strike ability, granting its wielder a +20 insight bonus on attack rolls. The formula for a continuous spell effect is spell level × caster level × 2,000 gp, for a total of 2,000 gp (spell level 1, caster level 1). Jessica, the GM, points out that a +5 enhancement bonus on a weapon costs 50,000 gp, and the +20 bonus from true strike is much better than the +5 bonus from standard weapon enhancement, and suggests a price of 200,000 gp for the mace. Rob agrees that using the formula in this way is unreasonable and decides to craft a +1 heavy mace using the standard weapon pricing rules instead.

In your case, you're talking about an effect that is 5x the Shock weapon special ability, which has the cost of a +1 weapon bonus.

Since all magical weapons must have a base enchantment, that means the minimum cost for Shock is 6000 GP:

  • +2 weapon bonus = 8000
  • +1 weapon bonus = 2000
  • 8000 - 2000 = 6000

If I were to allow this item, I'd price it as a +5 weapon bonus.

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First off: You should ask your GM if he is ok with you creating custom magic items before presenting gold coin formulae to him.

You cannot create effects that are instantaneous as permanent, it's the same discussion about a sword of striking true or infinite healing potion. The permanent version of such effects are the enhancement bonus and special effects that work based on enhancement bonus (Fire, Frost, Shock, Keen, Vorpal, etc). If you read the note on continuous effect you will see that there is no Instantaneous listed on it, meaning you can't do it.

If a continuous item has an effect based on a spell with a duration measured in rounds, multiply the cost by 4. If the duration of the spell is 1 minute/level, multiply the cost by 2, and if the duration is 10 minutes/level, multiply the cost by 1.5. If the spell has a 24-hour duration or greater, divide the cost in half.

You can, however, make a sword that allows you to cast shocking grasp a couple times per day at caster level 5. The cost for that would be (5 * 1 * 2000)/ (5/5) or 10,000 gp.

The cost was based on the following formulae:

  • Use-activated or continuous: Spell level x caster level x 2,000 gp
  • Charges per day: Divide by (5 divided by charges per day)

You still would have to add +1 enhancement bonus before adding any special effect, and that extra effect should probably cost 50% more for being something normally available to wondrous items. But that is entirely up to your GM.

See how a 5 times per day item costs the same as what you tried to do but is infinitely inferior? Even if you had your sword of shocking grasp, activating a spell trigger item is a Standard Action, meaning you would have to stop for a turn, activate the Shocking Grasp ability, deliver the spell with a free Touch Attack as part of the spell effect, and the next round you would attack with your sword but with no shocking effect because the spell does not allow you to do that. You would have to be a Magus to accomplish what you are trying to do.

You are better off making a +1 keen shocking burst sword.

  • +1 enhancement (necessary for any further effects)
  • +1 keen (enhance critical range to 17-20)
  • +2 shocking burst (1d6 eletricity damage on a hit, 1d10 on a critical)

Total +4, or 16,0000 gp.

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