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I've been trying to fully understand how Magic Item Creation works, specifically an item with multiple abilities, but there's still one thing that I don't understand: How do you determine that final Caster Level of the item (and thus the DC of the spellcaster check)?

This is what I've gathered so from the rules and online forums:

Time

Creating an item requires 8 hours of work per 1,000 gp in the item's base price (or fraction thereof), with a minimum of at least 8 hours.

With base price being defined as how much the item is priced in the store, and not the discounted cost for crafting the item.

For example, Ring of Invisibility is priced at 20,000 gp, and the cost to craft it is 10,000 gp. A player wishing to craft the ring must spend 10,000 gp and 20 days/160 hours (since the base price is 20,000 gp) to craft the ring.

DC

The DC to create a magic item is 5 + the caster level for the item

Items you can buy from the store usually have a CL listed.

For example, the Ring of Invisibility has a CL 3rd, so a player would need to take a DC 8 spellcaster check to successfully craft the item.

Cost

From what I can gather, the cost to craft a magical item with multiple abilities costs the full price for the most expensive bonus, then 1.5 times the price of each additional bonus. See http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2nge1?Question-about-creating-Ring-with-multiple

This goes along with adding additional abilities to an item

If the item is one that occupies a specific place on a character's body, the cost of adding any additional ability to that item increases by 50%. For example, if a character adds the power to confer invisibility to her ring of protection 2, the cost of adding this ability is the same as for creating a ring of invisibility multiplied by 1.5.

Example creation

Lets say I want to craft a Ring of Invisibility and also enchant it with Magic Aura so that it registers as a non-magical ring.

The base price to add Magic Aura as a continuos effect is

Use-activated or continuous = Spell level x caster level x 2,000 gp

With a note that

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.

Since Magic Aura's duration is 1 day/level, the final price would be 1,000 gp (1 [spell level] x 1 [caster level] x 2000 gp / 2)

Which makes the final base price of the item 21,500 gp (20,000 gp + 1,000 gp * 1.5).

This means that the cost to craft this item would be 10,750 gp and 22 days.

Questions

  1. Does adding the Magic Aura effect to the Ring of Invisibility increase the final Caster Level of the ring, and thus the DC spellcaster check? If so, by how much? Just 1 since I used Caster Level 1 to add the effect, making the ring a CL 4th with a DC 9 spellcaster check?

  2. When you upgrade a magical item or add additional abilities to an existing magical item, do you take a DC spellcaster check at the end of the crafting time? The rules do not state this outright and I've not been able to find an answer.

    1. If you do, do you use the CL of the new ability for the check? With the example for adding Invisibility to a ring of protection, would the DC of the spellcaster check be that of the CL of the ring of Invisibility (3rd), or something else?
  3. Does the CL of the item increase when upgrading an item? Bracers of Armor has a CL 7th regardless of the strength of the enchantment bonus. Would upgrading the bonus from +1 to +3, or +1 to +5, still use a DC 12 spellcaster check?

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With base price being defined as how much the item is priced in the store, and not the discounted cost for crafting the item.

Correct.

Items you can buy from the store usually have a CL listed.

For example, the Ring of Invisibility has a CL 3rd, so a player would need to take a DC 8 spellcaster check to successfully craft the item.

No, oddly enough. The crafter of the item sets its caster level, from a minimum of whatever it takes to cast the requisite spells (or other requirement listed for the item), to a maximum of the crafter’s own caster level. Since caster level typically costs money, increases DCs, and so on, most crafters use the lowest caster level possible for the item.

The caster level listed with items is the “typical” caster level for that item, where “typical” is more-or-less just something the authors made up. For most items, it is the minimum (e.g. that ring of invisibility, requiring as it does the 2nd-level invisibility spell, which has a minimum caster level of 3rd), but there are exceptions (e.g. sovereign glue, which has an absurd listed CL of 20th, despite only really requiring 3rd for make whole).

From what I can gather, the cost to craft a magical item with multiple abilities costs the full price for the most expensive bonus, then 1.5 times the price of each additional bonus.

Correct.

It is worth noting that D&D 3.5, upon which Pathfinder is based, added a rule in Magic Item Compendium that certain, basic sorts of bonuses do not incur this premium. For instance, making your ring of invisibility also include a deflection bonus to AC (à la ring of protection) would not cost extra (just the cost of ring of invisibility plus the cost of ring of protection), because deflection bonuses to AC were one of the “generic” bonuses you could have on rings. Other examples included enhancement bonuses to ability scores, resistance bonuses to saving throws, etc.

This change allowed for characters to get their critical math fixes, while still allowing them to get “fun” and interesting items. It led to a much smoother game that penalized characters less for being responsible and buying the critical, but boring, +number items.

I will admit that Paizo not only has not ported this rule, but adamantly opposes it with its recommendations. Paizo considers it important that characters pay extra for combining such items. I will state flat-out that they are quite simply wrong. This attitude massively, and unnecessarily, shafts the classes that were already weakest. I cannot more strongly recommend that you ignore them on this issue.

Lets say I want to craft a Ring of Invisibility and also enchant it with Magic Aura so that it registers as a non-magical ring.

Your example is done correctly.

  1. Does adding the Magic Aura effect to the Ring of Invisibility increase the final Caster Level of the ring, and thus the DC spellcaster check? If so, by how much? Just 1 since I used Caster Level 1 to add the effect, making the ring a CL 4th with a DC 9 spellcaster check?

Caster level requirements are minimums, so use the highest minimum as the overall minimum of the item. In this case, magic aura requires CL 1st and invisibility requires CL 3rd, so the ring requires CL 3rd. You could craft with a higher CL (requiring a higher DC), which would make the ring more resistant to dispel magic et al.

  1. When you upgrade a magical item or add additional abilities to an existing magical item, do you take a DC spellcaster check at the end of the crafting time? The rules do not state this outright and I've not been able to find an answer.

    1. If you do, do you use the CL of the new ability for the check? With the example for adding Invisibility to a ring of protection, would the DC of the spellcaster check be that of the CL of the ring of Invisibility (3rd), or something else?

The DC would be based on the item’s CL, whatever it is. At a minimum for this ring, 3rd.

Does the CL of the item increase when upgrading an item? Bracers of Armor has a CL 7th regardless of the strength of the enchantment bonus. Would upgrading the bonus from +1 to +3, or +1 to +5, still use a DC 12 spellcaster check?

If you were correct about bracers of armor requiring CL 7th regardless of enhancement bonus, you would be correct. I believe there may be some examples where this would be the case.

However, the bracers of armor do not require CL 7th. Rather, they require that

creator’s caster level must be at least two times that of the bonus placed in the bracers, plus any requirements of the armor special abilities

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the detailed response. I can see where my understanding was mislead, and it's nice to see my assumptions and calculations validated after so much research. \$\endgroup\$ – Steven Lambert Jan 1 '16 at 2:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ One other question: Since I can choose the CL for the item, would crafting a ring of Invisibility at CL 10 mean I would ignore the base price of the ring of Invisibility CL 3 from the store and instead follow the continuous spell formula to calculate it's base price (2 [spell level] * 10 [caster level] * 2000 gp * 2 = 80,000 gp)? \$\endgroup\$ – Steven Lambert Jan 1 '16 at 2:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @straker Officially, no, the price is fixed for printed items. Perhaps worth double-checking with your DM. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jan 1 '16 at 3:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Great answer, but Im confused, since invisibility requires CL of 3, would all other abilities be forced to be priced at that CL since thats the CL of the item? So magic aura should be priced as 1*3*2000/2 for 3000 as the base price and not 1000? \$\endgroup\$ – Fering May 21 '17 at 13:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Fering Ah, hm. Yes, officially we would. I think a reasonable GM would waive that in this case (the added CL really does very little for the magic aura effect since it’s already continuous), but yeah, that would be a houserule. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan May 21 '17 at 13:18

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