I am interested in creating a magical item that has a 3x/day use of mage armor on command word. Mage armor is a level 1 spell, and the command word example pricing says spell level (1) x caster level (1) times 1800, which means the total price would be 1800. I'm assuming this is for a once per day usage. Is that correct?

The example they give is cape of mountebank which is only one use but is way cheaper than it should be: spell level (4) x caster level (7) x 1800 works out to 50400, but that item only costs 10,800.

Now, for an item that has multiple charges per day, according to the creation rules you would multiply the cost by the amount of charges and divide the total by 5. So if the cape of mountebank followed this rule the cost comes out much closer, at 10080. My assumption is that, this being a named wondrous item instead of a generic crafted item, like a brand name as opposed to a store brand, the cost is a bit more.

So for my original item that I want to make, if I follow the appropriate rules, my item would be [(1x1x1800)(3)]/5 correct? Or 1080. Which is cheaper than the single use item. Am I missing something?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I made a few edits to your question to hopefully make it a bit clearer and easier to read. If you think that I lost some of your meaning, please feel free and revert the edit, or re-edit to change some things. \$\endgroup\$
    – DuckTapeAl
    Sep 22, 2016 at 8:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ RE: "I am interested in creating a magical item…" Is your PC interested in creating this magic item or are you as a GM trying to determine how to price this unique item appropriately? (Either way, answers may end up in the same place, but the journey is substantially different.) \$\endgroup\$ Sep 22, 2016 at 14:11

3 Answers 3


The Magic Item Creation rules are guidelines.

The most important thing to remember when making magic items in Pathfinder is that the rules for making items are guidelines, not hard-and-fast rules. Making new magic items is a very subjective process, and no set of rules is going to give you balanced items each time. The only way to reliably price new magic items is to make new magic items and price them, and see how effective they are in play. Experience is much more important than rules, here.

The base price for command word or use-activated items is for at-will use.

Command-word and use-activated items are, by default, usable as many times per day as you want. There is no limit to the number of times you can use that kind of item in a day.

As an example, the Hand of the Mage. It lets you use mage hand as a standard action, as much as you'd like. It costs 900 gp, which is spell level (.5) times caster level (1) times the command-word constant (1800) for an even 900 gp.

Very few command-word items exist that don't have a per-day limit to their use, because at-will usage of many effects is significantly more powerful than just being able to use it once per day.

Always check for similar effects when pricing at item.

This is the second most important rule of magic item creation. A large number of effects are already represented in the existing magic item rules. If the item that you want to make duplicates the effect of an existing item, then it should cost the same as the existing item.

For your example of an item that lets you cast mage armor you should compare it to existing items that do the same effect, like the Bracers of Armor. The +4 Bracers give you a +4 armor bonus to AC all day long, with no activation needed, and cost 16,000 gp. Your item gives you a +4 armor bonus to AC for 3 hours a day, and needs an activation before it can be used. Clearly, your item should cost less, but exactly how much less is something that's more left to how the DM feels about the item's cost than any hard rule. Personally, I'd go with around 8,000 gp. If you're having about 4 encounters a day, and you have the ability to more-or-less predict half of them, then you're getting about half the benefit that the Bracers of Armor +4 would give you, so I'd charge about half for the item. But that's just how I would run it, and it's more important that you price it in a way that makes sense to you.


The command word recipe is for an item that can be used at-will, meaning, you can use it once per round forever potentially. One example is the hat of disguise, which lets the user use disguise self at will. It costs 1*1*1800gp.

If you're trying to get 3x/day then you want the charges-per-day version. 1*1*1800*3/5=1080gp is correct.

I agree that it's weird that the table gives the Cape of the Mountebank as an example of a command-word-activated item when it actually has that one-use-per-day restriction.

I also think it's weird that the actual list of wondrous items has very few items that are priced correctly according to the command word recipe. For example there's the boots of levitation which allows use of levitation via command word. This should cost 2*3*1800=10800gp but instead costs 7500gp. Perhaps the discount is because it only lets you levitate yourself?

Remember that any use of those rules requires DM approval.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not certain that is correct, because that would seem like an exploitive way to have a continuous item effect. The reference item they have for example, the cape of montebank, is a once per day item to be used on command. Is there another example you can show me of an item that is unlimited use on command, specifically that generates a spell effect? \$\endgroup\$
    – TheAndyman
    Sep 22, 2016 at 5:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've added an example. Could you edit your request into your question, please? We're only supposed to provide answers to requests that are part of the question, not requests made in comments. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dan B
    Sep 22, 2016 at 8:17

It is really up to the DM what price he/she thinks they are worth. I think they should be significantly less than the Bracers of Armor +4 but more than the base creation item price suggested of 1080.

Bracers of Armor +4 (CL7) = 8k to make but have a caster level of CL7 and are a constant effect

Bracers of Mage Armor (constant)(CL1) = [Spell Level] * [Caster Level] * 2000 * 1(spell duration multiplier) = 2000gp to make by the Create magic item table

Bracers of Mage Armor 3/day (CL1) - [Spell Level] * [Caster Level] * (3/5)[Uses/day] * 1800 = 1080gp to make by the Create magic item table

Lots of DM's state that because they have the same +4AC they should cost the same as does the Magic Item Gold Piece Values (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic-items#TOC-Magic-Item-Gold-Piece-Values) on d20. However while they do provide the same AC component they are inferior especially when faced with a dispel magic spell due to the fact they are a lower caster level.

If the object that you target is a magic item, you make a dispel check against the item’s caster level (DC = 11 + the item's caster level). If you succeed, all the item’s magical properties are suppressed for 1d4 rounds, after which the item recovers on its own. A suppressed item becomes non magical for the duration of the effect.

You make one dispel check (1d20 + your caster level) and compare that to the spell with highest caster level (DC = 11 + the spell's caster level).

So for the Bracers of Armor it would take a check of (DC = 11 + the item's caster level) which is 18 and would suppress it for 1d4 rounds

For the both the Constant and 3/day Mage Armor Bracers it would take a much easier check (DC = 11 + the item/spells caster level) which is 12 and would either dispel the constant effect for 1d4 rounds or totally dispel a casted mage armor.

Ultimately the pricing is up to your DM though as to what he/she thinks.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .