Without using psionics, is there a way to reduce the absolute lowball minimum caster level of a spell completion magic item or spell trigger magic item? Likewise, is there a way to brew a potion at a caster level lower than is needed to cast the spell the potion contains?


The benefit of the feat Metacreative (Psionics Handbook 27) says, in part, that

You can create psionic items (including psionic armors and weapons, psionic tattoos, dorjes, power stones, and universal items) as if your effective manifester level were one less than your actual level (minimum 1st level). You must still be of high enough level to manifest the power in question. You can choose to use or not use this feat on each new psionic item you create.

The feat's examples then go on to clarify that this means, for example, a psionic item with a minimum manifester level of 3 (like a dorje that stores a 2nd-level power) can be created by a creature possessing the feat at manifester level 2 if the creature has a manifester level of at least 3.

The prestige class crystalsinger expands on this idea, gaining—so far as I can tell—the unique class feature metacreative creation that's essentially a variant of the benefit of the feat Metacreative, but, instead of being able to create psionic items as if the crystalsinger were a manifester but one level lower than normal, the crystalsinger can ultimately create psionic items that are up to five levels lower than normal! (In all cases, there's a 1st-level manifester minimum.)

For example, a psion 9/crystalsinger 9 can create a dorje that stores a 4th-level power yet that has a manifester level of but 2. By comparison, when most creatures create a dorje that stores a 4th-level power, that power has a minimum manifester level of 7. (This vastly reduces the dorje's price: the former dorje's market price is 6,000 gp while the latter's is 21,000 gp! This also, of course, sometimes reduces the item's utility, but for many effects this isn't particularly important.)

I want to do the same thing that the crstalsinger does but I'd prefer doing so without using psionics and especially without using stinky, old unrevised Psionics Handbook-era material!

Note: I am aware that a magic item's Caster Level isn't a prerequisite for the magic item's creation. However a magic item's minimum caster level is typically equal to the minimum caster level needed to cast the highest-level spell among the item's prerequisite spells. I'm interested in reducing the minimum caster level needed to cast the highest-level prerequisite spell so that, for example, attuned gems, etched runes, potions, scepters, scrolls, staffs, wands, and so on that hold high-level spells can be created at lower-than-the-normal-minimum caster levels.


Artificers can do that. Artificers count as 2 levels higher than they actually are for meeting caster level requirements (including those minimum caster levels for a given spell), but not for the actual crafted item. The explicit example given in Eberron Campaign Setting is a wand of fireball with caster level 3rd.

If you did want to use Metacreative, you could combine this with that by going with the psionic artificer from Magic of Eberron. Magic Item Compendium allows a psionic crafter to substitute psionic powers for spells when creating most magic items, so this doesn’t necessarily cost you all that much in terms of your crafting ability.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Is the 2-levels-lower as low as it gets, though? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Feb 17 '17 at 19:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I am not aware of any other effect that offers the same kind of bonus, but I couldn’t swear to it not existing. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Feb 17 '17 at 19:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan If you did end up wanting to use Metacreative, it may be worth noting the psionic artificer in Magic of Eberron. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Feb 17 '17 at 20:33

@KRyan already mentioned that Artificers have a specific ability; I won't expand on this.

Some classes may get access to spells slightly ahead of time. It only pertains to some select spells, and generally only reduces the caster level by 1 or 2, but that's already something.

Some Cleric Domains grant spells one level ahead of time.

For example, while Wind Wall is a 3rd-level Cleric spell, a Cleric with the Air domain has Wind Wall as a 2nd-level spell.

A Cleric with the Air domain may thus craft a Wand of Wind Wall as an item with a Caster Level of 3 (and for a price of 4,500 gp instead of 9,000 gp).

Classes with a partial spell progression have specific spell lists; for example a Ranger level 8:

  • has a Caster Level 4,
  • can cast the above mentioned Wind Wall as a 2nd-level spell.

The above mentioned Wand of Wind Wall would thus cost 6,000 gp instead of 9,000 gp.

Or the infamous Trapsmith (Dungeonscape, p. 53), which has a number of 2nd-level/3rd-level spells such as Arcane Sight, Cat's Grace or Haste as one of its 9 1st-level spells.

Prestige classes with an accelerated spell progression also have an advantage here.

The Ur-Priest (Complete Divine, p. 70) has access to 9th-level spells at level 9, and its caster level is equal to its levels in Ur-Priest plus one-half of its levels in other spell-casting classes (excluding Cleric). Thus, a Ur-Priest with no other spell-casting class has Nth-level spells at Caster Level N.

The Sublime Chord (Complete Arcane, p. 60) also has access to 9th-level spells at level 9, and its caster level is equal to its levels in Sublime Chord plus its levels in another arcane spell-casting class. Early access to the class (before level 8), thus offers a reduced Caster Level for high-level spells.

Note: beyond spell level and caster level, having Divine versions of spells is also useful to avoid the cost of materials; for example the Cloistered Cleric has Identify on its spell list, which avoids paying 100gp per charge when creating a wand.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I don’t really think this answers the question (/I’m sure @HeyICanChan is aware of it), but if you’re going to go this way, the answer is incomplete without mention of the trapsmith from Dungeonscape. 1st-level haste, for example. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Feb 17 '17 at 19:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan is correct. This isn't actually reducing but, instead, changing the lowball minimum. It's close enough for a frame challenge, though, so I'ma not gonna downvote or nothin', but, yeah, trapsmith's a thing worth noting, as is, for example, ur-priest (9th-level spells at caster level 9!). \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Feb 17 '17 at 19:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan: I had completely forgotten about the accelerated progression of certain prestige classes; I've added Ur-Priest and Sublime Chord as examples. I really like this question, generally people try to abuse Ur-Priest to boost their Caster Level through the roof, not drag it down! \$\endgroup\$ – Matthieu M. Feb 17 '17 at 20:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd just like to add that base classes with slowed caster level progression can also "dumb down" caster level. The one that's being used in a campaign I DM is mystic ranger (caster level = half mystic ranger level) (plus the feat Sword of the Arcane Order (Champions of Valor 34)). The party's wandmonkey saves literally 1,000s of gp making his own high-spell-level, low-caster-level wands (and has full BAB). (A mystic ranger can make wands of 4th-level spells cheaper than an artificer, but an artificer can make wands of 2nd-level spells cheaper and sooner than the mystic ranger.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Sep 10 '17 at 18:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MatthieuM. Mystic ranger is a strong enough class and had this specific advantage that the player wanted to play by the rules-as-written just for this purpose. I thought it was weird, but the PC just didn't cast spells until level 2, and it wasn't a big deal. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Sep 11 '17 at 17:33

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