If I am creating a custom magic item in Pathfinder which uses certain spell effects, is it required that all of the spells use the same CL, and should therefore be priced accordingly in a custom item?

It is explicitly the case for staves, as the rules say:

The caster level of all spells in a staff must be the same, and no staff can have a caster level of less than 8th, even if all the spells in the staff are low-level spells.

And the general rules for reading a magic item entry say:

Caster Level (CL): The next item in a notational entry gives the caster level of the item, indicating its relative power. The caster level determines the item’s saving throw bonus, as well as range or other level-dependent aspects of the powers of the item (if variable). It also determines the level that must be contended with should the item come under the effect of a dispel magic spell or similar situation.

This makes no provision for an item having multiple abilities used at different caster levels. I cannot find examples of any magic item that casts multiple spells doing so at different CLs.

From this, should I infer that if I am creating a magic item which can provide multiple spell effects, even if the caster level does not actually change the spell effect at all, each effect must be considered to be cast at the same caster level, which would be at minimum the required CL for the highest level spell effect? And therefore, should they be priced as if cast at that CL?

In this case I assume this is only called out explicitly for staves because they are the category of item intended by default to produce multiple different spell effects and it serves as a reminder that the general rule (one item, one CL) still applies.


3 Answers 3


Yes, you use the minimum caster level to cast the highest spell on the item:

While item creation costs are handled in detail below, note that normally the two primary factors are the caster level of the creator and the level of the spell or spells put into the item. A creator can create an item at a lower caster level than her own, but never lower than the minimum level needed to cast the needed spell.

Since there are no items with multiple caster levels, nor any reference of such a thing being possible. The lowest caster level on a magic item with multiple spells should be the minimum caster level to cast the highest level spell on the item.


Yes, a wondrous item can have an individual CL for each spell effect.

Strand of Prayer Beads

Each item contains a number of different beads, each has its own CL mentioned in the CL of the item.

Since the Item Entry also lists prices for each individual bead, we can attempt to calculate all costs as if they were different CL for each ability creates comparable prices to the actual item costs.

     Ability        Entry      Calculated

     Blessing       600        560
     Healing        9,000      8,400
     Smiting        16,800     15,680
     Karma          20,000     25,200
     Windwalking    46,800     47,520
     Summoning      20,000     15,300(plus 10,000 Material component cost)

Using the Magic Item Creation rules produces values relatively close to the values as given by the book.

Additionally, the Necklace of Fireballs produces different caster level effects for each bead used. It is a bit odd, however, as it also produces a 2d6 fireball, something which is not possible for 3rd level fireball (5d6 minimum). Using the single-use activation option from magic item creation, and bending the miminum CL rule, it calculates out exactly as 150GP per die of damage.

  • \$\begingroup\$ My reading of the Necklace of Fireballs is not that the spheres are of variable CL, just variable damage - and that in all other respects, they are treated as fireballs of CL 10, like for overcoming SR or being dispelled. But the prayer beads are explicit that the different beads have different CLs - though they're a quite unusual case as an item. They seem to be an exception that proves a rule; unless the item description clarifies, effects are cast at (though maybe not priced at) the item's one listed CL. \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcer
    Commented Apr 23, 2017 at 12:06

For staves this is required based on the rules for staves.

For other items this may not be true, wondrous items calculate additional spell effects at different caster levels, but adds a 1.5 multiplier to add the additional effect. The item itself should list a single CL of the highest. This will play into the DC if making it all at once, dispelling and auras. Weapons are simpler as adding properties are independent of each other.

Further some items can't have more than one effect: wands, potions, rods.

Scrolls can store more than one spell, but each is an independent in terms of crafting.

The chart on prd is a good reference. So is the section at the bottom for adding new abilities.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Which wondrous items have effects that function at different caster levels? \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcer
    Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 23:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ A few that may be based on pricing and DCs: boots of the winter lands, crystal ball (with see invis, telepathy, or detect thoughts), eyes of doom , Spade's answer lists two others. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eric
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 19:42

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