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The Pathfinder Core book states that and intelligent item uses & maintains its powers... but the legendary items description states that the bearer is the one that uses it.

This seems like common sense to me since legendary items are more powerful than normal intelligent items, but some of my fellow players are stating that legendary items do not use their own spell casting powers. That seems rather silly to me unless this is something specific to the "spell casting" ability, but even then those legendary powers are just emulating the normal intelligent items abilities.

According to the rules on intelligent items:

Unlike most magic items, intelligent items can activate their own powers without waiting for a command word from their owner. Intelligent items act during their owner’s turn in the initiative order.

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All powers function at the direction of the item, although intelligent items generally follow the wishes of their owner. Activating a power or concentrating on an active one is a standard action the item takes. The caster level for these effects is equal to the item’s caster level. Save DCs are based off the item’s highest mental ability score.

From the rules on legendary items:

Spellcasting: This item allows its bearer to cast a limited number of spells as spell-like abilities. This ability can be taken more than once. Each time it’s taken, the bonded creature gains 5 points to spend on selecting what spells the item can cast. A spell costs a number of points equal to its level (minimum 1). The bearer can then activate the item to use each spell-like ability once per day. By spending double the cost, the bearer can use each spell-like ability three times per day. All spells must come from the same class’s spell list. No spell can have a level higher than the bonded creature’s tier. The caster level for these spells is equal to double the bonded creature’s tier. The save DC for these spells is equal to 10 + the spell level + the bonded creature’s tier.

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The typical intelligent magic item employs its powers when it wants to, having its own set of actions independent of the bearer, and, generally, intelligent legendary magic items are no different. However, the intelligent legendary magic item ability spellcasting is different. That ability says

This item allows its bearer [not the item independent of the bearer] to cast a limited number of spells as spell-like abilities. This ability can be taken more than once. Each time it’s taken, the bonded creature gains 5 points to spend on selecting what spells the item can cast. A spell costs a number of points equal to its level (minimum 1). The bearer can then activate the item to use each spell-like ability once per day. By spending double the cost, the bearer [not the item independent of the bearer] can use each spell-like ability three times per day. All spells must come from the same class’s spell list. No spell can have a level higher than the bonded creature’s tier. The caster level for these spells is equal to double the bonded creature’s tier. The save DC for these spells is equal to 10 + the spell level + the bonded creature’s tier.

(Emphasis and editorializing mine.) This is a specific exception to the general manner in which the usual intelligent magic item employs its special abilities. The other intelligent legendary magic item abilities such an item possesses—for example, animate, fly, and shape change—are all employed by the intelligent legendary magic item on its own using its own actions, but the spellcasting special ability is unique, the ability granting the bearer—rather than the item—the ability to employ the intelligent legendary magic item's spellcasting ability.

Note: I'm not entirely clear on the objections the question seems to raise. A PC's actions are typically far more valuable than the actions of any intelligent magic item the PC possesses, so mandating the PC to employ the intelligent legendary magic item's spellcasting ability is a detriment not an advantage. Further, unlike typical intelligent magic items found over the course of regular play, a legendary intelligent magic item is already predisposed to aid the bearer, so were the spellcasting ability under the control of the intelligent legendary magic item, the item would likely require very little convincing to use its spellcasting ability at the bearer's behest and for the bearer's benefit as the two usually share an agenda. (A frequent difficulty of typical intelligent magic items is that they have their own agendas, independent of their bearers!) That is, were the the intelligent legendary magic item's spellcasting ability usable by the item and with its own actions, the spellcasting ability would have the potential to upset the already extremely fragile action economy of mythic creatures.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Aye, I concur. The specific wording of that spell casting ability of the Legendary item, is the exception that makes it be different from a normal intelligent item. Indeed, the Mythic level of D&D is extremely high powered. This ruling does help to keep things sane. \$\endgroup\$ – PaladinWarrior Apr 26 '17 at 19:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PaladinWarrior Okay. Cool. I wasn't entirely sure if the answer was addressing what you needed it to address. That is, the second 'graph of the question make it sound like the GM wants the intelligent legendary item to use spellcasting independently while the players want the intelligent legendary item's bearer operating the item's spellcasting. And that sounded pretty much exactly backward of how I expected the conversation to run! \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Apr 26 '17 at 19:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Indeed, I can see why you were confused. I'm currently one of the players but a couple of us take turns being the DM. Unless it was something specific to the legendary spell casting ability (which it is) it would make sense that the item could trigger it's own abilities like most intelligent items. Like I mentioned in the original post and you clarified above, it is indeed a unique feature to the Legendary items and by keeping the ruling as is, it helps tone down the already overly powerful mythic option of playing D&D. :) Thank you for the clarification...!!! \$\endgroup\$ – PaladinWarrior Apr 27 '17 at 20:01

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